A/N: This story was originally posted in three parts on my lj with lyrics from the song of the same name, but since this site has that rule about lyrics, I took them out. If you want to read the story in its original form, you'll have to make your way over to my lj which is listed on my profile. Other than that, enjoy. :)
Disclaimer: I own neither the song name or the characters. Those are owned by AFI and JKR, respectively.
Warnings: mature themes and drug use/dark themes. You have been warned.
Silver & Cold
The school year was just beginning, but Draco Malfoy no longer had time for beginnings. Everything for him was at an end. His beliefs, his parents, and any hopes for a future without hearing people whisper behind his back were crushed in the same manner he had lived his life. Cruelly and calculatedly.
Perhaps he deserved it after all the pain he had caused throughout his fellow classmates, returning karma and all that, but maybe life really was that big of a bitch and he'd just had an easy time of it up until now. Maybe he needed this to make him stronger. To make him better.
Or maybe I'll be just as fucked-up as my father intended, he thought as he blew smoke out through his nostrils from the cigarette he held between his right thumb and index finger. A nasty habit, to be sure, but it was something he'd picked up during his year in France and only a small price to pay for stress-relief. The nicotine curled in his lungs and permeated his skin, bringing the darkness lurking in his soul out in the open.
The October air was crisp on his face and his position by the front door of Hogwarts was perfect for overlooking the lake in contemplation as Draco recounted the first month of his last year as one of the magical school's students.
Coward, they sneered to each other within range of his hearing, couldn't bring himself to get his hands dirty, and the worst part was that they were right. It made no difference that he'd returned for his last year after getting his Head Boy letter, that he'd wanted to put the past behind him; all anyone saw was the year he'd spent in France attending Beauxbatons. A year spent in hiding.
After the battle in the Department of Mysteries and his father was thrown into Azkaban, he knew he would be forced to choose sides, and he desperately wanted to stay out of the imminent war, to keep breathing. Selfishness had always been his own special vice. So, he did what he thought was best. Draco squirreled away his share of the Malfoy fortune for safekeeping and transferred to Beauxbatons for his sixth year. There, he'd continued to excel in his studies and tried his damnedest to ignore any news concerning the war in Britain.
Did he wonder what was happening? If his friends or his enemies were winning? If the bodies scattering the battlefields were faces he knew? Sure, but it was his own skin he was mostly concerned about, not the ones he couldn't save. Not one person he knew would stick their neck out for him and he wasn't partial to risking his own without compensation.
When the skirmish was over and Potter emerged victorious, Draco received two letters. One was directly from the Minister of Magic announcing his parents' life sentences in Azkaban and all Malfoy property had been seized and the accounts frozen. The other was from Dumbledore explaining the need to rebuild the way of things at Hogwarts and offering the Head Boy position to Draco believing him to be the best one for the job, even though his track record was spotty, at best. The old coot probably thought that if Draco could be redeemed, everyone could.
He should have told the Headmaster to stick it where the sun don't shine, but Draco had seen the opportunity as a way to repair some of the Malfoy credibility. After all, he would have to move past the war eventually. It wasn't one of his brighter inspirations, especially after he was treated first-hand to what people now thought of him.
No one listened to him, not even the Slytherins who used to hang on his every word, first years had grown brave enough to snub him, and the cherry on top, Hermione Granger was to be his partner in this botched plan of reorganization. Oh, how the mighty had fallen.
Draco watched the end of his cigarette burn out until it nearly touched his fingertips, a red ember in a sea of black, before throwing it down on the steps and grounding the ashes with his heel. It was yet another reminder of his failures, a metaphor for his sins.
The blond remembered the first time he set foot back on Hogwarts ground, a week before the school officially reopened its doors. The land surrounding the ancient stone castle was blackened with scorch marks, a silent motif to the battles fought and the dead buried. The ash was still set upon the wind along with the acrid scent of burnt flesh and when it blew towards him, it stung his eyes until tears formed and he looked away.
Draco had not chanced a glimpse outside in daytime since.
He was selfish like that and maybe he'd been wrong by running from his decisions, but a Malfoy never admitted they were wrong. They didn't even acknowledge the possibility of it. If he had to act the part for the rest of his life, he would do it. His dignity was the only thing Draco had left.
