Author's Note: Oodles of gratitude to bonapuella, for editing this monster of a story! I hope that if you didn't share the Bleo love before, you do now! :) We need more shippers for these guys!

I'm posting this story on my birthday as a sort of present to myself, not only because this part is my favourite of the three but also because I feel quite proud of this story, and it is very likely my last foray with this couple.

Once again, please copy and paste things you like into your review. :)

Disclaimer: See chapter one.

Part Three: The End

It was actually a bit funny, Theodore mused one night, that ever since that encounter, it seemed like Blaise had finally gotten himself together. He acted normally, as though it hadn't happened, yet he avoided being alone with Theodore and any physical contact, even actions that would have been perfectly normal. He didn't know if this was a plan to make Theodore want contact, but if it was, it was definitely working.

He was going crazy.

Even unintentionally his eyes would try to catch Blaise's; he made excuses to sit beside him; to lean over him; to smell him; he even arranged himself into slightly uncomfortable positions in case Blaise looked over so that he could seem perfectly at ease, and maybe even a bit enticing. Blaise never did, but there was a small part of Theodore that had a burning hope that he would.

His level of insanity increased when he realized how disappointed he got when Blaise didn't give him special attention. When he'd accidentally cut his hand open while chopping up ingredients in Potions Blaise had handed him a rag and left him to deal with it, barely even sparing him a glance. When Draco had been hit in the face with a plate from an angry fourth year during dinner he'd held paper towel to his forehead, leaned in close and asked if he was okay and checked up on him for the rest of the night. It was just a plate, and it was hardly bleeding. Theodore's hand had been gushing blood and Blaise treated it like a paper cut, even after Theodore was clearly feeling light headed and he started swaying back and forth.

Theodore sulked for quite awhile after that one and spent many nights thinking about the kiss they'd shared. Perhaps more than a confused mind should. Sometimes he would lay awake in bed, replaying it over and over and over again in his mind. Occasionally he would make up his own alternate ending, where they were blissfully happy together and they would sit under their favorite willow tree by the lake during afternoons, just talking. It was strange that after he'd confessed that he wasn't ready, he wanted it more than anything else.

No one seemed to realize that butterflies fluttered in his stomach every time he saw Blaise, looked at him or heard his voice. No one noticed his pitiful attempts to get his attention. No one noticed the nearly desperate expression on his face during dinner as he tried to come up with something interesting to talk about and failed. He'd even tried to learn the rules of Quidditch during the Slytherin/Ravenclaw game and tried to note all the impressive plays so he could participate in the inevitable conversation that would follow it at dinner, but in the end he had just gazed at Blaise as he flew.

After a few weeks, he began to become extremely aggravated with his ridiculous reactions to all things Blaise. He'd acted like a huge prat for two days after Blaise had smiled his beautiful, brilliant smile and his heart had leapt to massive proportions, only to sink to the ground when he realized it wasn't directed at him. He'd also savagely ripped his eight inch essay to shreds when Blaise complimented Draco's, and then regretted it when he realized it was due the next day. The worst part was he didn't care half as much about the essay as he did about why he'd ripped it up.

Those sort of occurrences were happening at an almost daily rate, and he began to seek something to distract him - something to take off the painful edge of being around Blaise so much. When the opportunity presented itself he seized it without thinking.

Miranda Frettle was a seventh year Slytherin and why she'd displayed any interest in him was a mystery. But when she'd shyly approached him and asked him to Hogsmeade, he'd agreed readily. It had been more of an instinctive reaction than anything, but then when she seemed quite serious about it he saw it as a real opportunity. When they'd come back to the school holding hands, he'd actually been smiling quite widely underneath his scarf. She started sitting beside him during meals and he valiantly carried her books for her during breaks, and pretty soon they were considered a couple. In fact, it was only two weeks until someone came up to him and asked if he and Miranda were girlfriend and boyfriend. She looked at him, smiled, and said yes. The boy looked at him and he nodded confirmation, grinning.

That night he woke up to a strange, muffled noise. After rolling over, he realized that it was crying. Blaise. Blaise was crying. It was a heart wrenching sound, almost like it was being ripped through unwilling lips, and he wanted to leap over the divide between their beds, something that seemed extremely small compared to the gaping hole in their friendship. He didn't know what to do. He wanted to comfort him, but was afraid if he got on Blaise's bed, he might not be able to bring himself to leave.

He heard another rustling and then the soft padding of feet across carpet. He already knew who it was, and the thought made him feel slightly sick. "Blaise?" The sound of Blaise's sobbing was momentarily overlapped by that of his bed's hangings being moved aside. "It's OK. Shh." Draco's voice seemed strangely loud in the room, yet Crabbe and Goyle's snores far exceeded it's volume.

The crying was momentarily louder and then muffled again. With a lurch of jealousy, Theodore realized it was probably being quieted by Draco's body. "What is it? What's wrong?" He heard the blond ask soothingly.

"I thought – I thought-" More attempts to stifle the sobbing. Theodore's hands clenched his sheets and he had to work hard to control his breathing in case they heard him. "He said he didn't want to consider it – I thought he – I thought he was going to – to sort it out and then – and then – but now-"

"I can hardly understand you." Draco commented softly, but said nothing else. Theodore felt like his heart was slowly turning to ash and crumbling onto the floor. If he'd had any idea that Blaise would react in such a way – so strongly and so hurt – he never would've said yes. If he could go back and change it he would. To be honest, he hadn't thought Blaise would continue to like him for so long after their encounter, though he might have hoped. His feelings for Blaise were a pile of hot coils that he couldn't unravel, not matter how much he tried.

"He told me he just – I thought he meant – he only needed more time." He heard a few sharp breaths that suggested his friend was trying to compose himself and his chest tightened. "I've been trying to – to act normal for him."

"Oh, you mean Theodore?" Draco asked calmly, and Theodore's stomach plummeted. What if it wasn't about him at all? What if it was about someone else? If they hurt Blaise - he was going to pummel them into the ground.

"Everything is about him." Blaise replied in a voice choked with emotion. "God, I'm so stupid." More crying and Theodore had to resist sending his hangings flying off their hooks – because Draco had started comforting him again. "It'll be OK. You'll be OK."

The stupid sod.

"No I won't. I won't be OK. I thought he meant he needed some time to sort himself out and then we'd- we'd- we'd become…you know…to-together." He began to cry in earnest again and Theodore's face twisted into a grimace of pain. "I'm so…I'm so…"

"You could never have known this would happen. I meant what I said that night; I'm positive he fancies you. Everything he's done except for this… It all adds up to him liking you." Draco's voice was perfectly calm and soothing, inflicted with concern and Theodore felt hot jealousy expand inside him. They were friends, of course, but at that moment he would have liked nothing more than to rip off his face.

"No, it doesn't. Not unless you look really hard into it." Blaise said miserably and his voice moved as he spoke, as if he were shifting on the bed. Theodore tilted his head, trying to see through the small sliver his hangings didn't cover. It didn't work. "I just…I just wish he fancied me back. It hurts. All the time. To see him…And now…"

"It'll work out."

