Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter
Draco Malfoy Harry Potter
Slash Angst
Multiple Eras
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Quidditch Through the Ages Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Published: 03/18/2003
Updated: 08/21/2003
Words: 70,367
Chapters: 11
Hits: 277,324

Beautiful World


Story Summary:
Draco is afraid of living and Harry is afraid of dying, but sometimes the choice isn't offered. Draco's got to learn what it is to really live, while showing Harry how beautiful the world really is when you're not too scared to see it.

Chapter 04

Chapter Summary:
Draco is afraid of living and Harry is afraid of dying, but sometimes the choice isn't offered. Draco's got to learn what it is to really live, while showing Harry how beautiful the world really is when you're not too scared to see it.

Beautiful World
Chapter Four

"C'mon," Harry said, heading towards the lake when they were back on Hogwarts grounds.

"What? Where are you going?" Draco asked, stopping and staring after Harry.

He turned so that he was walking backwards and said, "To smoke them, of course. C'mon."

Being invited to smoke a cigarette with Harry Potter was something new and alien to Draco, and for a long, long while, he considered laughing and walking away.

Harry saw it in his face and shrugged easily, turning away.

"Damn it," Draco sighed to himself. "How the hell did I let this happen? Following Potter all sodding day." Then, louder, he called, "Wait up then!"

They walked to the pier where Hagrid docked the boats that carried the first years across the lake, kicking off their shoes and sitting on the edge. Their feet hung a few inches above the black surface of the lake, thankfully; Draco didn't want to tempt the squid by dangling his feet in the water.

"Here," Harry said, handing him a cigarette and taking one himself. They both held them awkwardly, neither having ever smoked before. "How do we light them? I haven't got a lighter."

"A what?" Draco asked, rolling his eyes. "Is that some Muggle contraption? Honestly, Potter." He used his wand, repeating the spell he'd heard his mother cast a thousand times to light her cigarettes.

Seconds later, both holding their lit cigarettes and staring at them in a disgusted sort of wonder, Draco and Harry didn't look at each other. After all, Draco didn't want Harry to know that he'd never done this before and Harry didn't want Draco to know that he had no idea what to do next.

It was Harry who gathered the courage to try it first, and he stuck the cigarette between his lips and sucked.

For a long moment, Draco watched his face nervously for a reaction. "Shit!" Harry cried, coughing and hacking, his eyes watering. "Holy shit." After he'd stopped coughing, he glanced at Draco, who was still watching him with wide eyes. "Go on then."

"After that?" Draco cried.


Harry watched Draco's eyes narrow defiantly and then the other boy brought the cigarette up to his lips and took a cautious puff. "Ohmygod," he gasped, wincing. "That's vile."

"I kinda like it," Harry said airily, taking another long drag and only coughing half as much this time.

It was a warm night, the stars reflecting on the smooth surface of the lake, and the only sound was the lapping of water and the distant chirping of crickets. Draco, with a glance at Harry, took another drag of his cigarette, his eyes watering with the effort it took not to cough.

They sat there in silence for a long while, until Harry had smoked his entire cigarette and Draco had let his burn down. Then, Harry sighed.

"We should go back," he said, sounding suddenly very tired.

It was late, and Draco, at least, fully intended to go to class the next day. "Yeah," he said, reluctant to return to his common room. It was quieter out here, and he had come to crave quiet lately.

Still, he got to his feet and turned to make his way back up to the castle.

There was something large and black streaking towards them, and Draco yelped. "What is that?!"

Harry glanced over his shoulder and rolled his eyes. "Piss off!" he called. The creature (Draco could see it well enough to tell it was a huge black dog) paused and looked, somehow, hurt. "I'm coming back, no need to drag me."

"Potter," Draco hissed, trying not to move to attract the monster's attention. "What the hell is it?"

The dog looked at him and then back at Harry and came a little closer, pawing the ground. Harry sighed. "If you're going to lecture me, Sirius, do it in English. You can trust him."

"Trust me?" Draco cried, offended. "Potter, you can't trust me! I'm a Malfoy!"

Harry gave him a strange look. "That's right, you are. I'd forgotten."

The dog, however, seemed to take Harry at his word, and a second later, wasn't there at all. Instead, a man was there, one that Draco vaguely recognized. He stiffened. "Potter," he whispered. "We've got to run."

