Fandom: Harry Potter
Series: Song Out of Tune
Title: End of the Innocence (Part 1)
Author: Morte206 -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimers: As my initials stubbornly continue to be CMF and not JKR it's fair to say that any characters you recognize are not mine and the ones you don't are.
Summary: Padma's POV from Song out of Tune through Solitude Standing.
Archiving: Girls Dormitory, Realm of the Shadow and list archives all others please ask.
Author's Note: My incredible beta Blyss deserves more praise and accolades than any other on the planet. Thank you for making this an even better fic.
Feedback: I crave it. Really. Seriously though feedback is what's made this entire fic possible. It's made the whole series possible. It can be sent directly to me at email@example.com
Why would Blaise Zabini want to write to me? I wonder if the rumors about her are true, that she fancies girls. I’ve caught her staring at me a time or two. What if…no she’s probably interested in Parvati, nobody ever notices me. So it really must be as she said, she only wants to discuss the summer readings.
Vati teases me every time the macaw comes, always asking who my ‘boyfriend’ is. What would she say if she knew it was a girl, Blaise? We talk about everything and nothing. The only thing we never talk about is boys. I like that, especially now being trapped here in the house all summer long with Parvati who can speak of nothing else. That’s not true Vati has more depth than that, not much more, but there is more. She is truly gifted with an encyclopedic knowledge of beauty and cosmetic charms and she is passionate about Divination. But Blaise…her mind is amazing. I love the way she thinks, the precision with which she presents her views and ideas. Reading her letters makes me feel like I’m there with her. She writes beautifully.
Who am I fooling Vati is right I am pining over her. Why hasn’t she written or tried to talk to me or anything. In class, in the corridors I try to be near her hoping she’ll acknowledge me and I am crushed each and every time she doesn’t.
I wish I could go up to her and just ask what is going on. I thought we were friends. I thought that much had come out of our summer correspondence. I wish she wasn’t always with Hermione. Who am I kidding I still wouldn’t have the nerve to go up to her.
I wonder if they are together.
“Hello Lavender, Parvati,” Hermione Granger threw the overnight bag she carried on to her four poster bed. “Miss me? Oh Parvati, Padma wants to see you.”
“How was London?” Lavender Brown asked with a sigh, to say that Lavender was jealous of Hermione’s weekend sojourn with Blaise Zabini and Padma Patil would have been an understatement.
“Wonderful,” Hermione sprawled across her bed and stretched lazily catching Parvati’s eye as she did so. “I really do think you’ll want to talk to Padma, she should be in her room by now.”
Parvati cocked an eyebrow, silently asking if her sister and Blaise Zabini had moved forward in their awkward dance and finally admitted their feelings for one another. Parvati took the altogether smug look on the Gryffindor Prefect’s face as a confirmation.
“Well then,” the Indian girl rose gracefully from her bed, “you know where I’ll be.”
“And then we were kissing.”
“Wait did she kiss you or did you kiss her?”
“Which is it? Yes, she kissed you or yes, you kissed her?”
Both…I mean I don’t remember...what does it matter anyway. What matters is we finally kissed.”
“It was wonderful, not anything at all like with that boy from Beauxbatons.” Padma blushed, she might not remember who kissed who first but she certainly remembered how pleasurable the kissing had been.
“And…” Parvati waggled her eyebrows lecherously.
“You know….” Seeing the look of bewilderment on her twin’s face Parvati elaborated with a sigh. “Did you do anything else? And I don’t mean the movies or museums and heaven knows I don’t mean the book shops.”
“Of course not,” Padma said indignantly. She resumed unpacking, placing a small, neatly wrapped, package on the bed before closing the suitcase and sliding it under her bed. She showed the package to Parvati. “I shouldn’t give you this you wretched thing…” but before she could finish Parvati snatched the package out of her hand.
“Thanks Padi,” Parvati tore into the package eagerly, revealing a lovely nearly translucent silk shawl. “It’s beautiful,” she said reverently, wrapping the gossamer length around her hand and admiring the way the silk brought out the rich tones of her skin. “Where did you find it?”
“Harrods, they were on sale at half price. I bought one for Mum too.”
“She’ll like that.”
“I thought so.”
They sat together silently for several minutes until Parvati broke the silence.
“You really like her?”
“I do…I really do.”
“Do you think you’re a lesbian then?”
“I don’t know. I just know that I like her.” Padma turned her head to look at Parvati who was sitting to her right. “I’m drawn to her. I like her…a lot.”
