No special author's notes before this chapters, lads and lasses, just a heartfelt thank you to all my reviewers. Author's notes are added at the end instead. But just one thing before we begin, whoever gets the Monty Python reference in this chapter gets a free cookie. *grins*



Well, that was the most intelligent answer she could come up with at such short notice. She was being rather distracted by Blaise's dishevelled appearance, and had a hard time concentrating on anything.

Silence fell over the two of them, since neither knew what to say. Blaise ran a hand through his wet hair and wrung the water out his robes, or at least made a valiant attempt to. Hermione watched him, unable to look away.

"What are you doing here anyway?" She asked, and immediately wished she hadn't.

"I wanted to go for a swim." Blaise said, keeping a perfectly straight face.

"Really?" Hermione threw him a sceptical glance.

"Nope." He answered, confusing her further.

"Then why are you here?" She asked, getting a little annoyed.

"I felt like coming." Blaise shrugged.

Hermione blinked, and didn't know what to reply to that. Blaise had felt like swimming across the lake, in chillingly cold water, just to sit down next to her and say hello. Not one second of the last minute had made sense. Scratch that; not one second of the last few weeks had made sense.

"And why, pray tell, did you feel like coming? Just to annoy me and interrupt my studying?" She asked, deciding that he was probably only there to gloat anyway.

"You know, Draco told me something curious today." Blaise said, as if he hadn't heard her. "He told me that I was a stubborn oaf. He said that he'd given up on me ever finding my brain."

"Well, so have I, with the difference that I'm not as thick as Malfoy." Hermione spat, returning to her book.

"He also told me something else." Blaise continued on, even though she ignored him the best she could. "He told me had overheard you saying something even more curious. I'm not sure if I believe him though. He's not one for telling the truth."

Hermione resisted the urge to roll her eyes; who would have thought that Blaise Zabini was such a champion rambler? Not she that was for sure. And about such unimportant things as Draco Malfoy's comings and goings.

"I mean, what he said couldn't possibly be true could it? But then my brain finally kicked into action, although it must have some sort of dysfunction, seeing as I voluntarily swam across the bloody lake." Blaise rambled on.

"Really? How fascinating." She mumbled, trying against all hope to tune him out.

Was it her fault that Blaise had such a beautiful voice? He was, no matter how she tried, impossible to ignore. Giving up, she listened.

"Well, it was. Shocking is more correct to describe it as. I've never been so surprised in my life." He agreed.

Against her will, she was becoming interested. What could possibly be so fascinating that Blaise had to swim across the lake and tell her, of all people, about? After the episode in the library, he wouldn't even look at her.

"Well, are you going to tell me and let me get back to work, or are you going to ramble all day?" She asked, raising an eyebrow and putting down her book.

"Oh, I'm sorry; he said he'd heard you say you loved me. Of course, that couldn't possibly happen; you haven't even looked at me in weeks." Blaise said, extremely quickly and rose to leave.

Hermione shocked. How dare he? How dare Malfoy say something like that? Blaise had only come here to gloat and laugh at her after all. She stood up abruptly, causing Blaise to stop and turn around.

"How dare you?" She demanded, blinking away the tears that threatened to fall, "How dare you? How dare you come and laugh at me? How dare you even think that you could laugh at me?"

Blaise looked bewildered for a moment, apparently puzzling over what she meant, before realization dawned, and then his expression turned shocked. He took a step forward and grabbed her shoulders desperately.

"I am not here to laugh at you. How could you even think that? Draco just told me, ten minutes ago, that you loved me. Do you know how I reacted? I couldn't move, couldn't speak, and couldn't breathe." He said insistently. "I couldn't believe that you, of all people, would love me. It just wasn't possible. I mean, I've spent the last few weeks wallowing in misery, because I thought you hated me, and then it turns out it's the other way around."

Hermione felt much like he described. What was he talking about? Why was he telling her this? Was he really telling her that he liked, if not loved, her? Was this even happening?

"What?" She asked stupidly.

