Rating: PG-13 for occasional language
Summary: Following an accident in his seventh year, Draco loses his eyesight. At first he completely withdraws, avoiding any hint of pity, as well as any assistance; he is determined to succeed on his own. But after Harry elbows his way into Draco's dark world, both boys find themselves in a strange new friendship, and they each learn new ways to see each other … and themselves.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: Much gratitude is owed to a whole army of people. For my primary betas Penguin and Liss, who each held my hand, previewed scenes, read over the entire fic at once to make sure it held together, and cheered me along the way. And to Glissando and Heinous_Bitca, who later joined the team and offered their invaluable insights. To Slightlights who helped with what eventually became the prologue, and listened as I outlined my first thoughts for this story. To Loup Noir, my fellow coder, who let me ask her strange questions. To Nancy, for the title, and for being herself. And to everyone on LJ who helped with ideas for hexes and different forms of divination, taught me how to do Tarot readings, gave me encouragement, listened to me wibble, and read the related smutfic "As I See You" in the first place. I could not have done this without you.
A final note of appreciation to my mom, who asked to read it even before it was done, and to my husband, who puts up with my HP (and H/D) obsession without batting an eye, and who listened to me talk about this story when I needed to.
I've largely gone with movie-version uniforms, for both regular school and for Quidditch. Although it's not at all the way I envisioned things in book-canon, I've become rather fond of them. Live with it. *g*Feedback: always welcome!
This fic won the May 2005 "Best Romance" award at SnakeCharm.org
On his way out of the changing room, Draco paused in front of the mirror for one final check on his appearance. Even if his hair would be messed up within minutes, his robes pushed about by the wind, he always liked to look his absolute best before he stepped onto the pitch: he was Captain, he should look the part. Enviable. Respected. In control.
He ran his fingers through his hair, needlessly making sure every silver-blond strand was perfectly in place, falling in fine threads - just so - around his features. The leather guards gleamed, the green robes skimmed his body cleanly, he stood straight and tall holding his Supernova 10 - yes, it would do.
"Very nice," his reflection told him approvingly. Draco smirked faintly in response; he was already turning away to call his teammates together.
They assembled in the doorway quickly, in response to his summons. Instead of giving any sort of namby-pamby pep talk, he simply looked each one in the eye -- slowly, expectantly -- knowing this would have a far greater driving effect than any words could manage. Then, with 11 o'clock drawing near, he turned and led them confidently out to the pitch.
For the first time since his third year, the first game of the season was Slytherin-Gryffindor; unlike his third year, they were actually going to play it as scheduled. No vicious Hippogriffs, no abysmal weather -- no need to manipulate anything, although that was always fun. This would be the game to set the tone for the whole season, for both teams. And he was determined that Slytherin, for once, would come out on top.
Across the pitch came the rival team, garish in their brilliant red robes. Harry Potter led the way, his black hair not needing any assistance from the wind to fall messily around his face. In the centre of the field, they squared off, glaring. Draco had long found it an oddly automatic response around Harry, to engage in these staring contests: the lightning scar over the other boy's eye somehow seemed to point Draco to look, to challenge eye-to-eye, just as much as they challenged each other verbally.
"This time, you lose, Potter," he hissed as the two exchanged the prescribed handshake.
The green eyes narrowed. "You mean the way I've lost every other time we've played? Oh, wait, that was you."
He shrugged. "Everyone's luck has to run out sometime. Today, it's going to be yours."
Harry's response was cut off by Madam Hooch, who was calling both teams to play fair and get ready; moments later she blew her whistle, and fourteen players kicked off and shot into the air.
It was a brilliant November morning, crisp and cold, but clear, with only a few small white clouds to mar the sea of blue. As Draco rose up to flying level, he felt as if he could see into forever, to the ends of the earth over the leafless trees. His future spread before him like the horizon; it was his last year. His last year to have some fun before his future came to claim him, when he would get to see where the prestige and responsibilities of being a Malfoy would lead.
It was also his last chance to beat Harry Potter. A Bludger whizzed by, snapping him abruptly out of his reverie, and he cursed himself for letting a few precious moments slip by without watching for the Snitch. The Gryffindor Seeker had positioned himself midfield; Draco went to hover nearby, to be equally positioned to dive for the wretched little ball, wherever it happened to appear.
"Get your own watchpoint!" Harry yelled at him, over the noise of the crowd.
"No, I rather like it here," Draco replied lazily, squinting a little against the sun as he scanned the pitch. "What's the matter? Worried about how much faster my Supernova 10 is than your old Firebolt?"
"My Firebolt flies just fine, thank you."
Draco spared a quick glance over at the other boy and was pleased to see the Gryffindor's teeth grit in response to his dig. He decided to press his point, and pulled his broom into a glorious, stomach-dropping dive. Harry, thinking he'd spotted something, chased after him. The ground zoomed up larger and larger, and, in a moment of perfect control, Draco pulled up his broom with seconds to spare. Then he turned to laugh at his challenger, who lagged behind by several inches. "You were saying, slowpoke?"
Instead of returning the jibe, however, the Gryffindor suddenly jolted his broom forward and, whipping his head back around, Draco saw why; the Snitch had been spotted.
The race was on in earnest, as each boy strove to cut the game short and declare victory. While Quaffle, Bludgers and team-mates flew all around them, they zigzagged across the field in hot pursuit of the little winged ball. Twice they both lost the golden sphere in the glare of the low November sun, but each time one of them locked back on the object within moments, and the chase went on.
Draco's whole focus narrowed down to the small golden object; he scarcely noticed his surroundings as he chased it under the stands and then in and around the goal hoops. He could feel Harry to his left, knew that red blur was just as desperate to prove himself dominant as Draco was. It was just a few feet in front of them.... closer ... closer ... they dodged a sudden Bludger ... looped around the hoops again.... Damn! It stayed just out of their battling grasp.
In a moment of furious desperation, Draco suddenly yanked his broom to the right as the Snitch turned in front of him; rather than chasing it, he swerved hard in an attempt to meet it head on.
Smack! The little ball hit Draco's palm so hard he almost dropped it. He stared at his hand for one frozen moment in shock. Was it true? Was he really seeing those little wings beat against his grasp? Yes!
It took but a millisecond to process the truth; as soon as it passed, he moved to rub it in - a gesture he'd wanted to make for six long years.
He turned to look behind him; seeing the Gryffindor's stunned expression was worth all the years he'd worn a similar face. "Lose something?" he gloated, waving the Snitch in the air. Stunned surprise turned to fury, and Draco basked in his moment of triumph; then Harry's face twisted unexpectedly into a new look. Fear. Fear?
"Look out!" the dark-haired boy cried, just as Draco felt the back of his head crack into something hard. Pain reverberated through his skull and down his spine; the Snitch slipped from his fingers.
And the last thing he saw, before darkness overcame him, was Harry Potter reaching out to grab him as he fell.
Artwork credit: Willow (first link) and Kimby (second link) each drew me a picture of Draco falling. I have updated this file, so future readers may enjoy them at the proper time. Please take a moment to give these two talented artists comments on her lovely work.
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