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Chapter 16 :  Winning
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I faced a lot of challenges with this chapter, mostly because, it was what I had planned from the VERY beginning, and I had trouble giving up my thoughts and putting them on paper. It was like letting go of a child or something. My raising of it was finally over.
I also had a lot of trouble trying to put to words the things I wanted to portray in this chapter. I went over this chapter a billion times I'm sure, and it had so many different things that I took out and added in it's almost rediculous.
And I think the last thing I had trouble with, was accepting that I was finally finishing my first novel sized fanfiction. It's a weird feeling. Sort of surreal really. (yes, that means this is the last CHAPTER)
There are things about it that I'm still not completely pleased with, but I knew I would have to make compromises when my story started changing into it's own story while I was writing it.
And I know that people are probably going to be pissed at the end of it, but I really don't care because even that thought doesn't sidetrack me from the amazing feeling of finally finishing it. It worked out the way I wanted it and that's all I can ask for. I just hope that some people will like it at least.
So, hopefully you can all accept the way that I have written it, and the way it has always meant to be written. I thinking about an epoligue. THINKING. :)
Blaise woke with a splitting headache, like someone had hit him over the head with an axe, and his skull was severed or, at least in the process of being so. He groaned roughly, cursing himself in mumbles as his dark eyes settled on the light of a torch and punished him when the light caused more pain. He pulled his gaze away and buried it in the softness of the pillow he laid on, wishing for sleep again, wishing for an escape from this horrible throbbing.
Like times before, he swore to himself that Firewhiskey would never touch his lips again. Of course, just like a lot of his promises, that would be broken before long.
He remembered the night before in painful flashes, induced by the addictive scent of the pillow he hugged, and reality finally settling past the distracting pain in his temple. These things were hardly things he wanted to remember. The rage, the fight, and then the return to the only thing the two of them knew.
But what had happened after that? The last thing he could recall was the inconceivable pleasure that had shuddered through his body when Draco had spoken those words. Full of the domination and power that he knew kept him coming back to the blonde, but somehow, deep within, hid a secret longing that made Blaise's insides twist with familiarity and understanding. He knew the feeling hidden by those words far too well, better than he was willing to admit.
Better than either of them was willing to admit he was sure.
He didn't want to believe he was where his logical mind knew he was. He didn't want to open his eyes to prove to himself that he had never left the room that was so familiar, far too familiar. He wanted to believe he had left, he had returned to Hermione, had kept his word.
But he knew better then that. He couldn't refuse Draco, and he hadn't left.
Blaise forced himself away from the pillow and propped up onto his hands, not being able to stand the smell of it anymore, a tremor of fear finding his insides. His breath was heavy, and he tried to control it, but as the bare skin of his back shivered with gooseflesh, his breath hitch beyond his control.
A feeling of panic hit him roughly, but faded slightly when he realized his trousers were still firmly around his waist. Somehow that made him feel all the better, even though his belt had disappeared. He swallowed a something hard down, but it stayed in his throat, and he grimaced slightly.
The sound of running water hit his ears, and it made his head throb again, but he turned his tired eyes up nonetheless, searching for the source of the sound. They settled on a gap in the door to the bathroom, Blaise too far to see very easily.
Blaise brought his feet over the edge of the bed to touch the ground in a catlike way, a way that Draco found endearing even though Blaise was sure he had adopted it from the blonde. He felt the blood rush to his head and breathed through a heavy throb before lifting himself slowly, grabbing his shirt and pulling it over his head before making his way to the door silently.
Draco was hunched over the sink, shirtless, cupping water in his slender fingers and bringing it to his face. The clear liquid beaded on his eyelashes, nose and lips, then dripped back into the sink to be washed down the drain. He seemed content, and Blaise felt like something was missing about him, like one of his many complex layers had been put to bed the night before and was yet to arise with him. Somewhat like when Blaise had the privilege of seeing Hermione in the early morning, half asleep and still amazingly alluring in her vulnerability.
Then again, Draco was never venerable.
Blaise, despite himself, put fingers to the door to push the gap open the slightest bit, cringing when it creaked and he watched the muscles in Draco's back tighten.
The blonde looked up into the mirror in front of him. His eyes, that were somehow more silver than Blaise had ever seen them, catching him through the reflective glass. The moment was thick with tension, water falling from his fringe and perfect features down his neck, until he finally broke the gaze and turned to reach for a small towel, which he buried his face in.
Blaise moved aside as Draco tired to get out of the room, getting a chill as the wind from his quick walk past hit his skin, and he let a sigh escape slowly from his lips, not wanting it to be noticeable. He let himself lean against the doorframe while watching carefully as Draco went to his trunk quickly and pulled out a tee-shirt with fumbling hands. Draco didn't fumble. He frowned, seeing the black material fall over the boy's torso, contrasting pale skin, and Blaise found himself needing to turn away.
