Summary: Mistletoe causes the fire, and Blaise Zabini knows of no way to quench it, to stop burning for the forbidden. Lost inside what he should not touch, it seems only right for everything to end under the innocent plant that started it all…
For Si, who loves sexy!Blaise and Hermione. Well, all I can say is this: It started out as a sexy!Blaise fluff with mistletoe, and evolved. The bunnies got to me. Hopefully you'll like it though. Despite the utter darkness and my attempt at staying in character and in time-line. :grimaces: I think I spent longer reading up facts and dates and characters at the Lexicon and reading the Blaise section in HBP than actually writing it. Ah well. All fun. Hope you like!
Hermione Granger was not in the best of moods. It was snowing outside and when she could be trying to help Harry by playing in the fabulously cold blanket of white, she instead had a full day of lessons and – to top it all off – she was late for one of them.
And it was his entire fault.
"It's just a kiss," she repeated impatiently, shifting the strap of her bag further up her shoulder. "What harm can a kiss do?"
The boy looked at her with eyes darker than night, but Hermione paid no attention to the secrets and mysteries that spun like blackened silk from the orbs. She was late for class, and that was that.
"A kiss can do more harm than you know," he replied, something shuttered in his expression that told of a Past. Hermione pursed her lips.
"Well, what do you suggest?" she demanded, not feeling in the least bit sympathetic. In fact, she felt a little indignant. She wasn't going to win any beauty awards, but surely she wasn't that hideous? When the boy didn't answer, she lifted her chin and sniffed quite haughtily, taking a few steps away from him. There was a sensation like that of a Portkey, and the world tilted for a moment, the whirl in her mind suggesting vertigo, and then she found herself barely a hands length away from him again. Hermione huffed. "Look, I haven't got all day. I'm late for Arithmancy and if I don't go now there won't be any point in going at all."
"Don't go then," the boy said simply, though the sneer was tilting his lips a cruel twist. "We'll wait here until the spell wears off."
Hermione looked horrified. "I'm not going to stand here with you and miss class when our predicament can be solved in a matter of seconds! Milliseconds, even!"
He looked amused at this comment, shadows dancing, seducing and Hermione felt her cheeks redden slightly, but faced this laughing gaze head on. The nerve, she thought. And the nerve of Dumbledor, letting the Heads taunt us like this…The mistletoe hummed innocently above them as she shot it an annoyed scowl.
"Look," she said, meeting his gaze firmly. "Your little Slytherin buddies aren't here to see you, if that's what you're worried about." The surprise and unease on his face made her expression darken. Or maybe it's because I'm muggleborn, she thought disgustedly, watching as the boy stuffed his hands into his pockets with an almost sulky air. Annoyed, Hermione stomped her foot. "For god's sake," she huffed. "It's just a kiss!"
And before he could back away, she curled her fingers into his jumper and roughly pulled him forward, quickly stretching to meet his mouth with hers. It was closed-mouthed and short, but Hermione's lips grew hot on his and tingled with something close to anticipation. It spread across her skin like the spatter of warm rain and touched her eyes softly, drawing them closed.
And then it was over and she stepped away and the mistletoe bounced happily. The hallway echoed with the light tap of Hermione's shoes and Blaise Zabini watched her leave, eyes shadowed and expression brooding, his cold fingers hovering at fire-tipped lips.
Hermione faced the wall with an expression that could only be described as destructive. They saw her as an over-achiever, and she was, she knew that, but – Her wand levelled with the cold stone with a sharp snap as she screamed, "Reducto!"
Ron didn't have to be so cruel. There was so much anger inside her, so much insecurity, and ok, so she'd said some things that shouldn't have been said and laughed at things that she shouldn't have laughed at, but they fought. They bickered and they picked at each other and it was them. It was the beginnings of what she hoped was something true and pure and wonderful and –
The wall exploded again, chunks flying every which way and falling with dull thunks. Ron made her do this. Made her curse with such venom that anyone in the way could be killed, when she should only be the bookworm, the one behind the research. She shouldn't have this power. But…no. She couldn't blame Ron. It wasn't just him. It was Voldemort and the DeathEaters and the pain of society and the prejudice and the eyes that followed her, that branded her.
