Author's note: Although this is listed as Harry Potter fanfiction, it in fact relates to Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Less Wrong, after chapter 76.
Why is it that Harry could never do anything the simple way?
Draco had been wondering about that a lot recently, in between wondering if it was too late to break off all contact with Harry, leave Hogwarts, and transfer to some other school in a universe where things made sense.
(It was too late, Draco knew – far too late. It had probably been too late before he had even said one sentence to Harry in Madam Malkin's, but he still dreamed of a school in which his life was full of normal things – like, say, kids growing wings.)
It had all begun with that stupid hero league. Admittedly, that was Granger's idea, but she spent even more time with Harry than Draco did and Draco was already finding himself thinking words like "hypothesis" and "false positive" so there was a good chance that SPHEW was a little bit Harry's idea too.
But not entirely. He would give Harry that much credit.
Then things had started to get unbelievable.
Most of Slytherin – especially the ones who had witnessed various events first hand – thought that the sheer impossibility of what had happened meant that no mere first year could have been responsible, and had therefore concluded that someone more important was secretly masterminding everything.
Draco remembered the naïve days when he had thought the world had worked in logical ways like that.
(Not that he wasn't glad that the other Slytherins were following the right train of thought with so little prompting, because he could have been in serious trouble otherwise.)
A very large number of very impossible things had happened, and Draco was absolutely certain that it was because of Harry. Normal people just didn't think in that kind of way. It just didn't occur to normal people to even threaten to sacrifice the outer god.
(Not that Draco believed Harry had really sacrificed anything. He knew too well that if Harry had discovered the existence of a sealed horror then his first course of action would be to talk to it – and that he would probably want Draco to come with him.)
((That thought had caused Draco to wake up with a start more than once in the past week.))
No normal person thought in that way, and there was only one person Draco knew who did. Admittedly, there could have been others, but Harry had been telling him about something called Occam's Razor which essentially meant it was all Harry's fault.
((Since discovering Science, he had felt the need to be a lot less certain than before about everything.))
(((It was a little annoying.)))
So, assuming it was Harry, the obvious question was why had he done it? but the answer was obvious. It had been Granger, after all, and that was probably enough. Besides, it seemed to be in Harry's nature.
(Some would have asked why had Harry gone so far? but Draco would simply have repeated his previous answer, and perhaps added that Harry Potter had absolutely no comprehension of the idea of "too far.")
There were worse reasons.
Draco shouldn't have thought that, because here was Harry doing all this for a muggleborn – which was, of course, stupid – but if you added Granger into the equation it didn't seem at all as bad.
(Draco had also noticed that he no longer even thought the word mudblood unless he forced himself to, which was probably Not A Good Sign.)
Draco didn't really care about the why anyway, he cared about the what and the how. In this case: what would Harry do next? and how was he meant to explain all of this?
He wished Harry would warn him about this kind of thing in advance so he could plan what to say.
(He knew Harry never would, though. Draco wasn't sure if that was because Harry loved seeing how people would react or if Harry was just making it up as he went along.)
It wasn't really Harry's fault, because Draco was supposed to know what to say, always, but there were limits and Draco had reached them and it was only a matter of time before some of this got back to Father.
(For three days after The Incident he hadn't heard from Father at all, and that was Not A Good Sign.)
(On the fourth day, he had heard from Father, and it had been a politely phrased enquiry into Goyle's wellbeing.)
((This was Even Less of a Good Sign.))
(He had passed on the enquiry to Goyle and found out that Goyle had stopped writing letters home.)
((By which they both knew he meant reports to Lord Malfoy.))
(Because he didn't want to get Draco in trouble.)
((Draco had almost wanted to hug Goyle, he looked so worried.))
(((But, of course, he hadn't.)))
(Draco had told him not to be stupid, just to write what had happened because Father understood that Draco was playing his own game.)
(Goyle still hadn't looked convinced but he had started writing again anyway.)
((Draco had made a note to work out what to do about Goyle at some point.))
(((But right now he was more worried about Harry.)))
Dozens of Dark Lords had gone to Hogwarts before.
Surely none of them had been like this.
Someone would have noticed. Everyone would have noticed.
What was it like for the Dark Lord's friends, when he was Harry's age?
(That was the kind of question Draco never used to ask himself.)
((He wondered if they had ever felt like there were too many people in their brain.))
(((Sometimes he felt like four people, all at once.)))
It was very clear, by this point, that Harry could be a Dark Lord.
But right now, he wasn't.
Well, he wasn't anything right now, but he wasn't even becoming a Dark Lord. He was becoming something new and terrifying and probably even worse.
Draco wanted to take him to one side and explain that Dark Lords were subtle and did not glue people to ceilings.
(At least, not while they were still in their first year at Hogwarts.)
He wanted to tell Harry that if you wanted to be unpredictable then you could at least have the courtesy to do so in a predictable way.
He wanted to explain that there was politics and there were rules and there was the way the world worked and these things were meant to apply to everyone.
He wanted to tell Harry how to be the next Dark Lord so that he could be the next Lord Malfoy and everything would be as it was meant to be.
(If the world ever got a taste of the future he suspected Harry was headed for at the moment, they would probably thank him for it.)
But he wasn't going to.
Not just because Harry wouldn't listen.
(If that had been it, he would have said it anyway and known that Harry couldn't resist learning something new, even if he didn't want to.)
Not just because Harry wanted to be good.
(Draco wasn't even sure Harry knew what good and evil meant, if he still thought this was being good.)
Not even because Father might not approve.
(Stupid Harry Potter and his stupid Bayesian Conspiracy.)
He wanted to see what would happen.
So Draco was going to stand back and let it.
And it was going to be educational.