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Running on Air

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Harry knows the journey by heart. It's like drawing breath, it's like speaking his own name, it's like stepping into the night and tilting his head back to stare at the stars.

It's like the first journey, or the last one, or every one. All the little familiarities, stepping into his heart like old friends. City lights, going past each side of him, a blur, a long stream of everlasting brightness. But he doesn't need the lights. He doesn't need to see. He knows the way, he'll always know the way home.

The lights dwindle away into suburbs, the night-dew collecting on the park benches and playground swings. If he looks up, it looks like the sky is exploding. All those stars, bursting across that inky sky. The moon is hanging low, silver and round as a coin. He can think about the stars, or the moon, or anything and everything he'd ever like to dream about. He doesn't have to focus. He doesn't even have to remember which corner is next, which road. This map is scrawled across his skin, in a thousand different little freckles and scars and constellations. He doesn't have to remember a single thing.

He turns a corner. The lights are petering out now. Turns another corner. Now there is nothing but darkness and the stars. The fields, right there, and it brings back all those summer memories, all those times spent driving, driving, and the canola flowers set heart-stoppingly bright against a sky the colour of a propane flame.

He turns another corner. The bright summer memories fade, but it's all right. He's going home now. Straight ahead. No more corners, just a long stretch of road that rolls on and on.

The driveway gravel crunches beneath the tyres of the car. It reminds Harry of snow, white and crisp and crackling underfoot. He always loved winters. And summers. One or the other, his friends would say, but Harry thinks it's perfectly fine to love two things at once.

The slam of the car door echoes once. He steps forward, making his way along the little meandering path. Past the wildflowers, escaping their beds; past the jasmine plants, glowing white beneath the moon. To the front door, painted dark green, the same colour as the ivy creeping around the sandstone walls.

He opens the door. Light spills out, a soft glow. Harry steps inside, closing the door behind him. Across the room, flames flicker in the fireplace. Draco, curled up in an armchair with a book, looks up.

"You're home," he says.

Harry crosses the room, leans down and kisses him.

"Yes," he says. "I'm home."

* * *

Later on, in the deep darkness of the night, Harry dreams of the long highways and dark fields, the endless roads all leading into a dawn the colour of canola fields, the colour of autumn leaves, the colour of a lazy summer afternoon. He gazes into the bright blaze of the cloudless sky, then steps forward.

As he stirs in his sleep, Draco pulls him close.