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Neither of us were expecting his sudden appearance at all. He didn’t even knock on the door like a normal person, he merely apparated right into the lounge, right next to the couch on which Draco and I were fooling around. Things had just started to heat up, and if Blaise had arrived maybe a minute later, he would’ve seen us both stark naked. We pulled apart as soon as we heard the loud crack, my hand immediately buttoning up my shirt.

“Blaise?” Draco asked, glancing sideways at me before returning his wide eyes to his best friend from Hogwarts.

Blaise looked slightly embarrassed. He looked closely at me. I felt uncomfortable under his intent gaze. It was then that his wonderfully violet eyes widened in surprise and recognition. “Granger? Draco, you’re with… Granger?” He couldn’t seem to comprehend just what was going on.

Draco quickly stood to his feet, straightening his shirt, walking across to his friend. “Blaise, what are you doing here?”

Blaise shrugged his broad shoulders, his black hair falling into his eyes with the one graceful movement. He hadn’t changed much since I had last seen him at graduation. He had the same features but looked more mature and less-boyish. He was well-toned and taut. I could see the ripples of his muscles through his tight black shirt. It finally occurred to me that someone I barely knew was standing in the middle of my lounge. I too stood to my feet.

“I thought I’d come by and say hello. I didn’t expect you to have… company.” Blaise said to Draco, but his eyes remained on me. He looked me up and down when he said ‘company’, as if contemplating whether I was truly classified as company at all.

I scowled at him. Obviously Draco had not seen or talked to him since we got together.

Draco glanced back at me again, beckoning for me to come forward. I stopped at his side and he lifted my hand, showing Blaise the ring on my finger. It twinkled in the dim lighting of the lounge, which was in turn reflected in Blaise’s brilliant violet eyes.

“We’re getting married.” Draco said indignantly, not the least but embarrassed or hesitant about telling his Slytherin friend.

The shock in Blaise’s expression deepened. “How – when… why?” He couldn’t get his head around it. He looked away from us for a moment, as if thinking about how it could be possible that Draco was engaged to none other than Hermione Granger when we were down each others’ throats back at Hogwarts.

Draco told Blaise to sit down and went to fetch some tea. Blaise sank backward onto the couch on which Draco and I had just been on, looking slightly faint and indecisive. I contemplated getting the heck out of the room so I could talk to Draco about the sudden appearance of Blaise, but Blaise’s voice stopped me, “Why?”

I sighed, settling onto the couch closest to the television. Blaise wouldn’t look at me, the shock too great. I didn’t blame him. The last he remembered was Draco and I squaring each other off with wands in the dungeons outside Snape’s office after Draco called me a Mudblood slut. I winced at the memory, understanding how Blaise found it hard to believe we were engaged.

“He’s changed.” I said, and that was all I could think of. To be honest, I didn’t know why. All I knew was that he made me happy, and I loved him. It seemed surreal that Blaise Zabini was in my flat after three years of having nothing to do with each other. Not that we had had anything to do with each other beforehand.

I was grateful when Draco emerged right at that moment with a tray of three cups and a tea pot. He handed Blaise his, and Blaise took it with tentative hands. Draco seated himself next to me, snuggling close. I was surprised at his audacity. I would’ve thought he’d be embarrassed about being with the ‘Mudblood’ all Slytherins had hated at school. Blaise’s eyes shifted onto us and he stared at Draco’s hand entwined with mine. He blinked a few times.

“Draco…” he trailed off, at a loss of what to say and do.

Draco sighed. “Look, Blaise – before you say anything,” he leaned forward, closer to his friend, “I’m happy with my life at the moment. Can you please not question that? Can we just drop this?”

I smiled a little at his words. They were reassuring – not that I needed reassurance he loved me – and I knew he was serious about letting Blaise know how he felt.

Blaise stared at Draco for a while and both of them shared a silent conversation. After what seemed like hours of anticipation, Blaise finally leaned back on the couch, stretching out a bit. “So, how have you two been?” I was so happy that he had said ‘you two’ instead of just Draco that I didn’t mind his forced tone.

Draco grinned at his friend, relaxing slightly. “We’re been great. Hermione’s been living with me for two years now. We just got engaged today.” He said, squeezing my hand and giving me a proud smile. I grinned back.

