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Clandestine Wishes by ethereallie
Chapter 24 : Didn't have the heart
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 1


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Chapter Twenty-four:

"And though you're holding your breath to be given a sign, your heart cannot be broken in pieces like mine. I just want you to know, the reason behind the rhyme..." Didn't have the heart by Debbie Gibson

"It would have been polite to inform me that you'll be coming home today," Theo said as he strolled towards his best friend.

Blaise threw Theo a sheepish look, "Sorry mate, I didn't know you'd come looking for me again."

Theo sat down, "Good thing your elf was informative enough," he huffed.

Blaise chuckled, "So what brings you here?".

"Nothing really, just checking in to see if you're still alive."

He gestured towards himself, "Still alive as you can see," he replied. He leaned back on his seat to stretch his legs, "Enough about me, how have you been?"

Theo shifted on his perch, "Same, been busy with work," he replied. An uncomfortable look crossed Theo's features, "And I went to Malfoy Manor last night to check if Draco's really back."

He kept his face impassive, "Did you see him?"

Theo shook his head, "Yeah, he's there, but then we really didn't have the chance to talk because I had an early meeting this morning so I left."

"I see. Do you have plans on going back any time soon?"

Theo checked his watch; "Today, in a couple of hours, actually."

He took a deep breath, "Want some company?"

"You want to go?" Theo asked with a shocked look.

"I thought about it for awhile and I've realized that I really do need to see that prick, so yes, I would like to go."

Theo studied him for a few seconds before nodding, "I need to run some errands, do you want to meet me somewhere so we could floo together or can I just meet you there?"

"I'll meet you there."

"I'll be on my way then," Theo said as he stood up from his perch. "See you in an hour."

He found himself nodding, "Yeah."

The slipped his hands inside his pockets and turned on his heels to leave.

"Theo?"

"Yeah?"

He cleared his throat, "Do you think Draco would like to see me?"

Theo halted his steps and turned his face towards him, "Why wouldn't he?"

He folded his arms on top of his chest, "You know our situation."

Theo sighed, "Look mate, Draco has been our friend ever since we were in nappies. I don't think he would hate playing catch up with you after four long years of being AWOL."

"If you say so."

"I'm not going to lie, it's going to be awkward, but then you have a lot of good history behind the two of you, it will work out."

"We're still talking about Draco, right? He's one spoiled little bugger," he huffed.

Theo laughed, "Well if he's that way, channel your spoiled brat self too."

He subtly flicked his wrist and sent Theo a stinging hex.

"Hey!"

He chuckled, "That's what you get for calling me spoiled! Get out of here Knott and do your errands! I'll see you in an hour."

Theo rolled his eyes and began walking towards the fireplace.

"Don't be late!"

"Knott estate!"

He watched as green flames engulf his friend before disappearing with a loud pop. He then moved his eyes towards the balcony and slipped his hands inside his pockets.

oOo

"You're still here?"

Hermione lifted her gaze from the book she's reading, "Hey, yeah."

Kate leaned on the door frame and made a show of checking her watch, "It's quarter past 6 and I'm about to head out."

Hermione's eyes widened in shock, "Oh my! I over-read again - Ginny will kill me!" She snapped the book shut and started stuffing her things inside her bag,

"Better hurry, Mrs. Potter can be really scary if she wants to."

"I'm done, "I can't believe I didn't notice the time!" she said as she slipped her shoes back on. She grabbed her bag and hurriedly made her way towards the fireplace, "I'll see you tomorrow!"

"See you tomorrow, boss!"

Hermione grabbed a fistful of floo powder, "Stop calling me boss!" she chided playfully.

"I'll try to remember, night!"

"Night!" She stepped into the hearth and threw the powder at her feet, "Potter Mansion!"

oOo

"You're late!" Ginny stated as soon as she saw her best friend step out of the grate.

Hermione straightened her dress and smiled sheepishly, "I'm sorry, I over-read and forgot the time."

Ginny rolled her eyes, "That's nothing new. We should get going, I'm quite excited to check this new club I saw in Witch Weekly!" she gushed with excitement.

Hermione's brows furrowed in confusion, "Club? I thought were going somewhere quiet?"

"We're grabbing a bite, but we're partying after—"

"Ginny!" Hermione cut her off. "Did you tell Harry that we will be clubbing after?"

Ginny beamed, "Of course I did! And surprisingly he told me to go!"

"Really?"

"Oh for the love Merlin," Ginny grumbled. She grabbed her bag from the loveseat and shrugged her jacket on, "Let's go to your favorite hole in the wall haunt then we'll check the club next, deal?"

