How to Woo a Hufflepuff

Blaise sighed as he looked around the Great Hall. His elbow rested on the table and his left hand was firmly planted on his cheek to keep his head from dropping onto Pansy's shoulder, which was fortunate, because she had a wretched habit of elbowing him when he was careless enough to touch her in any way. Vicious little minx. As if he wanted to touch her, anyway. She definitely wasn't his type.

Blaise's gaze wandered across the table to someone who was his type. Draco Malfoy was smearing marmalade on a piece of toast and pointedly ignoring the boy who stared at him from the Gryffindor table. Blaise rolled his eyes, because Draco was so obvious in pretending not to notice Potter that he might as well have walked over and planted a kiss on the hero. Everyone at the Slytherin table knew Draco's crush on Potter was boundless. It also seemed far less doomed to failure since the end of the war. Potter was often found eyeing Draco with a curious expression and once or twice he had even spoken to Draco in that broken, meaningless babble of his.

Blaise smirked and moved his stare to Potter. Granted, there was something rather hot about the messy-haired Saviour, but he was far too manly for Blaise's taste. Blaise preferred them pale, blond, and willowy. Rather like Draco, of course, but the bastard had set his sights on Potter and refused to have anyone else. Unfortunately, Draco was the cream of the crop when it came to Hogwarts' selection of fit boys.

Blaise supposed he would just have to wait until he left school to find someone worthy of his attention. As if conjured by the depressing thought, someone crossed through his line of sight and Blaise blinked in surprise. Zacharias Smith angled a glance at Blaise and his lip curled into a sneer. Even though Draco sneered to excess, the expression never made him look like he'd eaten a box of lemons. On Smith, however, the grimace was unpleasant and made Blaise long to do something to wipe the look from his face.

Another Hufflepuff greeted Smith and his expression changed from the petulant glare to one of open friendliness as he smiled. Blaise sat up, surprised. Honestly, when he wasn't acting like a pompous prick, Smith was actually somewhat handsome. His features were delicate and his lips, usually set into a thin line of disapproval, were almost pouty when they relaxed. And his eyes were quite a pretty shade of blue.

"What are you doing?" Pansy asked. "I recognize that calculating look. Plotting to torment some 'Puffs?"

"Torment is such an ugly word, Pansy," Blaise said smoothly as he got to his feet. Smith finished chatting with his housemate and exited the hall. Blaise admired Smith's near-flouncing walk as he got to his feet, waved absently to Pansy, and followed the Hufflepuff.

To Blaise's delight, Smith crossed the Front Hall and headed for the Slytherin side of the dungeons, most likely making his way to the Potions lab to snag the best table and materials prior to class. Usually the Ravenclaws did that, so one had to get there quite early in order to get a jump on their clever greed. Blaise cast a Tempus Charm and noted that they still had forty minutes before Potions. Blaise hadn't bothered to take Potions with the other "Eighth-years"; his first class was Charms.

Zac had staked out a table in the corner, pleasantly far from the Professor's desk and closest to the supply cabinets. A prime spot. Zac tossed his books on the table and didn't bother to take a seat, obviously planning to head for the cauldrons and grab the cleanest one.

"Good choice," Blaise said with an amused lilt.

Zac's gaze snapped to him, but his surprise lasted only a moment before his brows drew into a customary glare. "What do you want here, Zabini?"

Blaise let his eyes travel slowly over the blond and he bit his tongue, barely, on the obvious innuendo. Instead, he walked closer, pretending to examine the cauldrons. "Why did you take Potions, Zac? Planning to be an Auror?"

Zac made a huff of disgust. "Certainly not."

Blaise waited, but the Hufflepuff obviously intended to offer no further information. Blaise selected a cauldron and tossed it to him. "Here's a good one."

Zac caught it and then examined it closely while shooting Blaise a distrustful glare. After a moment of hesitation, Zac set the cauldron down and picked up a different one. Blaise raised an eyebrow and smirked at the implicit affront. Zac spun and strode back to his table, seeming determined to ignore Blaise. He put the cauldron down with perhaps more force than warranted. He sat down and began to pull supplies from his schoolbag—Potions manual, ink, quills—and lined them up neatly.

