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A/N: There is a sequel to this story, written in the same style, which is called Rendezvous.

 




 

“That’s it. I’ve had enough, just go.”

 

“Just go? Go where?”

 

“To be honest, I don’t really care. Go back to wherever it was you came from.”

 

“We both know I can’t do that.”

 

“Hmmph.”

 

“Besides, of all the places in the world that I would want to be – this is quite the last.”

 

“Then why are you here. It’s entirely your fault that we’re now in this mess.”

 

“How is it my fault?!”

 

“You followed me here.”

 

“I followed you? Why in the name of Merlin would I do that?”

 

Hermione Granger paused momentarily. Well, if she had known the answer to that infuriatingly logical question, she would not have been stuck in this elevator with a man whom she was increasingly beginning to suspect was mad.

 

She closed her eyes momentarily, hoping desperately that when they re-opened she would find herself snug in bed and not late for her first day as co-chairwoman of the Department of Justice and certainly not trapped in a confined space with an uncomfortably familiar person. Alas, her bed was not at all snug, so she knew it to be the latter.

 

She eyed the dark haired man wearily. Blaise Zabini had always been a rather volatile character – one she had not seen in a very long time. And, she reflected, he had quite enough reason to be volatile towards her. She inched away slightly.

 

“Well, why are you here?”

 

“I do not see how that is of any concern to you.”

 

“I am an important person around here. As such I deserve your respect, however reluctant you might be to give it.”

 

“I think you’ll find reluctant to be too insipid a description of my thoughts on the matter.”

 

“You know, I could have you arrested for your impertinence!”

 

“I find that incredibly unlikely.”

 

 

*****

 

“This is insane. I need to get out of this lift. NOW. You realise I am now half an hour late for a hearing?”

 

Please refrain from talking further. If I must be punished with your presence, I cannot bear the added pain of your voice.”

 

She looked murderous. After all these years the righteous Gryffindor still wore her thoughts like war paint, clear across her face. He tried not to bristle at her presumption. Who on earth was she to speak to him in such a way?

 

Blaise gazed steadily at the subject of his musings. She looked rather the same as she had all those years ago. Perhaps more polished, he thought as he gazed in masked appreciation at her finely stitched robes and delicate features. Perhaps not, followed shortly thereafter as his gaze descended once more upon the tumultuous mass of what was apparently her hair.

 

She was haughty as ever. Merlin only knew why.

 

“You’ve been missing for five years; forgive me for finding your presence here rather alarming.”

 

“I was unaware that you’d been keeping tabs on my behaviour, Granger. Are you trying to tell me you care?”

 

“Why did you come back?”

 

“…”

 

“Blaise…”

 

“Stop. Talking.”

 

Silence reigned once more and he was given the peace needed to pretend that her voice was only a memory that plagued him, and not issued from her stifling presence. Oh, but she was infuriating. He hazarded a glance in her direction and recognised the tell-tale signs of her anxiety.

 

She was nibbling, with increasing fervour, on her lower lip. Had he taught her nothing?

 

“You’re doing it again.”

 

“What?”

 

“You’re nervous. Why?”

 

“I’m not nervous.”

 

“You are. We both know I can see it.”

 

“Blaise Zabini, you have no right to presume you know what I am feeling!”

 

“Oh, back to full names are we?”

 

 

****

 

Tap

 

Tap

 

Tap

 

“Stop that!”

 

“My, my - where are your manners?”

 

Tap

 

Please stop that.”

 

Tap

 

“No. I don’t think I will.”

 

Tap

 

Bang

 

“Oh, fuck! Granger, keep your claws in – was that really necessary?!”

 

“Yes. Now kindly pass me back my shoe.”

 

“…”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Oh, so now you’re polite?”

 

“I don’t recall having been rude.”

 

“You wouldn’t.”

 

“And precisely what does that mean?”

 

“Figure it out.”

 

“You’re being a petulant child!”

 

“…”

 

“Get your hand away from me!”

 

“Get over yourself, Granger. I was just wondering where that scar came from.”

 

“…”

 

“Well?”

 

His face was uncomfortably close. Hermione tried to stay still, even as she could feel the gentle heat moving from his fingers and imbibing the skin of her cheek which they caressed. Her shuddery breath left her and his curved lips lifted in a slight smirk. Most people might have missed it. She did not. She knew the expression far too well.

 

Turning her head from his, she glanced at the wall wondering as she did so, how it had come to be that she was caught here with him of all people. Why Blaise Zabini?