“You’re freezing,” Padma stopped walking, tugging Blaise’s hand so that the other girl stopped as well. “Give me your other hand.” Blaise did so. “You’re like ice, is everything okay? Are you ill?”
Blaise shook her head. “No, I’m not ill at all. It’s…I had to work last night.”
“Oh.” She rubbed Blaise’s hands between her own murmuring a simple warming charm as she did so. “I always think of magic as being warm, I thought…”
“Living magic is warm. But when people die, their magic, like their bodies, starts to cool.”
“But that would mean that you’re absorbing their magic into your own. I thought the purpose of the Mortis Crystals…you told me the purpose of the crystals was to store the magic siphoned from the bodies you worked with. I thought necromancers had to use them otherwise they go mad.”
“You’re right that is why necromancers use Mortis Crystals…ordinary necromancers that is. But I don’t. I really am a necromancer; it’s not just my job description. Only a small portion of the magic siphoned into the Mortis Crystals is used in the actual embalming and restorative work. The crystals act like a grounding wire dispersing the unused excess magic slowly, safely into the atmosphere over time. Before my ancestors created the crystals, funeral directors or necromancers, were forced to store this excess magic inside them selves, in the end it ‘poisoned’ the necromancer essentially driving him or her mad.”
“Yes, well it’s not like it happened over night it would build up over time but…yeah…lovely.” Blaise dipped her head down to catch Padma’s gaze. “It’s not like that for me. I am a True Necromancer, a sort of living mortis crystal, able to safely absorb and transform that excess magic not only into my work as a funeral director but other things too. I’m really good at healing charms and with plants and stuff. Sometimes I think I should study to be a medi-wizard but….” Blaise shrugged as her voice trailed off somewhat desolately.
“But what,” Padma asked softly. When Blaise didn’t answer she let go of one of her hands, mindful to keep the fingers of the other entwined with her own before gently saying, “Family expectations can be hard.” Blaise smiled wanly as Padma softly continued. “My family…this,” she reached up with her free hand to caress the taller girl’s face, “you aren’t what they expect for me.”
Blaise’s eyes closed involuntarily as Padma stroked her cheek. She nuzzled Padma’s hand, kissed the inside of her wrist with a small sigh. “I’m sorry.”
“For what, don’t be. I wasn’t trying to…I just…I was….” Padma stopped frustrated at her apparent inability to talk coherently. She took a small half step closer to Blaise then drew her head down for a kiss. When they broke apart Padma whispered in Blaise’s ear. “I don’t care about their expectations. You’re the one I want.”
“It must have been awfully expensive,” Parvati was admiring Padma’s new watch, a gift from Blaise to replace the one she had accidentally broken in the heat of the moment. “Mum and Dad aren’t going to like this.”
“Maybe they won’t notice.”
Parvati snorted at this. “Kind of hard not to,” she fastened the watch on her twin’s wrist, “We’re talking swine and pearls here.”
Padma’s old watch was identical to the one on Parvati’s wrist, a plain, well-worn leather strap with roman numerals on the face. Her new watch though had a gold band, the face tiny and the numbers represented by small diamond chips.
“Perhaps I shouldn’t wear it when we’re home.”
“Oh wear it. For one thing I know that if I bought someone an expensive gift and they didn’t use it my feelings would be hurt. And for another, you said Mum and Dad knew and were alright with you and Blaise, so what’s the problem?”
“Well it really is too expensive.”
“Nonsense, everyone knows the Zabini’s have more money than God. They say even the goblins at Gringott’s haven’t been able to count all of the Zabini’s gold.”
“Merlin, where do you hear this stuff? Haven’t you anything better to do than gossip about my girlfriend.”
“I heard it from Pansy Parkinson. I’ll have you know I had to defend your honor the other day. She called you a gold digging slut. I had no other choice but to hit her with a rather well placed Hair Loss Hex if I do say so myself.” Parvati glowed with pride her hex had been so strong that not even Hair-Gro potion had been able to help Pansy for several hours.
“That was you,” Padma gave Parvati an admiring look. “Thanks.”
“It’s a good thing Blaise didn’t hear her. Who knows what she’d have done.”