Blaise sauntered over and peered over Zac's shoulder, leaning close enough that his torso brushed Zac's school robes. "What are you planning to concoct today, my little Hufflepuff?" Blaise asked. He examined the line of Zac's jaw, which looked rather tasty, now that Blaise had a chance to examine it up close.

"What are you doing here?" Zac snapped. Blaise could feel tension radiating from him. It wasn't quite fear.

"Can't I spend time with my friends? We never talk, Zac. I miss you." Blaise thought that might be laying it on a bit thick, especially when Zac turned partially round to stare at him. Blaise fixed his gaze on Zac's lips, admiring their half-open state. When Zac looked astonished, rather than petulant, he had quite a lovely mouth. His lips were bow-shaped and almost pouty. Made for sucking cock, Blaise thought in satisfaction. The very thought of it sent a pleasant shiver through him.

"Have you gone mad?" Zac demanded.

Blaise smiled and lifted a hand to cup Zac's chin. "You're really cute when you're surprised. I'll have to try and keep you in that state." He leaned forward and pressed a feather-light kiss on Zac's lips, half-expecting an elbow in the ribs or a violent shove. Instead, a squeak of sound came from behind them and Blaise glanced over his shoulder to see a Ravenclaw girl staring at them with a shocked expression.

"You—!" Zac began, but Blaise cut him off with a friendly slap to the arse, muffled though it was by Zac's thick robes.

Blaise left the Hufflepuff and walked briskly toward the girl, pausing near her to jerk his head toward Zac. "He's mine," Blaise said warningly and narrowed his eyes in a manner he knew was threatening, having practiced it diligently in the mirror for months on end.

She drew in a breath and nodded. As Blaise left the room he smiled with satisfaction. He had recognized her as one of the most notorious gossips in school. By the end of the day, the entirety of Hogwarts would know that Blaise had claimed Zacharias Smith as his.


Draco was amused. "A Hufflepuff? Really?"

"He's blond. And I can't have you." Blaise shrugged. He leered at Draco to make his latter words seem like a joke, although he doubted Draco was fooled. "Besides, he's not bad when you can get him to stop scowling."

Draco snorted. "Don't think I've ever seen him without a scowl. He generally looks as though he sat on a nest of hornets."

"Maybe he just feels unloved," Blaise offered and laughed at Draco's derisive expression. They headed out of the Slytherin common room and walked the short distance to the Great Hall, accompanied by several others from their house.

Draco's eyes went immediately to Potter, who was already watching the door, as usual. As Blaise watched, the Gryffindor seemed to relax for a moment when his eyes met Draco's, and then they narrowed as he caught sight of Blaise. Even from across the room, Blaise nearly shivered at the change in Potter's expression. Merlin, if Potter ever learned wandless magic, the results would be catastrophic.

"He's a possessive little prick, isn't he?" Blaise muttered.

"What's that?" Draco asked absently, obviously still lost in the green of Potter's eyes.

Blaise sighed. "You two are idiots. Why don't you just fuck and get it over with?"

Draco turned his most puzzled stare on Blaise, radiating ignorance. "What do you mean?"

Blaise gave him a flat stare and then shook his head. He had to admit, Draco could be an utter prat and he wished Potter luck dealing with the bastard, if they ever got around to holding an actual conversation, although at the rate they were going it would probably take another decade. "Never mind. I have a Hufflepuff to woo."

He ignored Draco's choking noise and made his way to the Slytherin table while scanning the gaggle of Hufflepuffs for a familiar blond head. He finally located Zac, only to find the boy watching him with a look of loathing. Blaise smiled and waved cheerfully, earning an even more venomous glare.

Blaise dropped into the seat next to Pansy and she commented dryly, "Your new boyfriend doesn't seem to like you much."

"He's playing hard to get," Blaise said confidently.

"Hmmm, yes, so hard he asked Hannah Abbott to Hogsmeade tomorrow."

"Did he?" Blaise asked as he poured himself a glass of pomegranate juice.

"Are you really so bored you're toying with a Hufflepuff?" she asked.

"He's cute," Blaise said. "Like an untamed Crup."

She wrinkled her nose. "Honestly, there's always…" She scanned the room full of students and the moment grew into an awkward silence before she sighed heavily. "Never mind. Good luck with the nasty little Hufflepuff tosser."

