Whoa. Thanks for being so patient guys... I can't believe I took two whole months to update this! But it's been busy... so you must excuse me. Hope everyone's having a fantastic Christmas vacation and a Happy New Year! Anyways, this chapter is much longer than the usual chapter, so I hope you'll like it! Tell me what you think, kay?
Thanks to- Chantal J, Sabine Strohem-Moss, BrownPryde, Ms. Realista, kingmaker, reina del noche, Elvengirl9, Miss Court-A-Doo, Tru Lys, Morgain Lestrage, and VoicezWithin!
Your reviews were very very much appreciated and pushed me to actually continue this story. Please keep it up!
Two weeks had passed, and Blaise hadn't seen much of that strange little Ravenclaw girl who had stabbed him. He didn't think too much of it. Perhaps she had forgotten about him and decided not to bother him anymore. Or perhaps she had new victims to torture mercilessly. Whatever it was, it was a relief to not have to peek over his shoulder (secretly of course, since he would never admit to being afraid of a girl) at every turn, expecting a brunette witch to suddenly pop out brandishing his quills.
He wished that he could say the same about his nights. It seemed that every time he lay down on his emerald green bed and snuggled beneath the heavy comforter (the dungeons were rather chilly, after all), his head was filled with nightmares of a certain Ravenclaw hunting him down.
Blaise yawned, pulling himself out of bed groggily. He didn't have to look in the mirror to know that he had dark circles under his eyes from a fitful sleep. Argh.
Beside him, Draco Malfoy was putting on his school robes. "'Morning, Blaise," he muttered, glancing over at his friend. "Merlin! You look like hell, Zabini. Honestly, what's been wrong with you? You haven't been sleeping well for the past two weeks!"
Blaise shrugged, tiredly running a hand through his dark hair as he shivered. He wanted nothing more than to crawl back underneath his warm comforter and sleep, but every time he closed his eyes, he dreamt of being stabbed repeatedly on his shoulder with a quill. "Nightmares," he confessed. "I keep having nightmares." With a groan of despair, he yanked open his bedside drawer and angrily pulled out his clothes and began to change.
Oh Merlin. He inwardly groaned. If he told Draco the truth, he would never hear the end of it. The news would be all over the school in two hours- Blaise Zabini was terrified of a harmless little girl! Goodness, why did he have to say he was bothered by nightmares? Why couldn't he have just said something suave, like, "Well Draco, what do you think keeps me up at night? Have you been keeping as tight a rein on your girlfriend as you thought?" and waggled his eyebrows suggestively? Then again, if he had actually said that, Draco would've hexed him within an inch of his life and then delivered him personally to Turpin. Ah. Maybe the nightmare story was better.
"Well," he explained, pausing for a moment to come up with a believable answer. "I keep having nightmares about, err… well. Err…"
Draco's usual trademark smirk widened. "It's something embarrassing, isn't it?" he goaded, sitting down on his bed to face Blaise.
"Of course not!" Blaise was quite affronted. It didn't matter that the truth really was embarrassing- Malfoy here was insinuating that he dreamt of silly childish things! Just because he had divulged to him once that he had nightmares about being attacked by hoardes of pixies… that prat. "My nightmare was perfectly reasonable. In fact, I'm sure if you had nightmares about the same thing, you'd be bloody terrified!"
"Really," Draco drawled, raising an eyebrow knowingly. "Then why don't you just tell me?"
Honestly, the boy was so hard to convince of anything. He'd just have to come up with a brilliant story that would terrify even Draco Malfoy!
"Well," he tried again. "I keep having this recurring nightmare where the Gryffindors gang up on me and turn me into a ferret, again and again and again…"
He trailed off with a smirk. Draco was bright red and staring at the carpet in embarrassment. He looked like a lost little boy- hilarious! Not that Blaise enjoyed bringing up his friend's worst experience or anything. It's just that he had been desperate for a story.
"Ah," Draco finally coughed out. "Sounds terrifying. Anyway," he continued hurriedly, "We'd better get down to breakfast, don't you think?"
He looked bloody terrified. Darn. And now Blaise was starting to feel a bit guilty. "Yes," he finally replied apologetically. "After all," he added, "Pansy'll be waiting for you, won't she?"
Embarrassment forgotten, Draco perked up, springing from his bed like an excited little boy on the way to the toy store. "You're right!" he exclaimed, bounding over to Blaise's bed and tugging his friend to his feet. "Come on, come on! Hurry up! We can't make her wait!"