His school cloak could only keep out the chill for so long and Draco was beginning to feel it as the moon rose higher in the sky. It appeared to be nearing midnight and Draco knew he still had rounds to complete before he could feel the nothingness of sleep rush over him. Dreamless Sleep Potion was really something.
Miles to go, Draco, he told himself as he turned from the view and stepped back inside the castle. The corridors were still and vacant as he passed them, a strict contrast from the noise that reverberated off the walls in the day. The younger students were the ones least touched by the war and would always be the ones who contributed the most to the everyday clamor.
None of the students seemed to be wandering around tonight either in search of a midnight snack or a good place to snog uninterrupted and that suited Draco just fine. He wasn't in any sort of mood to deduct house points, even from the Gryffindors who never ceased to be swotty.
He was just passing the prefects' bathroom on the fifth floor on his way to the Head Boy dorm when a noise from inside caught his attention. It sounded like a hiss and a gasp all in the same breath and it was most assuredly female.
Draco knew for a fact that the only female allowed to be out at this time of night was Hermione Granger and before he could collect his thoughts, his curiosity got the better of him and he cracked the door open.
If he'd known what was to follow, he would have kept it closed.
Hermione lied just inside the door, looking nothing like herself. She was naked, barely covered by one of the nondescript towels provided in the bathroom by the house-elves, her hair lay limply against her skull, not having the body it usually did, and her eyes, her eyes haunted him. The brown was murky and bare; a deadness infused the normal signs of life.
At first, Draco didn't realize what he was seeing, purebloods not having much to do with Muggle culture, but the track marks on her inner elbow, a connect-the-dots of blood and bruises, told the story. A needle rested comfortably in her right hand; her pupils reduced to pinpricks and the dark circles underneath stood out in sharp contrast.
For an eternity, his world came to a standstill and he froze in uncertainty. Draco couldn't reconcile the Granger he had formed in his mind with the broken creature on the floor and his perception wavered. Granger meant nothing to him, just another Mudblood on Potter's side, but she was his counterpart if nothing else. His duty to help was clear.
He bent at the knee, taking precaution when he removed the needle from her grip, and grabbed her shoulders. Hoping to snap her out of the drug-induced gaze, he shook her slight form hard.
"Granger! GRANGER!" he screamed into her face, wanting her to focus on him or at least give some acknowledgment that she'd heard. Hermione granted his silent request but not at all how he'd hoped.
The Head Girl seemed to find him among her euphoria and her eyes locked onto his own, her head falling back to let out a tortured giggle, the most devastating sound he'd heard in all his seventeen years as it echoed across the bathroom tiles reflecting an inner emptiness without end.
"They're gone, Draco, they're all gone," she managed to gasp between continuing that horrible sound.
The blond was almost afraid to ask. "What is, Granger?"
"All the faces of the people I killed," she replied dreamily, "just point and whisper and the soul escapes. Up and up and up they float until nothing is left but a shell."
Draco closed his eyes and turned away. It seemed she was describing herself without even knowing it. How was it possible that the Head Girl was able to be a junkie, the marks far too many to be recreational use, and still be first in the class?
Maybe that was why. Maybe it's the only way she can cope, a survival instinct.
Knowing he wouldn't get the answer tonight, he lifted her up in his arms, tucking the towel around her for decency's sake, and started to make his way towards the Head dorms. After tucking her into her own bed to sleep off the high, he crawled beneath his own sheets, dosing off his own drug.
Draco knew the problem would keep until the morning and he didn't feel like examining his motives for helping her tonight. It would cause more stress that he didn't need. Especially since he was running low on cigarettes.
The next morning when he awoke from his drugged slumber, Draco barely remembered the encounter in the bathroom the night before. It was a predictable side-effect to the consistent use of the Dreamless Sleep Potion, and the blond sometimes wondered, as he felt the liquid seep down his throat every night, if he wouldn't remember his own name the next day.
One could only wish.
Crushing that derisive thought before it could totally form, he pulled himself up from beneath the mountain of blankets he found himself in, squinting against the stream of sunlight pouring into his room as he did so, and considered the interesting information he'd procured about the Head Girl.
If he was truly the bastard everyone thought him to be, he would turn this around on her, use his knowledge to ruin her, and make himself look better somehow in the process. He would take this addiction, this weakness of hers, a character flaw, and make her suffer more than she obviously already was, and he would grin and sneer and point out it was really 'for her own good' that he told everyone about it.
