It Is Not Telling You How I Feel That Scares Me
...it's what you'll say back
April 17, 2005 2:42 PM
He'd confirmed with Daisy that Luna was in the library organizing. She'd looked at him strangely when he'd asked, but Blaise headed off in that direction with a whistle. Since he hadn't told her that he knew all about the Council, he hoped he could surprise her.
The library looked like a wreck, and Blaise double thought his asking her to organize his own library. He could hear a few dull thuds of books being piled upon each other and headed in that direction.
Her back was to him, and she was sitting in the floor, reading through the jackets and table of contents of books.
"Fancy seeing you here."
Luna looked up at the familiar voice and blinked at the sight of Blaise Zabini leaning against one of the bookcases. She hadn't expected to see him here, at the Council. Though, she supposed she shouldn't be surprised. He and Malfoy had been mates back in school.
"Zabini," she greeted, tucking a stray bit of hair behind her ear. "Can I help you?"
"No," he said lightly. "I just came to see how you classify organization so I'll know if I need your services in the future. Do you even use the alphabet?" he asked as he looked at a few rows of books.
"Of course I do," she said as she set aside the book she had just labeled. She had a decent little stack in front of her, so she stood and lifted her arms up over her head and back, stretching the muscles that had tightened from being hunched over. Once the kinks were out, she bent and lifted the pile of labeled books.
"Willow and I came up with a general organization scheme based on her needs. Subject then alphabetical by author." She started circling the library, placing the labeled books on their proper shelves.
"Well I'm happy to report you'll generally only have one subject with my library, if you'd still like to undertake such a small project after this monstrosity," Blaise replied following her at a leisurely pace.
He watched as she kept stretching part of her back and neck. "Back problems?"
"No. I've just been hunched over too long." She placed the last book on a shelf and stepped back to survey the progress. It really did look like a disaster area, but it was slowly improving. Her hand absently went to her neck to try to ease the ache there.
"What's the one subject?"
Blaise chuckled. "Right now, it's interior design. I got as far as finishing my closet before giving up. I don't suppose you've received any more books on the subject?"
"No, sorry. Just replacements for the ones you bought. Would you like tea?"
She settled into a chair at Malfoy's table. She wasn't sure when she started referring to it that way in her mind, but that's what it was. It was the table Malfoy always sat at, when he wasn't against a wall or under a table.
"Please," he said, sitting down next to her. "Are you enjoying the work so far? I love books as much as the next Ravenclaw, but I think I'd go mad in here with nothing but books for company."
"I have company," she said once tea had been ordered and delivered. "Slayers and watchers are constantly popping in and out. Willow as well. I assume you know Willow? And Malfoy is constantly under foot. I think he likes the library."
Blaise chuckled. "I've been coming here for months, first for Draco, but I actually lived with the Ministry Liaison for a while before I moved back to my place to redecorate. Willow fancies me her friend for some odd reason, and likes to pop in and out to visit."
He accepted the tea and fixed it how he liked it. "Made any friends, besides the pasty git?"
"Pasty git? You mean Malfoy? Why would you call your friend names?" Maybe it was a boy thing. Or a Slytherin thing.
"I tend to stick to myself," she explained, not giving him time to answer her questions about name calling and Malfoy. "I ran into Mac one night in the kitchen, and have talked a bit to a few other people."
Blaise chuckled. "I've known him since we were little. We call each other names all the time. I turned his hair pink a while ago and put Gryffindor lions on all his clothes. I've yet to receive my proper retribution."
He observed her carefully as he drank his tea. "So besides working with books and organizing, what do you do in your spare time?"
She giggled a bit at the idea of Malfoy with pink hair. She wished she could have seen that!
"I don't have much free time. Not between Flourish and Blotts and here. But I read to relax. And research. I love learning new things. I've learned so much already just by organizing this library. Did you know that the female kalamesh demon creates a beautiful song that has been known to send humans into an instant trance? Of course, the female only makes the sounds right before she delivers the blow that kills her mate. I wonder if it makes the male vulnerable somehow..."
Blaise's eyebrows went up. "No, but I'm very suddenly glad not to be a male kalamesh demon. Sounds like the siren of the land. What other interesting things have you discovered?"