He felt like he was drowning. This silence was painful.
"Draco." Blaise said the name in hope that it would be casual, but it came out a plead, showing how much he truly wanted the boy to simply save him from the horrible silence.
This pain was worst. Draco looked at him with an unfamiliarly hard look.
"What?" He said, rather shortly, trying to look busy by tidying, even though it was rather failed do to the fact that he usually kept things clean anyway therefore there was nothing really left that wasn't in it's proper place.
Blaise let his mouth gap slightly at the tone, wanting to say something, waiting for words to come, but they never did. He simply closed his mouth and sighed, noticeable this time.
"We didn't do anything if that's what your wondering." Draco muttered, as if it was the simplest thing in the world, and yet Blaise knew Draco wanted it to sound this way. He didn't speak for a second, letting the moment mull, he wasn't sure why. He knew what he wanted to ask, but he didn't know how to ask it.
"You passed out." Draco answered the question without it needing to be said, and there was a small part of Blaise that laughed at how well they knew each other.
Did he know Hermione this well?
No. He could never know her that well. She would always have the secrets of a woman that she would never share with him, even if they spent the rest of their lives together. He would never know her as well as he knew Draco.
"Sorry." He forced out, and he frowned small, wondering why he felt the need to apologize. Shouldn't it be the other way around?
He heard a hallow chuckle.
"It's good that you did. With the amount of alcohol we had, who knows what might have happened." Blaise let his eyebrows come together again as he looked at the ground. Draco wasn't himself. Lying so obviously, biting his tongue. There had been something ripped from him the night before.
"It's funny, I didn't think I was that drunk." Blaise muttered timidly, taking a glance up. Draco had frowned slightly, a sore cover-up.
"Drunk enough." The blonde replied unconvincingly, putting hands in his pockets, and Blaise caught another sight of the vulnerability that he had thought he saw before, like those words were veiling a different meaning.
"Drunk enough to what?" Blaise asked quickly, not wanting to lose it, not wanting to let that meaning out of his sight. He saw it for a moment in the silver of Draco's eyes, but it flickered away when the blonde glanced in a different direction discreetly.
"To pass out." Draco said matter-of-factly. The boy nodded carefully, taking a moment to mull in the quiet before blurting out.
"I thought you meant drunk enough to want it." Blaise wasn't sure of his tactics at all, perhaps he was still a little drunk. Who knew, all he was sure of was that he was looking for some sort of reaction, anything that reminded him of the old Draco, or any Draco for that matter. He felt uneasy with this blonde. As if he knew him, but didn't really know him. A familiar face, but something different within.
He got a reaction, whether it was what he was looking for? Blaise had no idea. He was running on complete instinct now.
"Don't." Draco replied simply, annoyance on his tone, but in a gentle way, again, unlike him. It was similar to a tone that one would take when fighting a battle that had already been fought numerous times before. Tired and sick of being repeated.
Had this been fought before? If not in the open, then perhaps in Draco's head?
"Don't what?" Blaise asked simply, his irritation sharper. He wasn't used to this pursuing of the subject, a subject that Blaise was not willing to admit that he was searching for yet. Usually it was Draco that did the prodding, the chasing, and even then, Blaise always made it easy on him. Now they had changed places, and Draco was being as difficult as ever.
"Don't turn this into something it's not. " A hint of plead hid behind Draco's reply, his head turning to the side, away from Blaise.
" What is this than? If it's not what I'm turning it into? What is it?" Blaise wanted to move forward, to launch at the blonde and hit him, smack the sense into his company that they had both obviously lost in the past few weeks, but how was he suppose to make Draco see sense when he really didn't see it himself.
"This is nothing. We got drunk and things happened that shouldn't have. End of story." Finally Blaise saw silver eyes, brought up from the floor to show a livid anger and destruction deep within the black of the blonde's pupils. How he could suddenly become so hard, Blaise would never know.
It was as if Draco was trying to convince himself too.
Blaise fell silent, having no idea what to say, his throat dry and rough like sandpaper. He knew what he wanted to say, what was on the tip of his tongue but some unknown force kept him for uttering such thoughts. He didn't dare admit the things that his heart knew were the truth. Perhaps that was partly because he had strayed from the truth so much lately.
He knew what speaking those thoughts would lead to, and he knew it had to be sorted out, but he didn't want to admit anything by mistake, anything that might scare Draco away.
His head throbbed with questions; questions that he just wished would go away. Why was he here? How had he let this happened? Why had he left Hermione? When did things get so complicated? When had the game finally drowned him, and how had he let it do so without even noticing?
He noticed now. Like water in his lungs, the lies were stinging him. They were slowly killing him.
