Title: Not As Planned
Pairing: Blaise Zabini/Lavender Brown
Prompt: "I don't think you know how to love anything." (Skins)
Word Count: 3054
Beta: Thank you so much, songquake!
Summary: Blaise receives an unexpected letter. He doesn't know it will change his life completely.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. JKR does.
A/N: Originally written for the 2012 Fest on interhouse_fest.
Not As Planned
The unpleasant pull in his stomach suddenly stopped and Blaise opened his eyes to study his surroundings. He appeared to have Apparated to the correct place.
He took a second to look at the dark alley he was in, trying to ignore how filthy and stinky it was. For the tenth time in the last hour, he wondered if he should go or not. There had not been a single word for over seven years until that owl burst into his flat two nights ago. Should he trust that letter? Why did he have to go to this Muggle place? Why now?
All the instructions pointed down in the Muggle paper unnerved him. How to dress, the coordinates to Apparate, what to say or not to say, and the "do not take your wand out at any moment" or "no magic at all" repeated over and over again. Blaise was most definitely not a Muggle lover, but he wasn't daft enough to perform magic in front of them and risk a trial by the Ministry of Magic with all their Muggle-loving new laws.
He followed the directions: down the street, turn to the left, walk three blocks before turning to the right. Still holding his wand tightly, though hidden in the pocket of his jacket, he tensed as a group of teenagers walked across the street, laughing loudly. His senses were alert with each step he took, but then Blaise found the park described in the letter, and he saw her on one of the benches.
Her blonde hair was up in a ponytail, but he could tell it was wavy and not as straight as the last time he had seen her. He could only see the side of her face, the scarred side. The scars had gotten thinner and the colouring had changed from the deep red they were to a very pale pink. Even from looking at her sideways, Blaise could tell she was worried, or angry, from the frown and serious expression on her face, the one he'd got very used to right after war but which had faded in short time they'd seen each other. He wondered what brought it back. Was it him? If seeing him upset her so much, then she could have continued hiding like she had for the past few years. Taking a deep breath, he started making his way over to her.
She was tense. The soft ticking noise of her wrist watch banged in her ears as she counted the seconds to four o'clock. Would he come? A small part of her wished he wouldn't. Her life was finally getting back on track and she had done pretty well on her own for the past seven years. She didn't need Blaise Zabini in the picture. However, there didn't seem to be any other choice.
Lavender knew this time would eventually come at some point; she'd just hoped it wouldn't be so soon. Seven years had come and gone so bloody fast...
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw someone walking towards her. She unglued her eyes from the children's playground and found him, as handsome, serious, strong, and cold as ever. His face didn't show any sort of emotion, just like it had always been. They'd met each other fourteen years ago and Lavender had never once seen him smile. If she hadn't known any better, she would have bet he was as dead as if he had received a Dementor's Kiss.
"Thank you for coming," she said politely. Years imagining this day and those were her first words to him. Pathetic.
"Couldn't you choose a better place than this?" he said in disdain, looking around with disgust at every person enjoying the beautiful park.
Lavender tensed her jaw. This was a bad idea. She should leave right now and forget about the whole thing. She should deal with it later in the future. However, she couldn't find it in her heart to refuse to at least try.
Taking a deep breath, she averted her eyes to the beautiful tree in front of her. The leaves had started to change into beautiful shades of brown, red and yellow; and they danced against the wind making the most relaxing noise over the voices and laughter of the little children close by.
"This is a gorgeous park. Besides, it's close to my home."
"You live here?" The shock in his voice made her laugh. He sounded like Parvati when she mentioned her plans on staying with her mother's Squib cousin.
"I needed to change scenes," she explained simply, shrugging her shoulders. "Sit down, please."
"I'm all right over here."
"Oh, come off it! There's no such thing as Muggle germs, you know?" she said, careful to whisper the word 'Muggle', and having a hard time keeping a straight face. This whole scene was ridiculous. Out of all the possibilities she had imagined...
Silence took over and Blaise took the time to study her even further. Her shoulders were really tense and her plump lips were slightly pursed. He searched for the right words, but suddenly realized they didn't exist. What could he say if he didn't even know why he was asked to come here in the first place. Just as he was about to ask for an explanation, a little Muggle kid screamed like there was no tomorrow. Lavender's head turned instantly to the playground not far away from where they were; her eyes widely opened looking for the source of such dramatic scream. She looked ready to bounce to her feet for a few seconds and then relaxed, staring intently at the ground.
"You should relax. The war is over. There's no need to be all jumpy at any loud noise," he said before realizing, remembering how bad it was the first few months they were together. A simple storm would make her jump out of her skin and get her wand ready to attack.
