Fandom: Harry Potter
Title: Voices Carry
Pairing: Blaise Zabini/Padma Patil, Hermione/OFC
Discalimer: Seeing as how I live in near poverty I think it is safe to say that I am not JK Rowling. That being said this work of original fiction is based on JKR's wonderful characters.
Archiving: Okay to the Realm, Girls Dormitory and list archives.
Feedback: Well it is appreciated and I do try to answer it so if you feel inclined to give it please do so either onlist or off at email@example.com
Author's Note: Still haven't figured out what to title this series. Thank you to every one who's dropped me a line of support. Peace and Love for the Holidays folks.
Platform 9 ¾ teemed with students and their families greeting each other loudly, hugging and kissing. Blaise scanned the crowds for Padma, finally spotting her kissing a stocky dark-skinned man with the thickest most luxurious mustache Blaise had ever seen. Behind him a woman dressed in a teal sari hugged Parvati tightly. Pushing through the crowd Blaise made her way towards the little family.
"Padma," Blaise said breathlessly.
"I got your answer."
"Yes well I…"
"Just thought it wouldn’t hurt to introduce myself."
"I’m sorry Daddy, Mum this is my friend Blaise Zabini." Blaise extended her hand shaking each of the elder Patil’s in turn.
"Mr. Patil, Mrs. Patil a pleasure to meet you."
"Blaise, what a pretty name. I’ve never heard it before," said Mrs. Patil as she shook Blaise’s hand.
"Zabini…Zabini? Any relation to…" Blaise cut Mr. Patil off.
"My family’s business." Turning to Padma she said, "Anyway I…I just wanted to…don’t forget to ask, okay."
"I won’t," Padma reassured Blaise.
"Enjoy your holiday, both of you." Blaise nodded to Parvati.
"You too Blaise," Parvati said.
"I’ll write you. I still have some of the stationery from this summer."
"I’ll see you in a few weeks then."
The two girls stood awkwardly in front of each other, neither sure what to do. Finally Padma threw her arms around Blaise’s shoulders and gave her a quick hug, whispering, "Yes. Silly thing of course yes," into Blaise’s ear as she did so. Padma’s breath ghosted across Blaise’s ear soft and warm, like an intimate caress, and Blaise shivered. Her arms rose to tighten around Padma’s waist. She thought she’d pass out for the sheer pleasure the other girl’s words, never mind her presence in Blaise’s arms, caused her.
"Even…" Blaise, acutely aware of the entire Patil family watching them tried not to nuzzle Padma’s hair as the hug stretched on.
"All of it," Padma murmured then stepped back, reluctantly leaving the circle of Blaise’s arms. Speaking in a normal tone of voice she said, "Take care Blaise. Happy New Year."
Blaise watching her leave did not notice Hermione, who had come to stand next to her. "So what did she say?" Hermione asked.
"She said yes." Hermione squealed and clapped her hands. "She said she’d ask her parents."
"And the rest?"
"She called me ‘silly thing’. Do you think that’s good?" Blaise looked down at Hermione a small smile playing across her lips.
"Was that what she was whispering in your ear just now?" Blaise nodded. Hermione smirked, "Then yes Blaise it’s a ‘good thing’."
/ / / / /
"Padma," Mrs. Patil called from the kitchen, "Could you get the mail, please."
Padma was shuffling through the mail, hoping for a note or something from Blaise. It was just two days after Christmas, a week since they’d gotten off for the holidays and Padma was sure she’d be hearing from the other girl at any time. Sure enough an envelope bearing the address of the Zabini mansion was there.
"Well what have we got?"
"Sorry Mum. Bills, bills, a letter from Aunt Anita, something for Parvati and this," Padma held an envelope up for her mother’s inspection. "It’s…it looks like an invitation."
"Who would be inviting us anywhere?" The older woman, her hands covered in flour, glanced at the return address. "Isn’t that your friend’s name? You know the one I mean…we met her on the platform the other day."
"It’s from her parents."
"Open it." Padma did as instructed and withdrew an invitation.
"It’s an invitation to the Zabini’s New Year’s Eve Party. There’s a note from Mrs. Zabini too, inviting us to spend the night and have a brunch New Year’s Day."
"How nice. I didn’t know you and Blaise were such good friends, you’ve never said so." Mrs. Patil blew a wisp of hair out of her eyes. "We can’t go though."
"Why not?" Padma whined.
"Padma, honey, be sensible. You know New Year’s Eve is one of our busiest nights. Your father and I can’t possibly get away."