"I'm telling you I love you, Hermione. Now please tell me this wasn't just a prank of Draco's, and that I don't have to die of embarrassment." He pleaded. "Because it feels like I just made a huge fool of myself."

"N-no, you haven't made a fool of yourself. And it isn't just a prank Malfoy played, although I would give pretty much to find out how he knows, but it's true." She rambled.

Blaise relaxed somewhat, and smiled that insanely beautiful smile. How he managed to look handsome, even when his clothes were dripping wet and he had seaweed in his hair, she didn't know, but somehow he managed to pull it off.

Taking Hermione by surprise, he leaned forward and kissed her lightly. And this time, neither of them gave thought to pull away. Neither of them cared that they were getting soaked, nor that there would probably be hell to pay later.


High up in the air above the Quidditch pitch, Draco Malfoy nearly fell off his broom laughing. Goyle, one of the Slytherin teams Beaters, had just knocked himself out with his own bat.

Suddenly, while clutching his broom tightly to not fall off, he spotted Potter coming out on the field, followed by Weasley and Longbottom. Curious, he dived and landed just in front of the Gryffindors.

"What prompted the field-invasion?" He asked, keeping the sneer off his face.

"Well, it's not like we want to be here, Malfoy, but we're looking for Hermione." Potter explained.

"And I should know where she is because?" Draco asked, confused now.

"Because one of the bloody Slytherins came to our Common Room and asked where she was! It's obvious you're behind this Malfoy!" Ron exploded.

"One of the Sly-"Draco stated, but broke off as he realized who it must have been. "I can't believe it! What'd he say?"

"He asked where H-Hermione was, and said it was r-really important." Longbottom broke in.

"He did? I can't believe he actually got over himself! Finally! Well, if he isn't bugging you still, you must know where she is." Draco said, shrugging.

"We know she's on the island in the lake, but what would that Slytherin want with her?" Potter pointed out, somewhat logically.

"Well, that Slytherin has a name; Blaise Zabini, and what he wants with her is his own business. Ergo, you shouldn't bother me about it." Draco grinned, "Besides, you'll find out soon enough, if I'm any judge."

"What?" Weasley asked, sounding as stupid as he unfortunately looked.

"Just trust me on this one, Weasley; Granger won't be harmed. Blaise knows what he's doing. And if he doesn't, I'll thrash his senseless for being such a coward. Now, have a good day." Draco grinned again before kicking off.

Potter, Weasley and Longbottom were left standing there, looking more confused than when they came. Draco nearly laughed again, dangerously near falling off again. It was so funny to confuse the Gryffindors.

But it seemed the straight-forward approach worked when dealing with Blaise; when none of his other plans worked, he had decided to just drop the whole thing on his classmate's head and be done with it. And to his surprise, it had worked just fine; is Blaise bothered to go and look for Granger in the Gryffindor Common Room, the black haired boy had decided to believe him.


The oars creaked slightly, as Blaise rowed back to the shore. Hermione had reminded him that they should be heading back and he had reluctantly agreed. Of course, he didn't really want to go back, since he knew he would be facing a questioning from the Gryffindor boys, which only proved that there was one person in the universe that expected the Spanish Inquisition.

The boat thumped against the shore, and they got out quietly. Neither could keep the smiles off their faces, and often the journey back to the castle was interrupted for a kiss or two. However, when they arrived at the doors of the castle, Blaise stopped for a moment.

"What is it?" Hermione asked, stopping as well.

"Er, I'm not sure if I should go in there right now; your Gryffindor friends aren't exactly fond of me." He said hesitantly.

"Aren't exactly fond of you?" Hermione wondered, "Blaise, what did you do?"

"I kind of got Longbottom to let me into your Common Room, although ´let me in´ is a slight exaggeration. I let myself in after he opened the portrait, and then I got Weasley and Potter to tell me where you were." Blaise explained, looking rather sheepish.

"Harry and Ron." Hermione corrected, prompting Blaise to look at her curiously. "You're my boyfriend now, and that means you'll have to get used to them as well; they're my friends. No matter how thick they can be."