Blaise groaned again. Ah. He knew there was a reason why he didn't normally mention Pansy around Draco. An excited and smitten Draco was utterly embarrassing- he could already see the other Slytherin boys looking over in their direction curiously. But at least he was happy and not thinking about ferrets right now. Ah. Blaise sighed in self-admiration. Honestly. The things he did in the name of friendship.
"Alright, let's go then."
Blaise followed a skipping Draco out of the boys' dormitory and into the Common Room. As expected, a bored looking Pansy Parkinson was seated in one of the armchairs, twirling a dark strand of hair around her fingers as she chatted with Millicent and Daphne.
"'Lo Pansy," Draco greeted, rushing to his girlfriend's side to peck her on the cheek.
"Finally you've come down!" she admonished with a mock-glare, but broke into a smile after a moment, letting Draco help her to her feet. "I'm starved. I hope they have sausage for breakfast today. Oh and eggs! I'm craving scrambled eggs, dear."
Grinning at each other, the two lovebirds scampered out of the room, off to the hall to eat breakfast together. Blaise glanced at the two girls still sitting in the Common Room and smiled when he saw them make faces at each other.
"Hello Bulstrode, Greengrass." He nodded at them in greeting.
"Hi," Millicent muttered, still making a disgusted face at Daphne, who promptly burst into giggles.
"Hi Blaise!" Daphne said brightly, getting up with a bounce as she swept her light brown curls over her shoulder. "It seems Draco's abandoned you."
"Ah yes," he replied with a roll of his eyes. "It seems every time he's in Pansy's presence, he forgets I'm even alive. And," he added with an arrogant smirk, "who could ever forget me? It's unfathomable!"
The girls groaned and rolled their eyes at him. "Oh honestly, Zabini," Daphne huffed, slapping him on the shoulder. "Anyways, how's your mother? Well, I hope?"
"Of course," he replied smoothly. "She sends her regards to the both of you. Of course, all of our mothers are in close contact."
They slowly made their way to the Great Hall.
"Of course," Millicent replied. "Pureblood women stick together, isn't that right, Daphne?"
Daphne nodded pensively in agreement. She glanced over at Blaise and Millicent to either side of her and sighed. "I suppose," she said with a dejected sigh. "That one day all of us will be married to each other and see each other at absurdly rich social gatherings and all worship the Dark Lord together, eh?"
Blaise smirked. "Now Daphne," he replied lightly. "Don't sound too excited there."
But what she said was true, he thought with a slight frown. In several years time, he would most definitely be married to one of the Slytherin pureblood girls and learning the family business from his father. Of course, he wasn't in a family where killing muggles brought in income (unlike Draco Malfoy). He'd be learning something ridiculously boring, like the secret recipe for Cockroach Clusters. Bloody hell! He didn't even like Cockroach Clusters!
Daphne wouldn't be deterred and continued with her depressing comments. "My mother wants me to marry you, Blaise," she remarked flatly.
Her lack of enthusiasm really did hurt his pride. Blaise enjoyed her company and wasn't completely averse to marrying her someday. Certainly, he didn't see her as more than a friend, but with their relationship, he could have her as a wife and have mistresses on the side. Or something of that sort, at least. She was more intelligent than most of the girls he knew, anyway, especially those two simpering fifth years who wore too much makeup and giggled whenever he walked past them in the Common Room. Just thinking about them made him shudder.
"Well," he pouted. "Who wouldn't want to marry me?"
She shot him a glare that meant that she was in no mood for his jokes. "I don't, Blaise, and you know that. I… we're set to be married a year after we graduate. Isn't that strange?"
He shrugged in reply. Arranged marriages were commonplace among pureblood families, as preserving the family honor was the most important thing. And what more important to family honor than making sure that your children married people you approved of and knew the backgrounds of? It was quite simple, and though he didn't particularly like the custom, he didn't hate it either.
Some, like Malfoy, were lucky and were paired with people they adored. Most ended up married to people they didn't love. It was the way that things worked, and Blaise certainly wasn't going to fight tradition.
"Strange?" Millicent shrugged. "I uh, guess so. My parents were the same way though, so I don't think it's too weird or anything."
"You're set to marry Goyle, right?" Blaise asked.
"Mm," she nodded. "It doesn't really bother me. He's a bit dense," she rolled her eyes and giggled. "But he's decent to me. So…" she shrugged again.