Eyes that were forbidden.
She could feel them now, touching every part of her with burning fingers until she stomped her foot and aimed at a door and – "REDUCTO!"
Hermione drew in a shuddering breath, wand arm stiff and trembling, as the door disintegrated, becoming dust and splinters. The eyes were replaced with real fingers, real skin on her scalp, her neck, her shoulders, around her waist and briefly skimming her ribs, but they were no less hot. They seared her skin down to the bone, fine brown hairs standing on end, and she deflated.
"You watch me," she said, tears in her voice, in her eyes. "You shouldn't."
He said nothing, simply turning her, and she looked up into the obsidian eyes of Blaise Zabini, the thick black hair, the dark chocolate skin. His gaze was full of shadows and his expression full of possibilities, but Hermione didn't care for mysteries or possibilities at that moment and his lips touched hers.
It was blinding.
And when it was over, her tears were dry but her skin was burning with fire and Blaise stepped away with something defeated in his eyes as she reached for his hand and pressed it against hers.
"I told you a kiss could do a lot of harm," he told her, irritatingly collected despite the hue of ruin in his face, his shoulders set at an angle that told of Pureblood breeding. Hermione remembered the kiss under the mistletoe, the one she'd been so unconcerned about taking, because it was just a kiss and she needed to get to class…
She hadn't known what it would ignite.
A hand taking hers; fingers brushing against her neck; dark, brooding eyes. Sixth Year passed for Hermione with arguments and tears and suspicions, and secrets that she concealed deep in her conscience, of stolen kisses and a boy who lived in the shadows. Blaise Zabini was not a constant fixture in her life, but when he was there, he was everything. He made her lose sight of Ron, of Harry, of Voldemort. Of the prejudices and the fear. He made her forget, for those brief moments, and Hermione treasured them in a small part of her behind her breast, wrapped in silk and touched like no other.
But she was Hermione Granger and he was Blaise Zabini. Gryffindor Prefect and Slytherin shadow. Harry Potter's best friend and Malfoy's confident. A rising Order of the Phoenix strategist and Voldemort's next generation DeathEater. For all their whispered touches, all they were was a dream.
"We're leaving," she said, his forehead resting against hers, dark eyes boring into her own. She stared back, caught in him. "We're not coming back."
"I don't think anyone is," he replied, quietly, fingers twisted in her wild hair, hating it but loving her and so finding it undeniably attractive. His voice was coloured with mysteries, with the old haughtiness of a Pureblood. "Henrietta is taking a trip abroad. I expect she's going to leave me in the tender care of our Master."
Hermione didn't have the energy to flinch. She knew his relationship with his mother was like that of strangers, and she knew he was part of the pull that surrounded Voldemort, but it still hurt, despite the fact that she had accepted it in the passed months, just as he had accepted that she was muggleborn. Nothing would change it.
"Goodbye, then," she said finally, fingers on his cheek, cold and welcoming. He stared at her and let her go, because they both knew it wasn't the end. They would meet again, but not like this.
One of them would have to die.
He stood among the ancient trees, a figure of perfect midnight, arms folded and head tilted to the side, robes rippling in the slight wind. Hermione pulled her wild hair over one shoulder, trying to keep it from whipping into her eyes like a feral creature and wincing at the thought of the knots she'd have to deal with later on. Her wand in her hand, another battle long over, she stood by his side.
She could feel her arm tingling from where it brushed his and watched him out of the corner of her eye, the man he had become. She knew he killed muggles and muggleborns and people close to her, and she knew he had no qualms about it. No matter how hard you try, overcoming beliefs instilled at birth is near impossible, and Hermione knew that. Just as she knew that he couldn't help being attracted to her and – maybe, just maybe – loving her. Just as she couldn't help loving him.
"Tomorrow," he said. Hermione nodded.
"Yes," she replied, taking his hand. He squeezed it back, briefly. "One of us will be dead." They didn't shy away from it. They knew that – even if they did both survive the battle tomorrow – he would still be Blaise Zabini and she would still be Hermione Granger. Neither of them had changed. He still hated muggles and she still fought for Harry and it would never be right. It could never be done. They were anomalies, so wrong together. And they both understood. Both knew someone had to die. They would mourn that person, be broken, but it had to be done.