"Thanks, Pans," he said.

Blaise ate quickly and left the Great Hall only to lurk about near the Hufflepuff entrance, leaning against the wall and walking his wand through the fingers of one hand in a twirl that grew fast enough to draw a crowd of fascinated younger students. When Zac finally exited the Great Hall, he had to push his way through the gathering.

"Stop blocking! Can't you see we need to get to our Common Room? Move along!" Zac's voice rang with authority and Blaise remembered with a jolt that Zac was a Prefect as well as Quidditch Captain. Blaise supposed some of his superiority complex had been well-earned. The younger students scattered.

Zac glared at Blaise. "I should deduct House Points, Zabini, for causing a disruption."

"We need to talk," Blaise said flatly, returning Zac's glare. His tone obviously caught Zac off-guard. His eyes widened and he gaped for a moment before he turned to his companion—Hannah Abbott, Blaise noted with annoyance—and murmured to her.

She looked at Blaise with a wary expression and continued down the steps toward the Hufflepuff dungeon. When she was out of earshot, Zac stepped closer. "What are you playing at, Zabini?" he demanded.

Blaise's hand shot out and curled around the knot on Zac's badger-crested tie. He dragged him forward and crushed their lips together. To prevent possible injury, Blaise wrapped his other arm around Zac's waist and held him tightly enough that it was probably difficult for Zac to breathe.

Blaise kissed him possessively. Zac's lips were delightfully soft. They were plump and sweet and tasted of black currant and toast. Blaise sucked at them, hoping to coax a response other than the board-hard tension he felt beneath his arm. For a moment, he felt Zac's fingers on his waist, curling into his shirt convulsively, and then Zac exploded into motion, shoving hard, breaking Blaise's grip. Zac staggered back, touching one hand to his lips, eyes wide and wild.

Blaise watched him through half-lidded eyes, letting his Slytherin mask drop in order to let naked desire show through, just for a moment. Zac did not bother with a comment, a sneer, or even a glare, he simply fled. Blaise let his head fall back against the stone and closed his eyes. It was possible Zac was completely straight. Still, he didn't think he had imagined the tightening of those fingers. And he was not one to give up easily.


"How goes the Hufflepuff wooing?" Draco asked as Blaise as he pulled on a pair of expensive black leather gloves. They reached the top of the steps and paused, unwilling to join the crowd of students waiting for the chaperons that would escort them to Hogsmeade, even though the Eighth-years were, more or less, free to travel on their own.

"Fine. How goes the Potter stalking?" Blaise countered.

Draco was spared answering when the object of Blaise's question approached. Despite being the heroic vanquisher of all evil, Potter still managed to look incapable of fending off a Hufflepuff Second-year, which was possibly part of his charm.

"Um, Malfoy… I mean, Draco," Potter said quietly as he fumbled in a pocket of his robe. Despite Blaise's presence, Potter's eyes were fixed firmly on Draco's—they might as well have been the only two people in the hall. "I have that, um, essay you asked about. Hermione, um… found it for me."

Blaise must have made a sound, because Draco's frigid glare turned on him with a quelling warning implicit in their silver depths. "Thank you, Pot—Harry," Draco said and took the parchment. The two boys, one pale, Slytherin and murky, the other tanned, Gryffindor, and open and honest as the sun, stood basking in one another's presence. Blaise rolled his eyes.

"Going over here now," Blaise commented and walked away, knowing neither would even register his absence. The doors opened and sent students spilling into the crisp morning air. Blaise fell in behind the group clad in yellow and black.

Zac walked beside Hannah Abbott and Blaise saw him look back once, obviously scanning the crowd until his gaze locked on Blaise, who smiled winningly. A pretty flush decorated Zac's cheeks and he scowled before looking away. Several of the other Hufflepuffs glanced at Blaise with worried expressions and then whispered loudly with their heads together.

Zac and the Hufflepuff crowd walked in a tightly-knit group, following the Gryffindors, who always led the way. The Ravenclaw crowd came next and the Slytherins brought up the rear. There were scattered students who defied the norm, singles like Blaise and Potter, whose colours contrasted with those around them.