"Why?" Harry asked, frowning.

"It's Sirius Black! He's a murderer!"

"He's… my godfather."


"Just…trust me, alright?"

"I don't trust anyone. I'm a Malfoy, I'm not supposed to."

Harry just glared at him before turning back to Sirius. "What?" he asked rudely, and Draco wondered idly if Harry treated all his relatives that way. No wonder he'd been locked under the stairs!

"Harry," Sirius said, sounding weary. "We've been searching everywhere for you. You had no right to sneak off that way."

"No right? I had every right!" Harry cried.

Sirius ignored his outburst. "Despite everything that's happened lately, Harry, you can't go about acting like this. These little fits of rebellion, not going to class. What's that going to prove?"

"What's going to class going to prove? A waste of my time." Harry crossed his arms over his chest sullenly.

"Harry," Sirius snapped warningly. He turned his eyes to Draco now. "And if this friendship with Malfoy is having such a bad influence on you, I'm going to have to forbid you from being around him."

"Friendship?" Draco sneered.

"Forbid me?" Harry cried.

"I understand that you're hurt and you're scared, Harry!" Sirius cried. "Trust me, I do!"

"How the hell would you understand?" Harry hissed, and Draco swallowed heavily, suddenly realize that he had no idea what they were talking about.

"Ten years in Azkaban is enough to make anyone hurt and afraid."

"Ah ha!" Draco crowed. "I knew it! You are Sirius Black."

Harry and Sirius both turned to look at him blankly. "Umm, Malfoy," Harry said finally. "We already knew that. It's fine, forget it."

"But he's a murderer!"

"He's not. Forget it. Just…" Harry waved an irritated hand at him and turned back to Sirius. "Shut up for a minute."

"Excuse me?" Draco cried, but no one was paying attention. Sirius and Harry were arguing again, and no one was there to witness Draco's fury at having been told to shut up. By Harry sodding Potter of all people. It wasn't right!

"That's it," Draco announced, but again, no one noticed. "I'm going in now. Remind me never to tag along on one of your little adventures again, Potter."

Finally, Sirius looked at him. "I'm afraid not, Malfoy. Dumbledore wants to see both of you in his office. I expect he'll want to give you detention or something."

Draco's eyes widened and he started shaking, just a little bit. "Detention?" he whispered, suddenly remembering his father's reaction to his last detention. Two more weeks of being confined to his rooms? No, no, no.

"Are you alright, Malfoy?" Harry asked, frowning. "You look like you've seen a ghost."

"Fine," Draco said faintly, suddenly wishing he had let his feet dangle in the lake water. Better the meal of a squid than at the mercy of his father.


Harry would have slept in the next day, exhausted from his late night trip to Hogsmeade, but, while everyone else was at breakfast, Hermione snuck up into his room and threw his bed hangings open.

She was furious. "Harry Potter, you wake up this instant," she hissed, yanking his covers back.

"Hermione?" Harry said sleepily, blinking. "What… what happened?"

"What happened is that you're still in bed, going to be late for class, and I heard the most interesting rumour at breakfast! Apparently a certain Harry Potter followed Draco Malfoy to Hogsmeade in the middle of the night!"

"Followed?" Harry mumbled indignantly. "I certainly did not follow! He followed me!"

"That's besides the point, Harry!" She sat on the bed and studied him for a long moment. "What's going on with you, Harry? I feel like I don't know you anymore. Not doing your homework, not going to class, going to Hogsmeade. Why did you go, anyway?"

"Bought cigarettes," he said absently.

"What? Harry. Honey. You don't smoke."

"I know." He laughed a little. "Neither does Malfoy."

"I don't care one whit what Malfoy does or doesn't do! Honestly, if I find out that it's because of his influence that you've gone mad the way you have, Harry, I'll kill him."

"Why does everyone think that because Draco Malfoy followed me to Hogsmeade I'm going to start being influenced by him?" Harry cried, reaching for his glasses. "Honestly!"

"Well, you've been acting more like him than yourself lately."

"How have I been acting like him?"

"Not going to class."

"He always goes to class."

"Not doing your homework."

"He's always got his homework done."

She looked irritated. "That proves it! You've been acting worse than he has! It's his fault."

