Craftiness Must Have Clothes
March 17, 2005 7:20 PM
Blaise whistled as he came down the stairs in nothing but a towel around his waist and a beer in his hand. He'd just gotten out of the shower, and normally, he wasn't one for beer, but since he hadn't gotten around to introducing Hannah to the beauties of different liquors, this would do. A good glass of wine was better after dinner, but he couldn't find any he liked so he grabbed the second best thing.
He was doing nothing illegal according to Hannah's laws, and as he threw himself onto the couch in the living room, he waved his wand to turn on the wireless.
With a sigh, he settled into the couches, letting his mind drift.
Hannah came in late from work, arms full of files and parchment. She felt weary. Stitches greeted her at the door meowing and rubbing against her legs. She was about to say something to him when she spotted Blaise on her couch in a just a towel. She gasped and dropped almost everything in her arms.
Stitches hissed and ran. She couldn't believe it. Hannah put up a hand to shield her eyes when she realized she was staring.
"What are you doing?"
Blaise peeled open an eye and smirked. "I just got out of the shower. I'm enjoying a drink. I'm listening to the wireless. None of these things are illegal. Is something wrong?" he asked innocently.
"This living area is a common area, and you're nearly naked. Also, is that towel damp? If you leave a watermark on my sofa, I'll hex you."
She shrugged out of her suit jacket, suddenly hot.
Blaise held up a finger. "You said I couldn't come home drunk and I couldn't be naked. I am wearing a towel and I was sober when I came home and am getting
drunk. As for the watermark, I can spell it out if it's a problem."
"I don't want you to have to spell it out," Hannah snapped. "Get that damned wet towel off of my couch this instant!"
Blaise grinned wickedly. "All right." He whipped off the towel and tossed it across the room, settling back into the cushions. "No more wet towel on the couch."
"Oh my God!"
Hannah threw up her arms.
"What are you doing! Get dressed! I will not have your naked body lounging on my couch!"
"I had a towel covering myself. You
made me take off the towel. Don't screech at me," Blaise said with a laugh. This was far too amusing.
Hannah raised a brow before hexing the towel to fly up and hit him in the face. She then gathered all her dropped things and put them on the table before starting to storm up the stairs.
Blaise laughed, his face stinging a bit from the towel. "Hannah? Tell me what rule I broke and I will gladly leave." He got up, securing the towel around his waist and finishing off the beer before following her up the stairs.
"Just leave me alone. You know very well what you are doing, so don't be insulting. I'm not stupid, Blaise, and I'm also not in the mood to be uncomfortable all night just so you can have your fun."
She tried to go into her room and slam the door, but he was too close behind her.
Blaise put his foot in between the door and the frame, wincing when she tried to slam the door. "Ow! Bloody fuck, that hurt." He ended up hobbling on the hurt foot. "It's your own damn fault! You're too trusting. I'm a Slytherin so of course I'm going to exploit your uncomfortableness."
Hannah looked at him incredulously. "My fault? You're an arsehole. Get out of my room."
Blaise's eyes widened. "Is it that time of the month? You're bitchy, and I don't think I like it."
"Well, if I'm so unpleasant to be around," Hannah said sarcastically. "You're quite free to bugger off, you vain, peacocking Slytherin git. What? Did you think sitting around in a towel would cause my clothes to fall off?"
His eyebrow slowly went up. "Hannah Abbott, I am very impressed. I told you I'd teach you to swear properly. I didn't even have to try that hard."
She made a sound of frustration and slammed into the bathroom before he could follow her. She had always known how to swear. She just preferred not to.
He just laughed and went to lean outside the door. He wouldn't try to break the lock unless he heard the shower going. "What's wrong with you?"
"I'm tired," she said through the door, sitting on the closed toilet lid. "My bosses don't like my reports of the Council. I have a scar on my throat that will likely never leave, and can not be magicked away because it was made by a supernatural being. Mister Giles is a lovely person. He's not running a bad place, and it's as if they want him to be. They always want to know what Willow and Draco are doing as well. And Anya now. I'm not a spy, and I think they think I'm stupid. I know what they're doing. Well, I'm not their girl."
Blaise really didn't know what to say to that. He never did well with comfort. "Want me to threaten someone? Maim anyone? Draco will help me hide a body."
Hannah laughed, depsite her foul mood. "No, that's exactly the sort of thing they're looking for. Offer appreciated, however."