"Fuck." He let his head fall back to hit the frame that he leaned on, the pain making him forget for a spilt second, which resulted in bliss for the moment, only to throb in horrible pain again.
Blaise knew that Draco was watching him. He didn't need to look to know, because you just knew when Draco was looking at you. Or at least, he did. It gave him chills and often made him uncomfortable, as if he just wasn't good enough to be looked at by those eyes.
"What the hell are we doing? Really?" Blaise asked in a whisper, finally speaking one of the questions that were circling his mind. He had to, it was a if the words had overflowed, that his head could no longer hold them and had to let them escape to keep from exploding.
He didn't even need an answer; his mind had answered it well enough. He had been played in the very game he thought he was controlling. Even though he was running it, it was all coming back to bite him. He was in love with Hermione, who he was never suppose to love in the first place, and who he had to lie to just to have her love him back. If she knew the truth of how this all came to be, she would leave in an instant.
He lied to his best friend, played him like he had no worth at all. Which Blaise was slowly realizing was not true. After all, if he was worth nothing to Blaise, why was he still coming back?
Not only that, but he was also breaking the one promise to Hermione that he could have kept, just by being here with Draco. But somehow, he was incapable of denying the boy, like he had somehow made the same promise to the blonde, wordlessly, like how they often communicate important matters.
"I don't know what your doing Blaise, but I'm trying to make you see reason." Draco said, pulling Blaise out of his thought in an instant. What was that suppose to mean?
"Reason? This is reason to you? How is this reason? What makes this twisted relationship, this fucking lust that has taking over us, any better then the honest love that I have for Hermione?" Sometime between when his words had started and when they had ended, his voice had escalated from a mutter to a yell, and he had crossed the room to shove Draco against the wall in anger. Draco didn't resist, but simply allowed himself to be attacked, his body hitting the wall with no more reaction but a miniscule wince of pain showing on his flawless features for a moment.
The silence was only brief.
"Honest? Coming from the person here who has spent the last few weeks indulging in the luxury of lies. How are your feelings for Hermione any more honest then this? How is someone wooed by your deception any better than someone who already accepted the truth?" Draco was quick to react with a venomous reply, only painful to Blaise because of the accuracy of it. The blonde's silver eyes bore into his head and he wanted to look away but he wouldn't dare pretend to ignore the intensity of them.
"If you love her so fucking much then why are you still here? Why do you keep coming back?" If Draco ever resembled a snake, it would have been then. Cornered against a wall, he never let down his guard, and stared down Blaise with a force so strong that the other boy could hardly keep standing there.
The question was like a stab to the heart, and after he had felt the pain of Draco's invisible dagger, Blaise's mind flooded with the answer. He had known it all along, subconsciously, but would never dare admit it to his conscious self.
And as the answer came it him, the dagger dug deep into his chest. A dagger of guilt and realization of how complicated he had made the web.
" It's exactly why you keep letting me come back. Satisfaction. You're just too good at giving me exactly what I want when I want it." Blaise forced his eyes back up to Draco's after he realized he had pulled them away while speaking, so close that he knew what would come next if it was any other situation.
"Maybe if you weren't too proud to let someone have feelings for you, it would be more than that." Blaise watched carefully as Draco's hard look faltered for a spilt second in his shock. He choose to knock that shock out of him, and hit his hand against the wall beside Draco's head, having the blonde finally react, his silver eyes closing firmly in reflex to the near hit to his face.
"You're just too fucking good at driving me crazy." Blaise said soon after, bring a hand to grip roughly on Draco's shirt as he brought his forehead to the blonde's. His lips so close but had no intention of kissing the blonde. He simply wanted Draco to feel his next words.
"Are you happy now that I said it? Did that make everything better? Did it even make a difference?" He asked in whispers against Draco's lips, letting a second go by before shoving the other Slytherin against the wall again, pulling himself away from the hard grip that Draco had on his own shirt, and leaving the room immediately.
Draco let his eyes stay closed as they burned with emotion, a shaken breath escaping his lips as he let his head fall back to hit the wall.
It made all the difference.
Draco let a hand run though his hair, the fingers trembling. He sucked in a breath and let his eyes open finally, and when he confirmed to himself that he was alone, he shut them once more, bit at his lip roughly and let his head hit the wall hard again, trying to hit each thought out of his mind.
How could he be so stupid?
How could he let this happen?
When did it stop being about the game?
Draco found himself bolting for the door, praying that he would catch the boy, hoping that he'd be able to say something, anything to make it all go back to the way it was. But Draco didn't find Blaise when he reached the boy's dorm. He found an empty room, with a strangely familiar aura that made Draco shiver.
