Title: Sate This Addiction
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing(s): Blaise/Neville, mentions Neville/Hannah.
Genre/Rating: General, Romance/M
Word Count: 3489
Summary: Theodore becomes embroiled in one of Blaise's latest plans. Mostly, he just wishes he'd been told about it first. Post-Hogwarts and canon compliant.
Warnings: Coarse language, sexual references.
Notes: For the Addictions Challenge over at the Harry Potter Fanfiction Challenges forum: "someone has a ridiculous addiction and someone else tries to "cure" them of it." Okay, so it follows the requirements very vaguely, because yes there's a strange addiction in with the normal ones and some attempts to cure addictions, but it got quite complicated.
Set years before the epilogue and sometime before Neville gets his job at Hogwarts.
"You're insane. You're fucking insane, you know that?"
Blaise glanced back to arch an eyebrow his companion. "You're an alcoholic," he pointed out. "Someone was going to notice eventually."
"I'm not an alcoholic, you prat. This is so fucking unnecessary."
"Tell that to your liver, Theo."
Theodore twisted his face into a grimace as he trailed after Blaise down Knockturn Alley. This wasn't even like Blaise; Blaise didn't care about other people's business. Maybe once in a while he'd watch Theodore down a pint of firewhiskey and point out that "one of us will be dead by thirty and it sure as hell won't be me," but that was as far as it went. Blaise didn't do the whole 'dragging people places they don't want to be because he was worried' thing. He didn't really do worried that often either.
And Blaise should have known better than anyone that, even if Theodore was an alcoholic, he'd have done something himself if he cared. Because Theodore didn't care; he'd rather sit in a bar, getting completely smashed, so he could forget that he had no fucking life to speak of. It was easier to do that than it was to face that fact head on. Theodore had always believed in taking the easy way out.
"It's my fucking liver," Theodore muttered.
Blaise turned around so he was facing Theodore properly and glared. "Exactly. You should be looking after it so it doesn't start fucking you up."
Theodore snorted. "I can live with that."
"Not for very long," Blaise said.
"Look, I—" Blaise began and then cut himself off, sneering. "Oh, whatever. I give up. You can come with me or you can go drink yourself to death."
He turned and stalked away, leaving Theodore standing in the middle of the cobbled path feeling like a bit of a wanker. Of course, that was all bollocks. Blaise hadn't given up; he'd just employed plan B and Theodore found himself catching up anyway. He'd forgotten since Hogwarts that Blaise had that tendency to always get what he wanted eventually. Even when everyone knew what he was up to. And, to be honest, part of him was curious about what it was Blaise wanted so badly that he was putting himself out like this for it.
When they reached the end of Knockturn Alley, Blaise turned and walked to a small section of brick wall nestled between two shops and tapped it with his wand.
"What the hell are you doing?"
"Mother drove her fifth husband to alcohol and she sent him here because they provide total anonymity," Blaise explained, ignoring Theodore's actual question, as a tall wooden gate materialised before them. He unlatched the gate and held it open, looking smug. "There's nothing wrong with me, so I'll be out here when you're done."
"Bloody pillock," Theodore said as he walked through the opening and took a few careful steps inside. What he found inside was a narrow garden in the shadows of the shops on either side of it. The path leading to the entrance of the building was of rotting wood; most surfaces—including the path—were covered with a dark green vine.
The reality of what he was about to go through hit just about then. Theodore considered, momentarily, what the chances were that he could escape unnoticed by Blaise to the Leaky Cauldron instead of going inside. Actually, screw that and screw Blaise's plan, he decided, it was worth a shot even if he got caught. He turned on the spot only to see Blaise ducking in and shutting the gate behind him.
"What happened to waiting out there?" Theodore asked suspiciously.
Blaise glanced over his shoulder and then, content that he was safe, said, "Remember the thing with the Patil twins in seventh year?"
"Yeah. Caught you out, didn't they?"
"Something like that."
"Should've known better than to play a Ravenclaw though, don't you think?"
"Shut up, Theo," Blaise snapped, eyes narrowed.
Theodore smirked. "What does that have to do with this? One of them out there?"
"No, but most of the Gryffindors haven't really forgiven me for it yet and a few of them are."
"Oh," Theodore said. "Well, it sure is a shame you aren't coming in, isn't it?"
"It's okay; I'll hang around," Blaise responded. "We just won't get lunch in Diagon Alley afterwards."
"Bit paranoid, aren't you?"
Blaise gifted him with a cold look. "It's not paranoia when you've woken up with batwings on your face and an arm made of jelly."
Theodore snickered and opened his mouth to retort mockingly when a murmuring voice got much closer to the other side of the gate and was responded to by another, a young man asking amusedly, "Are you trying to bribe me?"