Could he really do that? Even to Granger?
Draco took a moment to chew that thought process over in his brain. Things had definitely changed over the last few years if humiliation and persecution weren't at the forefront of his mind when it came to Granger and all the rest of Potter's cronies. He shouldn't even be second-guessing this, he should walk out of his dorm and up to the Headmaster's office to tell all, but something, a troublesome inclination, told him that he wouldn't, that he was going to stay right there.
That even he couldn't be that cruel, that heartless.
So, where did that leave him?
He was a sorry excuse for a savior, and if there was anything his better angels and demons could agree on, it was that Granger needed saving. Especially from herself. A hero he was not, but he figured he could watch her for a few days, be on the lookout to see if she started slipping back down into the abyss.
If anything, he knew how treacherous the water was when you were drowning in your own misery, an ocean of despair created by your mind's imagination with shadows licking at your feet and the waves threatening to pull you under. He'd been treading in his own ocean ever since he'd first left Hogwarts and his old life behind, and it'd only grown in intensity since.
Maybe it'd all been a nightmare. After all, he was taking over double the recommended dose of Dreamless Sleep Potion nightly and maybe it was beginning to play tricks with his psyche. It didn't make much sense for him to be thinking about Granger at all, and really, the Head Girl as a drug addict was worlds away from who she really was.
Granger was books and cleverness and loyalty, and no matter how bad the war might have affected her, she would never lower herself to such an extent.
Deciding this explained everything, Draco crossed his room from the bed to his dresser and started picking through the drawers as he chose his clothes for the day, intending to forget all about Granger and wash away his many sins in the shower. His mind was still groggy from the potion, but a glint from the corner of the bureau caught his eye in the mirror. His breath rushed out of his lungs as all of his neatly folded clothes tumbled out of his arms and scattered messily across the floor. Black spots danced in his vision as he forced himself to stay upright.
The empty needle rest unassumingly on the surface, better than a smoking gun.
After that rather embarrassing episode when he first spotted the concrete evidence of how this very much was not his imagination, Draco decided he would go with his first plan before he had managed to talk himself into a deep state of denial.
Wait and watch.
Patience was not one of his few virtues, but he figured he needed this almost as much as she did. Misery did love company and if he had learned anything from being a Malfoy, it was that nothing saved you faster from sinking than seeing someone else doing the same. If he could manage to save her, maybe he could do it for himself.
Draco knew that Granger was smart, the top of the class, and knew that confronting her would do no good. She'd done everything in her power since that night to avoid any contact with him whatsoever, no small feat considering they shared a common room and adjoining dorms. If he did happen to catch up with her, she would just deny everything and look at him as if he'd gone mad. He knew this as well as he knew his own name.
He remembered the denial stage acutely, remembered it when he found out all his father's talk of blood purity was more than just talk and when he'd first faced the work of the Death Eaters.
No, Granger would have to come to him. He knew she would eventually since he had something of hers that she would soon desperately want back. Besides, he still had a few tricks up his sleeves to use, not the least of which was the Eye-Opening Charm.
An incantation and a flick of the wand later, and his eyes were literally 'opened' to enchantments people used on their persons. Different colors for different types of spells and he could see both the outline of illusion and the reality they masked.
Apparently, Lavender Brown's breasts weren't quite as perky as they appeared to be and neither were Lisa Turpin's. Hannah Abbott seemed to have given herself a magical nose job sometime ago and Millicent Bulstrode was hiding a small mountain range on her forehead. All of the girls were cloaked in red, indicating the use of cosmetic charms, and only on the body part they wanted to change, but Hermione was covered in blues and purples. It was her own personal quilt wrapped around her body to keep the rest of the world from watching her waste away. The first time he saw the reality of her, Draco had nearly made his way across the great chasm separating the Slytherins from the Gryffindors.
It was worse than when he'd seen her crumpled on the floor of the bathroom.
Granger was the epitome of heroin-chic. She was thin, so terribly thin, and her bones jutted out making her seem like nothing but angles. Her eyes were sunken back into her skull and the skin on her face was pulled taut over her cheekbones and chin. Her hair lay lifelessly against her head, the strands weighted down past her shoulders with uselessness. He could easily wrap his hands around her waist, the tips of his fingers touching, and for the first time since he had carelessly started this hero charade, he was scared for her.
