Fandom: Harry Potter
Title: Calling Occupants
Pairing: None really this is a ‘friendship’ fic.
Disclaimers: Still not JKR. This original work of fiction, even though based on characters and places created by the great JKR, is mine.
Archiving: Okay to list archives otherwise, all my hallucinations can be found at http://www.realmoftheshadow.com/morte206.com
Summary: One step forward, two steps back. Sometimes the next step needs a shove to get it started.
Authors Notes: I suppose this is part of a series, though the title eludes me. At any rate I hope you do enjoy. Not beta-ed any and all mistakes are mine and mine alone. I take full faith credit for them.
The first time Padma Patil ever saw a white macaw was the last day of fifth year. She was packing her trunks for the summer holidays. No sooner had it dropped the note it carried in its beak in her lap then it took off leaving a very bewildered Padma holding an expensive piece of vellum parchment.
In anticipation of next years’ advanced classes, many of which we shall share, I thought perhaps we could discuss, via correspondence, the summer readings. If you are so inclined simply respond on this very parchment, it is ensorcelled so that any bird may carry it to me.
She considered the offer on the Hogwarts Express trip to London, re-reading the note almost obsessively as if to glean further information from it. She could not fathom what Blaise’s motives might be in starting a correspondence other than what the note claimed. Why shouldn’t they study together after a fashion, Blaise and Padma often vied for the number two spot behind Hermione. So intrigued by the other girl’s formality and having enjoyed her previous intellectual parlays with Blaise, both in and out of class, Padma decided. She found Blaise in the next car, playing Bridge with some Slytherin sixth years.
A week later Padma was sitting in the backyard reading while Parvati and Lavender, who was staying for the first half of the holidays, blew soap bubbles. She was reading Machiavelli’s The Prince, thinking that the Muggle would have done Slytherin House proud when the macaw swooped down and dropped a small package in her lap.
As I am to be travelling quite a bit this summer I thought you might find the enclosed stationery useful. The envelopes are ensorcelled to find me whether you use owl or Muggle post. I hope the summer holidays have been refreshing and relaxing for you so far.
Have you begun reading Machiavelli’s The Prince for Muggle Studies? I think Professor Humana may be trying to point out that Muggles are just as capable of manipulation and subterfuge as Wizards. I won’t say more until I know you’ve actually read it. Are you taking Professor Vector’s Advanced Theories class? Because some of those readings are really fascinating as well and I am eager to discuss them.
I look forward to your reply and the start of a magnificent discourse.
Over the course of the summer the macaw, Dorothy Parker as Padma later learned she was called, visited Padma twenty times. Usually she carried a thick envelope, other times just a postcard and occasionally a package. Parvati teased her mercilessly about her ‘secret admirer’ and Padma, who had always been known as the "Serious" twin, did nothing really to stop Parvati’s imagination.
"Padma!" Parvati called out to her twin from across the courtyard.
"Vati" Padma stopped walking and waited for her twin to catch up to her.
"Hey," Parvati hugged Padma tightly. "I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages."
"We’ve only been back two weeks."
"Still." The twins resumed walking across the courtyard and into the castle. "You’ve been kinda moping around. I was wondering if everything was alright."
"Everything is fine. I haven’t been moping."
"Yes you have ever since we got back."
"I’m more homesick than usual," Padma offered as an excuse, weak though it was.
"It’s because that white macaw hasn’t been by isn’t it? Did he stop writing? I thought certainly now with the school year here…"
"I’m not moping about over a boy, Vati. That’s more your style than mine…Now if you’ll excuse me I have a Transfiguration essay to finish." With a quick hug and a peck on the cheek Padma was gone, headed in the direction of the library. Parvati watched her twin, shaking her head while she did so, and plotted. Plotted how to get into Padma’s trunk so that she could find a clue as to who exactly Padma was not moping over.
Several weeks passed before Parvati saw her chance and took it. That night she approached Hermione.
"Hermione, might I have a word with you."
"Sure Parvati," Hermione put her book down, motioning for Parvati to sit as she did so. "What can I do for you?"
"Your good friends with Blaise Zabini right?"
"Yes." Parvati sat cross-legged on Hermione’s bed, drew the curtains and uttered a privacy charm.
"Very good friends?"