The blonde slammed the door after him when he entered to dorm and couldn’t find what he was looking for, frustration getting the best of him for a brief moment.
A sigh came to him as he tried to settle is ragged breathing, taking a seat on one of the beds to let his head rest in his palms. Not even realizing it was Blaise's.
This was not how it was suppose to happen. He wasn't supposed to love her.
She wasn't right.
He didn't even know what he was thinking anymore. His mind was a dark hole, filled with nothing but rage and confusion and a taunting throb from his induced headache. Draco lifted his head, blackness slowly fading away from the center of his vision as his focus came back. He blinked a few times before seeing what was meant to be seen.
He fell to his knees in front of the table beside the bed he sat at, taking a moment to look at it before reaching for the drawer and letting slender fingers pull it open carefully. The smell overwhelmed him, a scent that he knew only very diluted on Blaise's clothes. Books and wood.
He took one of the books in the drawer, needing to be connected in someway to the friend who had just left him, and found himself sitting on the floor and tracing his fingers over the grooved letters of the title on the cover for what seemed like ages.
Fingers then opened the book, flipping pages till they came to a chapter marked by a piece of spare parchment. He knew what the parchment was immediately, and as he took hold of it he felt something drop in his stomach.
Had he picked this book on purpose? Flipped to this page with the intent of finding the parchment? Or had it been accidental? Did it really matter?
The chapter was titled 'Deception'. A mingled feeling of amusement and annoyance hit Draco.
"Fitting." He muttered, dog-earing the page and closing the book quickly, replacing it in the drawer and shutting it away. He folded the parchment around his fingers and placed it in his pocket as he moved for the door.
Hermione had been spending most of her morning in the library catching up on homework. She knew she would be behind on it if she went to the party the night before, but the urge to see Blaise, just to have a glance at him, to maybe speak to him, had been far too tempting, and for the first time in her life, she had put homework on the back burner.
Now she was scrambling to pull together the conclusion of an essay, biting roughly on the end of a quill as she tried to think of a brilliant ending, while her mind wandered to other things.
She hadn't seen Blaise yet today. Usually he came to see her in the morning, greeting her with a kiss and strolling around the school together, or finding an empty classroom to spend their time in. But today he was noticeably absent, and she missed his amazing eyes and comforting touch.
She hadn't seen him since the party actually. Since she had told him to go talk to Draco. She had looked away for a moment, Ginny had asked her a question that she still didn't remember, and when she had looked back he was gone. She tried to subtly look around the room every so often during the night, but each time she missed him somehow. She couldn't help but wonder why he hadn't returned to her, but she had told herself for most of the night that it was simply to keep their cover.
Now though. It had been near twelve hours, and she was longing for his company. Why hadn't he come to see her? It's not like she was hiding. If anyone was looking for her, the library would be the very first place they would look.
Hermione sighed, deciding that her conclusion, though thrown together, was well enough, and started packing up her things with the intent to roam the halls and perhaps seek out the boy she was longing to see.
Unfortunately, the moment she set foot out of the library, she was grabbed by completely different familiar hands.
"Draco! What are you doing?" Hermione was too shocked to fight at first, her fingers coming up to try and work Draco's grip off of her, but his hand was wrapped firmly around her elbow as he pulled her a small ways down the hall with him, then shoved her in a nook off of the hallway.
"How much do you love him?" He whispered after following her into the dark space, words hot on her ear and his body so close that it stirred a buried part of her, reminding her of times with him, when he seemed to almost care. The feeling flooded her for a moment, but she knew better then to let it take over. It was not the same as when Blaise did the same thing.
"Who?" she replied, coming to her senses and acknowledging the question as she should. Pretending like she had no idea who he was talking about.
"Don't play dumb with me Hermione." He hissed at her, catching brown eyes with his silver in the dark.
"Far more then anyone I've ever loved." She replied honestly, feeling like putty in his stare, but nevertheless keeping up the gaze. She would not let him break her by just a look. Blaise had warned her of those eyes.
"Enough to forgive him if he ever betrayed you?" He asked, still a whisper. Somehow, the tone had changed the slightest bit though.
"Depends." She said simply, and she jumped as he hit the wall on either side of her waist.
"On what?" he asked with a growl, and she knew what that was in his eyes now. His calm and collected exterior was still there, he was still attractive and alluring and able to turn her into butter, but something violent was showing underneath. Something scary.
"Depends on the situation." She replied, this time her voice a little shaken.
"What if none of it was true? What if everything he's said to you was a lie, only said for his own gain." His tone scared her, his whispered voice was no longer alluring, but frightening.
"You're scaring me Draco. I don't understand." She admitted, pushing gently on his stomach in hopes that perhaps he would get the hint and let her leave. He didn't move his body, but instead guided that hand that pushed him to the pocket on the chest of the dress-shirt he wore. She felt the paper inside of it, and reached her fingers to grab it.