"Right. It's all for promoting Inter-House Welfare, I guess." Blaise grinned. "Besides, Pot- sorry, Harry, isn't as stupid as he looks. And for Weas - Ron to make it to the Seventh year, he must have something behind that forehead of his."

Kissing him on the cheek, Hermione smiled encouragingly and they walked inside. Neither noticed Draco spying on them from his vantage point on his broom. He was having a very hard time not laughing out loud.


After Blaise had walked her to the Common Room, Hermione climbed inside, only to find two Gryffindor boys, dying to give her the third degree. Ron looked torn between screaming at her, and, judging from his constant looks, killing Harry. Harry himself was looking rather worried.

"Hey, Hermione, can you come over her a sec?" Harry called out.

"What is it?" She asked as she sat down across form them.

"Well, while you were gone studying, there was someone here asking for you." Harry began.

"So? People ask for me all the time, don't they?" Hermione smiled, "I'm sure it isn't a unique experience for you."

"It was a Slytherin." Ron cut in, "And he came into our Common Room."

"Yes, Ron, you've already told me he came here." Hermione said patiently.

"Well, why? Why did he come and look for you?" Ron demanded.

Hermione didn't answer, but smiled dreamily instead. Silently, she stood up and walked up the stairs to the girls dorms. The boys were left sitting there with just as little information as when she'd come in.

Ron shut his mouth, which had fallen open sometime during the conversation, and turned to Harry.

"Harry, something is definitely wrong here." He said.


"She comes in several hours later than she said she'd be here, she uses something eerily like sarcasm on us, and then when we ask what that Slytherin wanted, she just walks out on us." Ron ticked off on his fingers.

"Yeah. I wonder what happened?" Harry said, standing up as well. "Well, I have to go; I've got Divination homework to finish."

Ron remained in the chair by the fireplace for a long time, trying to figure out the connection between Hermione and the Slytherin, whose name he couldn't remember at the moment. Whatever it was, he would find out. He didn't want some Slytherin hurting his best friend.


Millicent looked up from her book as Blaise entered the Slytherin Common Room, grinning like a fool. She put down the book and raised an eyebrow at him, which eh returned by grinning even wider.

"It seems you finally got your head out of your arse and asked Granger out." She said, smirking.

"More like finally told her how I felt and proceeded to snog her senseless." Blaise grinned.

"What?" Millicent laughed, "You just said, ´Hey, Granger, I'm head over heels with you´ and snogged her?"

"Nah, more like, she asked me why I swam across the lake in my clothes, and it sort of went from there." Blaise admitted, blushing.

Millicent grinned; she could just picture Blaise swimming across the lake just to talk to Granger. He was the kind of guy who would do anything for the girl he loved. She just wished Ron Weasley could be the same way, towards her.

"Well, I've got a book to return to the library." She said, standing up.

"Yeah, I'll see you around, Millie. Thanks for listening to a lovesick fool." Blaise smiled.

"You're a fool alright, but I'm sure Pomfrey can fix you something for the sick part." She grinned before leaving him.

The entrance slammed shut behind her, and she trudged silently up the steps towards the library. It was kind of cold in the dungeons, but after seven years in Slytherin, she was used to it.

She nodded to Madame Pince as she reached the library, and headed off towards one of the shelves. She didn't really need to return a book; she'd only used that as an excuse to get away from Blaise. Not that he was rude or annoying, but because he had someone now, someone who wanted him just as much as he wanted her, someone Millicent was sure she'd never have.

It would be nice to have someone she could depend on, someone she could go walking through Hogsmeade with on weekends, talking about whatever came to mind. Sadly, she never would have, since Weasley, despite her constant attempts to talk to him, still hadn't realized anything.

She sat down at a table, staring at nothing, because frankly she had nothing better to do. She didn't even notice Ron coming up to her before he spoke.

"Mi- uh, Bulstrode?" He asked, stumbling a bit over it before deciding on using her last name.

"Yes?" She answered, smiling.

