Fandom: Harry Potter
Author: Morte206 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Series: Song Out of Tune
Title: Crimson and Clover
Disclaimers: Last time I looked the initials on my driver’s license were most definitely not JKR. Characters her', ideas mine.
Summary: It's seventh year and Valentine's Day is around the corner. An annniversary is celebrated and a revelation is made.
Feedback: Well I wouldn't say no to it, particularly in light of the fact that it was amazing feedback that generated this fic. So if you are inclined to share it (good, bad or indifferent) please do so either onlist or off at email@example.com
Archiving: Okay to the Realm, Girls Dormitory and list archives. All others please ask first. http://www.realmoftheshadow.com/morte206.htm
Author's Notes: I cannot thank Blyss enough for her thoughtful and thought provoking feedback, the direct result of which is this fic.
"So any plans?"
Hermione was patrolling the halls, curfew was just minutes away, Blaise walking along beside her.
"Unfortunately not. Being single on Valentine’s Day is without a doubt one of the most depressing things about being single at all," Hermione answered.
"You could ask her out an a date you know. She always inquires of you when I see her."
"Does she? She’s just being polite, making small talk with a customer I’d imagine."
"Small talk would be the weather, the latest celebrity gossip, Quidditch even. Not, "How’s Hermione?" or "Is Hermione with you," Blaise said with a hint of an accent. She looked down at Hermione, a huge grin plastered on her face. "To quote a good friend ‘Trust me I have it on good authority, she likes you.’ Honestly though Mione I really do think she’s interested."
"Oh I don’t know B," Hermione peered into an empty classroom confirming that it was indeed empty, "I mean why on earth would she."
"Because you’re amazing Hermione. Any fool can see that and she’s no fool. Besides from what you told me about the holidays at the Weasleys it sounded like you two hit it off." Blaise flung her arm around Hermione’s shoulder giving her a one armed hug. "Also I hate to say it but you’re starting to suck the joy out of the atmosphere. You really do need to get out and about. It’s perfect, you’re going to be in Hogsmeade anyway, she’s going to be at the bank why shouldn’t you stop by and ask her to lunch. Or for a drink after work."
"I’ll think about it. And you what are you doing?"
"It’s our anniversary you know so I wanted to do something really special."
"That’s right one year," Hermione elbowed Blaise, whose arm was still around her shoulder, in the ribs, "Congratulations". By this time they’d reached the door that lead to Hermione’s quarters. As Head Girl she had her own room with it’s own entryway apart from Gryffindor Tower and the Fat Lady. Hermione murmured her password and continued talking while at the same time tracing the sigil she used to activate her own private security charms as Blaise had taught her in their sixth year. "Are you coming in?"
"Why Hermione is the Head Girl advocating I break curfew. What would McGonagall say," Blaise teased even as she followed Hermione through the door. "Anyway I was saying," she plopped down on the sofa, stretched her feet towards the fire and sighed contentedly. "I was going to tell you what I had planned."
Hermione joined her on the sofa. "Would you mind very much giving me a scalp massage. I feel a horrid migraine coming on."
"Sure", Blaise patted her thigh, "Here". Hermione lay down resting her head on Blaise’s thigh. Blaise began to work her fingers through thick brown locks down to Hermione’s scalp and Hermione moaned in pleasure.
"So you were saying," Hermione prompted.
"Right well, I had to get permission from her parents first. So Father spoke with Padma’s Mum and Dad and they said yes."
"Get to it."
"Sorry. Well I’m going to take her to Paris for the weekend Father’s arranged for a portkey. My aunt, Sofia, you met her at the restaurant remember? Well she has a friend, the executive chef at the Paris Ritz; he pulled strings to get us a table for dinner at eight and a room for the weekend."
"Nice. This is a surprise?"
"Most definitely. Padma thinks we’re going to dinner at my aunt’s restaurant in London then a play. She thinks we’re coming back here for the night. She even got permission from Flitwick to spend the evening in my chambers. Goldstein’s pissed because now he can’t be out all night with his girlfriend like he’d been planning."
"Is he still seeing that fourth year. You know who I mean, she’s in Hufflepuff, rather placid looking actually. Sort of like a cow if you know what I mean."