Padma sighed, after the incident with Draco at breakfast there had been another. A seventh year Ravenclaw who had always fancied his younger housemate tried to force her attentions, going so far as to actually lay his hands on her. Hours later Blaise had shown up with him at the Hospital wing, his entire body covered in an oddly discolored piebald pattern which weeks later was beginning to fade but still reminded Padma of a horse. When questioned Blaise claimed to have been studying, practicing outside as per the headmaster’s instructions and that when the young man had come upon her on the outskirts of the forest, he’d scared her, accidentally causing her to emphasize the wrong word in the pigmentation removal spell she had been casting at the time. She’d produced the plant she’d been working with as evidence but everyone had known. And when Padma questioned her directly she stonewalled, neither confirming nor denying anything, saying only the young man should have known better than to sneak up on someone unannounced in the Forbidden Forest.
“Does he still look like a painted pony?”
“A bit,” Padma said with just the hint of a smile in her voice.
“Gods how romantic,” Parvati sighed wistfully and Padma shot her an irritated look.
“No it isn’t. It’s stupid and silly. Flattering sure, but stupid and silly nonetheless, she could have been expelled.”
“And it just wouldn’t be Hogwarts without Blaise, eh?”
“Not for me it wouldn’t.”
“What were you and Hermione talking about earlier in the Hospital wing?” They’d spent the later part of the morning and the early afternoon entertaining Parvati as she convalesced from her experience at Ernie McMillan’s underground party.
“You cast a privacy spell it must have been something.”
“Yes, but as the spell implies…it’s private. What Hermione and I talked about is between us.”
“It looked like she was chastising you about something.”
“I neglected to tutor Weasel this week.”
“If you want to know more than that then you will have to ask her yourself. She gave me her confidence and I intend to keep it.” More importantly though, Blaise had given Hermione her confidence knowing the other girl would keep it and so she felt confident in directing Padma to Hermione.
“Perhaps I will.”
“Do what you must.”
“I wonder how Ernie managed to sneak some of that stuff into the school,” Padma said slyly. She watched from under lowered lashes for Blaise’s reaction but Blaise only snorted and grinned sardonically.
“Now that is a question for the ages,” Blaise intoned pompously before continuing in a lighter vein. “Seriously though I’ll tell you how I’d do it. It’s not all that hard really if you’re a Prefect. You lot are given a certain amount of freedom throughout the castle and even the grounds. All you have to do really is have your connection meet you somewhere in Hogsmeade on the weekend. Comeback to the castle early and stash it somewhere safe. If anyone asks why I am back so early then I claim a desire to study in peace for once. Especially since my understanding is that Hufflepuff prefects share rooms just off of the common room.”
Padma felt her stomach sink. It saddened her to think how easily duplicity and evasiveness seemed to come to Blaise at times.
“Sometimes your family’s subtle influences on you are blatantly evident.”
Blaise flinched but said nothing.
“Vati!” Parvati turned to see her twin hurrying down the corridor towards her. Padma was crying. Turning to her companion she bid him farewell and waited for Padma to catch up with her.
“Padma what’s the matter? Why are you crying?”
“You have to help me.”
“Help you? Help you with what? What happened? Have you had a fight with Blaise?”
“No nothing like that. It’s Mum and Dad,” she held out her hand showing Parvati a letter written by their parents. “They want to send me to India for the summer,” Padma wailed.
Parvati laughed. “What in Merlin’s sake for?”
“To keep me from seeing Blaise,” Padma sniffled. She pointed to the letter. “Mum says she and Daddy think it would be better if I didn’t see her as much. They say I’m too young to be so serious about one person.”
“They didn’t say I had to go did they?”
“Oh thank God,” Parvati sighed heavily then realizing how her words might be interpreted as unsympathetic she hastily continued. “I mean not that I wouldn’t enjoy your company but…”
“So what can I do to help?”
“Bitch and moan about how come you don’t get a trip…”
“No way, with my luck they’ll get the brilliant idea of sending me along. And frankly I’ve no interest in going to India in the summer months.” Parvati switched her bag from one shoulder to the other. “Why don’t you just tell them you want don’t want to go. I don’t know volunteer to work in the pub or something.” The Gryffindor resumed walking, Padma following in her wake as she continued talking. “What does Blaise say you should do? Have you told her yet?”
“No not yet. I wanted to talk to you first.”
“Nice to know I still rate,” Parvati murmured, a trace of bitterness coloring her tone. She knew it was unreasonable but sometimes she was jealous. Jealous of Blaise, of the confidences Padma gave her, confidences which had once been solely Parvati’s province.