"I can't believe he chose her. Miranda Frettle? Frettle? That stupid whore. She's not even pretty." He whispered and muttered something unintelligible, followed by: "I'm pretty sure that I basically love him."

Theodore started and the blankets around his body made a loud shuffling noise. All movement in the other bed ceased suddenly and he rolled over, pulling the blankets over his head. He didn't want to hear anymore.

Blaise wasn't the only one who cried that night.

"Morning!" Miranda said brightly, leaning in to give Theodore a hug. He wrapped his arms around her waist in response and then released her quickly. Blaise and Draco had followed him out and he'd heard a large intake of breath from behind him. "Sleep well?"

"Not really," Theodore replied tiredly, rubbing his eyes. "You?"

"Alright," she said cheerily and leaned in closer, "I thought about you really late last night, though."

"Oh, right." He replied, a bit disinterested. They'd walked into the corridor outside the common room, and with the added mass of students (all of her friends, Crabbe, Goyle, Blaise and Draco) it was impossible for anyone to get by the others. He felt increasingly guilty about the fact that Blaise was right behind him, but he hadn't thought about that before he'd taken Miranda's hand. She giggled and then wrapped her arm around his waist, leaning on his shoulder, and placing his hand on her lower back – her much, much lower back.

He should have done something, like shrug her off, but he just kept walking, despite the low, almost gravelly mumbles of Draco's voice in what could only by a consoling tone.

When they got to the Great Hall Miranda sat down in the seat beside him that, up until that point, Blaise had occupied. Every single morning. There was a moment of silence as he looked up into his friend's eyes, which were not fixed on him but Miranda.

"You're in my seat." Blaise said calmly but with obvious effort, his jaw clenched tightly.

"No, I'm not!" She replied, giggling. "As Theo's girlfriend, this is my rightful position."

"Don't call me Theo," he said weakly as Blaise snarled, "Don't call him Theo."

"Sorry, baby." She smiled at him and then glared at Blaise. "Get lost, OK? If he wanted you here, he would have told me to move."

Blaise's gaze was full of expectation as he turned to Theodore, but as the silence stretched on it changed slowly to incredulity. Miranda smiled smugly and leaned over delightedly, tugging on Theodore's tie and kissing him on the mouth. He concentrated fully on kissing her (bringing one hand up to cup the side of her face and the other to rest on her waist, which he thought was probably the right thing to do) that he almost didn't hear Blaise's cry of outrage or the sudden movement he made towards the two, before Draco hurriedly pulled him away and out of the hall.

When they finally separated –for some reason Miranda's skirt wasn't covering nearly as much as it had a few minutes ago and she was quite a bit closer – he couldn't see Blaise or Draco. This disturbed him quite a bit and he irritably detached Miranda from his arm.

Blaise was quite angry with him that day. And the next. And the next week. And the week after that. It grew unbearably horrible not to be talking to him at all, especially with Miranda's constant pestering on why he wasn't so eager to snog anymore, and why they couldn't start being more intimate with each other. She cornered him in an abandoned passageway on the way to class one Thursday after lunch and dragged him against the wall, which seemed to be her best solution for the issue.

"Miranda what're you doing?" He spluttered as she began to furiously unbutton his crisp white shirt. Her hands dragged the hem up his back and the cold, stone wall bit into his skin. "It's freezing in here!"

"Guess," she whispered huskily, dragging him back for another kiss. Her mouth worked against his own and his hands went to her shoulders – but in an attempt to get her off him.

"We have to go to class!" He protested when she came back up for air and he yelped as her hands slid onto the bare skin of his stomach. "Miranda-"

"It's OK, just a quickie." She murmured hoarsely, ripping open the fourth and fifth button from the top of her blouse. He banged his head off the wall, glad that the torches cast dim light in the passage weren't close enough to touch him.

Oh God, she really is a whore! "Miranda!" He cried out in astonishment as her hands dipped lower, just as the tapestry leading into the passageway flipped sideways and in walked Blaise. His expressions twisted from the impassive front he kept on while he walked in the hallways to one of horrified disbelief and pain.

"Ugh," she muttered upon seeing him and, after hesitating long enough for Blaise to see what she was doing, withdrew her hands from Theo's skin. "What?"

Blaise's eyes darted back and forth between the two, as Draco followed him inside from the corridor, stepping around his friend. "What are you doing? We're going to be-" He broke off when he saw them.

There was a charged silence as Blaise stared at the two of them, Draco looked shocked and uncomfortable, Theodore stared at Blaise and Miranda just looked irritated. "Well?" She snapped, gesturing at his ruffled appearance. "Can't you see we were doing something?"

"Sorry." Blaise managed to choke out and then turned on his heel and strode out. Draco followed him quickly and then Miranda was back in his arms.

"God, what is with him, anyway? It's like he loves you or something."

"Miranda-" He pushed her back, "I need to go talk to him."

"Why?" She asked, clearly upset. "Why can't you stay here with me?"

"Because I-I can't." He darted out of her arms and through the tapestry, not even realizing his shirt was still open and his hair was a horrible mess. As he struggled to do his trousers back up, he barely noticed Draco disappear into a bathroom and followed him, catching the door as it almost banged shut. When he pulled it open, after only a moment's hesitation, Blaise was bracing himself on the sink with one hand, the other over his face. Draco stood beside him, rubbing his back soothingly.

"Not now." Draco said shortly when he walked in, looking quite uncomfortable to find himself in the present situation. For a moment the only sound in the room was that of the slow dripping of the sink faucet.

Theodore ignored Draco and spoke anyway. "Blaise - Blaise, please listen to me for a moment."

"Not now." The blond cut him off.

"It's OK." Blaise said and turned around. His eyes were red-rimmed, but other than that he could have simply been leaning over for no reason at all. "I'll meet you in class."

Draco looked at him for a moment and then nodded, before turning and leaving. Theodore didn't like that they'd seemed to have developed a way of talking without words. It bothered him. It was something just the two of them shared.

"Well? I haven't got all-"

"I didn't want to do it. She was throwing herself at me." The words tumbled from his mouth of their own accord. "I was trying to get her attention, when you walked in."

"Didn't sound like it. Miranda!" Blaise imitated him, except it sounded a lot more lusty than he was sure his cry of protest had been.

"Look, it wasn't what it looked like-"

"Why are you going out of your way to justify this? OK, why? I mean – she's your girlfriend." Blaise asked him, a desperate hopefulness taking over his voice. He opened his mouth to speak but was cut off. "And would you fix your fucking shirt? It's hard to concentrate!"

He looked down, thoroughly surprised to see that he was baring half his body - which he was sure was not overly attractive – to the world. Or to Blaise. Either one, they were pretty much interchangeable. Fuck that. He thought fiercely. No they're not. Don't think like that.

"Look, OK, I mean, she's-she's a girl!"

"I fucking know!" Blaise suddenly screamed and he jumped, fingers fumbling over the buttons. "I know she's a girl, alright! I know she's a fucking girl."