Falling back onto his bed, Harry moaned. "How is anything I do Malfoy's fault?"

There was a long silence, and then she said huffily, "I don't know. But as soon as I figure it out, I'll kill him."

"He didn't do anything. He was just…there." Which was true. Draco hadn't purposely done anything to Harry lately. Not the armor incident or the lightning incident or the closet incident, or any of the rest. He'd just… been there.

And Ron and Hermione hadn't even managed that much.

Guilt made Harry flush a little at that thought. "Hermione, listen. I'm fine. Everything's like it always has been." Lies. Harry was never good at lying.

Hermione knew it. "I'm worried, that's all," she said softly. "You've been acting so strangely. If you need to talk, Harry, I'm here."

"Everyone's here to listen if I have to talk," Harry whispered, suddenly very tired. "What if I don't want to talk?"

"Then what do you want?"

"To live forever."

She was quiet for a while, and then said, "Is that what this is? Are you afraid that You-Know-Who is going to hurt you?"

Harry smiled, but it was tinged with bitterness. "I haven't thought about Voldemort in days."

Still looking perplexed, Hermione said, "Then what? Talk to me, Harry. How am I supposed to help you if you won't talk to me?"

"Just… be there. That's help enough." He smiled brightly, a fake smile that Draco would have seen through in an instant.

Hermione looked reassured. "Well, I'll always be here, you know that. Now get dressed, I promised Dumbledore I'd make sure you went to class."

Feeling a little betrayed, Harry still let her prod him out of bed and into his robes. He didn't want to go to class, it was a waste of his time. But still, to stop her questions, he'd go. It was better than the alternative, better than telling her everything. Because Harry still hadn't said it out loud and he knew instinctively that when he did, everything would crack and the fragile anger he'd been building up to hide behind would crumble and he'd have nothing left to stand on.


It rained for the next week, and Harry allowed his mood to reflect the weather. He grew quiet and depressed, prone to drifting off in class and staring out the windows at the rain rather than pay attention to the professors. But at least he was attending class, having been made to feel guilty for not attending it by Sirius and Hermione. Dumbledore had also decided that, as part of his punishment for running off to Hogsmeade and smoking on school grounds, he was to be forced to spend an hour talking to Sirius a week.

Funny, before all of this, Harry would have spent every waking hour with Sirius and enjoyed every minute of it.

The rest of his punishment was to be served in a series of three detentions. Draco got the same, three detentions, only instead of being forced into a show-and-tell with Sirius, Dumbledore sent a letter to his father.

For a moment there, after Dumbledore had announced that he would be owling Lucius, Harry had been afraid that Draco was going to faint or cry or something. The other boy had gone deathly pale. All he'd mumbled, however, was a quiet, ‘yes, sir'. Since then, he hadn't so much as glanced at Harry.

It was strange; he'd gotten Draco Malfoy into trouble. Harry supposed he should feel some sort of accomplishment over that, but he didn't. All he felt was desperately lonely.

His first session with Sirius had been, in Harry's eyes, a complete failure. He sat on an armchair in the room Dumbledore had secretly converted to a bedroom for Sirius' use, and Sirius sat on another chair, and they'd stared at each other, played with loose threads on the chair arms, avoided each other eyes, and made stilted conversation.

Harry had never thought about it before, about what it must be like for Sirius. He'd only ever thought that Sirius was sort of like a father to him, or supposed to be. He'd never known how to respond to that, he'd never had a father. Sirius had never had a son, and the more Harry considered this, the more he felt he understood Sirius and how difficult this must be for him. He'd never been a father, Harry had never been a son. It wasn't easy for either of them.

And he certainly wasn't in the mood to make it any easier.

It was only at the end of the hour, when Sirius asked rather desperately, "So how did you and Malfoy become friends?" that Harry showed any interest in the conversation.

"Oh, we're not friends," he said, smirking at the very idea.

"I should hope not. He is Lucius Malfoy's son."

"What's that got to do with anything?"

"Well, nothing, it's just —"

"We're not friends anyway, so forget it."

"What are you then?"

"Blood enemies," Harry replied matter-of-factly.

"Who smoke together on the pier at all hours of the night?"





Harry studied Sirius suspiciously for a long moment and then noticed the time. "Right. That was an hour. Can I go now?"

