"Wild Youth"

"It all ends in tears anyway."
― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

1

The old schoolhouse the Snakes called home was quiet. I was alone. The rest of the boys were at the Lupin drinking beers and dancing with girls. I sat on my mattress reading Kerouac and smoking cigarettes. I wore a black studded leather jacket with a green snake patch on the back, thick rimmed glasses, tight black pants, a chain as a belt, and a leopard skin scarf. My hair was shaved on the sides, but long on the top. I liked the schoolhouse best when it was empty. It let me think.

The musty old building was run down when we found it. The wood was rotten. The windows were broken. Overgrowth from the forest seeped in through cracks. The place was still run down now. Along the edges of the room, mattresses were laid out in rows on the ground. There was no kitchen; there was no heat; there was no privacy. Each of us owned a small trunk we kept our belongings in. We boarded up the windows, so no sun ever got in. It was an appropriately rough base for our gang of street punks.

Close to eleven, Draco burst through the door. He threw his helmet to the side, and searched through the trunk at the foot of his mattress. "Where's everyone Nott?" He asked without looking at me.

"At the Lupin."

Draco was the leader of the Snakes. He was an up-and-comer in the old gangs before things got sour. When the police crack down thinned out the ranks, and the mob left to a city with less heat, Draco found us a home. Now, we fought to keep our heads up amongst the other packs of wild youth. Draco kept us focused. He always dressed the same: a fitted black suit with a thin black tie.

I once asked him about his attire: "Why do you always wear a suit?"

"Respect, Nott. People respect me if I wear a suit. If you ever want to be respected Nott, you'll have to wear one too."

"I find suits dreary. I'll wear one when I have to attend a funeral. Otherwise, I'd rather not."

"Alright Nott. The next time there's a funeral, I'll let you borrow one. Then, you'll learn the respect that comes with it."

Draco laid his suit jacket on his mattress. He changed shirts: from white to green. He'd been out on a date. Since he was back early, it could not have went well. He picked his suit jacket back up, and ran a comb through his white hair. "Why aren't you there?" he asked.

"Felt like reading," I said.

"Cool. Lets go meet them."

"Alright." I stood up from my mattress, lit another cigarette and zipped up my leather jacket. I stuck Kerouac into my chest pocket. Draco picked up his helmet off the ground. We left the schoolhouse into the bitter night. Draco tied chains around the door, and latched a padlock onto it. I tied my leopard skin scarf tightly around my neck. A cold wind blew past us. Dead leaves clutched onto the bare tree branches. It was an unforgiving autumn.

Draco straddled his custom Black Shadow bike: Cottonmouth. He paid a fortune for that bike. Impatient, he put on his helmet, and revved his engine. I pulled a tarp off the red 2001 BMW F I stole from a lot. Once I got on the bike, Draco sped off down the dirt road, and I followed close behind.

The Lupid was a small club in an old mill. It hid behind a canopy of trees on the outskirts of the city. A single neon sign radiated on the stone building. Since we set up in the schoolhouse, it became our turf. Only friends of the Snakes were let in. Draco and I parked our bikes by the door next to the rest of the Snakes' bikes. Crabbe stood alone outside. He was a big guy, with a shaved head, and an unzipped studded leather jacket with a green snake patch on the back. All of the Snakes wore that jacket, except Draco. Crabbe held a beer and a cigarette. He liked to stay outside looking for a fight. There was something bloodthirsty about him: a real thug. He grunted as we approached.

"Crabbe," Draco greeted.

"Boss," he said, stoic.

"Quiet night?" I asked.

"Too fucking quiet," he replied irritated.

"Don't worry Crabbe," Draco assured him. "The night's still young. Someone's bound to stir up some shit." Draco patted Crabbe on the back, and we walked into the club.

The club was busy. Music pulsed through the walls. Girls with tight clothes filled the dance-floor. Snakes were littered in the crowd. Draco and I headed to the bar. We grabbed ourselves some beer. Draco gave me a slight nod, and headed towards Pansy, an old flame, standing on the other side of the club. I finished my beer quickly, ordered another, and pushed through the crowd.

In the corner, I found Blaise Zabini leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. Blaise was a tall guy. He wore the Snakes leather jacket without a shirt, a flat brown hat, black pants, and a thick chain as a belt. Blaise was the second command in the gang. Draco only took his advice, other than mine. Blaise was calmer than the others. He was less willing to run in swinging his arms wildly at everything. He picked his battles well. It saved us a few times from others' brashness. He greeted me with a slight wave. "I thought you weren't coming tonight," he said as a approached.

"Draco brought me along," I said.

"Cool. You going to dance?"

"No," I shook my head. I leaned against the wall. With my beer in one hand, I lit a cigarette in another. "You know I don't do that."

"Yeah," Blaise acknowledged. "I don't know why though. You never seem to enjoy yourself. You have an aversion to fun?"

"Something like that."

"Look," Blaise pointed towards the dance-floor. "See that blonde chick?" A girl with long blonde hair, a deep v blouse, and black high waisted hotpants danced alone. "She's desperate for someone to dance with her. I'm willing to let you have first dibs. You want her?"

"Nah, I'm good."