"That's not what I meant!" He tried to explain, his hands shaking so much he couldn't finish doing up the shirt. "I meant-"

"Stop it, Theodore. OK, stop it. I get it. I get the message." Blaise closed his eyes, breathing shakily, and pressed the palm of his hand over his eyes. "I'm trying, OK? I'm trying to forget you."

His mouth went dry. His blood sped up and his heart began to beat incredibly fast. He couldn't control himself; he couldn't discourage himself fast enough from doing what he found instinctive. He yanked Blaise over to him by the tie and began to kiss him, his hands weaving into his hair while Blaise's lips began to move against his own. In a second the cold annoyance from his encounter with Miranda disappeared to be replaced by rapid, hungry flame.

For a few blissful seconds their bodies were working in harmony and he felt like he could fly – until Blaise's hands fisted in his robes and shoved him backwards. He hit the door awkwardly and banged his head, black spots appearing before his eyes.

"Stop using me!" Blaise shouted, raking a hand through his hair and backing up. "Just stop it! You made your decision! You chose her, now - now just go! Go!"

Theodore ran. He hurriedly fixed his appearance outside the classroom door, and made sure he'd picked up his bag, before walking in. Blaise wasn't there yet, and Draco ushered him over.

"What happened?" Draco asked in an undertone after Professor Flitwick chastised Theodore on tardiness. In response he let his head fall into his hands and stayed like that for the rest of class. By the end he'd done some serious thinking, and vowed that he and Blaise would go back to normal. He had a girlfriend, and Blaise was going to forget him.

It would all be fine. He was happy about it. Blaise would just stop fancying him and he and Miranda would have a wonderful relationship. In fact, he could almost feel something akin to love taking over him.

Fuck it all. He ended up thinking. I don't fucking love her. God. I'll probably end up doing something stupid just to get fucking Blaise out of my fucking head. He shook his head, trying and failing to clear his thoughts. I don't need to get him out of my head. He's not even in my head.

The next day for some reason, even with some of the other boys clapping their hands on his back and congratulating him, Theodore couldn't feel happier about losing his virginity to Miranda. It might have been the fact that she hung off him for the rest of the day, but it also could have been the tight expression on Blaise's face when he heard the news and turned his head away.

The following weeks were boring and uneventful, except for the odd occasion when Miranda would stupidly hang around in their dormitory after being with Theodore the night before and irritate everyone by demanding they get privacy in the shower and waltzing around half naked. He'd once told her that they wouldn't ever have sex again if she didn't stop, but then he had a particularly bad row with Blaise about the length of the Charms essay they had to do and so he'd succumbed to her 'powers of seduction.'

By the time Christmas rolled around he was struggling to concentrate in class and to study each night, when all he wanted was to run screaming from Hogwarts and the complex relationships that had been formed there. He liked Miranda, he did. When he saw her he smiled alot and he was happy to be with her, and his stomach did soft butterflies when she was around or came into a room. But sometimes it wasn't enough.

Theodore and Blaise ended up screaming at each other in their compartment with Draco, Miranda and a few of her friends because Blaise said that the lock flipped one way, but Theodore thought it flipped the other way. In fact, Granger had even come over and ordered them to be quiet in her stupid Prefect voice while Potter and Weasley eyed the two with curiosity and annoyance.

When he left the station, he didn't look back. His grandparents greeted him, but he brushed them off and spent most of the holiday moping in his room. Until he received a letter, of course. From Miranda. His heart had soared because, for a moment, he'd thought it would be from Blaise.

Hey babe,

Happy Christmas! I'm SO excited for New Years! I've got some super exciting things to talk about! (Did you know Milly Fearweather's got a tattoo? It's so gnarly, too! I told her that if I got a tattoo, it would be of your…well, you know.)

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed your present! (I'm looking forward to taking it off!)

Lots of love,

Miri

He unwrapped a nice, collared shirt and stared at it. Rage and anger suddenly overflowed within him and he struggled to breathe, throwing the shirt to the floor and holding his head in his hands. I can't do this. I can't be with her.

Miranda, he scrawled onto a spare bit of parchment, I'm sorry, but I can't make New Years. To be honest, I'm not sure we're really working out. Sorry. Theodore.

He carefully looked it over, trying to see if it was 'too callous,' as he'd heard some girls talking about post breakup. It seemed fine to him. Without even a bit of hesitation he sent the owl back, the letter tied to its foot. And he didn't regret it, even when he spent the rest of the holidays alone. It wasn't much of a change.

"Hey," Theodore said to Draco as he slipped into a compartment, his bag bouncing off the door. Draco was lounging casually on the seat of the compartment that they usually occupied, his blonde hair shining brightly in the sun coming through the window. "Good holiday?"

"Alright, and yours?" Draco asked, looking up from the book he was reading.

"Good." He answered, throwing himself onto the seat with a casual ease he'd developed while dating Miranda. It was amazing what those two and a half months had done to him. He was pretty sure his confidence had skyrocketed, as had his snogging ability and performance in bed, something he was a bit proud of.

Draco watched him somewhat incredulously, as if he couldn't believe what a change had come over Theodore. "Mm. I heard about you and Miranda."

"Really?" He asked lazily, searching his bag for his robes so he could change immediately. "What did you hear?"

"That you two broke up." Draco regarded him silently for a moment. "Did you?"

"Yeah." He replied offhandedly, shrugging. He'd already been confronted by several people about the break up, and didn't think it really warranted the interest it had been receiving.

"Did she chuck you?"

"No," Theodore snorted, shaking his head."No. I did."

"Hm. Why?" Draco asked slowly, trying to hide the impatience in his voice.

"Because I just realized I couldn't do it." He said uncomfortably, not wanting to discuss it. Not with Draco, anyway. "But listen, don't spread it around, OK? And please don't tell Blaise."

Draco raised an eyebrow and he found himself explaining without a prompt. "I don't want him to…Y'know. To get his hopes up."

"Ah." Draco nodded once, annoyance flashing across his face, and then smiled when the door opened. "Hey."

"Hi." Blaise said somewhat breathlessly. "Good holiday?"

"Yeah." Draco replied, "Yours?"

"Brilliant. We went to America for a bit. Visited Washington – we went to Canada, too! Traveled through Ontario to Quebec and went up to Percé! It was- Oh. Hi Theodore." His voice suddenly became flat and his eyes went dull as his mouth settled into a hard line. "Good holiday?"

"Yeah." He croaked, suddenly feeling a bit too hot. The hands that had been fixing his tie stilled. "I take it yours was, too?"

"Yeah." Was the unenthusiastic, unhappy response. But as their eyes met, his seemed to flare and burn intensely, making Theo slightly faint.

"Cool." He said, voice wavering. He heard another snort from Draco and quickly averted his eyes, adjusting the shirt he'd just pulled on. "Did you get anything good?"

"I got something amazing." Blaise said in a suddenly suggestive voice and Theodore looked up. Draco raised his eyebrows at the male, who nodded back and his eyebrows disappeared into his hairline.

"The same as before?" Draco asked and when Blaise nodded in confirmation, said, "that's interesting."

"I know." Blaise was grinning a way that, quite frankly, Theodore did not quite like.

"What happened?" Theodore asked with interest, more to distract himself from his most recent rush of feelings.