"Can I go."
"Parvati can come with me, please Mum."
"Why not? You would let Vati go to Lavender’s."
"That’s because I know Lavender and I know her family. Besides New Years Eve is one of our biggest nights at the pub." The Patil’s owned a pub and even as her mother said it Parvati had known that the business would simply be too busy to allow her parents to go to Blaise’s. Seeing her daughter’s obvious disappointment Mrs. Patil offered, "Perhaps Blaise and her mother could come to tea some time."
"When," Padma asked eagerly. She hadn’t had the nerve to bring up Blaise’s invitation to the theater yet, certain that if her parent’s wouldn’t let her go with Parvati to the party because they didn’t know Blaise or her parents there was no way they would agree to an overnight trip to London. Therefor it was to her advantage to have her mother at least meet Mrs. Zabini as soon as possible. Perhaps if it went well enough her parent’s would let her make the weekend trip to London.
Mrs. Patil glanced at Padma, the open eagerness, the excitement she saw on her daughter’s face was one she’d only ever seen Padma wear when discussing a new book or some lesson in school. And even still the look was different, the eagerness she saw was palpable, almost tangible, if this had been Parvati she would know where she stood. It would be about a boy, nothing more. But this was Padma. And Blaise wasn’t a boy. And Mrs. Patil felt lost.
New Year’s Eve found Mrs. Patil, Padma and Parvati at the Zabini’s while Mr. Patil stayed in Liverpool to oversee the pub with the help of his sister-in-law, Anita.
/ / / / / /
The moment they set foot on Platform 9 ¾ Parvati tossed off a hasty farewell to her parents and went in search of Lavender leaving Padma alone with both of the elder Patil’s.
"Mum, Dad…Have you…about," Padma wasn’t sure how to broach the subject of the London trip. Hermione had already secured permission; she’d had an owl from Hermione telling her so, and Mr. Zabini was waiting to hear if Padma would be joining them so that he could book rooms.
"We talked about it, your mother and I, and we decided that you can go. We’ve already sent a letter to Professor Dumbledore giving you permission," Mr. Patil said.
Padma threw her arms around them. "Thank you, oh thank you so much."
"Well you’ve always proven yourself to be responsible and we thought, since you’ve done so well in school, eleven O.W.L.S.," Mr. Patil’s voice swelled with pride. "Well we thought you deserved it."
"Thank you, thank you. Oh I can’t wait to tell Blaise," she craned her neck searching for the taller raven-haired girl.
"Padma," Mrs. Patil put her hand on Padma’s shoulder to garner her attention. "Padma, love. Little One." At that Padma turned to look at her mother. She hadn’t called Padma by the childhood nickname since before third year.
"Mum?" Padma looked from her mother to her father. "Dad?"
"We…Padma…we just…we’re proud of you love. You’re our daughter and we love you. Nothing will change that." Mrs. Patil tucked a stray lock of hair behind Padma’s left ear then pulled her into a tight hug. Padma could feel her father join them, his longer arms surrounding them both, in the hug. He kissed the top of Padma’s head, whispering his love for her into the thick black plait that hung down her back. The final boarding call was issued and Padma extricated herself from the tangle of her parent’s arms.
"Love you both."
She ran to board the train eager to find Blaise and share the good news.
/ / / / / /
It had taken some searching and a rather generous amount of money but at last Blaise had secured a forth ticket in their box for the show. She surprised Hermione with it their first night back at Hogwarts, the Gryffindor’s obvious delight and excitement making all the trouble and expense worthwhile.
"Shelagh said she’d pay you back for the ticket. Just owl her and she’ll bring it to London."
"It’s okay really. My treat," Blaise offered. She was certain Shelagh did not make enough at the Muggle bookshop she worked in to afford what Blaise had paid for the ticket.
"No really, you must she was quite adamant about it. She’s not all that keen on the idea that you’re paying for the room too," Hermione said.
"Well my father’s paying really but yeah about that. Father only got the one room he doesn’t want me to have a room alone with Padma. He says given the circumstances it’s not…seemly is the word he used."
"Ever notice how the Wizarding World is an almost surreal mix of Victorian era Muggle morality and reality as the rest of humanity knows it in this day and age," Hermione deadpanned.
Blaise laughed at this. It was sad, but true, especially in Pureblood society when it came to courting, dating and marriage. She was fortunate that her own family’s attitude of tolerance and acceptance was as it was. Finally catching her breath Blaise said, "Yeah so about that. Shelagh can pay for the room I booked under her name."