Blaise ambled along as though he didn't have a care in the world. They passed through the gates of Hogwarts and took the path to Hogsmeade. It was cold enough that their breath fogged the air. Blaise was glad of his gloves and he noted with smug satisfaction that Zac wore none. Blaise increased his pace and tapped the shoulder of the Hufflepuff nearest him. The boy stared at him with frightened eyes, steps faltering.

"Pass these up to Zacharias, please," Blaise said smoothly.

The boy took the butter-yellow gloves as though they contained live snakes. He handed them off quickly and Blaise watched as the items made their way to Zac, who halted on the path when they reached him. Blaise was curious to know what Zac would do. A Slytherin would take the items, smile sardonically, and pocket them. A Gryffindor would march back and demand to know the meaning behind them. A Ravenclaw would put them on and ponder the gesture. Blaise was unsure of the Hufflepuff reaction.

Zac scowled, held the soft gloves, avoided looking at Blaise at all, and then started off again with the gloves still clenched in his fist. Sometime later, Blaise had nearly forgotten them completely when he noticed Zac was wearing them. The sight gave him a flare of hope even as he derided himself for seeking affection from a Hufflepuff.

When they reached Hogsmeade, all the groups broke into smaller cliques, some headed for Honeydukes, some for the new bookstore, and others for various eating establishments. Zac gripped Hannah's hand and led her to Madam Puddifoot's. Blaise smirked and entered behind them. He seated himself alone at an enamelled pink table and picked up the single-sheet menu.

Zac's eyes went to Blaise several times while Blaise ordered a cup of tea and a plate of fairy cakes. It was only after Blaise placed several coins in the hands of the waitress and instructed her to pay for Zac and Hannah's order that the blond Hufflepuff shot from his chair and marched over.

"Zabini, what are you playing at?" Zac demanded, placing one hand on the table and leaning over Blaise threateningly.

"I just want you to have a good time," Blaise said mildly and shrugged innocently. "If you don't want to be with me, then you deserve to be happy with…" Blaise jerked his chin toward Hannah, who watched them with something that seemed more akin to amusement than jealousy.

Zac dropped onto a tiny pink seat and looked at Blaise with a helpless expression. "You can't be serious. This is some sort of Slytherin trick, isn't it? Did you lose a bet? Are you taking part in some stupid dare?"

Blaise smiled and reached out to snag one of Zac's hands, suddenly realizing that much of Zac's prickly personality could be due to a deep-seated insecurity. "Hey," Blaise said quietly and lifted Zac's hand to press a kiss into each of his knuckles, keeping his eyes locked with Zac's. He felt a flare of satisfaction when the blue went wide and dark. Not completely straight, then, he thought. "Look, I want you, Zac. It's as simple as that. So I am going to go to the Leaping Hart and selecting a private booth. I would like you to join me for lunch. If you don't show, then I will admit you are not interested and I won't pursue you any longer." Blaise released Zac's hand, but leaned forward and lowered his voice to even huskier tones. "But if you do choose to involve yourself with me, I'll make it very good for you. Think about it."

With that, Blaise got to his feet, shot a jaunty salute toward the other Hufflepuffs, and went out.

Blaise stopped off for a few items on the way to the Hart, knowing Zac wouldn't be along for quite some time, if at all, and it was a bit early for lunch. Even with the detour, Blaise nearly had his choice of booths—only two were already taken. He had only been to the Leaping Hart once before. It had been built after the war as something of a war memorial, or a Harry Potter tribute. Nearly everything in the place was done up in shades of red and gold. For that reason, most Slytherins avoided it like the plague, but it had the most privacy of any establishment in town. Additionally, the food was top drawer.

Blaise ordered a bottle of ale, sipped at it, finished it, and ordered another before he debated placing an order for food. He cast a Tempus Charm and frowned. It was beginning to look like Zac wasn't coming; Blaise had overestimated his charm, apparently, or the Hufflepuff was resistant.

He took one more drink and considered making his way back to Hogwarts alone. He would rather not face Draco, especially when the prat seemed to be finally gaining some ground on Potter. He set the bottle down and glanced up when a rustle of movement alerted him. Blaise drew in a surprised breath when he saw Zac standing in the curtained doorway.