"Nothing." Blaise said in that same voice, grinning mischievously. And then, with a horrible pang of dread, he realized it.

Blaise has a boyfriend. He found someone else.

His temperature sky rocketed and the walls of the cabin seemed to close in on him. It was suddenly very hard to breathe, and his vision bubbled around him, twisting the world as he saw it.

"Theodore?" Two people were standing over him, swaying back and forth in what was obviously a strange, ritualistic dance. "Theodore?"

"Please don't kill me." The words felt like chalk on his tongue and he struggled to get them out as his head cleared. It was evident that he'd been kidnapped by a cannibalistic tribe that was now performing the ceremony preceding the feast on his body. "I won't taste good."

"Theodore?" Someone asked through laughter and he sat up. It took one swift look around – enough to notice that he was lying on the bottom of their compartment – to realize what had happened. He'd fainted. What a girly thing to do.

"What happened?" He asked, despite knowing the answer, using the nearest seat to support himself as he stood.

"You started hyperventilating and then you passed out." The seat shifted under his hand and he realized with a not unpleasant jolt that the seat was Blaise's leg. Quite high up on his leg, actually. So high up that he would only have to slide his hand a few inches and-

"Oh." He said, quickly withdrawing his hand and seating himself somewhat awkwardly beside Blaise. "That's weird."

"Yeah." Draco said, eyeing him thoughtfully in a way he didn't much care for. "Are you feeling alright?"

"No, actually, I feel a bit sick." He said vaguely, staring out the window. "Maybe I'll try to sleep."

He couldn't, obviously, not when every bump in the track jostled him into Blaise and not when every word he heard just made him more and more sure Blaise had found someone else. His stomach turned uneasily at the thought of what Blaise had been hinting of, something that he sure involved sex. Blaise seemed quite smug, and he didn't like it in the slightest.

The only distraction he had the entire ride was when Miranda found him in his compartment. "Thanks for the owl," she snapped, lip quivering. "I really appreciated that."

"I thought it might have been the best way to end it." Theodore said, pleased with the fact that she didn't seem to be very angry about it. He'd seen girls get borderline hysterical and was lucky she wasn't acting like that. It made him even more affectionate and he hoped they could remain friends, because she was a pretty nice girl.

"You stupid bastard," Miranda proceeded to burst into tears and he gaped, hands floundering at his side. "Here's your necklace back." She reached into her pocket and withdrew the gold chain and locket he'd got her for Christmas and threw it at him, managing to hit him square in the face.

"Don't cry Miranda! I'm sorry, I thought you said you were okay with it!" He cried out, rubbing his forehead. He reached out to her and tried to rub her shoulder, but she jerked herself away from him. "You told me you understood why I ended it!"

"You sent me a letter!" She snapped, her eyes narrowed with anger. "Could you be any more cold?"

Before he could throw his arms up in protest she slapped him hard across the face. "Thanks for ruining the holidays! This is all because of him!" She turned her furious eyes upon Blaise, who looked quite surprised to be drawn into the confrontation. Tears were streaming down her cheeks and she turned on her heel and stormed from the room, throwing her hands over her face.

Theodore gaped after her, unmoving. Draco attempted to hide his laughter by covering his mouth. "Tough break."

"I don't understand. She seemed fine before." Theodore said and resumed his attempts to ease the sting on his forehead. That locket had hurt.

Blaise, noticing this, moved closer to him and reached out to move Theodore's hand. He surveyed his forehead intently. "Does it hurt?"

"Er, kind of." Theodore refused to meet Draco's eyes and instead opted to stare at Blaise.

"There's a mark right there." Blaise touched his left temple, speaking softly, and traced it down to where her hand had left a red mark on his cheek.

"I'm sure I'll be okay." Theodore cleared his throat and shifted awkwardly in his seat. Blaise moved away, but for the rest of the ride a pleased smile flickered across his lips.

Time passed slowly. It seemed their roles had been reversed, perhaps by some sick twist of fate. Theodore wondered if Blaise had felt the way he did - wishing he didn't understand how he felt, but knowing that deep down, it was a part of him. His heart leaping when he saw Blaise was just as normal to him as it was to eat breakfast. Unconsciously inhaling his wonderful smell was just an instinctive reaction, like catching a ball aimed directly at your head. Though, truthfully, it was kind of like catching the ball but still feeling the sharp pain as it hit your face anyway. Every time the dark skinned male looked away it he felt like he'd been squished into the ground and beaten until he couldn't move. Those feelings were even more prominent when Blaise got long, thick letters and would smile secretively, clearly pleased with the contents.

A Hogsmeade visit had been fast approaching and he'd found out that Blaise was going with someone from out of Hogwarts. Draco had been the one to tell him, a somewhat sympathetic gleam in his otherwise emotionless eyes and Theodore had scanned the nearly empty common room, traveling over a few girls and coming to rest on one.

Ignoring Draco, he stood up and walked straight for her. She looked up from her essay, hearing his footsteps. "Oh, hullo." Brittany Harvey said in a somewhat quizzical manner. "Anything I can do for you?"

"Go to Hogsmeade this weekend with me." He demanded quickly, watching Blaise from the corner of his eye. His head jerked up and his eyes went wide, and action Theodore took pleasure in seeing.

"Oh…This is kind of unexpected, but sure." She smiled warmly and had she had dark skin, dark blue eyes and been of the male variety he might have enjoyed such a sight.

"Cool." He grinned at her and swept out of the Common Room, before hurrying to his wardrobe and trying to find something suitable to wear. It wasn't very important, but he was half hoping Blaise would come upstairs and see him making an attempt to look nice and be jealous.

Unfortunately, he never did come up that night, a fact which Theodore knew because he stayed up the whole time listening.

"Who's that?" Brittany asked in interest as they squeezed into the Three Broomsticks. Theodore followed her gaze to a secluded table of four in a dimly lit corner where Blaise and a man he didn't recognize were sitting. Blaise was leaning forward in his seat, laughing openly and the man he was with reached out and laid a hand on his arm. A pang of jealousy shot through Theodore and he grimaced.

"Who cares?" He sneered and she looked at him in surprise. "Er…So, what would you like to drink?"

"Oh, a butterbeer." She said, flushing slightly. Theodore had discovered over the course of their walk that she was sweet and pleasant, had dreams of one day being a Healer like her father and had always found him slightly compelling. "I can pay, though…"

"No, I've got it." He said, smiling warmly. He ordered their drinks and they looked around the crowded room for a seat.

"Oh, it looks like everywhere is full…" She said, clearly disappointed. "Oh, no, look! We can sit with Blaise. They've got room at their table."

His entire body and soul rebelled against the idea. "No!"

"Why not?" She asked, brow furrowed. It was pretty common knowledge that Theodore and Blaise were extremely close friends, and while they had been fighting publicly as of late, a lot of their conflict wasn't known to the whole House. "Are you two fighting?"

"No." He said, trying to be calm and act like his best friend and love interest was not on a date. "No, let's, er, go ask them."