Blaise watched us for a few silent moments before genuinely letting it go, understanding that Draco was serious. I noticed he was more relaxed about us because the conversation progressed into questions about our lives for the past two years. He even asked me where I worked and if it was what I wanted to be doing. Blaise then launched into a fully blown conversation about Draco and what he had else he had been doing. I loved the way Draco kept looking across at me to check if I was bored, squeezing my hand every now and then, and smiling at me. I didn’t care that Blaise overlooked this with less-then-pleased eyes.

My cell phone rang half an hour later when our untouched tea had gone cold. I rushed up to take it in the bedroom. It was only Claudia letting me know that Scott had received the fax and had worked out the issue. The deadline was back on schedule. I was about to go back out into the lounge when I heard Blaise’s hushed, urgent voice.

“What do you think you’re doing with Granger, man? Have you gone mad?”

My mouth opened in shock. I pressed my ear against the door and listened intently to Draco’s reply.

“What I’m doing is starting a life with the woman I love.” He retorted rather irritably.

“But it’s Granger! The girl you used to tease in school, the one you thought too filthy to go within a five metre radius of!” Blaise said, as if none of it made sense. It obviously didn’t to him, but couldn’t he see we were happy? I was angry that he was questioning it. What the hell did he care? That was back at school, in the past. Both Draco and I had grown out of it. Obviously Blaise was still immature.

As if Draco had read my thoughts, he indignantly said, “Grow up, Blaise. That stuff is in the past. It was very immature of me.” I could picture him folding his arms across his chest.

“But Draco –”

“No buts, Blaise. I’ve spent just over two years getting to know her, and she’s nothing like we thought she was. I’ve realised blood doesn’t matter. She’s the first person I’ve fallen in love with, and I’m glad. If you can’t live with that, you don’t deserve to have a part in my life.” Draco hissed. My heart swelled with love at his words. Merlin, he was so sweet.

I finally decided I should interrupt before Blaise had a chance to go further and possibly hurt mine or Draco’s feelings. I pushed open the door and breezed into the lounge. Both heads shot up and they smiled at me as if the conversation had never taken place. I smiled back at them, walking right up to Draco and planting a kiss on his lips to show Blaise that I was serious about our relationship too. And to piss him off.

“It was just Claudia. Work stuff.” I said, settling back onto the couch again. Draco threw a warning glance at Blaise before sitting next to me and taking my hand again.

Blaise uncomfortably took residence on the couch opposite us again.

“So, why are you here?” Draco asked for the sake of moving the conversation along.

“Like I said, I wanted to see how you were doing. I haven’t seen you since that week after graduation.” Blaise answered with a slight irritated tone to his voice. I glared at him, already hating him for the conversation that I had overheard. He may have changed physically, but mentally he was still the ignorant, immature prat I remembered from school.

“Where have you been?” Draco asked, waving his wand over the tea to warm it up again. He handed me a cup and I took it gratefully. I found myself feeling glad that Draco was doing all these things for me. He obviously didn’t realise he was looking out for me a lot, making sure it was warm enough in the flat or absently massaging my feet when I had complained (without the intention of receiving a massage) that they were sore. Blaise watched us intently, though the disgusted look on his face was no longer there, merely an expression of confusion.

Blaise coughed, seemingly snapping himself out of his thoughts. “You know, here and there. You remember I went to America the night after I saw you last? Yeah, well I’ve been there since. Frankly, I didn’t want to leave. It sure beats dingy old London.” He finished with a scowl.

Draco chuckled. “You only hate London because you grew up here.” He pointed out matter-of-factly.

Blaise dismissed it with a wave of his hand. “I got to bury my Mum and Dad’s ashes there. They always said they wanted to go to America, so I gave them their chance.” He smiled faintly although sadness filled his eyes.

I frowned. “Your parents are dead?” I didn’t mean to sound so blunt; I was a little shocked. I hadn’t thought much about Blaise’s life, so naturally I didn’t think about his parents. And to hear about them for the first time only to find they are dead came as a bit of a surprise. How did Blaise handle it so well? I knew I would be miserable for the rest of my life if my parents died.

Blaise nodded, switching his eyes onto mine. I felt them boring into me, as if he were trying to delve into my mind and figure me out. I shifted uncomfortably. “They were killed right before graduation. Portkey mishap” He said it so casually, but I could hint the raw pain in his tone. He was still getting over it after all these years.