"Ah," Blaise gestured as they came into the Great Hall. "Here we are, ladies. So shall we go get something to eat?"
They nodded and made their way over to sit with the other Slytherins, laughing as they scooped eggs onto their plates.
Across the hall, a certain Ravenclaw was watching the Slytherin table avidly, as she had done for the past two weeks.
"You're staring again," Mandy told Lisa as she reached across the table for the jar of jam. "Stop it. Hasn't the poor boy suffered enough? What've you got planned for him now?"
"I can't tell you," Lisa replied, turning back to her breakfast as she pulled her hair back into a ponytail.
"Promise me you won't get house points deducted?"
"I promise," Lisa replied with a grin, rolling her eyes. "Oh you! Always worried about house points, aren't you? Honestly, you make me feel bad for even thinking about exacting my revenge."
Mandy laughed, reaching over to grab Lisa's ponytail holder. "Oh Lisa. When are you going to start waking up on time and actually taking time to dress? Your hair's a tangled mess. I didn't even know straight hair could get this tangled!"
"Yes," Lisa waved a hand dismissively in reply. "It's quite the bird's nest, isn't it? I've no patience for it at all, sometimes."
"But you looked lovely at the Yule Ball."
"That was years ago. I've reached the point where all I do is sleep, eat and study. And sometimes I don't even have time for sleep. So it's a wonder I'm even showered when I come down to breakfast."
"What a dull existence."
"Exactly." Giggling mischievously, Lisa turned her head away to allow Mandy to neatly braid her hair. "That's why I need to spice it up a bit. And what better way than to plan a certain Slytherin's demise?"
Mandy frowned in disapproval, snapping the hair tie onto the end of the braid. "Well," she finally said, pursing her lips together. "Be careful, alright? Those Slytherins are a nasty lot. I just don't want to see you getting hurt."
Lisa giggled in reply, shooting her friend a look as she reached back to feel the braid. "Oh honestly, Mandy. You should know by now that I can most definitely take care of myself."
Mandy smiled in reply. "I guess I should be feeling sorry for Zabini, huh?"
"Exactly. Save your concern for him. He'll be needing it a lot more than I do."
Blaise left the Great Hall with Daphne, making their way to their History of Magic class. "Hey," he said, nudging his friend. "You've been looking glum since our conversation before breakfast. What's wrong?"
She turned to him, her forehead furrowed in concentration as she frowned slightly. "I really am bothered by all these pureblood customs," she remarked, sighing. "It's stupid, I know," she continued on seeing his frown. "But I can't help it. We have to get married, for Merlin's sake, and we don't even vaguely like each other in a romantic sense! Doesn't that bother you?"
"I, erm," he replied uncomfortably, as they walked into the classroom and sat down together. "Not particularly, I guess. I've never really thought about it. It's just the way things are, isn't it?"
"Oh," she sighed as she set down her books. "That's just because you've never really found anyone you liked."
He frowned thoughtfully, nodding as he thought about what she had just said. It was true, he thought. He appreciated girls, but had never found one that had truly fascinated and made him into a besotted idiot. No, he'd never been in love before, and so he supposed he wouldn't know…
"Hey!" he suddenly said, coming to a realization. "You like someone don't you?" When she didn't reply, he clapped his hands together gleefully. "Oh Greengrass, who is it?"
"Shh," she hissed frantically, glaring at him. "No one's supposed to know. And for your information, I just don't like someone. I'm seeing someone."
"Someone I know?"
"Oh… I suppose. Maybe. He's in our year."
She gave him a pointed look. "Do you think I'd keep it a secret if he were in Slytherin?"
"Ah, good point. Who then?"
"Goodness, you sound like Millicent and Pansy. Always nosing into my love life."
"Teeellll meeeee…" Blaise wasn't generally one to resort to whining childishly, but he knew it would annoy Daphne greatly. He had known the girl since childhood, after all.
She huffed, glaring at him in a way that clearly meant that she wanted him to shut up.
He paid no heed.
"Come on. Pleaaaseee? I promise if I ever do like someone I'll tell you first. Oh come on, Daphne…" he continued stubbornly.
"Shh…" she hissed. "Look, he's in this room, okay? So if you could please be very quiet when I tell you…"
"Well what do you think? This is a Ravenclaw and Slytherin class period, isn't it?"
"No need to be snippy, Greengrass."
"Shut up or I won't tell you."
"Fine." She lowered her voice to a barely perceptible whisper. "It's… it's Anthony Goldstein, alright?"