He tried to ignore the desperate shouting a million little Theodores in his head were doing. They began to full on scream when Blaise noticed them walking over, whispered something to his companion and straightened up.

"Hi," Brittany said shyly, shifting her bottle from one hand to the other. "Er, do you mind if we sit with you?"

"No, of course not." The man said nicely and Theodore ground his teeth together. "We were just discussing the…er…the…"

"Sounds interesting." Brittany said brightly and shook out her long blonde hair. "Nice weather, yeah?"

"Yeah, I'm not too fond of the rain we've been getting, though."

"I love rain." She said enthusiastically, drinking a bit of her butterbeer. "As long as I can get dry, though. I hate staying wet for a long time!"

"Of course." Blaise said darkly and she looked at him in slight confusion. "Wouldn't want to stay wet for too long, would you? You could get sick, or die from pneumonia."

"Erm...yeah, I suppose." She said tentatively. There was a short silence and Theodore stared at Blaise. Their eyes met and he let his arm curl around Brittany's waist. She glanced briefly at him and then turned back to the table, biting her lip to keep from smiling. He started feeling quite bad at that point, because he was using her, to be blatantly obvious. He thought it was working, though. He could tell by the way Blaise's eyes closed off immediately, a sure indication that he was hiding an emotion too open.

A small silence lapped at the table and then the male Blaise was with began talking about writing. Theodore frowned. A writer. He was probably a better writer that Theodore was. The stupid sod. He probably let Blaise read everything he wrote.

"Are you done?" He stood up suddenly and his date looked up in surprise.

"Erm…" She looked at her nearly full bottle. "I'll drink it on the way."

He threw a few coins down – quite literally, they scattered all over the ground and he didn't bother looking for them, but simply set down a few more. As they turned to leave he wrapped his arm once more around her waist and resisted the urge to look back and see if Blaise was watching.

They walked up to the school with forced and awkward conversation. By the time they reached the door, Brittany had clearly had enough. She pulled herself away from him and turned, not buying the surprised expression on his face. "Theodore, please listen for a moment."

He stopped, shoving his hands in his pockets. He'd left his drink on the table, something he sorely regretted and had nothing to do but stare evenly back into her eyes. "Clearly there is something in this situation I am not understanding. It's obvious to me something's going on between you and Blaise-"

"Something?" He snorted, "And what's that?"

"Theodore, I'm not blind. You hardly looked away from each other, and everything you did was to goad the other!" She shook her head, "I'm in Slytherin for a reason, you know. I won't mention this to anyone because I can see that you two need to sort it out, and because I like you, Theodore."

He felt the slow gnawing of guilt claw at his chest and wished he'd chosen someone really evil to use. Like Pansy, or something. "There's nothing going on."

"I'm not asking for an explanation." She said, raising her hands. "But I do notice things, and so do other people."

"Is that a threat?" He demanded.

"No," she laughed softly, "That's a statement. I'm merely saying you've got to figure it out soon, before someone gets the wrong idea. Thank you for the nice day."

He glared at her retreating back. "Stupid wench." He muttered, but quietly enough that she wouldn't hear, before setting out after her.

"How was your date?" Draco asked, looking up from his book. He'd opted to forgo Hogsmeade that weekend, as his friends had both been on dates and he hadn't been feeling quite well. "I see you're alone. Not a promising sign."

"Awful." Theodore replied, pulling his scarf off his neck and then picking off the woolly fibers still remaining there. "We saw Blaise and his stupid date at the Three Broomsticks."

"His stupid date?" Draco asked, clearly amused. A smirk was playing out over his lips.

"Yeah." He said sulkily, throwing himself onto his bed. Not even the springy warmth could have improved his mood and he lay there, limbs spread out in the exact position they'd been in after he'd landed.

"I supposed you're in a jealous, sulky, childish mood, than?"

"Pretty much." He said, staring morosely at the ceiling.

"Did you say hello, at least?"

"We sat with them." He replied woefully. "Brittany doesn't know about Blaise and I. It was so awkward."

"How so?" Draco inquired politely, though Theodore was sure he was secretly enjoying it. The humor in his eyes wasn't hard to miss, nor the satisfied twist of his lips.

"I tried to make him jealous." He said with a sigh and Draco snorted. "I kept moving closer to her and putting my arm around her."

"Did it work?"

"I don't think so. His date was so bloody perfect. Likes to write; all smiley…I can smile." He said suddenly, as though proving his worth to the ceiling. "I'd like to rip that damn smile off his damn face."

"Violent urges. Another symptom of your newfound obsessive jealousy?" Draco asked offhandedly, turning a page in his book. Theodore didn't answer, so he continued, "You're sure Blaise didn't care?"

"Yeah." He murmured sullenly. "Stupid ponce."

"Who's a stupid ponce?" Blaise breezed into the room, an expression of bliss on his face.

"No one." He said darkly and Blaise frowned, pausing in the motion of unraveling his scarf.

"Alright?"

"No." He hissed, his emotions suddenly on high tension.

"Oh. I heard Brittany-"

"This isn't about Brittany!" He yelled, sitting up. He couldn't stand being in the same room as Blaise, not when he had just been with that stupid perfect imbecilic writer, and especially not when he looked so pleased. Merlin knew what had happened to make him look like that.

"Theo?"

"Fuck off. Just fuck off!" He screamed, slamming the door to the bathroom. In his fury he turned on all the showers accidentally and the water crashed to the floor, sending mists of steam at him and under the crack in the door. After frantically reigning in his magic he leaned against the wall, breathing deeply. He hated that Blaise had the power to send him into such fits of anger.

And that he obviously didn't care.

"I've wonderful news." Blaise said, grinning. It had been a month since Theodore had lost control in the washroom. He had mostly good days, where the two could joke around and get along, but the bad days of sulking and depression were taking a toll on him. Putting a face to Blaise's happiness had been worse than not knowing who it was – at least then he could only compare himself to imaginary traits.

"Men can get pregnant?" He guessed sarcastically. At least then Blaise and his dumb boyfriend could have children. He imagined beautiful little dark skinned children with dark blue eyes and the stupid light brown hair his boyfriend had. His throat constricted painfully.

"Er…No." Blaise shot him a strange look. "I doubt that will ever happen."

"I doubt you don't wish." He muttered, eyes falling onto the papers he was holding in his hand.

Blaise merely frowned in confusion. "OK…Well, I just got a letter from Travis."

Travis was the name of Blaise's romantic interest. The writer. "Hmmph. How is he?"

"Great. That's what the news is about." Blaise said, eyes shining. "I think I should finally let him know."

Draco looked somewhat resigned. "As long as I can make an escape first."

"No, stay." Blaise said, clutching the papers in his hand tightly. "It's actually about you, Theo."

"What?" He snapped edgily, accidentally breaking his quill in half. He looked down at the pieces bitterly, feeling cheated and tossed them at Blaise's head. Unfortunately the male moved and Theodore didn't get the satisfaction of seeing ink blots on his stupid, perfect, handsome face.

"Look." Blaise handed him the papers and he took them reluctantly. His eyes read the first sentence and his blood ran cold. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't think.

They were journal entries.

His journal entries.

His fucking journal entries.