Luna rambled on for a few minutes, jumping from subject to subject. The Council library had such varying materials and she's only skimmed a small percentage. It took her a bit to realize that Zabini's eyes had glazed over.
"You don't care about any of this stuff," she said.
Blaise quickly focused on her. "No, I was with you in the beginning. I'm not so much interested in the near economic ruin because of the extinction of the pixie race in the early thirteen hundreds," he said with a chuckle. "But I find it fascinating that you can being enveloped in so many different topics."
"It keeps me interested," she explained. "I would be terribly bored if I focused all of my energy on one subject. Sure, I would learn everything I needed to know on, say, pixies. But then I'd not be able to talk to anyone about anything other than pixies. I'd be a terrible bore at parties." Not that she went to a lot of parties. But that wasn't the point.
"What do you like talking about?"
He was a master at taking a conversation and spinning it about himself, and also could carry on about droll topics if needed be. He'd never been asked what he liked talking about. "I think I should be polite and spare you the pleasure of nodding off."
"Com'on," she prodded. "I rambled on for quite a bit and bored you. You should have the same chance. And maybe I'll learn something new as well. We only stop learning when we're dead, you know?" Her eyes looked part him, out the closed window. "I wonder if ghosts learn."
"Maybe that's something you should research. I'd imagine they do. The ghosts at Hogwarts learned our names. They knew the year, and the retained new knowledge about news and current events. I don't see why it would be any different between other people."
"Hmmm... You're right, of course. It's silly of me to forget those sorts of details." She blamed it on the fact that she'd never really spent much time with ghosts.
Blaise chuckled. "I was pissed first year that our ghost didn't like to talk to us, so I sought out others. Got teased mercilessly for it first year until Draco hexed a bunch of third years who made fun of me. Then when he got the retribution, I hexed them back."
She wondered what it had been like to have a close friendship like that. Her closest friend in school had probably been Ginny Weasley, by stint of them growing up in the same small community. Until she had joined Dumbledore's Army, she hadn't really had any friends. Too odd for the rest of the kids, she supposed.
"Why are you redecorating your house?"
Blaise didn't think telling her he'd kicked out his mother after refusing to sell her illegal poisons in Knockturn Alley was a good conversation topic. "Newly single, my mother's finally vacated the place, and I'd like it in my own style. The only problem being I'm too picky and not sure what my style really is."
"That could be a problem," she agreed. She'd never consciously decorated something in a style. She just tossed together the things she liked. It worked for her.
"Obviously figuring out your own style is the first step, then. Did any of the ones from the books appeal to you?"
He sat back and sighed. "I can't hardly understand them. It's like reading another language. Did I skip the beginner book or something? And I know hiring someone to do it for me would be ideal, but I want to have a set idea of what I want beforehand."
"I don't know enough about the subject to know, honestly. I don't think there's a Decoration for Morons and Muggles
." The Morons and Muggles
books had become very popular in the past couple of years, with books covering a wide range of magical subjects. But home decor was not exactly a magical subject.
"Maybe a good decorator could help you decide? I've never even met a professional decorator, so I wouldn't know."
Blaise chuckled. "Are you calling me a moron?"
Luna blinked at him. "What? No! Haven't you heard of the Morons and Muggles
series? They're books that explain magical concepts in simplified terms. Potions for Morons and Muggles
is one of the more popular books on the market right now."
"Snape is probably rolling in his grave. Those are honest books on shelves right now? And they're popular?" he shook his head. "No thanks. I'd rather not read a book that makes me feel more idiotic than I did before I started, and I still think you called me a moron."
Snape rolling over in his grave? Luna knew that her old professor had not been seen in years, but she wasn't sure that he was dead. He seemed like one of those that was too stubborn to die.
Of course, there was also that Quib article that stated he had been seen living it up in Rome. She didn't see that scenario as being likely either.
"Then I must have also called you a muggle. Which I certainly know you are not."
He snickered. "I do believe you are the first woman to ever insult me when offering me advice. That's talented."
"You're quite impossible, you know? I'm beginning to think that you want
to be insulted." Maybe that was his kink. He really should consider finding a nice de'ock demon if that was the case. De'ock's, according to the book she had read the other day, excelled at verbal sparring. To them, a session of insults was considered foreplay.
