Blaise was doing something he both enjoyed and dreaded this time of year: making his social calendar. Invitations would start flooding in and he would have to pen polite fuck off
missives to people he had never heard of and decide if he could stand people he had. The spring garden parties were dreadful, the summer banquets irritated him, and the fall gatherings made him want to gouge his own eyes out, but the worst were always the holiday parties. Everyone wanted to throw the best holiday bash of the year, so that meant almost triple the amount of invitations he received. He grimaced when he realized he could no longer get out of his father’s company party, since he was part of the company now. Lovely.
Family invites were a given, there was no getting out of those
parties, but he paused over the scroll he was writing on at his desk. For social events, Blaise always took a guest, be it a girlfriend or Pansy, if she was free. None of his girlfriends ever went to Italy with him and he spent three, sometimes four days there. Now that he was with Hannah, he had no idea what he was going to do.
He did need to solve this problem soon, though. Blaise walked over to the floo and threw some powder in, hoping Hannah was at her townhouse. He stuck his head in carefully. Her furball liked to swipe at his head sometimes and that shit hurt.
“Han? It’s your dashingly good-looking boyfriend. I’ve got some questions for you.”
Hannah had been upstairs. She had a charm on her floo that alerted her when someone called or came through it. Since there were very few people who had access to her floo, she was guessing Blaise or Draco. When she heard Blaise’s voice, she didn’t bother to put trou on. She’d been reading and generally being lazy in her knickers and a long t-shirt.
She hurried down the stairs.
He stared at her legs with his eyebrows raised before she snapped and he looked up at her and grinned. “Your fault. Anyway, I’ve got some questions about the hols coming up. You want to come over or shall I step through?”
“If I come over I have to put real clothes on. Your choice.”
“And if I come over, there won’t be any questions besides me asking how sturdy your kitchen table is.” Blaise sighed. “Move over. I can behave for a moment.”
He doubted it himself, but he would rather get this done and get a reward, not that he was sure Hannah would even be in the mood once he got through. Blaise didn’t bother putting on shoes before he stepped through. He hated traveling by floo, but he was only in a t-shirt and jeans. He would take a shower when he got home. Or better, yet, have one with Hannah.
“Afternoon,” he said lightly, leaning down to kiss her. When he pulled back, she glared at him playfully.
“You said you’d behave. That was not a behaving kiss. That was a ‘this couch is about to have its structural integrity tested’ kiss.”
Blaise rolled his eyes. “I am going to behave, I promise. I do have work I have to do and this calendar isn’t going to fill in itself. That being said, what are your plans for the Christmas hols?”
“Well, Xander’s planning on having some sort of camp out in the gardens. I’m not doing that. I’m sure Buffy’s sister will visit, but I’m not sure if she’ll have a party. I’ll probably go visit my father, but... he doesn’t know who I am anymore. It’s getting harder and harder to go.”
He instantly felt like an arse. He really hadn’t asked after her father and here she knew almost everything about his family. “Is someone taking care of him?”
“Yes. He’s been in a facility for some time now. He just wasn’t the same after my mother was killed, but he is well looked after. I make sure of that. He used to write me and send things, but... I’m a bad daughter. I should visit him more often.”
Blaise would need to find the name of the facility. Willow probably knew. He just wanted to make sure her father was receiving the best care. “You’re not a bad daughter. I don’t visit my grandparents as often because I don’t like the fact that I see them age and I can do nothing about it. I certainly don’t consider myself a bad grandson.”
She smiled at his attempt to make her feel better. He was trying to discuss important things and she was getting all maudlin.
“I like visiting your grandparents. I always wished the Abbotts were a larger family, but even both my parents were only children. Sometimes it was lonely. I imagine your father’s house always had so much activity.”
She did not mention that theirs would as well. There would be children and animals and friends and the children of friends and knowing Draco - probably something on fire.
Blaise snorted. “You have no idea. Actually, that’s why I’m here. We have a dinner Christmas Eve, three gatherings on Christmas Day, two more the day after, and one the day after that, which you probably already know, but I was wondering which, if any, you would want to attend. I usually go to my father’s on Christmas Eve, spend Christmas night and the night after with my grandparents, and then one of the cousins hosts a dinner for the last day. I think it’s Nora’s turn this year. I’m not sure. I know it’s a lot to take in, but I’m trying to figure out my December calendar. I’m too bloody social sometimes.”
“You want me to come with you? Spend your family time with you?”
Hannah blinked several times. This was big. Huge. Very important. She would not cry. Would not.
But she was so touched that he would want her there.
Blaise snorted. “If you think you can handle it. Christmas Eve is fine and so is Christmas morning, because only Nora and Dona are at my father’s. At lunch, Cecelia and the brood come over and then everyone goes to my grandparents’ Christmas night. The day after is all the formal things. The day after that is when all the cousins get together, sans children, get drunk and continually talk about the shit we pulled and amaze that we’re all alive. That’s the best one, besides the presents.”