All the ones he'd written about Blaise – after they'd kissed, even. Right in front of him.Quickly skimming the pages, his entire body became red with rage and hurt and his eyes began to water from a combination of the two. He looked up as Blaise's expression went from excitement to confusion in two seconds. "Theo?"

"How could you?" He hissed, standing up quickly, wincing as his voice cracked with almost ever word. "Why would you show me these?"

"No, this is the good part. Travis is a representative from The Silver Broomstick, a publishing company extending into magazine production. They're looking for new writers, both for novels and for magazines. They've just started out…" He seemed to notice that Theodore still looked murderous and hurt beyond belief. "Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Why are you telling me a bunch of shit that doesn't explain why you went snooping through my stuff and made copies my private stuff." His voice was quiet from humiliation and anger.

"Theo, I found your writing book on the floor!" Blaise said, somewhat defensively.

"It wasn't my writing book." He snapped, knowing that he was so close to revealing what it really was but not having the ability to stop.

"What was it, then?" Blaise demanded, "Because I read what you wrote. It's really good. You have a really good grasp of the girl you characterized in them all, and the guy she loves."

He wanted to punch him. He wanted to rip the papers up and throw them in the fire, and then leap onto Blaise, tackle him to floor and beat him to a bloody pulp. He had no idea what he was doing. His emotions were in control, shoving his brain out his ears in clouds of hot steam.

"Those weren't writing exercises." He snarled, "Those were journal entries."

"What?" Blaise's mouth hung open and his eyes went wide with shock.

"They were journal entries that I wrote about you, you stupid prat!" Theodore yelled, attracting the attention of all those around him.

"But they - How – They're all-" Blaise spluttered and Theodore ripped them in half and stomped to the fireplace. Letting your emotions run amok is quite satisfying. He thought with hateful glee, throwing the pages into the fire with such force that the flames danced away from him for second.

"Fuck you, Zabini." He yelled, whirling around wildly. "Fuck you! How could you?"

Blaise's face was quite pale. He reached for a table to steady himself. How could he? How could he? He stormed away, hands shaking so much he had to concentrate very hard on turning the doorknob and collapsed on his bed, sorely wishing he'd thought of something more creative to escape to. He had no energy to do so.

He had, in a sense, given Blaise the snitch, as was the common phrase. The game was pretty much over, but there were still a few moments left, a few chances for redemption. Just because the game was over didn't mean either side had won.

Theodore knew how he felt - that much was obvious. But it couldn't just come down to that. Those were his secrets and thoughts and feelings and his personal writing. It wasn't supposed to be put in some stupid book, or magazine. It wasn't enough that he fancied Blaise so so much. After a few moments of long silence only punctuated by a low shaking sound he realized he was crying. Theodore formed a first with his hand and punched his pillow with it, wishing it would help but discovering that it didn't.

Everything he'd written in that journal had been about Blaise. He hadn't even realized it himself. In fact, he couldn't even remember when his writing became journal like, probably because it was still formally written. He hadn't realized how much of his life he'd put in there. It wasn't until he thought about someone – specifically Blaise – reading it did he realize how much it terrified him.

He heard footsteps behind him and sprinted past their beds and into the bathroom, where he began to pace, shaking. He couldn't stay still, he couldn't think, he could hardly breathe. His mind was recycling too many thoughts at once and it was all he could do to stay standing.

He turned on the water to shower and, not bothering to remove his clothes, stepped in. The water was cold, but warmed up quickly because of the magic in Hogwarts. His hair became plastered to his face, his clothes hung heavily around his thin frame and he frantically washed his face a few times, trying to make the feeling of his tears disappear. It wasn't until he was washing his hair for the third time that he completely lost it and collapsed against the side of the shower, hands scrabbling for a handhold as he slid to the ground, shoulders heaving with his sobs.

Something's wrong with me. I never cry. Just because I've been betrayed doesn't mean I should turn into an emotional wreck. He was so caught up in the throws of complete desolation that he hardly realized Blaise had stepped into the shower, fully clothed as well, and slide down the wall beside him. He noticed him only from the blurred movement of black beside him as Blaise drew his legs to his chest.

His heart ached. His stomach was doing flip flops. His emotions were whirring throughout his body. He couldn't bear looking up, yet somehow he already was. Blaise's dark hair was soaked and clung to his head, brushed out of his blue, blue eyes. His dress shirt was pushed up to his elbows and outlined the delicious curve of his arm, just as the rest of his clothing did to his whole body. It made Theodore shiver, though his entire body was incredibly warm

"I had no idea those were…well, your…I didn't know what they were. I never would have…I just…What I mean," he took a deep breath, "I would never hurt you intentionally, Theo. I'm so, so sorry. I put your book on your bed, under your pillow so no one finds it. I hope…I know you might not forgive me, but I'm going to send an owl telling them to take it off the print right now."

"Don't. I'll take care of it." He said quietly, angrily.

"Okay…I'll leave Travis's information for you…"

"Tell me something." He said suddenly, needing to know, suddenly hopeful. "Were you and Travis ever dating? I mean, he's sexy and nice and a writer and all, but if you're…"

"No. I tried to make it seem like we were…I wanted to make you jealous. But we were never anything. I don't fancy him at all. I still…"

Theodore knew what he would say. He knew what words would come from Blaise's wonderfully pink lips if his own silence extended. But he turned, eyes like fire, and pushed his sodden hair from his eyes. "Get the fuck out of my shower."

It wasn't his shower. They both knew he wasn't even talking about the shower. They were talking about his life. 'Get the fuck out of my life.' They both understood the true meaning behind his words. Blaise looked incredibly hurt, but in the next second sprang to his feet and balled up his fists.

"What is your problem? You know how difficult it is to me to apologize! I haven't apologized since, well, since the last time you got pissed at me! I thought I was giving you a chance to write, I thought I was giving you a chance to do what you wanted! I know you don't want to go back to your grandparents, and I wanted to help you with that!" He turned away, running his fingers through his hair. "Look, I never wanted – You know what I want."

A small, electric pause and then Blaise swooped down in front of him and tugged their lips together, letting out a small grunt of satisfaction as they met. Theodore's eyes closed and he instinctively let Blaise take control, just like last time, but this time he was ready to respond the second they made contact. His hands moved desperately to Blaise's back, wanting to deepen the kiss in a way he'd never experience with Miranda, but the other male pulled away. "Seems like you want it too. I'm not waiting for you anymore, Theodore. I'm done with that. I'm done waiting for you to get yourself together."

He turned and left, leaving Theodore alone as steam swirled around him in a way very similar to his thoughts.

The next morning he was still in shock. Not about what had happened in the shower – what had happened after. What he'd written in the letter he'd sent to Travis; what he'd attached to go along with it, hands hesitant, almost snatching it back before it could fly away; feeling all his energy leave his body as the owl disappeared into the distance, leaving his own panic and shock in its wake; walking slowly back to his dormitory and falling asleep instantly, feeling at peace for the first time in awhile, knowing he'd done what he'd wanted to do.

Blaise had shot him looks of longing the entire next day, though his mind couldn't think about that fact – not when something else so important was about to unfold.