"Can I use Dorothy Parker then?" Hermione asked. Dorothy Parker was Blaise’s macaw
"I have a better idea come to my room and use the fireplace." Slytherin sixth and seventh years had private rooms, some, not all of them, with their own fireplaces. Blaise’s was one that did. Furthermore a bribe on the part of her uncle Gianni to a clerk at the Ministry of Magic had resulted in an illicit connection to the Floo Network. A connection, which Blaise typically used to pick up the mail, she and Hermione, received at the public owlry in Hogsmeade.
Hermione considered the idea. "I better not there was some big family thing going on at her house tonight."
"Okay whatever you want." They went to Blaise’s room, where Dorothy was, so that Hermione could write to Shelagh and they could continue talking about the weekend.
"You know, Mione, it occurs to me that perhaps you should say something to Padma. Or were you just planning as pawning Shelagh off as an old friend. "
"Of course not," Hermione said a note of indignation creeping into her voice. Blaise chuckled, from her vantage point some five or six inches above the top of Hermione’s head, she could see the tips of the Gryffindor’s ears turning bright red.
"I didn’t think so."
"I was just teasing H really. If that’s how you want to play it then," Blaise shrugged and linked her arm through Hermione’s, "that’s what we’ll do. Okay."
"No, no you’re right."
/ / / / / /
"Well we could order up a rollout bed or Hermione, you and I can share." Blaise turned from the window, the street performer she’d been watching was now passing around a hat to his audience, to find that Hermione and Padma had each already claimed a bed.
"Where would another bed possibly go?" Hermione eyed the room’s dimensions critically then patted the spot next to her. "We can share."
"Alright. I think I’m going to shower and get ready for bed then." Blaise opened her overnight bag and rummaged around for her toiletry bag and overnight shirt. "Father said we should feel free to order room service so if you guys want something…"
"I’m still stuffed from dinner," Padma groaned. "There is no way I could force down another bite."
"I’m with Padma on that. Your aunt is an amazing cook."
They’d used a portkey from Hogwarts to the funeral home on Diagon Alley owned by Blaise’s family. Mr. Zabini took them, in a Muggle taxi, to the hotel where they were staying and then to dinner at a Greek restaurant his sister owned in London.
"She is isn’t she." Blaise patted her stomach. "It’s a good thing I don’t eat like that everyday, I’d get as big as a house."
"I doubt it." Padma let her eyes travel up Blaise’s frame, lingering on the taller girl’s breasts before finally meeting Blaise’s sharp gray gaze with her own velvet brown one. She unconsciously licked her lips and Blaise’s insides turned to jelly.
"Well umm…er…that is umm yeah I’m going to go shower now," Blaise stammered. She tripped over her own feet and stumbled into the bathroom to the sounds of Hermione’s laughter. Locking the door behind her she hurriedly turned on the shower.
Hermione waited for the sounds of running water before speaking. "Cruel Padma, very cruel. I like that."
"Haven’t a clue what you’re talking about." Padma grinned. In the nearly two weeks they’d been back at Hogwarts she and Blaise had begun to spend more time together not studying. They’d even progressed to holding hands on occasion and now when they parted it was usually with a hug. Hugs that seemed to get longer and longer each time. "Hermione," Padma’s voice turned serious and Hermione sat up to look at her, "can I ask you something?"
"What’s it like, kissing a girl I mean."
Hermione blushed. "Well it’s the same as kissing a boy really. Only I like it better."
"Haven’t you ever kissed a boy?"
"Once…one of the boys from Beauxbaton at the Yule Ball."
"And did you like it."
"It was okay. I mean I wasn’t repulsed. But I didn’t…it did nothing for me really. But Blaise," Padma shivered, "Blaise touches my arm and it’s like every inch of me is awake."
"Yeah I know what you mean. Do me a favor will you."
"Sometime this weekend…Kiss her because if you wait for her to make that first move you could be waiting till graduation or longer."
Padma chuckled, "You think so."
"Please, I know so. You haven’t any idea how much work it took to get her to even be able to talk to you without choking."
The Gryffindor and the Ravenclaw readied themselves for bed in comfortable silence, Padma plaiting her hair, which she’d worn loose at Blaise’s request, and Hermione brushing her own bushy mane. The sounds of the shower stopped.
"How much work?" Padma asked in a hushed tone, she did not want Blaise to overhear through the bathroom door.
"Almost as much as getting Ron through History of Magic."
"Do me a favor."
