Disclaimer: All characters, places, names etc. belong to the genius that is Jo Rowling, except the characters, places, names etc. that I invent.

Thanks To: Absolutely everyone who replied to my notice of 'prolonged break', and to everyone who reviewed the last chapter that I posted. I look back on all the previous chapters and cringe, but hopefully now, two years on, with a few A's received in Story Writing at school, I endeavor to do much, much better. Y'know, I might even have a plot developed sometime soon :p

Note: Well, I have not updated this story for nigh on two years now (I did say prolonged break…) but now, having just been boosted by a glass of pear cider (yes, pear cider) I am ready and raring to get on with some story writing! I know I should be revising for exams but what the bloody heck, I know all that rubbish anyway.

Warnings: Swearing and a few vague sexual innuendos.

Chapter Eleven

Live Hard, Drink Hard, Fuck Hard

Draco awakened, shivering. The late morning was golden and the light strained to embrace all that it fell upon with warmth, but was failing with considerable distinction, to say the least. Yet Draco himself, cocooned in layers of toasty duvet and blanket, continued to shiver and would have done so even if the sunlight that fell upon him held any warmth whatsoever. He remembered the previous night with swelling horror. The memory jabbed at him like a serrated dagger out of an empty darkness. A sheen of chilled sweat could be seen on his pale forehead.

Draco was gripped by nauseating paranoia. Lucius was dead, but was far from gone. He lingered in the world, his ghost still marking the lives of those that had known him, unbeknownst to all but a single boy – his son. Draco sat up slowly, his wide eyes darting all around him, searching everywhere for any sign of his father's ghost; a coil of silver smoke, an unnatural shift of wind, or perhaps the unsettling chill that heralded the presence of the dead. He neither saw nor felt any of these things, and with a trembling sigh he left his bed in the Hospital Wing and prepared himself for a late breakfast.

'What Ron? What do you want? I'm in the middle of having a bath if you don't mind!'

Ron Weasley stammered for a second, distracted by the sight of Hermione wrapped in nothing but a fluffy towel. Her hair was slicked off her face and neck from the bath water. A small clump of bubbles slid idly down her arm. Ron eyed it, to save himself from ogling her wet cleavage. He wished that he could kiss her.

'I – I want to talk to you about – about something...' he murmured vaguely. He was now staring and the hand that Hermione held limply by her side, where the bubbles had slid to. She shook them off distractedly.

'Talk about what, Ron?' asked Hermione, somewhat intrigued now, though still immensely irked at being summoned from her bath and memories. Ron shifted his weight nervously from foot to foot. His long held desire for Hermione, coupled with the current sight of her, dripping, near enough nude, was beginning to weave inappropriate thoughts through the purpose of his visit.

'Well, it's sort of embarrassing, y'know?' His eyes trailed up her arm to her shoulder and his ears blushed. 'It's kind of about you and Malfoy, and kind of about me as well –'

He stopped talking abruptly. He was staring Hermione's neck.

'What's that?' he all but shrieked, pointing at her neck.

'What's what?'

'That! On your neck!' Ron gave Hermione a most incredulous look. 'It's a – it's a – a – a hickey!'

'OH!' Hermione gasped in shock, hurrying to hide her neck with her long, wet hair. 'Ron…' But she did not continue, she could not continue, for the look on Ron's bewildered, freckled face was so pained that her tongue was lost beneath a sudden weight of guilt. His head drooped ever so slightly. Hermione bit her lip.

'What were you going to say to me?' she asked gently, speaking to Ron's feet rather than his incredibly red face. Ron also spoke to Hermione's feet rather than her face.

'I was going to ask what – what you and Malfoy, that is to say, what the score is between you two – and...'

Hermione suddenly found that she could not look at any part of Ron's body now. Not even his large, shuffling feet. Her abrupt guilt was beginning to drown her.

'...And I was going to ask – I mean I've already asked – but to ask again, if you would, sort of, if you wouldn't mind, thinking about me and you... together... but it looks as though you've already been spoken for...' He gazed wistfully at the love-bite on her neck.

