Daisies at Dawn – fire-and-ice89
A/N: Well, this is my first successful attempt at a one shot. By successful, I'm referring to the fact that I actually finished it. I'll leave it up to you to decide whether or not you thought it was effective.
It was written through a fun little exchange with a friend of mine (her pen name on this site is Mocha Dragon). We gave each other a character name, an object, and the atmosphere that we wanted the story to have. The following are the requests that I received from her:
One character I want you to include: Blaise Zabini
One object I want you to include: A flower
Mood of the story: Realistic romance, possibly from first person, delivers a message to the audience (doesn't have to be obvious), hopeful.
And here is the result:
A light breeze picked up and shimmered across the field, lightly touching the delicate white petals of the daisies. From where Blaise Zabini was standing, leaning into the rough wooden fence, breathing in the fragrant scent, it appeared that he was looking out onto a field of white and gold.
In his personal opinion, more farmers should abandon a field or two. Daisies may have been considered a weed by some, but to Blaise, they were the prettiest flower he would ever find on this earth.
But of course, he was biased.
He sighed, thinking of the girl who had so gently tucked one of the exquisite flowers behind her ear. How she had swept her golden brown hair away from her face to display the result, laughing, her nose wrinkling slightly in that adorable way, with just a dusting of freckles to show that she spent time outside.
He thought of the young man who laughed with her, and helped her push aside her hair to admire the flower. He had picked it for her. He thought of that young man with his emerald green eyes and messy black hair, and felt a deep feeling of hatred.
Harry did not deserve her.
"Hey Blaise!" It was Draco. The blond haired boy joined Blaise at the fence, and gave him a strange look. "What are you doing here by yourself? Seriously, there are way better things to do than watch a stupid old field all day long. Come with us to the Three Broomsticks."
Blaise looked behind Draco. "Us" consisted of Draco's goons Crabbe and Goyle, the latter of which was picking his nose.
"You go ahead, Draco," Blaise urged his friend. "I'll join you later. I'm feeling tired today."
"Ohhh" Draco said with understanding. "Late night, eh?" He raised a pale, delicately sculptured eyebrow suggestively.
Blaise smiled thinly. "Whatever." Let Draco think what he wanted to. Anything to get some peace.
But when Draco and the goons had gone, leaving Blaise to his fantasies, everything seemed stale. Inwardly, Blaise was raging at his friend. How dare he call it a stupid old field. But now that Blaise's perfect image had shattered, he knew that Draco was right. It was just a stupid old field. Blaise pounded his fist down onto the fence rail in a sudden spurt of anger, and felt a sharp splinter pierce his skin.
He swore violently at the rotten piece of wood, and kicked the bottom rail loose, before he took a look at his hand. The splinter was embedded deep into the skin. He tried to pluck it out, but the skin around was too sensitive.
Suddenly, all the anger drained from his system, and he was just weary.
Weary of thinking. Weary of worrying. Weary of the world.
With a sigh he turned around and trudged in the direction of Hogwarts. He would go and see Madam Pomfrey, get rid of the damned splinter, go to his dorm, get a good sleep, and wipe his mind of Hermione Granger forever.
"Ow!" Hermione whimpered when Madam Pomfrey touched her arm.
"You're sensitive" Madam Pomfrey said, shaking her head in disapproval. "I think it's broken."
Harry sat beside Hermione's bed, looking thoroughly miserable. "I'm sorry, 'Mione," he murmured, taking hold of her good hand.
"It's all right," Hermione sighed. "You'll be able to fix it, right?"
Madam Pomfrey, who was now rummaging in a nearby cupboard, nodded vaguely.
"I can. But it's a bad fracture. You might have to stay overnight until the ache fades."
She returned to Hermione's bedside with a small vial. In return to Hermione's questioning gaze, she said briefly, "sleeping potion."
"Oh great," Hermione said faintly.
"Don't worry, Hermione," Harry said, patting her hand. "You'll be all better in the morning."
Madam Pomfrey looked sharply in his direction. "Yes, and you'll be able to see her then, young man. Now leave, so she can get some rest."
As Harry slipped sullenly out the door, Hermione heard Madam Pomfrey mutter something under her breath that sounded suspiciously like "stupid boy thinks he can take her for a ride on his broom well this is the way things end up she could've died stupid boy".
She closed her eyes as Madam Pomfrey muttered some incantations over her arm. She wasn't even aware that the hospital wing door had opened, and that someone had stepped inside.
When Blaise Zabini saw her, lying there, halo of hair spread around on the pillow, he almost backtracked and went running away down the corridor. But he reconsidered. She was alone, after all. He had just seen Harry heading towards the Gryffindor common rooms. So there were none of her little friends to hassle him. Another reason: Blaise couldn't pass up the opportunity to be with her, just to watch her.