Lavender snorted softly. "Yeah, I guess so," she said in a weird tone. Blaise couldn't put his finger on it, but he sensed there was something going on.
"Why?" he blurted out, like a spoiled seven-year-old.
"Excuse me?" Lavender looked at him in confusion. Her bright eyes startled him a little. It had been a long time...
"Why did you want to see me? Why did you send that letter? Why now?" he demanded impatiently, tightening his hands into fists inside the pockets of his Muggle jacket.
Lavender took her time to respond. She focused on her fingers, picking at the chipped nail polish in them. A loud sigh escaped her lips before muttering a simple, "I was asked. I couldn't say no."
Asked? By who? Before he could ask anything else, soft but hurried steps were heard. Someone was coming towards them and Blaise didn't even think before pulling out his wand, ready to fire the first spell that came to his mind.
He looked up to point but froze mid-action. In a blink of an eye, Lavender got up from the bench and launched herself in front of the little girl who had been running to where they were.
"What are you doing?! Put that thing away!" she said hastily, clearly trying her best not to yell at him so as not to draw any attention to them.
Blaise noticed how her wand-hand moved slightly as if wanting to reach for her own wand as the other grabbed onto the little girl standing behind her. He slowly put his wand down, glancing around to see if any other Muggle had noticed, while he tried to remember the correct way to cast the Obliviatecharm. Kids did invent all sorts of things, but having one actually seen him with his wand was too much of a risk; especially considering Lavender said she lived close by.
"Is he a wizard too, mama?" the little girl asked softly to Lavender, who had kneeled down in front of her and was now caressing the child's hair.
"Mama?" Blaise repeated in a whisper, absolutely perplexed. It was as if the air had been knocked out of him. His eyes widened, trying to take in the scene with as much precision as he could, in an effort for it to make sense.
A huge lump hurt her throat. She couldn't cry in front of Violet, but the terrified expression on her face was unexpectedly painful. Her beautiful brown eyes, the same shade as Blaise's but with a warmth and sparkle in them that made it hard to see the similarity, were staring at him. Lavender could feel him staring back at her sweet daughter. She didn't know what to say, or what to do. Her hands just kept caressing her soft, dark hair.
"L- Lavender..." The shock in his voice was enough confirmation. He understood. He knew the truth. Her brain worked a hundred miles per hour trying to figure out what to do next.
She swallowed the painful tears, kissed her baby's cheek tenderly, hoping it would brush all her fears away and softly murmured in her ear, "He's a friend, Vi. It's all right. Go to play a little more with Gracie and I'll pick you up to go home in a couple of minutes, okay?"
"But she took my Barbie!"
Lavender sighed in relief when Violet's eyes focused on her instead of Blaise then, but her heartbeat raced with every sneak peak she took of him.
"Maybe she wanted to borrow it for a minute. Ask her nicely to give it back and play together. Remember you should share your toys with your friends," Lavender said, trying to keep her voice calm and distract her daughter from asking more questions about Blaise, who she knew still didn't move at all.
"Then she should share her Barbie car!" Violet said indignantly, stomping her little foot in frustration and crossing her arms tightly.
Lavender just chuckled, turned her around, and patted her bum softly in the direction of the children's playground. "Go on, sweetheart. I'll fetch you in a minute to go home."
Violet started walking hesitantly towards her friend Gracie, who was watching them from underneath the slides. Every few steps, though, Violet would turn slowly and glance at her and Blaise. The curiosity in her expression made Lavender nervous. Violet was too intuitive for an almost seven-year-old, and the questions were very likely to come the minute they were alone; especially after asking her about her father incessantly for the last three weeks.
Not a muscle in his body could move. Maybe it was because his brain was as frozen as the rest of his body. That little girl... Lavender's daughter... She seemed to be around the ages of six or seven. She had dark skin -not as dark as his but definitely darker than Lavender's. Her black hair was the same texture as Lavender's blonde waves. Her face, despite still its childlike features, resembled Lavender greatly. However, the girl's eyes were nothing like hers. Unlike the light brown shade of her mother's eyes, her eyes were an intense brown colour, extremely similar to...
"Why didn't you tell me?" Blaise found himself saying, still fixed to the same spot.
Lavender took her time to get back on her feet and turn to him. She looked at him with tears in her eyes. Her eyes had always been so alive with emotions that it was easy for him to read the sad and apologetic feelings behind them. "I was going to," she whispered, blinking and letting one tear run down her flushed cheek. "I was young, naïve, and scared, after all. Thankfully, I found you with her. You were kissing her neck as you made your way to your place."