"Your loss." Blaise finished his beer. He placed the empty bottle on a table. "Try not to have too much fun with the wall," he said sarcastically. Moving with the beat, he approached the dance-floor. Wedging his way into the crowd, he positioned himself behind the blonde girl. Soon, his hands were placed on her hips, and she grinded against him.

I continued to sip my beer. The other Snakes were littered around the bar. Their leather jackets and chain belts were easy to pick out. Goyle, a big guy with a mohawk, ruled over the pool table, hoping to swindle anyone dumb enough to play him. Harper hung around the bathroom, sneaking in to do a line or two every couple of minutes. Flint sat on a stool at the bar. He downed shots of whiskey. The new guys, Malcolm and Graham, danced on the dance-floor with girls. I took out my book. Leaning on the wall, I continued where I left off in the schoolhouse. I preferred to be back there, alone, in the silence. The music blared around me. I could not think here. I lit another cigarette.

Nearly one o'clock, my concentration was broken by a large crash from outside. I closed my book, and quickly surveyed the room. Everyone stood still. I caught sight of Draco, who stared back at me, before heading towards the door. Blaise passed by me, tapping my shoulder. I stuffed Kerouac into my pocket, and followed behind him.

Outside, there was a small crowd standing in the parking lot. They wore beige polo shirts with khakis pants. It was the Bears. In front of them, Zacharias stood wearing his yellow Letterman's jacket. He held onto a wooden baseball bat. Cottonmouth, Draco's bike, was tipped over on the ground. Both of its mirrors were broken. Crabbe sat on the curb. He held onto his head. Blood dripped between his fingers. Behind Zach, Justin played with a switchblade. Wayne carried a lead pipe. Goyle dragged a thick chain out of Lupin, joining us, ready to attack.

"Mr. Malfoy!" Zach called as we left the club.

"Zach," Draco replied, "Cedric let you off his leash? What are you doing here."

"Me and the boys were bored. Thought we would have a little fun. And, you know, there's nothing more fun than hunting a few pathetic snakes." Zach called at Draco.

Draco looked at his fingernails, avoiding Zach's gaze. "It's going to take a bit more than a couple of teddy bears to scare me, mister Smith. And tell your boss that if he really wants to start something, to come himself, not send his pathetic lap dog."

Funny. That's funny. You're always so fucking funny Draco." Zach yelled, pointing at Draco. He swung his bat, breaking the headlight on Cottonmouth.

I walked over to Crabbe. He breathed deeply. I looked at the wound beneath his hand. A layer of skin was gone, but it did not look deep. He was lucky.

"Nott, how's Crabbe?" Draco asked.

"He'll be fine. He's just been grazed."

"Good. Lets teach some Bears a lesson. Snakes don't like being disturbed."

Draco ran towards Zach. The rest of the Snakes followed suit. Zach swung his bat at Draco, but Draco bent forward beneath the swing. Still running, he tackled Zach to the ground. When Zach's hand reached the ground, the bat bounced out of his grip, and rolled onto the street. I jumped forward, grabbed the bat, and tossed it towards Draco. Draco caught it in the air, and swung down, hitting Zach in the stomach.

Around them, the of the gangs collided. Blaise kicked Justin's switchblade out his hand, and socked him straight in the face. Goyle swung a chain at Wayne, but Wayne blocked it with a lead pipe. Ernie kicked Draco in the stomach, pushing him back away from Zach. I ran forward, slid on the ground, and kicked Ernie on the back of the shin, causing him to kneel forward. Standing up quickly, using my momentum, I elbowed him on the back of the head. He fell forward onto the asphalt. Zach, who recovered from Draco's blow, grabbed my legs, and threw me to the ground. Wayne got a good swipe at Goyle with the lead pipe. He stumbled in a daze. Blaise reached forward, and put Wayne in a headlock, Justin kicked Blaise in the back, trying to break his grip. Zach climbed over top of me on the ground, and started to punch my face.

Finally, Draco grabbed the switchblade Justin dropped, and picked up Ernie from the ground. Ernie seemed concussed. His pupils were wide. Draco held the blade to Ernie's throat, and slowly pressed in. "Hey fuckers! How far are you willing to go!" Draco yelled with a wide smirk. Zach, noticing Draco, stood up quickly, and raised his arms. The other Bears followed Zach's lead. "I thought so," Draco said. "Next time, come when you're willing to play for real." Draco threw Ernie onto the ground and stepped back.

The Bears rushed forward, grabbed Ernie, and headed back into the car they arrived in. Draco played with the switchblade between his fingers. Once the Bears were gone, Draco wiped the blood off of the blade onto his suit.

"Nobody fucks with the Snakes."

...

Author's Notes:

This story is unlike any story I have written before. I hope you liked it. I was inspired by movies such as The Warriors, and music such as Twin Shadow's Five Seconds. I liked the idea of making something kinetic and rough. Most of my stories are meticulous. This one will be a little wild. I've already written most of it, so expect regular updates. It should only be about 15,000 words.

Just to be clear: the romance in this story is Nott/Hermione. Despite this, I hope you are willing to give it a chance. I write predominantly Nott/Hermione stories. I think they are a lot of fun. Feel free to check out some of my other stories, if you are curious. That said, the romance in this story is only a part of it. Draco has a pretty large role (in a sense, the largest), so don't let the pairing dissuade you.

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Thanks. BJ.