This is the third story I have posted on Fanfiction that does not have a genre of humor. Out of (now) 18. Sigh. Oh well, anyway:
Disclaimer: I own nothing
When Hermione Granger did not feel like being disturbed, or even being seen, she slipped down to the far end of the library, and walked down the immense aisles, finally sitting at the end, where the bookcase met the wall. She sat there for hours on Sunday afternoons, peering out at the Quidditch pitch sometimes and watching team practices. Nobody ever found her. Occasionally Harry and Ron would comment on her disappearances, scratching their heads and asking why they went to the library but couldn't find her.
Her reply was always, "You must have just missed me."
But today, she stared broodingly as a tall boy walked down her aisle, a smirk gracing his lips and a book the only thing on his person.
"Why," she snapped, her rule for good first impressions flying away, "do you even want to find me?"
He reached her then, bending and sitting down right next to her. She narrowed her eyes.
"We've never talked before, and yet you think we're at the level of sitting dangerously close to each other in a secluded corner of the library."
"I think we're almost at that level," he said back, tugging at his green and silver striped tie and chuckling. "I'm Blaise Zabini, nice to meet you. And, I would've sat at an appropriate distance away, in front of other people, but you're the one that picked this meeting place, Granger, so don't complain."
She swelled with rage. How dare some bloody Slytherin come in, disturb her studying, and have the effrontery to suggest that she wanted him here?
"Get out," she snapped. "Go away."
"Er – no, sorry," Blaise said coolly. "I don't think I will."
In an instant, his cheerful, pleasant expression was replaced with a mocking, bitter look that simply emitted an aura of chilliness. Hermione automatically pressed herself into the books, eyes wide.
Oh, you're obviously – "Draco Malfoy's friend, aren't you?"
He snorted. "Yes, I am. You're... what's his name? Oh yes, Harry. You're Harry Potter's friend, am I right?"
Her asking if he was Draco's friend was stupid, sure, but Hermione felt something that she thought she'd never feel from someone so unfeeling.
Hurt. Which was ridiculous, really. She was teased on a daily basis from Slytherins and even a few from her own House, and yet...
Perhaps it showed in her eyes, because Blaise eyed her, jaw clenching. "Yes, I am," he repeated.
Hermione studied him. Before, she Ron and Harry would debate about the friendship between the two most opposite people in the Slytherin house: Draco Malfoy and Blaise Zabini. While Draco was an individual with Death Eater tendencies, Blaise seemed to have no inclination to ever join such a team.
But now, Hermione realized, the two were exactly the same. The dark boy was smirking at her in a way that was extremely familiar.
"Draco said I was his friend just last month," Blaise continued, laughing to himself. "It blew my head off. I was so stunned."
"Last month?" Hermione couldn't help but reply scathingly. "What, it took six years for Draco to make a friend?" It was odd, really. She had never had a conversation with someone who actually called him Draco, besides Professors. And now she had accidentally slipped up and called him that as well.
"Oh, no," Blaise smirked. "But it did take six years to admit it."
Hermione frowned down at her hands clenching her book tightly.
"May I ask what happened to make Malfoy finally say that?" That was a personal question, but Hermione wasn't surprised that Blaise answered it. He had to have been there for something, right? She might as well find out what it was.
"Oh? What happened? Well, I found him in a broom cupboard, crying his eyes out and coughing uncontrollably... I think he caught a cold from all the stress. He was also clenching a green apple and a dead bird. Unusual, but I didn't question that until later that day.
"And then we became friends. Just like that. Or rather, we became spoken friends, instead of unspoken friends. Has that ever happened to you?"
Yes. In first year. Did he somehow know about that? Or was it a coincidence?
"Can you help me with something, Granger?" Blaise asked, expression guarded. Hermione raised an eyebrow.
"Depends on what it is."
"Pretend that I'm blind."
"I – what?"
