1 September 1996

Pansy Parkinson had wonderful fingers. They were long, slender, and they had flawless, smooth nails. She didn't bite or chew them, and they were always perfectly shaped. The only problem with them at this moment, as far as Blaise could see, was that they were running through Draco Malfoy's greasy hair.

Blaise scowled, staring out the window of the train. Few people annoyed him more than Malfoy, not that anyone knew that. The pureblood Slytherins in their year tended to just stay together, regardless of personal feelings; it seemed the most sensible thing to do, rather than try to mix in with the others.

Still, pureblood or not, the fact remained that Malfoy was slimy, foul, and manipulative, and Blaise Zabini had grown quite tired of him, after five years of his stupidity—especially when it came to his treatment of Pansy. Blaise did not understand how Pansy, who was so smart, couldn't see that Malfoy was completely disinterested in her. He watched as Pansy continued to stroke Malfoy's hair, with a look of complete devotion on her face that made Blaise's stomach turn.

"So, Zabini, what did Slughorn want?"

Blaise had to mentally shake himself before he answered Malfoy's drawling question. He redirected his glare over to Goyle, whom he had just landed upon when the compartment door had refused to close.

"Just trying to make up to well-connected people," Blaise muttered. "Not that he managed to find many."

To his pleasure, he saw a muscle in Malfoy's jaw twitch; he looked upset.

"Who else had he invited?"

Pansy's fingers continued to smooth back Malfoy's hair, and Blaise scowled a little more deeply.

"McLaggen," Blaise said. "From Gryffindor."

"Oh yeah, his uncle's big in the Ministry—"

Blaise fought very hard to not shout at Malfoy to shut up; Pansy's fingers had just delicately passed over Malfoy's forehead, much too tenderly for Blaise's liking.

"—someone else called Belby, from Ravenclaw—"

"Not him, he's a prat!" Pansy said. She glanced down at Malfoy, seeming to ask for approval of this statement, but received none. Blaise scowled.

"—and Longbottom, Potter, and that Weasley girl," he added at last.

To his pleasure, Malfoy sat up, flushing red. "He invited Longbottom?"

"Well, I assume so, as Longbottom was there," Blaise answered in an imitation of Malfoy's irritating voice. Blaise glanced out the window again, watching Pansy from the corner of his eye. His stomach churned. She looked upset that Malfoy had forgotten her, but what else was new? Malfoy didn't give a damn about her, Blaise had been trying to tell her ever since he had ditched her at the Yule Ball, in fourth year. She never listened.

"What's Longbottom got to interest Slughorn?" Malfoy asked sourly.

Blaise shrugged, as if completely unconcerned, and continued to gaze out the window.

"Potter, precious Potter," Malfoy sneered. Blaise rolled his eyes, ready for yet another of Malfoy's idiotic tirades. "Obviously he wanted a look at 'the Chosen One'—but that Weasley girl! What's so special about her?"

"A lot of boys like her," said Pansy, and Blaise glanced over to see her staring at Malfoy anxiously, who seemed to shrug. Then, quite suddenly, she met Blaise's eyes. "Even you think she's good-looking, don't you, Blaise?" she asked, with one of her rare smiles. "And we all know how hard you are to please!"

"I wouldn't touch a filthy little blood traitor like her whatever she looked like," Blaise said seriously, and it came out sounding as cold as ice. Pansy's smile widened slightly as she and Blaise looked at one another. Did she understand him? Did she see that he meant what he said? That there was only one kind of girl he wanted?

Then Malfoy lay back down in Pansy's lap, and she smiled hugely. Blaise felt his insides turn cold again. He turned his attention back out of the window, scowling.

"Well, I pity Slughorn's taste," Malfoy said, sighing dramatically. Blaise rolled his eyes, and as he did so, he caught sight of Pansy's fingers once again, running smoothly through Malfoy's hair. What a waste, he thought.

My Round Four Entry for the 34 Prompts challenge, a Blaise/Pansy moment. I always wondered why Blaise was so surly. I hope you like, while acknowledging that it's not my most favorite, and therefore not quite up to par, in my opinion! :)