As usual, I don't own anything. No profit, no parades, nothing. Bah Humbug.
I apologize in advance if this is totally incomprehensible. I'm kind of experimenting with different writing themes and styles, so I realize it might seem a little strange, but I hope you like it and if not, please tell me why. I do want to become a better writer.
The world had to be a woman. Only a woman could be so deliberately mysterious, maddening and utterly vicious. She is a bitch of the worst kind. It really was the only logical conclusion. The world taunted him with unrevealed secrets. There were hints - always the hint of something indefinable coursing just beneath the surface, but never the clarity of the secret itself. There was something there – he was sure of it – he just couldn't reach it no matter what he tried. He ached for the completion he thought the world's secrets would bring him. He ached for completion with Her and in Her.
Epiphanies were for saps - they really only gave a person a moment of understanding and clarity that had previously been absent. The information had been there; the epiphany simply pieced that information together and offered a moment of realization. He could appreciate the cleansing qualities of a so-called epiphany, but they never really gave humanity itself anything new. It was all the same. Epiphanies were almost cliché - follow your dreams, the money isn't worth it, believe in love, live in poetry and on and on. It made him want to gag on humanity's collective lack of imagination.
He wanted something new, original and earth shattering, but he was no genius. Perhaps an old mathematician could run naked through the streets claiming he could decipher the mystery of the king's crown, but he certainly could not(1). Good gods, he had almost failed his Potions OWLS. He knew he was no genius, but he was not stupid. Far from it.
His fault lay in his closed mind. His mind could be penetrated with new information, but he could not release anything of real value. No, that wasn't entirely true, he could release that achingly beautiful information, he just failed to make any sense when he did.
Words were not his friends.
A word in and of itself might define the thing for which it was meant, but they were always insufficient, even when paired with other words. When he tried to articulate his complex ideas about the world and people, he invariably faltered and stuttered. Each word that stumbled out of his mouth had little comprehensible connection to the one that preceded it.
So when he spoke, he spoke of banal things - the weather, homework, Quidditch. He did not really care to speak of such inconsequential things, but at least he made some semblance of sense. Generally, he did not speak at all as he found such superficial conversations tiring. For all outward appearances, he seemed to be a rather quiet strange sort of boy.
Others could use words more effectively and even beautifully than he could, but there was always something wanting in those words.
Always something wanting.
At times, he tried explaining things to people, tried to get answers to his questions. These conversations would end in frustration on his part, and a sort of frightened fascination on the part of the other. He knew it was over when he would grasp the other's shoulder, a wild, almost desperate look in his eyes and a question. Don't you see that there's something more, something, something there? Don't you understand? The other would back away. You alright man? I think you could use some sleep. How about a drink? You could use a drink.
He didn't need a drink. He needed answers and no one was offering them to him.
Nothing existed outside of himself except vague concepts of humanity, the universe and those unlabelled secrets he could not discover. Unlike the majority of people, he could easier visualize all of humanity than a small gathering of friends. He could feel his own pain and humanity's pain, but he could not see the pain in another individual, unless of course said individual actually told him of her pain. Except for maybe Her – he thought he understood Her, but it was in odd cosmic sort of sense. He saw Her as a part of him, as a part of his being, but he knew that it wasn't really the case. Still, he sometimes imagined that the two of them were simply two parts of one whole.
Perhaps it was the Slytherin in him that did not allow him to see others. Were not Slytherins supposed to be completely self-centered? He imagined that was part of it, but he imagined the other part of it was that people in general made no sense.
It was disconcerting to say the very least to perceive life first as an individual, thoroughly disconnected from everyone else, even Her, and second as a being swimming with every other being that ever existed through the vastness of the universe. In the first, he was wholly alone and in the second he was wholly combined with all the world and all the people who had lived in it.
It was not that he didn't care about other people, he just couldn't see them, couldn't see inside them. Well, except maybe for Her. He saw things about Her that he couldn't see in other people.
But no one ever really spoke of anything. He didn't really know about Her – they had never actually had a conversation. He found no one really wanted to hear anything. No one really wanted to discuss things. They wanted illusion at best and complete deceit at worst.
How are you?