Also, a factor that would not allow itself to be forgotten: his splinter hurt like hell.
So instead of leaving, tail between his legs, Blaise stepped boldly into the room. He watched Madam Pomfrey restore Hermione's bones to their original alignment, and hand the vial of potion to her.
"This will help you get to sleep. I know it's not bedtime yet, but I advise that you drink it soon. You need some rest. That sounded like a nasty fall."
Hermione nodded, and lay back on her pillows. Blaise was left standing in the middle of the room wondering where she fell from and how. He didn't even hear Madam Pomfrey the first time she addressed him.
"Excuse me! Can I help you? Are you injured?"
Blaise jumped. "Er…I have a…um". He blushed at his minor injury. "I-have-a-splinter-but-it-really-hurts-please-take-it-out?"
Madam Pomfrey raised her eyebrow, but didn't comment. Hermione was watching idly from her bedridden position. Blaise felt his ears heat up from the humiliation of the whole situation. He knew he looked like a baby. He could just see the clever Gryffindor's mind ticking, making fun of him, forming the words to repeat to her friends:
Little Baby Blaise has a splinter. Please mummy, take the nasty splinter out! It hurts. I don't like it, mummy.
He even got as far as imagining Harry and Ron's faces, creased with laughter at the image of him, dignified Blaise Zabini, complaining about a splinter, before he realized the ridiculousness of his imagination. Hermione was doing no such thing. She wasn't in any state to. She's just had her arm ripped apart, for goodness sakes!
He was over reacting. As he always did, around the capturing gaze of the Gryffindor princess.
He hadn't even registered that Madam Pomfrey was inspecting his splinter. Next thing he knew, there was a sharp pang of pain splitting through his palm, and it was free.
"All done," Madam Pomfrey said briskly. She applied a spot of ointment. "You're free to go. If it gets infected, come and see me again."
Blaise nodded numbly, and she went out into the back room. By peering in, Blaise could see that she was filling out some paperwork about something or other.
He was alone in the hospital wing.
He was alone.
Somehow, Blaise Zabini knew that there was no way he was going to let this fantastic opportunity slip through his fingers. He couldn't. If he just walked out that hospital wing door, and never spoke a word to this girl, he would regret it for the rest of his life.
And so he took a step towards the bed. Hermione's eyes had drifted closed, but at the sound of his footsteps, going in the wrong direction, they snapped open again. Wide brown orbs stared questioningly into Blaise's own eyes.
She resembled a deer caught in headlights, and the sight was incredibly endearing to behold. Blaise wished she knew how much so. He wondered if anyone had ever told her about the effect her long, black lashes had on the young men in her grade. It was bewitching.
"How…" Blaise started, then cleared his throat. Strong voice. "How did you hurt your arm?"
For a moment, the girl just continued to stare at him, like she hadn't known he could speak. She opened her mouth, then closed it again. Her deep, dark pooled eyes searched his face, as though she were searching for a hint of sarcasm, of insincerity. She found none.
Hermione Granger was a polite girl. Blaise was being polite; she would be polite as well.
"Harry took me for a ride on his broom," she said cautiously. To Blaise, it was like a peace offering. She would talk to him. She would be civil. He covered the short distance between himself and the bed, and sat down awkwardly on the visitor's chair.
"You fell?" He asked her, keeping his eyes trained on hers the whole time. He needed to prove that he was being genuine. Hermione faltered, and her gaze dropped down to her slender hands, clasped upon the sheets.
"I never liked flying," she admitted, and then closed up. Blaise could see the shutters drop over her eyes. He could just picture the thoughts in her mind. Why am I telling secrets to a Slytherin? He'll probably use them against me in future.
To be safe, Blaise steered away from this topic. His mind was working furiously, trying to think of small chat. His eyes searched the room, looking for an object to draw upon. His gaze fell upon her bedside table.
A daisy chain. Wilted, drooping, yes. Faded, dull, admittedly. But somehow, Blaise knew that the daisies were from the field.
That felt right. It was hers. She was the golden Gryffindor princess, and so it was right that she ruled over the land of shimmering white and golden centers.
Blaise reached over and picked up the limp, sorry looking bracelet.
"This is yours?" He asked. But it was not a question. Hermione nodded anyway. "So, do you like daisies?"
"They're pretty flowers," Hermione answered vaguely. But it was not an answer. Blaise wanted more.
"I love daisies." He said earnestly. "You know, there's a field of them, near Hogsmeade. Full of them. It shimmers white from the petals."