"Pretend" – he picked up her hands, and surprised, Hermione didn't resist. He placed her fingers over his eyes – "that I'm blind from birth, and I've never seen the world before."
Hermione fought the urge to yank her hands away from a stranger's (somewhat) face. She instead said, "I beg your pardon?" with as much venom as she could inject in her usually gentle voice.
"Since I'm blind, could you describe something for me?" Blaise asked. "Describe the color red for me, please."
The recent events were catching up to Hermione, and she couldn't process the fact that she was having a civil conversation with Draco Malfoy's best friend, her hands were on his face, and he just said 'please' to her. And she was sitting approximately half a foot away in a tucked away aisle in a very nearly empty library, where nobody would hear her scream if it came to that.
"And why should I do that?" That one, out of the many responses she formed in her head, was the least idiotic.
"Because one day, this lesson will be useful."
She doubted it.
"Red is bright," Hermione started, giving in hesitantly. Blaise grinned at her, and his eyelashes fluttered against her palms, giving them an itchy feeling.
"So are other colors. Try again."
"I wasn't finished," Hermione snapped. "It's the color of... a cherry."
"Better, although since I've been blind from birth I have no idea what a cherry is, so your description is useless."
Hermione gnawed at her lip, frustration oozing out of her like the smugness that was oozing out of Blaise. Still, she wasn't going to give up.
"A cherry is a ball of fruit–"
"What's a ball, what's a fruit? Remember, I'm blind and I've never seen those before," Blaise's voice was superior and incredibly annoying, Hermione decided. Like... His voice was like Draco Malfoy. She snorted at her own absurd thoughts.
"Describe the sky for me," Blaise said, when Hermione didn't reply.
"It's – it's..." It was blue, and yet she couldn't explain another color. It had clouds, but what were clouds? They were visible masses of water droplets – but oh, he was blind, so what did water look like? "It's empty," she said finally. "Empty is when you're sad, when you're lost in the wave of loneliness that physically hurts your heart. It's when you realize you're the tiniest speck in the universe, and life really doesn't matter. It's when you have nothing left to live for, when you know when you're gone nobody will miss you. It's also black at night, which is the color I assume you can only see. I wouldn't know, though."
Silence. Then –
"You're not playing right," Blaise whispered, and Hermione's pinky twitched. "You're not supposed to have an answer," he added with a childish sullenness.
She had really no idea why she said it.
"Imagine," Blaise said quietly, and Hermione's hands fell to her lap. Blaise's dark eyes probed her. "Imagine that I'm the son of a well-known Death Eater, one who stands directly next to the darkest Lord. Imagine that I've been beaten my entire childhood, and the closest thing I've had to a hug was when my house-elf shielded me from my father trying to strangle me in a drunken rage. Imagine that I've never seen anything other than that blackness."
She couldn't imagine that, but she knew that the scenario was entirely possible. In fact, it did exist. Blaise turned his head to stare at the bookcase on his right. His eyes roamed the titles, but Hermione could tell he wasn't reading.
"And now," he said, and his voice wavered. Hermione felt her eyes become moist. "Now describe the feeling of love, of being loved. The feeling of where you're adored by someone else, anyone else, where you're the greatest moment of someone's day."
"I can't," Hermione breathed out, throat closing with an iron lump in the middle, eyes burning, "I can't do that."
It wasn't that she couldn't because it was wrong, she couldn't because... she couldn't.
He was blind.
How could she explain the sky to someone who has never seen anything before? How could she explain that just above everyone, was a free and open space that extended forever? How could she explain that to someone who would never see it, would never know?
Tears slipped down Hermione's cheeks freely, and Blaise smiled sadly at her. Her cruel thoughts before about him shamed her. He reached up a finger and wiped one away, and stood up unsteadily.
"One day," he said, voice barely audible. Hermione had to strain to catch the words. "You're going to have to understand Draco Malfoy a little bit better than you do now. I'm not insulting you, it's the truth."
That had been a year ago.