Looking defeated, Sirius nodded. "If you ever need to talk —"

"I know. You'll be here. You and everyone else. Just waiting for me to talk. I don't want to talk."

"Then what do you want, Harry?"

It was the same thing Hermione had asked, and Harry thought carefully before replying, "I'll let you know when I've figured that out for myself."


It was a tense week for Draco, after Dumbledore had sent the owl to his father, telling him that Draco had received three detentions. Waiting for his father's reply was one of the most terrible experiences of Draco's fifteen years. It wasn't that he was expecting a Howler. His father would never resort to something that crass. In fact, he knew that the reply, when it came, would be stilted and short, barely more of an acknowledgement and a promise of punishment in the three weeks before Draco returned home. He could only imagine the sort of punishment. Maybe six weeks in his room! That was nearly forever!

Nearly a week after the late night trip to Hogsmeade, on a Friday morning, Draco's eagle owl finally returned from Malfoy Manor, a parchment tied to its leg.

It arrived at breakfast, swooping in with the other owls at mail time, and landing on his arm the way it had been trained, careful not to pinch.

For a long moment, Draco just stared at the owl, and it looked calmly back. Malfoy owls did not flap about for treats, it wasn't seemly. Finally, sighing, Draco took the parchment and fed the owl a bit of bread, stroking its feathers and wondering why the owl seemed to be sympathetic. Maybe because Draco was that desperate for sympathy.

Ever since that night, his housemates had tried to get him to tell them what had happened, but he hadn't wanted to talk about it. Not the trip to Hogsmeade, the punishment, or what Harry had to do with it. They'd given up by now, because no one really bothered Draco when he made it clear he did not wish to be bothered.

The owl flew off and Draco tucked the parchment into his pocket without looking at it. Time enough to learn his fate later.

Breakfast eaten, he made his way out of the Hall and back to his room to gather his books. Forcing himself not to dwell on the letter, Draco concentrated harder than ever on his classes, except for Transfiguration, which had never interested him. In that class, he let his mind wander; he was sitting in the last row and McGonagall rarely paid attention to him. So, his chin resting in his hand, he was content to stare out the window at the gray morning, rain running in rivers down the windowpane.

"I take it," McGonagall drawled at some point during the lesson, "That whatever you're looking at out there must be incredibly interesting to draw your attention from my lecture."

Draco jerked around to face her, certain she was speaking to him, but she hadn't been. It was Harry she was talking to, Harry who was sitting with his chin resting in his hand and staring out at the rain in almost the mirror image of the way Draco had been moments before. That, strangely, was more disconcerting than had she been chiding him. The thought that he and Harry had shared anything as simple as studying rain running down a windowpane was more intimate somehow then anything else that had ever happened between them. Even that strange incident on the Quidditch pitch.

"Harry," Hermione hissed, elbowing him, and Harry turned towards the professor with a start. He didn't look apologetic, however, only smiled absently and nodded, as though giving her permission to continue the lesson.

After class, while the other Slytherins made their way to History of Magic, Draco went the other way, having realized he'd forgotten his textbook. He followed the Gryffindors part of the way, they were on their way to Herbology, and then turned down the hall that would bring him to the Dungeons.

"Malfoy! Wait a sec!"

He tensed up and turned slowly, scowling. "Potter," he said coldly as the other boy hurried up behind him. "What the sodding hell do you want?"

Harry looked startled. "It's just… you dropped this."

It was his father's letter; Draco had forgotten all about it. He snatched it from Harry's hand and turned to go.

"Wait," Harry stammered.


"Are you angry at me? You've been avoiding me all week."

Draco had never been so startled and honestly bewildered. "Avoiding you? I've never sought you out before, how could I be avoiding you now?"

Blinking, Harry said slowly, "Well, you've never deliberately avoided me either."

"Why does it matter?"

"It doesn't, of course… I just…"

"You didn't let your sodding godfather the vicious murderer convince you that we were friends, did you?" Draco sneered.

Harry looked hurt and Draco's eyes widened a bit at that. "No, of course not," he said quietly. "I just wanted to know if I'd done anything to make you angry."

"Done anything? Potter, your very existence pisses me off beyond all reason! You're a magnet for the most rotten things imaginable and they tend to happen to me whenever I'm around you! If I am avoiding you, is there any wonder?"

