Title: The Dating Game
Warnings: Language, Sexual Situations
Word Count: 3,532
Time: Post-Hogwarts, EWE
Summary: Blaise and Hermione set each other up on blind dates.
Blaise Zabini sauntered into work at 9:20 and set a steaming cup of tea down on his officemate's desk, just as he had done every morning for the last eight months. "Morning, swot," he teased her.
"Good morning, whore," she jokingly replied, not bothering to look up from the parchments she was examining.
As Blaise sat down at his desk and sipped his morning tea, he let his eyes linger on his co-worker. For someone who was smart, funny, and ambitious, the girl really was a mess. She wore out of date robes, had sensible shoes, and sported hair that would look more appropriate on some inmate from Azkaban than on a dedicated Ministry employee. It frustrated Blaise only because the chit could be reasonably attractive, if she would just make an effort.
Not that Blaise really cared one way or another, he certainly did not lack for female companionship. Still, the girl obviously needed help if she was going to locate any type of happiness outside of some book. He couldn't remember the last time the office gossip network had mentioned her going out on a date. Maybe if he could convince her how much she was missing out by not caring a little bit more about her appearance, she might have a chance at ending up in love with someone other than her cat. "Granger, I swear you were sitting in that exact same position when I left the office Friday at 4:00. Did you even bother to go home this weekend?" he asked her.
"Yes, I went home this weekend," she responded finally looking up at him. "Moreover, you went home at 2:30 on Friday not 4:00, which is why I had to come in early this morning and make sure everything is ready for our meeting at 11:00."
"So describe to me what a weekend with the incomparable Hermione Granger is like," he inquired, ignoring her not-so-subtle reprimand for his skiving off early last week.
"Why do you even bother with the pretence of wanting to hear about my weekend? Just tell me what you did Zabini, so we can get back to work." Hermione replied somewhat jadedly.
Blaise typically spent the first 45 minutes of every Monday morning giving Hermione a post-weekend recap of what parties he'd gone too, which Ministry officials he'd chatted up, and which brainless tarts he'd shagged. While Hermione had initially been annoyed at having to waste time listening to Zabini discussing his personal conquests and social coups, she'd eventually begun to enjoy his witty commentary on wizarding society. To a girl who would never be accepted in high society because of her parentage, there was something darkly satisfying about being up-to-date on all the rumours about well-connected wizards. Only last week, Blaise had described to her how Kingsley Shacklebolt's wife acted like a brazen hussy at a silent auction raising funds for war orphans and how Pansy Parkinson's fiancé was a clueless wanker from Byelorussia who bid 1200 galleons on an opportunity to train with the Chudley Cannons.
Recently, however, Hermione had found herself becoming more and more frustrated with Zabini's complete lack of competence in choosing women to date. He'd go out every Friday evening with a different blond airhead whose big chest and bigger trust fund had made her appear a fine candidate to become the future Mrs. Blaise Zabini. By Saturday afternoon, however, he'd suddenly realize that he would rather be castrated than have to spend his life chained to such an empty-headed creature. Hermione was dying to set him up with an intelligent, sensible, and hard-working girl, so that he would finally realize that a woman's value should be judged by more than just her blood, breasts, and pocketbook.
"Granger, after working alongside me for long, it should be obvious that I don't ask a question if I'm not interested in the answer," Blaise commented, interrupting her thoughts. "Now tell me about your weekend."
"There isn't really much to tell," Hermione admitted. "I left the office at six on Friday, picked up some Muggle take-away, and spent the evening on the couch reading. Saturday, I went to the market, had lunch with Ginny, and spent the afternoon and evening with Ron and Luna helping them set up some wards for their new flat. Then on Sunday, I slept late, had brunch with my mother, and spent the afternoon in the lab trying to tweak that vial of Strengthening Solution so that it will increase endurance, as well as strength."
"Merlin, Granger, that is pathetic."
"Bugger off, Zabini. Just because I don't waste my time at social events and hooking up with people who I have no intention of ever seeing again doesn't make my life pathetic."
"Don't be a prude, Hermione. And don't assume you know how I spend all of my weekends."
"Oh really," she said cockily. "I bet you five galleons I can guess what you did this weekend."
Blaise cocked an eyebrow at Hermione, "You're on."
Hermione leaned back in her chair and placed her hands behind her head causing Blaise's eyes to drop briefly to her chest. Nice tits, he thought to himself.