By now Hermione had closed her eyes, as though the darkness behind her eyelids would make everything go away. But of course it didn't, and she opened them to find Ron's earnest, round eyes boring into her. Hope glinted deep within his eyes, but even further beyond that she could see a rippling pool of dread and stagnant heartache.

'I'm sorry,' she whispered.

Draco made his slow path down to the Great Hall. He was extremely weary and forlorn. His mind was tumbling over itself again and again, like a dizzy child who tries to find his feet as he topples down a hillside. He saw flashes of purple fish scales, billows of cold ghost smoke, dark oaken eyes, breasts and hard nipples... A pleasant stirring began in the pit of his stomach, right down past his belly-button to what lay below.


Suddenly the vision of Lucius's cold, illuminating face flashed violently across his mind as lightning does across a midnight sky. Draco cried out, falling hard to the flagstones upon which he had been walking.


Draco lay panting in shock on the floor, quaking once again. A hissing voice spoke.

'Malfoy, watch where you are going. If I was not the Head of your house I would most certainly be inclined to dock points for your careless... Malfoy?'

Severus Snape bent over to look at Draco's face. He was still lying there, shuddering away as if someone has just tipped a bucket of ice-cubes into his boxers.


Severus leant down and clutched Draco's wrists, hoisting him to his feet. Draco gazed up at his godfather.

'I'm sorry, Severus. I wasn't really looking where I was going. I was thinking, and I'm bloody starving too.'

Severus pursed his thin lips, trying desperately not to reduce himself to the role of 'friendly, bad-mouthed godfather' whilst he was supposed to be assuming the role of 'grumpy old professor'. He gave in.

'Fuck it all, Draco,' he exclaimed gruffly, causing Draco to start. He had never heard his godfather swear at Hogwarts before, only ever at his house or at the Malfoy Manor. Severus was clutching the boy's shoulders and squeezing them reassuringly, trying to transfer as much courage as possible through his cold, black eyes into Draco's pale ones, to help him face what he was having to endure. 'Fuck it all. You only live once, boy. That was something I never realised until it was too late. Don't waste your life, especially your youth (God I wish I was young again) – don't waste any of it by festering in all the shit that's happened. Live hard, drink hard, fuck hard and love every moment of it as though you'll never get another chance to do it again.'

Draco ogled his godfather in plain disbelief.

'That is your new motto Draco. Nevermind 'pureblood might will win the fight and blast all mudbloods to oblivion –' (Hermione's face flitted through Draco's mind for an instant) '– or whatever that stupid song the Death Eaters' always sing is – my point is, live your own life, go by your new motto that I've given you, and if you don't you shall be serving detentions with me for the rest of your school days.'

Draco's eyes became slits.

'You sound like you're trying to relive your youth through me.'

Severus straightened. His hands left Draco's shoulders and the small fire that had kindled in his eyes was suddenly diminished, leaving behind the dark, empty tunnels that everyone was so accustomed to looking into.

'I wish I could,' he said coldly. 'Your third day of detention with Miss Granger starts at one o' clock this afternoon.' He straightened his robes, turned on his heel and swept away. His black cloak billowed out behind him as per usual. Draco was left alone, sighing moodily.

Harry walked briskly into the Great Hall. He had been out for a solitary flying session all across the grounds of the castle. He felt exceptionally invigorated and was ready to wolf down at least three full English Breakfasts. He spotted a shock of messy red hair at the Gryffindor table and went towards it.

'Alright, mate?' he said cheerily, plonking himself down next to Ron and propping his Stormchaser against the bench next to him (the newest and most superior model of broomstick available, outstripping the 'old' Firebolt by far.) Ron looked up. His face was glum and he seemed to be edging onto the point annoyance.

'What've you bought that in for?' he said sulkily, glaring at the Stormchaser.

'Oh, I'm going back out when I've had something to eat. It's quite a nice day Ron; you ought to come out too, though there were some big dark clouds coming over. . . Y'know what?' He took a large bite out of a crumpet. 'I don' fink you'f looked a' tha' Firebolt once since I gafe i' to you.' He swallowed and frowned pensively at his friend. 'What's up, mate? You're not jealous of the Stormchaser are you? You looked like you've just been told that you've got to have your balls chopped off.'

