Disclaimer: All characters and settings belong to the very talented Jo Rowling, I am merely borrowing them for a short time. Please don't sue.
Blaise Zabini hated the colour pink. It didn't matter what the shade, whether it be cotton candy, fuchsia, dusty rose or salmon; he hated them all. Incidentally he also hated the colour red, anything bearing a lace trim, hearts of any sort, sappy love poems and baby-faced cherubs. In short Blaise hated Valentine's Day and all it stood for.
So, with a scowl that could rival Snape's on his worst day, Blaise stormed into his NEWT level Arithmancy class on the morning of February 14th and threw himself into his seat with a growl.
"Happy Valentine's, Blaise." Came the cheerful voice of his desk mate, Hermione Granger, nudging the mug sitting on their shared desk towards him.
Blaise's scowl deepened. "Don't talk to me about Valentine's Day," he all but snarled, picking up his cup of coffee. Taking a sip he was forced to choke back a sigh of pleasure. Blaise was determined to be surly and unpleasant all day and he wasn't about to let a cup of coffee deter him from his quest.
Hermione laughed, completely unfazed by the sullen Slytherin next to her. "Well, aren't you a ray of sunshine this morning," she commented pleasantly, which only served to annoy Blaise further as he was finding it rather difficult to remain angry at the world with his best friend so revoltingly happy. Stupid bint, spoiling his plans.
Over the years the two seventh years had formed a friendship that wasn't really understood by anyone else. On the outside they seemed like complete opposites: a Slytherin and a Gryffindor, a Pureblood and a Muggleborn, an introvert and an extrovert, a boy and a girl, coffee and tea. The list, which Draco Malfoy so thoughtfully put together sometime the year before, went on and on. But, for all of their differences, they just…clicked.
Ron Weasley in particular was rather vocal in his displeasure at their unprecedented friendship, until he realized that Malfoy was just as appalled; and a world in which he and Malfoy agreed on anything was just not a world Ron wanted to be apart of. Needless to say Ron was now their biggest supporter, if only just to spite Malfoy.
Hermione studied Blaise for a moment before saying, "I would ask who spat in your porridge this morning, but seeing as how you missed breakfast you weren't there to eat the porridge, were you?"
Before Blaise could reply, Professor Vector brought the students attention to the front of the class to begin the lesson. It was half an hour before Hermione and Blaise got a chance to continue their conversation, when the Professor told the class to pair up and begin working on various Arithmancy problems.
"I wanted to surprise Lisa with breakfast in bed," Blaise began, explaining absence from breakfast in the Great Hall. "Which, by the way, I thought was rather impressive considering I needed to gain access to not only the Ravenclaw Tower, but also the girls' dormitories. Not an easy task I can assure you. Not to mention the points I scored for originality."
His expression changed from one of pride to one of utter disdain. "Did you know that every wanker and his brother who attend this school are planning romantic dinners and walks around the lake this evening for their respective love interests? How exhaustively boring. Anyway…where was I?"
"Breakfast in bed."
"Oh, right. I surprised Lisa with breakfast in bed and to make a long story short-"
"-she broke up with me."
"What? She broke up with you? But it's Valentine's Day! Who breaks up with someone on Valentine's Day?" Hermione scrunched her nose in distaste. "That's awfully tacky, don't you think?" At Blaise's incredulous look, she had the good grace to blush. "Sorry."
"S'okay. I don't really care that she chose today to do it, come to think of it, I don't really care that she broke up with me at all."
Hermione's brow furrowed in confusion. "If it's not Lisa," she began slowly, "what has you in such fowl mood then?"
Blaise sneered and jerked his head to the right. "That," he said darkly.
Hermione looked to where he indicated and grew even more confused. There, sitting two desks away, was Anthony Goldstein, who was busy whispering sweet nothings in his blushing girlfriend's ear. Or, at least, Hermione assumed they were sweet nothings. You could never tell with boys.
"You're upset because you want to date Susan?" She asked.
"You want to date Goldstein?"
Blaise gave Hermione a look that bordered on horror and nausea, "What! God, no! Have you smelled that bloke's breath? What the bloody hell is the matter with you?"