“Vati,” Padma reached out to touch her sister’s shoulder. Parvati stopped walking but did not look at Padma who slid her arms around her. “You’re my sister, my twin, silly,” Padma whispered in Parvati’s ear. “You will always rate.”
Parvati hugged Padma back. “My advice; talk to Blaise, see what her plans for the summer are and go from there.”
They parted at the foot of the stairs that led to the Gryffindor Tower and Padma went in search of her girlfriend. She found her in the owlery carefully tying a small letter tube to one of the school owl’s leg.
“There you are I’ve been looking all over for you.”
“Just a moment.” Blaise whispered in the owl’s ear and watched it take off before turning to Padma. “What’s up?” She noticed the tear streaks her beloved’s face and bristled. “Has someone done something, hurt you somehow? What is it love tell me.”
Padma gave her a small reassuring smile as she took her hand and led her down the stairs. “Nothing like that Roo,” it was her special nickname for Blaise a shortening of the Slytherin girl’s middle name, Roussakis, used only when they were alone.
“Then why the tears?”
“I got a letter from home.”
“Has something happened?”
By this time they were in the corridors that lead to the schools music practice rooms and so Padma suggested they use one to talk privately about what her parents had written and how this would affect their plans for the summer.
“It’s about the summer.”
“They don’t want you to see me, right?” Blaise asked in jest.
“They want to send me to India for the summer.”
“They really don’t want you to see me.” Blaise smiled at her own joke but nonetheless began to nervously fiddle with the keys of the piano they were sitting at. “This used to be my father’s favorite practice room.” She smiled remembering the eagerness with which her father had shown her the room where he’d courted her mother.
“I’m going to tell them that I don’t want to go.”
“Maybe you should. I mean it’s a great opportunity and you’d get to see your family. You might never get another chance like it.”
“We wouldn’t be able to see each other.” Padma shifted so that she was now sitting on Blaise’s lap. She wrapped her arms around her lover’s neck and kissed her. “I can’t go the whole summer without seeing you. I won’t,” this last she whispered breathily across Blaise’s ear sending shivers down her spine.
“It would take some planning but I could go see you.” Blaise’s voice tightened as teenaged hormones began to rage. She slid her left hand under the edge of Padma’s shirt to trail her fingers across soft caramel colored skin, feeling abdominal muscles tightening involuntarily as Padma’s breath hitched. “Besides I’ve obligations with work and all. Plus my parents will want me to go with them to Milan for the last fortnight of the holiday.” As she talked her hand, under Padma’s shirt, moved steadily upward finally cupping a cotton covered breast and giving a gentle squeeze.
Padma moaned, she shifted again so that now she was straddling Blaise’s lap and kissed her again. It was a slow, languid we-have-all-time-in-the-world kind of kiss and they stayed lost in it for several minutes finally parting with a gasp when Padma’s need for oxygen and Blaise’s need for the taste of Padma’s skin on her lips became overwhelming.
Blaise nuzzled Padma’s neck and husked out. “I love you. Whatever I have to do I’ll do it, you will always be worth it.”
“If I go to India, to my father’s parents…ever since I can remember they have been after my father to arrange a match for me and Parvati. I don’t want to spend the summer meeting eligible young men and having to come up with excuses. And they wouldn’t understand about you, about us.”
“I don’t understand. I thought they were wizards too.”
“Not that silly. Us, you and me, as a couple they wouldn’t understand that.”
“So going there is out of the question but if you stay at home you’re parents aren’t exactly going to be jumping for joy at the prospect of my being around.”
“It’s not that they don’t like you. It’s just that they think I shouldn’t see so much of you, that if I have some distance things will change.”
“Will they,” Blaise whispered in a sudden rush of insecurity.
“No, never,” Padma stroked her face reassuringly before twining her hand in Blaise’s hair. “‘I love you. Whatever I have to do I’ll do it, you will always be worth it.’” Padma murmured echoing Blaise’s previous declaration as she leant down to kiss her.
“I’ll tell my parents I don’t want to go.”
They spent ten of the next forty or so minutes working out the details and an additional five composing a brief G rated explanation for Mr. Zabini as to why Blaise needed to pay to have the piano retuned.
I miss you. I miss you so much. I miss just seeing you in the hall and hearing you in class. I miss your scent, your warmth next to me in bed. I miss cuddling with you and I miss doing absolutely nothing with you. And yet I feel you with me all the time. Even here in London I feel you. If I close my eyes I can imagine you next to me, holding my hand, soothing me bolstering my confidence with your quiet grace and strength.