"Stop being silly, Neville. We're all just worried about you," the first speaker, a bossy-sounding woman whose footsteps stopped suddenly, just metres away, said.
Hermione Granger, Theodore's mind supplied cheerfully as the name of the woman. Even if he didn't like the idea of seeing that Mudblood again, it would be nice to watch her give Blaise a new set of batwings. Or, hey, anything; he wasn't feeling picky.
But the gate didn't open and the conversation outside continued.
"Hannah has been telling me about it and—"
"And you relayed it all back to everyone else. Hermione, I am sorry I've worried everyone but it wasn't your place to tell them."
"I wouldn't have had to if you hadn't been keeping secrets," Granger protested angrily and Theodore began to vaguely feel like he was eavesdropping.
"It still wasn't—"
"I was doing what's best for you, Neville. Honestly, how are you meant to do your job properly if you continue like this?"
A sigh and then; "Okay, you're right. I'll—I'll see you later."
As Granger returned his goodbye, Theodore glanced over at Blaise; he wasn't looking worried at all that they were probably about to be caught listening in. He looked smug. In fact, his expression was one he often wore when all the pieces of his more complicated plans were falling into place.
Theodore opened his mouth to comment or ask or something because it still didn't make any sense at all, but then the gate opened again and the man entered the garden.
Blaise had said that there were some ex-Gryffindors outside but, while Hermione Granger was obvious from her snobby voice alone, this man was completely unfamiliar. Of course, Theodore barely paid attention to anyone through school and had developed a reputation that amounted to 'boring' not long into third year. (After which he had promptly put orange dye in Draco Malfoy's shampoo and the whole issue had been resolved quite quickly.)
But Blaise didn't have the same trouble recognising him. "Neville Longbottom!" he announced cheerfully. "Fancy seeing you here."
Neville Longbottom—who Theodore now certainly remembered—raked a hand through his brown hair and sighed. "Zabini. Why am I not surprised?"
"You two have seen each other recently?" Theodore asked, confused.
"We bumped into each other the other day," Blaise said.
Longbottom frowned. "And the day before that and the week before that," he added.
Blaise's mouth quirked into something halfway between a smirk and a smile. "You're keeping track? How sweet."
"It's so hard not to," Longbottom retorted as he crouched down and began inspecting the garden, seemingly more as a reflex than anything else; "they always end up so horribly memorable. What are you doing here anyway?"
"Moral support," Blaise said. "Theodore here's decided to take a positive step towards sobriety."
Theodore rolled his eyes. "Thank you, Blaise."
Longbottom looked up from a tiny plant that was nibbling on his finger. "Oh, sorry. You're Theodore Nott, right? From our year at Hogwarts."
"And you're the one who couldn't make a potion to save his life."
Longbottom, in return, gave him the most disappointing reaction possible; he laughed casually and said, "That's me."
This wasn't the same Longbottom from school. Sure, there'd been rumours about all the crazy stuff he was doing to undermine Snape's rule as Headmaster in seventh year and Theodore had read somewhere he'd helped defeat the Dark Lord in the final battle too, but it was still weird.
Theodore had thought at first that maybe this part was a coincidence and the grand plan involved someone else because there was no way Neville Longbottom was Blaise's type. Except—except maybe this Longbottom was. And Theodore knew he'd been right that Blaise hadn't dragged him here because he'd suddenly developed an interest in Theodore's health. He didn't care about Theodore's liver and that was … mostly comforting, really.
If Blaise hadn't had a secret motive, it probably would have been a bit creepy, but using such a façade for his own selfish desires was so exactly like Blaise that the only mystery left was how much work Blaise was putting into it. From what Longbottom said, it sounded like Blaise had been after him for a while and that, in itself, was strange.
"I'm going to have to go for a restraining order eventually, you know," Longbottom said as he began tickling the plant under its jaw-like petals.
Blaise watched with fascination and then grinned. "Oh, but by then I will have worn you down to much for that."
Longbottom stood and gave him a somewhat disapproving look. "Hannah wouldn't approve," he said, only sounding half-serious, and turned to Theodore. "You coming in?"
"Women tend to dislike bits on the side," Theodore added agreeably as he followed Longbottom down the path. "Blaise should know that by now."
"Shut your mouth, Theo," Blaise said, brushing past him to walk beside Longbottom. "I'm sure if you sell it right—"
"Aren't you staying out here?" Theodore asked as they reached the stairs leading up to the front door, because he could tell that the last thing Blaise wanted to hear right then was Theodore's voice. "I thought you said—"
"Theo," Blaise spat without turning, "shut your mouth."