"It's not like you're monitoring the evil drudges of Knockturn Alley. The Ministry has always been wary of supernatural beings. You'd think they'd be happy the Council is working in tandem with them."
"I honestly think they're worried about Willow falling off the wagon, going evil, and Draco trotting after her happily to do her evil bidding along with all those powerful little girls."
Blaise snorted. "I can name two witches and four wizards in the Ministry that practice dark magic. One of them goes to my mother for dark artifacts and in exchange she's kept out of investigations. I fence for her. Your precious Ministry isn't all hearts and dandelions, you know."
"I know," Hannah snapped.
Did he think she was really that stupid? She knew about the Ministry, and her connections had told her what he did. Hannah should turn him in, but she just couldn't.
"But I also know how they like to make examples of people. They wanted to put Willow in Azkaban a few years ago. The only thing that stopped them is the fact that Willow was helped by a coven with some very powerful members in it who are influential in wizarding society. I mean, no one wanted to tangle with Agnes MacDougal, Augusta Longbottom AND
Blaise shook his head. It was hard to reason with non-Slytherins. "It's proven that it's easier to be pulled down by dark magic than have someone pull you up with light magic. There's a reason witches and wizards are scared of dark magic. It's seductive. There's probably a rule in the minds of the ickly goodies somewhere stating that the good things in life aren't seductive, it's the bad things, ergo dark magic is bad."
He never liked arguing about dark and light magic, because it was intent that shoved magic into columns. It was never supposed to be classified. Magic was magic. Of course, the only people who really shared his sentiments were dark wizards and witches, so that probably didn't help his case. "You're never going to get anywhere with glowing reports. They'll yank you and put someone there they have in their pocket. I hate to say it, but your days are numbered."
Hannah yanked open the door and glared. "Well, thank you for being optimistic."
She stormed over to her dresser to look for comfy clothes.
"Just go. I'm not fit company."
He was dressed in only his towel, freshly washed, shaven, and more than willing to have more than conversation. "I can see that. I'm not blind," Blaise replied, a ghost of a grin on his face. "I find it my duty to cheer you up. If my being in a towel irritates you so much, I will put on something less likely to fall off when I walk."
"That would be appreciated."
Him reminding her that they towel could fall off made a blush creep up her neck.
He was going to be more of a gentleman and put on sleeping bottoms, but decided a pair of pants would do. Blaise couldn't help taking off the towel and tossing it at her as he left the room.
Once he'd slipped on some pants, he came back into the room and fell onto her bed, bouncing a bit. "So, fancy a drink to ease your troubles?"
Hannah managed to keep her face serene at the sight of him in just his pants on her bed.
"I don't drink away my difficulties. That never works. You do so and then what do you have? The same troubles and a hangover to boot."
She grabbed her pink flanel jimjams and headed to the bath to change.
"Then what the hell do you do after a hard day of work?" Blaise asked incredulously. "Set things on fire? Hex all the delicate things you own? Throw knives at things?"
"I read or watch a movie on the telle. Sometimes I have a glass of wine with dinner. I'm not especially hungry tonight, though."
She changed quickly and padded out while pulling her hair into a ponytail.
"I think I have bikkie dough in the fridge. I might have a bit of it."
"Good god," he said slowly, looking her up and down. "What the fuck are you wearing?"
There wasn't hardly a bit of skin showing on her. Her pink pajamas were flannel and covered her from head to toe. Tomorrow he was throwing out all her nighties and getting her proper ones.
"My jimjams. They're comfortable. My mum gave me these."
He'd leave those then, and burn the rest. "You know, there are much more comfortable alternatives that don't result in your entire being covered in a poor excuse for a cloth."
Hannah gave him an exasperated look. "I get cold at night. I'm not tarting about in a few scraps of lace just to please anyone. When I sleep, I aim to be comfortable."
He turned on his side. "And what's more comfortable than your own skin?"
"We aren't speaking about you. We're speaking about me, and I like my jimjams. Just because you like to prance about naked does not mean everyone does, you know."
Though his display of skin was presenting a new dilemma. His flesh was marked, and if she asked about the tattoos, he'd know she was looking.
"I'll have you know I have yet to meet someone who does not like to prance about naked with me." Her eyes weren't looking at his face, and Blaise grinned. "You're staring. That's rather rude you know, not that I mind, but I heard others do."
"You have tattoos," she announced, as if he did not know that. "I was just... curious, I suppose. I wouldn't have guessed that about you."