"Excuse me?" Hermione huffed indignantly. "You storm in here doing the best impression of Snape this school has ever seen, announce Lisa dumped you, but say it's Goldstein and Susan who actually have you upset. The real question is, what the bloody hell is the matter with you?"
"It's not Goldstein and Bones personally, it's what they represent," Blaise snapped. Eyeing Hermione speculatively he added, "honestly 'Mione, you could at least try to keep up."
Hermione, not knowing whether to be amused, insulted, or annoyed instead asked, "and what, exactly, is it that they represent?"
"Isn't it obvious? Love, of course."
"Oh, of course."
"In the short walk between Ravenclaw Tower and this classroom I witnessed five love sick couples, four dozen roses, heard three declarations of love, two very badly recited love poems and-"
"A partridge in a pear tree," Hermione sang.
"What? No, a fifth year Hufflepuff serenading his girlfriend in the charms corridor, but close enough."
Hermione rolled her eyes, "and your point is?"
"My point? Haven't you been listening?" Blaise demanded incredulously.
"I'm trying, but it's not easy, you know. I find it helps when the conversation makes any sort of sense. Rather silly of me, I know, but what can I do?"
"The point," Blaise ground out, obviously less than amused, "is I want that."
"No, you silly twit, love! I want to be in love. Unfortunately, at the rate I'm going, I'm just about ready to give up."
Hermione laughed. "Is that all? Goodness Blaise, you almost had me feeling bad for you. I had my compassionate face ready and everything."
Not one to enjoy being laughed at, Blaise narrowed his eyes at his soon to be dead ex-best friend. Sensing danger, Hermione stifled her giggles and did her best to be serious, although the twinkle in her eyes gave away her amusement. Luckily, Professor Vector chose that moment to dismiss the class.
Putting her notes and school supplies neatly in her bag, Hermione imparted a bit of advice unto her moody friend. "Darling, everyone feels like that. The key is not to give up." Tossing her bag over her shoulder, she smiled softly. "You never know, maybe the person you're looking for is someone you pass in the corridor everyday. Someone you look at, but never really see." And with that, she was gone.
For the rest of the day, Blaise couldn't forget Hermione's words. During a free period, Blaise went to the Library to work on a Charms essay and found himself studying the face of a nearby Hufflepuff girl instead. Walking from lunch in the Great Hall to Muggle Studies he found himself eyeing a pretty Slytherin Sixth year whom, for some reason, he couldn't remember ever seeing in their Common Room. It was amazing how right Hermione was, everyday he crossed paths with dozens of people, all of whom have the potential to become more than just a nameless face, if only he had paid attention.
The last class of the day was Potions with the Gryffindors. Unlike Arithmancy, which combined all four houses into one class as there weren't enough seventh years taking the course to begin with, Potions class remained true to form placing the two houses with the greatest animosity towards one another within a hairs reach of poisons and other dangerous chemicals.
Taking his usual seat next to Theodore Nott, Blaise gazed across the room to where Hermione sat with Harry and Ron. Catching her eye, Blaise gave her a small wave, to which Hermione responded with a beaming smile and a wink before returning her attention to the two other men in her life.
Blaise blinked a couple of times. Did Hermione's face always light up like that when she smiled? Before he could ponder the idea any further, Professor Snape glided into the classroom and immediately began the lesson. Try as he might, Blaise just couldn't keep his focus on his Head of House. He found his mind – and eyes - wandering to the bushy-haired girl sitting on the other side of the room. When class ended, Blaise made his way over to Hermione's table and watched her pack her belongs, much like he had that very morning in Arithmancy. Funny how it seemed so long ago.
"What are you looking at?" Hermione snapped. Startled, it took Blaise a moment to realize whom she was talking to.
"You're looking at me," Hermione eyed him suspiciously, "why?"
"I wasn't looking at you," he replied.
"Yes, you were. In fact, you've been looking at me all class."
"I told, I wasn't looking at you," Blaise insisted, the slightest hint of a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
Hermione narrowed her eyes, "Oh? Then what were you doing?"
"I was seeing you," he said before inclining his head to capture her lips in a kiss.
Years later they would laugh about how it happened. All the moments they missed until that day when he saw his future in her smile and not just a friendly face.