Finally, I am continuing. I have finally finished The Silent Snake, (yay! Be proud of me *grins*) Now I have time to write this story! Go me! Hmm, now where to start?


It was a nice height, the Astronomy Tower. If one jumped off it, one would definitely splatter quite nicely when one hit the ground. The fact that it was raining for the first time in weeks, creating a few puddles on the flagstones, was a plus as well. Maybe, if she was lucky, the rain would wash away the spattered blood, and maybe even move her body. Then they wouldn't find her for a while.

The wind caught in her clothes, making then flap around her, nearly tripping her as she walked towards the balustrade of the balcony. Soon however, she was sitting with both legs on the other side, just gathering the courage to actually let go. It was harder than she had imagined; she'd thought she could just go up there and jump, but it was much harder than that. Now, she realized how high it was, and how dead she'd really be.

But, she had already made up her mind; she was jumping, if it so took her the whole night. She had to, she just couldn't stand living anymore. Her life had been so perfect, and then it seemed to have turned its back on her and said ┬┤sorry, honey, but you're screwed┬┤ and left her. She smiled a bit at her attempt at humour in a situation like this. If she could just get her already frozen fingers to let go of the rail, it'd all be over.

"Are you sure about doing that?"

The voice startled her so bad, she almost fell off the tower without meaning to. Looking around her, she set eyes on Blaise, who was leaning against the balustrade some ten feet away. He was wearing the same clothes he had during dinner, but he'd thrown his black school cloak over them, and was looking down on the flagstones far below them.

"Doing what?" She asked, voice near a whisper.

It was strange speaking again, after so many days, nay weeks, of silence. Her voice sounded dusty and unused, which it was, and she had a hard time speaking above a whisper. Blaise didn't seem to notice though, but moved his gaze to her.

"Jumping. That's what you were going to do, was it not? The Astronomy Tower is not a usual place to be in the middle of the night unless you have company." He pointed out, never once wavering.

"You're company." She said, still sounding very frail, and for a moment she hated herself.

She wasn't supposed to be frail now. She wasn't supposed to be having this conversation, even. She should have jumped long ago, not waited long enough for some meddlesome Slytherin to come and try to convince her otherwise.

"Well," He chuckled slightly, "how do you know I'm not here to push you off?"

"I don't." She admitted.

"I'm not." He shrugged. "I won't lie and say I just happened to come up here, but I'm not here to commit assisted suicide on you."

"Why then?" She asked, not looking at him.

She was staring down at her feet, and below that, the courtyard. It didn't seem like such a bright idea now. In fact, it seemed rather stupid. She could have died easily by cutting her wrists, or taking poison or hanging herself, but no, she had to do it the hard way, and give herself time to think.

"Well, actually, the portrait in front of your room came and woke me up, complaining that you were off running in the corridors. I thought you'd gone for a walk, and told her to calm down, when she said she'd heard you mumble something about the Astronomy Tower." Blaise stopped for a moment, and smiled slightly, "And seeing as I am the only male or female in the castle near your age, I guessed you weren't up here to meet someone."

That actually made her crack a smile, albeit a small one. She didn't know where the rumour about the Astronomy Tower had started, but in all her years at Hogwarts, she'd never caught someone up there. It seemed it was just some story for the younger students.

"So, are you going to jump?" Blaise asked, looking down at the ground again.

She nodded mutely, not looking at him.

"A shame really." He sighed.

"What is?" Her voice cracked again.

"If you'd jump, it'd be a shame. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and yours even more so. Besides, did you honestly think no one would care?" He asked, sounding truly curious.

"A mind?" She laughed, her voice cracking and she bit back her tears for the second time that night. "A mind? Of course they'd miss my mind; it's the only thing about me that is even remotely interesting to keep me around for. Not even Harry and Ron, who are supposed to be my friends, care about my feelings or my dreams. All they want is for someone to tell them the right answers and correct their essays. No one would miss me. And if you want me to change my mind, you better have something damn worthy to say."