Blaise knew exactly who she was talking about: Tracey Davis. Still, he was surprised she knew about them. "We weren't exclusive," he said in a cold, defensive way.
He hadn't been in a relationship with Lavender or Tracey or anyone. He was just having fun and that was clarified right from the start with them and all the other women in his life. To his mother's chagrin, he refused to settle down and marry 'a nice, pureblood lady'just to reproduce and ensure the Zabini's heritage. Well, at least those were his intentions. Apparently, some things were out of his control, no matter how frivolous and calculating he had been.
"I know. It was- It was just the warning I needed to get back to my senses."
"For a moment, among all the 'what to do's' twirling round in my head, I remembered it was you."
Blaise frowned at her in confusion, but waited silently for her to continue.
"How could I ever have a baby with someone who didn't love me, or her, or anyone else? Blaise, you don't know how to love anything, not even yourself. Look back on your life. Have you ever done anything for someone just because you cared? If there was nothing for you to get out of something, you simply didn't do it. And even so, whatever you gained then, wouldn't be good for you in the long run."
Her words angered him. He didn't understand why, though. Lavender was right and a great part of him; as shocking as it was to find out about his six-year-old daughter, Blaise couldn't help but be glad he was spared of being forced to get married and have a family. Was he being selfish? Definitely. However, that was who he was and that wouldn't change after twenty-six years.
He bit back the unjustified anger swelling up in his chest and repeated the same question he had a few minutes ago. "Then why did you contact me? Do you want money?"
Lavender couldn't believe this. She was livid. Her hand itched to grab her wand and hex the bastard into next week for implying she would do something like that. After seven years of working like a slave to provide for herself and her daughter on her own, Lavender had shown the world she didn't need him at all. If Violet hadn't asked her, she would have avoided this for years and years, raising her by herself like she had done so far.
"I can't believe you," Lavender whispered as new tears pooled in her eyes, her head shaking softly in disbelief. "This was a mistake," she muttered more to herself than to him. "I'm done with you. Don't you come near us ever again. Violet has been a happy, loving, and sweet girl all these years without you and I'll keep it that way." A humourless laugh escaped her lips. "Don't worry, Zabini. We won't bother you anymore."
Hastily drying the tears on her face, she strode to the children's playground, where Violet was sitting on the sand, looking at her with wide eyes. "Let's go, Violet," she ordered, grabbing her daughter's hand tightly and walking away from the park, Blaise, and the past without looking back.
The wind blew around him as Blaise stood, watching Lavender and Violet walk away. The girl was crying and screaming, trying to reach out for something in the playground as Lavender dragged her out of there. As quickly as they had come into his life, they were gone, leaving his world upside down. He had a daughter. There was a person in this world with his genes and he would never have anything to do with her, whether he wanted or not.
The thoughts and different emotions ran inside him too fast to pick one out, making him feel numb. He started wandering around without a real destination and then he noticed he had gone to the playground of the park. His feet stepped on something buried in the sand. A small plastic hand stuck out and he bent down to pick it up.
Violet's feet hurt like crazy. The second she reached her chambers, she kicked her new shoes off and heaved a long sigh. It had been a long day trying to teach electricity to sixth years and Muggle transportation to third years. And now, a tall pile of essays on the flora and fauna in Europe were waiting for her. Tomorrow she was going to her second job in a Muggle school in London and Violet wanted to surprise her class with the final grades of the semester on Biology before the winter holidays.
A long night awaited her, so she changed into her comfy pyjamas and settled next to the small fireplace with a large cup of coffee. Her mother would have a fit if she knew about this. Coffee had not been allowed after dinner, but she was an adult now and would deal with the consequences of her actions later, in spite of her mother's warnings.
She had just sat on the couch when she spotted a package that wasn't on top of the coffee table this morning. On top of it was a letter.
I'm afraid this belongs to you. I must apologise for the delay, but was not sure how to get a hold of you until I saw the article about your book "The Magic of the Muggle World" in the Daily Prophet. In there it said you are a teacher in both the wizarding and Muggle world, so I hope this reaches you now.
I congratulate you on your accomplishments. You seem like a very smart and ambitious lady. Your mother seems to have done a marvellous job. Little will my words do to change the position I have earned in all this, but I still feel compelled to apologise for being absent in your life. You had once wanted to meet your father and I failed you. For that, I will never forgive myself, so I do not expect you to either.
Trust me when I say, you're better off this way.
Violet dropped the parchment and ripped the paper off the box. Her shaking fingers quickly opened it to reveal a doll. The Barbie doll she had lost all those years ago at that park where she had seen her father for the first and only time in her life.
A/N: Please, don't forget to review! :)