"What is it?" She asked quietly as he lit his wand over her shoulder so she could read. His eyes shined in the new light. They were amazing.
"Rules to a game Blaise and I have been playing." He replied simply, still whispered in her ear. She could feel his breath on her neck, warm and somehow, cruel.
"This one's about me." She had noticed her name on the parchment, written in familiar writing. She had trouble reading the scrawled penmanship, but what she made of the one about her was something about keeping it secretive.
"They're all about you. The game was about you Hermione." He said, his voice suddenly distant. She felt hot, dizzy. The confusion written on her face as she let her forehead frown slightly.
"A race for your heart. Didn't you wonder why we were both after you in a span of twelve hours?" She wasn't breathing, or at least, it felt like she wasn't. She couldn’t hear, all she could do was try and read the parchment for proof as her shaking fingers tried to hold it still.
No. Blaise wouldn't do that. He couldn't. He loved her. She felt it.
"No. He wouldn't." She whispered, feeling tears in her eyes. And then she remembered what Blaise had said. Draco would do anything to end them. Irrational things.
"I don't believe you. You're just angry that we're together, that I'm taking your best friend. I'm sorry Draco, I never meant for it to seem like I was stealing him but-."
"Shut up! You don't know a thing! You never meant anything to him. You just happened to be around when he felt like mixing up trouble. You see too much in him. You have too much hope." Draco cut her off by putting a hand on her mouth and hissing his words to her while staring sharply into her eyes.
"If you need proof I'll give it to you. Come to the empty classroom on the third floor during dinner. You should remember it well, no?" And with that he was gone, leaving her with the parchment and questions flying through her mind.
The doubts were back.
Blaise had no idea why he had come. Maybe it was the guilt that was ripping apart his insides, like some sort of wild animal tearing at his stomach. How he had lived with it for so long he had no idea. Or maybe it was just the urge he had to finally kill the blonde who had such a big part in him being so guilty.
He sighed. Blaming wouldn’t do him any good, especially when he wasn’t even blaming the right person. He should be blaming himself. After all, it was his game, his lies, and his indecision that was getting in the way of the life he could be living. A wonderful life with an amazing girl, where he wouldn’t have to hide to be with her, wouldn’t have to lie about where he was going when going to meet her.
But he couldn’t let go of Draco. He would be nothing without him. Hermione would have never knew Blaise Zabini in the first place if Blaise hadn’t been Draco’s first. If Blaise had been just Blaise, none of it would have happened. In that aspect Blaise owed Draco too much.
Then again, who would he have been without Hermione. Who would he have been if he hadn’t realized his feelings for her? He would be the same heartless Blaise, the one who played with people’s feelings in leisure and fucked around for pleasure. The one that Draco had created, and the one that he still was deep down.
The one that Hermione could never love.
It wasn’t just about Hermione though. He knew he loved her, and he knew if necessary he could be with her alone. It would be only too simple. She already hated Draco enough to believe Blaise over him. Draco could tell her everything and she still wouldn’t believe it
It was more complicated than that now. Because now he knew that he didn’t want to be with just her. He was selfish for even thinking he was worth the attention of two people, but he couldn’t help but want it. He had become attached to the blonde in a strange way, a way that no words could describe. Not love. Never love because if it was love Blaise would know. He knew what love was. Hermione was love. Love was mutual, and Draco could never love. Not love, but perhaps, infatuation.
Whatever it was, Blaise couldn’t ignore it anymore. Far too much had happened because of it. Because of his selfish desires, the two sides of him that were both begging for a completely different pleasure.
“I’m surprised you came.” Blaise hated that he knew that voice so well, and hated that he shivered at the tone. It was light, almost airy, as if it really was surprised. Blaise couldn’t blame him, after what he had said that morning, Blaise wasn’t sure how he was going to face the blonde. He had debated far too many times in his mind whether to come or not when Draco had sent him that distinct gaze across the atrium.
“Believe me, part of me is too.” He replied, letting out a silent sigh as his eyes adjusted to the darkness of the empty classroom and finally spotted the boy he was speaking to. His lithe form sat on the edge of an old desk, legs bent at the knees and hanging, folded across each other at the ankles. His hands gripped the side of the table, tighter than necessary. Blaise could see the tension in that action, the way it made the boys shoulders sit slightly closer to his neck than usual, as if protecting himself, or preparing to attack. Either way, it made Blaise uneasy.
He could feel those eyes, making him even more uncomfortable. Merlin, the silence was always so painful with Draco. Blaise knew why too. It was like, when they weren’t speaking, it was because there was too much to be said. Too much to put in words, and they already did a too good job at reading each other’s minds. Blaise couldn’t help but guess at what was going through Draco’s head, and all the thoughts were unbearable.