Blaise chuckled. "I have four. The first one I ever got was because I lost a bet, and I decided I liked it so much, I got three more." He sat up and pointed to the scripted writing. "This was the tattoo I got from the bet. It's part of the Zabini family motto. There are six lines total, and so the rebellious group that was doing the bet all took a line. My sister Cecelia has a line, and then four of my cousins. The other three tattoos were just because."
"Well, what does it say," Hannah asked, inching closer.
"Mine? It's the first line. Essere vero per la famiglia
. Be true to family. I'd like to think I got the best one."
"Hmmm." Hannah said, leaning closer. "Did it hurt?"
Her hand reached out, then suddenly she yanked it back. She'd been about to touch his shirtless chest. That way would lead to all sorts of bad.
Blaise's eyebrow went up. "Well it certainly didn't tickle. Part of the dare was we had to do it Muggle style. I decided I preferred that method, but then I've been described as a masochist many times before. What about you? Hiding any ink under those clothes?"
"What? No. I don't do needles. I don't do pain of any sort if it can be avoided."
Hannah sat on the very edge of her bed. With the way he was all over it, the bed would likely smell like him later. She'd noticed he had a smell. It was not a bad smell, it was a very good smell, but it did bad things to her.
"It's not bad, I promise. I had someone to talk to and distract me when I went. If it had been truly awful I wouldn't have gotten the others after the dare tattoo. What would you get if you ever had the courage?"
"A badger. On my boob," Hannah said, keeping her face as serious as possible.
Blaise started laughing and fell back onto the bed. "You have a decent poker face, but it was the boob comment that you lost me. Although I would definitely go and keep you company through that."
Hannah rolled her eyes. "I would never get a tattoo, so there's no point in speculating."
This was when he was the most dangerous - laughing and being casual with her. That was when she forgot she was not going to allow herself to like him.
"I swore the same, but look at me. I've got four." Blaise settled in, propping his head up. "Any more things you swear you'll never do?"
"Plenty, I'm sure, but I can't think of anything off of the top of my head."
Hannah pulled her legs up to her chest, wrapped her arms around them and rested her chin on her knees.
"Well that's no fun," Blaise said, trying to think of a way to keep the conversation going. "I'm trying to think of things I've done that you might not have. Ever kissed a girl?" he asked with a grin.
"Yes, actually, and no, you don't get the details. That's private."
Blaise got a devious glint in his eye. "Was it someone from school? Did you fall into the temptation of the boarding house and snog your house mates? Or did you get drunk one night after work at a bar and completely lose it with an equally drunk nobody you met on the dancefloor?"
"I believe I just told you that you do not get any details. What part of that statement was unclear?"
He was looking determined, but she could be stubborn as well. Especially about private things, and that had been a very private thing.
"That wasn't detailed information. Details involved tongue and the color of your knickers. I just wanted the situation."
"Well, you aren't going to get it," Hannah said playfully as she reached over to grab a pink throw pillow and hit him lightly with it.
He laughed and was surprised because he hadn't seen that coming. "Oh so it was the dorm situation, then? Had a pillow fight in naughty negligee and that led to delicious snogging? I knew it!"
She hit him with the pillow again, but he could only laugh. He hadn't had a pillow fight in years.
"I know what you're doing, and it won't work," Hannah said. "You're trying to get me to give something away, so you can figure it out. Well, I won't."
"I have a healthy curiousity in my roommate. Is that so wrong? Now, were said nighties pink or did you stick to Hufflepuff yellow?"
"I am not confirming or denying anything, Blaise Zabini. Best you give it up."
And she wasn't. He'd only use it against her later.
Blaise smirked and relaxed again. She would talk eventually. Not tonight, but eventually. There were a few Hufflepuffs he did business with, and everyone's mouth opened for a price. He was too curious to let go.
"Fine. I asked you a question, now you ask me one."
"Lord, what on earth would I want to ask. I wouldn't even know where to start. You volunteer half of everything anyhow."
"Are you upset about Ella?"
He snorted. "Well you sure as fuck don't start out with the easy ones do you?" Blaise sighed and rolled onto his back. "It's a complicated answer but you're getting the short version. Yes and no. Yes because she understood me better than any other female I've ever known and no because I'm convinced we would have killed each other in a few months."
