Title: Catching Up
Disclaimer: All characters belong to J.K Rowling. No profit is being made and no harm is intended.
Summary: Harry's entering the awkard stage of growing up. Featuring Clumsy!Harry and Bratty Yet Persuasive!Draco.
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A Millennium of Wizarding Art.
The end of Draco's mouth lifted in a sneer as he passed that section. Monuments of Magic. Draco grabbed the book off the shelf and flipped through it, scanning the contents impatiently. He let out a frustrated breath and chucked it on top of the row of books, ignoring the glare from Hermione, who was religiously devouring A History of Muggle Asia at a table not far from him.
All I want to know is how this so-called library runs itself, Draco thought irritably, casting a forlorn glance at the Restricted Section; cut off from student entry by an enchanted rope. Frowning at the utter unfairness of it all, Draco ventured deeper and deeper into the tall wooden bookshelves, wanting to isolate himself from human sight as far as possible.
Faeries And Where To Find Them. Draco scowled and moved on. A book with a dark red spine stood out more than the others. The Sinner, by Salvatore Vindictus. He pulled it out, mildly interested.
He was halfway through the lengthy summary on the back; something about bloodplay and virgin sacrifices, when a thundering crash like a gunshot caused him to nearly drop the book. Without giving a toss as to whether anyone was hurt, Draco merely delivered a cross lecture from where he stood.
"Whoever it is that caused that racket, kindly shut up. This is a library, you know." Draco said lazily as he continued to read, his voice lofty with disdain.
A timid "M'sorry." floated over, so soft that Draco could barely hear the apology. He rolled his eyes. They further widened in outrage when he heard Madam Pince bestow the person responsible with a simpering "Oh, that's alright, dear. Here, let me help you…why thank you! Such a nice boy." Draco heard her murmur to herself.
Draco barely stopped himself from marching over there and accusing her of deliberate favouritism, reminding himself that he already had plenty of unfulfilled detentions to carry out with her and had no wish to jog her memory about them. Taking a deep, albeit enraged breath, he returned to The Sinner. It looked quite depraved, Draco had to admit. He wondered whether to borrow the book or simply steal it like he usually did.
Another book dropped to the floor.
Draco gritted his teeth. It was the same male voice he'd heard earlier, again so hushed that a mouse would be considered a real screamer by comparison.
"Idiot." Draco said under his breath. A shadow passed before his eyes. Distracted, he looked up and saw, through the gaps between the shelves, none other than Harry Potter leafing through a paperback opposite him. Further inspection led Draco to discover that the book Harry was inspecting was in fact another copy of The Sinner.
What do you know, Draco thought, feeling smug. The Boy Who Should Not Have Lived is finally acquiring a bit of taste.
Almost immediately, Harry's eyebrows furrowed and he returned the book to its place, dislike for its content evident on his face.
Draco was instantly ticked off.
Their eyes met through an opening between the shelves.
Draco inhaled sharply, startled.
Harry stared at him and started to leave, but as he turned his elbow knocked over another book from the shelf. He leaned down to pick it up, muttering something that sounded like a curse. Come to think of it, Potter had been acting (uncharacteristically, Draco was loathe to admit) uncoordinated of late. Well, damn if he wasn't going to take this chance to get under his skin.
"Well, well, Potter. A little awkward lately, aren't we?" Draco sneered. "Guess the next Quidditch game is in the bag. Careful the snitch doesn't slip out of your hands like butter."
"Shut up, Malfoy." Harry shot him a sharp look, his face flushed.
"Oh, that glare is a slash across my heart. Spare me, I beg of you."
Draco was still smirking long after Harry had stalked off.
+ + +
Harry tripped a little and his spaghetti slipped off his plate.
"Oh God, not again. That's the third time this week, Harry." Hermione looked at him in confused disapproval. "Look at the mess you've made! Why are you suddenly so clumsy?"
"Oh, not you too." Harry muttered, looking at the mess of noodles on the floor.
+ + +
Light Magic In A Dark Place. Crappy romance novel, Draco thought. He moved his fingers across the row of books before settling on Hex, by Martha Maleficarum.
Somewhere in the depths of the library, the distinct sound of a heavy hardcover crashing to the floor sounded through the room.
"Potter?" Draco called without looking up.
There was a long pause.
"Yes." That was Harry alright. It sounded like he was gritting his teeth.
"What are you doing here again? It's not like you can appreciate high culture." Draco said airily, his eyes never leaving his book.
"Oh, right, and you didn't dismiss the Wizarding Art section yesterday."
Draco frowned. "How do you know what I –" A horrible thought occurred to him. "Have you been spying on me?" He looked past his shelf. "Potter? Where are you?"
There was no answer.
+ + +
Hermione critically gave Harry the once-over. Harry was starting to feel silly, standing in the middle of the room while his housemates gazed on interestedly.
"Mmmm hmmm." Hermione looked like she was concentrating very hard. "Mmm hmm. Your problem, Harry, is that your body is just starting to mature -"
Ron gave a snort.
"And," Hermione shot Ron a warning glare, "Your leg bones seem to be having just a little trouble catching up. That's why your movements have been a little awkward lately."
"I'm still not going to do it."
"Come on, Harry!" Dean urged from the bed. "You'll be able to walk like a model!"
