"Tell me about them," Hermione whispered quietly, her eyes gleaming, awake, in the darkness of their bedroom. Her thumb brushed along Blaise's full lower lip, her fingertips resting on his cheek. He shifted under her weight, maneuvering her body until it was resting more comfortably on top of him. Her rose-coloured camisole rode up her smooth stomach until she could feel the heat of Blaise's own skin pressing against hers in a deliciously distracting manner. It amazed Hermione sometimes, how the simplest of things could make her so unbelievably hot.
"Each of them," she murmured, encouraging him to explain again. Blaise chuckled and she felt the rumble against her chest.
"Aren't you tired of hearing the same stories so often?," Blaise asked, his voice low and teasing. Hermione shook her head softly and pressed a chaste kiss to his lips.
"They make you who you are," she breathed, her fingers tracing along his jaw. He smiled because it was true. To him, his tattoos represented who he was. Blaise sighed and shifted again as Hermione watched him intently, waiting.
"Well, the first one I got when I was sixteen.."
The tattoo gun buzzed to life and Blaise couldn't help but glance at it with one final look of apprehension. There really wasn't any going back now, he supposed; he already had the stencil transferred onto the skin between his hipbones, below his navel. He leaned farther back into the chair and wished that he'd asked Draco to come along with him. Draco would've taken one look at the place, deemed it too dirty to even sit in, and talked Blaise out of whatever rash decision he was about to make.
However, Draco wasn't there, and Blaise was currently forcing himself to breath as the tattoo gun inched closer and closer to his skin. It hurt like hell, when the needle finally pushed into his skin. It hurt like hell and it continued to hurt like hell for the longest five minutes of his life before everything felt numb and he rather began to ignore the pain completely. When it was completely over, and the tattooist was cleaning the excess smudged ink from his skin, Blaise was happy he'd done it.
"If you don't mind me asking, what's it mean?," the tattoo artist asked, sitting back on his stool and admiring the beautiful script he'd just created.
Blaise cleared his throat and replied, "Blood is thicker than water. Il sangue non e acqua."
Hermione cut Blaise off. "How very Slytherin of you," she muttered, rolling her eyes. Blaise only sighed because he had expected her to say that. She did every time.
"It's not like I was a pureblood supremacist, Hermione," Blaise explained tiredly, using the phrase she frequently used when speaking of his best friend. "It simply means that the bonds of family are the strongest bonds. And, at the time, yes, my housemates, whose blood happens to be as pure as mine, were considered my family. Yes, they did have a lot to do with me getting the tattoo. However," he said, drawing out each syllable in the word, "I never was openly mean to those of muggle-birth, and quite obviously lineage is not that important to me, or else you would not be pressed up against me as you are." To emphasize his point, he thrust his hips up towards hers, so she could feel just how much she was affecting him.
Hermione rolled her eyes again, though she was smiling softly this time. "Moving on," she managed to say quite firmly, surprising even herself. She really thought she'd sound a bit breathier than she did.
"Alright, then came the one on my forearm..,"
Blaise had been born in his mother's villa just outside of Florence in the hazy heat of mid-afternoon. He had grown up there for the first eleven years of his life, playing with the maid's daughter Antonella, running through his mother's prized garden until he had been sent to Hogwarts upon receiving his acceptance letter. Later in his schooling, he would invite his friends to stay over the summer holidays, and they'd go on adventures into the city where he'd show them the touristy things, like the Duomo and the Uffizi, and then his favourite place for panini and the best discothèque.
His mother would sometimes smile at him, a genuine smile, brush a hand through his inky black curls and say, "You are so connected with this place, I sometimes wonder how you make it through the months when you're away." Her smile would turn to one of saccharine sympathy and she'd pat his cheek before rushing off to paint her face and go to one of her many fancy dinner parties. While his mother was gone, Blaise would wander off, exploring Florence alone at night until he was so well-acquainted with the city he could walk it with his eyes closed.
Florence was his home, and his only home. He never formed the deep bond that some did with Hogwarts; he never felt that the rain and the rocks and the wind of the Scottish highlands were his home. Firenze was his home, and that's why the red fleur-de-lis of the Florentine flag was tattooed on his forearm.
Hermione reached under the sheets, her tiny fingers grasping his arm and tugging at it. Blaise got the message and pulled his forearm out to show her. Her fingers traced the thick, black outline of the tattoo and she smiled. It was one of the things she appreciated most about Blaise, the fact that he wasn't English like she was. He had opened her world up to a whole slew of new things: new foods, new traditions, new words, and new ways.
