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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:02 pm 

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"Oh, please - go ahead," McGonagall answered, no real hesitation to her voice. Harry could tell she - of all staff present - knew what time it was, yet breakfast had been served for long enough that he could realistically have downed a cuppa and toast.
As if to compensate, the corners of Harry's mouth upturned slightly.
"I will see you at lunch then, professor," the headmistress offered as her parting words. She spoke with an almost tender tease that made Harry huff out, more than anything made uncomfortable by the title.
"You will. I'll make sure to pace myself better then," Harry answered, some awkwardness in his voice as he still attempted to adjust his view of McGonagall as not solely a friend (and, Harry unwillingly admitted, a motherfigure) but as his boss.
"I will see you, too, professors," Harry added, this time turning towards Neville and Malfoy. Though he glanced at both with a smile, his eyes never fully settled on Malfoy. "Enjoy your meals."
Then, Harry turned around and left the proximity of the high table. For a brief moment, both McGonagall and Harry had turned away from the conversation, leaving them both out of earshot of Neville.
"He didn't eat," Neville muttered, some tension to his voice as he helped himself to a second serving of scrambled eggs. He hadn't intended his voice to go sour, nor for it come across as if he blamed Draco, though he heard it as soon as he said it out loud. It was merely a worried observation.
Neville's eyes flickered sideways towards Draco; then a few inches above the other, eyes inattentively finding McGonagall who once again approached them, this time on the right side of the table.
When Neville once again spoke, his voice was slightly lower, and its over all expression had softened. "He had only just gotten here."
His eyes had yet again found Draco, and his eyebrows furrowed in an expression that was partially worried and partially inquisitive. It wasn't as if Neville had been deaf to Draco's disinterest in Harry; though it made Neville's heart drop at the prospect of spending an entire year like this, he wanted to give Draco the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, Neville settled as McGonagall joined them to his left, Harry had just caught Draco off guard.
"Did you sleep well?" Neville instead offered after a moment of silence, the radical change of subject both unapologetic and prompted by McGonagall's proximity.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:18 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Even though Draco was absolutely certain that Neville didn’t mean to, he couldn’t help but feel like his friend blamed him for Potter’s lack of breakfast. Of course, Draco hadn’t exactly been warm and welcoming towards the new professor, but he had no idea what anyone had expected other than that. Having Potter at Hogwarts was making Draco unbelievably tense, no longer certain of the role had had been occupying for the past many years, even though McGonagall and Neville had done anything in their power to reassure him that nothing would change.
The change of subject was godsend, no matter how abrupt it was. Draco had absolutely no desire to discuss the implications of Harry Potter not eating breakfast, in fact, he would rather just forget that he was even at Hogwarts in the first place.
“Just fine but not enough, I gotta admit that I am a little nervous about starting as head of Slytherin,” he stated and bit his bottom lip. It was a silly worry, because he knew that McGongall would not have given him this kind of responsibility unless he was absolutely ready. Still, making him head of Slytherin house the same year that Harry Potter returned to Hogwarts seemed so incredibly risky that it almost made him sick. There was no saying in how this would go down for him.
“How about you? Sleep alright?”

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:24 am 

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"Yeah," Neville answered plainly with a nod of his head. In another context he would have elaborated, told Draco that he, too, hadn't gotten as much sleep as he would ideally have wanted. He had stayed up to greet Harry upon arrival, but Neville could tell that circling the conversation back onto Harry Potter would not be a welcomed topic. So, he refrained, wanting to extend that kindness to his friend.
His eyes had dipped as he buttered a piece of toast, but the grin had appeared onto his lips far before speaking.
"Don't worry about it," he said, referring to Draco's promotion. There was an almost boyish airiness to his voice as he attempted to contain a laugh. "The only thing you should lay sleepless about is the fact that you're gonna loose your ever first House Cup."
When Neville's eyes once again found Draco's, his expression was one of almost coquettish sweetness. "To me, of course."


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:01 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Not for the first time at their time together at Hogwarts, Draco feel immensely relieved to have Neville by his side. It was stupid to still care about who won the house cup, they were two adults after all with no stakes whatsoever in the cup. Still, it was nice to have something more mundane to focus on and help ease him up a little and not overthink everything that was going to go down.
“Oh, you wish, Longbottom,” Draco challenged with a grin, before finishing the remainder of his coffee. If war was what Neville wanted, then war was definitely what he was going to get. Draco hadn’t even really considered the house cup when he considered doing well with Slytherin house, but now that was definitely on the agenda.
“I’m gonna crush you, just you wait and see.”