"Deal."

oOo

Luci was arranging her fourth vase for the day when she heard the floo go off. She turned her gaze towards the fireplace and saw a handsome looking man stepping out of the grate. She paused what she was doing and watched as one of the elves greeted their guest.

"Good to see you too, is your Master Draco here?"

"Master is here, Misty will get Master for you, Master Knott."

"Thank you, Misty."

The elf bowed and disapparated with a loud crack.

She waited for a few beats before making her presence known, "You're one of Draco's friend's?"

"Forgive me for my rudeness, but I did not realize you were there. And to answer your question, yes I am one of his friends."

"It's okay and you are?" she asked with a smile.

A small smile curled on the man's lips as he made his way towards her, "Theodore Knott, but you can call me Theo," he said. He then propped his hand towards her, "You are?"

She placed her hand on his, "Luci, I'm Draco's cousin."

Theo lifted her hand and planted a kiss on her knuckles, "Enchanted to meet you, I didn't know Draco has a cousin."

She felt her cheeks burn, "A lot of people don't know about us, I've always lived in Paris, so I guess that explains it," she replied with a nervous chuckle.

Theo gently lowered their hands, but didn't let go. He was about to open his mouth to say something but was cut off with a loud crack.

"Master Draco says that he'll be down in a few minutes and told Misty to tell Master Knott to wait for him in the Sun Room."

She pulled her hand away and cleared her throat, "Why don't you go and make yourself comfortable," she said. She then turned her attention to Misty, "Prepare some tea and cakes for them, Misty, thank you."

The elf curtseyed before disappearing again.

She folded her hands behind her back and threw Theo a small smile, "I trust you know where the Sun Room is?"

"Yes," Theo replied.

"Great, I'll take my leave then, it was nice meeting you, Mr. Knott," she said before turning on her heels.

"Call me Theo and its pleasure to meet you too!"

She bit her bottom lip to keep herself from smiling like a giddy teenager.

oOo

Draco was rounding the corner when he saw his cousin walking towards him. He slowed his pace and quirked an inquiring brow when he noticed the large smile on her lips.

"Just the person I wanted to see!" Luci exclaimed.

"And how may I be of service to you?"

Luci stopped right in front of him, "Someone's looking for you downstairs and he's quite a looker."

"Did you just say that Knott is handsome?"

"Well, he is."

He felt his face crumple with disbelief, "Are you crushing on my best mate?"

Two bright spots appeared on the apples of Luci's cheeks, "I - I'm not crushing on anyone! I just gave him a complement!"

"Your whole face disagrees," he said with a chuckle.

"It does not, you've gone bonkers!"

He shook his head as he slipped in hands inside his pockets, "Is he in the Sun Room?"

"I think so," she replied. She then lifted her hand and slapped his arm, "You're a brat."

"What the bloody is that for?"

"Your friend's doesn't know you have a cousin, are you ashamed of me?"

"Of course not!" he said indignantly. He rubbed the sore spot and fixed Luci with a glare, "And to answer your question, they don't know about you because you haven't stayed in London for more than 2 days and the topic didn't come up."

She seemed to mull over his answer before nodding, "Okay."

"Can I go now?"

She stepped out of his way, "You may pass."

He rolled his eyes, "And here I thought I was the childish one," he grunted as he skirted around her.

"What did you say?"

"I said you're lovely as ever!" he called out as he increased his pace. "I'll see you later!'

oOo

"I don't think my stomach can stand the wait anymore, I'm so hungry," Ginny whined as she eyed the full bistro.

"We could try another place if you would like," Hermione suggested.

Ginny scanned their surroundings and saw a quaint looking cafe across the street, "Have you ever eaten there?"

She followed Ginny's gaze, "Vanilla Twilight, I've been there this morning for a client meeting and they serve excellent muffins there. Want to try it?"

Ginny looped their arms together and started dragging her towards the cafe, "Great, let's go."

"Good Evening! Welcome to Vanilla Twilight" The same maitre d greeted them with a polite smile.

Ginny smiled, "Good evening to you too, table for two please."

"Right this way."

"I can't wait to try their full meal courses here!" Ginny whispered enthusiastically.

She let out a soft chuckle, "I'm sure you can't, you can bring Harry here for a date night."

Ginny studied the quiet room and nodded, "No bloody reporters, I like it."

The maitre d gestured towards the vacant booth tucked in a corner, "Here we are Mademoiselle's, I'll summon a waiter to get your orders. Please do enjoy your stay."