"Well, I… I never… I…" he trailed off. "Magnet for the most rotten things imaginable?" He looked, strangely, morbidly amused by that. "You have no idea."

"I do have an idea, that's just the thing. I've never had such a string of bad luck as I have these last few weeks whenever you're around. No wonder I've been avoiding you!"

"So you admit it."

"Of course I admit it!" Feeling exasperated, irritated, and knowing that he was going to be late for class, Draco started edging down the hall.

"But I thought…"

"Thought what? Potter, honestly, what do you expect from me? What do you want?"

"That's…funny," Harry said in a tiny voice. "You're the third person who's asked me that this week."

"Then maybe you should start thinking about it," Draco snapped.

"I just… I'm…" His eyes were huge and sparkling almost as though he were going to cry, and Harry's face was very pale now. "I'm sort of lonely. That's all."

"Sort of lonely? Since when have I cared that you were lonely? Did I accidentally drink some polyjuice potion or something to be transfigured to look like someone who cares? Did I grow red hair and freckles in the middle of the night? Oh, please tell me I didn't!"

Harry took a shaky step back. "Forget it," he whispered. "I don't know what I'm doing anymore." He ran a trembling hand through his hair, the sleeve of his robe slipping down a bit, and Draco blinked. It looked like his arm was covered in blood…

But he lowered his hand before Draco could be sure and, after all, like he'd said, it wasn't his job to care.

"Right," Draco said, swallowing a sudden burst of nervousness and wishing things hadn't changed however they had in the last few weeks. It was so much simpler when all he wanted to do was make Harry miserable. Now, he just never wanted to see him again. "I've got to go."

"Right." Harry nodded, looking suddenly very young and sad. "We've got our first detention tonight, with Filch."

Draco scowled. "I know."

"Umm, good bye then."

Frowning, Draco said rather awkwardly, "Yeah." Then he turned, and hurried away.


Harry was incredibly tired. Not the sort of tired that was ‘I need to sleep. I can't keep my eyes open.' but more like ‘I don't want to be here anymore. I don't think I can stand to keep my eyes open without them welling up with tears.' Ever since Hermione had started forcing him to go to class and his first session with Sirius, all rebelliousness had drained out of him and he'd just been existing, a shattered reflection of Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived, Sort Of.

As he trudged to the Great Hall to meet up with Draco and Filch for that night's detention, Harry watched the cracks and scars in the stone floor as his feet passed over them. Another way to measure heartbeats. Skipping stones, raindrops, footsteps.

They were assigned to scrub the flagstones in the entry hall. Harry, not really wanting to prompt Draco into another conversation like the one earlier, went about his work silently, on his hands and knees with a sponge. The only sound was the scraping of the sponge against stone, and it was only a few minutes later that Harry realized that he was the only one scrubbing. He glanced up at Draco.


The other boy looked appalled. "Scrubbing?" he said faintly. "On hands and knees?"

"Well, yes. Filch said that's what we've got to do."

"But…I've never scrubbed a floor in my life!"

"It's not hard." Harry rolled his eyes.

"It's the principle of the thing! Malfoys don't scrub floors."

"Well I'm certainly not doing it all myself."

Draco snorted, sitting down on the floor on the other side of the spot Harry had been scrubbing. "Why not? This is all your fault."

"Nothing is ever your fault, is it?" Harry snapped, suddenly furious. He got to his feet and threw the sponge to the floor, splattering Draco with the water.

Draco didn't notice. He was staring at Harry's arm with something like shock in his eyes. "Potter," he said quietly, getting to his feet. "You've gone mad, haven't you?"

Pausing, Harry's eyes narrowed. "What?"

Not bothering with a reply, Draco reached out and grabbed Harry's hand. Before the other boy could jerk it away, he'd pushed the sleeve back, exposing Harry's arm. There were cuts all over it, not a ladder of cuts that would have given evidence to a suicide attempt, but more random cuts, varying in depth and length, as if Harry had been painting with a knife on his arm. It was still crusted with blood.

Harry yanked his arm out of Draco's reach and turned away. "Potter," Draco snarled. "Just what the hell is your problem?"

"I haven't got one."

"What, as soon as I'm not around for a bit to save your worthless life, you start up with something stupid like that? Is that it?"