Blaise chuckled, "Her name is Agnes. Or at least I think her name is Agnes it could be Inez. She’s Spanish isn’t she?"
"That’s her. It’s Inez not Agnes."
"Her sister’s that hot little number in Ravenclaw that kept trying to hit on you last year remember?"
"Pilar Villasensor, that’s her sister. Talk about night and day."
They stayed silent after that. Blaise continuing to rake her nails over Hermione’s scalp and occasionally down her neck and across her shoulder. Hermione moaning every now and then in pleasure as the tension drained from her and she began to relax. After maybe half an hour of companionable silence Blaise spoke.
"You know I bet she would love to go to Paris for Valentine’s day."
Hermione snorted. "Who wouldn’t."
"It’d be nothing to change the portkey reservation to four instead of two."
"I said I’d think about it don’t push it."
"Okay but you haven’t got much time here you know. Save the over analysis for another day."
/ / / / / / / /
Later, after Blaise had returned to her own room, Hermione opened her journal, an enormous leather book with gold leaf trim and her initials stamped in gold on its cover and began to write. The journal had been a gift from Blaise last year, when she’d been broken hearted over her first girlfriend. She’d found that often just taking the time to jot down a few observations at the end of the day helped her unwind. Many times just the act of writing down her fears and hopes helped her come to various decisions, helped her pick a course of action.
Perhaps I should go see Fleur; perhaps I should ask her out. What if she says no? I mean why would she be interested in someone like me. Sure she used to go out with Bill, who isn’t glamorous or rich or refined by a long shot, but at least he is devastatingly handsome. Me I’m rather average I think. Padma is stunning, a caramel honey goddess with kohl black hair and soulful black eyes. Blaise is striking. She’s grown into her body, her height, something Ron still hasn’t managed, and somehow she never looks gawky or awkward; always seemingly poised and confidant, something I know is frequently untrue, but still she appears that way. I envy that sometimes.
I wish I hadn’t overheard Bill and Charlie that night at Grimmauld Place. I can’t stop thinking about it, visualizing Bill’s words. Only it’s me in his place, me she’s looking up at through the fringe of her eyelashes, me she’s throwing those coy come hither looks to. Do I fantasize about Fleur? Do I…
A knock on the door forced her to put her quill down. She opened the door to find the corridor empty and assumed it was Peeves, who had taken to annoying her in this fashion of late. But when she closed the door and turned back towards the room she found Ron sitting on the sofa where less than an hour ago Blaise had been.
"You shouldn’t be out in the halls."
"Why do you think I used the cloak," Ron said in a tone of voice that left no doubt that he was aware she often thought him dense.
She sighed heavily and sat on the sofa as far from him as she could. "So why are you here?"
Ron slid closer to her turning slightly so that he could face her better. "Do you have plans for the weekend? I imagine Zabini and her girlfriend won’t be available to hang out with."
"No they won’t," she shrugged and looked at him quizzically. "I was thinking of going into Hogsmeade nothing special. And you?"
"Well I was wondering you see," he coughed; suddenly his mouth was dry. He’d been practicing what to say for days. He’d made Harry pretend to be Hermione at least a half dozen times. Why couldn’t he do this? "If you’re interested…that is would you consider…perhapsyouwouldcaretospendthedaywithme?"
"I beg your pardon." Oh Merlin no please not this. I thought for sure that he was over that ridiculous crush.
"Perhaps you’d care to spend the day with me. Valentines Day, Saturday in Hogsmeade."
"Harry’s taking Susan…I don’t…that is I thought perhaps"
"Are you asking me out?"
"On a date?"
"That was the idea."
"Yes…no. I mean," Ron’s large hand on her shoulder silenced her and she looked at him with something akin to terror in her eyes.
"It’s okay Hermione. Think about it is all. Unless…" his voice drifted off and he shrugged.
"I’d love to spend the day with you Ron but…"
"But you don’t fancy me."
"No it’s not that…I mean well okay yes there is that too but that’s not…."
"So you do have plans," his voice held a hint of accusation and his eyes narrowed suspiciously, "Who is it then?"
