Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy were going flying. It had taken the gossip mongers three weeks to notice, but notice they had. So of course, the entire bloody school had to be there. Except Hermione Granger, who had declared that so long as it wasn't a game, she had better things to do.
Harry knew she'd cheer as hard as anyone, so he didn't worry too much.
And he had to smirk when he saw her bushy hair in the Gryffindor Common Room, which was tall enough that she could actually glance out and see the pitch. In between her readings, of course.
In a turn that no one had expected, Severus Snape had even shown up. It had been Ron who'd sputtered, "What are you doing here?"
"Crowd Control," had been the answer, said firmly. Harry half suspected Snape was covering a smile. It was a bonny good day for autumn turning to winter, and Harry was in his winter gear (complete with long underwear). Harry suspected Malfoy had better gear, actually, as even Malfoy was smiling brightly.
Harry leapt onto his broomstick, and there was nothing except wind, broom polish, and gravity. Malfoy was there, sure, in some distant part of everything. Harry kept track of Malfoy, of course he did. That was part of the job.
But this was flying, and if there was one place that Harry could go to escape everything, it was in the wind.
Nobody ever found the Snitch in the first ten minutes anyway.
By the time Harry had let out enough of his simmering frustrations to pay attention, he saw Malfoy studying him. Smirking, of course. "You done showing off, Potter?"
Harry nodded, responding, "Quite."
The crowd ceased to matter, hadn't mattered. Who was watching, who wasn't.
This was a contest of talent, of skill, of will.
In some ways, this was better than friendship.
It was competition.
Harry caught the snitch, but he knew, as Draco did, that Malfoy had managed to spurt out ahead of Harry several times in the chase.
He was learning.
No, they were learning together. It was a competition, but a different one than a competitive game. This was a competitive chase, and they were on the same side. Outfoxing a Snitch with two brooms was considerably easier than one.
They started it all over again.
By the time Harry and Malfoy came down, they were both grinning, and darted off into the locker rooms before anyone could really talk with them. For the best, really. Harry never had thoughtful things to say after flying. He'd just laugh, and grin, and feel free.
There was never anything righter in the world than Harry Potter on a Broomstick.
When Draco Malfoy was done primping in the locker room, he strolled out insouciantly. As this was the way he always walked, it was no cause for concern. Not turning around, but in no hurry to leave, Malfoy asked, "What do you want, Potter?"
Leaning against the wall, Harry Potter mimicked a trademark Malfoy move, pushing off the wall with one leg. "I did come up with one thing you could help me with..."
Draco Malfoy turned around and raised an eyebrow, "Keep talking, don't leave me hanging." The or else was implied, and truly didn't need to be said.
"You know books, and I have quite recently discovered that I need to know them too."
"Potter, you have a resident bookworm." Malfoy said, though his tone said less hostility and more confusion. "Impossible hair, swotty attitude, and curves?"
"She doesn't know this as well as you do." Harry Potter countered.
"Stroke my ego some more, and you might get what you want." Malfoy snapped back sarcastically.
"You fix Goyle and Crabbe's mistakes. Hermione prevents Neville's."
"So?" The word seemed to glitter in the air.
"I want to be able to do what you do." Harry Potter said, deciding the time for subtlety was loong past. Attempting to out-subtle a Slytherin was probably a lost cause.
"And how, do you propose, I help you with that?" Malfoy asked, his tone sharpening with impatience.
"I want a booklist." Harry said, "I think I can get it myself if I read carefully enough."
"Five and a half years studying Potions, and you've never cracked the textbook?" Malfoy said, sounding truly flabbergasted.
"Nope. Had Hermione, didn't I?" Harry tried one of his goofier grins, then at a hostile look from Malfoy, canned it. Somewhat doubtfully, Harry said seriously, "I hope this won't take five years..."
"Fortunately for you, Mister Potter, I am somewhat better than your average dunderhead." Malfoy said, turning to glide away, "I'll see what I can do."
[a/n: Harry is not the most studious of people even under the best circumstances. Leave a review?]