 

“Someone will be here soon.”

 

“You’ve been saying that for over an hour. Who are you trying to convince?”

 

“People will miss me. They’ll come looking. You know, you should be grateful to be trapped here with me. If you were on your own you’d either be left to die or until someone fixed this lift. Considering it took a week for Magical Maintenance to fix my office window – I’m guessing it would be the former.”

 

“When did you become so bitter?”

 

“I’m not bitter.”

 

“Yes, you are.”

 

“I’m happy!”

 

“…”

 

“I am. I have everything.”

 

“Do you really?”

 

“Yes. I have my family; I have great friends and an amazing career.”

 

“Indeed.”

 

“And Ron. I have Ron.”

 

“Ah…”

 

“What does that mean?”

 

“I’m just basking in the sight of your overwhelming happiness.”

 

“I love him.”

 

“Of course.”

 

She muttered inanely under her breath. Why was she here again, sparring with him as she had so long before. He was still the same bastard. Clearly some things did not change. Hermione clenched her jaw as she distracted herself with thoughts of Ron. She loved him. She loved him. She loved him.

 

Feeling the heavy gaze of her unwanted companion upon her once more, she broke her chant.

 

“What now?”

 

“I don’t think you do.”

 

“Don’t think I do what?”

 

“Love Weasley.”

 

“Excuse me? What on earth would you know about it?!”

 

Everything.”

 

“You don’t have the right to talk to me like that!”

 

“Tell me, Hermione, when was I ever concerned with your ideas of right and wrong? Besides… you know I like to make you mad.”

 

 

****

 
“Egypt.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“I was in Egypt.”

 

“…”

 

“You asked.”

 

“I thought it was beneath you to listen to my requests.”

 

“I never said it was beneath me.”

 

“You implied it.”

 

“You inferred it.”

 

“…”

 

“…”

 

“Why?”

 

“Why, what?”

 

Why were you in Egypt?”

 

“…”

 

“Well?”

 

“There was no reason to stay.”

 

She was doing it again. Twitching. Her discomfort was written all over her face. He craved to know what she was thinking. But she would skirt around the issue. She always did.

 

“I meant - what were you doing there?”

 

“I know what you meant.”

 

Well?!”

 

“I had to take care of my mother’s estate, if you really must know.”

 

“And that took five years?”

 

“It took one.”

 

“So…”

 

“Must you know everything?”

 

“You appear to have no qualms about interrogating me!”

 

“It’s my job.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“I married an Egyptian woman. That was why I stayed.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“She died last year.”

 

“Oh.”

 

Oh?”

 

“I’m sorry… I  ...”

 

“Why on earth are you apologising?”

 

“You know perfectly well I can’t help it.”

 

Yes…I know that.”

 

“Did you love her very much?”

 

“Would it ease your guilt if I had?”

 

“Blaise!”

 

“Back to first names now? You never could make up your mind.”

 

“That’s not fair!”

 

“Life’s not fair, Granger. Get over it – the rest of us have.”

 

She moved quickly, her palm striking across his slanted cheekbone with surprising agility. They were both on their feet as he pressed a hand to the burning skin. His eyes blazed obsidian as he stalked closer in their gilded cage.

                                                                                                                               

“You never could keep your emotions in check. Much to your own… detriment.”

 

“Shut up!”








“Do you slap Weasley when the mood strikes you?”

 

“No. He doesn’t treat me the way you do.”

 

“He wouldn’t know how.”

 

“You bas-”

 

“You try that again and I’ll snap it off.”

 

“I hate you.”

 

“No. You don’t.”

 

“Yes. I do.”

 

He stepped closer into her corner, noting the uncomfortably familiar scent of her. He had thought with increasing frequency about this moment, the moment when he would see her again. He just hadn’t thought it would be on his first day back. And he certainly had not counted on an elevator malfunction. His hand met the gentle flare of her hip and Blaise recognised the guarded look in her eye and the jut of her chin bearing its mask of indignation.

 

He leaned closer.

 

“No you don’t.”

 

The lift chose that untimely moment to lurch violently, and he was thrown back from her. He glanced startled as the golden arms of the elevator door began to push apart as wizards shouted from outside. As he straightened his robes, he was flooded with disconcertion and not relief at the thought of his rescue.

 

“I do.”

 

“That wasn’t always the case.”

 

“It is now.”

 

“Perhaps. But as your new co-chair I do believe I’ll have plenty of time to test that out.”

 

What?!”

 

“I’ll see you in your office, Granger.”

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