"No one Ron. I wasn’t lying I don’t have any concrete plans."
He shook his head the look on his face was solemn. "Harry was right then, I didn’t think it was so, but there’s always truth to rumor right. When were you going to say anything?"
"About what? What is it I’m supposed to say?"
"That it isn’t just me you don’t fancy."
"Ron," Hermione began.
"Harry says its boys in general," a pained look flashed across Ron’s face as he spoke.
Hermione said nothing. She was at a crossroads, secretly relieved to have it out at last, on one hand, scared and instinctually seeking comfort in the known of the closet she’d created for herself, on the other. The last year and a half, the self-imposed ‘compartmentalization of her life’, as Blaise called it, had become harder and harder to manage. She’d wanted to say something to Harry and Ron for some time now but then Ron would say something utterly moronic and unwittingly homophobic and she’d be reminded why she’d chosen the closet in the first place. But he was her friend, one of her closest, and she knew him. Knew him to be the kindest and most generous of people. A brief spasm of fear overrode logic and so she went on the defensive. "So you two have been talking about me behind my back is that it?"
"We’re your best friends Hermione of course we talk about you. We love you," Ron said gently.
She had nothing to say to that, she knew it was true. She’d suspected Harry might have caught on some time back in sixth year; somehow he’d managed not to wallow in his self pity long enough to notice that she was depressed. Though judging by some of the things he’d said Hermione thought he might be laboring under the misguided notion that she was pining for someone at Hogwarts. Ginny perhaps, a horrifying thought given that she considered the girl to be a sister in all but name. That and the apoplectic fit Ron was likely to throw were deterrent enough to any lecherous thoughts she might have had for the youngest Weasley. He’d practically burst a blood vessel when Dean Thomas inquired after Ginny the afternoon they’d run into him on Diagon Alley over holidays.
"I know," she murmured at last. "I’m sorry."
"So it’s true then?" Hermione nodded. "Was it Zabini?" Hermione cocked her head at him a questioning look on her face. "Last year was it Zabini who broke your heart?"
Hermione chuckled and for the first time since he’d shown himself this evening she genuinely smiled. "No Ron for the last time I do not now, nor have I ever been, interested in Blaise in a romantic sort of way."
Ron gave an exaggerated sigh of relief. "Oh good now I won’t have to have a talk with her. Not that I’m afraid of her or anything but you hear things…no sense in putting them to the test if you don’t have to."
"My knight in shining armor," Hermione leaned over placing a quick peck on Ron’s rapidly reddening cheek. She sat back but did not remove her hand from his forearm, which she’d used to steady herself. "Thank you. But it’s not necessary. Besides it’s the past. I’ve moved on."
"Are you sure because you’ve been sucking the energy right out of the atmosphere like some sort of psychic vampire." Hermione laughed again, Ron, though he would deny it vehemently, had more in common with Blaise than their height. "It’s true you know."
"So you were asking me on a pity date." Hermione poked his thigh.
"Ow! It was not a pity date. I would have paid and everything," Ron cried out indignantly.
"Good," Hermione gave a curt nod of her head; "you can still pay".
"For our ‘date’ you prat."
"Why? Am I going to get any?"
She swatted him about the shoulder. "You’re a pig Ron. It’s a good thing I know you."
"And love me. Don’t forget the loving."
"Yes I do love you."
"How come you never said anything before…about being, you know, that way."
"I didn’t think I could. Some of the things you say…."
"Since when do you listen to me. You said it yourself: I’m a prat. Half the time I speak without thinking, you know that. Sure I don’t get it. I don’t know that I ever will but that doesn’t change how I feel about you. You’re the same annoying, perfectionist know-it-all I met six years ago. You’re my friend always and forever. You’re still the girl my Mum considers her other daughter. I love you. So you’re a…le-les…you know."
"Lesbian," Hermione provided helpfully and Ron shot her a chagrinned look.
"So you prefer that over ‘muff diver’?"
"Ron Weasley!" She attacked him then, going straight for his ribcage and the spot he never adequately protected in a tickle fight. They wrestled briefly, laughing and calling out all the different words and phrases they knew for lesbians and lesbianism.
"Do I look like a guy or a bundle of wood?"