He smirked, still staring at the ceiling. "Dating Slytherins comes with its own set of rules and warnings. She understood them and accepted them. That's rare in a woman outside the Slytherin circle. That's a double edged sword because we were always second guessing each other's motives. I guess I'll just have to find another woman like her."
Blaise made a face. "Of course, considering I would gladly murder the woman I was supposed to marry in school, I suppose I should find someone a little less different. I'm sensing a theme I never noticed before."
"Well, perhaps I can help you with that. Where do you usually meet women and what sort do you go after?"
His eyebrow went up as he looked over at her. "You've met Ella. She's a clone of every woman I've ever met. I met her through my mother. The other girls I met at various high society functions. In school I didn't really have much of a standard. Pretty, willing to have fun, and not too clingy. Are you going to play matchmaker?"
"Well, what do you require in a woman?"
Of course she was going to play matchmaker. That way she wouldn't get tangled in his web herself.
Blaise hummed, a smirk on his face. "Not until you tell me the situation of your kiss. This is a two way street and I believe I've shared more than enough with you. The tattoos, my personal feelings, and the type of woman I've been with."
"I don't talk about my personal life with people, Blaise. I just don't. Some things are private. I don't want to share that with anyone else. You'd only make fun of me anyhow, so I suppose I won't be helping you find a suitable lady since you're so stubborn."
stubborn?" Blaise reached over and flicked her leg. "Who says I'd make fun? There are loads of things I've been told that I haven't mentioned to anyone. Who would I even tell? Draco? Like he'd give a shit."
"You would so make fun of me. It's what you do," Hannah sad, flicking his bare chest.
She swallowed nervously. Maybe the chest touching had been a mistake.
"So you're an expert on me, then? You know everything there is to know about me? I doubt that."
He was surprised at her touch. She had pulled back before when she was admiring his tattoo.
"Well, no. Of course not, but you don't take me seriously. Why should I be naive and act as if you do?"
"Well you don't take me
seriously. You think I'm just a spoiled rich playboy like the rest of the women I see." Blaise grinned. "Or do you think me a sensitive bloke who pines for true love and kittens and rainbows?"
"I think there's a little more to you than that," Hannah said. "I apologize for calling you a shell person. You're not, but you don't see me either. You never have. You seek to change me, to alter me to your liking. While I am just content by what I am finding of you."
"I see you," he said softly. "I just don't let on that I do. And let me clue you in on a hint."
Blaise sat up and scooted closer. "I try to change people because the ones that don't change themselves for me are the ones I keep as friends. You think Draco would do half the stupid things he does if I had any say in it? Fuck no. But he won't let my talk him out of anything. If I wanted to be around people who agree with everything I said, I'd surround myself with house elves."
That was probaby the most real and honest he had ever been with her.
"You think we're friends?" she asked in a whisper.
"Contrary to popular belief, I don't spend the night with strange women I barely know."
Hannah smiled, not noticing how close they were.
"I'm happy to help you. I didn't like that you ran away. You must promise not to do so again."
"Now that I can't do. I only went to stay with my sister. I visit family a lot. I didn't know I had to inform everyone in my life that I was about to do so."
"This wasn't a visit, though. This was running away. You don't have to check in every time you leave the country, but when you end things with your girlfriend and run off to lick your wounds, an owl or something would be nice so that people don't think the harpie killed you and diposed of the body."
Blaise laughed loudly. "Like the bitch would even think about touching me. For your information, I was coming back after a week, or I was going to before Willow plucked me from France and moved me across the channel. Nora was the only person I could go to who wouldn't question me about what happened and wouldn't outright rejoice about the break up."
"Well, I am sorry, but I am not disappointed either. Ella's not very nice, and I think you can do better. Provided you stop acting like a horse's hind end all the time."
"I act like a horse's arse and still snog you," he retorted.
"That was a mistake," Hannah said. "I shouldn't have done that.... those times. It won't happen again."
He leaned close. They'd managed to scoot closer and closer through their talks. He could smell her scent and see the light freckles on her nose. "If you're so scared of me, why did you offer your home to me?"
"I'm not scared of you," Hannah protested. "You needed help. I didn't want you running off again."
They were sitting so close that she was near whispering with her tone.
"And why do you care?"
Blaise found himself honestly wanting the answer. He prided on being a puzzle and she was as much of a puzzle herself.
"Because you aren't who I thought you were. You make me laugh, often without meaning to, and you challenge me. You already know one of the worst things about me - my job, and you're still here."
She would not admit it was because she was beginning to genuinely like him.