Ron snarled and slammed his knife and fork down on the table. Harry looked stunned and affronted.

'I'll tell you what's bloody well up,' he said viciously. He caught the look on Harry's face. 'No no, Harry – mate, I'm not angry with you. . .' He glanced up to the staff table. Professor McGonagall had looked up at the sound up Ron's cutlery as he had smashed it against the table, but her piercing gaze was once again upon her bowl of steaming porridge. 'I'll tell you what's up – Hermione.'

Harry rolled his eyes. 'You've had another argument?'

'Yes –'(Harry tutted and shook his head) '– but for a bloody decent reason this time! It's about her and Malfoy.'

Harry looked up, his eyes sharp and narrow. He motioned for Ron to tell him what had happened. Ron fulfilled this task in low hisses and snarls. He swore harshly several times, causing a small group of Ravenclaw second years to eye him in shock from the table behind him.

'And then you know what she said?' cried Ron, his voice rising in fury. ' "I'm sorry – it's Malfoy's love-bite." '

'What?' Harry lost his grip on the knife that he was using to butter his fourth crumpet with. He glanced up as he tried to wipe the butter off the front of his robes and saw Snape swoop into the Great Hall, a look of bitterness on his face that was more pronounced and more solemn than usual. 'Wonder what's up with that old git,' he muttered darkly. Ron looked over and shrugged.

'Maybe he's just figured out that everyone hates him,' he said, turning back to Harry. 'Anyway Harry, I've got a feeling. . .'

'Have you?' said Harry, grinning cheekily as he eyed Ginny Weasley with much interest as she entered the Great Hall and sat down nearby. 'Yes, I've got a feeling too, y'know – it's quite a nice feeling...'

Ron thumped him lightly on the arm, smiling lightly.

'But seriously mate, what I reckon, is that Hermione, well... Well, she seemed pretty upset about the whole hicky thing and – and I reckon that Malfoy, you know, well, had her by force, if you know what I mean...'

'Are you saying that Malfoy did that to Hermione against her will?'

Ron nodded vigorously, his eyes big and round. He did not comment that Harry was just about to make for a sixth crumpet.

'Yeah, think about it,' he said. 'I mean, Hermione isn't that kind of girl really.'

Harry nodded thoughtfully. Ron was glad that Harry could not see into his mind as lewd images of naked activities between himself and Hermione danced around in his mind. Harry nodded again.

'Yeah...' he murmured slowly. 'He seems like the smarmy kind of git who would take advantage like that...'

They both glanced over to the Slytherin table. Draco had in fact just walked through the doors, in a somewhat disheartened manner, but his old swagger was starting to shine through again, just faintly.

'Look at him,' spat Ron, as Pansy Parkinson tried to get Draco to sit down beside her. 'Strutting in here like that, I'll bet he's all pleased with himself for what he's done to Hermione...'

They continued to watch as Draco shooed away all the people who tried to speak to him with scowls and swear words, whilst gathering up bits of toast and crumpets in a napkin, evidently meaning to take them away and eat elsewhere. Harry and Ron watched him with narrow eyes as he walked back out of the Great Hall. Harry glanced up at the enchanted ceiling. It showed that the sky had been hidden with heavy grey clouds as they had been speaking, and a thick sleet was falling. It almost felt like night time.

'Don't worry,' he muttered to Ron in an ominous voice, picking up his Stormchaser. 'Leave him, I'll sort him out.' Ron watched Harry as he skulked away with his broomstick, following Draco out of the Great Hall.

Author's Note: Well, well, well. This story is certainly back from the grave. I hope you liked it. I doubt I will have caught any new reviewers, but I definitely hope to hear from the old ones! I've got Chapter 12 all planned, so it should be up sometime this week (probably not till the weekend actually, coz I've got 6 more exams this week!) Anyhoo, apologies for the OOC Snape, but I've always wanted to make him swear. Constructive criticism is most welcome, opinions and plot ideas too. No flames please. I find flames to be incredibly obnoxious little things. I'm perfectly aware of the fact that I have totally lost the feel of this story; I can't really remember where I was going with it. Sorry if some things here do not relate with previous chapters. Chapter 12 up ASAP.