I'm fine. I won't tell you of the unbearable misery coursing through all that I am and all the world. I will just tell you that I am just fine. I know it isn't true and you probably know it isn't true, but I'll say it anyway, because it is what we both want to hear.
A political candidate might speak of the issues, but he would never really say anything of substance. Friends would speak of camaraderie, but they could not really touch each other with such silly words. A young bride would speak of her love and devotion to her new husband, but she never really conveyed the extent of her feeling. How could she? How could anyone? How could any word possibly illustrate the feeling of love with simple words? Of course, he had never known love, but he imagined it would be difficult to describe. What he felt for Her wasn't quite love, but he suspected that given time, it could be.
Feeling could only be conveyed through an impossible joining. Sex was insufficient. It could not provide melding of consciousness, although it was the closest he had ever come to such clarity. He had only experienced sex once in his life and he thought he had found a partner – someone who might understand him and the world around him, but it was not to be, the girl did not wish for anything from him and in the end, she had given him nothing. The sex was just an illusion. He supposed it was all well and good, because he did not like her much anyway. She had a false laugh and a blank look and talked of shoes far too often.
Sex is a thoroughly organic act and it could bring man to another state of awareness. He had been amazed to discover that poets of old used to employ death as a synonym for orgasm. Man did not understand death – the closest he could come to explaining it was orgasm as an orgasm was so different from anything else man could physically experience.
I love you.
I love you.
He thought sex might have been the answer. Didn't all seventeen year old boys find sex as the answer to every possible question? But it wasn't enough. It wasn't quite what he was looking for. It wasn't that he expected this indefinable something to be an especially intense orgasm, but, in all reality, could true knowledge of the world be anything less. He really didn't know. He just knew that he was missing something. He wanted a joining of the minds, not just the bodies. Well, he wanted them both really. He wanted them with Her and yet he didn't because he feared it might disappoint him.
The world truly was a bitch for denying humanity such ethereal beauty and comprehension. He imagined that it was the only thing that could make him happy, and since he knew now that he could never have it then he would never be happy, never satisfied.
He wished he could shut this off. He wished he was stupid or shallow or both, but not really. He simply wouldn't be who he was without all this, this, oddity of mind, as his mother had called it.
He knew it was childish and he knew it belonged to the realm of fairy tales, but he wanted Her. That wonderful, marvelous and understanding Her. It had to be a her, not just because he desired women on a physical level, but because a her could be his balance, his other half as it were. A her, a particular Her could be gentle, calming and loving. He didn't want to admit it because it seemed so conventional and he thought he was above such a basic emotion, but he wanted love. He wanted Her. Perhaps that obscure something he was looking for was love. As remote as it seemed, that possibility could not be discounted.
He wanted her.
Little things about Her enraptured him and he felt he knew Her better than anyone else in this school, which he had to admit was strange, because they had never actually spoken to each other until two days ago when Professor Vector paired them for a project. He could see himself in Her and Her in him. He imagined that she, quite like himself, immersed herself in her books not just as a way to do well in school, but also as a way to truly understand things.
He chanced a glance at her across the table. Her head was bent and she worked diligently on translating a troublesome rune. Occasionally, she would run a frustrated hand through her hair. He loved the way her brow furrowed when she was trying to figure something out. Watching his little witch figure things out was one of his favorite pastimes.
Her hair was such a mess. It generally was, but he couldn't help but wonder if it was as soft as it looked. He supposed he should be helping her with their assignment. They were partners after all. His grade depended on this.
He was first attracted to her back in third year when Professor Snape called her an insufferable know-it-all. Of course, he had noticed before how she always raised her hand first and seemed to have an answer for everything, but he didn't really grasp it until Snape marked her as the school know-it-all. He remembered how that red-headed friend of hers had leap to her defense.
In his childish thirteen year old mind, he thought she might understand him and help him with his questions, but she appeared just as distant and self-contained as everyone else. However, there were times he could see something different about her – there was something about her thoughtful expression and there was definitely something about her eyes that fascinated him, but he had never been close enough to her to truly examine them. He was drawn to her in a way that he didn't fully understand.