Had, had, had. She wished that, for once, that they had a choice. But who did, in war?
"How's Ron?" he asked, grip on her hand tightening, eyes blazing as she smiled slightly, thinking of the other man in her life. She would always be Blaise's, but Ron was the one that was accepted. The one that was right. Because he was Ron Weasely and she was Hermione Granger. It was expected. In a trio, with two boys and a girl, two of them always ended up together. And Harry was too broken, too hung-up on Ginny, too filled with revenge to be chosen.
It was always the sidekicks.
The kiss was brutal, smearing her smile, sudden, but she clung to him, because she could do nothing else. Addiction, obsession, call it what you will. Hermione and Blaise. Wrong but perfect.
"Do you think of him when you're with me?" he growled, clasp so tight it bruised. She smothered a moan by pressing her lips to his throat, shivering at the feel of his voice vibrating through her lips. It pooled like fire in her belly. But she knew something was off, not wrong because they were wrong, but different. Changed. Blaise violently crushed his pelvis to hers and suddenly she understood.
And it frightened her. Because Blaise was jealous, and for all that they understood, they had never acknowledged any type of love or affection. Nothing but heat and fire. And collected, haughty Blaise showing jealousy?
"Stop it," she said softly, looking at him. "Don't."
"And if I don't want to?" he demanded.
"Then kiss me and take me and put it all into the fight tomorrow. Kill me with it," she said, lost in it all, and as he stared at her, eyes closing off, she whispered, "Its your voice. Not him. Not Ron. It's always you. Your voice touches everything."
The heat of his hands against her shoulders as he pulled her towards him was altogether frightening and passionate. She concentrated on the calluses, on the fingerprints he made in her skin to match the ones deep in her heart, feeling so beautiful that it was dirty. Yes, she felt dirty and broken and lost in him, and it was the feeling she loved most in the world.
His lips on her pulse, the brush of his hair against her neck, the way his body pushed against hers in a way that suggested such need…and Hermione couldn't help it. She clenched her jaw against defeated whimpers and dug her fingers into his back, crushing her body back against his, demanding and burning and needing. She looked at him and he looked at her and there was nothing they could do about it anymore. Nothing.
There were no words. No hopes, no declarations of love. But this was their dream, all theirs, and they sank into it with mouths and tongues and burning touches. Made it everything.
Blaise woke later that day to find her back facing him, back curved as she curled in on herself, knowing even in sleep that it was hopeless. He wanted to touch that skin and make it his with every declaration in the book, but he knew it wasn't possible. They belonged to different worlds, and now they had to face them. Had to face each other with wands drawn and spells on their lips, lips that knew each other intimately.
He stood and dressed, all in black, the perfect Slytherin, and remembered Hermione kissing the DarkMark on his arm, her tongue tracing it with no hatred, no disgust. It was apart of him, and to her that even made Voldemort's sign wonderful and lovely and unspoiled.
And it was that mark, that she had touched so tenderly, that would kill her.
Blaise froze, shoulder's tensing, but his eyes were cool when he turned to face her. His face fascinated Hermione. There was a destructive beauty to it, the expression so heartbreakingly raw while he looked at her with distanced eyes. She'd always thought that he was simply putting on an act, so perfect in the expression but letting those black orbs betray his true intentions.
But now…now she found herself wondering if perhaps he was simply trained too well. Trained to withhold the emotion from his eyes, compose himself, like a song, a poem, a sculpture, that even when he was being open with his feelings, he instinctively hid behind his gaze. Hid all that he was, and could not break free.
That passive gaze raked over her body, the thin blue sheet clutched at her chest, falling to her feet in twisted folds. She tightened her grip for a moment, cheeks flushing, before she met his eyes head on and dropped the cover. "Stay," she repeated, ignoring the waver to her voice, the way it broke slightly at the end, like glass tilting precariously at an edge, uncertain, before shattering.
And in that obsidian, unreadable look, something broke.