"Whoa." Blaise looked around the room, his eyes landing on the table directly behind them. Turning back to Daphne, he lowered his voice. "Prefect Anthony Goldstein?"
"Are there many others?"
"Hmm…" he thought for a moment. Quite honestly, he should be absolutely offended at the moment. His bride to be had just chosen a Ravenclaw over him, for Merlin's sake! But well… ah goodness. His darned good spirit kicked in again. Daphne was his friend after all, and he saw her as nothing more. And Anthony… though he hated to admit it, the boy was a decent, intelligent boy. And he was loyal and goodhearted in a way that few Slytherins were. Shooting the Ravenclaw boy one last glance, he turned back to Daphne, who was biting her lower lip nervously. "I approve," he said grudgingly. "Look, I'll help you with whatever you need. Keep your secret, lie to our parents, whatever- I'll do it. As long as you're happy."
Daphne squealed, hugging him. "Thanks!" she whispered, "That means a lot. And I was afraid of your reaction the most… you are my fiancé after all, and I was afraid you wouldn't be alright with it." Turning around in her seat she smiled at Anthony, who was watching them uncertainly. Leaning over, she whispered something to him. When she was done, Anthony turned to Blaise and smiled in relief.
"Thanks," he mouthed.
Blaise simply nodded in reply. Ah, another good deed for the day done.
The class droned on and he found himself unable to listen to the boring historical facts thrown at him. Instead, he doodled on the edges of his parchment, drawing little boxes as he sketched out his little comic book stories. He glanced around the room furtively to make sure no one was watching. Dear god… if they ever found out that Blaise Zabini, the tall, dark and handsome Slytherin made comic books for children…
He'd never hear the end of it.
Satisfied that no one was paying attention to him, he became so engrossed in his comic books that he didn't notice when class ended and Daphne said goodbye, walking out after Anthony Goldstein.
Unfortunately for him, he didn't notice a quiet girl make her way over to his table either. Not until she sat down beside him, that is.
Looking up, he widened his eyes in fear when he realized that that Turpin girl was sitting next to him. The girl who constantly showed up in his nightmares… Dear god, he was doomed.
"Hi Blaise," she greeted in a singsong voice, noticing his terrified expression. "Haven't run into you in a while, have I?"
He managed to squeak out," Um. No?"
Dear god, dear god. She was going to kill him. Rip him apart with his school supplies and throw his remains in a lake. How would he ever travel the world if he were dead? How would he enjoy his lunch? How would he enjoy his dinner? How would he ever lie to his parents about marrying Daphne? All the wonderful plans that he had were gone.
"Right. Honestly, it's like you've been avoiding me." The girl had the cheek to give him a smirk.
"No. Of course not. Why would I do that?"
Oh god, oh god. He couldn't die now. He hadn't even graduated yet. He was still young, too young to die!
Lisa grinned. Oh this was too much fun. The poor boy was absolutely terrified. And she knew exactly what she could do to make his life more miserable… Stabbing him or any other form of physical violence was so utterly overrated. She had to torture him in a way more effective… a way more subtle.
"Oh Blaise," she admonished, flipping her braid over her shoulder as she sat down, tapping her quill on the desk. She smirked in satisfaction when she noticed how he glanced down at the quill in terror. "You really shouldn't avoid me so much. Just because we had one little run in…"
"I'm not avoiding you," Blaise argued weakly, glancing around the room for a means of escape. The psychotic Turpin girl was getting ready to stab him already. He needed to escape!
"Look Blaise," she finally said. "You've been terribly rude to me, and I want you to make up for it."
"Sorry, sorry!" he apologized… no, he begged. He did want to live, after all.
She silenced him with a glare. "I think you need to learn how to respect muggles. And that's why I'm going to have you meet me once a week for an extra Muggles Studies session. I will see you at lunch on Wednesday out by the lake," she commanded, leaving no room for argument. "And in the meantime, I don't want to hear about you ever disrespecting muggles in any way. I have my ways of finding out whether or not you obey, and believe me, if I hear about you calling anyone a mudblood, I will hunt you down and stab you within an inch of your life."
Blaise sat, mouth agape and nodded dumbly.
"Good." Lisa smiled sweetly, standing up and stuffing her quill back into her bookbag. With a little wave, she skipped out of the room, pausing to give a cheery farewell to the professor.
Blaise groaned, sinking into his seat. He was as good as dead.