"Sister of Sappho?" Hermione stopped tickling him, pulling away slightly so that she could look him in the face.
"You know who Sappho is?"
"I can read you know, I’m not that thick." At the incredulous look she gave him he elucidated. "Oh all right Zabini left a book of poetry lying around once and I read it."
/ / / / / / / / /
"Parvati you have a visitor downstairs."
Parvati looked up from her bed where she was reading the latest Witch Weekly. "Who is it?" she asked the first year sent to fetch her.
"It’s that really tall Slytherin girl that’s always with your sister."
Parvati dropped the magazine and rolled off the bed. She absent mindedly thanked the younger girl, checked her outfit in the mirror and went downstairs to find Blaise watching Harry and Ron play a game of wizards chess.
"Hi Blaise. Sorry to keep you waiting."
Blaise stood, "No please don’t be. I’m early. See you guys later." Harry acknowledged her goodbye with a languid wave of his hand and Ron grunted.
"Anxious are you?" Parvati teased. She genuinely liked Blaise and thought she was good for Padma.
"Quite," Blaise followed Parvati out of Gryffindor tower. "I appreciate your help by the way."
"Not a problem besides I could use a vicarious thrill. So what do you need me to model and or try on today?" Previously Parvati had been a stand in for Padma when Blaise ordered an entire set of custom made robes as a gift for her lover’s birthday last year. Parvati also tried on various necklaces and pendants until she’d seen one she knew would be perfect for her twin. Blaise bought it without hesitation and as a thank you for her help had a robe made for Parvati as well. The last Hogsmeade visit before Christmas holidays Parvati was measured again, this time for a leather jacket the likes of which Parvati could only dream of getting from the boy she had been dating at the time.
"Just your ring size today."
"I could have told you that. Padma takes a half size larger than I do. So you’re getting her a ring. Is there something I should know," Parvati wheedled.
"Nothing like that just a promise ring is all. I have an idea of what I want but I want a second opinion."
"Hermione…" Blaise cut her off with a wave of her hand.
"You know what your sister likes. Hermione…well let’s say that Hermione can be oblivious."
"Very true. Why can’t you have a brother? So where are we going?"
"The visitation room," Blaise answered. "Father and Mr. Lowen will be arriving soon."
"A friend of my father’s who is in the jewelry business. I have a cousin you might like. Maybe you remember him he was at my house for the New Year celebration. You sat across from him at brunch."
"Jet black hair, very strong Roman nose?"
"That’s him. His name is Constantine."
The rest of the short walk from Gryffindor Tower to the Visitation Room Parvati grilled Blaise about her cousin until, her curiosity finally satisfied, she pronounced her willingness to meet the young man. Blaise held the door open for Parvati, she checked the time on her pocket watch then went to stand by the window while Parvati sat at a small table near the fireplace. "They should be here any minute. I’ll ask mother to…." She was interrupted by the flaring of the fireplace as her father and a small rather portly gentleman carrying a briefcase Flooed in.
"You’ll ask your mother what my girl?" Mr. Zabini pulled his daughter into a bear hug, then kissed her on both cheeks. "You look well."
"Thank you Father. I am going to ask Mother to organize a small gathering over the midterm holiday; Parvati is in need of an introduction. I thought perhaps mother might know of some suitable young men."
"Husband hunting already my dear? Surely a lovely young lady such as yourself does not lack for suitors or is it that the boys here at Hogwarts are simply that: boys." Mr. Zabini pressed his lips to the knuckles of Parvati’s right hand. "Of course we must make an introduction for you. It’s good to see you again and good of you to help Blaise out today. How are your parents?"
Parvati giggled, she liked Mr. Zabini, thought he was cute in an old-fashioned way, with his manners and his inquisitiveness. He had an air of genuine nice-ness about him that made you feel special, as if he was truly interested in what you had to say and not just asking to be polite. Blaise had the same quality about her, Parvati assumed it was one of the things that drew Padma to the Slytherin girl. There were other ways, too, in which Blaise was much like her father, Parvati had observed. She had noticed, on the few occasions when she’d had the opportunity to do so, that Mr. Zabini always stood when his wife entered the room, sat at the table or left the table, as did Blaise with Padma. He always held her chair for her, helped her with her outer wrap, held open doors and he never failed to compliment her in some way, the dinner was lovely, the party smashing, she was enchanting, some compliment however small. Blaise did these things too, Parvati hoped it was a familial trait. She wouldn’t mind being pampered in this way.