She was pretty. . .in an unconventional sort of way. He thought that her face would be considered prettier if it wasn't always screwed up in thought, but in his humble opinion that thoughtful gaze was the most beautiful thing about her.
But she did not know him. She knew nothing of him. They never spoke, they never interacted. He probably never would have spoken to her were it not for this project for Ancient Runes. Speaking to her about his queries was simply out of the question. He didn't want her to look at him the way others looked at him. It was generally a look that said: you could be interesting if you weren't completely out of your mind. He didn't want her to look at him that way.
"Zabini, are you quite alright?" she asked. She caught him. She caught him staring at her.
"Oh, er, yeah. Fine Granger," he cleared his throat and shuffled a few papers around. A blush threatened to creep its way up his neck.
Hermione looked doubtful. "If you say so," she muttered as she pushed a book in front of him. "I think this is what we are looking for. It is one of the older dictionaries and it has some really interesting interpretations that I think could help us."
"Hmmm." He watched her hands on the book. They were so white and there was a jagged little scar on the back her right hand. He wondered where she got it. He did not know why he cared, but he desperately wanted to stroke that jagged little scar.
She huffed. "Listen if you aren't going to help me with this, why don't you just run along and let me finish this. It will be easier on both of us."
"I'm not stupid." It had to be said. People often thought he was stupid, what with his complete silence interspersed with incomprehensible talk of enigmatic subjects. His eyes focused on the frayed corner of the dictionary. It was just a tattered old gray textbook.
She looked up at him, surprised by his statement. "I know."
The old gold lettering was peeling on the spine.
"Hey," came a slightly forceful voice. He looked at her. "I know." This voice was far more gentle.
Their eyes connected and he could see something there, something in her eyes. He wasn't quite sure what it was. Her eyes were dark and clear and there was a depth he had never noticed before. Everything around them faded. Even her face and that awful hair were blurry. But those eyes, those lovely lovely eyes burned with understanding and. . . and was that empathy? The only two things that existed at the moment were Hermione's eyes and his heart. It sounded like it would beat right out of his chest any moment now.
"I know," whispered a disconnected voice that sounded like it belonged to her.
A clumsy first-year loudly dropped a stack of books near their table. Hermione's head jerked away at the sound, but Blaise could not stop watching her. His beautiful flushed Her. Hermione.
She knew. She knew, she knew. . . things. Her expression told him she did.
Hermione watched the young first-year gather his books longer than necessary and shyly turned her attention back to Blaise. She cleared her throat. "Yes, well, like I was saying, I really think that this book can help us." She nervously shuffled her papers and moved her books about.
Blaise was surprised that he could see her discomfiture. He usually could not pick up on another's mood. It was funny in a way, he knew her in ways she didn't know herself. He had watched her though the years, but at the same time, she confused him like no other.
"Yes." Her voice sounded like she was trying to exude an aura of control, but she wasn't doing very well.
"Let's go for a walk." She looked surprised by his suggestion. He couldn't blame her – they weren't friends in any sense of the word and he'd broken the unspoken agreement between Slytherins and Gryffindors and used her given name.
"Zabini, I really don't think that's a good idea. I mean we have so much to get done today." He knew this was one of her avoidance tactics. The woman always brought up her schoolwork or prefect duties to avoid uncomfortable situations. He noticed that about her some time ago.
"We have all week. Let's just take a little break."
"Er, well I, well there's just so much to do, and I-" when he did not respond to her, she finally sighed in defeat, "okay."
He smiled and reached for her hand.
"Okay," he said. At the moment, that word was all that was needed. That supremely simple word was completely adequate and it fulfilled the needs of the situation.
Blaise quickly packed his things, but Hermione stalled. He could see she was trying to find a good reason to stay right where they were. She was comfortable here. She was not comfortable with him, but it didn't bother him at all.
"C'mon. It's a beautiful day outside." He reached for her hand and gently tugged on it. The pair made their way out of the library headed outside. He did not release her hand and although she seemed uncomfortable with it, she did not try too hard to pull away from his firm grasp. Several students openly stared at them in the dark hallways and this made Hermione positively jittery – her brown eyes darted about, she cleared her throat often and she nervously tried to smooth her hair. He thought it was wonderful.