Does that scare you? What I’ve written. It does me sometimes. How can I be so certain of you, of this pull I feel, this need for you? Then I think at least I have grandfather Vincenzo’s journals and my family. At least I have the knowledge that what I feel, the changes within me are natural but what do you have? If I have these questions surely you must also have your own. I wish I could answer your questions; all of them. I can’t though but perhaps Grandmother Donatella can. I’ve asked mother to have her journals bound and forwarded to you. You should receive them any day now. I am sure you understand that I cannot allow just anyone to read them and so they are spelled so that only you may do so.
I love you Padma. I trust you implicitly. If I keep secrets it’s out of love and a desire to protect you.
When the book comes remember this:
You opened the door
You sat down and listened
You looked in my eyes
You saw how they glistened
I offer my heart
Yours for the taking
Feel my heart beat
Yours for the breaking
I love you. You are my greatest gift.
“Why are you reading? It’s only the second week of holiday; don’t tell me you’re already doing the summer reading.” Padma looked up to find Parvati looming over her. “Anyways Lavender and I are going shopping at Diagon Alley, want to come.”
“Sure just let me put this upstairs,” Padma held up the book she’d been reading.
“What are you reading?” Parvati took the book from Padma’s hand as her sister collected the rest of her things. “The Secret History, is it any good? Maybe I can borrow it sometime.” She began to open the book only to have Padma suddenly snatch it out of her hand.
“It’s private thank you very much. I’d have to ask Blaise if it was okay.”
“What you have to ask her permission to breathe too. It’s a book nothing special about that.”
“It’s not just a book okay. It’s…Blaise had all of her great grandmother’s journals bound together, she thought it would be clever to call it The Secret History like it was a novel or something, that’s all.” The book was spelled so that only she would be able to read it, had Parvati looked she would have assumed it was written in a foreign language which she did not understand. The journals were companions of a sort to Blaise’s grandfather’s journals, detailing her great grandmother’s experiences and observations as a necromancer’s wife. Padma found them more than helpful. As her relationship with Blaise progressed, become more physical, she’d had questions, questions she hadn’t really felt comfortable broaching with a professor or her sister and certainly there had been no books in the library. It was reassuring to know that what she felt, her reactions, her desire, her instinctive need to respond to Blaise’s magic with her own, had been felt by another and was normal.
“Creepy, never mind then,” Parvati wrinkled her nose disdainfully. She really didn’t understand her twin sometimes why would she want to read her lover’s dead grandmother’s journals. “Hurry up slowpoke Blaise might enjoy waiting for you but I don’t.”
“Oh please you made that poor boy wait almost an hour for you the other night.”
“Padma,” her father’s voice coming from the darkened living room made the teen jump as she tried to quietly climb the stairs.
“I’m five minutes early,” she blurted.
“I know. I wanted to talk to you.” Raj said turning on the hall light as he spoke.
“Oh.” Padma looked uncertain and Mr. Patil rushed to reassure her.
“It’s nothing really. I just wanted to talk. Why don’t you go change and come back down. We’ll have a cup of tea.”
“Don’t be too long I’ve an early day tomorrow.” He was meeting a contractor in the morning to discuss estimates for the repair work that needed to be done at the pub.
Padma was just walking into the kitchen when the tea kettle began to whistle. “I’ll get it Daddy. Would you like some honey with it?”
“Just a bit, not too much.” It was Parvati and his wife that had the sweet tooth while he and Padma were more partial to tart things.
Padma prepared the tea then brought both cups over to the table where her father sat. Taking the seat opposite him she waited quietly for him to begin and when he didn’t she began to nervously stir her tea, the soft clink of the spoon hitting the side of the teacup somehow serving to calm her.
“You looked very beautiful tonight.”
“Thank you,” Padma blushed.
Padma had worn a blue silk sheath dress, silk stockings and his wife’s pearl necklace which she’d borrowed especially for the occasion. He’d also noticed that she’d come home wearing a different shade of lipstick than when she left and that she hadn’t been wearing the stockings but he chose not to say anything about that. Confronting Padma about it meant admitting she had grown into her own womanhood which would only make it real, this way he could pretend otherwise and continue to think of his daughter as his little girl.
“Did you have a nice time?”
“Yes, dinner was lovely. Have you ever had paella? It’s from Spain, a rice dish…sort of like biryani with shellfish and sausage, very tasty.”
