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Beta'd by the lovely: NarcissaDaniels
Harry Potter is not mine, and is owned by JKR and Warner Brothers.
It was the night that each Hogwarts students had marked on their calendar. It was the night where the school was wrapped in elegant satin ribbons and drapes, with enchanted flowers that left trails of glittering pixie dust spiraling down. It was the night where every one costumed themselves with only the finest garments. It was the night where shy boys became men and blushing girls became women.
It was the night of the Yule Ball.
The corridors and common rooms were devoid of life; not a single soul (living or dead) fluttered about in the lonely halls. It was to be expected, as every pupil, ghost, and teacher were out in the courtyards enjoying themselves on what was called "the most magical night of the year." Everybody was transformed, as if into a new person. Each was dressed in a refined silk dress or suit, and seemed to have matured into an older, wiser person. In a sense, the Yule Ball was truly more magical than any wizard and more powerful than any spell.
Smooth jazz echoed in the background, but it could hardly be heard over all the conversations. Students casually sipped their mock drinks as they sat and conversed with each other. The topics were never about anything important though, mainly just idle chatter and gossip. Those who had found a partner proudly paraded about the yard, dancing whenever a song of their liking played. Yes, those with companions were the envy of most.
Harry Potter was not one of those people.
He neither had a partner or was jealous of those who had one. He, however, was stressed. He laughed, completely amused by the fact that while on this fine night of relaxation, he was distressed. It seemed as if Harry Potter was always burdened by something, even after the war had ended. Perhaps it was a forced habit. Now that Voldermort was no longer a threat, he had to find something else to fret about, regardless of how trivial it was. Most disregarded him now, tired of having strained conversations with him that quickly ended. Of course, many girls still wanted him to be theirs; after all, he was still the "boy-who-lived". Becoming the cherished one of the "savior of the wizarding world" would undoubtedly bring endless fame and admiration. Oh yes, they flaunted themselves, attempting to catch Harry's eye, but they remained unnoticed. Who could compete with Harry's sudden interest in schoolwork? It seemed as if he had became a more intense Hermione. Though they worked so hard to capture him under their spell, he was always oblivious to their failed attempts. The pervious year, particularily desperate ones would ask him to be their date. He always refused them without a second thought. However, this year, none of the admirers ever approached him about the subject.
Except for one.
That one person was the cause of Harry's restlessness that night.
Harry sighed and took another sip of his Firewhiskey. He had bought some the previous night and had smuggled it into the party- teachers were either ignorant to this fact or turned a blind eye. Regardless, he now had a glass full of a liquid that would help him forget all his problems. He quickly consumed the rest. It seemed as if a fire was burning in his throat, and he closed his eyes, letting the alcohol slowly take control over him.
Earlier that day
"Harry, you aren't planning on attending the Yule Ball?" Hermione questioned, concerned written across her face. Harry sighed and put down his Astronomy textbook. As much as he liked his caring friend, she could be a bit of a bother at times. She especially became more pesky whenever Harry's social life was involved.
"Yeah, I'm sure 'mione. I'm going to review today's lessons; I'm not sure if I really understood all the concepts," he shrugged. He knew it was easier to use schoolwork as an excuse to not attend, instead of flat out saying that he just wasn't interested. The Yule Ball was overrated in his opinion. It was just an excuse for girls to dress fancy, guys to get a girl (and possibly a good shag), and for teachers to not grade papers. Perhaps it would have been different if Harry had a significant other, but none of the girls at Hogwarts caught his eye. His ginger friend shook his head in disapproval.
"C'mon Harry! It's the Yule Ball! Only comes once a year mate! You can skip out on other Gryffindor parties, but not this one!" Ron pleaded, but Harry was unswayed. This whole celebration was just a silly idea. What exactly made the Yule Ball so different from any other Hogwarts events? What was so stunning about a little party? Gryffindors had one every other week, and those were far more exciting then some cheesy teacher hosted event. Ron was about to spout some nonsense again when Harry suddenly shot up.
"Yeah, sorry guys, but I'm seriously not going. There's a lot of material that needs to be read, and having an extra night to prepare for our upcoming exam will be loads of help. I'm going to head to the library for some quiet study. You two have fun, alright?" he was sick and tired of listening to the same arguments- about how Harry had to get out more, how important the Yule Ball was, how schoolwork could wait... the excuses were endless and always repetitive. For a moment, Hermione seemed as if she was going to scold Harry some more, but instead clamped her mouth shut and glared at him. He took this as a signal to make his swift exit. Grabbing his books, he sped out of the common room.