Longbottom glanced back, looking a little like a deer in headlights. Theodore shrugged unhelpfully. There was rarely anything that could stand between Blaise and his prey, even—or, really, especially—flat out disinterest or a pre-existing relationship. The fact that Longbottom appeared to have both down just made him more interesting.
As soon as they entered the empty waiting room, Blaise walked away, calling as he left, "Looks like we're early. I'll be back in a bit."
They stood in silence for almost a minute. Longbottom's slightly strained smile suggested Blaise had been grabby while Theodore wasn't looking, and that his fortitude was waning.
Part of Theodore wanted so badly to leave things as they were, but the rest knew that if he did, he would, ultimately, end up in a number of situations like this in the future and he had no interest in becoming acquainted with all of Blaise's conquests. He sat down and grimaced. "He'll leave you alone if you let him fuck you."
Longbottom, who sat beside him, looked away. His face was pink and Blaise hadn't seen anyone look such a peculiar combination of shifty, scared and uncomfortable since fifth year at Hogwarts.
"You already have," Theodore stated. It didn't even need to be a question; the answer was written all over Longbottom's face.
"Seven weeks ago."
Theodore looked him over thoughtfully. "How long after he showed interest?"
Longbottom blushed again. "A little less than a month."
"How many times?"
"I don't think—"
"Longbottom, grow up; I don't care," Theodore said, even though his curiosity was starting to peak. If Blaise had already gotten what he usually wanted and was still going back for more, either Longbottom was a better shag than he looked or Blaise was actually interested-interested. "No one cares. He's done it a thousand times before."
"I know!" Longbottom exclaimed, then checked the room cautiously and continued more quietly. "I knew what he was doing and I let him do it anyway; that's why it's so embarrassing. Hannah loves me and he couldn't give a shit and I'm still letting him!"
"Jesus fuck, you poof."
Longbottom froze. "What?"
Theodore shook his head and scowled. "I've killed more brain cells than you probably had to start with and I can still see what's going on better than you can."
"What do you mean?"
"You fancy him."
"Where the fuck is Blaise anyway? I'm going to kill him for this."
"You're wrong, I can't—"
Theodore turned, grabbed Longbottom's shoulder and shook him roughly. "You fucking do. And he does too."
"He couldn't," Longbottom protested when he was finally freed.
"Why? Because he doesn't say so? Because he's bastard to you? Blaise's mother has killed almost all of her husbands; he's the most fucked up person I know," Theodore said. "Stop being such a twat."
"But—oh, no." Longbottom bent forward and buried his head in his hands. "I asked Hannah to marry me."
Theodore curled his lip. "Why'd you go and do that?"
"I don't know! I—I was lying to her and coming home late at night and suddenly I was buying a ring and asking her and I do love her but I must have thought she suspected me but she just thought I had a drinking problem or something and she told Hermione and now I'm here."
Longbottom was looking at him with a desperateness that meant he was probably waiting for some magical sentence that could fix everything. Theodore stared back unrelentingly for as long as he could before giving in and trying some approximation; "I'll talk to Blaise. Fuck off and figure out what you want, Longbottom."
He nodded absently and stood. He took a step, and then stopped and asked, "Why are you bothering to help? You said you don't care."
Theodore shrugged. "I hate Blaise more than my whole family combined. But he's my friend, so I'll have to put up with him if he doesn't have a chance."
"Right. Okay. Um…."
"Um," Longbottom began, biting his lip. "Have you ever—um, you know … with him?"
Theodore raised his eyebrows, replying with careful diction because Longbottom was clearly an idiot, "Of course not. I'm straight."
Longbottom opened his mouth as if to protest, but said instead, "Oh. Yes, of course. Sorry."
"Now fuck off."
He nodded and disappeared out the door.
Theodore picked up a magazine from the pile on the small table before him, figuring the best way to deal with Blaise when he returned was to stall for as long as he possibly could. It was almost five minutes later when Blaise re-entered and Theodore was at the point where pissing Blaise off was more important than any other conversation tactic.
"Neville already go in?"
Theodore shrugged and flipped past a few pages in the magazine. "Nope."
Blaise took Longbottom's chair and cocked his head to the side. "Where'd he go then?"
"You look like a poof when you do that," Theodore commented instead.
Blaise obediently uncrossed his legs and frowned, but Theodore left the question unanswered, flipping another few pages.
"Hmm? Oh, look, a quiz. 'Is it love?' Huh."
"Theo," Blaise exclaimed, standing up again. "Answer the fucking question!"
Theodore looked up. "Oh, right. He left."
"What do you mean, 'he left'? What did you do?"
"Okay, so," Theodore said, ignoring him, "say you've had heaps of sex with some random theoretical person and then they get engaged and suddenly you're more interested than ever. What do you think that means?"