Hermione Granger sealed the parchment, and quickly, with cold fumbling fingers, tied the scroll and a small package to Hedwig's left leg. She patted the snowy owl on the head, and Hedwig took off into the dark night, contrasting sharply against the midnight sky.
She burrowed her hands in her coat, turning sharply and trotting to the door, eager to escape the cold. She had lacked in writing to her mum and dad this year, and guiltily, she only just remembered their anniversary.
Just as she passed the last window, a small light from the far off Quidditch pitch caught her eye. It was flickering and miniscule, but Hermione could distinctly see the different strands of green, red, blue and yellow all intertwining. Blinking, she rushed to the first floor, dashing out to the open court and heading to the pitch, breathing with difficulty in the icy air.
Finally, she reached the bottom row of stone benches, and began the frozen trek to the topmost row. Snow started to gently drift down, and Hermione quickened her steps.
"What the hell are you doing?" Hermione screeched, and Draco Malfoy frowned at her. "It's midnight! And it's freezing!"
"Thank you for that," Draco hissed, "I didn't realize."
"And you stole my fire," Hermione grit out through her teeth, pointing at the multicolored flames. "I invented that."
"Oh, you didn't invent it, you just added color to it," Draco muttered, as Hermione sat down stiffly next to him. "I just borrowed your spell, you use it about thirty times a day anyway, it was bound to become memorized unwillingly."
Hermione smiled a bit.
"How long have you been sitting here?" she asked, unconsciously reaching down and touching his hand, which was indeed a block of ice. "Merlin, Malfoy, you're going to get frostbite."
"Long enough," Draco murmured, turning his head away from her. Hermione gazed at him, before reaching down and actually grabbing his hands in hers. He slapped them away, and Hermione chuckled before grabbing them again, holding tight.
Blaise Zabini. She had never given him enough credit. He was really the greatest friend Draco Malfoy could ever have. Sure, he was cruel and cold and indifferent, but he was also intelligent and clever, and though he'd never admit it, he cared about Draco. Which was why he ventured out and sat next to her in that secluded corner of the library.
A snowflake fell on Hermione's outstretched tongue. She stared up at the snow flurrying down.
"It's beautiful to look up into the sky at night as the snow falls," Hermione said, rubbing on Draco's hands to thaw them. He grunted something.
"What was that?"
Taken aback, Hermione blinked and watched as a snowflake landed directly on Draco's nose, melting a few seconds later.
"I cornered you last night," he muttered. "I regret it. Forget about it, okay? It didn't happen."
Hermione frowned, frustration building up within her. "You asked for a chance, right?"
"I said it didn't happen."
Hermione laughed lightly, and Draco shot her a glare.
"You asked me to give you a chance. And I will. If a person is blind from birth, that person cannot be blamed or judged for not knowing what a cherry looks like, or what the color red is."
"What the fuck are you talking about?"
Hermione ignored him. "That isn't justification for what you've done, but it's enough to give you a chance, don't you think?"
"What are you–"
"Blaise is a good friend," she interrupted, looking up into the sky again. "He proved that to me last year. Draco, do you have ice in your veins instead of blood? Your hands aren't warming up."
"One day, you're going to have to understand Draco Malfoy a little bit better than you do now. I'm not insulting you, it's the truth."
She had called out to him, once he was at the end of the row.
"And when I do understand him better, what should I do?"
He had turned, a certain freeness in his face, and smiled broadly.
"Whatever you want, Granger."
Despite the frosty hands, wintry atmosphere and frigid heart, Draco Malfoy's lips were quite warm.
In my head, Draco confessed to Hermione and asked her to give him a chance, and that was what Hermione was referring to – in case you didn't understand. I was going to make that more clear in the actual story, but it took away from the overall mood. And I realize this is a more of a Blaise/Hermione friendship fic, so I'm sorry, but I love to write Blaise!
P.S: I have a poll on my profile page, please check it out! It's a new pairing for my next story (one that I won't write Draco/Hermione).