He had her attention now. She was searching his eyes again. He knew what she was thinking. Was this really Blaise? The tough, unfeeling Slythering? Discussing daisies with a mudblood Gryffindor girl?
He could only imagine the battle, but he was witness to the outcome. Hermione's face softened, and her lips curled upwards in a hesitant smile.
"I love daisies," she confessed. "I used to make daisy chains all the time when I was little. I think I actually know the field that you're talking about."
Inwardly, Blaise seethed. Of course you do. I know you do. I've seen you, you and Potter, picking daisies for each other. Do you really think me so heartless that I wouldn't want that for myself? That I wouldn't want to tuck a daisy behind your ear, and hold your golden hair aside to admire the effect? Am I so good at hiding my feelings that you'll never know that?
He couldn't say that to her, though. He could never say that. He was closer to her than he'd ever been before. He was having the longest conversation with her that he'd ever had. Yet somehow, his heart ached with loneliness, and he felt like he'd never been farther away.
He swallowed his emotions – with difficulty – and resumed the conversation.
"Did you make this daisy chain?" He asked, twirling it casually around his index finger. Her eyes followed it. Up and down. Up and down. Her cheeks were faintly pink.
"No, um…Harry made that one for me. I taught him how."
Blaise stopped twirling the chain. "Oh." Potter had touched it. He tossed it back down onto the bedside table.
Too late, he realized that he had spoiled the conversation. He had unknowingly brought Potter into it, and Potter seemed to be a sore point for this girl at the moment.
An awkward silence ensued. Hermione's fingers were twisting around each other. Blaise remained seated. Madam Pomfrey still had no idea he was there. She was filling out the paperwork.
Eventually, Hermione broke the silence. "You know what, I should go to sleep. I need my rest."
"Of course," Blaise said, disappointed that their encounter was coming to an end, and angry at himself for feeling disappointed. Like a gentleman, he picked up the vial from the bedside table, and passed it gently into Hermione's slim hands.
How he longed to hold one of them. Dangerously close, his hands hovered for a moment longer. Then he withdrew them, as though he had been stung, and walked abruptly away. He closed the hospital wing behind him with a bang slightly louder than necessary. Then he buried his head in his hands, despairing.
He had come to the hospital wing determined to forget Hermione. Instead, her impression was etched even deeper into his heart and mind. He knew now that no prolonged recovery would be possible. This fetish, this obsession (for now he could address it as such), had to end. It had not had a definite beginning, but it had to have a definite end.
And Blaise knew just how that could come about.
The daisies were (if possible) even prettier at night. But it was hard to tell. Perhaps even impossible to compare. They were ghostly, almost ethereal: the white fairly gleamed under the radiant moonlight.
Blaise shivered, both from the cold, and from the intense feeling that something wasn't right. The daisies were flowers of the day. By night, they were no longer golden. Hermione was not their princess. By night, they took on a more mysterious, almost sinister edge.
By night, it was his field.
It felt right.
All the same, Blaise did not take his time. He bent down and gathered a few of the precious flowers, pulling them from the roots simultaneously. He took several handfuls, arranging them all carefully in his grasp, before leaving.
He did not look back upon the field.
The long walk to Hogsmeade and back – the second that day – had almost drained Blaise's energy. By the time he returned to the Slythering dorms, he knew there was only about an hour before sunrise. An hour to complete the deed.
He lay his handfuls of daisies down on the table and beheld his task: making a daisy chain. He had never been taught. But he had watched Hermione make them many times over. Frantically replaying her actions in his mind, he picked up the first daisy and slit the stem, with his thumbnail, just below the flower.
Thirty five minutes and twenty three daisies later (due to many unsuccessful attempts), he was done. He proudly brandished the sad, disheveled little daisy chain, grinning with glee. The remaining daisies he gathered into a bunch, and muttered a quick incantation. A yellow ribbon formed in midair and tied a neat bow to hold the flowers together. These he would keep for himself.
But the chain needed something else. It needed a note.
Blaise searched the room briefly before he found what he was looking for. Someone had a spare piece of parchment tucked into their Transfiguration textbook, and a quill perched on top.
Materials in hand, Blaise returned to the table. After only a moment's pause, he penned a quick note.
I noticed that your other daisy chain was looking wilted, so here is a fresh replacement. It's not very good, I'm sorry. I'm still learning.
It pained him to write that. He knew that when Hermione read the note, she would probably assume it was Harry. Blaise's deed, his long walk to Hogsmeade, his devotion to Hermione, would never be discovered. But it was better that way.