It was not a feeling he had ever felt before.
Worrying about the welfare of someone other than himself was definitely a new blip on the radar of Draco Malfoy. Everyday he told himself to forget about her, that this idea of his would bring nothing but grief to them both, that there's no way he could save either of them, but everyday he watched her across the sea of people in the Great Hall and everyday she deteriorated further and no one but he knew.
It only took four days. Four days of waiting and watching while having silent arguments with himself along with hours of self-reproach, but she finally came to him. Four days having driven her to the brink of insanity, her eyes were glossy and her hands trembled, but indifference dripped from her like a faucet.
"I want it back, Malfoy." The brown speared him like daggers, but it was for her benefit, not his.
"No." He worked at keeping his voice steady, strong, a brick wall in the face of her need, her weakness.
She gritted her teeth, feral and unwilling to give in. "It's mine. Give it back to me."
Draco turned away from her before he collapsed in the face of her will, the whispers of his inadequacy starting back up in his mind. Taking carefully measured steps with his back stiff, he left her behind in the corridor, glaring at his retreating form with only his parting words to keep her company.
"You don't need it, Granger."
Two more days passed and he watched her carefully. Meals, classes, even her study breaks in the library, he shadowed her every step, focusing on her problems instead of his own. Two days were an eternity to them both, a lifetime of breathing and waiting and praying.
And Draco never prayed.
He knew she was showing signs of coming down off the drug, having heard her tell anybody who had the misfortune to ask that she simply must have caught a bug going around. She was perfectly fine. Draco hated that word, 'fine;' nobody who used that word to describe their well-being was ever fine.
A million times he stopped to ask himself why he cared, why he didn't just let her float into her land of denial and let her stay there, but the answer was easy. He didn't want the answer to be so easy, so readily-apparent, but he rarely got what he wanted out of life.
If she sank, he would simply follow.
The thought chilled his bones, but he knew the truth of it. He simply had nothing else keeping him afloat. No friends, no family, nothing to look forward to, and even his cigarettes were beginning to disappoint him. The Dreamless Sleep Potion was beginning to wear thin. He had nothing but the effort of watching Granger try and pull herself out of her own created hell, no matter how unsuccessful she currently was.
The need to lay eyes on her everyday was overwhelming in its force and his obsession to keep her safe from herself was growing stronger. It felt like he was compelled now in his task, like he had been set upon some holy mission by God himself and no earthly man would be able to rip him from his path.
It was a full week after that night when his altar came crashing down around him.
He really should have known better. Granger was, after all, the brightest witch of her age, or so everyone kept reminding him over the last seven years, and he should have known that once she got her chance, she would seize it single-mindedly.
It was the night he had Quidditch practice, ironically, and he couldn't have come back to his room in a better mood until he saw the open door and the ransacked space. All his possessions were scattered haphazardly over the room, like a whirlwind had passed through leaving nothing untouched. He knew, without searching through the wreckage, that the needle was gone from where he had hidden it under lock, key, charm, and transfiguration.
Draco had never run so fast in his life, even when he was being chased. The corridors and stairs of Hogwarts were nothing more than a gray, stone blur as he sped past them on his way up to the fifth floor, trying not to think about what would greet him. His lungs burned from the exertion as he crashed through the door, barely able to get the password out.
Granger was lying on the ground by the tub, looking almost peaceful if it weren't for the jagged edges and dark bruises that bespoke of her malnutrition. She was once again wrapped in a towel, her clothes folded neatly by the vanity, and her arms lay outstretched from her body as if she'd flung them away from her. One grasped the needle while the other displayed a brand new red dot for him to see.
Draco stumbled over to her prone form before dropping to his knees beside her, and for two seconds, he blanked in fear when he put his hand on her chest.
She wasn't breathing.
Instinct possessed him the next moment, not letting him clamber away from his responsibility, and it was only his ingrained training that had him reaching for his wand in the next breath. His hands shook as he took hold of the thin piece of wood and he could feel the walls beginning to close in around him, his breath coming out in short, panicky spurts. This was not the time for one of his screw-ups.
"Ennervate!" his voice quivered.
Granger continued to lie there, looking as if she was happy to be where she was, nearly dead and having no demons clawing to the surface.
"Ennervate!" his voice was strong this time, clearer in the face of dread.