“I will go wherever you need me to go, and be very happy to be by your side,” Hannah managed. “I think it might be nice to have a Christmas with people again. I haven’t had that in a very long time.”
“There are plenty of us to go around, that’s for sure,” he replied dryly. He laid down his scroll on the coffee table and wrote in Hannah for all of his family’s events. “How about the company Christmas party? Bugger, I would really rather not go, but I have to.”
“Only if you pick out my dress. I want to look fabulous for that,” she said, smiling. “And of course you have to go. It’s your company too. I’ll bet you’ve never been to one let alone taken a girlfriend. Imagine the looks on everyone’s faces.”
Blaise glared at her. “Not the point.” He wrote her down for that one, too, and looked at the schedule. “Sweet Salazar, I’ll have to spend the entire month of January sleeping. Any parties I need to put down that I’m attending with you, provided you actually want me to come?”
“Not unless you want to have a sleepover in the greenhouses with Xander and Oz.”
His look said it all.
“I don’t do the outdoors. I certainly don’t sleep out there, either. So no.” He sighed as he looked over the schedule. “And here’s a fun one. Malfoy Christmas dinner at Malfoy Manor. My mother won’t show up, mostly because she and Lucius can’t stand each other.”
“Oh well if your mother won’t be there, I say yes.”
He gave her this look.
“What? She tries to kill me. I don’t think we’re ever going to be friends, Blaise.”
Then she realized what she had said, and Hannah eyes went wide.
Blaise had been scribbling Hannah’s name next to his but his quill scratched against the parchment and through to the table. “I’m sorry. What did you say? My mother tries to what
“Well, the first time-”
“Oh bother,” Hannah said, wringing her hands. “I didn’t mean to say that. Yes, yes, your mother tries to kill me. A few times, actually. She really dislikes that I stole you from her. She’s an absolute maniac. She doesn’t succeed, but it does get quite annoying.”
Blaise was still staring at her in shock. Hearing his mother say she was going to kill Hannah and knowing
that an attempt would be made were two completely different things. If he could lock her away forever, he would. “Annoying?” he asked faintly. “You think attempts on your life get quite annoying
Hannah scooted closer to him and put one of her hands on his. “I’m not going to live in fear. I’ve done that my entire life. Well, with the exception of when I joined Dumbledore’s Army, then hexed Draco and thugs at the end of fifth year then fought in the Battle of Hogwarts. No, I don’t like that she tries to kill me. Yes, it’s scary, but it’s also annoying in that she can’t just let you be happy. That really annoys me.”
Blaise was going to push it from his mind and get a battle plan together later, preferably after consulting with his father and Draco. Between his father’s logic and Draco’s affinity for absolute chaos, something could be done. “Will you at least promise me you’ll be careful? And let me know if you think she’s coming?”
“Of course,” Hannah said. “I don’t want her to bother me, but in the event that she doesn’t leave me alone, I just might hex her face off. And if she does anything to you...” Hannah just started shaking her head no, unable to even find the angry words.
Well what she really wanted to say was that she’d kill a bitch, but she didn’t want to scare him. He got upset when she said things like that.
Blaise sighed and got back to his list. He definitely wasn’t in the holiday spirit now, but he would drop it. “When do you want your presents? What the hell do you even want?”
Hannah snuggled into his side, sorry she had brought the subject of his mother up. “Don’t be pouty. I’m quite sturdy. I’ll be fine. Also, I don’t need anything for presents. Just get me whatever you’d like.”
What she’d really like would be an honest talk with feelings but she knew that wasn’t going to happen.
Blaise smiled. Finally, something was going his way. He was an excellent gift-giver. “Very well. I don’t need to ask your preference on color or anything, sadly.” His accountant was going to get plenty of overtime. He had lots of people to buy presents for. “What about Meredith?”
“She’ll be thrilled with a present. She values your opinion a little too much, I think. Do not get her a crossbow. She wants one, but she is not ready for that.”
He snorted. “No weapons. I am not a complete idiot. My gifts sparkle. Although I’ll need more information. I know almost nothing about the girl.” He would have to ask Draco about Pevensie as well. Maybe he would know about Meredith.
“Meredith is very reserved. Nothing flashing. She’s classic and elegant. She dresses very simple. She likes to read and study.”
Rare books then, or very simple jewelry. “Right then,” he replied, making notes in the margins. “Two down, about one hundred to go. I like shopping but even this is tiresome.”
“You do remember I wanted throwing knives, yes?”
He had not been at all happy with the idea. She would keep reminding him so he could not say he forgot.