She had a hard time not smiling when he was around. He was just so cute and awkward and stumbling and wonderful. So very, very Gryffindor. But so very, very attractive, at least in her eyes. And the fact that he was one of the few boys in school she didn't have to look down on while speaking to was a plus as well.

"Um, I have a question for you." He said hesitantly and sat down next to her.

"Yes?" She asked, and immediately wanted to kick herself.

She sounded like a kid in a candy store, for crying out loud! If she'd been any more eager, they would have had to chain her down to keep her still. But what if he popped the question she wanted to hear?


Ron had decided to ask the only person who would know what was going on and not bite his head off; Millicent Bulstrode. Since she was Slytheirn, she'd know why that Zabini-guy had come knocking, as well as actually being nice enough to talk to him, even though he was a Weasley and Gryffindor to boot. ´

He and Millicent had been working on a Divination project together, and she'd turned out to be a really nice girl, which was a surprise, considering what House she belonged to. Besides, she'd been acting strangely for a while now, smiling every time he was around and staring at him when she thought he wasn't watching.

And now, when he'd said he had a question for her, she'd looked ready to jump at him and the grin looked about ready to burst off her face.

"Well, there's this Slytherin in our year, Zabini something, and he came looking for Hermione earlier, saying it was important. Hermione was out studying, but she came back much later than she said she'd be, and when we asked about it, she just walked off. Do you know anything about this at all?" He asked, knowing he sounded worried about his friend.

"Oh. That." She said, looking disappointed, "Well, Blaise's had a huge crush on Granger for weeks now, and finally, with some help from Draco, decided to act on it. Apparently, judging from his grin and his rambles when he came back, it went well."

Ron blinked.

And blinked again.

Hermione and a Slytherin? That wasn't possible! Not his friend! Besides, all Slytherins were bastards. But then his brain kicked into action. Millicent wasn't that bad, and she was a Slytherin. And Hermione did smile when she came back.

But that Zabini guy had harassed her for weeks. But then again, she'd harassed him right back. Ergh, it was too confusing for him.

"Hermione and him?" Was all he got out.

"Yes. They seem pretty happy about it, and I wouldn't dare get between Blaise and something he wants." Millicent shrugged.

"Um." He couldn't really think of anything more eloquent to say.

But looking at it from that point of view, it made sense. Hermione had never gone for any of the Gryffindor boys, and from what he remembered about that Zabini boy, he was pretty smart and could very well be the best match for Hermione. Yes, that seemed like what he should think.

"Right. Now I can cross that off my to-do list." He said and smiled, "You have to look after your friends, and that."

"Mhm. That all? She's just a friend of yours? Nothing more?" Millicent asked, smirking slightly, but he got the feeling she actually cared about the answer.

"Oh yes, Hermione and I would never work out; we'd tears each other to shreds after a week. We're just too good friends to ever become something more. It's kinda hard to fall in love with someone you've known since you were eleven; nothing more to learn, you know?" Ron said, although he knew he was going a bit too philosophical in the last sentence.

Millicent smiled, making Ron swallow hard. He'd never really noticed how good she really looked; she'd gotten stuck in his memory as the bullish girl who wrested with Hermione at the duelling club.

But she wasn't bullish anymore; she'd grown up quite nicely, becoming the tallest girl in school. It must have been hard, being forced to look down on all your classmates. He knew how it was, up it was easier for him, seeing as he was a boy, and boys generally were taller than girls. But he was staring to ramble. He'd always been nervous in the presence of pretty girls, and Millicent was no exception.

"Really?" She laughed, blushing slightly, and he realized he'd spoken the last thought aloud.

"Oh God, I didn't just say that, did I?" He asked, burying his face in his hands.

"You did." She said, trying to stop laughing.

"I'm an idiot." He muttered.

"No, not really," She shrugged. "I don't get compliments often, and when I do, it's more along the lines of the one Blaise gave me. ´It's nice of you to listen Millicent.´ or ´thank you for being so nice, Millie.´ It gets old after a while."