The halls were practically drowned in holiday spirit. The corridors were lined with streamers and odd little trinkets while the ceilings were bewitched to have a bit of snow gently rain down. Girls were eagerly planning their outfits friends and were beaming with so much happiness one could almost see the light coming from them. In every other corner, guys were on their knees with bunches of roses and carnations, and gushing couples were unavoidable.
Harry Potter sighed at their foolishness.
Couldn't his classmates see just how idiotic this whole idea was?
It seemed as if the walk to the library was longer than usual. Stairs shifted continuously, as if discouraging him from going there. Students professing their love to one another constantly barricaded his path. More people than usual stopped him to pester him about his day and who he was going with to the Yule Ball. Harry was always amused by their shocked expressions when they found out he was not planning on participating in the dance. After a painstakingly long amount of time, he finally arrived at his destination- the library.
The atheneum was deserted- just the way Harry liked it. Excluding Madam Imma Pince (who glared at him when he walked in), no other students were present in the library. It was quiet, with only the occasional, terse sentence from the portraits to disturb him. Walking over to his favorite study table, he quickly reviewed his schedule in his mind. It would be simple- Astronomy first, then Divination, followed by the Study of Ancient Runes, and finishing with Herbology. He sat down and wasted no time in retrieving his Astronomy book. The study of the stars and planets was by far Harry's favorite subject. He struggled for a moment, attempting to remember exactly where he left off. Right, he was reading about how stars could predict one's future when Hermione so rudely interrupted him.
"For centuries, stars have been studied for divination purposes. Ancient astronomers believed that understanding the stars' alignment, color, and path was a way to read the future. A fortune telling star forms when a life altering decision is made. It is said that the first known 'star prophecy' was that of two enemies that were destined to become lovers. The two resisted for a while, but during their struggle they somehow unknowingly fulfilled the prophecy. Unfortunately, one of the two was murdered before they could profess their love for one another. Thus, the term 'star crossed lovers' was created."
Harry sighed. Why did today seem to focus on love and companions? It definitely was a conspiracy.
"Try your telescope at reading a 'star prophecy.' Below are three diagrams of known fortunes. Identify them, using the glossary if needed. Afterward, check your answers on the next page. Next time you star gaze, see if you can predict your future!"
He quickly scanned the diagrams. They looked simple enough.
The first chart was a picture of a cluster of blue stars located next to Jupiter, moving in a slow, circular pattern.
"Simple. It depicts a power struggle that will rage for a long period of time and cause much grief." This stuff was so incredibly easy it bored him. It seemed uncannily similar to Voldemort and the wizarding world.
The next chart contained nothing; it was simply pitch black. Suddenly, a swift, green star shot through, disappearing the next instant.
"A death of a loved one has occurred," Harry shrugged. Green meant death- he learned this the hard way. He wondered exactly how many green shooting stars had fallen because of him? Of course, he knew the answer already- too many.
The last diagram contained a gray star that orbited around Venus. After the second loop, the star vanished.
This one stumped astrological genius Harry. Venus meant love, he knew that much. However, what did the gray star represent? And why were there loops before the star vanished?
He flipped to the glossary seeking an answer. One thing about astronomy was that it was always difficult to guess- either you knew the material or you didn't. He quickly located what he was looking for. A gray star signified regret, while the loops meant that death would occur, but it was not immediate.
"So a lover filled with regret will die after a while..?" It still didn't seem to make much sense. He scanned the page with the correct answers.
"Star Crossed Lovers"
Star Crossed Lovers? He could hardly believe that this was his Astronomy book and not his Divination one. Harry was so absorbed in his rant that he didn't hear the library doors creak opened and the footsteps that approached him. It wasn't until he heard his name did he realize he was not the only student in the library anymore.
That voice. That cool, sullen voice that spat out his name belonged to a familiar face.
"Malfoy. What do you want? I can't imagine that you're here to study."
"No, I actually have a life outside of books, unlike you. Just another thing I have that you don't."
"If you're done insulting me, then get to your point or leave."