"Alright," Hermione began, "Friday night you took some pretty pure-blood witch to a fancy restaurant. She got tipsy on wine or champagne, or both, and starting giggling at everything thing you said, even the unfunny stuff, but you didn't mind because she was wearing some clingy outfit that showed a lot of cleavage. Once dinner was over, you Apparated to a popular nightclub, where she continued to drink, and got much friendlier and more physical as the night wore on. At some point, she suggested going back to your place and you happily obliged her. You had sex most of the evening--"
"Mind-blowing sex," Blaise drawled, interrupting her.
Hermione rolled her eyes, "Given the lack of brain-cells your dates typically have, that really isn't much of an accomplishment."
Blaise chucked softly, "Touché, Granger."
"Saturday morning you woke up, made the girl some sort of fancy omelette, sat down for breakfast, and then became annoyed when the chit only wants to talk about shoes, jewellery, or her trust fund. So you made some excuse about why you can't see her again. After she left, you Floo'ed Malfoy and he commiserated with you on the sad selection of available witches in London.
You spent Saturday evening unattached, charming married women at some Ministry charity event. On Sunday afternoon you had brunch with your mother where you were forced to explain for the 100th time why you are still single."
Blaise looked reluctantly impressed. "What does that prove?" he shrugged.
"It proves that my weekends are no more pathetic than your weekends," Hermione informed him with a sly grin.
"At least I come out of my weekends having gotten a good shag."
Hermione shook her head. "You shouldn't be satisfied by just a good shag. Imagine waking up next to a woman who has something interesting to say, someone who can rub together two original thoughts without curling up in a foetal position. Don't you ever want more?"
"Granger you make it sound like it's easy to find attractive, smart, interesting, and single witches. I have looked around -- a lot. I know what is out there, and the kind of woman you just described isn't just sitting around in the clubs, waiting to be asked out."
"No kidding, Zabini. The kind of woman I described works late nights and when she does go out, she's probably with friends and family, not laying-in-wait at the bars for rich, handsome wizards. Look, if you are really interested in dating someone who thinks about more than her bra size, I'd be happy to set you up with one of my friends."
If Blaise hadn't been in Slytherin for seven years, he definitely would have made a face at her suggestion. He could just imagine the fat, spotty, bookworm that Hermione would want him to date. Still this might be an excellent opportunity for him to convince her to go out with an attractive and fun-loving wizard so that she could experience what she had been missing by locking herself away in the Ministry every weekend.
"I'll make a deal with you, Granger," he said with an innocent-looking smile plastered across his face. "I will go on a blind date with whoever you select for me, if you'll let me set you up with a wizard of my choosing."
Hermione crinkled up her nose. She could just imagine the kind of spoiled fop that Zabini would match her with. Of course, it might be worth wasting on evening with some rich, pretty boy, if it meant finally showing Zabini that it was possible for girls to have brains and boobs. "Fine," she told him. "Next Friday night, we'll go out on a double date. You pick my escort and I'll pick a witch for you."
Zabini smirked, "Agreed. But I don't want to hear any complaints Monday morning about how sore you are from all the wonderful shagging."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "No problem. Just make sure to reserve me a good seat at ceremony, when you end up marrying the witch I pick out for you."
"Dream on, Granger."
Blaise and Draco sat in a coffee shop in wizarding London, sipping cappuccino. "Is Adrian Pucey still dating Daphne Greengrass?" Blaise asked his blond friend.
"No," Draco replied, making a sour face. "But why would you want to travel down that well-ploughed path?"
"I don't want to date Greengrass."
"Well, it doesn't surprise me that Pucey plays for both teams, but I am relieved to hear that you are finally coming out of the broom closet and admitting your true sexual orientation," Draco mocked.
"Fuck off, Malfoy," Blaise growled. "I'm trying to pick a wizard to take Granger out on a date."
Draco arched an eyebrow. "Who made you her fairy godmother?"
"We have a little challenge going on," Blaise explained. "She is setting me up with some intellectual witch to prove that it is possible for women to be both smart and sexy, and I am supposed to fix her up with a wizard to demonstrate that shagging once in a while won't kill her career, cause her to become stupid, or ruin her reputation."
Draco shook his head.
"She's misleading you, Zabini."
"What do you mean?" Blaise asked, genuinely confused.
"There is no other smart and sexy witch. She is fixing you up with herself."