"Give us a few moments alone." Before Hermione could answer the door to the bathroom opened to reveal Blaise toweling her hair.
"What are you two talking about?"
"I was just saying we need ice. I’ll go get some from the machine down the hall."
"Thanks Mione," Padma said.
"Oh don’t bother," Blaise walked over to the phone that sat on the table by the window. "We can call room service."
"No it’s not a bother. Besides room service will take too long. I’ll just be a minute or two." Hermione hurriedly left making sure to give Padma an encouraging thumb up behind Blaise’s back as she closed the door.
"How do you know so much about Muggle hotels and phones and such?" Padma asked Blaise who was now sitting on the bed she and Hermione were to share brushing her hair.
We, my family that is, we do business in the Muggle world and Father thinks it important that I know how to get along."
"So are you…would you like me to do your hair?" Padma took the brush out of Blaise’s hand and moved behind her. "I thought Slytherin only took purebloods."
"Mostly but there are always a few who get in simply on cunning and duplicity alone. Every Zabini at Hogwarts has been sorted into Slytherin for over four hundred years. Besides…" Blaise gave a contented sighed as Padma began to drag the brush through her hair. "Hmmm…I love having my hair brushed. It’s so relaxing…always makes me sleepy."
"Remind me never to offer in the morning then," Padma murmured. Blaise blushed; red creeping up her neck to the tips of her ears as Padma continued brushing. "You do that a lot you know…blush around me I mean. It’s cute."
Blaise’s blush deepened. She turned slightly so that she could see Padma better. "Glad you think so," she said wryly. Taking the brush from Padma’s hand she set it on the bedside table and rose to cross the room to the window once again.
Padma remained kneeling on the bed, unsure of what to do next, while Blaise watched the activity on the street down below. At last, after some moments spent wondering what would Hermione do in this situation, Padma silently rose to stand behind the taller girl at the window. Blaise did not turn around, so with a final deep fortifying breath Padma slipped her arms around Blaise’s waist, hugging her from behind. Lips grazed the back of Blaise’s neck and she shivered.
A single word laden with hope, desire and, perhaps even, love, tinged with fear, confusion and nervousness.
A single word both question and answer. Blaise turned in Padma’s arms. Never had the difference in their height been more apparent than it was at this moment. Blaise looked down into Padma’s upturned face. "On the platform you said…"
"I said yes to all of it." Padma stood on tiptoe pulling Blaise’s head down to her as she did so. "Everything."
Later in the telling of that first kiss neither could say who kissed whom first though they were in complete agreement about Hermione’s lousy timing when she finally walked through the door a minute later with the ice.
"Took you long enough," Blaise groused, and Hermione seeing the indignant look on the other girl’s face laughed.
"I wouldn’t talk if I were you."
/ / / / / /
"She didn’t try anything did she?" Ron asked Hermione at breakfast Monday morning.
"Don’t be a prat Ron," Harry elbowed him in the ribs hard enough to make him drop his fork.
"Watch the elbow there mate. Remember redheads bruise easy."
"No Ron, Blaise was the perfect gentleman you could only hope to be." The whoosh of air and noise that normally accompanied the morning owl post drowned out Ron’s reply. Out of the corner of her eye Hermione saw Blaise’s white macaw drop a single rose in front of Padma at the Ravenclaw table.
"So you had a nice time in London?" Harry asked.
"I had a great time, Harry. Thank you."
"You went to see The Lion King right?" Hermione nodded. "What else did you do?"
"Nothing much, we walked around, did some window shopping…just stuff you know." She wasn’t about to give them the details of her weekend with Shelagh and it certainly wasn’t her place to say anything about the change in Blaise and Padma’s status.
"Did you go to the cinnamon, Dad says its like Muggle magic."
"That’s cinema not cinnamon but no we didn’t." Blaise and Padma had gone to see a movie Sunday afternoon while Hermione and Shelagh stayed in. "We got there, Friday in the early evening, had dinner with Blaise’s father…"
"What’s he like? Bet he’s a piece of work, probably a Death Eater like the rest of that lot in Slytherin," Ron said. Next to him Harry shook his head.
"Zabini’s not bad Ron," Harry said.
"Funny you should say that Ron. Mr. Zabini, it so happens, was in Ravenclaw when he was here at Hogwarts. Mrs. Zabini was in Slytherin."
Ron turned beet red, "Still you know what they say about the Zabini’s, there’s got to be a bit of truth in it."
"Whatever," Hermione said in an exasperated tone before changing the subject to the Potions essay they were to turn into Snape that day.