Nobody ever asked my birthday

Breaking point

Draco Malfoy didn't realize something was wrong for the longest time.

After all, they'd just gone back to mock-fighting (nobody had even thrown any jokes, for a wonder.) Probably they were all stunned with the idea of Draco Malfoy being a worse prat before he'd come to Hogwarts (it'd been something Malfoy had known for ages, so seemed unremarkable to himself).

Dueling demanded concentration, demanded finding your feet and knowing exactly what the other person was going to cast - and then anticipating it with a shield or another strategy. At least, that was how Draco dueled - and fought, when it came down to it. The Gryffindors had different styles, from Ron, who specialized in oddball spells that not only had Draco never heard of, he wasn't sure he wanted to hear of. He'd tried one, one bloody spell, that Ron knew. It hadn't worked. So he tried it again, and again. Fifty tries later, Draco was starting to wonder if it was one of those family spells, from an old grimoire. But, really, a family spell to turn your clothes sparkly and translucent? (If so, that really would explain the Weasley twins...). Granger tried for inventive on offense, and prosaic on defense. She'd learned enough hexes that Draco was halfway inside his mind most of any duel with her. He'd need to think up what the proper counter for - what was that spell again? And Potter? Potter fought like water - he had about twenty spells he'd use, no more no less, but what he lacked for in variety, he more than made up for in simply dodging.

Dueling went on for hours, and Draco put his mind directly on his opponent/s. The end came when Potter finished them off with ... The Nose Growing Curse. An otherwise unremarkable color, other than it's color - Avada Kedavra green. Obediently, they all dropped to the floor and played dead, not rising until Potter had all their wands.

Potter had positioned himself at the door, holding all four wands in one hand; Draco almost froze at the sight of him. Potter generally liked to play 'unremarkable' - and did so to such a remarkable degree that he'd fooled Snape, of all people. It always came as a shock when Potter played general. (Draco, himself, wanted to know if he'd do as well, playing general. He made a mental note to do War Games the next time it was his turn in Additional Defense Time. Sure, it was a bit selfish. But everyone needed to know how to give and take orders, in a war. Assume anyone can be killed, or incapacitated.).

With flinty eyes, Potter said, "Not a word about what Draco said today." Draco Malfoy could only stare, not even smirk at the ... consideration, or whatever it was. Potter, Draco remembered, finally, loved to brood about things. Draco hadn't even noticed anything was wrong. At least this time Potter was still coherent - he generally tended to explode into fury; that, while amusing, was not what Draco particularly wanted to encounter without backup.

Ron, predictably, spoke up laughingly, "Oi! Yeah, like we'd tell anyone about Draco Malfoy nearly blowing up his childhood home!" Hermione was glaring at Ron; but, as that was her normal form of behavior, Draco didn't pay it much heed.

"I mean it, Ron," Harry Potter said, and that look was... well, Draco Malfoy recognized that look. It was - not the look of a killer, but the look of someone who would kill, anyway.

Draco Malfoy filed that away for later use, feeling like he'd just been handed a dozen galleons he couldn't spend. He'd have to rethink the entire practice session to understand what Draco'd said that made Potter react like that. That was fine, Draco had all the time in the world.

[a/n: End of the practice session from Draco's POV. Vaguely surprised that Harry hasn't repeated one of these from his own, complete with strategic considerations. Let it be said that Draco and Harry's ideas on what and who does why are different.

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