"It has nothing to do with you," Harry screamed, spinning on his heel and shoving Draco hard. The other boy stumbled backwards and stepped on the sponge, his feet flying out from under him. He fell back and smacked his head on the stone floor with a dull crack.

There was a long pause, during which nothing moved. Harry froze, staring at Draco, who lay very still on the ground, his eyes open, body immobile.

"Oh god," Harry breathed shakily, falling to his knees beside him. "Oh god, Malfoy, I didn't mean to. Malfoy, don't be dead. Oh god." He was touching Draco's face, stroking it desperately, nearly crying, and it was only when Draco's eyes fluttered a bit and he blinked that Harry stopped, holding his breath. His hands were still touching him, one lifting his head up off the floor and pillowing it, the other on his cheek.

"I think…" Draco said gingerly, wincing. "I broke something."

"Broke what?" Harry whimpered.

"My head?"

Harry flexed his fingers, checking for blood, but there was none. "I don't think so," he said cautiously. "Do you want me to get Pomfrey? I didn't mean to, I swear I didn't…"

"Potter," Draco mumbled, closing his eyes. "Shut up a moment. And don't you dare get Pomfrey. She hates me, ever since third year."

"When you pretended to have an injured arm to get out of that Quidditch match and have Hagrid's Hippogriff executed?" Harry said, rather matter-of-factly.

His eyes opened and they glittered with amusement. "Yeah."

Harry bit his lip, blinking so that he wouldn't burst into tears. "I'm so sorry, Malfoy, I didn't mean to make you fall, I thought you'd died."

"I'm alright," Draco said, smirking faintly. "I promise. You can stop stroking my cheek. Honestly, Potter…"

With a yelp, Harry snatched both of his hands back, and Draco's head fell back onto the stone floor with another dull thump.

"Shit," Draco moaned, squeezing his eyes shut.

Harry only felt slightly remorseful this time. "Let me help you sit up," he said, pulling Draco gently up by the shoulders. "Alright?"

"Give me my wand," Draco whimpered. "My head hurts, I'll charm it away."

Searching Draco's robes for his wand was a novel experience for Harry, who was blushing a little by the time he'd found it and hoping that Draco wouldn't notice. "Here," he mumbled, shoving it into Draco's hand.

A few moments later, Draco's headache was gone, and he got to his feet unsteadily. Harry watched him worriedly. "I really am sorry," he said again.

A calculating look came into Draco's eyes. "How sorry?"

"What…what do you mean?"

"Sorry enough to scrub the floor by yourself?"

Harry glanced around the large entrance hall doubtfully. But he had nearly killed Draco… "I guess."

"Brilliant! I'll wait outside, come get me when you're done."

"Outside? But it's raining out!"

"What have you got against rain? I saw you out in that thunderstorm, nearly getting hit by lightning," Draco snorted.

"I do like rain! I love rain. I just thought it would offend you. It's not that orderly and neat. You seem to like things that are orderly and neat."

"I do. But there are exceptions." He grinned. "But if you like rain so much, come with me."

"But the floors!"

"Since when does Harry Potter care about rules? That whole Hogsmeade thing was your idea."

"Since when doesn't Draco Malfoy care about them?" Harry snapped back.

Draco shrugged. "Since I'm already due to be murdered by my father for breaking them. What worse can he do to me?"

"He's going to kill you?"

"If you don't kill me first," Draco said teasingly.

Harry stared at him, unsure of how to deal with him when he was being playful. "If we don't clean the floors, we'll be in detention forever."

"And we can ditch all those ones too. Come on, this is hardly the behavior of someone who randomly decides to walk to Hogsmeade to buy cigarettes."

"You want me to be that Harry?"

"I do. I rather liked him."

"Liked him?"

Draco hurried to continue, "Well, not in the friendly sort of way. More in the, ‘hey, that's pretty impressive, this kid's pretty cool. If only he weren't such a snotty, self-righteous Gryffindor sod most of the time' — Hey!"

Harry, who had just shoved Draco lightly, smirked. "You deserved it, Malfoy." He glanced around at the sponges and the soapy bucket. "Fuck this. Let's go."

It was raining hard, though there was no thunder or lightning in the sky, and Harry leapt off the stairs, turning his face up to the rain and grinning widely. Draco laughed and followed, no longer caring that he seemed to always be tagging along after him.