Blaise needed a distraction, and focused his attention on Draco, who had finally looked away, and now seemed to be searching for words. It wasn’t often that Draco was so thoughtful of what he planned on saying, so Blaise allowed himself to take in the moment, a side of Draco he hadn’t seen fully before.
His thin lips opened and he took in a breath to say something, but it fell flat and he simply let out a sigh much like the one that Blaise found himself releasing at the same time. He had brought a sharp intake of air into his lungs himself at the motion, preparing himself without even knowing.
“When did it start?” finally, words came quickly, without a warning drawl of air or flicker of silver gaze. Blaise had thought that perhaps he had gone deaf.
It took a moment for the words to sink in, and Blaise found himself taken off guard once they did.
“They day that she first kissed you. I realized I couldn’t risk having her taken away from me. I didn’t know what it was then, all I knew was that I wasn’t pleased at the competition like other times. I was upset that you were so close. Worried. Afraid. I pretend to ignore it, but it was already eating at me, and I knew I had to do something to get you to back off. So I schemed with the playee to get you out of the game. Without even knowing it I had made another player. She didn’t even know.” Draco’s silver gaze was on him the whole time, looking for a lie, looking for something that he could tear at. Blaise knew he wouldn’t be able to find it though. He wasn’t lying anymore. The student had become the master. Blaise had mastered their game down to the finest detail. But at what price?
“I meant the first time you lied to me. If I know the first time, I’ll know every time.” Draco corrected, pretending as if the speech beforehand hadn’t even happened, although there was a thoughtful expression that took over his features.
Blaise glanced at the ground. Every time. He didn’t want Draco to know every time. That would open a whole new can of worms. But he couldn’t deny him.
“When you had asked me if I was meeting her. After the notes in Potions.” He whispered, prepared for the worst, getting the worst.
“I fucking knew it. Merlin every time I knew! I saw it, it was a shine of uncertainty in your eyes every time, like you were wondering if this would be the time I would noticed. And I trusted you too fucking much to belief my doubts. “ He had moved to leave, shoving himself off the desk, his feet hitting the floor, but Blaise reacted quickly, moving forward to center himself between Draco and the exit.
“I was wondering. Hoping, that maybe you would call me out so that I would stop.” Was that true? Blaise didn’t even know when he was lying anymore.
“You didn’t even have to then. I asked you, you could have told me, gloated like other times. Why didn’t you this time? You couldn’t have already been in love with her.” Draco’s look found accusing as he leaned against the table again and folded his arms across his chest, like that love was something worth being put in Azkaban for. Unimpressed and displeased.
“I wasn’t. I mean, I don’t know if I was or not. I just, couldn’t tell you. Something in your eyes when you asked,” Blaise paused to watch that silver gaze fall away, obviously knowing their guilt in the situation, and letting his head shake slightly.
“Your more readable then you’ll ever know Draco.”
The silence was back with vengeance.
“You left her to be with me didn’t you; that same day? That’s why you were late.” It wasn’t a question. It was a statement, but for some reason Blaise knew he was obliged to answer. He simply nodded, his throat had gone far too dry at that harsh reply moment before.
Draco chuckled hollowly.
“How much proof do you need?” Draco asked quietly when Blaise let confusion pass his features at the crude laugh. The emotion didn’t leave, and a sigh found the blonde’s lips at the seemingly diminishing intelligence of his friend.
“Every time I ask, you leave her. You say you love her, but if you love her how do you leave her?” Draco stared at him as if daring him to act, and it burned Blaise, causing a heat of embarrassment and anger to flood him.
“Because you’re like this drug that I just can’t give up. I’ve had so fucking much of you that now you’re like this lump on my shoulder; part of me. I’m weighed down without you, sick with uncertainty, but when I’m with you, you praise me with distraction. You make me forget where I should be, what I should be doing.” Maybe if Blaise hadn’t been so full of his anger he would have noticed Draco’s eyes flickering to the exit for a mere second as he advanced, but the silver gaze was back and strong on his so quickly that he didn’t. Blaise felt a breath from Draco mouth as he shoved him against the table he leaned on, a sharp hiss of shock that smelled of lust and made Blaise clench his jaw in torment, in hate, or desire, he couldn’t tell the difference between the two anymore.
“I could give you up, if I really tried, but your making it harder because you know you can’t be without me. Like a virus you need a host, and you get too much out of it yourself. Stop lying to yourself Draco. You wouldn’t keep asking me to leave her if you didn’t need me too.” He wanted to break Draco, make him realize the truth, that this, thing, wasn’t one-sided. He felt that breath again, knew those silver eyes were staring at him, and he made the mistake of finding them with his own blue ones. They nearly knocked him breathless, like they always did when this close.