Silence reigned for a while. Blaise couldn't seem to think of a reply to her statement, which only further proved her theory. But then again, he was a Slytherin, and shouldn't give a damn whether she jumped or not. And despite all that, he was up here anyway, trying to talk her out of it. It was a piece of the puzzle she had yet to figure out.

"I would." He broke the silence.

She didn't answer directly, only gave a broken chuckle, and gripped the rail tightly with her hands, knuckles turning white from the effort.

"You would?" She asked, choking on a sob. "Don't make me laugh; you don't even know me."

"No, I don't, and if you jump, I never will." He told her, taking a step closer. "I'll never know if you're more than just another Gryffindor. Come now, take my hand, and I'll help you over to this side of the rail."

Hermione stared at his outstretched hand doubtfully. How could she be sure he really meant what he said? She couldn't. He might very well push her off the tower and laugh at her. It would be typically Slytherin of him. But then again, up until a few minutes ago, she had really wanted to jump. Now, surprisingly, she found she didn't want to.

Prying her cold finger off the rail, she reached out to take his hand. He caught it and held it tightly, slowly helping her to climb back over the balustrade. As soon as she was standing on the right side again, she began to tremble. She hadn't noticed it, but the rain had slowly soaked through her clothes, and she was freezing.

"See? That wasn't hard was it?" Blaise asked, still holding on to her hand.

She just nodded, weak-kneed, and took a few deep, calming breaths. Blaise took off his cloak and draped it around her shoulders, glancing up at the sky. She just couldn't stop shaking; it must be some sort of delayed reaction.

"We'd better be going; it looks like there's a storm heading this way." He said, and led her towards the door. "And I don't want you to get sick."


It was confusing really; Hermione reflected in a detached way, that she would end up being talked out of committing suicide by a Slytherin. Of all people, a Slytherin should be the one dancing on her grave, not preventing her from getting one. But Blaise might be different. Or he might not.

He'd walked her back to her room, made her promise not to go walking in the corridors at midnight again, assured the portrait she wouldn't, and had headed off, presumably to sleep. She'd climbed into bed, nearly falling asleep, before realizing she still had his cloak. It was hanging over the back of a chair, right beside the bed, and she could she the Slytherin serpent embroidered on it.

She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, knowing that Blaise wouldn't ask questions about why she had been contemplating suicide. If nothing else, the teachers had already filled him in.


She woke up the next morning with her head throbbing. It seemed standing out in the rain had given her a cold. She climbed out of bed and started looking for her discarded clothes. She'd have to get a Pepper-Up potion from Madame Pomfrey later; the headache was getting rather annoying.

With a nod to the sharp-featured painting, she headed down to the Great Hall for breakfast. She conveniently forgot to take Blaise's cloak with her, and let it hang on her chair instead. If he wanted it back, he could come and ask for it.

Silently, she entered the Great Hall, which was empty but for Blaise himself and Professor McGonagall. Blaise looked up, and gave her a quick half-smile, as McGonagall stood up and embraced her quickly, before excusing herself to go and make lesson plans.

She sat down at the end of the table, and began to eat. Blaise made to attempt to talk to her, for which she was grateful; she might have spoken last night, but she didn't think she was ready to talk to anyone else as of yet. In fact, he was the only one she knew that wouldn't go telling all her secrets to everyone.

Madame Pomfrey came down to get some breakfast, and saw how Hermione was looking. She gave her a Pepper-Up potion after fussing over her a while, and then left for the hospital wing. Feeling slightly better, Hermione continued to eat.

As she finished up her Pumpkin Juice, someone tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around to meet Blaise's gaze, which was no surprise at all, seeing as he was still the only other person in the Hall. What was a wee bit strange though, was that he was holding a Muggle chess-board in his hands.

"Do you want to play?" He asked, indicating the chess-board.

She nodded, and scooted over so he could sit next to her. He quickly set up the pieces, choosing to play the white ones, and began playing. She concentrated on the game, thankful for the distraction it provided. It would get her out of dwelling on her parents, if only for a while.


"..and then Millicent insists that she hasn't stolen the chocolate, which results in Pansy not talking to her for days."