“No I never have but it sounds good.” He took a sip of tea and set the cup down. “Not this week but next week, Thursday, we’re to go to dinner at your friend’s house.”
“Blaise told me.”
“Yes, I’d expect she would have.”
“Just you and I right?”
“Yes.” Raj sighed heavily and ran his hand through his hair noting his ever increasing bald spot. “Padma, my girl, how much do you know about your friend’s family?”
“Blaise, Daddy her name is Blaise, she’s not just my friend she…. I know that Mr. Zabini is funny and sweet. He’s kind, chivalrous and honorable and he’s taught Blaise to be the same. I know her mother does some sort of consulting work for a private family run business but just what I don’t know. More importantly though I know that there is merit to some of the rumors about them, even though Blaise tries to shelter me from that.”
“And still I want her. I love Blaise, Daddy. I really do.” She hoped the earnestness of her declaration would convince him. She did not relish the idea of trying to explain how Blaise and her magic felt like a balm, completing her in ways not even Parvati could or ever had. She could not explain it other than to say that the old expression was true and magic did call to magic. She feared that perhaps her father, with his own arranged marriage, would not understand.
“I know,” he said resignedly. “I know. I can see it in your eyes when you talk about her, when you look at her…when she looks at you.” The image of the two of them earlier that night at the foot of the stairs, the look of adoration and utter devotion on Blaise’s face as she watched Padma descend the stairs, a look mirrored in Padma’s own, was permanently emblazoned in his mind, and he sighed again.
“I know you and mum are disappoint….”
“No, don’t you dare say that. Your mother and I are not disappointed in you. Nor are we embarrassed or ashamed, we worry is all. We worry about the stigma such relationships bring not just in the muggle world but in the wizarding one as well. And then add to that her affiliations and well you see why your mother and I worry. We love you and we worry about you. It’s our job as your parents.” He finished speaking and swallowed hard in a valiant, yet unsuccessful attempt, to hold back the tears which were welling and threatening to spill over. Getting up he came around the table to hug Padma who was silently crying.
From the depths of his chest where her face was practically hidden Padma hoarsely whispered. “Thank you Daddy. Thank you. I needed to hear that…so much. Thank you.”
It was something she’d worried and fretted about, certain at times that she saw only disappointment in their eyes when they looked at her. It did not help that her grandparents in India often pressured their son to arrange a match for his daughters nor that her maternal grandmother, who had now come to live with them, would always stare at Blaise, shake her head and cluck disapprovingly. Sometimes, like Blaise, she felt the weight of tradition heavily on her shoulders.
“Wake up sleepyhead.” Padma groaned and pulled the covers over her head. “The morning post is here.” The lump under the cover did not move so Parvati tried another tactic. “I think there’s a package from Blaise.”
A muffled, “Where from”, was the response.
“The States some place called Las Vegas.”
Padma threw back the covers and sat up. She stretched languidly saying, “That’s right she and Hermione are there with her parents. Some sort of funeral directors conference.”
“Aren’t you worried?”
“Hermione, all that time she and Blaise are spending together.”
“No. For one thing I trust Blaise and I trust what she and I have. And for another I’ve no reason whatsoever to think that Hermione has any interest in Blaise…unless you’ve heard otherwise.”
“No, besides everyone knows she’s set on Ron Weasley only he’s too thick to notice.” Padma said nothing. It appeared Ron Weasley was not, contrary to Blaise’s opinion, the thickest Gryffindor out there.
They made their way to the kitchen where their mother and grandmother were busy preparing breakfast. They greeted the older women in unison kissing each of them on the cheek before sitting at the kitchen table.
“Morning dears,” Mrs. Patil said. “Padma you’ve a package,” she thrust her chin in the direction of countertop closest to the kitchen door. “Where is Blaise this week?”
“The States, a conference in Las Vegas with her father and mother,” Padma answered offhandedly while she opened the parcel. Inside was a coffee table book on Las Vegas magic acts such as Siegfried and Roy, David Copperfield, David Blaine and more. The note inside read: Missing you terribly. I thought you might get a kick out of this book. Of all of the artists featured only one of them is really a wizard I think, his illusions were just too good, too thorough. Hermione and I had a great time though debunking the others. See you Saturday. I love you.
“What is it?”
“A book on Las Vegas illusionists and magicians,” Padma said taking her place at the table. They leafed through it together as they ate and then cleared the kitchen table while they made plans for the day.