Blaise's eyes widened. "She wouldn't!"
"Of course she would. It is classic Granger modus operandi. She is determined to prove her point and will stop at nothing to do it. She won't be able to trust anyone else not to screw it up and lose the challenge for her. Therefore, she'll go out with you just to insure that you have no choice but to acknowledge her masterful analysis of your life."
Nodding and looking thoughtful, Blaise couldn't help but be swayed by Draco's words. It did sound like something Granger would do. "Well," he said with a smile. "If she wants to date me, she didn't have to go through such an elaborate diversion. I would have given her a taste of the ol' Zabini magic any time she asked."
Draco laughed. "Are you still planning on contacting Pucey?"
"No need now. I'll just show up alone so that she'll know I figured out her scheme."
"Thank Merlin Gryffindors are pants at being underhanded and sneaky, otherwise Granger would be dangerous."
Blaise nodded in agreement, smiling slightly as he imagined the look of shock on Hermione's face when she realized he had out-manoeuvred her.
Blaise stood in the men's room of the Leaky Cauldron and adjusted his robe. He had dressed with particular care this evening, determined to stun Granger with his poise and self-assurance in the face of her sure to be forthcoming admission that she had never planned on finding him a real date for the evening.
The dark-skinned wizard had questioned his co-worker repeatedly during the week on who she had found to go out with him. Every time he asked, however, she would simply grin and tell him he had to wait until Friday to find out. Each of her vague answers increased Blaise's confidence that there was no other witch and that Hermione planned to go out with Blaise herself.
The knowledge that the former Gryffindor Golden Girl wanted to date him had caused Blaise to look at her in a completely different light. Now when he glanced over at her desk, he didn't see her untamed hair, dowdy robes, or annoying intensity. Instead, he noticed her curves, her full lips, and a mass of hair that looked like she had just been taken roughly on top of her desk. The former Slytherin had even been forced to Floo home for a wank during lunch the last two days to keep from pulling the brunette into his lap and snogging her silly.
As Blaise stepped out of the men's room, he scanned the bar looking for Hermione. He didn't spot her immediately, but did see Malfoy and Gregory Goyle sitting in a dark corner nursing two tumblers of fire whiskey. Making his way over to his friends, he demanded to know what they were doing at the Leaky Cauldron this evening.
Malfoy just raised an impeccably well-groomed eyebrow, while Goyle snorted into his drink.
Before Blaise could curse them both for being prats, Hermione walked into the bar followed closely by Padma Patil.
Blaise legs grew shaky and he quickly sat down at Malfoy's table. "She brought someone with her!" he hissed.
"Didn't expect that," Malfoy replied with a shrug.
"What the fuck am I going to do?" Blaise whispered in an anxious tone. Suddenly, his eyes' lit up, "Malfoy, you could—"
"No way in hell," Draco replied, refusing to let Blaise finish his sentence. "I would rather date a Blast-Ended Skrewt."
"Mate--" Blaise began again in growing desperation.
"I'd rather be buggered by a Dementor," Draco responded even more forcefully.
Never taking his eyes off of Hermione and the Patil twin, who were now heading over to their table, Blaise turned to Goyle and asked franticly. "Greg, do you want to go out with Granger?"
Goyle cocked his head to the side and looked confused. "I thought you were going out with the know-it-all?"
"Change of plans," Blaise choked.
"Think she'll put out?"
Malfoy snickered behind his hand. Blaise wanted to hex him; instead he nodded slightly at Goyle. "She might."
"Alright, then," Greg replied, rising to greet the two witches, who just then reached the table.
It was a horrid evening. Although the foursome had gone to an exclusive wizarding restaurant with a fabulous menu, the conversation at the table had been anything but enjoyable. Goyle had spent the entire evening trying to feel Hermione up under the table. When her repeated kicks to his shin had not stopped his roving hands, she hexed him so that he got a stinging pain in his side every time his hands fell below his waist.
Blaise, meanwhile, completely ignored Padma Patil so that he could watch the slapstick antics of Goyle and Hermione. He also couldn't stop brooding about how he had completely misread the situation between himself and the brown-eyed witch. He irrationally glared at the Gryffindor during the meal for what he viewed as her failure to recognize his recent attraction for her.
Their dates were such busts that Hermione and Padma excused themselves and Apparated home before the entrée plates had even been cleared away. Goyle stayed for dessert, but spent the entire time complaining about uptight witches and wincing every time he reached for his wallet to pay for the meal.