"Well we’re not dating if that’s what you’re getting at. But yeah I’d say we were very good friends. Is there something I need to know?"
"Did you know that she and Padma wrote each other this whole summer?"
"No I didn’t but then we didn’t really start spending time together till this year. So they wrote to each other, so what." Hermione added this piece of information to what she knew about the Slytherin girl’s crush on Padma. Hermione had noticed that whenever Blaise was within ten feet of Padma she became a complete mess. The girl Hermione knew to be cultured well read, funny and observant became a tongue-tied halfwit in the Ravenclaw’s presence.
"Well mostly they wrote about school stuff…you know the summer readings. But sometimes Blaise sent these postcards from whatever city she was visiting and occasionally there were gifts, small things from different museums…a book once." Parvati’s voice drifted off as she tried to recall other small details of the summer. She shook her head causing her thick braid to swish across her back and resumed talking. "Anyway…you see the thing is I thought it was a boy. You know…sending her the letters and postcards. I never saw them, the most beautiful macaw always delivered directly to Padma, and Padma never said who she was writing to so I just assumed it was a boy."
"But it was Blaise…and now."
"She hasn’t said more than two words to Padma since school started."
"Have you ever seen the way she is around Padma? She can barely breathe much less make coherent conversation. It’s pathetic really," Hermione was thinking of one episode in particular. Just the previous week Blaise had been drinking from a fountain outside Greenhouse Three when Padma walked by. Hermione, who was waiting for Blaise, called out a greeting to Padma whereupon Blaise promptly began to choke. The brunette Slytherin turned beet red and had barely been able to wheeze out a hello. "What did the letters say, I presume you’ve read them."
"Mostly they were about the summer readings and the classes they would be sharing. You’re in most of the same ones aren’t you? The postcards though were from different places Blaise went this summer New York City and Atlanta in America Naples, Rome and Sicily in Italy. The postcards talked about museums and such. The last note is from the night before we got on the Hogwarts Express in September."
"And since then…"
"I don’t know what to say Parvati I know Blaise fancies Padma…"
Parvati interrupted her, "That’s just it I think Padma might like her back."
"So then why doesn’t she try writing to Blaise?"
"Because the last note made it seem like Blaise wanted to spend time with Pad. All it said was ‘I look forward to the upcoming year’ but now…well you know nothing. Blaise hasn’t tried to even…and Padma. She’s…Padma’s really shy Hermione. She wouldn’t ever have the nerve to make the first move."
"I was hoping maybe you could talk to Blaise."
Blaise was waiting at their usual table in the library for Hermione. She was writing in her journal, so lost in the task that she didn’t immediately register that someone was standing across from her but not sitting down. Without looking up Blaise spoke. "Well are you going to join me or what."
"Umm…Hermione invited me to join your study session." Blaise, cheeks blazing red with embarrassment, looked up from her writing. After several seconds she managed to stammer out a hello, though she managed to spill her ink at the same time. A quickly muttered cleaning charm took care of the ink spill but did nothing for the color of Blaise’s cheeks.
"Sorry Padma I thought you were Mione. She’ll be here shortly I’m sure. Unless Potter and Weasley have gotten her into some mess that is. Sit, sit," Blaise summoned an extra chair with a flick of her wand.
Padma sat began to pull books out of her bag and said. "Hermione said you were going to be working on Transfigurations and Astronomy."
"Uh…er…umm I mean…Yeah. Yes T and A." Blaise chuckled, stopping abruptly when she noticed Padma’s blank look. "Nevermind bad joke."
The silence between them was not comfortable, not like it was with Hermione Blaise thought. ** But then whose fault is that genius ** she berated herself. She’d had the opportunity and botched it. It’d been so easy when she was writing to the other girl but in person, in person that was another matter entirely. She felt so shy and awkward, then she’d get nervous, lose the ability to police her mouth and say stupid things.
"Sorry I’m late," Hermione sat down breathlessly. "Hope you two had a nice chat."
"I pretty much just got here," Padma said.
"Oh," Hermione said sounding vaguely disappointed by this bit of information. She’d been hoping otherwise. "Well then shall we…" She picked up the Transfiguration text and their study session began in earnest.