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:40 pm 

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Had Neville not know better, he could have sworn Harry had walked out of breakfast and right back into oblivion. The man had all but disappeared off the premises, and, frankly, Neville was surprised to see him seated for lunch - granted, he had skipped breakfast.
Neville had walked with Draco to the Great Hall, and the sight of Harry seated on the far left of the table cut him off mid-sentence; Neville had otherwise been in the midst of telling Draco about the Hungarian Dragon Grass Charlie Weasley had gifted him over the course of the summer.
"He's gonna do my head in," Neville exhaled, more than anything an unconscious curse. If one knew to look for it, Neville almost sounded paternal. "Here I am thinking it'd be weird seeing him here, who would've thought I'd be more stressed by his absence."
As they approached the high table, it became evident that Harry had noticed their arrival. Even before being spoken to, Harry's eyes dipped upward from his plate.
"I thought we'd lost you," Neville pocked once he was able to meet Harry's eye. Though the plurality of his phrasing was more out of habit than anything intentional, it still made Harry's eyes dart to Malfoy.
In a little, welcoming gesture, Harry leaned back into his chair, abandoning his Shepard's pie. Then, a smile brightened his features before his eyes refound Neville.
"I was off catching up," he said, sounding almost sheepish.
"With whom?" Neville challenged. Thoughtlessly, he had steered out of course, walking towards the left of the table instead of their usual right. "Not with me, surely."
"Do we need to catch up, Nev?" Harry grinned. No matter how Neville painted it out to be, Harry had been by his quaters; he had only just showered, his wand holding his still-damp hair off his shoulders in a loose updo. After a moments pause, Harry continued in a more civil tone. "I went to see Myrtle."


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:22 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Draco had almost managed to put Harry Potter entirely out of his mind, having spent most of his day catching up with coworkers and working with Neville to make sure that they both had everything ready for when the students arrived at evening time. It had been nice to get back properly like that and Draco would readily admit that he was looking forwards to the students’ arrival later.
That was also why it hit him so much harder when Neville’s attention suddenly was back on Potter
It wasn’t that Draco didn’t know that they were old friends and that Neville was one of few who actually knew where Potter had been keeping himself for all those years, but it also served as a reminder that Draco was intruding on this; living a life that was reserved for the people who had been on the right side of history, and it caused his anxiety to spike back up.
He followed along with Neville as they approached Potter, listening but not really. He had hoped to put as much distance between himself and Potter as he possibly could, but it seemed like that was going to be a lot harder than he had originally thought.
Thus, he didn’t make any comments as Neville talked with Potter, allowing the two of them to do their thing at their pace.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:12 am 

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"Yeah?" Neville asked, the tease immediately having left his voice, hardly able to contain his surprise. There was something almost humbling about Harry's response. Neville had though Harry had spent the morning with McGonagall or with Dumbledore's portrait; it hadn't even occurred him that Harry might had been getting reacquainted with the castle itself.
When he continued, his voice had softened though his words still wished to convey a now half-hearted tease. "What' she have to say?"
Whether it was the few hours alone or the interest Neville was showing him - despite Malfoy standing passively by his side - Harry appeared far more at ease than he had at breakfast. It seemed like the memory of his conversation with Myrtle had been enough to make him grin.
"That I've gotten old," he said, almost anecdotally. He, however, seemed genuinely pleased by it. "Old and uglier, I think was her main point."