"Rumor has it that you're not planning on attending the Yule Ball." Harry groaned. Of all the things for him to bring up.
"It's none of your business what I do or don't do."
"Well Potter. I was just curious. Is it because you couldn't get a date or that you're simply not interested?" Malfoy. Stupid, idiotic Malfoy who liked to pry in other people's affairs.
"Both, though I can't see how it matters to you. Done with your interrogating?" Malfoy smirked, amusement radiating from his every fiber of being.
"Well, Potter, today's your lucky day. I have a wonderful proposition that will benefit us both." Harry raised an eyebrow. Something suspicious was definitely going on here.
"Fine, I'll play along. What exactly is your astounding solution?" The atmosphere suddenly shifted. The tense, cold mood was replaced by a more awkward one. A slight blush surfaced on Malfoy's pale cheeks. Shuffling his feet and avoiding Harry's eyes, he coughed uncomfortably.
"Well Potter, h-how would you like to g-go with me to the Yule Ball?" Harry blinked. Something was not right here. Not only had ridiculous words been uttered by the blonde, but his voice was quivering as well. This was Malfoy, the boy who was so sure of everything he said and never faltered at all. He was the prince of ice, always cool and collected, never twiddling his fingers like he was doing now. What surprised Harry even more was the fact that he actually knew Malfoy's behaviors. Of course, there was another thing that the whole school knew; never trust the sly ferret. Harry sighed.
"Alright Malfoy, enough of your jokes. Tell Crabbe and Goyle to stop hiding and come out already." Did Malfoy actually think he was ignorant enough to fall for his little pranks? When would this kid ever grow up? The other boy seemed a bit taken aback at his answer, but shook his head and replied nonetheless.
"Crabbe and Goyle aren't here." Such sincerity rang in his voice, Harry started to believe that maybe he judged too quickly. Was this for real?
"Are you seriously asking me to the Yule Ball, Malfoy?" The blonde hesitated for a moment as if he was asking himself the same question. A sudden spark of determination flashed in his eyes, and he replied with the utmost certainty.
Yes. He said yes. Draco Malfoy, the boy who's life goal was to make Harry's as miserable as he could, was asking him to the Yule Ball. He was speechless for a moment, struggling to find the right words.
"But... But you detest me! You... You wish I'd been killed that night...! Why... Why are you...?" The boy seemed to look hurt for a second, clearly offended by Harry's words.
"I've never said that." Hurt was definitely in his voice.
"It's been implied."
"Never? Really Malfoy? What about that time you... you... Or, or when you..." The more Harry thought about it, the more he realized that Malfoy never actually did anything beyond childish school pranks. He hid Harry's potion ingredients, knocked over his text books, chucked paper airplanes at him... Nothing too bad actually. Sure, it occasionally bothered Harry, but it more often amused him. Alright, so Malfoy wasn't out for his blood. There was still another problem.
"In case you're forgetting Malfoy, I'm a male." The blonde smiled, obviously entertained by Harry's confusion.
"Yes, I do realize that. What of it?"
"Malfoy. I'm. a. guy. You're a guy. It... It just doesn't work out."
"Honestly Potter, we aren't living in the past anymore. Plenty of men get together now. Take Seamus and Dean- they already have matching Yule Ball suits." Seamus and Dean? It was a commonly known fact that the two were together, and although Harry was very happy for the two, he never considered the fact that he... may like men. He had always thought of himself as a girl kind of guy. However, if he truly was gay, it would have accounted for a lot of things, like how he never found himself physically or mentally attracted to a girl (Cho Chang was more of a infatuation he decided) and how he felt more awkward around guys than girls. It started to seem more and more plausible.
It all seemed to make sense. And something just felt right with Malfoy. He couldn't quite place a finger on it, but he just knew something was right. There would be plenty of more opportunities in the future to figure out his jumbled feelings, but the present wouldn't wait for him to slowly figure things out. All he needed to do right now was to say yes.
But life is never that simple.
"I'm sorry, but I can't go with you Malfoy!" he blurted out. Wait, what did he just say? Did those fateful words erupt out of his mouth? He blinked, still processing the words in his mind. Malfoy's face dropped, and sadness turned into confusion, but it quickly evolved into anger.