“Why are you so sure that I’m the virus?” Draco said finally, no more than a breath, daring Blaise, and he took the bait.
In the back of his head Blaise was swearing at himself, and his anger showed in the hard kiss, hands gripping roughly at the blonde, his shirt, his hips, and finally his hands. Their fingers tangling together on the table for a moment that would seem tender to some, but was only cut off as Blaise dug his nails into the skin on the back of the blonde’s hand.
Blaise could feel the pain he was inflicting, the kiss pausing for a moment as the blonde gasped and screwed his face in pain, only to reply by biting at Blaise’s lip, hard. Blaise relieved his impose of pain only enough to free himself before hitting his hips against the blonde’s to drive his back to the table and kissing the second pained gasp he managed to produce from Draco.
And suddenly, the physical showed the emotional side of the relation truer than ever. It had turned to being about the pain, and who could inflect the most of it. A Game of pain. Even on the occasions when the pain felt good, it was still about the pain, and it only hurt more after.
It didn’t matter who knew what or who loved who. It was always about the game.
Draco pulled away, using the hand that Blaise had recently freed from his torture to hold Blaise at a distance.
“I’m sorry.” His words were so silent that Blaise was surprised he had heard them, he only knew they were spoke by the warm breath that brushed his tender lower lip. They stopped his attack.
It didn’t calculate at first, his mind was too distracted, enjoying what he was sure would be the last time he would allow himself to have the boy, completely. Blaise watched the prefect line of the blonde’s lips and his white fingers wrapped around the dark fabric of his shirt, four red half moons on the back of his hand where his nails had almost broken skin. Finally the words sank in, and he moved his blue eyes to looking at the silver he was so familiar with, staring at him with an intense emotion though heavy lids.
“For what?” He asked, not moving, refusing too. Not yet. Not while he had those eyes look at him like that.
“I’m sorry that you trust me as much as I trust you.” Blaise was lost in the blackness of his pupils when the words were said, and it took him far too long to figure out that they made no sense. As he did, his forehead creased into a frown. Draco was ready and willing to explain once the confusion settled in Blaise, but all he had to do was turn his head and look towards the exit, a stream of light from the hall that wasn’t there before lit the area slightly better.
Blaise followed the gaze to see another pair of equally familiar eyes, and a fissure of pain tore through his chest, nearly causing him to collapse. His lips fell open in horror, and he found himself searching for some sort of air. Had Draco stabbed him? No, but he might as well have.
The look on Hermione’s face was sharper than any knife.
“Hermione.” He whispered, loud enough for all three of them to hear. He saw the light from the hall shine off a tear falling down her cheek before she turned and bolted. Blaise took off after her, too fast to notice that Draco had released him before hand, too fast to notice the blonde shutting his eyes tightly as he was left.
“Hermione!” Blaise could hardly run, the hate from before sucking him dry of energy, but somehow he managed, chasing after her as she hurried away. He was able to catch her, she was too weak herself to outrun him, and he realized when she finally gave up and collapse against a wall, it was because she was sobbing.
“Hermione.” He moved forward to comfort, but she threw her arm at him and it hit him across the face. More painful than any other injury he had ever had, like her hand was poisonous.
“Don’t touch me!” she screamed through her sob, the tears rolling down her face like she was leaking all the water from her insides. It worried him. No one should cry that much. And it was because of him.
How much has she seen? How much had she heard? Merlin he was a idiot. Karma was biting him, hard, his own game that had been going so well had somehow fallen to shit, and he felt somewhat like breaking down with the girl.
If she didn’t stop crying, he was sure he would. He felt this emotion swell in his chest, angst and frustration, confusion, guilt, everything he was feeling over the last few weeks hitting him at the same time, it felt like he was being burnt by a dragon from the inside out.
“I should have known. How was I so stupid!” She was whispering suddenly, her expression blank, watery eyes staring at something, something nonexistent.
“Hermione, I can explain.” He didn’t know what he was defending. He didn’t even know what he should be defending, he couldn’t think, all he was thinking about was how stupid he was, everything he had done wrong.
“What can you explain?” She shouted at him, suddenly back to reality, pushing off the wall and shoving him. He absorbed the violence by taking a step back. He deserved anything she could throw at him and more. He deserved to be skinned. He deserved to drown in his own sorrow. And she would make sure he did. She was always so reliable.
He remained silent, knowing he would never be able to answer. It would take forever. He would have to explain why he was even born. His first mistake.
She sobbed a word that he couldn’t make out, but he was sure it was a muggle saying of exasperation. Her face was in her hands suddenly, and she was sobbing again.
“Hermione I’m so sorry.” It would never cut it, but perhaps it was a start.
