Um, y'all have been waiting long enough for this, I won't keep you:

Chapter Nine: No More Alcohol!

Hermione gave up on Ron after several fruitless minutes of cajoling, and turned to Harry. "So what was Snape doing to you?"

"Er – what?" Harry choked on his chip. "Nothing!" Unfortunately, he thought somewhat glumly, and sighed. "Nothing at all."

She gave him a searching look, but didn't press him for more, although she looked like she was having a hard time trying not to. "Well, alright then. I wanted to tell you, I've been trying to read up on what you did for the – you-know-what – and I was wondering about some of the aspects about how you went about creating the fairy dust..."

Harry nodded. "Yeah, that part was tricky – but, er - can we discuss this later? I'd rather, y'know, not have the entire school know."

"No one's listening to us, and it's not as if they'd know what we're -" Hermione threw a cursory glance around them, as she waved off his concerns, but stopped short.

Harry looked up from where he was dissecting his fish into strips. "What's the matter?"

"Er – why is Malfoy fellating a sausage?"

Harry turned to look at the Slytherin table. Draco waved cheerily at them, then took in an impressive length of sausage between his lips, winking at Harry as he did so.

Harry groaned, but flushed. "You don't really want to know."

"But he's -"

"He said, you don't want to know. And I definitely don't want to know. Can we all agree that we should not know?" Ron raised his head from his peas, then made the mistake of glancing at Draco, who was now flicking his tongue over the end of the sausage. "Bloody hell, I really didn't need to see that. Why cant you people just let a man die in his vegetables in peace?"

He was, by and large, ignored.

Hermione looked thoughtful as she eyed Harry's pink cheeks. "Is he – I mean, we know you're...more in my camp than Ron's...are you and Malfoy -?"

Harry gave her a horrified look.

"For Merlin's sake, if you're so determined to torture me before you actually let me die, just Crucio me, it'll be less painful!" Ron complained. "As if it's not bad enough I had to see Malfoy sucking a sausage, you want me to imagine it's Harry's sausage?"

Harry felt his insides shrivel up and die a shrivelly death. "Please never say those words in that order again."

"Well, it's not my fault if she puts thoughts into my head!"

"You know, Weasley, I find that you can only have thoughts if you are inclined to do so," Draco called out cheerfully from his seat. "So perhaps you like the idea of me doing this to Potter -" Here he demonstrated an extremely obscene move on his frankfurter, and licked his lips as he pulled back.

Ron squawked at the implication. "I'm not – I don't – you or Harry -"

Draco looked at him contemplatively. "Or maybe its just to watch - a bit of a voyeur, eh? Well, I thoroughly approve. In fact, let me give you more of a show -" He parted his lips again.

"Mr Malfoy!" Professor McGonagall felt it was time to speak up; as much as she was enjoying the show, it appeared Albus was enjoying it too much - the old man had asked the House-Elves for popcorn - and Severus was grinding his teeth so viciously he would need a new set by the end of it. "Kindly refrain from lewd behaviour in the Great Hall."

Draco blinked innocently at her. "What lewd behaviour? I'm just enjoying this fine bratwurst."

She gave him a wry look. "Well, please enjoy it by actually consuming it. There is no need to repeatedly insert the same sausage into your mouth."

"If you truly believe that, I'm sure that there are very many disappointed men in your past, Professor," Draco said gravely.

"MR MALFOY," Severus said sharply, before Minerva could deduct all of Slytherin's points. He bore down upon Draco and dragged him forcibly out of his seat and out of the Hall.

"All I'm saying is she's a very attractive witch, with upstanding morals," Draco protested as he was being led by his elbow towards the dungeons. "It was a compliment!"

"You must try and stop your inexplicable need to construct situations in which you discuss your professors' sex lives, Draco," Severus groaned. "Or anyone's at all, for that matter."

Draco raised an imperious eyebrow. "If you're referring to my charitable contributions to your cause, I don't believe I heard you complaining earlier. In fact, you seemed rather uplifted by my information."

"I was no such thing!" Severus denied immediately, even though this was an extremely blatant lie.

Unfortunately, Draco had always been precociously perceptive. "Sev, I could have gone camping under the tent you made."

"You are entirely far too camp as it is. And I choose to ignore your extremely obscene comment," Severus remarked flatly. As an aferthought, he added, "Also, don't call me Sev."

"You think that was obscene? Hardly," Draco scoffed. "Obscene would have been if I had pointed out the way your c-"

"Draco!" Severus cut him off, before he could have an aneurysm. "I am your professor. I am your godfather. You have five hundred years of breeding behind you. Surely you can manage some semblance of decorum?"

"I was just pointing out what would have truly been obscene," Draco sniffed. "I am a misunderstood soul."

With that, he turned and flounced off huffily, leaving Severus alone in the corridor desperately craving more of his precious Firewhiskey. Surely it wouldn't hurt if I just had a tumbler?

He'd made it to his rooms before he recalled that alcohol was what had led him into this whole godforsaken mess in the first place. With legendary force of will, he managed not to succumb to the call of his Firewhiskey, which seemed to be giving him the most come-hither type vibe, if a bottle was capable of being coquettish.

