I Get By
Author: Silvia Kundera
Disclaimer: This story's author does not claim to own any of the characters, concepts, or ideas originating in J. K. Rowlings' Harry Potter novels. No copyright infringement intended. No harm intended. Material is offered to the public free of charge--not for profit. This piece of fiction is the sole property of the author and cannot be copied, sent, or reproduced without permission of the author.
Rating: PG-13, for violence
Summary: Because I was asked for Harry & Draco friendship fic. Harry POV.
Inigo Montoya: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
- The Princess Bride
It's one of those things you know is never supposed to happen.
You know it -- like you know the color of easy, obvious parts of the world (sky, grass, stone, smiles) and the answer Ron will give when you ask him who he likes (no one, are you mad?). You know it so deep and so hard that it could be one of those things you first think every morning. Where is the toothpaste, and how many minutes until first class, and what might be for breakfast, and never share a smile with Malfoy.
It will never ever happen, except when it does, and it's happening, and you can feel the wrongness sliding up and down your spine. It's slimy like an eel -- though, admittedly, that might be wetness seeped into your shirt from when Neville tripped and knocked you flat on your back. He made you late and Hagrid felt he had to glare, and so he did, and he did a truly horrible job of it, and you just had to laugh, but you couldn't.
You grinned and bit over it, and raised your eyes. And you couldn't put them down again, for the sight of it: Malfoy's mouth reddened from his teeth and his eyes bright and making you think of Snape's little bottles of stardust.
You knocked a couple off the shelf one time, and spent all of lunch picking the powder up.
And, see, there's this rule. The type of rule that you know when you're five, but you don't know it yet, just a niggle of a feeling, and then at seven you know it like off a list, and you might write it down with other kids (The Way Things Are, by us) and then teach it to five year olds and think you're impossibly smart.
There's a rule that says: a shared grin -- that's the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
And so he's your friend, except you hate him. And you don't talk, and don't sit next to him at supper, and you shout horrible nasty things at each other across the hallway, but you smile across a nice safe length of space once and a while, when someone much taller and more powerful than you is being ridiculous.
It feels good, which you're fairly certain is not ever supposed to happen either. But then, you've seen how those things go.
He's your friend, and you and him, you prove it in a variety of fantastic, dysfunctional ways. He hits you harder than anyone when he raises his wand, and has this sneer that warps his speech so bad that you can't understand a word of it -- but you're sure it must be something spectacularly cutting. Your books or your sugar quills will be missing, and then they'll be back, and you won't tell anyone he stole them. You knock him into bushes of nettles and the ones that suck at your flesh, but you'd never toss him off anything.
It's a line.
He has this issue with heights, and you even understand a bit of it. It's about control, and not having it, not when you fall and you're not rushing at all but the ground is. You can get why, for him, there could be nothing more scary.
You don't mind it yourself, but then. Things were predictable for so long that it hurts your brain to think about standing still. You haven't slept a full night since the first week at Hogwarts, when being awake started to mean something. You don't even mind tripping so much, because of the funny feeling in your stomach that being startled starts up.
He's stopped mentioning your parents.
You have other friends, good friends, but good people create special problems.
You think it's perfectly understandable, how long it took you notice this, because you'd never met any before.
The problem is: they're good, and so they must have their reasons. They have their reasons and you mustn't get angry, because they mean well, deep down in their hearts.
They'll hurt you, and it's supposed to be fine, and it hurts, and you say, "I'm sorry."
He tricks you into three weeks of detention, and makes you more mad than you've ever been before in your entire life, just by the look on his face, and so you punch him in the nose.
It's a good, hard crack and there's blood everywhere, but especially on his dress robes. The red blends into the lining, into some blackish green hue, and you think, "I always knew he was a reptile," and you're laughing so deep and thick that your lungs might split. You're laughing as he shoves you backwards over a bench and your head smacks loudly into stone, and tears are streaming down your cheeks, and his blood is dribbling onto your fists as they clutch at your tie, struggling to loosen it. It's sticky like the wet lines of salt on your face, and everything's just so funny, even when he starts kicking you viciously in the ribs.
You think, "This is a school yard fight. It's just like I'm a real boy," and remember watching Pinocchio when Dudley was watching it -- through the wide keyhole in his door. You wanted a cricket like that, and you still do. Hagrid will never fit in your pocket.
Your sides ache and so must his foot, because he keeps missing and you bet half the time it's on purpose. He nearly stomps on your head, and your eyes must have widened so big, and so he laughs with you.
The way he laughs: it isn't normal. There's a mean hint just underneath, and when you laugh with him you try it out.
It's new and kind of exciting. Fun for sometimes, like an extra amount of sweets on Christmas. You couldn't, wouldn't do it everyday. You're not that sort of person.
You're not going to the ball because you had the girl that Ron wanted, though it's not the girl he wants, because that would make far too much sense. It's that thing where he doesn't say a word but coughs a lot, at all the wrong times, and you say that you're sick.
You kind of are, and you want to be angry, but he can't help being him. You go for a walk that night instead, in thick pajamas.
"Race you," Malfoy says, before you even see him, and he must have noted you from all the pebble kicking, because you had the cloak on. He's incredibly snide about it, and so you start running and pass him up completely.
He's at your back, three breaths behind, and then nowhere. You're in the Forbidden Forest and a ways off any breed of trail, panting with hands on your knees and cursing him with words you only heard you Uncle use once, when Dudley -- in a fit of pique -- introduced his computer to the living room door.
He herded you and you didn't even notice.
There's another bench, and he pushes you right over because of some reason that must not have been very important, because the second after you hit, you can't remember it.
He calls you perfect in that way that means exactly the opposite, and you roll your eyes at him to make him swear louder. You've got to pick that language up from somewhere now, and Ron sees his mother around every corner. That boy lives in fear.
Your heels are still hooked over the sharp back side of the bench and blood is rushing to your neck and face, and to his cheeks, and you feel terribly alive. It hurts in this vivid way, when you try to breathe.
He pokes you under the table when you're paired during potions, and you poke back with your toe, and he pokes even harder, grinds in. You concentrate, hit just the right spot, and it's brilliant. He yowls.
He adds salamander tongue in little flaky pieces.
He stands in the doorway and doesn't lift a hand to his father, but he does use a rather large chair.
It's gilded in silver, and you bet the man will wake up with an incredible headache, but since he was preventing you from saving wizard kind and non-wizard kind, and perhaps more than a few fuzzy bunny rabbits, you can't bring yourself to care. Maybe you'd never particularly like to see Voldemort again, but you need to.
He stoops to untie you, and you can't see his face so you stare at the top of his head.
Every hair is in place and when he steps back you wait for him to grin down at you. You're afraid he'll say something horribly sentimental, so much so that you can't possibly be anything to him anymore, for the shame of it. Something like, "What are friends for?"
He says, "So fuck off after him," and tosses you your wand.
You stare at his tense neck and impossibly straight back and watch Malfoy go.
You think that, in the weirdest way possible, he's the best friend you've ever had.