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:51 pm 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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The comment about Potter having gotten older and uglier brought a quick smile to Draco’s face, one he was quick to push down again such that he could return to his former, more neutral, facial expression. He didn’t allow himself to linger too much on the thought, but he did know that it definitely wasn’t true that Potter had gotten uglier over the years.
In fact, it seemed that he had just aged into his appearance, but Draco didn’t want to linger on that thought for too long. It was a rabbit hole that was too difficult to go down and he was uncertain if he was going to ever come up from it again.
“I’ll go sit down. You take your time to catch up,” he stated, a gentle hand on Neville’s lower back to catch his attention.
“Professor,” he stated with a nod toward Potter as he moved away from the pair of them, needing to get away from Potter once again to feel at least a little normal.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:57 pm 

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Malfoy had behaved with such poise around Harry that when the professionalism finally gave way to a smile, it came like lighting on a clear sky. The smile, however small and brief it might have been, had felt like such a radical break of Malfoy's otherwise blank expression that it was enough to immediately draw in Harry's eye. For a moment, Harry looked genuinely surprised that Malfoy had even allowed him as much as a glimpse of a smile.
Though Harry remained silent over the course of Malfoy's goodbyes, a smile eventually grew to replace the look of surprise. He had taken no offence to the implications of Malfoy's smile - after all, even Harry himself had a hard time disagreeing with Myrtle on that. He just seemed genuinely humoured, and in the pit of his stomach, some of his feeling of regret seemed to dissolve. Whether or not Harry would ever manage to bring another smile onto Malfoy's face was hard to say - but for now, it was something.
A different, more pressing something, however, was the way Malfoy had reached for Neville's waist to catch his attention. The distance between Harry and his two colleagues was such that he saw the tenderness of the gesture without intending to look for it. Harry's mouth went dry, feeling like he was intruding on something he didn't even know what was. He made a point not to let his eyes dip nor smile falter when Malfoy offered him his goodbyes; Harry offering a polite, albeit distant nod.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:04 am 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Draco did feel somewhat odd about leaving Neville and Harry, feeling that it was making the difference between Neville’s old and new friends all the more stark. It wasn’t that Neville made Draco feel unwelcome, Draco sincerely doubted that Neville would even know how, but he definitely felt that he didn’t fit in together with the two old friends and thus had decided to retreat for his own sanity.
It was probably a childish way to react, just avoiding Potter at all costs and being adamant about not being seen around him. He feared that other people would call his bluff, would realise that maybe he wasn’t that good of a person after all and that this had been for nothing.
In that sense, it seemed better to just keep at a distance and not allow himself to be compared, even if it also meant retreating from Neville.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:45 pm 

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________________________________________

When Harry finally got to seat himself for dinner, he did so with his heart in his throat. Harry had already been on edge at the prospect of facing the entire student body of Hogwarts at once; this, at least, he had been able to mentally prepare himself for. An introduction was inevitable, and Harry had, over the course of the last few weeks, come to terms with the fact that doing McGonagall this favor would require him settling back into the role of being a public feature.
Harry, however, found that it was the well-meaning Arithmancy professor that had managed to spike Harry’s already looming anxiety to the brink of being unmanageable.
Professor Maurice Culpepper had been hired to teach the course the year following the War, and, though the ageing professor thus would celebrate his first decade at Hogwarts, he had insisted beyond reasoning that Harry took his seat. It had made Harry’s stomach turn, knowing exactly which seat he was being offered – or forced into, rather.
“Professor,” Harry muttered, marking his presence known as he edged into the heavy wooden chair, two seats from the center point of the high table. Seated immediately to Harry's left was Draco Malfoy, who could only have been sat at the Slytherin House chair for a week; the real reason Harry’s heart was so unexpectedly in his throat.
Harry felt utterly unprepared for this position, both physically and socially. Malfoy had made it plenty clear that he had no interest in socializing with Harry, and though it had stung every time Malfoy had dismissed him, Harry had intended on respecting that decision. That was, however, made difficult as Harry found unwillingly forcing himself into the distance Malfoy so intently had created between them.
Frazzled by the growing pressure to his chest, Harry barely looked at Malfoy, readjusting his robes as they got caught beneath him while seating himself.
“Culpepper insisted,” he said, brushing a flat palm down the buttons of his robe. Even through the brief touch across his chest he felt his quickened heart rate, and he forced himself to take a steadied inhale. Only then did he turn to look at Malfoy, albeit the glance was brief. Malfoy, of all, must have known Harry wasn’t supposed to be here, and Harry didn’t want to witness how the inevitable disappointment appeared across Malfoy’s features. “Says he prefers the foot end of the table anyway, and I couldn’t talk him out of it.”