"They’re fine sir. I just had a letter from mum yesterday. She says my cousin, Vijay, just got his letter."
"Wonderful. Your family must be proud."
"Well my dears, forgive my rudeness, this is Mr. Lowen. Blaise perhaps you recall meeting him sometime back, Abraham, my daughter Blaise and her friend Parvati Patil."
"A pleasure ladies." They shook hands with the elderly gentleman before sitting at the table. Mr. Lowen placed his briefcase on the table unlatching it with a loud snap as he did so. He removed a small square of black velvet cloth and three small boxes from within the briefcase, snapped it shut and placed the case on the floor by his feet.
An hour and an undisclosed sum of galleons later Blaise walked Parvati back to Gryffindor Tower.
"Not a word okay."
"Have I ever ruined one of your surprises before?"
"No, I’m just nervous is all. You think she’ll like it?"
"Trust me she’s going to love it."
/ / / / / / /
Valentine’s was only a few days away now and the halls were abuzz with talk of who was going with whom to Hogsmeade, who had asked whom to the dance and who was going to get engaged. Blaise and Hermione were sitting by the lake.
"So have you decided anything about this weekend?"
"Ron and I are going to spend the day together."
"Did I tell you that I had occasion to run into her the other day. She asked about you again."
"Hermione Granger," Blaise drew herself up to her full height, indignation heavily present in her voice. "Let me get this straight, no pun intended. You’re interested in Fleur Delacour, correct?" Hermione nodded. "To the best of your knowledge she’s more than vaguely interested in you, right." Again Hermione nodded. "And yet rather than ask her out you’re going to spend the day with Ronald Weasley. The Weasel, honestly Hermione what are we going to do with you. Your priorities need some work."
Hermione threw her head back and laughed, recalling the many times Ron had echoed the same sentiment.
"What’s so funny?"
"You and Ron…more alike than you know."
/ / / / / / /
"Vati?" Padma knocked on the door to the seventh year Gryffindor girls’ dormitory, then stuck her head in. "Vati are you in here?"
Parvati pulled back the curtains on her four poster bed, "Padi you’re back. How was the weekend?" Parvati patted the space next to her on the bed. Padma climbed onto the bed, bouncing excitedly up and down. "First off you know how I thought we were going to London?"
"Not even close. She took me to Paris for the weekend. Can you believe it? It was so romantic; a candle lit dinner, carriage ride along the Seine, a dozen roses in the room and champagne. And this," Padma thrust her hand out at her twin. There on the ring finger of her right hand was the ring Parvati had helped Blaise select days before.
"Oh please like you didn’t help pick it out. How could you not tell me," the Ravenclaw playfully swatted her twin.
"Because I’m not quite the blabbermouth everyone thinks I am. Did she like your present?" They’d hit the wizard equivalent of Victoria’s Secret over the Christmas holidays.
Padma blushed heavily and her eyes got a glazed look to them.
"Nevermind the details. I don’t want to know. I’ll just take that as a yes."
"Oh God Vati it was just incredible."
"I said no details."
"You’re just jealous," Padma teased.
"Quite. Thank goodness Lavender had that fight with Seamus Friday night or I wouldn’t have had anyone to spend the day with at all. Even Ron finally got up the nerve to ask Hermione out."
"Yes I’d heard." Padma said nothing to correct her twin’s misconception, she respected Hermione’s ‘Don’t Tell, Don’t Even Hint Policy’ though she didn’t agree with it much. She decided to change the topic. "Do you think I should tell Mum and Dad about," she held out the hand on which Blaise’s ring now resided.
"I don’t know…probably not unless…you didn’t get engaged did you?"
"Don’t be silly. Of course not, besides you know Blaise, she’d ask Daddy for my hand first."
Parvati sighed, "Do you have any idea how lucky you are sister dear."
"Yes I do…I am, very."