"Alright, Potter. I see you're stuck in your dogmatic ways. So be it. Forget everything I just said. I suppose nothing would have worked out anyways," he spat. With that, he turned and sulked out of the library- out of Harry's reach.
He tried to scream "wait;" he tried to force his body to get up and run after him; he tried to take back his answer.
But the damage was done.
The past was irreversible.
Harry sighed, frustrated with his body's brief immobility in a crucial time. However, he was even more frustrated with himself for saying the wrong answer. It just casually slipped out of his mouth- he didn't really mean it. He groaned with resentment.; how had he made such a stupid mistake? He attempted to delve back into his astronomy book, but failed. The only thing on his mind was Malfoy, Malfoy, and Malfoy. There were basic things he admired about him, such as the way he carried himself with so much pride, and how he could remain so collected at times. Then, there were the little things Harry liked. Like when he folded his paper airplanes, he always obsessed over if each crease was perfectly aligned. Or how each time Harry found his hidden potion ingredients, Malfoy would puff up his cheeks like a chipmunk and sulk around for a while. But he especially liked whenever Malfoy's gray eyes would light up and twinkle. They shined and glimmered like the night sky, brightening up Harry's day.
Brighten up Harry's day?
He sighed. He was starting to sound more and more like those sappy guys completely drowned in love. Taking one last, brief look at the astronomy diagrams, he got up and packed his things. He couldn't study, not when his mind was elsewhere. Leaving the library, he wondered about his predicament. Forgetting everything that just occurred was impossible; it was already etched into his mind. Should he sulk in the common room? Or should he find Malfoy, apologize, and formally say yes? He continued to wander around the corridors aimless, considering his options. What was he going to do...?
In the skies above, a star as gray as Malfoy's eyes emerged next to the planet Venus.
A strong gust of wind brought Harry back from his memories, back to the Yule Ball. His vision was hazy, as was his mind; the alcohol had done its job well. He struggled for a moment, attempting to remember why he was here in the first place. Right, because he had hoped to find Malfoy here, sulking, but ready to accept Harry again. Of course, his target wasn't here. Where was the brat anyways?
Harry slowly got up onto his feet, using a nearby chair to aid him. He checked his Firewhiskey jar- completely empty. Shrugging, he tossed it underneath the table, the crackling of the glass somewhat relaxing in his drunk state. He peered around, attempting to look for a pale blonde head in the crowds. As expected, this was a useless attempt as his eyes were useless to him; every person and thing simply looked like a blurred mess. He staggered around, inquiring about Malfoy's whereabouts. Every person he asked simply gave him a questioning look, not comprehending what Harry's slurred words meant. Some Hufflepuffs were very concerned with Harry's physical and mental state, offering to carry him back to the common room.
"No I couldn't follow the pygmy puff! No, this simply goes up with my will!" he argued back, only confusing the friendly classmates even more. He dismissed them with a wave of his hand, and lumbered back towards the hallways of Hogwarts. The party was developing well into the night, and Harry wanted to find his prince before the clock struck twelve.
The cool dungeons echoed with the off beat tempo of Harry's footsteps. Mice scurried away as they heard the thudding stomps of the giant. He groggily ventured deeper into the dungeons, groping his way around him. Where exactly was the Slytherin common room anyways? In his state of mind, it was impossible to tell one corner from the next.
"Damn Malfoy. Damn that dumb ferret," he continued to curse. It started to get cooler as he forged deeper into the heart of the dungeon, and although Harry's body temperature was raised due to the alcohol in his system, he was starting to feel the cold. His footsteps became more uneven, and eventually a small crevice in the dungeon flooring was enough to trip him. He moaned in agony as his face made a hard encounter with the wall. Except, there was something different about this wall. This wall was not cool like the other parts of the labyrinth; it was very warm and pleasing. A pleasant smell drifted from behind it- shampoo and soap, he decided. Harry moved closer in, and inspected this mystery to the best of his abilities.
He came to the conclusion that they were doors- a pair of wooden gates.
He smiled in triumph. This had to be the Slytherin common room! He felt around the door into his hands grasped two handles. He pushed the doors open and a warm burst of air greeted him.
The Room of Requirements was decorated in cozy maroon drapes. A spacious bed filled with lavish pillows and blankets had clothes neatly laid out on top of it. Beside an inviting armchair was a small wood table occupied with a simple ticking clock and an open book with neat annotations in the margins. The fireplace crackled and jumped, eagerly devouring the firewood.
