A/N: okay, this is a little short of action, but its an important chapter in terms of character. I realise how Hermione comes across in this, but understand that it is necessary to show her like this. I hope you enjoy it!
Consuming Guilt and Words not Spoken
The following night, Hermione climbed the staircases to the fifth floor, her feet dragging heavily beneath her. Blaise had managed to slip her a note in class. Hermione had unfolded the note with trepidation, excepting a scolding for standing him up, but none had come. Written on the parchment in Blaise’s neat cursive were five words – ‘tonight, our spot, our time’. Trembling slightly, Hermione had lifted her head, meeting his waiting gaze, returning his smile, a tight feeling in her chest. As she approached the vacant classroom at the end of the corridor, Hermione choked back a sob, pushing an image of Draco’s face from her thoughts. The look in his eyes when he made love to her had haunted her sleep, the memory of their bodies pressed together causing her to squirm with a combined sense of guilt and desire.
She paused outside the door, wanting to sink into the shadows that lined the walls. She knew Blaise waited inside, and for a moment she considered racing in there and confessing her sins, throwing herself at his feet and begging his forgiveness. Hermione shook her head. Blaise was what she wanted. Somehow, she would have to find the strength to push Draco away, although her chest clenched at the thought of hurting him. She closed her eyes and pulled a breath of air into her lungs, her hand rising to brush against the timber of the door. Hermione pushed it open slowly, her eyes snapping into focus, quickly scanning the dim, dusty room. Blaise was sitting with his back to her, perched on the edge of a table, but he turned at the squeak of the rusty door hinges, a smile on his face.
“Hey,” he said rather awkwardly, pulling his hand through his hair casually. Hermione gave him a weak smile, her hands moving to fiddle with the hem of her shirt as she crossed the room to stand by him. They stared at one another, hesitant and nervous. Blaise opened his arms, his face expectant, and fighting off another wave of guilt, Hermione fell into him, sighing as his arms went around her body. He held her close to him, not moving, and she laid her head against his chest and listened to his heart beating steadily in her ears.
“Where were you last night? I waited for ages. I missed you,” he whispered, tickling her ear with his lips.
“I was with Draco,” she replied quietly, feeling him pull away instantly, his eyes flying to her face. “We talked,” Hermione said, stamping her shame down until it was nothing but a smouldering coal resting in her stomach. This was for the best. Telling Blaise she had slept with Draco, not once but twice, would not solve any of her problems, only creating new ones instead.
“About?” Blaise asked, the tiniest note of suspicion in his voice. Hermione swallowed, turning away from him and walking to the window, fixing the beauty of the night sky in her eyes.
“Why he dumped me,” she replied softly, not turning around. Blaise was silent, unmoving, and she closed her eyes, forcing the tears back behind her lids.
“And?” Blaise’s voice rose at her back, soft and low, floating around her ears.
“And what?” Hermione answered, opening her eyes. In the glass, she could see her own reflection, her pale skin and short hair standing out in the semi-darkness. Behind her, Blaise was a blur, a shape in the murky dark, distinguished from the shadows by the glow of his white school shirt.
“Now that you know, does it change anything?” he asked in a gentle, even tone.
Hermione shrugged, looking out the window. “No, not really. Maybe if he had have told me earlier, it may have, but not now.”
“And he’s okay with that?”
“He has to be, doesn’t he?” Hermione replied, turning back to face him, confused by his questions. She raised her eyebrows and he sighed, running a hand through his hair, his eyes troubled and irritated.
“I don’t trust him, Hermione,” Blaise said sharply, coming towards her suddenly and grasping her hands. “He never lets things go so simply. I am surprised he has not tried anything. Maybe you should stay away from him.”
“Now you sound like Draco,” she replied hotly, pulling her hands away and folding her arms. “Don’t start telling me who I can and cannot be friends with, Blaise.”
“Oh so you want to be friends with him do you? Are you that naïve?” he retorted, retreating to lean against the table once more. Hermione scowled, feeling angrier with herself than Blaise, but having no one else to take her emotion out on.
“I don’t have to listen to this. I’m going to go to bed,” she stated, but did not move. Blaise sighed.
“You sure that’s all it is?”
“What are you talking about?” Hermione asked, her voice wavering a little. Her hands had begun to tremble, and her stomach was in knots again.
“Nothing, I just have this … feeling … that you really wish you were still with him,” Blaise replied in a low voice. Hermione felt her heart skip a beat at the look in his eyes, and she wondered if he suspected anything. She swallowed nervously, sliding off the table and standing in front of him. Forcing herself to meet his eyes, she lifted her head, chewing her lip.