Blaise had been telling her about the sayings and doings of the Slytherin House over the years, doubtlessly to keep her mind off things and probably because he understood that she didn't want to talk. Or maybe he was just in love with the sound of his own voice. Whatever it was, it spared her from having to speak, and she was grateful for it.

The chess game was going well. At the moment, it was in Blaise's favour, but it had been very even until then. Her father had always played chess with her when she was bored, or just plain interested, and she was pretty good at it. Not as good as Ron was at Wizards chess, but good enough.

Neither of them noticed as Professor Snape and Dumbledore entered the Great Hall, discussing something about the upcoming school year, and spotted them sitting there, Blaise still talking about everything he could think of. The Potions Professor and the Headmaster approached silently, but when Blaise spotted them, they didn't sneak anymore.

"Hello there, professors'." He said cheerfully, waving a pawn at them.

"Good morning, Mr Zabini." Dumbledore replied, "How is the game going?"

"Good, good. I'm winning, at the moment at least. She's pretty tough." He gestured to Hermione.

Hermione smiled weakly, and moved a chess piece. Blaise stared at the board for a moment, before tracing a path in the air, lips moving silently, and then he moved a piece himself, leaned back and grinned.

"Check mate." He said.

Hermione scowled at him, but rearranged the pieces quickly, setting the board up for another round. The chess game had been very hard, seeing as her father never had been any good at it, and she'd mastered it pretty soon, so she never had any competition while playing. But there she went again, thinking about her father when she shouldn't have.

Her eyes stung with tears she had yet to shed, and she turned away from the three other occupants of the room as to not look them in the eye, which would doubtlessly set her off crying for real. In doing so, she missed Blaise's concerned look, as well as the one Dumbledore gave her. Snape, however, couldn't care less.

"So, want a rematch?" Blaise ventured, apparently not knowing what else to say.

She shook her head mutely, and stood up, walking past them and out of the hall. Now even Snape seemed confused, but didn't say anything, instead opting to turn on his heels and follow her example.


Once out on the grounds, curled up under the same tree as Blaise had sat in yesterday, Hermione let her tears fall freely. The tears that had refused to fall last night now returned doubly strong, making her sob helplessly. She didn't even notice Blaise until he sat down next to her and put an arm around her shoulders.

No longer caring what was happening around her or who he was; she flung her arms around him and sobbed into his chest, desperately clinging to him. He silently wrapped another arm around her and held her as she cried. There wasn't much else to do.

The leaves were dripping of the rain that had fallen that night, and every now and then, a cold drop of water would come falling down on the two of them, but it would be ignored and suffered through. Hermione's sobs were the only things to break the silence.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, she sat up straight again, and attempted to dry her tears, feeling quite embarrassed. Blaise said nothing, but handed her a handkerchief, which she accepted, drying up the rest of her tears.

"Better?" He questioned quietly.

"A little." She whispered back.

He leaned back against the tree, still with his arms around her, causing her to lean back with him. She put her head on his chest, simply because she had no other choice, and sighed.

"Tell me about it?" He asked, his voice sending vibrations through his chest.

"You don't know?" She sniffed.

"No. I've guessed some, got some through the professors, but I don't know the whole story. I doubt anyone does but you." He said. "And as far as I know, you haven't talked to anyone. Besides, I want to know what drove you to contemplate suicide."

Taking a deep breath, she collected her memories of the recent events, and began to tell him. The first few words were stumbling and uncertain, coloured by her unused voice, but as she continued, she grew more sure and exact. Blaise sat silently throughout her story, only interrupting to ask her something that he hadn't understood or to get her to repeat some parts. All in all, he was a good listener.


About an hour later, she was finally done telling him about what had happened when she'd come home. She could remember that day as if it had been burned into her mind, colours standing out so vividly that she felt like she could just reach out and touch them.

When she was done, Blaise was quiet for a long time. So long, in fact, that she feared he had fallen asleep, but was too tired to turn around and look. Suddenly, he wrapped his arms around tightly, hugging her to his chest. Bewildered, she hugged him back.