Hermione watched him walk forward, gloved hands brushing feather-light over her cheekbone. She closed her eyes and leant into his touch, and she knew. The heat of his lips had barely touched hers before it was gone and the sharp crack of apparition forced her to flinch. But she did not fall. She did not weep. She did not scream at the unfairness of such a world. Naked in the middle of a strange room, Hermione kept her eyes firmly shut and hung onto the moment of his lips. She drew in a breath and let it out, trembling. And then she opened her eyes and she smiled bitterly, because she knew.
That was the last time that they could dream.
"Come out, Hermione. This is it."
His voice had always done things to her, made her cling to him, want him, love him. It reduced her to abstract things, wishes and dreams and soft clouds with silver ribbon. And even now, knowing they were going to kill each other, the battle raging outside, she could only focus on him. His voice. Loving him. She crouched in the dust, and she spoke, resigned to it.
"Did you know that this cabin belonged to a muggle? He was a drunk. Made kids happy by dressing up as Santa Clause every year. Died one Christmas, in this very room, of liver failure. His only friend as he died a bottle of whisky in one hand. We buried him with it."
His voice was frustrated, distraught, soaked in regret. Hermione swallowed, fingers curled around a handle, tightening with every word. She felt sick, but so detached from it all.
"I won't die today."
"Are you so sure?"
"Then lets play."
"Come out, Hermione." A pause. "Hermione."
A noise, just behind him, an intake of breath –
And Hermione just stared at him, eyes wide, blood making her hands slick as she fell, choking, coughing, throwing up everything she'd eaten that day, sobbing violently through the acidic taste in her mouth.
"I knew you'd take the first shot. I knew it."
Blaise, crumpled on the dusty wood, blood pooling like a shadow from the wound in his stomach, watched her. Hermione dropped the knife and crawled to him, touching his eyes, his jaw, his lips, with blood tipped fingers, death in her hands. He let her, eyes cold, expression passive, kissed her back when she pressed her lips to his with sobbed apologies like burnt honey.
And as she fell in his arms quietly, tears still wet on her cheeks and whispered guilt still on her lips, only then did his mask crumble, only then did the devastation line his body and curl into the corner of his mouth. He folded her in midnight and turned painfully onto his side, curving around her fragile body, his blood staining her clothes and skin. He would die…but slowly. With her.
They had been so oblivious to the battle going on outside. Voldemort had been waiting and Blaise had been in the Left flank of his army and when Harry arrived with the light, Blaise had known that there was a possibility he would never see Hermione and get to kill her. His final possession, his obsession, his final act of love. But she had appeared, torn away from Harry and cutting down the ones who had knocked Ron unconscious, undoubtedly killed him, and he had seen her and challenged her and she had run.
He had followed.
They had both said that one of them was going to die, but Blaise knew that it would not come to that. To one of them living, without the other. He knew that they would both die, just as he had known Hermione would strike first, freeing him – in her brave Gryffindor mind – from killing her and bearing the guilt, just as he had known that he would kill her in the quickest, most painless way possible. Hermione did not know how to kill. He had known that. Had known it would be slow. But, maybe not too slow…he knew that, maybe, he would die quickly too, because he murdered her, would die by –
The door slammed open, the fight outside seeming even more brutal, but he could hear the chants, that Voldemort was down, Harry had won, had won, and the DeathEaters were retreating.
"Hermione! Are you in here? Hermione? Are you – ?"
There was a pause as Blaise stared at the intruder, and the intruder stared back at him. Hermione cold and dead in his arms, blood on her hands, curled in his embrace, blood still running from his wound. And Blaise saw that this person knew. Understood, and he smiled as he relaxed with the one he loved in his arms. He closed his eyes, and slept, loving this moment, loving Hermione, wishing it had been different but knowing that in any other circumstance, they never would have been together, never would ha –
Outside the Light was celebrating, unknowing of the acts that caused the deaths inside one little broken cabin, the love and the obsession and the loss, and paid no attention as one Ginny Weasely slipped through the door, wand in hand and burning from the Unforgivable she had cast.
And from the rafters above Hermione Granger and Blaise Zabini, long dead, hung one innocent cut of mistletoe.