She shot her eyes up again.
“I can’t believe you. All this time you told me it was him lying, but it was really you. Playing me for this stupid game. I expected it from him, but you made me trust you. You told me you were different, but you were only worst.” Her words came out so fast it was like being hit with a waterfall, all of them rolling over one another in her rush to get them out, in her pain.
Blaise let another look of confusion find his features before he could stop himself. How had she known about the game. They didn’t even talk about it. She saw it, and let a hysterical laugh out.
“He told me Blaise! Of all people. He told me.” She yelled, pulling out a piece of balled parchment and throwing it at him. He knew what it was immediately, but found himself falling to his knees to grab it and smooth it out. Another realization brought yet another wave of pain.
“No, Hermione, it wasn’t like that.” He struggled for words, too shocked at his misfortune, too betrayed. Suddenly air was gone, and he found himself hyperventilating silently.
“What was it like then? What was it if it wasn’t some stupid mind game for my attention? Was it for his attention? Was it some sick turn on for both of you?”
“No! I mean, it started like that, but I swear, after I knew you, after you opened up, I-.”
“Don’t say you loved me. Don’t you dare! Not when I actually did. Not when you got me to say the words that let you win. God! And all this time I thought he was mad, that I was taking his friend! He was just jealous, anger that he was losing! Do you love him?”
“No! Hermione! I love you!” Blaise was still on his knees, pleading, and he felt the emotion in his throat, choking him. He couldn’t breathe. He need her to understand.
“You don’t love me! How can you love me if you’re willing to hurt me like this? How can you love me if you have to lie just to get me to love you back?”
“Hermione, please. Believe me.” He felt it in his eyes this time, and forced them closed to hold in the liquid that was burning at them. It can’t end this way. She had turned to leave but he leaned forward and grabbed her wrist, pulling her back and wrapping his arms around her waist firmly, letting his face bury in her stomach. He would not let her go until she understood.
Her hands tried to push at his shoulder, but gave up as he felt her stomach quiver in her own cries.
He wished she was yelling again so he could sob and not be heard, but he held it in, too ashamed to allow himself to be more humiliated by crying in the silence.
“What did you get for winning?” She asked suddenly, her words cruel.
“Nothing. I swear.” He tried to give his words meaning. He tried to make them sound true, but he couldn’t get through. She simply laughed her hysterical laugh again. This wasn’t Hermione. He had created some sort of monster in the pain he had inflicted on her. She was unstoppable, and she would kill him.
“Words aren’t sharp enough to describe how much pain you’ve caused me. Are you happy now? Pleased with the outcome? Happy that you won the affection of the bookworm? That you broke me?” Hermione’s voice became distant again, and Blaise knew he was losing her. He rose to his feet and grabbed her face, forcing her eyes on his, a last resort. Would she see the truth, or only the eyes of the boy that had betrayed her.
“Hermione. There aren’t words tender enough to describe how much I love you. Tell me what to do to fix this. Please. “ He had nothing left except the gloss over his eyes and the pain that was ripping at him. His skin was gone he was sure. She had tore it off already in her torture.
She didn’t even realize. Her blank eyes simply started at him for a moment longer before she spoke.
“You can’t fix this. It’s already too broken.” Fresh tears sprouted from her eyes and he shook his head quickly before pulling her to him and kissing them away, then putting his forehead to hers and squeezing his eyes shut again, feeling the pain in his head now, causing that same blankness to fall over him. Surrender. Her lips quivered but no sound escaped them for a moment before she slipped his hands off her and let him fall to his knees again, his eyes unfocused, not even bothering to watch her as she turned quickly and walked away.
Leaving him to finish himself off. Did she know that his own guilt would be strong enough to do the job?
He already felt dead.
Hermione had said he had won, but had he really?
He won the game that had been written on paper, but that game had turned into something else completely half way through. The game was always about her heart, but it went from being the goal, to the prize for Blaise.
And how had he won if he had shattered the thing he was striving to obtain?
No. Blaise knew who had won. And as he sat there at the Slytherin table the next morning, staring at Hermione from across the Great Hall but sitting with Draco like always, he knew who had won. As he sat there, making it look like everything was completely normal again, he knew who had really been playing their hardest.
It was the one person who Blaise thought was no longer a threat. The one person who had played everyone.
Blaise let eyes graze over the half moons on Draco’s hand, still there though faint, and he knew that if Draco could make them scars so that they lasted forever, he would. Only to remind both of them of his triumph.
Blaise lifted his eyes when the hand he was staring at turned into a loose fist, finding those silver eyes, a strange amusement shining in them for a moment before glossing over with something else.
Draco then leaned into Blaise, and on a hot breath to his ear, he spoke in nothing more than a whisper.
“Let’s play a game.”
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