Blaise sighed. “I didn’t, but thank you for reminding me,” he replied dryly. “I’ll go with you to pick the knives, though. Some knives just won’t hold the charms.” He kept making notes in the margins. “I can’t believe I’m helping you do something illegal.”
She pinched his side playfully. “You like it and you know it. So what about you then? Anything you’d especially like?”
“Shouldn’t you already know?” Hannah pinched him again and he lurched away. “Ouch! Can we not abuse the man getting your lots of presents, please? I don’t know if you’re getting knives or not. You might nick me.”
“Sometimes a person likes to hear things, you know,” Hannah said. “It’s a puppy, isn’t it? You want a puppy, don’t you?”
She knew he didn’t like animals and started laughing at the look he was giving her.
“The only animals I even consider tolerating are horses. My father’s cane corsos are a close second and that’s only because they obey me when I speak.” Blaise made a face. “Sometimes. But no. You will not get me a puppy. It will not meet a happy end.”
The truth was, he had no idea what he wanted. He was terrible to shop for and he knew his family was dreading shopping for him. Half the time he didn’t realize he wanted something until he received it.
“If you don’t give me any ideas, I’ll get you a puppy,” Hannah said. “And if it meets a bad end, you’ll have that on your conscience. Plus my disappointment that you abused a puppy. You can’t think of anything at all that you want? Nothing?”
“Can’t you just think of what you got me in the past, er, future, and go off of that? I’m pants at telling people what to give me.” Blaise kept writing in the margins, thinking of different invites he would need to expect. “Don’t bother with clothes because I guarantee that is the go-to gift from a few cousins. I don’t do jewelry. There might be a book I want but I can’t think of it.”
Then he smirked as he remember what he was going to ask for a few weeks ago. “I was going to see if my father and Gia wouldn’t mind looking into some art for the Naples apartment. To make it more homey. You could work with that.”
Hannah raised a brow. “You want me to make the place you stay when you’re not here with me more homey? Really?”
Blaise chuckled. “I was just joking.” He kept writing. “I don’t like it when people buy art for me. I’m picky. You could purchase some throw pillows or something.”
Hannah slapped him on the arm. “Throw pillows? Really? Do you want to have sex with me ever again? Because I’m going to need something a little better than throw pillows.”
He started laughing. “I’m joking. I’m joking
. Honestly, do I strike you as the type of bloke who would want pillows for Christmas?”
“No, but I’m not getting you any sex toys either,” Hannah said.
If he wouldn’t help, she would have to get Draco involved. Hannah never got good at giving him gifts, but he always smiled and told her he loved it. Just once she’d like to get him something he truly wanted.
Blaise was about to make a comment about the sex toys, but decided against it. “Look, people hate shopping for me. Even I
hate shopping for me. Half the time I don’t know I want something until I get it. You’re welcome to stalk me when I go to the Alleys next time and find something there. If I want something, I get it. I don’t think that I could ask someone else to.”
Hannah sighed loudly. So she would have to get him something he would not think to ask for himself. This was going to be extremely difficult.
“So annoying. You’re certainly quite lucky I’m in love with you,” she said without even thinking about it.
For the second time, the quill scratched through the parchment onto the table. He would have to buy her a new one at the rate he was going. Blaise honestly tried to respond, or say something
, but he didn’t know how to respond. Did he continue on the conversation like nothing happened or wait for her to continue? Looks like he would just continue writing.
Hannah frowned, wondering what had startled him. Then she realized what she had said. She needed to quit doing that. He wasn’t ready to deal with it, and he certainly did not know how to respond. In what she liked to think of as their other life, it had taken him ages to tell her aloud that he loved her. He showed her, but words would always be difficult for him. It wasn’t something he could articulate. He was not raised to do so.
She decided perhaps she should joke about it a little to make him more comfortable.
“Relax. I’m not going to get mad because you didn’t say anything. It was an accident, but it’s not as if you didn’t know. So jumpy.”
She snuggled into him and wrapped an arm around his middle.
Hearing and knowing were two different things but he pushed it from his mind. “Well,” he said lightly, brushing his hands over the table. “I know what I’ll be getting you for Christmas. A new coffee table since I’ve managed to score yours. Twice.”
“Pfft! I got this at a secondhand shop. Have you never noticed all the nicks in it before now? You lived here, didn’t you? I am recalling that right? That was you, wasn’t it?”
He smirked. “I wasn’t paying attention to the furniture. Well, I wasn’t paying attention to the state of the furniture other than to check the stability of it. But someone was stubborn and I never got a chance.”
“You had just broken up with that horrible creature and thrown your mother out. I didn’t want to take advantage. We could do that now, though, if you’d like.”
Hannah took a hand and pressed down on the coffee table with her weight to test it. It made a creaking sound.
“Though perhaps not on the coffee table.”