When they got to the main doors, Hermione pulled her hand away.
"Listen, I really have a lot to do. Maybe some other time." She turned to leave, but he grabbed her arm. Her eyes widened in what he assumed was fright.
"I'm not going to accost you Hermione." She fidgeted. "I just want to-" He wasn't entirely sure what he wanted from her. There were not words to describe what he wanted. Blasted words.
She unconsciously leaned forward to hear the rest of his sentence. "You want to what?"
"Spend time with you." No no, he wanted more than that. He wanted so much more than that. He wanted to delve into her mind, he wanted to melt into her and her wonderful mind. At least he hoped it was wonderful.
"I'm not going to hurt you," he repeated. She still looked skeptical, so he continued as best he could. "There is something that I, well that I see in you and it is, uh, s-something different and we could uh talk and-and stuff." Well that went about as well as it usually did.
"And stuff," she said, rather disgusted.
"No, no that isn't what I meant. I-You, you are really smart and I thought maybe we could, that you and I could, well that we could just talk."
"You aren't making any sense." He felt his body slump. Even though she was not quite yet looking at him like all the others looked at him, he knew it was coming. He could feel that wild look invading his eyes. He would frighten her just like he frightened everyone else. And yet, he couldn't stop himself – he wanted this so badly. He wanted her so badly. He craved her.
"I know, I know I'm not making any sense. But don't you see that nothing makes sense? That the world – it just, it's so messed up and people – they just do things that are so irrational and they tell themselves that they are rational, but they aren't. Don't you think that there's something else that we just can't see? That-that there's this whole other world and we just can't access it? It just . . I mean there's just so much out there that we don't understand. The world is just so so. . . I don't know," he finished feeling defeated. It was over. It had to be.
He released her arm and waited for her to walk away from him
"Oh, um, I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about, but I think I have a pretty good idea." He raised his eyes to meet her tiny little smile and gave her one of his own.
Blaise tilted his head toward the doors asking her if she still wanted to come with him. She nodded. Blaise tentatively took her hand and pulled her out of doors.
It was late fall and while the air was warm, there was a little bite to the wind. The late afternoon sun warmed their faces. Blaise found it funny that fall was considered the time of death. The world rarely looked more alive with color than during fall. Spring was altogether too muddy, mushy and rainy for him.
They walked quite some way until they were on the other side of the lake. Blaise laid his cloak on the ground and motioned for her to sit. Hermione shyly met his eyes and sat down. Blaise sat himself as close to Hermione as he could without actually touching her. Their attention was drawn to the Quidditch pitch where they watched a pick-up game. Occasionally, the wind carried shouts and laughter from the pitch over to Hermione and Blaise. The wind through the trees made a rustling sound that was strangely comforting.
Blaise did not know exactly what to say to Hermione. She said she kind of knew what he was talking about and he was eager to get inside her mind, but he did not know how. The logical part of him told him that this was utterly impossible, but the smaller fanciful part of him told him it might just take a little time.
"I thought it was magic," Hermione started quietly.
"Excuse me?" He watched her watch her hands.
"You know that something else you were talking about? I thought it was magic." She turned to look at him. "I can't tell you how overjoyed I was when I learned I was a witch. It just confirmed my belief that there was something else out there, and look," she said sweeping her arm across the expanse of Hogwarts, "there's this whole other world that most people don't even know exist."
"Is it magic? Have you found it?"
She shook her head sadly. "I don't think so. It just makes me wonder if there is another world past this one that I just don't know about, you know?"
"Yeah I know."
They fell into silence again. Hermione played with the fringe of his cloak.
"Do you think we could find it? That other world?"
"No," she said quietly, "we don't even know if it exists. All of these questions and beliefs that there is something else out there could just be a product of our imaginations Blaise. And I mean this is, this magical world is tangible. I have a feeling that what you and I are looking for is intangible. Like. . .like energy or-or something."
"I guess I never thought of that." He couldn't exactly tell how that information affected him; however he did inwardly smile when she used his name.
"I'm not making any sense," she sighed. Blaise's connection to Hermione immediately strengthened with those words. She was more like him than he realized.