Zac looked extraordinarily uncomfortable, as if he might bolt at any moment. Blaise said nothing, and Zac finally relaxed a bit and slid onto the bench across from him. "Hi," he said awkwardly.

"Hi," Blaise repeated, still watching him.

"This doesn't mean anything," Zac snapped.

Blaise smiled. "It means everything," he corrected. He reached across the table, snared Zac's Hufflepuff tie in his fist, and dragged him across the table into a kiss. Unlike the last one, this was a real kiss. Blaise sucked gently at Zac's lips for a moment and then coaxed them apart with his tongue. Zac inhaled sharply, but did not pull away. Instead, he seemed to melt into the kiss, allowing Blaise even more access by leaning forward, slackening the tie in Blaise's grip.

Zac tasted lovely—he must have eaten some iced cakes at Madam Puddifoot's. Blaise licked every hint of sugary sweetness from Zac's mouth, until he was whimpering and clutching at Blaise's wrist with one hand, as though needing something to hold on to. Blaise pulled away and admired his handiwork. Zac's eyes were closed and his lips were parted and wet, not stretched thin at all now, but full and pouty and reddened beautifully. Blaise felt a swift rush of desire that grew into near-pain when Zac's pale lashes fluttered and he met Blaise's stare with a dazed look.

"Merlin," Blaise whispered.

Zac swallowed hard and his tongue flicked out to touch his upper lip. Blaise groaned and kissed him again.

A rustling sound broke them apart and Zac turned his head to see the waitress watching them with an amused expression. "Sorry to interrupt. Ready to order?"

Blaise nodded and sat back, letting go of Zac's tie and trying hard not to smile at his reddened cheeks. "Yes, we are," Blaise said.

Zac buried his face behind a menu and Blaise skimmed it, having already decided what he wanted long before Zac's arrival. He rattled off his order to the woman and Zac stammered his request in a tone far less certain than Blaise had ever heard from him. As soon as the waitress left, Zac glared at him.

"I don't want anyone to know about this," he said.

"About this?" Blaise asked, gesturing at their surroundings and pretending to be obtuse.

"Of course not! I mean about…" Zac made a fluttering gesture with one hand, motioning between the two of them.

"Oh, about us," Blaise said.

"Yes, about us," he snapped. "If this is some bloody prank or… Well, I'm willing to give you a chance, but I don't trust you."

"I can accept that," Blaise replied.

Zac looked surprised for a moment, but then he nodded curtly and looked around. "This place is… nicer than I'd expected."

Blaise allowed him to lead the conversation into safe, mundane paths. Zac seemed content to babble a bit and talk about the merits of different types of wood used in broom construction. Blaise had little interest in broom mechanics, but he enjoyed watching Zac's face as he spoke. The icy mask seemed to have slipped a bit after the kissing and Blaise was eager to see it crack away entirely.

Their food arrived and Zac attacked his meal with obvious relief, concentrating on the pasta rather than Blaise. At one point he paused to take a drink of ale and then looked at Blaise curiously. "Why me?"

"I'm partial to blonds."

Zac rolled his eyes. "If you're serious and this isn't some joke, you'll be a laughingstock among your house, won't you? Hufflepuffs and Slytherins don't exactly mingle."

Blaise grinned. "Haven't you heard? It's a new age. Inter-house unity, centaurs and mermen living together, peace and goodwill bringing the wizarding world together…"

Zac snorted a laugh. "You don't actually believe all that tripe?"

"Of course not. I just want to get into your pants," Blaise replied, bringing the blush back to Zac's cheeks.

"I… you…"

"In fact," Blaise said, "there is no time like the present." He cast a quick spell on the curtains that guarded their privacy. The waitress would figure it out when she returned and was unable to open them.

"What are you doing?"

Blaise dropped to his knees and slipped beneath the table. He reached out and touched Zac's knees, earning a squeaking yelp. Blaise stroked his hands up Zac's thighs gently and nudged Zac's feet apart so he could place himself between his open legs. "Shhhh," he said soothingly. "Just relax."

He peered up at Zac from beneath the edge of the table, meeting astonished blue eyes. Blaise held Zac's gaze as he moved his hands higher, teasing the crease of his trousers and nearly touching the bulge of Zac's cock—still disappointingly uninterested, at the moment. Blaise hoped to change that.