Blaise's lips curved up in a gentle smile as her fingers brushed against the skin of his forearm. "I'm thinking of adding words to it," he spoke softly, and her brown eyes looked up at him curiously. "I haven't decided yet, though I don't think I like it plain as it is." Hermione hummed thoughtfully, and he swallowed.
"Your favourite one is next..,"
Hermione and Blaise had not been friends in school. They were from different houses, they had different social circles, almost no classes together and almost never crossed paths. He did have Arithmancy during his sixth year with Hermione, but they sat on opposite sides of the room and were never partnered on any projects.
The first time he spoke to her was actually three months before the end of their seventh and final year at Hogwarts. She had been in the library, poring over some thick old tome that she now couldn't recall the name of in preparation for her NEWT exams. He had been writing an essay for Advanced Transfiguration when he saw her straining to reach another book on a high shelf. He had smiled to himself, watching the petite witch in her struggle before standing up and offering his help.
"Would you like me to get that for you?," he said in his low timbre, shocking Hermione so much that she jumped, her shoulder colliding with his chest.
"Uhm, yes, thank you," Hermione had replied, her cheeks blushing red. He'd reached up, grabbed the book, handed it to her, and then left.
That was their only interaction for another five months. Two months after graduation, they had met again in an oddly similar situation. Hermione was in Flourish and Blotts, her arm extended as far as humanly possible in order to reach a rare copy of Devil's Snare Through the Ages: A Complete History of a Perturbing Plant, when a much tanner and larger hand reached over her head, grasping the very book that she wanted. Hermione had spun around, eyes hardened, ready to fight for the book when she saw that it was being offered to her.
"We need to stop meeting like this, Granger," Blaise had said as she slowly took the book from him, giving him a confused stare. He grinned at her with his straight white teeth, and her brow only furrowed, even more confused. What had followed was a series of awkward statements used to induce small-talk until Blaise finally admitted that he had been hoping to see her again, so that he may ask her out.
Naturally, Hermione declined his offer with the simple explanation of not really knowing him, though knowing that he was best mates with Draco Malfoy. Blaise had only chuckled and replied, "Well how else would one get to know someone they don't know?" Hermione had responded shortly, "Through owls," before hurrying away to pay and leave.
Every day after that encounter in the book store, Hermione received an owl from Blaise. Every letter he sent was beautifully written and detailed. He asked her many questions – What is your fondest childhood memory? Your favourite flavour of ice cream? Do you keep up with muggle football, and if so, who do you support? Some of the questions made her laugh, and if she was reading them in the university library, she often got strange looks. Though that happened anyway, mostly because of the enormity of her hair.
He shared a lot of things with her as well. He told her about the time that he had been shopping with his mother, seven-years-old and miserable as he waited patiently for her to try on yet another Versace, Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci dress for a gala at the Italian Ministry. Begrudgingly, he admitted to thinking that a woman in a sequined pink dress was his mother. After latching onto her leg and begging that she take him home, or at least show him where the bathroom was, Blaise found out that the woman, in fact, had not birthed him.
Blaise also admitted to having kissed Draco in his fifth-year, just to see if either one liked it, though neither were "ponces" and "under no circumstances, by punishment of death" was anyone to be told about it. Blaise didn't like it so much – there were no tits to fondle – and Draco just grimaced when it was over, patting Blaise awkwardly on the shoulder and thanking him for being his best mate.
Hermione felt silly for placing so much worth on the humorous anecdotes Blaise shared so freely with her, but she had the nagging feeling that she was one of the only people he'd ever been so open with. It was a month and three days exactly before Hermione finally consented to a date with Blaise.
"And just so you're aware, I have Harry on speed dial, and we're staying in an open public place the entire time," Hermione said firmly before they'd even completely descended the steps of the townhouse she shared with Harry and Seamus in Chelsea. Blaise only snorted.
"Hermione, I am not a forty-two-year-old paedophile, who lives in his mother's basement and preys on young women he's never met. I'm only eighteen," he concluded with a cheeky wink. They wandered around Sloane Square for a bit, Hermione shrugging off her cardigan with the midsummer night's heat, Blaise eventually nicking into a small shop to buy a pack of Marlboros.
"Filthy habit," Hermione tsked motherly, taking the pack from his hand and extracting a cigarette for herself. "Light?," she murmured around the slim stick and he cupped his palm and afforded her a small flame from his expensive-looking gold lighter.
She turned down his offer of finding something to eat, reasoning that she just wanted to enjoy the night air. Claiming a bench for them, Hermione tugged on his hand until he sat next to her, both of them silently taking drags and exhaling streams of smoke.
"I want to know more about you," she spoke quietly beside him, head leaned back, looking into the night sky, but not seeing many stars for all the lights. "I feel like words on parchment can only say so much. It means so much more to actually hear them being said."