“I don’t want to be with him,” she replied, her voice firm, her chest tight with guilt. They stared at one another, Hermione feeling adrift and defeated, sinking into his eyes. “You wanted to talk, Blaise, so… start talking,” she added huffily, not liking the way his questions about Draco were making her feel.
“I needed to think about how I felt about you,” he began, standing up and crossing the room until he was standing beside her. She shivered at his presence, swallowing nervously, trying to force moisture into her parched mouth.
“And?” she whispered, holding her breath. Blaise reached for her, pulling her into his arms and planting a kiss on the top of her head.
“And I still want us to be together, more than anything, Hermione. I like you, a lot, and at the moment, I can’t imagine not being with you. This emotional stuff … it confused me. That’s why I needed a break; that’s what I needed to sort out,” he replied.
“And there is no one else? It’s just me?” she asked in a whisper, forcing herself to voice her fears. Blaise frowned, giving her a strange look.
“Of course. What makes you think that?”
Hermione stared at him, her eyes searching his face, looking for any hint of deception, any flicker of a lie. Blaise stared back at her, his eyes wide and earnest, his expression calm and confused at the same time. Hermione sighed, shaking her head and cursing herself for her naïve insecurity.
“It’s nothing. Forget it,” she replied, smiling at him. “I want to be with you, too.” She stepped closer to him, suddenly wanting to purge herself of Draco’s touch, wanting to lose herself in Blaise. Her kiss took him by surprise, her arms winding around his neck, pulling his head to hers. She brought their lips together forcefully, her tongue sneaking into his mouth quickly, hungrily and desperately. After a moment of hesitation, Blaise kissed her back, his own passion sparking into life, his hands gripping her hips.
Hermione groaned as his mouth moved to her neck, his teeth grazing her skin, and she tore at the back of his shirt, wanting to touch his body. Without breaking the kiss, Blaise undid his buttons, sliding the shirt off his shoulders so she could run her hands over him, her nails biting into his skin. Hermione let her head drop, her teeth piercing the tender skin on his neck, and he jumped, pulling away from her. She blinked at him, noticing the shock and slight confusion in his eyes.
“Are you alright?” he asked faintly as she continued to run her hands over his chest. She nodded quickly, pulling at his belt until he caught her hands, lifting them away from his body. “Hermione?”
“I’m fine,” she murmured. “I just want you, Blaise.”
He grinned at her slowly, before reaching out suddenly, his hands grasping at her shirt, pulling the fabric apart. Hermione gasped as buttons popped, flying off to litter the corners of the room. Blaise stood up, taking advantage of her shock, wrapping his strong arms around her. He lifted her, spinning them around, walking back across the room and letting her down rather roughly on the edge of the table. Hermione’s breathing quickened at the sheer wickedness in his blue eyes, and he reached out and pushed her back, until she was lying with her back pressed against the hard timber. She stared at the ceiling, feeling her heart beating furiously in her chest as she heard the distinct clinking of the buckle on his belt. She jumped as his hands found her legs, before letting a giggle escape her lips as he kissed her stomach lightly, his hands on her hips. She propped herself onto her elbows, smiling at him, loving the sly look that crossed his face as he nipped at her skin, his dark hair falling over his face. She giggled again when he squeezed her, letting him pull her up so they were face to face. She stared at him, breathless and dizzy, a warmth beginning to spread all over her that had nothing to do with the fact his hands were under her skirt, resting on her thighs. Her heart started beating wildly, so loud she was sure he could hear it, and the words passed her lips before she could stop herself.
“I think I love you.”
Blaise froze, his eyes snapping instantly to her face, staring at her so intently Hermione thought she’d be sick. She swallowed, wondering whether she just blew their whole relationship out of the water. She had not meant to say it, she had not even really been thinking about it, but the words had come anyway. Blaise continued to stare at her, his eyes flicking over her face, searching and questioning. He slowly lifted his hands, resting one on her hip and lifting the other to touch her face. She blinked, sudden tears pricking her eyes, her breath held tightly in her throat.
“Are you sure?” he asked, his voice so low she could barely hear it. She nodded, not trusting her voice. Blaise bent his head, catching her lips, his hand moving to smooth the ruffled chestnut locks from her face, kissing her tenderly.
“Then I think I love you too,” he whispered against her mouth, and Hermione gave an audible sob, wrapping her arms around his neck, her heart burning with love, confusion, self-hate and damning guilt.