Still nothing. Wasn't this what he was supposed to do? He didn't take medical magic and he'd never tried to save someone's life before. His mind was racing back and forth, coming to no helpful conclusions.
"Ennervate!" This time he screamed it, ripping his voice through his throat and out into the air, his nerves raw with terror as dizziness began to set in.
How did the Muggles save each other without magic? Try something. Anything.
He thought about what he knew and was faced with the great gaping hole of how much he didn't know. His mind was beginning to go haywire, in full-panic-mode. Having delusions.
Draco hit her on the chest, at least knowing where lungs were located, and hoped it would somehow jumpstart her breathing. Did he need some sort of rhythm for this? One, two, three hits and she came back to him with a start, a huge gasp escaping through her open mouth. He didn't even have time to breathe.
When he blacked out beside her, the last thing he remembered was tasting salt on his lips.
When Draco finally came to from his panic-induced blackout, it took him less than a second to realize he was still lying on the cold tile floor of the prefects' bathroom and Hermione, or what was left of her, was still there with him.
The Head Girl was huddled in the corner, head bowed and knees folded to her chest, with the towel draped across her shoulders, a pitiful covering against the chill infusing the castle. She was shivering from the cold, but if the whisper-soft gasps coming from beneath her mask of hair were any indication, he imagined she was also shaken by the near-death experience.
Black spots danced in his vision when he tried to sit up too quickly and he clenched his eyes closed until he felt the room stop spinning around him. Taking care to move slowly, he pushed off the ground with his hands and stood on his own two feet once more, but the aches in his legs reminded him that he'd pushed himself enough for one day with Quidditch practice and running to the bathroom like Voldemort himself was at his heels.
When he reopened his eyes, they landed on the needle resting innocuously on the floor between them, in the great gulf of uncertainty. It was such a small thing, really, but a tangible symbol of fear and doubt and denial. Draco knew about denial, he swam in it every time he swigged a double dose of his potion. He knew about fear and doubt, too, and he knew it was fear that kept Hermione chained to her drug of choice.
Fear of seeing all the faces of people she'd killed.
He'd known this from the beginning, from the first night of finding her in this same bathroom, but he didn't understand until now. It seemed selfish, simple, and even a little cruel, but it was written in the genetic code of every being on earth.
It was about surviving by any means possible.
Hell, that's all he'd been doing since he came back from France. It was a rough path to travel, he knew, and sometimes, in your lowest moments, you could get caught on the rocks.
Draco glanced at the curled-up girl in the corner, her body frail and her spirit weakened, and for the first time since he'd started watching her, it was unbearably real. She was not a kitten he could lift out of a tree, and he was just as lost, just as broken.
Hermione, sensing his eyes on her, lifted her head from her raised knees, her face stained with tears and shadows; her demons still clawing at her soul. Her gaze was questioning, a desperation there that was easily seen by him and it tortured him all the more. He did not know all the answers like he once thought he did.
Draco felt the injustice in the room as if it was floating on the air, a pungent scent he could almost taste. Their survival tactics were killing them; an early grave of shattered hopes was in both of their futures. He wasn't blind to his own vices. He was eating less and drinking more, the number of cigarettes was increasing, and his potion doses were getting larger.
It was a strange feeling, helplessness, but he'd never been a fighter. He was content to watch others do the battling, just the constant day-to-day struggle was wearing them both down, but he knew that she needed him to do what she could not.
"I told you, you don't need it," his voice was firm, unyielding. A strength not known a few days previous.
A sharp cry escaped her lips as she scrambled across the tile to where he stood, the thin towel barely preserving her modesty. Her hands clasped his leg as she peered up from her kneeling position.
"What else am I supposed to do? I'm falling apart as it is. I need something to keep me sane." Hermione was pleading with him; her eyes were filling once more as she clawed at his clothes, the fabric giving her balance as she pulled herself upright.
"Help me," she begged, "please, help me, Draco."
The blond trembled with indecision, the glint in her eye was unnerving, a dangerous light taking hold, and he wondered if maybe he'd pushed her too far too fast. The urge to flee from this harrowing responsibility, like iron chains fastening around his chest, was great, and he shuddered with the effort of keeping himself in check. His sins were far too numerous to add hers to the list. He couldn't be held responsible for another human being, his mind screamed for him to move, he was barely alive.