It took two days for Travis to reply. It arrived while he was sipping on his coffee, wishing the caffeine could give him more of a buzz. The letter was short and to the point, but Theodore's heart remained pounding for the next hour.

Theodore,

I have to admit I was surprised by your letter, but it's great. We're going to run it in an issue next week as a special spread. Like you requested, we've got it all set up to send everyone in Hogwarts a copy…I'm not sure why you want that, instead of full compensation, but we can't complain. You're too good for that.

Sincerely,

Travis

Theodore's eyes skimmed over Travis's full name and position in the press, and he smiled delightedly. When he looked up, Blaise was staring at him, face contorted with jealousy. He realized with horror that it was probably very much the same smile Blaise had been doing that made him extremely jealous, but as he opened his mouth he saw Blaise's eyes catch the insignia on the parchment. It was well known to Theodore now; it was Travis's insignia. He'd seen it once and would always remember it as the picture that made him want to smash all the dishes in the Great Hall.

And a look of horrified comprehension and shame filled Blaise's eyes and his face seemed to lose some color. Theodore's mind raced to come up with an explanation for the reaction, but found nothing. All he knew was that part of him was screaming to deny whatever it was that was causing Blaise to look so heartbroken.

"Blaise-"

"Fine." Blaise said heavily, and Theodore accidentally dropped the letter onto his syrupy pancakes. "Fine. I didn't realize that's why you asked, but fine."

He hurried away, leaving Theodore to stare into his pumpkin juice. It took him ten minutes to come up with something to explain what had just happened. That night in the shower, he'd asked if Travis and Blaise were dating, and then described Travis as sexy and nice. And, as difficult as it was for him to admit, he'd sounded hopeful. Then, a few days later, he got a letter from Travis and had started to smile.

He probably thought – no, the more Theodore thought about it, the more he realized that Blaise thought he knew that Theodore was in love with Travis. It would be just like him to automatically come to that conclusion and then refuse to speak to Theodore ever again, a thought that made Theodore's stomach churn unpleasantly.

"I should talk to him." He said out loud.

"Probably." Draco said offhandedly. "But you should also wait. When you consider how your last confrontations have gone, maybe you should just wait it out this time."

Theodore sighed, "Maybe you're right."

"I usually am." Draco grinned smugly at him, but not even that could take Theodore's mind off what was going to happen.

"Any minute." Theodore mumbled under his breath, stabbing at the marmalade with a knife, trying not to look up into the Great Hall's roof and yell for the owls to hurry up. His heart was beating frantically and his mind was on the verge of realizing something – or so it felt, it could have just been anticipation and fear – because today was the day. The magazine's first edition was coming out, profiling his entries as an up and coming writer.

And then, just when he thought he would burst, the familiar sound of wings rustling caught his attention and the owls had arrived. There were many more than usual, something that didn't go unnoticed by the students, and then there was surprise as The Silver Broomstick copies were dropped in front of them. As soon as Theodore received his copy he tore off the plastic and stared at the front cover. 'Exclusive Excerpts From Theodore Nott: Upcoming Writer and Hogwarts Student.' There was a picture of him on the cover, along with other screaming headlines, but his eyes were already scanning the index and he'd flipped open to the page before half the hall had even realized what they'd gotten.

Blaise had frozen when he saw the front cover, but as his eyes read the headline over and over again he seemed to thaw. He looked up and stared into Theodore's somewhat defiant eyes, studied him and then opened to the page Theodore was on.

His face flushed as he began to read words that, by now, were more familiar to Theodore than the back of his hand. 'The most wonderful, scary, amazing thing just happened to me. I can't explain it, just like I can hardly find the courage to write these words down, because doing this will make it all real; something I find even more frightening than what he makes me feel…'

Confusion drew his eyebrows together as Blaise read, because he'd thought Theodore would have cancelled the printing. Several times he looked up to Theodore, as though realizing what it was he was reading. Of course, assuming that he hadn't read Theodore's entries since before he'd found out what they were, that would be true. The hall's noise had lessened considerably as a significant amount of people read his words, but Theodore couldn't care less about them. He only cared about the dark male across from him, reading what had, as cliché as it was, poured straight from his soul.

He counted the pages Blaise's dark hand turned until he could almost hear his inner shock at the last entry and reread what he'd written, imagining what Blaise would think when his own eyes absorbed the words.

I expected the fear, but I never thought that what I dreaded the most would also make me feel so relieved. It seems ridiculous to think that a person can feel the most free when they're in a position of complete vulnerability, but it's true. There's no more hiding the truth from him and wishing he would figure it out himself, no more wishing he would take a chance for me and tell me how he feels, no more useless waiting and wanting and excruciating moments that lead nowhere. Now it's just the two of us, both of us completely as we are.

All I can do now is wait to see if he still feels like I do. If whenever I walk into a room he wants to talk to me, to be around me, to bask in my presence like I do when I see him. If, when he talks to me, it seems like everything else that's going on is alright, just because he's there. If the thought of us together makes him happy.

If he would be happy to have me, just as I am.

When at last the black male looked up they stared at each other in deep silence. Blaise's mouth opened and closed several times before he said, in a throaty voice, "Theo."

"I know." He said in the same voice, and suddenly he was swamped by exclamations.

"That was so good, Theodore!" Pansy exclaimed, "I feel like you really understand girls!"

"Yeah," someone he didn't recognize added, "It's weird, but so do I!"

"If girls really feel that way…You should write an advice book." A male said, looking thoughtful. "I'd buy it. I had no idea that's how they felt."

"That's not how girls feel." He spoke softly, and yet everyone who wanted to heard him. "That's how love feels."

"Intense!"

"How'd you figure out that they all feel like that? Did you talk to people?"

"That was bloody amazing! You should write a book!"

People continued around him and he was forced to break his gaze from Blaise, but that's where his thoughts remained. His emotions were at their highest and most vulnerable. What if Blaise got distracted by all the attention Theodore was getting and then when he was free, he'd realize he wanted none of it?

"Come upstairs!" Exclaimed someone, "We should have a party in the Common Room for you!"

"We have school," he protested lamely.

"Fine, after! Let's go!" Despite the fact that that made absolutely no sense at all, he let himself be dragged up, shooting a desperate look at Blaise. Blaise looked away, biting his lip and then stood. Theodore's heart sank, but then he walked over and hugged him.

"Congratulations, mate." He pressed something into Theodore's hand, who felt his heart flutter and instinctively inhaled as Blaise's hair brushed his nose. "See you in class."

He watched the dark hair disappear into a sea of people, before he was dragged into the hall and escorted to class. As soon as he was sitting he pulled the small piece of paper out and unfolded it with trembling hands. Lunch. The dormitory. We need to talk.

He knew what it meant. They would be together. They would be together now or never. He was flushed, his heart was thumping in his chest and he couldn't focus in his classes, to the horror of Professor Snape, who looked overly shocked as his cauldron exploded, because he'd been staring so passionately at Blaise that he'd dumped an entire jar of crushed beetles into it.