The first person Hermione saw as she walked towards the Great Hall for breakfast the following morning was Draco. Immediately, all her blissful thoughts about the night she had spent with Blaise flew from her mind, replaced with flashes of Draco’s naked chest and the feeling of his arms around her. Her heart began to race, and she ducked her head, hoping to slip past him. He blocked her path, standing before her with his arms folded and a devilish glint in his eye. She grimaced, making to step around him, but he moved swiftly, engaging her in a little dance that ended when Hermione stamped her foot in frustration.
“What do you want, Draco?” she asked in a low voice. He smirked, looking around to make sure no one was paying them any attention, before leaning close to her and whispering in a voice that made her blood shiver, delicious tingles spreading through her body.
Hermione took a deep breath, stepping back from him, putting some distance between herself and the wicked lust in his eyes. “Go away.”
His smirk deepened, his eyes glowing with suggestive mischief. “We’ve got an hour or so before class starts. Fancy a little bit of me with your breakfast?”
“Piss off,” Hermione spat, glowering at him, stunned at his audacity. She took a deep breath, rubbing at her temples, trying to stem the headache forming behind her eyes. “The other night was a mistake, Draco, one I will not be repeating again. Blaise and I have sorted everything out. I want to be with him, so why can’t you just except it?” she asked, feeling tired and stressed.
“You still did not ask him about Marla, did you, Granger?” he retorted, his eyes pinning her to the spot when all she wanted to do was flee his annoyingly charming presence.
“As a matter of fact, I did, and I believe what he told me. How do I know you told me the truth, Draco? For all I know, this whole ‘I still love you’ thing could be nothing more than a game,” she snapped, knowing instantly she had made a mistake. Draco’s face darkened, his lips pulled together in an angry scowl.
“Fuck you,” he spat, glaring at her hatefully, before he turned and stalked away down the hall, pushing through a group of students as he went. Hermione watched him until he was out of sight. With an angry sigh, she turned and strode in the opposite direction, all thoughts of food forgotten. As she walked, Hermione found herself growing angrier, with both herself and Draco. He had manipulated her so easily and she had let him. Having sex with him the first time had been a mistake, but one she knew came from her own vulnerability and anguish over what she thought Blaise was doing behind her back. The second time, she had had full control over the situation and still she did not walk away from him, allowing him to love her. Hermione scowled at herself, shaking her head as she plopped down on the bottom step of one of the many Hogwarts staircases. She bit at her lip with her teeth, ignoring the sharp stab of pain. Did Draco still love her, or was he using her for one of his sick and twisted power trips? She sighed, reminding herself that it did not matter what he felt. She was with Blaise, and although she did not like the idea of Draco hurting, she did not love him.
Hermione sat through her classes with her thoughts floating above her head, her mind only partially on her work. She still kept up, beating Harry and Ron in a pop quiz, her friends giving her their typical glances of envy. She saw Draco briefly throughout the next couple of days, Pansy Parkinson taking pride of place in his lap once more, the girl throwing Hermione smug smiles, which she pointedly ignored. Pansy was welcome to him, and perhaps it would mean Draco would turn his attention elsewhere, giving her time to forget about the whole affair.
Her evenings were spent with Blaise again, and since they had confessed their almost-love for one another, there was a prickly silence between them at times, a nervousness that began to drive Hermione insane. Over the past week, since they had had their talk, she had been carefully considering her feelings for him. She loved him, she knew it; or at least, she wanted to immerse herself so deeply in him that Draco left her thoughts forever. One evening, as they were sitting wrapped in each other’s arms, Blaise’s lips on her neck, the bubble burst, Hermione being unable to contain her thoughts any longer.
“Do you love me?” she asked him in a quiet voice, feeling him stiffen instantly against her. “Because I love you, Blaise, and I want to know what you are feeling.”
He was silent a while, Hermione growing increasingly nervous as she waited for his reply. Eventually, he felt him relax, and he shrugged casually.
“I guess so,” he replied softly, his lips returning to work at her skin. Annoyed, she shoved him off, turning around to look at his face.
“Do you love me?” she asked again, her stomach flopping over sickeningly at the small frown that crossed his face.
“I don’t know,” he answered with a confused sigh. “I mean, I’ve never been in love before, Hermione. I have no idea what it is meant to feel like. I think about you all the time, I can’t stand it when we’re not together and you’re very important to me. How am I meant to know if that is love?”
Hermione sighed, reaching up to touch his face. “I’m not sure, Blaise. I think you just know.”
“Well,” Blaise replied, a small smile on his lips, “when I do know, you’ll be the first person I tell, okay?”
Hermione nodded, letting him pull her into his arms again, knowing that she could ask nothing more of him. At the same time, her thoughts unwillingly flew to Draco. Why was it so easy for him to say he loved her, but not Blaise?
Write a Review The Devil you Know: Consuming Guilt and Words not Spoken