But Harry paid no attention to these trifling details.
All he could see was the giant bath in the right side of the room. Piled high with bubbles, he would not have noticed a sleek figure hiding in the midst of them if the blonde had not spun around and gasped one word.
It was Malfoy.
Harry started to walk towards him, but halfway through, he started to run as fast as he could. His momentum carried him too far, and he found himself slipping on the edge of the bath and falling in.
"Potter? W-where are you? Are you alright?" he reached and blindly searched for Harry. Feeling a hand, he pulled the dazed boy up to the surface. "What the hell were you thinking Potter?"
"Of you." he whispered gently, cupping Malfoy's face. For a moment, the boy seemed shocked, but pleased, at the sudden intimacy Harry was displaying, but that quickly disappeared.
"You're drunk. I can smell the Firewhiskey in your breath," he sighed as he wistfully pushed away the hands on his cheeks. He turned and reached for several towels. Tossing one over Harry's head first, Malfoy hoisted himself out of the bath, quickly wrapped a towel around his waist, and started to walk towards the bed.
What happened next was a blur.
A sudden rush of adrenaline surged through Harry as he removed the towel and saw a pale, sleek back strutting over towards the grand, plush bed.
In the next instant, he found himself pinning Malfoy on to so said bed, wet clothes already off and on the floor. His prey squirmed uncomfortably underneath him.
"Potter, let go of me right this instant!" he spat, "You don't know what you're doing!" Harry quickly silenced him with devouring kisses, backing off only when Malfoy was gasping for air.
"I think I do," he replied with a smirk. Everything came naturally to him; it seemed as if he had been waiting for this moment his whole life. Moving away from the lips, he started to venture lower, stopping to nuzzle Malfoy's neck with his. He listened to the erratic heartbeat of the boy underneath him and heard his low moans and pleas.
"Potter, you're drunk... S-stop before you do something you'll regret," the blonde managed to whisper in between his groans. Harry stopped for a brief moment.
"I'll regret it more if I don't."
A low, almost mournful whimper arose from Malfoy's throat. Taking that as a sign of approval, Harry continued on.
Two human-like shapes appeared on the wall, moving in a steady, but somehow irregular, rhythm. The top, more muscular figure hunched over onto the smaller, petite body, shadows merging together. Groans of pleasure filled the room and the vigorous sound of force hitting force could be heard. The top figure leaned back, now upright,and fastened the pace of their dance. A scream erupted from one of the two, but quickly followed by a loud grunt from the other. The two shadows collapsed on top of one another, becoming one. The exhausted pants and breathing replaced the previous cacophony of sounds, but they soon subsided and all was still.
The clock struck twelve.
The fire continued to crackle.
"Harry?" Draco whispered to his companion, "Are you awake?"
Harry was, but he was curious as to what Draco would say to him if he was asleep, and therefore did not answer. His eyes remained closed.
"Harry, oh Merlin, yesterday was wonderful. N-not just the sex, but the whole night itself," he began, "how you came in and told me you loved me, how you said you were looking for me, how you said you needed me in your life... You have no idea how happy it made me."
Harry wanted to pull Draco into an affectionate hug right then, but it seemed as if Draco had more to say.
"Oh Merlin, how I wish that it was all real," Draco sighed, "I wish that you meant everything you said yesterday, but we both know that some wishes can't come true. I wish you confessed to me for real, not just because of some accursed alcohol in your system. Though I suppose if it wasn't for that Firewhiskey, yesterday night wouldn't have occurred a all... I guess in a sense, it's more blessed..."
How could Draco think all of last night was just a drunkard's babble? He wanted to tell him that everything he said was true, every last word of it, but his body was numb. Still worn out from the excess alcohol and exhaustion, his body refused to cooperate- even his eyes would not open. He was forced to lie there in blind agony.
"You're my prince, Harry- my knight in a shining armor. I truly believe if it wasn't for you, I would have turned out like my father... You were the first to see me for who I was... And I owe my identity to you; after all, how could I have even begun to understand the world and its truths when I couldn't even understand myself..? After realizing my feelings for you, I stayed up endless nights, crying and wishing that you returned them. The sound of insomnia became so familiar to me. The empty silence was my substitute for you," his voice broke into stifled sobs, "If this was my fairy tale, my story to bend, I would stay with you. I would stay with you for all of eternity, even longer if that was possible. But it's not."
