I have no excuse. I guess I'm just no good at keeping self-assigned deadlines. But, I'm back! And here's another chapter :)

From now on, Draco swore to himself, I'm going to leave the sympathy to Pansy. He had missed a potions class for Potter, and what had he gotten? Nothing but grumbling and screams to "Get away!" Although, Draco had to admit reluctantly, he had somewhat provoked the screaming.

Watching the flickering flames, he couldn't help but sigh. What was it with Potter? It wasn't good enough that he was famous. It wasn't good enough he had loyal friends. Now Draco cared about the Bloody-Boy-Who-Lived as well?

Musing darkly about dismemberment spells, he hardly noticed when the other Slytherins came back into the common room.

"Hey, Draco." Crabbe stood behind him, looking dim as always, with a scroll in his left hand. "Snape said to give this to you." He held it out, his meaty hands gripping the parchment like a vice. Too many times, Draco had seen those hands slobbery, creamy, and coated with various foods- he took the scroll from him gingerly. A trickle of sweat touched his finger; Draco surpressed a shudder.

He recognized the handwriting immediately: Snape. Scanning the parchment, he felt a groan rise up in his throat.


For your failure to appear in class today, you have been assigned a week long detention, starting tomorrow. Be there promptly at eight.

Please meet me today in my office to discuss your conduct.

Professor Snape."

Snape had always "discussed his conduct" during the detention. What had caused this change?

"Potter," he growled. Once again, the Gryffindor had managed to ruin his life.

The longer the clock ticked, the more frayed Severus' nerves became. His hands drummed the arms of his chair, his desk was piled with essays, and he was struggling to stay awake. Darn those brats! They were all just a bunch of miscreants, hooligans, delinquents, whelps—especially Potter. That twerp was the worst of the lot.

Just as Severus picked up his pen to start correcting the mountain of essays, the door creaked open, and Draco stepped in. Severus mock-sighed, putting down his pen as though interrupted in something of great importance. He had a reputation to keep, after all.

Draco sat awkwardly in the chair, his face creased and a frown playing across his face. To the untrained eye, he would seem the perfect repentant student, awaiting punishment. But Severus was hardly untrained; he saw the clenched fists, the darting eyes, and the clenched jaw. He cleared his throat, and Draco's head shot up.

"What is troubling you, Draco?" Draco turned his face away, shrugging. Severus gritted his teeth. "A verbal answer, if you please."

"Nothing, Professor," said Draco. His voice made Severus want to smash his own calm demeanor.

"Draco, I am giving you one chance to tell me. What is wrong?"

"I told you, nothing."

"Fine." Severus resisted the urge to sigh. Or scream. Or cry. Or do any of the millions of things he wanted to do right now. Remain professional, he reminded himself. You are a teacher. You will not give in to your frustration. You will act like a mature adult, and use only one means—revenge. "This evening, Draco, you will be serving detention here with me."
"Yeah, I know," Draco grumbled. Severus raised an eyebrow, and Draco, scowling, quieted.

"What you do not know is that Harry Potter is serving detention as well." Severus waited for the explosion, but Draco merely shrugged.


"Draco, I don't think you quite understood me." Severus leaned forward slightly, with a distinct feeling of melodrama. "Potter is serving detention with you." This time, the explosion came.

"WHAT?" Draco jumped out of his seat, his face twisted in an ugly blend of anger and trepidation. His eyes were wide, his scowl set, and his arms looked ready to punch something. Yet there was something almost defensive about his stance. His breath came out short and fast, and his voice was strangled. Severus had not expected that.

"Draco, calm down. I promise I will explain." Still in in that odd combination of fear and anger, Draco sat, mumbling under his breath. "I arranged this detention not to punish you, but to punish him."

"But… then why am I in detention?"

"Because, Draco," said Severus, smiling slightly, "You are a part of the punishment. I want you to make this detention as awful for him as possible."

Next chapter: the dreaded detention. And it will (hopefully) be up a lot sooner than this one was.