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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 11:22 am 

This body is a vessel for my mayhem and as long as I can perform bafoonery it doesn’t matter if this stomach is flat or not

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Even if it ultimately didn’t matter, it was still with some sense of pride that Draco could finally take the place as head of Slytherin house, seated next to Neville who was next to McGonagall, at the high table. Despite the fact that Draco had been teaching at Hogwarts for several years now, he felt that this was the defining moment for him.
Him finally getting to take this place meant that he did have a place at Hogwarts and that he definitely did belong. It had taken a lot of hard work and most of the students were probably not going to notice it, but it meant the world to Draco and he was just about beaming with pride.
The moment, however, was short lived. Moments before the students were due to arrive in the great hall, Draco heard an all too familiar voice close to him.
Of course.
Even if Potter seemed very apologetic about the entire scenario, Draco could still feel the terrible dread wash over him. He had really made an effort so far in not being close to or even around Potter, but now he knew that comparison was going to be inevitable. The saviour of Hogwarts, the chosen one, was back and it was going to become very clear, very quickly, that Draco had never truly been a part of this and had only been here on borrowed time.
“Of course,” Draco said under his breath, unsure whether or not Potter could even hear him, but he really didn’t care. “God forbid that normal rules should apply to Harry Potter.”

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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 2:58 pm 

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At that, Harry found that he couldn't stop a laughed cough from leaving his lips. The sound was unintentionally harsh, the air escaping his lungs almost violently; Malfoy's words felt like a punch in the gut. Harry felt unable to properly inhale the air that had left his lungs, and yet, he was left with a strained but crooked smile and a hitched inhale.
Malfoy had barely spoken a full sentence to him, and having this be the full, proper sentence Malfoy felt the need to say to Harry made Harry's heart ache. Even though the comment might have been a personal curse, not specifically spoken for Harry's sake, it was hard to pretend they hadn't been a spiteful remark at Harry's expense.
"Yeah, well," he said, his voice sour despite his smile. Though Malfoy's words seemed to imply that Harry was some grand being, his words had made him feel impossibly small. "I tried."
The blankness of his reply had muffled some of the initial hurt. Willing some professionalism and distance into his voice, Harry ducked his head towards his plate, straightening his posture as if to eat while not making a move to serve himself.
"Believe me, I'm not thrilled about the center seat either," he said, though Harry was painfully aware of the fact that Malfoy wasn't upset about his actual seating - it was the fact that it meant Harry sitting by his side.
When Harry glanced over at Draco, his eyes were glassy with the strain of his forced composure. His smile returned, polite but otherwise blank. "But you're welcome to try and talk sense into him as the Head of House Slytherin."


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 3:38 pm 

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It wasn’t that Draco was completely unaware of the fact that he was probably being rather mean towards Potter, but he was honestly at his wits end. He had worked so hard, for so many years, to pull himself entirely out of Potter’s shadow, beating down comparisons between the two of them and starting to become a person of his own. Now though, with Potter sitting right next to him as their brand new professor, it was impossible to not think about Draco in relation to the war and Potter specifically.
Despite all those thoughts going through his mind, a small smile made its way to Draco’s lips. It was a mere tug of the corner of his mouth, barely even a smile to speak of, but the idea of Draco being able to speak any sense into anyone, just because he had become head of house had been a nice one to him, even if he knew that that was never gonna happen.
“May have to try,” he stated, unsure whether he was speaking to himself or to Potter.

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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2020 12:26 pm 

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This really was a hard exchange to have. It must have been Malfoy's unwillingness to even look at him combined with the under-his-breath musing. Despite any and all rational thoughts, it gave Harry a violent sensation of vertigo, suddenly no feeling present neither in his seat nor his body.
It was only Neville's sideways glance that managed to confirm to Harry that he hadn't returned to Hogwarts as an apparation. Either pity or worry was painted across Neville's expression, and thought he met Harry's eye for a moment - a small acknowledgement that he, too, had heard the reservations in Malfoy's comments - Neville didn't interject.
Harry really couldn't blame him.
Another hurt smile appeared onto Harry's features, and he nodded in lack of a better response. He tried telling himself that Malfoy's may was infinitely better than a definitive will, though that served as little comfort.
"Please do," he encouraged, albeit tensely, as his eyes darted back to Malfoy.
Over the course of his silence the grand doors had opened, and the carriages worth of students had started filtering. Harry, however, made a point of keeping his eyes upon Malfoy. "This seat isn't worth it."