"I will conceded to being impossible, but I deny the insulting insult," he replied with a grin. "I just like conversation, is all."
"Sure," she said with a laugh. "Because I'm such a fascinating conversationalist."
They hadn't noticed her walk in, and Hannah had been observing in stunned silence. It seemed so cozy, and she was suddenly quite jealous. She didn't think she had ever been jealous a day in her life, but she was right now. Blaise had come to the Council - and not to see her, not like he'd said he would. He was also flirting with Luna Lovegood. Hannah recognized the signs. She felt like a damned fool for believing he was not who she thought. She felt like an even bigger fool for suspecting she meant anything to him at all. Hannah had been told many times with actions and sometimes words that she was nothing special. She didn;t know why she had suddenly decided to think otherwise.
Hannah slammed the books she'd been returning on one of the tables and spun on her heel to rush off - only to bump into Malfoy so hard that she nearly knocked him down.
"Easy, dammit," Draco snapped.
Hannah looked up at him with watery eyes before rushing out of the library.
Draco frowned. What on earth could Lovegood have done to make Abbot cry? Then his eyes settled on the table he normally sat at. Not Lovegood making her cry. His left eye twitched. His brow crinkled in so much, he'd likely have permanent lines. He had no idea why the sight of his best mate and Lovegood infuriated him.
Blaise chuckled. "I think you are, and I'd like to test that out sometime. We could have dinner in Diagon someplace, and you should bring one of those moronic Muggle books. I think I'd like to see what I've been compared to."
Draco could feel the markings of a spectacular fit coming on, and he had no clue why. It made no sense. He was irrationally angry about this turn of events. He slammed a book on the table a bit more loudly than Abbott and stalked out after her. No wonder she was upset. Well perhaps he'd just do something about it. He did not know what as of yet, but there was an excellent chance of him coming up with a plan he would wholly regret later.
Blaise spun his chair at the loud bang. The first time he'd written it off to a book falling, but the second time was louder. "What the hell?"
Luna, on the other hand, had jumped at the first bang. She knew the sounds of the library well enough to know what was normal and what was out of place. Bangs were definitely in the out of place category. The second bang clenched it. and she had to take a couple of deep breaths to calm her nerves.
She rose from her seat and made her way towards the door. Nothing looked out of place, and there was no one lingering in the shadows. She cast a glance at Zabini, who was still looking confused, and darted to the locked book cage, to check that nothing was amiss there.
Once she saw that everything was good, she drifted back towards Zabini, her arms wrapped around herself. She always felt the need to be warm after going near the cage.
"Maybe one of the house elves accidentally knocked off a book," she finally offered. "Or, I think one of the younger slayers might have a cat."
"Hannah has a kneazle." Blaise stood and stretched his back. "All falling books aside, how does that dinner sound?"
"Dinner?" She had forgotten that he'd mentioned dinner earlier. She wasn't sure how she felt about the idea of eating dinner with Zabini. Was this a date? Or boredom?
That was a first for him. Never before had a woman asked why he wanted to have dinner with her. "I think I already said you make interesting conversation. I'd hate for Willow to come after me because I'm distracting you from your job."
She blinked at him. "Is this going to be one of those dinners where everyone brings someone really strange and the person with the strangest companion wins a prize? Or a dinner with people you want to annoy?" Both had happened to her before. She was all right with it, but she did like knowing in advance. She could break out her wackiest outfits, then. Deliberately wear mismatched shoes.
Blaise snorted. "No, I'm not so cruel." He was actually that cruel, and had done those parties before, but not in a long time. "You can pick the place and time and the conversation, but I meant it about those books. I'm curious."
"I think you are that cruel," Luna argued. "You were sorted into Slytherin, after all. But..." Her mind flitted back to Mac and Malfoy both telling her that Zabini was trouble. That she should stay away from him. She still wasn't sure why. Zabini wanted to go to dinner with her because he was bored, not because he was interested in her
"Alright. How about Friday evening? I'm sure that we can find a cafe that looks good."
He grinned at her. "Excellent. I'll come by the shop to escort you."
Blaise spun around and headed out of the library, feeling very accomplished.
Luna shook her head and turned away from the door. She had a maybe date with Blaise Zabini. What in the hell was she thinking?