Blaise stared in silence for a moment and then; "Have … have you met someone?"
"How are you that stupid?" Theodore shouted, jumping up to glare at Blaise eye-to-eye and dropping the magazine to the floor.
Blaise flinched back and watched him cautiously, as if expecting him to suddenly turn into a werewolf, and Theodore felt to urge to punch his face him.
"In an entirely hypothetical situation," he tried again, managing to sound somewhat less angry, "what do you think that would mean?"
"Okay," Blaise bit out sarcastically. "In your 'entirely hypothetical situation', you probably have a thing for getting caught cheating or something."
"But if you'd been practically stalking them from the start anyway, even before you knew they were in a relationship," Theodore prompted, silently reassessing how unintelligent he thought Blaise was.
"In that case, I guess you'd fancy them, wouldn't you?"
Theodore snapped his fingers and nodded, staring at Blaise pointedly. "Of course. That would make sense."
He could see Blaise calculating the similarities in his head as he spoke. About fucking time.
"Where did you get this cracked out theory?" Blaise finally asked indignantly. "You've got more problems than I thought."
"You said it, not me," Theodore said.
"I'm not going through this again! You do and Longbottom does, so stop acting like such a bunch of fucking girls!"
Blaise deflated and sat down heavily. "Fucking hell," he muttered, then, louder, "Did that asshole tell you I stalked him? That's fucking bullshit."
"No," Theodore said, sitting again. "I figured it was your style. How else would you know he'd be here anyway?"
Blaise glared at him solidly in silence for almost twenty seconds before saying, "He could have told me."
"He fucking wouldn't have."
"Whatever," Blaise said irritably. "I can't help it if he leaves his appointment diary open."
Then he proceeded to glare again until Theodore caved and changed the subject.
"Took a month, huh?"
"Yeah. He took his sweet time."
"How'd you get him?"
"I showed up at his house and he answered the door soaking wet and in just a towel," Blaise said. "We did it in the kitchen, then his bedroom, and then his kitchen as I was leaving." He smirked and added cheerfully; "the next time was better though."
"Yeah?" Theodore asked, somehow feigning interest in a sex life he wanted to know nothing about.
"Split scolding hot coffee over his crotch, and sucked him off in his office the next day to check everything was fully functional. St. Mungo's is looking lovelier than ever, by the way."
"There is no way in hell that worked," Theodore snorted.
"You'd be surprised," Blaise said, laughing.
Theodore shook his head and joined in.
"What'd you say to him anyway?" Blaise asked suddenly.
"I told him to figure out what he wanted," Theodore said casually. "And that I was going to kill you for putting me in such a fucking ridiculous situation."
Blaise snickered. "It wasn't exactly part of the plan."
"I figured. What was the plan?"
"After getting inside? Think I was going to wing it," Blaise said absently, snatching the magazine Theodore dropped from the floor and read the cover page; "'Witch Weekly? Why were you reading this shit?"
"Nothing else to do," Theodore said. "And, what the fuck, you don't wing it. When have you ever done that? What's Longbottom doing to you?"
Blaise dropped the magazine back on the table. His expression was very carefully blank. "So how late are they running anyway?"
"Yeah, fuck you too," Theodore replied, wondering when the conversation had turned so that Blaise was suddenly in control.
Blaise rolled his eyes. "Fine, whatever. So you're right; Neville's different. I never know what he's thinking and I can never guess his next move." He ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "I can barely fucking think straight when he's around. He drives me fucking insane. Happy?"
"Sure," Theodore said. "Where'd you go anyway?"
"To figure out what the fuck I was doing."
Theodore snorted. "How'd that work out for you?"
There was silence for a few minutes. Blaise stared at the wall across from them and Theodore alternated between doing the same and glancing back at his friend. Because what he wanted to know now was just as little his business than the other answers he'd received, and it crossed that line he'd drawn between himself and almost everyone else he'd known, but he'd already been jumping all over that line today, hadn't he? And it would be easier to suck it up and just ask than sit and wonder. Theodore glanced at Blaise again and to see him watching in return, a knowing—if still somewhat frustrated—expression on his face.
"Theo, you can ask me, you know."
Theodore scowled. He wouldn't. He wasn't going to. Not now. Not a chance in hell.
"Just ask, you big girl."
"What if he doesn't pick you?" Theodore blurted out.
Blaise paused thoughtfully and he looked like he was back in his comfort zone. "I guess I'll keep trying," he said, shrugging.
He grinned. "Because Neville Longbottom's my addiction."
Theodore gave him an odd look. "That is the lamest thing you've ever said," he pointed out.
Blaise threw the pile of magazines at him and laughed.