Dancing Shoes

Chapter Four

Hermione pulled Blaise into the nearest chair as soon as they appeared in her kitchen.

"Speak," she demanded, furiously unbuttoning her cardigan, before ripping it off and chucking it onto the table.

"What?" Blaise replied blankly, watching her movements bemusedly. Hermione snarled and commenced pacing.

"You've been awfully… nice tonight," she muttered irritably. She was so infuriated, at herself or Blaise she couldn't work out. How could she have missed it so easily, how could he suddenly be some bloody charming? Blaise watched her pace and leaned back.

"I don't know why you're so angry, I could have been my normal self," he smirked lightly at her confusion.

"And why weren't you?" Hermione squared her shoulders and came to rest with folded arms. "Why are you suddenly being Mr Charming?" Blaise had the good grace to look slightly embarrassed.

"I realised it wasn't working before," he said in a low voice, scratching his neck. Hermione said nothing; but slumped into the chair opposite him. She rested her hands on the table and took a deep breath.

"So, you now understand that by getting under my skin that isn't going to work, but by trying to charm me that won't either."

"I beg to differ," he sneered, "it was working quite well earlier on."

There was silence.

"You're an idiot Zabini," Hermione muttered crossly.

"But a charming idiot."

"No," Hermione snapped, "just an idiot."

"You love me for it," Blaise sighed happily and grinned roguishly at her.

"I hate you for it," Hermione replied in a hollow voice.

He frowned, almost believing her.

"You say women are hard to understand but how do you think I feel now? For about six months you've lead me down an increasingly miserable path of lacking dignity and self worth, then, then you, you dare to think you can suddenly change tactics and that makes it all better? You're a conceited prat, Zabini!" Hermione fumed, and fell back in her seat crossly. Thinking about what an idiot he was made her take her eyes away from the reality of what she was going to have to face up too.

"I think you misunderstand my actions does not make me any more stupid than it makes you," he replied smoothly. Hermione leaned forward.

"Misunderstand? You've been gladly insulting my work from day to day for months. Admit it; you don't know how to approach a woman!" Hermione declared this with a snarl. Blaise didn't move.

"I know how to approach women," he said evenly.

"Then why have you failed so miserably with me, in every aspect of our knowing each other?" Hermione demanded.

"Because you're not like the others." Hermione said nothing, but allowed her mouth to fall open, "they don't make my palms sweat or challenge my intelligence, they run after my looks and my money, offer themselves to me like cheap sluts. They don't realise I don't want them."

"You're so used to getting anything you want that when something comes along you really do want you can't have it," Hermione replied flatly. She didn't quite think she comprehended what Blaise was saying to her. It did all seem rather surreal.

"Yes," he agreed, and leant forwards continuing in a low voice, "But it's not just because I can't have you that I want you."

"You want me?"

"You're a bit slow on the uptake, Granger," Blaise leaned back into his chair and Hermione was sure that for a fraction of a second his cheeks darkened.

"Erm, right," she replied awkwardly, knowing she wouldn't look as composed as him. She didn't know what to say.

"Either slap me or snog me, I know which I'd prefer," Blaise said in a bored tone of voice. Hermione tutted. He was an idiot. But, she had to admit a relatively harmless and somewhat amusing idiot.

She rose from her chair and walked over to him, bending down, for the first time in a while he looked quite interested in her advance. She leaned her face down and kissed his cheek.

"In your own, twisted way, I suppose you're quite sweet," she said gently in his ear, "you can take the sofa for the night." Hermione straightened and smiled somewhat awkwardly. He was grinning at her, grinning happily, not a smirking or mocking grin, one of happiness.

"Your great," he said in a low voice and kissed her cheek in return.

Hermione found little sleep that night.

"Didn't your mother ever teach you that staring was rude," Blaise murmured, his eyes still closed. Hermione jumped and spilled hot coffee down her nightie. It was the morning and a half naked Blaise Zabini was on her sofa and Hermione didn't have a clue of what to do.

"I brought coffee," Hermione said awkwardly, waving a wand over her damp top, "I didn't know if I should wake you." Blaise cracked an eye open and winced at the natural light. He looked at her for a second then closed his eye again.

"I like your hair. It looks like a bird's nest."

"Yet again you flatter me," Hermione said flatly, setting down the mugs onto the coffee table in her living room.

"I do that well," Blaise levered himself up to a sitting position and let his blanket fall down to his lap. Hermione swallowed. Hard.

"Coffee. Need," He muttered. Hermione obligingly passed him a mug and watched him sip pensively.

"Better," he actually opened both of his eyes. "So what are we doing today?" he asked quizzically.

"Er we?" Hermione tried desperately not to stare at his bare chest.

Blaise tilted his head. "Will you go out with me?"

"Er…"

"Okay- are you doing anything today?"

"No."

"Then you're coming out with me."

Hermione didn't argue but grinned into her coffee, he amused her. They finished their drinks in silence, with only sniffs and sighs to break the tension.

"Hermione, come here," Blaise said a few minutes later, patting the side of her sofa. Hermione obliged and stood up to perch herself on the edge of the sofa. Blaise leaned over and forcefully pulled her to him. Cupping a hand round her cheek he spoke gently.

"Please, can I kiss you yet?"

Hermione swallowed again, her eyes flickering closed, cheek burning beneath his hand.

"Yes."

And it was wonderful.