"You'll be able to walk properly." Hermione corrected.
Hermione swelled like a balloon. "Harry, in the past week you have broken three dinner plates, four cups, six test tubes and two specially ordered incense burners." Harry winced at the memory of Snape's furious yelling.
"And now you say it has 'blown your cover', so if you want me to help you even though you refuse to offer me an explanation you will put this book onto your head and walk in a straight line right now!" Hermione barked, some of her hair flying loose from her ponytail. Dean gave a squeak and burrowed further beneath the covers. She turned to Ron, who trembled. "Ron, give it to him."
Ron threw the book at Harry.
Thirty minutes later, Hermione looked at a bruised Harry splayed on the floor as if he were some sort of unfathomable new insect.
"I'm sorry, Hermione." Harry said, holding a pack of ice to his head where he'd tripped and banged it against the bedpost. "I know you were trying to help."
"You are beyond help."
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"That you, Potter?"
Draco smirked and went back to his reading.
+ + +
Two days later, Draco looked at Harry's head with interest.
"A scar and a bruise. How you do get around, Potter."
"Piss off, Malfoy."
Harry tripped a little on his robes as Draco merely looked on.
"Thank you for steadying me in case I fell." Harry said sarcastically.
"How could I deprive you of the chance to add another wound to your fastly growing collection?"
Harry glared at him, which only made Draco more satisfied.
"There there, Potter. All babies learn to walk eventually."
"One more word out of you, Malfoy –"
"You weren't in the library yesterday." Draco interrupted.
Harry looked at him in surprise, suddenly feeling nervous. "What do you mean?"
The corner Draco's lips lifted. Then he walked away.
+ + +
It was just unfair, Harry decided on the way to the Great Hall. Throughout his entire young life he had been, by anyone's standards, extraordinarily patient. He hadn't complained when the Dark Lord kept trying to kill him; he had grudgingly accepted that Snape was a good teacher despite his obvious desire to kill him; he distracted himself from inevitable death by praising Fawkes when the Basilisk tried to kill him, but this puberty thing was just going too far.
It was alright when he was playing Quidditch, because he was flying. His mind would say 'go left' and his broom would follow. But lately on the ground, his mind would say 'go left' and his legs would wobble and finally knock together in confusion. It was bad enough that his joints hurt at times, but looking stupid in front of Draco Malfoy was just…not allowed.
Catch up with me already, Harry thought, walking (very carefully) over to the Gryffindor table.
+ + +
"Hey, Merrylegs is here!" Ron announced cheerily, seeing Harry coming. Seamus, Fred, George and Dean dropped their chicken wings and looked on in interest.
"Two galleons says he trips over himself." Said Seamus immediately, seeing Harry's rather uncertain gait.
"I will see you and raise you another galleon." Dean said.
"I don't have that kind of money!" Ron protested.
"Then you can watch." Seamus said consolingly.
"Oh, oh!" Fred crowed as Harry bumped into Parvati. However, to their disappointment, it seemed to be plain sailing for him after that.
"Well, it looks like he's still standing." George said glumly, who had been half-hoping Harry would've done a spectacular somersault into the huge plate of strawberry jelly. "There's only one thing for it. Big smiles."
They all flashed Harry winning smiles.
Harry waved back, and true to their hopes, that was all it took for him to trip over his robes. He landed on someone from the Slytherin table.
"Aaarrgh!! In Draco Malfoy's lap!!" Ron was totally horrified.
"Oh dear. Oh dear." Fred and George mumbled together as Harry instantly went red and started madly waving his arms in apology while still in Draco's lap. Snatches of frazzled speech were heard ("I am not usually like this…idiots…probably did it on purpose…I am very coordinated, I say…"), but the rest was drowned out by the chattering of the students.
The four of them gasped as Draco put his arms around Harry's waist, effectively trapping him on his lap.
"Hey, what –" Ron's eyes narrowed. He visibly swallowed in fascinated horror as Draco leaned in very intimately to say something to Harry.
Harry drew back slightly, looking surprised. Fred raised an eyebrow. As the four boys watched, Harry and Draco gradually launched themselves into some sort of deep discussion. They never smiled, and were certainly talking very seriously. Harry had never looked so intent. After a good ten minutes, Harry finally smiled and gave Draco a nod. It took him a very long time to get off his lap.
"Hullo." Harry said happily as he slid in next to George.
George smiled mischievously at his housemates. "So Harry, you looked very cosy there. What exactly were you chatting about with Malfoy?"
"Well," Harry looked thoughtful as he bit into some chicken. "I told him that I'm not usually so clumsy, that I'm just entering an awkward stage." He paused to chew.
"And he didn't yell at you." Dean said after a bit, utterly mystified.
"Oh, no." Harry said, moving on to the spaghetti. "Not after I told him that I'm actually very flexible and agile." He put a forkful in his mouth, taking his time to chew it. "You bet that I would fall, didn't you?"
"Well, yes, but anyway all of us thought you would fall and since we all bet the same thing, there's no winner." Fred said sheepishly.
"Who cares about the winner? What did Malfoy say??" Ron was near bursting.
Harry gave a little smile. "He doesn't believe me. So I've decided to prove it to him at eleven o'clock tonight."
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