May 20, 2005 11:39 AM
Hannah was surprised by Theo's lunch invitation. He still had not answered Willow on her job offer, but he'd been to the Council a few times. Once when one of the girls had been wounded. Daisy had said his bedside manner was excellent. Hannah had not seen Draco to mention the latest development, but she had a funny feeling his reaction would mirror Blaise's.
They were sitting in a little cafe in Diagon. Hannah was laughing. Theo seemed honestly nice, so she failed to understand why she could not be friends with him. He also seemed interested in Buffy. It had been the main bulk of their lunch conversation thus far.
Blaise had been surprised by the floo, but Astoria held up her end of the bargain. She'd let him know when and where Hannah and Nott were having lunch, and so Blaise made sure he looked in top form before apparating into Diagon. Astoria wasn't around, but he knew she wasn't far.
He hadn't recognized the name of the cafe they were eating at, but once he saw the place, he knew why. It wasn't an establishment he'd think about dining. He made a face as he walked in.
Once he spotted the table for two that Hannah and Nott sat at, he headed that way. He grabbed an empty seat from a nearby table and planted it right between them and sat in it with a grin. It had been a while since he'd seen Theodore Nott, but he instantly felt that old animosity flare up.
"Well fancy seeing you two here together. Having fun?"
Hannah blinked in surprise. "Blaise."
Theo's eyes narrowed. "Hello, Zabini."
Everyone jumped when a fourth chair was plunked down and Astoria Greengrass joined them. She was not about to let this get out of control without a front row seat.
"Astoria?" Theo said, making a face.
"Oh, Theodore. Look at you. So handsome. Even with whatever that is you've growing on your face. Oh and you must be Hannah," Astoria said. "I've heard so much about you. I'm Astoria Greengrass."
Theo felt like he'd been blindsided.
"What are you doing here?" Hannah asked Blaise.
He smirked at the look on Nott's face. He hadn't thought that Astoria was going to join them, but the more the merrier. "I needed to come to Diagon and saw you through the window. Is it a crime to come say hello?"
Hannah did not believe him. He had not wanted her having lunch with Theo, so he had somehow come here to prevent it. She looked at Astoria Greengrass. She had helped.
"Well..." Astoria said, smiling. "She's learning fast."
"That isn't why you came in here," Theo said. "You don't want anyone touching your 'things'. Never have. Well, if I am encroaching, perhaps you should lay claim."
Astoria grinned. Oh my. This was getting good already.
"And since when has that ever stopped you?" Blaise asked, his eyebrow going up. He didn't like the grin on Astoria's face.
"It hasn't, but there are not clear lines, are there? Or is she just for fun like all the others?"
"Sitting right here," Hannah snapped.
She went to get up, but Astoria Greengrass grabbed her wrist.
Astoria froze and stared. "Bugger me."
Astoria looked at Blaise in shock then back at Hannah.
"Hannah, please don't leave," Theo said. "Finish your lunch. Don't let him upset you. He does that with people."
Theo found himself actually concerned. He knew Hannah Abbott fancied Blaise, like every other girl. Normally he would not care, but she was nice and pretty and so... pure. There was a darker more Slytherin part of him that wanted to tear into her goodness and rip it to pieces.
"Because you hold excellent and peaceful conversations yourself," Blaise snapped. "Stop trying to trick me into making some grand exclamation just so you can laugh at the awkwardness."
"Why would we laugh? Because you'd probably choke on the words?" Theo snapped. "I don't lie about my motives. I stab people in the chest, not the back."
"Well, you're hanging about the right crowd for that - the chest-stabbing," Astoria said. "And you should take the job. It will be good for you."
Blaise glared at Astoria. "What are you on about now? What job? Please tell me you got fired for being a massive prat."
"How do you know about that?" Theo snapped.
Astoria rolled her eyes. "Seer, hello. And you think really loudly, Theodore. You always have." She turned to Blaise. "Your friend Willow offered him a position as the Council's healer. It's a good fit, so don't you throw one about it."
Blaise's jaw dropped as he stared at Astoria. "She's done what? Why the hell
would she do that?"
"Well, Daisy and Willow have been doing most of the healing," Hannah explained. "It really tires Willow out, and with everything else going on lately, I think she needs a break."
"Maybe because I'm qualified for the job?" Theo snapped. "I didn't get my certification through owl order, you know. There was schooling. I healed classmates wounded in the Battle of Hogwarts, thank you very much, wanker."'
"And with such wonderful bedside manner, the slayers won't break you in half at all." He paused. "That would actually be quite amusing. I could sell tickets."
"Well, I've heard from Daisy that he actually does have a good beside manner with the slayers he's healed so far," Hannah interjected.
"You sell your tickets," Theo snapped. "Since I fully intend to take Willow up on her offer. That way I'll get to see her and Hannah every day."