And for the first time since I had hated him today, I felt sympathetic and sorry for him. Pity washed over me as I watched him fighting off the pain, his violet eyes wide and vulnerable. I glanced at Draco and the same pain-ridden expression rested on his face, though it was felt for his friend.

“You’re OK, mate.” Draco said, causing Blaise’s expression to return to normal as if he could forget it just like that.

I relaxed a bit, though I still couldn’t help feeling sorry for Blaise. I mentally kicked myself for asking if they were dead.

Draco checked his watch. “Shit!” he cursed, standing to his feet. “Hermione, I have to go. Raul wants me to drop by round about now.”

“What? You didn’t tell me!” I said, helplessly glancing at Blaise. I knew that Draco would insist for him to stay and keep me company. I did not want to be left alone with him!

Draco leaned down and gave me a quick kiss. “I’m sorry, Hermione. It slipped my mind. Blaise will stay here so you have someone to talk to. But I really must go.” He nodded at Blaise and before I could protest his leaving, Draco popped out of the room with a loud crack. I was left staring at the spot in which he had been standing just seconds ago.

My mind was racing. Blaise hated me. Who knew what he would do? Sure, he was Draco’s best friend, but I didn’t know whether he cared enough about Draco to care if he hurt me. I had remembered Blaise (though vaguely) being slightly sadistic. What if he hexed me, or sent me somewhere I couldn’t escape from? Sure he wouldn’t do that – would he?

My eyes snapped onto him to find his brilliant violet ones staring straight back at me. My stomach jolted at the look in them. He wasn’t angry, jealous or disgusted. He actually looked slightly torn. He looked as though he wanted to scream, but at the same time was longing for something. I couldn’t figure it out and it frustrated me to have him staring at me so boldly. I cleared my throat and shifted in my seat, hoping I would snap him out of whatever trance he was in.

He stood to his feet, glancing around the room. He wandered over to the bookcase where I kept all the books I had kept from school, and some that I had collected over the years. His eyes roamed the titles until he picked out a particularly large green leather-bound book and took it off the shelf. I was immediately on my feet and rushed over to him, carefully taking the book out of his hands.

“Don’t touch that, it was my grandmother’s.” I snapped, returning the old book to the shelf. Blaise’s eyes were on me again and I exhaled uncomfortably, avoiding looking at him directly. Instead, I swept off a bit of dust that had gathered on one particular shelf, cautiously stepping around Blaise to get to the other end.

But his hand on my wrist stopped me, and I spun around to face him, shocked. I expected to see fury in his eyes, but instead I saw that same longing I had noted before. I glanced down at his loose but unforgiving grip on my arm, and then back to his face.

“Do you have any idea how much it hurts me to see you with Draco?” He asked me, his voice quiet, husky and, dare I say it, sexy.

I swallowed nervously. “Look, I know you don’t like the fact that Draco’s engaged to me, but that Mudblood and Gryffindor stuff is all in the past. Draco’s moved on.” My voice was a mere croak in my fear.

Blaise’s expression didn’t change. He suddenly leaned in close and my breath caught in my throat as his face, so close to mine I could feel the heat radiating from him, was right next to my cheek. “I’m not talking about that.” He whispered in my ear, his hot breath sending shivers down my spine. He moved his head sideways and pressed his forehead against mine.

And then the unexpected happened.

His mouth brushed gently against mine, his lips soft and tender. My eyes widened in shock and I ordered myself to push him away and apparate to Draco as fast as I could. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it, and as he kissed me over and over with an urgency I had never experienced before, my mind completely detached itself from me, and my body took over.



A/N: Another chapter done and dusted! I realise that things might be a little rushed right here. But before you bombard me with comments about it being not believable and yada yada, please understand that I am the one writing this story, and that there is an incredibly solid, plausible reason as to why he's kissing her when they've only just seen each other for the first time in years.

And just so you know, this is where things start getting better. I understand a lot of you were impatient with the first two chapters because they didn't involve any Blaise/Hermione. I hope you understand that Chapter One and Two were setting the scene. I wanted people to have an idea of the intimate relationship between Draco and Hermione for later on in the story.

I hope those things have been cleared up. Otherwise, I hope you all enjoyed reading this and that you'll give me feedback on the good and the bad. Thanks, guys! ^_^

Danielle xx

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