“Don’t forget I have a doctors appointment so your father is expecting you two at the pub by eleven to help with the lunch crowd,” Mrs. Patil reminded them as she passed through the kitchen and out the back door.
“I thought that was tomorrow,” Parvati cried out. “I was going to have lunch with Lav….” Her mother turned and glared. “Eleven, right, we’ll be there,” Parvati finished sheepishly.
“Don’t worry Mum I’ll make sure we’re there on time,” Padma reassured her mother’s quickly receding back.
“Suck up,” Parvati hissed.
“I prefer to call it pragmatic.”
“I don’t even know what that means.”
Padma sighed and rolled her eyes. “It means why fight it.”
Later as they walked to the pub Parvati broached the subject of Blaise and Hermione once again; receiving an elbow to the ribs for her effort.
“Hermione and Blaise are you just being pragmatic not stressing yourself out and all. Or do you really trust them?”
“No, that isn’t it at all. I trust them both, they’re like sisters I’ve no reason to be suspicious of anything. Don’t you think that if something was going to happen between them it would have by now? They were hanging out, spending time together before Blaise and I ever even really talked. You yourself thought they might have been dating and they weren’t.”
Parvati looked doubtful and Padma continued in a rush.
“Perhaps your overly romantic mind will understand this better,” Padma said a note of condescension coloring her voice. “Remember the old Greek myth, the one about how we really used to be two people joined back to back or hip to hip, something like that.” Parvati nodded. “Most of the couples were male and female but some were male/male and others female/female. Anyway man angered the gods somehow and….”
“And to punish us they split us apart,” Parvati finished. “And you think Blaise is your other half?”
“Yes.” They were outside the back entrance to the pub by this time but did not yet go in. “I feel her Vati, even when we are not together, I feel her all through me. More even then I feel you. When we were younger I thought there would never be anyone else who understood me as innately as you did, that I would never be so close to anyone, but…. It started slow, it wasn’t anything grand and earth shattering, not really…and yet the first time…the first time our magic really touched it was like black and white suddenly burst into Technicolor and I knew.”
“You probably shouldn’t say any of this to Mum and Dad they’ll lock you away from her for sure.”
“I already did sort of, a few weeks back the night Daddy wanted to have tea.”
“Oh you mean three Saturdays back when you came home with that well fucked look and no stockings.”
“Vati!” Padma cried out indignantly.
“Padi!” Parvati echoed in mock indignation.
“Oh please I wanted a cigarette just looking at you after the fact.” Parvati reached past a speechless Padma and opened the door. “Shall we?”
Padma craned her neck, scanning the crowd for her tall Slytherin girlfriend. Platform 9 ¾ teemed with students, returning to Hogwarts, and their parents, who were seeing them off for the new school year.
“Miss me.” Blaise slipped her arms around Padma’s waist from behind kissing her just below the ear as she did so. Padma sighed, sagging backwards into Blaise’s arms and looked up into her eyes.
“You know it.” Padma reached up to run her left hand through Blaise’s hair which hung around them like an ebon curtain. “Your hair is so long. It’s grown what six, seven inches since I saw you last?” They hadn’t seen each other since the Patil’s stay with Blaise and her family in Milan two weeks previous. “Have you been working a lot, you haven’t said so in your letters.”
Blaise bent down to place a kiss on Padma’s upturned nose. “Well you know what they say…”
“Death and babies come when they will,” Padma finished before pulling Blaise down into a proper kiss. Get a room someone called out cheerfully and they quickly pulled apart. “Hello Hermione,” Padma stuck her tongue out playfully. “Jealous?”
“Not really,” Hermione joined the couple and lowered her voice. “It’s been a busy summer.”
“Still seeing Shelagh then?”
“You could call it that I suppose.” Hermione purposefully caught Blaise’s gaze. “You were right.”
“Same reason too,” Hermione chuckled ruefully. “You’d think I’d have learned.”
Just then Ernie Macmillan, accompanied by Hannah Abbot and Susan Bones, walked past. Ernie’s arm was in a cast and the girls were carrying his luggage and generally fussing over him.
“I wonder what happened to Ernie,” Padma said.
“He told Harry it was a hiking accident,” Hermione supplied.
Above Padma’s head, unseen, Blaise shot Hermione a significant look. “Doesn’t pay to mess with Mother Nature now does it,” she said archly.