He had not actually decided that as of yet, but Zabini just made him so angry sometimes.
Astoria wanted to bounce in her chair and clap her hands.
Blaise had been blissfully pondering all the ways a slayer could make Nott a smudge on the walls, but at his words of acceptance, Blaise quickly narrowed his gaze at him. The prick was enjoying the thought of being around Willow and Hannah all day long far too much.
"Well then, I guess you'll have to tolerate seeing me more often, since Draco lives there and I visit quite often."
"Not if I keep to the infirmary. Besides, you can't visit all that much. I've been there several times and never run into you."
Hannah was looking from on to the other, trying to understand what in the hell was going on. She was in the middle of a pissing contest, she was sure of it, but what was being pissed over was unclear to her.
"And Hannah happened to be free for lunch today," Theo said, smirking. "Funny that she seemed quite all right with this place. Are you certain you'll survive slumming with us commoners?"
"Do stop trying to make me uncomfortable. The only reason I'd be slumming would be because I would be seen in your vicinity."
"Well, my gods, Zabini, she's a real woman and not a flake. I'm not surprised you haven't managed to settle things out. You best be careful about keeping yourself at a distance and keeping your options open, as usual, or someone might swoop in and steal her from under your turned up nose."
Astoria looked at Blaise. He did need to fight here, but she could not tell him that. He'd resist on principle.
Blaise's jaw was clenched so tight he should have been worried about cracking his teeth. Instead, he forced a smile on his face and turned to Hannah. "Before I forget, my father wanted to invite you back to Italy since we had so much fun last time. Grandmother insists that you come for dinner," he turned back to Nott with a glare, "since she enjoyed cooking with you previously."
"O-oh," Hannah replied. "Thank you. Do tell your father and grandmother I would be delighted."
She had half a mind to say no because she got the feeling Blaise was not inviting her to invite her, but to bother Theo. Still, she did want to go. She liked his family, and all faults aside, she did like Blaise as well.
Astoria blinked. "Oh my." She looked at Blaise and smiled. "Hannah, I was planning to do a spot of shopping with Draco in the next few days. Would you like to join us?"
"I... yes, thank you."
"Hannah," Theo said. "I was planning to accompany Willow to the Royal Botanical Gardens next week. Would you care to join us?"
When had she gone from having absolutely no social life to being booked almost solid?
"Um, if it is all right with Willow, then yes. I have not been since I was a child."
Blaise resisted the urge to throw his hands up in the air. He did not mind if Hannah went shopping with Draco, especially since he could easily worm his way into the trip, but Nott was harder. He'd find out when they were going and guilt Willow into taking him along. He could work this to his advantage.
"Well, it seems like I'm not the only Slytherin with an interest in you," he said to Hannah.
"Well, it would behoove you to recall where my
interest lies," Hannah snapped.
Astoria grinned. She watched the way they looked at one another. Theodore did not stand a chance, but if he forced Blaise to stand up and claim what he wanted, all the better. Perhaps this was what he needed instead of everyone nudging Hannah at him - someone trying to steal her away.
And that thought gave Astoria very bad idea.
Nothing pushed a relationship forward like peril. She already started mentally making her checklist. She had not done anything of this sort in years.
Blaise smirked, both for her benefit and Nott's. "Oh trust me, I remember exactly where your interest lies."
Hannah rolled her eyes. "Interesting. Not that I've noticed."
She got up and grabbed her purse before tossing some money on the table.
"Thank you for lunch, Theo. Astoria, just let me know when you'd like to go shopping."
Hannah turned to stalk off. Theo rose to chase after her, but Astoria grabbed his arm and yanked him back down in his chair. Then she kicked Blaise under the table as hard as she could.
Blaise had done the same as Nott, but Astoria's kick brought him back to his chair. He rubbed his sore shin. "Bloody hell woman, what the fuck was that for?"
"Go now. Let her get some distance. Privacy and all."
Theo tried to rise again. "Astoria-"
"Shut up." She turned and glared at Blaise. "Well go."
Blaise made a nasty face at Nott before standing and running off after Hannah. He looked up and down the alley for her and saw her turning the corner and rushed after her. Once he got closer, he yelled out for her.
!" She did stop and so he grabbed her arm to slow her down.
Hannah turned and looked at him. "Yes? Did you want to come a crash my meeting with my bosses at the Ministry as well?"
"No, of course not. The Ministry hates me." He waved her off. "I came to make sure you were all right. You left in a hurry."
"Theo and I are just friends. Did you ask me to your family's home because you wanted me to go or because it would irritate him to know I am close with your family? Because if it's the second one, I won't go. I happen to get like the ones I have met so far, and if I'm just being toted about like your favorite toy, I'd rather not like them any more than I already do."
