It's new. It's a bit short. I promise the chapters will get longer though!
Once again, he was drunk.
It was Blaise Zabini's fault, he decided. No one brought a bottle of Ogden's Finest Firewhiskey to the offices of Malfoy Enterprises without intending to drink it. And Draco Malfoy drank. The bottle was nearly gone by the time his lunch hour was up.
Leaning back in his black leather chair, Draco closed his eyes and watched the lights twinkle behind his lids. "When did life get like this?" he asked, his words slurring as he spoke.
"Like what?" Blaise wondered, no more lucid than his friend.
"Boring," the blond lamented. "I wake up, I go to work, I drink, sleep, and do it all over again the next day. Life used to be fun, right?"
Blaise shrugged his tired shoulders. "I guess," he mumbled. "Until the war, at least."
Draco winced as memories of the Second Wizarding War flooded his booze-addled mind. Try as he might to forget the horrors he had seen, they appeared to him nightly in his dreams. Torture. Blood. Murder. He relived it all the moment his eyes closed. Charity Burbage, the Muggle Studies teacher who had been killed on his dining room table and devoured by Voldemort's pet snake, haunted his subconscious thoughts. Hermione Granger's screams echoed in his mind as he watched her writhe in pain under the torture of the Cruciatus Curse.
"Yeah," he agreed.
"See the paper laterly? I mean lately," Blaise asked, rising on trembling legs toward the bar cart. Draco cracked open one eye and stared at him before shaking his head. "Seems the Granger/Weasley love saga has come to an end."
"The Prophet thought it was necessary to print that?" he wondered. "Aren't there more important things to report on?"
Blaise chuckled as he poured himself another drink. "Like what? The goings on of former Death Eaters?" he asked.
Draco shrugged. "No, I like staying out of the papers," he replied. "I just wish this whole Golden Trio rubbish would go away."
"Maybe now it will," Blaise said, reclaiming his seat. Perhaps he was right. Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley had parted ways back in their school days and had yet to rekindle the flame. Or perhaps they had and the injunction Harry had taken out against The Daily Prophet prevented them from publishing the stories. The Boy Who Lived wanted his privacy and he got it. His friends hadn't been quite as lucky. "Dating Granger must be exhausting," he commented.
Draco sat up straight and opened his eyes. "What makes you say that?" he wondered.
The Italian smirked as he swirled the contents of his glass. "Nothing," he replied. "Just that she's never wrong, right? It's gotta be hard dating the smartest person on the planet."
"Maybe if you're as dumb as Weasley," Draco stated. Blaise laughed louder than necessary and set his drink down as a few drops spilled over the rim. "I'm just saying, I've seen the pictures. She grew up well. I'm sure there are plenty of ways to keep her mouth shut."
"Are you saying to want to date Hermione Granger?" Blaise inquired. "She's a mudblood you realize. Your father would kill you."
Draco shrugged. "To hell with him," he muttered. "Remember the last time he tried to control my life? I wound up in Azkaban for six months as I awaited trial. I'm doing things my way from here on out."
"So you're gonna ask Granger out?" Blaise asked.
He shook his head. "Please. She'd hex me before I finished asking," he replied. "Plus, she's not my type. You know I only like them for one night. Granger doesn't impress me as a one night stand kind of girl."
"Far too moral a woman for your tastes," Blaise agreed. "Although, imagine what her ex would think if she took up with you."
Draco smirked. "Because I need to give him another reason to be jealous of me?" he snarked. "Look, just drop it. I'm not interested in someone like Hermione Granger. It's just the booze talking."
Blaise agreed to let it go, but couldn't help pointing out that the booze always mentioned Granger. His friend scowled, but said nothing more. He knew it was true. They both did. Her presence in the papers made her an easy topic of discussion, but Blaise couldn't remember when Draco had stopped making fun of her and turned to wondering about the person she had become. It seemed to Blaise that, without Draco realizing it, his best friend had developed a crush on his former childhood enemy.
"I thought we were dropping it," Draco stated tersely.
Rising from his seat once more, he moved to the desk and took Draco's glass. "Sorry, mate," he replied. "Consider the subject dropped."
Draco sighed in relief. "Thank you," he said.
Blaise busied himself at the drink cart, refilling the glass in his hand. What Draco didn't see was the tiny vial he pulled from an inside pocket of his dark blazer. He let a few drops of the amber liquid fall into the glass, the potion masked by the color of the firewhiskey. After setting the drink back down in front of his friend, Blaise reclaimed his seat. "We should toast," he suggested.
"To what?" Draco wondered.
Blaise held up his glass. "To...living the lives we want to lead," he stated.
"Cheers," Draco replied, raising his glass. He took a long pull on his drink, finishing off half of it before setting it back down on his desk. It didn't take long for the potion to overwhelm him. His eyes felt heavy, his mind became fuzzy, and soon he was asleep.
Blaise rose from his chair and removed the glass from the desk. "You'll thank me for this, mate," he said before leaving Draco's office. "Eventually."