Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JK. So does Draco. And everyone else.

Notes: I wrote this a couple of years back with a prompt from Ariana and I just really, really like it.

"Not Longbottom, not Longbottom, please not Longbottom…"

"…and Mr. Longbottom. Place a cupful of your potion in a vial and take the seat next to Mr. Malfoy; we are to begin the testing of your concoctions, immediately," Snape said with his tone viscous as honey, stinging as bees.

Draco sighed, disappointment evident in his face. This sudden retraction of teacher's pet status was something he had expected after the incident the weekend before; an incident involving Snape, shaving cream and him being at the wrong place, at the wrong time, with a camera in tow.

Longbottom sat beside him with the expression of a mouse on death row and gingerly put his sorry excuse for a thermal potion on Draco's side of the desk. Draco was much too involved with the thought of Snape hating him for all eternity to try anything remotely evil. He didn't want Snape to hate him, not because he was particularly fond of the Potions professor, but because everyone else in this god-forsaken school hated him. Being hated by everyone can be rather exhausting and to have at least one person not think the same provided some, albeit tiny, comfort.

"Bottoms up," Snape announced with the inner glee of a sadist.

Draco shut his eyes and downed the potion with one gulp. At first he did not feel anything odd, perhaps Longbottom had done something right for once. But then something happened, something painful, something entirely his fault.

Draco began to choke. He coughed and spluttered but somehow the sore spot lunged in his throat just would not go away. It felt like an open wound squeezed with lemon. Longbottom was frantic beside him, flailing his hands in the air, as if that would help, for crying out loud, he thought.

"Hermione, help!" the other boy finally managed to squeak out.

The girl in question who sat on the desk next to them turned to him with a snooty look on her face and mouthed, "Oh please Malfoy, trying to get Neville into trouble by feigning sickness from the potion aren't you? When will you ever stop being a jerk?"

Draco looked at her and shook his head incredulously. What the bloody hell was she on? Typical, even in his possible death bed she had the gall to accuse him of less than innocent intentions. God, that bitch.

It was getting more and more difficult to breathe, whatever it was in his throat was blocking his air passage almost completely now. He rose from his chair; he was crouched on the table as he banged his fist on the table top, as if that act would alleviate the pain.

"Oh dear, you really need to be medicated, don't you?" she said, her voice less accusatory, not less enough though.

He wanted to tell her how any moron could figure that out but all he could do was look at her and nod. Beggingly.

She stood up and went to him and slammed her palms against his back. Longbottom, he had no idea where Longbottom was, who bloody cares? Ever? Seriously. The act did nothing to improve the situation, he only coughed and spluttered more, and will probably now have bruises in the morning from the mudblood's continuous thumping. Granger, that brute.

Everything was being engulfed slowly and steadily by a white stream of light. Funny, he always thought when he'd die everything would be dark and fiery. And somehow through all this Granger remained calm. Figured her happy place was the scene of him dying. God, how he hated her.

It was then that he felt strong hands wrap around his torso. Her hands. A strong tug. Her arms were freakishly strong. Then a loud pop emanated from inside him and a feeling of sliding down a steep mountain hill in a unicycle. Then there was that pain in his throat once more. It wasn't just having lemon squeezed into an open wound, it was also salt, and pineapple juice, and acetic acid for the love of Cornelius Fudge. Someone get him back to dying phase.

"Malfoy, you imbecile you swallowed the cork," he heard her nagging tone behind him.

"Glad you're relieved I'm alive, Granger," he replied, suffering each syllable out from his battered throat before fainting from the pain.