Word Count: ~450
Rating: PG (this part)
Challenge: hp_may_madness 2016 Day #10: bald, cake, silver
Author's Notes: Unbeta'd.
It was one of the sunniest days in weeks, and everybody in the school seemed to be out enjoying the weather, despite the freezing cold. Draco lounged on small patch of grass near the lake with his fellow Slytherins, doing his best to tune them out as he pretended not to be staring at a nearby group.
Charlie was there with Potter, Granger, and Weasley. They were too far away for Draco to hear what they were saying, but it was clear they were having a brilliant time. Weasley said something, and it must have been amusing, because the entire group broke out into raucous laughter. Draco was mesmerised by the exposed column of Charlie's specked throat and the way his eyes crinkled as he laughed. Something hard lodged in Draco's throat, and he had to look away from the smiling faces.
He stared aimlessly out at the lake, the water gleaming silver beneath the sun. Draco felt the unmistakable prickle of tears and he blinked rapidly, trying to will them away. He'd known Charlie and him were an impossibility, but seeing Charlie now, so happy and carefree, joking and laughing with Potter and Weasley, that truth finally struck home. In what universe could Draco join that merry little group? In what world could Draco tuck himself under Charlie's arm and laugh at whatever inane joke Weasley had come up with?
Draco had been fooling himself, pretending his weekend meetings with Charlie, and their stolen Quidditch matches, were completely innocent. He'd wanted to have his cake and eat it too, but now he'd finally let himself realise that continuing down that path would only end in heartbreak.
His chest ached at the thought of no longer seeing Charlie outside of classes, but he knew there was nothing for it. Part of him wanted to claim ignorance, to tell himself that he could see Charlie and keep his distance. He knew that would be a bald-faced lie. Winter holidays were in less than two weeks. Draco would have plenty of time away from Charlie to prepare himself for a new year of careful separation.
Draco took a deep, calming breath and allowed himself one last look at Charlie. Charlie's hands were braced against the grass behind him, his biceps flexing as he held himself up. Draco felt the first shivers of arousal before he closed his eyes and turned away. He focused on Pansy and Theo relaxing indolently in the sunshine, Blaise's easy baritone ebbing and flowing as he filled them in on his mother's latest fling. This was where he belonged. These were the people he belonged with.
He leaned back against the grass and spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about anything other than Charlie Weasley.