"Actually, you are. You don't have much hope then?" he asked.
"Oh, I don't know," her voice was getting ridiculously soft. Blaise had to lean forward to hear her. "The more I learn the less I understand. I don't really know anything anymore."
In a completely uncharacteristic move, Blaise reached out and pushed her hair out of her face and buried his fingers in her soft wild locks letting his thumb caress her cheek.
"I really like you Hermione." She looked at him now.
She gulped. "How can you? You don't even know me."
"I do know you," he said, inching closer to her. "I feel like I know you better than anyone I've ever known."
"I watch you. I notice things about you." She blushed. The hand in her hair glided down to cup the nape of her neck.
"You're frighteningly intense sometimes you know that, don't you?"
"I see you've noticed things about me too," he grinned and if it was possible, her blush deepened, "does my intensity bother you?"
"Not at all," she breathed and he noticed her eyes were drawn to his mouth.
He leaned in to gently press his lips to hers. She stiffened momentarily, then relaxed and opened herself to his advances.
Their kiss was gentle at first, tongues lightly flicking each other, but it slowly grew in its intensity. Hermione's body and lips were pliable under his embrace and they molded into each other. He growled, she whimpered and they both panted.
Their hands and arms clutched at each other and while there was no real fight for dominance, Blaise wanted to literally devour her and make her completely his as he had a feeling that he was very nearly hers.
Many long minutes passed before their lips disengaged. Blaise held Hermione's boneless body tightly to him. No words needed to be spoken. This gratified Blaise because he knew that she needed to talk about almost everything. Maybe later.
As the sun dropped further in the sky, Blaise transfigured his cloak into a large fluffy blanket and wrapped it tightly around them. Blaise lay on his back, with Hermione on top of him. They stayed in this manner for longer than either realized. Sometimes Hermione would raise her head to look at him and they would simply watch each other and touch the other's face and other times Hermione would rest her head on his chest and Blaise would play with her fingers and her hair.
The warm cocoon was all he needed right now. Blaise had never felt so close to anyone. Belonging was a concept alien to our strange hero. Even when he was on the inside, he was outside. But this was different. He belonged here with her.
Over the next few months, they saw more and more of each other. They spoke more often and Hermione had drawn Blaise out of his shell a bit. He found the experience terrifying and gratifying at the same time. Her friends accepted him and while Harry and Ron spoke of banal things, he found it was a lot more fun talking about Quidditch and school with Gryffindors than with Slytherins. They were less malicious overall. He laughed more with Hermione and her friends in one year than he had in his entire life.
Blaise and Hermione endured much awkwardness and false starts before they really started talking about their questions. And although they did not come to any conclusions about anything really, they did understand and respect each other. They both learned that perhaps a grudging ignorance of certain things was not the worst thing in the world, but they did not relinquish their curiosity in the least.
Blaise's relationship with Hermione was not quite how he imagined it would be, but it was wonderful none the less. The feelings Blaise developed for Hermione were indescribable. He loved her and needed her with all he was, but it was also incredibly painful which surprised him. He tried to tell her what she meant to him but his words always fell short. She told him that she understood what he meant.
It was a little over a year before Hermione would let Blaise make love to her. She told him she was not afraid of the pain that came with a girl's first time nor was she afraid of pregnancy or what her others might think of her, but she was terrified that the sensation might destroy her. She told him she was already so bound to him and his kisses and touches brought her pleasure she could not have imagined that she was afraid that sex with him would overwhelm her and somehow wreck her.
He promised her it wouldn't and it didn't, but they had both wept in their release and they trembled in each others' arms for hours afterward. The experience was everything. It was everything but disappointing, as he had once feared.
Blaise had found his impossible joining, and while he still had his precious questions, he had found Her and she gave him more than he could have imagined possible. Perhaps the world wasn't quite the bitch he once thought it was.
(1)Archimedes (ancient Greece) apparently discovered how to measure the amount of gold in the king's crown in the bath and ran naked through the streets yelling Eureka! Eureka! He is often considered to be the father of modern calculus and scientifically understood the concept of infinity. (I like the running naked through the streets bit best myself)