"But how can they not think you're pretty?" Ron blurted.

She laughed again, and he felt like he wanted to sink through the floor. Why did he have to be so damn clumsy?

"Thank you Ron." She smiled and pecked him on the cheek, before standing up and heading out of the library.

He sat there for a while, hand pressed to his cheek where her lips had been, staring at nothing with a goofy smile on his face. A pretty girl, and Millicent Bulstrode no less, had just kissed him on the cheek. This was his lucky day.

Getting to his feet, he ran after Millicent, wanting to catch her before she disappeared into the dungeons again. He had to say something, ask her to go with him to Hogsmeade, anything. A girl like that was too good to let go without a fight.


Millicent had just reached the stairs when she heard running steps behind her, and someone calling her name. She turned around, just as Ron rounded the corner and nearly fell down the stairs.

He started saying something, but she could only pick out words like "please" and "Hogsmeade" and "me" in the jumbled mess. She gave him a hand up from the floor, and tried to get him to calm down.

"Ron, breathe god damnit! You have to slow down!" She exclaimed finally.

A laugh interrupted them just as he was about to speak. Millicent turned around and saw Hermione standing there, clutching the wall for support. She was pointing at Ron, tears of mirth streaming down her face. Beside her stood Blaise, with one arm around her shoulders, grinning as well.

"W- Ron, no matter how smart a person is, never ask them out in Swahili." He advised, chuckling.

"Ask out?" Millicent said. "Ask me out? Well, Ron why didn't you just say so?"

"Well, I didn't...I couldn't.." Ron weebled weakly, trailing off.

"Men!" Millicent muttered, and dragged him away towards the Great Hall.

Blaise and Hermione were left standing there, still laughing at Ron. However, they had not been there long when Draco came in from Quidditch practice, Harry at his heels, arguing about something. What Harry was doing there was a mystery. They were arguing quite fiercely, apparently about tactics, and didn't notice the two until they were but a few feet away.

"Hey, Blaise. I see you got yourself a spine." Draco greeted, and grinned at Hermione.

"Hey, Draco, I see you got yourself a shadow." Blaise shot back. "Having fun?"

"No!" Draco snapped, "Potter just won't realize that the Wronski Feint isn't always the best move for a Seeker."

"So you've found someone to discuss you endless supplies of Quidditch tactics with. How fortunate. But, Hermione and I would like to thank you for your tireless matchmaking crusade; it was what finally kicked my brain into action." Blaise grinned.

He and Hermione headed off towards the Great Hall, following Millicent and Ron, and slowly, Harry and Draco followed as well, still arguing. Harry had yet to notice what Blaise had said, but eventually he would, and everything would be back to normal.

The war had come to an unspoken end, leaving true friendship and love in its wake. The rivalry between Slytherin and Gryffindor was still very much alive and kicking, but it had cooled down a bit, even though it would never entirely fade away.

And so ended one of the most ill-fated revenge schemes in the history of mankind. There was no happily-ever-after, since no one is constantly happy, but there was enough happiness to satisfy and to live on. What happened? That, my friend, is another story, and better suited for another time.


Ending Notes; these are the final, very last ending notes. This is the very last chapter. After this, there will be no more, and I must say that I am sad to see it go. It has been very much part of my life since I started it and it has become one of the few stories I've written that I am wholly satisfied with.

There have been difficult parts, there have been easy parts, but over all, despite all typos and mistakes, all OOCness, I am proud of it. To me, this is the first story I have finished, and as such, it holds a special place in my heart.

I would like to thank all reviewers, although you are too numerous to list here, know that your reviews have been read, appreciated and fondly remembered. You have given me advice I desperately needed, urged me to go on when I thought I couldn't write anymore, and you have made me believe that I am, in fact, a passable writer. Thank you. That's really all I can say.

There will be no sequel to TSS, and I won't change my mind no matter how much you beg. I know this may sound harsh, but this story is finished, and if you want a sequel, make one up yourselves. After all, that is what we fanfiction writers do best.

Once again, thank you.