He reached up and unfastened the single button on Zac's trousers before lowering the zip. Blaise moved slowly, lest Zac lost his nerve and attempt escape. When Zac's dark grey pants were revealed, Blaise was glad to see the bulge had grown much larger. To be certain, he leaned forward and pressed his mouth to the grey fabric. Zac inhaled sharply. Blaise nuzzled Zac's cock and it grew even more beneath his lips.

Blaise curled his fingers into the waistband and pulled Zac's pants down to reveal his prize—it was pink and straight and gorgeous, jutting tall from a thatch of dark golden curls. Blaise groaned and licked the hood. He heard Zac's fingers scrabble on the tabletop even as his entire body seemed to jolt. Merlin, if he was that sensitive… A fierce rush of lust swept through Blaise and he positioned himself more carefully, bracing his forearms against Zac's thighs and splaying his hands over the bend of his legs to hold him in place. Chances were good that Zac would get a bit active.

Without warning, Blaise put his lips over the head of Zac's cock and then slowly took him deeper and deeper, until his nose reached the curls and the tip of Zac's prick nudged against the entrance to his throat. Zac made a strangled cry and shivered, practically vibrating beneath Blaise's hands. Blaise flattened his tongue and licked his way back up, pressing hard against the solid-feeling vein and then curling around the head as if licking an iced lolly. When he tightened his lips over the hood and sucked, he thought Zac might come right then, judging by the quiver of his legs and the sound of his head smacking into the wallboard.

Blaise stopped toying with Zac's cock long enough to lift his head and say, "Zacharias, you must be quiet. I didn't cast any Silencing Charms."

Zac drew in a shuddering breath and nodded, even though he didn't bother to look down. His head still rested against the wall. Blaise felt a hand drop onto his head and then Zac's fingers curled into his hair. He waited a moment to see if Zac would tug, trying to force him back to his task, but his fingers only moved in a minute caress.

Blaise rewarded him by mouthing his cock again, using his lips and tongue to their fullest potential. Blaise had sucked a few pricks in his time; he knew he was good at it. He liked it, also, taking control and watching the recipient come undone—the feeling of power was immense.

Zac was close. Blaise could feel him thrum beneath his fingers, body taut as whipcord. Zac's breath whistled through his teeth, probably tightly clenched on whatever sounds were trying to escape. His hand had tightened almost unbearably in Blaise's hair. Blaise was so turned on he thought about pausing for a moment to palm his own aching erection, but he hated to lose his rhythm. It was a moot point, anyway, since Zac slammed his heels into the floor, shivered like a puppy shaking off water after a swim, and came explosively.

Blaise swallowed what seemed an insane amount of hot fluid. Merlin, when was the last time the poor boy had got off? When Zac finally stopped quivering and keening, Blaise released him and sagged forward to rest his cheek on Zac's abdomen. Zac's hands left his hair, but only to travel over his neck, jaw, and cheek in soft caresses.

"Merlin," Zac whispered. "Merlin, that was…"

"Good?" Blaise offered with a grin.

A laugh bubbled up, causing Zac's belly to rock beneath Blaise's face. "Better than good," he said.

Blaise raised his head and then pushed himself upward, needing to capture Zac's lovely lips again. Zac kissed him with an enthusiasm that contrasted nicely with his earlier reluctance. His hands still roamed over Blaise's face and Blaise decided he could get used to cuddly Hufflepuff aftermath very quickly. It was delightful.

"I should, um… reciprocate, yeah?" Zac asked tentatively between soft kisses.

"When you're ready," Blaise replied. "I just wanted you to have a taste of how good it can be." With that, Blaise carefully tucked Zac's cock back into his pants and fastened his trousers. His own cock still throbbed with need, but he knew it wouldn't take long to get off later, to the mere memory of Zac coming apart for him.

Blaise returned to his side of the table and smiled at Zac. "Dessert?" he asked and cancelled the spell on the curtains.

Zac nodded.

Some time later, over the cranberry crumble with ice cream, Zac raised his head and fixed his blue eyes on Blaise.

"I think I'm ready to reciprocate," he said firmly.

Blaise nearly choked on his spoon in surprise. Hufflepuffs, he thought with a blissful thrill. Why didn't I discover them sooner?