Blaise was so depressed that he didn't even be bother going home to his flat after Goyle left. He just sat at the table and drank, hoping that enough alcohol would blot the entire week from his mind. Unfortunately, before he could succeed in his quest, Hermione was standing over him, with her hands on her hips, and a scowl on her face.
"Gregory Goyle?! You set me up with Gregory Goyle? Do you really think so little of me that you thought I'd be interested in a lump like him?"
"He was sort of a last minute substitution," Blaise admitted.
Hermione blinked and then sat down quietly at the table. "The person you set me up with backed out?" she asked, sounding a bit hurt.
"Actually, he found himself suddenly occupied for the evening."
"Is going out with me such an awful prospect that men would jump at any opportunity to avoid it?" she inquired, her bottom lip beginning to tremble.
"Fuck no, Granger," Blaise exclaimed, deciding to come clean and at least salvage his and Hermione's friendship. "I didn't bother to find you a date, because I was going to go out with you, myself."
Hermione bit her lip, still looking confused. "I don't understand."
Blaise grimaced. "I convinced myself that you were the smart, sexy witch I was being set up with, so when you walked in to the Leaky Cauldron tonight with Patil, I panicked and asked Greg to go out with you."
"But I promised to find you someone who is both attractive and intelligent. I hardly fit that profile," she told him.
Frowning, Blaise glowered at her. "You are delusional, Granger, if you don't recognize how good-looking you are. Sure you may not be a conventional beauty, but those are a dime a dozen. You've got an essence about you that just takes a man's breath away. Fuck, I've been turned-on all week, just imagining going out on a date with you."
"Really?" she asked, blushing slightly.
"Really," Blaise replied, feeling some of his confidence returning.
"So what do you want to do?" she asked. "I could probably convince Padma to give you another shot."
Blaise shook his head. "Wouldn't do any good. I'm already interested in a smart and sexy witch."
Hermione licked her lips. "And if this witch agreed to go out with you?"
"I would begin a long campaign to try to woo her and convince her that I am more than just a pretty face."
"What if she said confessed to not needing a long campaign, that she already recognized you as more than a pretty face, and that she was greatly attracted to you?"
"Then I'd remind her that it's Friday night and my routine will be blown if I can't go to my flat and have mind-blowing sex with a good-looking witch."
Hermione grinned at him. "I'm the smartest witch of our generation, Zabini. It's going to take an awful lot of good sex for you to blow my mind."
"I'm up for the challenge," Zabini told her with a rakish smirk. He then stood, pulled Hermione to her feet, and Apparated them both away.
Mere seconds later, Hermione was surprised to find herself in a tastefully decorated bedroom. "So this is the site of your many conquests," she teased.
A hint of colour tinted Blaise's cheeks. "There haven't been that many."
"Oh please," Hermione smiled. "Should I count all the notches on your best post?"
Grinning, Blaise grabbed her hand and pulled Hermione away from the bed. Wrapping his arms around her, he was surprised at just how well she fit up against him.
"You realize," she warned him, "I am going to talk your ear off in the morning about everything from Ministry politics to the mutable properties of Veritaserum."
Giving her a tolerant nod, the handsome wizard ran his hands down her back and rested them on her bum. It was rounded, but firm. Blaise wanted more than anything to strip it naked then kiss and bite at it until he'd marked it as his.
Hermione wiggled up against him pressing her full breasts against his chest. "I won't be happy just delivering a monologue, either," she informed him. "I am going to want to have a real discussion with debate and disagreement."
"And make-up sex?" he smirked.
"I'm not sure I can be swayed from an argument that easily," she responded with a giggle.
"Then it is definitely time to find out," Blaise growled, dipping his head down to capture her lips. It was initially soft and gentle, but quickly became hot and demanding. Hermione's tongue fought his for dominance, while her hands grasped at his arms, squeezing them tightly in an effort to steady herself against his onslaught.
Pulling back, Blaise traced Hermione's jaw with his fingers. "Something tells me, Granger, that this is the beginning of a long and extraordinary relationship."
Grabbing the back of his neck, she pulled his face back down towards her. "Less talking, Zabini, and more sex!"
AN: Written for vegetasbubble as part of the Fall 2007 HermioneSmut exchange. A big thanks to Kazfeist for betaing this fic. The plot for the story was inspired by a "Cheers" episode.