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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2020 2:50 pm 

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Draco was saved from having to respond to Potter’s comment when the great hall was suddenly filled with the hum of the older students arriving. It was always incredible to see the students arrive after the summer, seeing them so excited to reconnect with one another, even after the several hours they had just been spending together on a train.
It reminded Draco of his own days at Hogwarts and even made him feel nostalgic at times, despite knowing how much he would not get along with himself from back then. He had changed so dramatically since his time at Hogwarts that he would probably not even recognise himself anymore. It was definitely for the better, but it was very hard not to consider the what if’s whenever the students got back and started filling the great hall.
His eyes briefly found Neville by his side, anything to keep his attention away from the man on his other side, and wondered briefly how he felt about it all. Despite the fact that he and Neville usually discussed just about everything that went on in their lives, they really hadn’t discussed Potter’s return to Hogwarts, which made Draco anxious.
“I’ll see what I can do,” he stated, voice slightly louder now such that he could be heard over the students.

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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2020 1:32 pm 

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As the crowd crept into the room, Harry found himself slumping back into his chair, almost by instinct. Malfoy's reluctance to engage with him had him chewing the inside of his cheek; either that, or the stinging in his cheek served to distract him from the pressure building in his chest.
His eyes had ducked to his lap, picking at his thumb in a thoughtless, anxious gesture. Tonight was such an immense hurdle he, inevitably, had to get over, but the air of annoyance around Malfoy really didn't make the evening any easier.
"I'm not here to step on anybody's toes," Harry finally broke his pause. The balance had inevitably tipped over, making him more anxious than he was annoyed. His voice was somewhere in the middle; dull.
Students had started filling up the hall, and yet there wasn't any change in tone between them, that might indicate Harry had been recognized; while that made it easier to look over at Malfoy's profile, it did feel like a ticking time bomb. "And, truly, I mean no disrespect to your careers, but I'm only here because Minerva asked me. I don't care about this stuff."


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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2020 12:25 pm 

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Somehow, Potter’s only sent his blood boiling.
Draco had put in so much work to get where he was, remembering the fight it had been to even get to become a teacher, much less finally be head of house, and here was Potter, waltzing in like it was nothing, not caring about the profession. It sent Draco on edge and if they hadn’t been in a crowded great hall, he would have probably screamed.
Draco really and genuinely loved his job. Loved feeling like he could make a difference and somewhat being able to make amends for all the bad he had done in the past.
“Of course you don’t,” he stated, his tone sharp as he looked at the crowd, trying to school his expression into one of less hatred.

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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 3:35 pm 

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Harry bit down on the inside of his voice, finding that it allowed him to properly feel the cutting edge of Malfoy's words. Unexpectedly hurt by Malfoy's response, Harry also found that he was deserving of it. He nodded, tensely.
"You're right," Harry eventually snapped back, surprised that he could even muster that engagement. His posture hadn't shifted, still doing whatever he could to keep himself from towering over the students. "I don't care."
Having to confirm that to Malfoy stung. For a decade, Harry cared to much that it had virtually broken him, and Malfoy wasn't wrong in saying that Harry had stopped caring; about this, at least. It was just sometimes hard to admit to others, still feeling that lingering weight of their expectation.
His eyes had dipped, and though he had continued to pick the skin on his fingers red as he processed Malfoy's words, he suddenly and decidedly stopped the nervous tick. His voice had softened, but the frustration had only given way for exhaustion.
"I don't get why you think I have such a say in it," he said, though the you sounded general rather than specific. "Things can be worth caring about, regardless of whether or not I care about them. It's exhausting."


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:43 pm 

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It was almost as if everything that Potter said was specifically designed to **** off Draco even more.
He knew that it probably wasn’t the intention, that Potter was probably just trying to explain himself and why he was even there in the first place, yet it still just managed to make Draco even more angry at his former school mate.
He wanted to argue so many things. How it possibly couldn’t be his job to explain to Potter why people cared about his opinion, or why Draco would possibly be uncomfortable by being placed next to him and thus in direct comparison.
All of those thoughts went through his head rapidly, but he didn’t get a chance to voice any of them before a soft rapping was heard on the large door leading to the great hall and Hagrid entered with all of the first years.

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it’s quick, it’s easy and it’s free: pouring river water in your socks


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