Blaise watched Hermione from across the Great Hall. When the opportunity presented itself she caught the bushy haired Gryffindor’s eye and mouthed ‘later’. Hermione gave her a small smile and nodded once before returning to her conversation with Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil.
"I say Zabini, you’re turning into an embarrassment," Draco Malfoy drawled into her left ear. "Honestly…mooning over a Gryffindork. Girls are one thing, Gryffindors another."
"I am not mooning over Hermione Granger." Blaise helped herself to some more eggs and sausage.
"Who said anything about Granger. Any idiot can see you two are like sisters…whatever rumors I may have started about Weasley and his family aside." Draco sipped on his tea before continuing, "I was referring to Patil."
"As if I want to go wallowing in your footsteps."
"She’s quite the kitten, like those gorgeous tigers from her home country. So…not Patil then Brown?"
"Wrong Patil if you must know and they’re from Liverpool, second generation in fact."
"Ah the Ravenclaw…much better if I do say so. More your cup of tea, I suspect." Draco took another sip of tea. "Liverpool…really."
"Yes I must admit to a preference for intelligence."
"Well certainly the Ravenclaw is that. A good, if unattainable, choice Zabini."
"Thank you My Prince, " Blaise sneered sarcastically. "I wasn’t asking your permission or approval."
"Just an opinion is all."
"Bugger off Draco," Blaise pushed her half eaten plate of food away and stood. "I left my Arithmancy book in my room."
"You know Zabini for a Slytherin you have a thin skin."
"And you, Malfoy, you are remarkably imperceptive."
"Do your name and your house proud. Remember before…"
"There were Death Eaters there were Zabini," Blaise finished the old saying for him. It was true her family had always dabbled, to put it mildly, in the Dark Arts. In fact the family’s fortune and business were built on it, Zabini Mortuaries and its subsidiaries provided funeral services to most of Wizarding Europe. Many of the secrets and techniques of the wizarding funeral trade had been pioneered by Blaise’s long distant ancestors to hide their’ less than ethical cousins practices. ‘Practices’ which included the use of Cruciatusand Avada Kedavra. But that had been many, many, too many to count in fact, years ago. Still the old saying, the old joke remained. "Perhaps you should remember Malfoy because I assure you I have a terrible memory. I never forget a thing." Blaise shouldered her satchel and left for her room.
"Guess what I got," Blaise slid into the seat opposite Hermione.
"The nerve to ask Padma out on a date," Hermione shot back.
Blaise snorted, "As if." She leaned across the library table whispering, "C’mon Hermione be serious. I’ll give you a hint: Gryffindor King."
"No!" Blaise nodded, smirking slyly. "The Lion King right?" Hermione asked eagerly.
"Yep and get this," Blaise sat back in her chair. "Father said he will pay for a room for us at a hotel in Muggle London that weekend. The tickets are for the second Saturday in January."
"I’ll owl my parents right away and ask for permission. I’m sure they will say yes."
"I got an extra ticket."
"You should ask Padma. The whole group dynamic thing might make it seem less like a date and more like a school trip."
"I thought you might want to ask Shelagh. You could spend the weekend together you know. I’ll stay at my aunt’s house and you guys can have the room."
"I think you should ask Padma. We can try to get a fourth ticket."
"Mione," Blaise whined.
"Don’t be a coward Blaise. She likes you. I’m telling you, go for it."
"You think so?"
"I have it on good authority," Hermione reassured her friend.
Blaise tried several times to get up the nerve to as Padma to join her and Hermione in London. Each time though it was as if the Gods were conspiring to keep it from happening. The first time, outside of the Herbology Greenhouse, Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnegan started horsing around with the water hoses and accidentally hosed Padma down from head to toe. The sight of the Ravenclaw, whose robes had been open, dripping wet, white shirt, made nearly see through, plastered to ample breasts, drove all but the basest of thoughts from Blaise’s mind. Padma stormed off in a huff while Blaise skipped out on History of Magic in favor of some alone time with her latest acquisition from Wanda’s Pleasure Wands.
The second and third times Parvati just wouldn’t get a clue and leave.
The fourth time in Astronomy, as they were packing up Michael Connor accidentally knocked Blaise nearly unconscious with his telescope. By the time her head had cleared the only one left in the room was Hermione.
The fifth time was the last day of term before the Winter Holidays. This time the white macaw waited for a reply.