Once Blaise had delivered this note, once he had wiped his mind of Hermione, he could move on in his life. He could beat Hermione in classes without fear of upsetting or offending her (for really, he was just as smart, but he had always lowered himself below his potential, because he couldn't bear to see her upset). He would choose a pureblood Slytherin girl and propose to her, just as Draco had already done with Pansy. His parents would be proud of him. He would be doing the right thing.
But then, as he folded up the note, and carefully picked up the daisy chain, why did everything feel so wrong?
Blaise didn't dwell on it. He couldn't. It would cause too much pain.
And besides, the sky was starting to lighten.
Hermione was still the only occupant of the hospital wing when Blaise gently pushed open the old wooden door. Madam Pomfrey was nowhere in sight. Silently, Blaise slipped inside.
The dusty, pink light of dawn was starting to creep through the windows and onto the beds. It lightly brushed the tips of Hermione's golden brown hair. To Blaise, standing in the middle of the room, she looked like a vision in pink and gold.
Ethereal. Just like her field of daisies.
Blaise tip toed across the room, and gently placed the daisy chain and letter on her bedside table. This is the end. He felt like it needed…something. Some recited poem, perhaps. Something to mark this occasion.
As Blaise stood there searching his mind, the golden princess in front of him began to stir.
He froze. Would she awaken? If she did, what would he do? Run. That was the best thing.
He shifted his feet, tensing them carefully. But the sight of this girl, reaching her arms upwards for a stretch, blinking sleepily several times, awakening…he could not leave. He knew that now. She had to know that it was him.
"Oh," he heard her sigh, gazing up at him. "Blaise?"
He stood there solemnly, eyes trained on her own. "I brought you something," he said firmly.
Hermione's forehead creased in an endearing way. She wasn't fully awake yet. If she were, she probably would have called for help, or said something more intelligent.
"How…nice of you." She said vaguely, and rolled over. Blaise's heart gave a jump. The room was growing lighter.
"No, please, Hermione…I know you need your rest, but can you look at this quickly now?"
She was more awake. She sat up. Her frown was fully in place.
"What do you want, Blaise?" She asked him. Coming from anyone else, that sentence would have sounded accusing, rude almost. Coming from her, it could never be.
"I brought you something," he repeated, and pointed to the beside table. She looked down, past his finger, to where the note and the daisy chain lay. She looked at it for a moment, then back up at Blaise skeptically.
"You brought me a daisy chain?"
Suddenly, it all seemed ridiculous. His midnight walk, this whole fool plan, his crazy idea that somehow the daisies provided a connection to this girl. It was all ridiculous.
Hermione was watching his crestfallen face. She reached over and picked up the daisy chain and the note. Blaise stared down at the floor as he heard the paper rustle. She was unfolding it. Reading it.
There was a pause.
"Thank you, Blaise," she said eventually. He looked up. She was sincere; her face was earnest. "It was really nice of you."
The room was now filled with the pink light. It was dawn. Blaise could feel his heart pounding in his chest. She liked it! A feeling of euphoria was spreading throughout his body. His hands and feet began to tingle.
But nothing could have prepared him for what happened next.
Hermione put aside the bracelet and the note, onto her bedside table. She pushed herself onto her knees, so that she was kneeling on the hospital bed. Then, quickly, she leaned forward and gave Blaise a sweet little kiss on the cheek.
Blaise was in heaven.
"I…uh…I…" say something intelligent, dammit "I'm glad you liked the kiss – I mean daisy chain! I'm glad you liked it…I'm going to go now."
He made a quick retreat. Even as he was closing the door, he could hear Hermione's laughter. It was melodic, lilting, sweet. Just like her kiss. The last thing he heard as he closed the door was Madam Pomfrey's voice.
"Are you all right, dear?"
Then he was flying down the hallway. He didn't know where he was going. He was flying.
And now he knew for sure: he would never 'get over' Hermione Granger. But for some reason, this thought no longer troubled him. It no longer poisoned his very existence. In fact, he thrived off thinking it.
There is a chance. There is a chance. There is a chance.
There was hope.
A/N: So there you have it! I tried a different style of writing in here…more description, a lot more description. This writing experiment has stemmed from recently reading "The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants" (very good book, good movie, too). The descriptions in there were so alive that I thought I'd try and mimic the style a bit.
I know that the pairing in here isn't exactly "mainstream", so to say, but that was because of the requests. If I had it my way, I would replace Blaise with Draco, of course ;). But I still managed to squeeze Draco in there for a few seconds, so I think I did well!
Okay everyone, please review! Tell me if you like the different style of writing, what you thought of the characterization, your favourite line from the story…and criticize if you feel the need to :).
A quick note before I depart: I have finally updated my profile. Major changes. So check that out.