Blaise bit back his immediate response, ("Well, whose fault is that?") and instead smiled victoriously.
"When I was nine, I vomited all over the Ambassador of Spain's shoes. He patted my head and then vomited on mine. When I was eleven, I was afraid of the owl bringing me my letter. I didn't want to leave home, so every day, before the owl post came, I'd shut all the windows and hide under the table like no one was home. When I was fourteen, I lost my virginity to a seventh year. It was one of the scariest experiences of my entire life and I still have a bit of a panic attack every time I see anything resembling latex."
Hermione bubbled with laughter and soon she lost track of time, only realizing it was headed towards two in the morning when all the other couples around them disappeared. Blaise had been nothing but gentlemanly the entire night and he held her hand gently as they walked back towards her town house, bickering genially over whether The Smiths or The Clash were better.
"You better give me a goodnight kiss," Hermione teased, her nose scrunching adorably and he flicked it with his pointer finger.
Two years had passed too quickly, and he was still giving her goodnight kisses. And good morning ones. With the occasional "please-let-me-shag-you-on-the-kitchen-counter" kiss thrown in there as well.
They were too young to marry. Not physically, but emotionally they just weren't ready for that, and at twenty, Blaise and Hermione didn't really expect to be. She could hardly bare to think about a wedding dress, a big backyard, a swelling stomach. Blaise sputtered and lost his voice every time Seamus nudged him with an elbow and suggestively mentioned how curly-haired any offspring of Hermione's and his would be. Marriage was a huge commitment, but also a breakable one, if you paid enough for a lawyer and could be bothered with all the paper work.
That's why Blaise had committed to her differently, more permanently. Because really, he would love her forever: married, unmarried, living in sin with bastard children until they were ninety.
Soft lips pressed to the curling cursive on the inside of his bicep, one kiss for each word: "per sempre tua", forever yours. It was like a message, just for Hermione, inked permanently on his body. She knew, one day, eventually, she'd get her ring and her church and her vow. But she was fine until then with this simple promise on his skin.
"Ti amo," Blaise breathed, running the fingers of his free hand through her curls. She placed a kiss to his chest, above where she imagined his heart would be.
"Che cosa desideri?," Hermione murmured, her lips barely brushing his skin and he froze completely, his breath catching in his throat. She gazed up at him playfully through thick lashes and he wished for a moment that she was just a bit lower down, and that her lips were on his skin elsewhere.
"Where'd you learn that, kitten?," he drawled, gripping her hair near the scalp and tugging gently, pleasurably. She practically purred, her eyelids closing languidly.
"I have my sources," she teased, her lips traveling up his body to his neck, where she nipped at the skin, dragging her teeth over his Adam's apple.
Against all better judgment, Blaise shifted Hermione away from him, flicking her on the nose. "Ah, ah, kitten, I still have one more to get through."
A small cherub slept peacefully on his right shoulder blade. It was beautifully done, so detailed that it could be a statue in St. Peter's basilica. It was new. Hermione hadn't said anything about it, though she'd noticed it. She'd wondered where Blaise had gotten to when he disappeared for three hours, becoming more confused when he insisted on laying on his stomach that night in bed.
"You know what it's for, don't you," Blaise said so quietly that Hermione almost asked him to repeat his words. She laid her head against his chest, knowing that if she looked into his eyes, she'd lose it.
A month ago, she'd lost the baby.
A month ago, Hermione had discovered that she was pregnant. Only after losing the baby.
They were always so careful, but apparently not careful enough. It had scared her when it happened. She shook, she cried, and she had Ginny take her to St. Mungo's. She vowed never to tell Blaise.
Truthfully, they weren't ready for a baby. Neither had a clue how to be a parent, as they were both just barely adults, Hermione studying at University, Blaise training to be an Unspeakable. Based on those reasons, she wouldn't tell him. She didn't think it was worth it. One can't miss something if they're unaware it even existed. They'd be better off this way – happier, healthier. However, it didn't hurt any less.
Somehow, Blaise had found out. He didn't tell Hermione, he'd never tell Hermione. But he knew, and that was enough for him to get the tattoo, the tattoo of their little angel, the baby that was never to be.
"No more secrets, Hermione," she felt him speak more than she heard it. "No more secrets. You are everything to me, and I can't let you hurt alone."
When Hermione finally replied, she had tears in her eyes, but they didn't fall. She kept her composure, even managing a smile. They'd been through so much, so fucking much, together. They were so in love, so fucking in love.
"Thank you." To him, his tattoos represented who he was.
A/N: Ti amo - I love you
Che cosa desideri? – What do you desire?