The three detentions he'd gotten were the least of his worries by lunchtime. He was fidgety and nervous, his palms constantly sweaty, and didn't know if he should go straight to the dormitory or if Blaise wanted him to wait. His long time friend caught his eye after what felt like hours. The same panicked excitement Theodore felt was reflected in Blaise's eyes, and it almost made the situation seem real, as though the past day had been a dream. "I don't feel well, I'm going back to the dorm."

Draco nodded absently and Theodore tried not to watch Blaise leave. A minute or so passed and he was struggling to come up with a reason to leave when Draco spoke. "Are you going to check on him, or should I?"

"I will." He said immediately, jumping to his feet. "I'll see you next class."

"Suuure." It sounded sarcastic. Before he could contemplate the reason for that, he was already half out the hall.

When Theodore got to the dungeons his mind was going haywire. He had to concentrate very hard on not bursting into a sprint, and his stomach was in a compete turmoil, jumping all over the place. He'd never been so excited and scared for something in his life, but there was a glowing, happy feeling deep in his stomach that expanded with every step he took. Blaise is on the other side of this door.

He didn't hesitate, just pushed the door open. Blaise turned around, arms folded across his chest. They stared at each other and then – "You came."

"Of course." He answered, palms sweating. "Of course."

"This is it." Blaise said, stepping closer. "This is the last time we can do this. Now or never. We need to decide - it's too hard carrying on like this. I can't keep – keep on hopelessly fancying you and then stealing the odd snog here or there, it only ends in pai-"

"I like you." Theodore blurted out, "I like you a lot. Every day I wish I could go back to the beginning and change things. I like you like – like I think you like me. I like you like I want to kiss you every day, whenever I want to and hold your hand and be close to you because I can."

Blaise's face opened into a breathtaking smile and Theodore didn't care if men weren't suppose to be beautiful, because Blaise was. In three small strides his arms were around Blaise's waist and they were kissing again. It was somewhat desperate, something Theodore knew it didn't have to be because they had so much time together, and he reveled in that fact.

"I want to be with you." Blaise breathed into his ear and Theodore inhaled the wonderful scent of his hair. "Finally."

"Finally." Theo murmured, kissing him languidly, feeling his body alight with warmth. Nothing had ever been so perfect as that moment.

"Now you're mine." Blaise whispered and Theodore wholeheartedly agreed.

"And then she told me that I'd done a bloody good job showing it, so I asked her why she thought it was a good idea to flirt with him in the first place, and do you know what she said?" Draco's eyes were wide with confusion and outrage. "She said that if I didn't know she wasn't going to tell me and stormed away! What is that?"

The reason I swore off girls. Theodore thought to himself, though of course that wasn't the reason. The real reason was sitting right beside him, holding his hand under the table and sending shivers running all over his pale skin. "Mm. Tough break."

"I don't understand why girls do this." Draco huffed, frowning. He looked down the table at Pansy, where she sat amid a group of girls who were all staring intently at him. He opened his mouth to speak and they dissolved into giggles and turned in on each other. "What the hell?"

"Draco, she was probably trying to make you jealous." Blaise said it in a very aloof way, as if the idea was blasphemous and had never occurred to him. "You were supposed to get really angry and threaten to castrate him or something."

"This is rubbish." The blonde muttered under his breath, poking at the kidney pie on his plate. "Complete rubbish. Much more of this and I might swear off girls. No," he added, after reflecting on his words. "No, I don't think even then."

Someone a few feet down the table stood up and Theodore quickly tugged his hand from Blaise, reaching for the coffee to hide the jerk of his arm. They had to be careful about touching too much in public so that news about their relationship didn't get out and shower the school with gossip. It was harder than he had imagined, because what he found normal - swift caresses, lingering hugs, holding hands, smiles that lasted too long - was most certainly not normal. He'd never seen Weasley reach out and trail his fingers through Potter's hair, which was what Blaise has done to him last week during Transfiguration and they'd awkwardly laughed off.

"Why don't you just talk to her during History of Magic?" Theodore suggested. Pansy had started sharing a table with them after she and Draco had started dating.

"Oh, no." Draco shook his head and leaned forward, a somewhat frightening glint in his eyes. "No, Theodore, you can switch spots with me. I am not sitting beside her. I will die."

Theodore leaned away from his friend, against his will, and raised his eyebrows. "Alright, then. But if I am going to make this sacrifice, you owe us some alone time in the dorm tonight."

"Anything, so long as I don't get the details." His forehead wrinkled and all three of them cringed, remembering the moment he'd walked in on them while they were snogging quite heatedly. Draco hadn't quite gotten over it yet.

"Fine. We should get going," Blaise said, which was a hint for Draco to remember that he had something that needed to be done before class, so Theodore and Blaise could walk alone.

As Theodore stood their shoulders brushed and he cleared his throat, face flushing. Christ, I'll give us away if I don't stop blushing all the time. The endearing smile Blaise sent his way, all lopsided grin and flirty eyes, made his stomach turn over and his face went red again.

The past few weeks had passed with considerably more happiness than Theodore had experienced in awhile. The days were filled with everything that was Blaise – his soft lips, his silky hair, his intense, passionate blue eyes, his dark, chocolate skin and his constant presence, something that cast a warm, beautiful glow on everything he did. Even their small fights weren't as bad, because instead of wondering if he would be speaking to Blaise for the next week after their argument about whose quill it was that Draco found, he knew that in a few minutes they would be back to normal.

"Let's take the shortcut," Theodore suggested, moving towards the tapestry on the wall. They stepped into the dimly lit passage and they both seemed to realize at the same time that this was where Draco and Blaise had stumbled upon Theodore and Miranda in a somewhat heated embrace.

"I'm sure you feel a particular draw to this passage," Blaise said sourly and frowned at the coarse stone walls, as though they were responsible for what had happened.

"Blaise, you know nothing happened." Theodore said and sighed, in the way one might after they've been through a subject too many times to count. "She just jumped on me."

"Hmph." Blaise's frown showed anything except reassurance. "So you're saying you don't think she's pretty?"

"Well, I guess sort of-What?" He hadn't had the sense to realize that 'no' was the correct answer and Blaise had let out a huff and moved on ahead. "Blaise, come on! What about all those boys you met up with over breaks? You did a lot more than snog them-Blaise!"

Raising an eyebrow his boyfriend turned to look at him, arms crossed imperiously over his chest. "Yes?"

"You know that the only person I want to be with is you." Theodore said calmly, watching Blaise melt a bit in front of him. "Do you think that this would feel so good if we hadn't had to work for it? Miranda was part of the process, but I promise you that you are ten times more important to me than she ever was."

"Theo, you're making me blush." Fluttering his eyelashes Blaise fell into step beside him, considerably more cheerful. Just before they stepped out from behind the tapestry, Blaise turned to look at Theodore. "Hey, Theo?"

"Yeah?" He turned and received a quick kiss, before a laughing Blaise grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the passage. Together the two blended into the crowds of students walking the hallway, lost among the sea of black robes.

Life was good.

Author's Note: Thank you tons for following this immensely frustrating and agonizing journey! It's been a pleasure to write. Please review!