Chapter 35:

Of Mental Breakdowns and Sappy Endings

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Blaise didn't know what to think as he wrung the tears out of his shirt tail and trudged down the corridor. Draco had been beside himself for nearly an hour, and though he felt guilty for leaving his friend to deal with his heartbreak alone, Blaise had some thinking to do. Unfortunately, his mind didn't seem to agree with him, as it whirled in a chaos of images and feelings.

You were upset in the room back there.

Well, of course I was. It's not everyday you walk in on you best friend bloody wailing over a bloke!

So you were upset because of what Weasley did to Granger?

Right! How could he do that when Draco has been- ah…wooing him?

It's positively shameful. You're just concerned for your friend.

No question whatsoever! If Weasley had just shown a bit of foresight as to whom he was supposed to be snogging…

Not Hermione Granger, you mean.

Yes. You see, Draco had a sort of claim on Weasley, and-

And not on Hermione.

You get the point! He has no bloody business placing his lips anywhere Hermione!

Because you're concerned for Draco.

…Ah? Oh. Oh yes. Right- I am most definitely concerned for Draco. He's very…sensitive.

And that was that. He'd just have to have a little chat with Weasley.

Blaise pivoted on his heel and readjusted his route for the Gryffindor Common room. Unless… were they still at it in the Charms corridor? He paused in mid-step, debating his choices. After a moment of reflection, he continued heading for the Common room. They had to go back at some point, didn't they?

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Hermione was in a closet. A broom closet to be precise, full of rotting wood, cleaning supplies and a subscription to Dungeons and Catacombs: A Guide to the Art of Torture (and Its Effects!). She was also quite sure- oh yes, quite- that the despicable Ernie MacMillan, the two giggling twits she roomed with, and some unidentifiable boy (who seemed rather uncomfortable) were behind the deed. It was then fairly obvious that they were also behind the stranding of Blaise Zabini in the closet with her.

"Get me out of here, you-" Hermione screeched at the door, clawing at the wood as if it were Ernie's freckled face.

Ernie cackled from behind the door. "Calm down, Hermione. You know, this is for your own good! Isn't that right, Cuddle Bear?"

"Hn."

Blaise squinted in the dimly lit room, recognizing the grunt after a moment of recollection. "Baddock, I will kill you if you don't open this door."

The door handle jiggled for a moment and then there was an exclamation from the other side. "Cuddle Bear! You know we can't let them out yet! You are so silly- mm, come here…"

The following sounds were so graphic, Blaise was decidedly glad the door had remained shut. That poor bastard… he thought to himself, knowing MacMillan's tastes through rumors and gossip- most of it coming from Draco, but he guessed at least a third of it was accurate, which caused him to shudder involuntarily.

"Now," Ernie said, his voice breathy and higher than usual, "We'll just leave you here to work things out for a while. Let's go, Cuddle Bear."

"Hn." Blaise thought Baddock's grunt sounded a bit weaker than normal. Oh dear Merlin…

Hermione shifted irritably in the confined space, huffing when a mop handle was caught between her and the wall. "This is ridiculous. Did you keep your wand?"

Blaise frowned, disappointed with himself. "No, they stripped it from me rather quickly. They must have been planning this for a while."

"I didn't manage to hold onto mine either," she admitted in return. "What now?"

"We humor them, I suppose," Blaise said, already regretting the decision to hunt down Weasley for- erm… hurting Draco.

"Did they say what they wanted from us?"

"…Hermione- there are only so many things they could have wanted us to do in here." At her disgruntled silence, he continued. "A) They want us in a confined space to keep us out of the way for a period of time; B) They'd like to see us ripping each other to bits; or C) They fancy themselves matchmakers and want us to have at each other."

"Oh dear."

"My thoughts exactly. It clearly isn't A, as there is no reason we would have to be together in a closet. It also isn't B, because they're a Hufflepuff, two Gryffindors, and a whipped Slytherin. Plus, we aren't like Draco and Potter. So that leaves…"

"Option C."

"You got it."

"Well," Hermione huffed out. "I'm afraid they will have to be disappointed. That is just not going to happen."

"I know."

Hermione glared viciously at him, though the effect was somewhat lost by the fact that he was unaware of her fury. "Excuse me?"

"You are with Weasley, after all."

"What sort of sick joke-"

Blaise frowned in her direction. "What do you mean 'joke'? Draco walked in on you-"

"That's preposterous! Ron is like a brother to me- I would never do such a thing! Especially since, well…you know."

"Ah."

"Yes."

They scrambled for each other in an instant, mouths meshing furiously. Bushy brown hair entwined with dark hair that curled just right at the ends, and somehow the mop that had been digging into Hermione's back simply disappeared, falling to the floor with a clatter.

The embrace had lasted no more than two minutes, when came a rather uncharacteristic hiss. "Where the bloody hell is your hand, Blaise?"

Blaise snatched back his hand from its deviation up Hermione's side and met her scowl with a sheepish expression. "It slipped. Ah, sorry."

Hermione eyed him carefully before reaching forward to clasp their hands tightly- just in case. In the same movement she leaned forward and their lips met again. Blaise wondered how he had never known how difficult it was to kiss without hands before. He was just getting into the motions, squeezing Hermione's hands to make up for their inactivity, when the door creaked open.

"What the hell?!"

Harry Potter did not seem pleased.

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"-don't know what I was thinking, listening to you of all people. I can't believe this-"

"Well, it's not exactly a walk in the park for me either, Potter."

"Hermione… But you- And we- Did you really… Wha-?"

Draco seethed as he surveyed the scene. Honestly! This was indecent! Granger and Blaise were in the throes of what appeared to be a very intense snogging session, Pothead was bitching at him about his plan failing (when it was really that little rat who made them late!), and his Weasel looked stunned and confused. Aw…

"Mm, Won-Won- my poor baby…" It was to Draco's advantage that Ron was too shellshocked to flinch out of the impromptu embrace.

Harry finally sighed, giving up. Both of his friends were apparently dating (evil git) Slytherins. "I'm going to go find Neville." That's right- he was the only one with a normal relationship… Suck that, Malfoy! Harry's boyfriend didn't need to be tied down to accept a hug! Well…except that one time, but it wasn't exactly a hug- Mmm… Where was Neville now ? The greenhouses? Harry was off without another word.

Hermione huffed, extracting herself from Blaise's arms and snapping in front of Ron's face. When he came to, she ruffled his red hair, taking supreme sadistic pleasure in his cries for mercy. "Grow up, Ron," she said finally, hitting upside the head once for good measure. "I'm going to be dating Blaise now, m-kay?"

Ron moaned in pain, shrinking away from her even as he nodded in agreement hysterically. Blaise merely wondered if he would ever have control over his life again. When she turned and raised an inquisitive brow at him, he wondered if he even cared.

...Alright. Maybe he still cared a little.

She grasped his hand and tugged him off toward the Kitchens. "Come on- you've got to meet all the house elves now that you'll be a member of S.P.E.W.! There's just the matter of you're initiation dues, and of course- you need a pin! I'll get started right away on it-"

Oh dear Merlin. What had he gotten himself into?

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