The choice was taken out of his hands, and she closed her lips over his own, sealing his fate. The kiss of pain, of suffering, of their nearing demise.
It was heady and callous, sand on silk, a damning prayer, and he forgot how to breathe when she dropped the towel. She stood before him unadorned by clothing and his former resolve crumbled. He was weak, and she knew it, knew that he couldn't turn away when she needed him. Maybe she'd always needed him in some way, and he needed her, too. They were far too damaged to do anything but cling to each other in the hopes that they could weather the storm of their devastation.
His hands encircled her waist and drew her body forward until it was pressed against him, his hardened member poking her in her hipbone. Her skin was chilled to the touch as he skimmed his palms upward over the plane of her back feeling the bones protruding from beneath the surface. His breath hitched in a way that had nothing to do with desire.
She was thin, still so terribly thin.
Her shaking hands made quick work of his tie and he felt it slide against his neck as she pulled it from his collar. The buttons on his Oxford proved to be more of a challenge, but he waited patiently until she was finished and then shrugged it off his shoulders, the fabric falling to the floor.
She gazed at him with a reassuring smile, but it didn't reach her eyes. "I won't break."
Draco didn't mention that he thought she was already broken, they both were, and instead, he lowered them to the ground and pulled her into his lap. She was eye-level with him in this position, on equal footing, but the thought gave him no peace. She drew in air and exhaled, a release of tension, before starting to unbuckle his belt.
He kissed her once more and felt her tongue scrape over his bottom lip; the nerves in his body beginning to break when he heard the snap of his trousers come undone. Her breasts were heavy in his hands, and the chains around his chest tightened as he took one in his mouth. It was soft and yielding in his mouth as he sucked the sensitive flesh, her whimpering went unheard as he pulled her tighter to him, his teeth grazing over her nipple.
Draco shifted when her hand pushed against his abdomen and his slacks were drawn further down his legs, leaving his hardness covered only by his boxers. She was unhindered as her hand circled his length drawing out a long moan from him, which vibrated through her breast. His hand traveled downward over the concaves of her torso until his fingers passed through the curls of her womanhood. He touched her clit with reverence, a shocking price for them both, and watched in awe as she arched back, her breath coming in pants as she quivered.
His finger swirled around it for a few seconds before wandering past to her center. He dipped his finger into her slit, feeling the heat and wetness pooling there, and felt his mind go blank. Once again, she took control and impaled herself on his hard penis peeking out from the hole in his shorts. Her head jerked back and he groaned when her heat encased him. He didn't know how long he could withstand it.
When she moved, it was torture and ecstasy, and he wondered why she didn't leave him broken on the floor. He still felt so lost when she pushed back down, the walls of her center rubbing against the ridges of his cock. Maybe they'd never find each other, but would only die trying. Her pace increased and sweat beaded on their foreheads, the only sign of their exertion, as she brought them closer and closer to release.
His hands gripped her waist painfully, forgetting her frailty, and helped her move faster. The rhythm of their coupling resounded off the tiles in the bathroom until it became a buzzing in Draco's mind as he reached for the elusive escape she was offering. They were a blur in their movements when it finally crashed over them and they fell over the cliff into nothingness, forgetting their own names in the face of pleasure and collapsing to the floor in exhaustion.
It was some time before they passed back into consciousness and with not a little wariness. Things were different but yet unchanged. Draco turned and saw the same question in her eyes that was in his.
Where did this leave them?
Her brown eyes were open and vulnerable, fearful of what he might say or do. She looked like a timid rabbit that was ready to run and he felt like that himself. It was a sobering feeling to see your mirror reflection in someone as damaged as you.
"You won't leave me, will you, Draco? You'll stay with me, right?" her trembling words were spoken so softly that he could barely make them out.
Though it pained him to realize, he knew there was only one answer he could give, but it wouldn't bring any peace to their suffering, it would only prolong it. After all, misery really does love company and they were both so far from misery, deep in the tides of agony in the seas of self-destruction.
They dressed in silence, the needle forgotten on the tiles, and left the bathroom hand-in-hand. They were not saved, not from themselves or each other, not even forgiven for their sins. They were burdened and weary and jaded.
They had only traded one addiction for another.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed it. Or just thought it was a well-written story, since it's not really an 'enjoyable' sort of fic. Either way, remember, reviews are love. hugs