No. There shall be no alcohol. There shall be, in its stead, much reflection on the evils of alcohol when combined with the unquashable lure of a certain celebrity Azkaban-bait. Oh, and yes, not to mention that little problem of who cursed me a few days ago!

Severus paused mid-rant. Upon reflection, perhaps the alcohol mightbe a good idea.

No! No, no, no. No more alcohol. Alcohol leads to being amicable and somewhat less fearsome. Not to mention the reduced mental faculties. Which we need in order to solve the annoyingly puzzling puzzle of my recently cheerful disposition.

As the events began to replay in his head again, from his actually smiling at Hufflepuffs to his actually giving points to Gryffindor and finally to his actually saying something so outrageously innuendo-ridden to Harry bloody Potter, Severus felt the intense urge to kick a kitten, or perhaps just have a go at a light spiel of good old fashioned Muggle torture. He shut his eyes, pinched the bridge of his nose and inhaled deeply. I am a reformed Death Eater. Reformed, he chanted silently to himself.

The alcohol option really wasn't looking so bad at all. He cast an appraising look at the Firewhiskey bottle, which seemed to do a little shimmy at him.

"You are a vile temptress, I hope you know that," Severus told it reproachfully, as he flicked his wrist to summon it over.

It cooed at him.

Oh, just great, I've become someone to be cooed at. The next thing I know, I'll be hailed as some sort of...Lupin.

Severus glared at the bottle for taking such liberties with him, but it remained irritatingly impervious to his patented Death Eater glower.

"Just for that, I'll not be drinking of you," he said haughtily, and set it down. After a brief pause, in which the Firewhiskey attempted to win him back by sparkling extra-temptingly, he sent it back to a high shelf, out of his range of sight. He let out a sigh of relief once the temptation was no longer in view.

No more alcohol now.

The relief very quickly faded into a despairing sort of panic.

No more alcohol! What have I done?

"Get a grip on yourself," he muttered aloud to himself, then realised he was talking to himself out loud, and immediately cursed. This was no time to descend into madness, there would be plenty of time for that later, possibly in Azkaban, after he murdered whoever had cursed him to be nice. Or after someone found out about the extremely inappropriate thoughts he had been harbouring about a certain Boy-Who-Lived. But as a bright spot, Azkaban would be nice and peaceful; he would be allowed to wallow in his suffering and be as malevolent and generally caustic as he wanted. He was sure he could insult and mock the Dementors as much as he wished, not to mention they would probably diminish all lustful thoughts he had of that Potter brat, yes, Dementors would prove to be extremely useful. It would be a relief: Severus found it unnatural to not immediately disparage a Gryffindor, particularly when that Gryffindor was James Potter's son.

Perhaps I could ask Albus about having one specially imported in.

Perhaps, Severus allowed his thoughts to roam into a happy place, perhaps I could chain one to Albus himself, and see if he would finally lose that goddamned cheerfulness. Yes, a Dementor might just do the trick.

Oh, who am I kidding. This is Albus Dumbledore I'm thinking about. A Dementor could feed off him until it resembled Slughorn and the old coot would still just twinkle at me. He's the epitome of bloody good cheer, and always trying to spread it around, like a transmittable disease -

A horrible thought occurred to Severus. Albus! It could be Dumbledore himself who had cursed him, it did go with the meddling old wizard's usual modus operandi, trying to force Severus to be pleasant against his will and that of nature. The older man was powerful and sneaky enough to have accomplished it undetected, after all.

But Albus wouldn't have bothered. He would have just snuck it into my contract when I wasn't looking.

No, no, Severus rationalized. His initial suspicions were probably the right ones: Dumbledore might be privy to the truth, but was unlikely to be the culprit himself. He was just protecting someone; someone, Severus suspected with deep suspicion, had attractively tousled hair, sharp green eyes and occasionally responded to the title of The-Boy-Who-Killed-Voldemort.

Harry. Bloody. Potter.

Yes, Severus was quite sure that Harry was the one responsible. He loathed to admit it, but Harry was intelligent and creative enough to have done it – partially due to Severus' own training of the lad, of course. And since he was eleven, the boy had been sneaking around, which meant it was probably second nature to him now. Also since he was eleven, he had been a Gryffindor, which meant he was also foolhardy enough to have decided to prank the fearsome Potions Master.

Severus was deeply disappointed in himself to find that he was not immediately planning retribution, and that there was actually a grudging hint of respect for the boy for having pulled it off – if he had indeed done so.

But I'm sure it's him. I just have to prove it. And when I do, I'll be sure to punish him appropriately. With a tongue lashing. Or, perhaps a firm spanking is in order, even.

Severus blamed his years in the Death Eaters for such deviant thoughts, and for his responding to them without even alcohol to serve as an excuse.

AN: Um, I do apologize for the 20-month wait in between the last chapter and this one. Hopefully any of you who are still reading this enjoyed it and will continue to do so - I honestly promise that the next chapter will be out in less than 20 months!

Thank you thank you thank you to anyone who is indeed reading this - I have no other words, you have no idea how much it means that you're still following this and that you aren't going to lynch me for taking so long! I know I usually thank each and every one of you by name, but I'm on limited internet time right now - I'll get you all the next time!!