Draco paused for a moment, choking back the sobs. He stared at his companion, attempting to absorb in all the fine details of Harry's face.
Harry laid awake through Draco's gentle inspection. He was grieving inside, scared of what was going to happen and regretful of what had not.
"Harry... I.. I have to go now. I yearn to stay, but there are powers beyond my control manipulating us, playing me like a puppet, acting out my life for me," he shook his head in sorrow, "One day, Harry, when I'm strong enough... I'll break free of the strings and I'll live my life for myself; no, I'll live my life for you. I'll come back soon Harry. I'll find you, and I'll properly re confess my undying love for you..."
The blonde got up, careful not to disturb his partner.
"Good bye, Harry."
He quickly clothed himself and tiptoed towards the door. Opening the door just a crack, he paused and faced the bed again.
"But it's not really the end... How can lovers say goodbye when their hearts are linked together?" he whispered.
He was gone.
The gray star finished its first loop and continued on to the second.
Harry opened his eyes and frantically searched for Draco. Not only had the blonde disappeared, but gone were the maroon drapes and lavish pillows. Instead, the Gryffindor boy's dormitory took its place. What had happened? What time was it...? He looked at a nearby clock. "5:24 AM" it read. He jumped out of bed and raced down to the common room.
Hermione was already diligently studying her textbooks, buried in a sea of notes and homework. Broken quills surrounded her desk and the one in her hand looked like it would snap any second. She looked up to greet Harry.
"Good morning Harry! Up awfully early aren't you? Here to study with me?"
"No... Hey, um, 'mione, you wouldn't have happened to see Draco leave did you..?" he asked. He knew that his hard working friend always got up extremely early to prepare for the day. Perhaps she saw him leave.
Her quill dropped.
"Harry... did you just say Malfoy?" her lips quivered and her whole body trembled.
"Yes..? Hermione, are you alright? You're awfully shaky."
She shook her head.
"I'm alright, but are you, Harry? Malfoy?" she whispered. His face filled with disbelief that Hermione, the witch who so strongly supported Harry's social life, was now questioning his partner.
"Yes, I'm fine. What about Draco? We celebrated the Yule Ball together last night."
Tears formed in her eyes.
"Harry, you do this every Yule Ball dance. Please, snap out of it!" she begged. Every Yule Ball dance? Yesterday was his first one with Draco. He shuffled his feet.
"Snap out of what, Hermione? I'm perfectly fine. He left yesterday and I just want to find him."
"Harry, please, come back to reality! You do this every Yule Ball... Please, when will you accept the truth?" she begged, completely sobbing now. Harry was confused, perplexed at why his usually strong friend was crying.
"Hermione... What truth?" he slowly asked. She attempted to wipe her tears away, but they were replaced with fresh ones.
"Harry... Malfoy's dead, and has been for the past two years," she whispered, "Harry, I'm so sorry."
He froze. Draco, dead? Two years? No, this had to be a joke.
"That can't be right Hermione! Yesterday night, the Yule Ball...! The.. the Room of Requirements..!" he babbled. His mind started to throb and ache. None of yesterday... was real? She shook her head again.
"You locked yourself in the Gryffindor dormitory yesterday night; you never attended the dance!" she gushed. Draco was dead? No, that couldn't be right.
"Draco, what happened to him..?" he cautiously asked.
"He.. he was killed by Voldemort for betrayal, Harry. He died during the war.."
He started to violently shake. All of this seemed familiar somehow, as if he heard it before...
"Then what was yesterday, Hermione? Something happened; I know something did!"
"You were just reliving the past, Harry; that was the Yule Ball from two years ago. He died shortly after," she softly said.
Harry was crying now. Somewhere deep inside him, he knew that what she was saying was the truth. But a part of his mind refused to accept this; a part of him still clung on to empty hope.
"Hermione, you've got it all wrong! He's... he's alive, and he's coming back for me! So... so we can have our happy ending..."
She quickly got up and embraced her heart broken friend, both sobbing.
"He promised..! He said that this wasn't goodbye!"
"Harry, I'm so sorry. You'll remember everything soon; you always do..."
The gray star completed its second loop and vanished completely.