"What was that for?" She asked after he pulled back slightly.

"You were sad, seeing as you were crying, and I thought you needed a hug. Besides, my mother always hugs me when I'm feeling down, no matter how much I despise it. So it seemed like a good idea." He shrugged a bit awkwardly.

Hermione blinked. How had he gone from being Slytherin to being a worthy member of Hufflepuff in just under an hour? Slytherins were supposed to be too ambitious to care about anyone but themselves, and here he was, hugging her because he wanted her to feel better. Something wasn't right. Or rather, something was too right.

He was being nice without a reason, and even when she'd met people who were nice without a reason, they had some sort of cause to be nice, whether they knew it or not. Blaise didn't. All he had was an opportunity to get blackmail fodder. Either he had been redeemed from Slytherin evil, or he had some master plan to blackmail and humiliate her.

Her disbelief must have showed on her face, because Blaise raised and eyebrow and smiled slightly. He leaned back even further, resting his head against the tree, watching her, one lock of his black hair hanging down over one eye.

"What is it?" He asked curiously.

"Why are you doing this? Why are you so nice to me?" Hermione blurted.

"Do I need a reason?" He inquired.

"Yes!" She exploded, the confusion she'd felt since she came finally shining through, "Yes you need a reason! You just can't be nice to me, not if you don't want anything from me! You're not supposed to even stand me; you're supposed to hate me, I'm supposed to hate you, and that is all there is to it!"

Blaise blinked. He clearly wasn't expecting that outburst. Hermione sat back on her heels and closed her eyes for a moment, calming herself down again, before glaring at him, demanding to know what happened and why.

"Why should I hate you?" He asked slowly, as if only now realizing that maybe he should, "I have no reason to do that either. I am nice to you because right now, I being nasty wouldn't exactly improve your emotional stability. And as much as I enjoy plucking you off the Astronomy Tower, I rather not have rabid paintings wake me up every night."

Hermione was just about to open her mouth and point out that he did have a reason if that was the case, but Blaise continued before she had a chance to say something.

"And I wouldn't call that a reason at all. Sure, I do not like getting my sleep disturbed, but hell; maybe I just want to be nice to you. Maybe I want to be a friend of yours. Ever thought about that?" He was sounding angry now.

"But Malfoy -"She started, and immediately knew it was the wrong thing to say.

"Malfoy? He has nothing to do with this! And now you, of all people, are judging all Slytherins by how Draco Malfoy acts and who he is! Well, it's time to open those damn eyes of your and use them, because I'm not like him. I've never been, and I never will be!" He glared at her.

Hermione felt her throat tighten, and even though she'd just cried, she felt like doing so again. He had a point, a damn good one at that, but the shock of him shouting at her like he had was too much. She flung her arms around him again, tears streaming down her face, shocking him enough to wrap his arms around her waist.

"I'm sorry," She choked out, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. I'm so sorry."

It was the only thing she could get out. Anything more coherent seemed as incomprehensible as Japanese spoken backwards at high speed. Blaise just patted her back, accepting her endless stream of apologies without a word. He had already said what he thought was worthy to say.

When she finally calmed down again, he pulled away slightly, smiled at her, and stuck out his hand. She looked at him, but took it hesitantly and shook it. Then, he grinned even wider, and sat up straight.

"Friends?" He asked.

"If you think you can stand me." She smiled weakly back.

"Don't worry, I will." He smiled and stood, helping her up as well.

They walked back to the castle silently, each lost in thoughts. Maybe a friend would help her get through. Maybe it would somehow be easier. He knew what was going on, and he would keep his mouth shut about it if she asked him to. The fact that he was the saner part of her at the moment wasn't so bad either.


Ending Notes; and there it is. I seem to have gotten some writing craze (or a handful of plot-bunnies. Either way) because I've got these great ideas for another Blaise-centric fic. Or rather, a trilogy of Slytherin-centric fics, with Blaise as the main character. I like him *grins* I'll see what will come of it. Until the next chapter, good bye.