Blaise sighed. "First, you really are invited to my family's place sometime this summer. My cousin is about to have another baby, Merlin knows why, and it's a tradition to have a big celebration to welcome them into the family. You'll get an invitation, along with Draco. Second, I don't take toys to my family. I never have, and I never will."
"Why do you not like him?" Hannah asked, stepping closer. "He seems nice. I just don't understand."
He looked nice today and smelled lovely. She noticed this upon stepping closer. Hannah resisted the urge to place a hand on him.
Blaise grinned and public be damned, put a hand on her cheek and leaned down to kiss her. True, he was half hoping that Astoria let Theo come after them and he was seeing the display, but it had been a while since he'd seen Hannah. "I imagine he doesn't like me for the same reasons you do. He's jealous."
People were walking by and everything and he had kissed her. Hannah was distracted by that. They were very much in public, where anyone could see them, and he had kissed her.
"Wh-when is the gathering with your family?"
She was surprised she could form words. He seemed to have that effect, and now knowing what she did about that one night, all the anticipation of him had returned to her.
"Sometime in the summer. Elianna's not due until June. So you'll come?" he asked, brushing his thumb along her cheek.
There was somewhere she was supposed to be, but right now Hannah could not recall where that was. How had this happened to her? She had not even liked him in the beginning. Then again, she had not known the real him in the beginning either.
"Excellent," he replied with a grin, dropping his hand and looking at her expectantly when she didn't move. "Well? I would hate to make you late, especially if you use the excuse you're with me. That's sure to get you fired."
"What? Oh. Oh my goodness." Hannah kissed him lightly. "I'll speak with you later."
Hannah turned and hurried off.
"This is going to be interesting," Astoria said as she sided up to Blaise and slid her arm through his.
Blaise watched Hannah until her blonde hair disappeared from his sight. He was in a much better mood, and didn't even bother trying to shake Astoria off his arm. "And what is "this" that you're referring to?"
"You always expect me to do all the work for you, Blaise. Sometimes the lady just likes to lie back and let the gentleman do his work."
Theo stepped up next to them with a scowl. "Still a pervert, Astoria?"
"And you suspected that would have changed, Theodore? I am still the less perverse of the Grengrass sisters."
Theo glared at Blaise. "You do what you always do, and I'll be around to pick up the pieces. Like usual."
He was in too good a mood for a prick like Nott to ruin it. "I would have thought you would be tired of my seconds, Nott."
"I don't sleep with any of them, whore. Of course you'd think that. Just doing what I do best - healing things that have been broken. Why don't you ask how many or your exes who they consider a friend? That is if you can speak to any of them without getting hexed or beaten to a bloody pulp. Jilting a vampire slayer with a temper and the ability to hold onto a grudge like white on rice." Theo did a 'thumbs up'. "Excellent choice."
Blaise rolled his eyes. "She wasn't a vampire slayer at the time, you berk. And if I wanted to speak to any of my exes, which I don't in the first place, I assure you I wouldn't have as much trouble as you say I would."
Except, he thought, with Ella. She was bound to be pissed about the hair.
"She did not have to be a slayer. She's been scary all her life. She could already punch harder than all the girls and a lot of the boys at Hogwarts before she was even called. But... really? So you think you can have a civil conversation with Morag 'I knock people's teeth down their throats' MacDougal? Because I heard about your last meeting. I'd really love to see round two. That would be in the top ten of my best days ever."
Blaise chuckled. "I think you'd be a bit disappointed, but next time I'm having drinks with her brother Brody in Hogsmeade, I'll see when the next family reunion is."
"I wasn't talking about Brody. I was talking about Mac. Big difference. Nice to see you, Astoria."
Theo leaned over and gave her a light kiss on the cheek before taking off.
"You could prove him wrong, but it would require a knock to your pride," Astoria said. "If you wanted to, you could become friends with MacDougal. With the way people still dislike you in Knockturn, she'd actually probably be a good friend to have. You do know she and her little friend Kasie took out an older vampire and his two hellhounds. Mac cut the puppies' heads off with a sword. It's rather unfortunate she likes Neville Longbottom so much. I do think Marcus would let me share her with him."
Blaise made a face, both at the thought of becoming friends with Magpie and the thought of Marcus bleeding Flint having a sex life. "I'll be lucky if she doesn't kill me next time we run into each other. I think I'll steer clear, thanks."
"So you are admitting that Theodore is correct? Interesting."
"I didn't say that. I said I'd be lucky if she doesn't kill me. He said I could hold a civil conversation. That I wouldn't even attempt, so I wouldn't fail at it."
"You're so annoying and you know how annoying you are and that makes you even more annoying. I'll see you later, darling. I'm going to go tie myself to the bed and wait for Marcus. Arrivederci bello
She kissed his cheek before he could stop her.
He barely refrained from wiping his cheek. She was more annoying than him and she damn well knew it.