"Thank you," They responded in unison.

Ginny slid into the comfortable seat, "So, how are you and Dray?"

"Took you long enough, you're improving," she snorted.

Ginny's cheeks colored, "Don't be like that, you know that question is coming!"

"I didn't say it wasn't, just surprised that you've managed to hold off as long as you did," she mused. She leaned back on her seat and made herself comfortable before spilling out the beans.

oOo

Draco leaned on the door frame as he watched his best mate sipped his tea. He waited for the other man to acknowledge his presence, but he seemed to be deep in thought. "Theo."

Tea dribbled down Theo's chin as he coughed and sputtered.

He let out a bark of laugh as he pulled away from his perch, "Enjoying the tea, mate?"

"You're such an arse!" Theo hissed as he hastily wiped his mouth.

He plopped down on the opposite couch, "Where were you? You seemed to be in a trance."

"I was just thinking about something," Theo replied.

"Is this about the meeting you've mentioned last night?"

"Y - yeah, I suppose."

He watched a funny expression washed over Theo's face, "Still managing the family business?" he asked.

"I still am and it's bloody boring."

"Look at the brighter side; at least you didn't have to start from scratch."

"I would have preferred if I made my own name, but no luck in that," Theo responded glumly. He then sat straight and shook his head, "Enough about me, I heard you opened up a Potions Store?"

He wanted to ask what Theo meant, but based from his mate's quick deflection, he let it slip. He folded his arms behind his head, "Yes, I did. It's in Knockturn Alley though, you should visit sometime."

Theo smirked, "Been brewing a lot of Amortentia?"

"And a lot of Polyjuice Potion."

Theo threw his head back and let out full belly laugh.

He just smiled in response.

"I never thought you'd follow Snape's footstep, but then, you were his favorite."

"I am his Godson, he didn't have a choice," he replied wryly. He let his arms drop as he leaned towards the coffee table, "What took you so long to visit me?" he asked as he served himself tea.

"I would have, if you told me you were back," Theo bit back with sarcasm. "If I hadn't run into Pansy last week, I wouldn't have found out."

He threw Theo a sheepish look, "I got too obsessed with the shop and neglected to let you know, I apologize."

"You're staying for good then?"

Visions of curly hair and coffee brown eyes flashed through his mind, "Yeah, I believe so," he said with a smile.

"Good, I've missed your scrawny arse," Theo huffed.

His grin grew wider, "Awwww, I didn't know you've missed me this much Knott."

"I didn't - Blaise!"

His head snapped to the side and saw a familiar figure standing by the door. Something akin to bitterness and anger swelled inside his stomach, but he managed to kept his face impassive.

Blaise cleared his throat and began walking towards them, "It's been a long time, Draco."

He swallowed the bitter taste in his mouth and stood up, "Blaise."

Blaise stopped right in front of him and just stared. After a few seconds of palpable tension, he bridge the gap between them and pulled him into a brotherly hug, "It's nice to see your arse back."

He felt the ball of tension melt, "Nice to see you too," he replied gruffly.

Blaise stiff posture relaxed as he pulled away. He walked towards Theo and sat down, "You're early."

"Finished my errands earlier than expected," Theo replied with a shrug. He then volleyed his eyes between them, "By the way, that hug was beyond awkward."

"Theo!" Blaise hissed.

He sat back down and leaned back on his seat, "Shut it," he warned.

Theo emptied his cup and stood from his seat, "I think a talk between the two of you is way overdue, I'll leave you two to it," he said before walking towards the French doors that lead to the garden.

A heavy silence settled into the room when Theo left, making his jaw clench. He emptied his own cup and managed to place it back on the table without cracking it. "How have you been?"

"I've been well, I've been working for the Ministry ever since I got out of Hogwarts," Blaise replied. He then cleared his throat and met his gaze straight on, "I heard you opened a Potions shop in Knockturn Alley?"

"I did, you should come visit."

A friendly smile curled on the Italian's lips, "Been hanging around the old bat in the dungeon?"

He couldn't help it, he let out a chuckle. "I don't think the old bat would appreciate hearing that, Zabini."

"He wouldn't," Blaise said with a false grim nod.

Another wave of awkward silence descended upon them and he hated every minute of it. Deep in his heart, he knew that being angry with Blaise was irrational because he didn't know that he was stepping at his proverbial toes. They kept their relationship a secret and this is just one of its unsavory side effects. He leaned forward and braced his elbows on his thighs, "Theo is right, we need to talk," he sighed.

Blaise took a deep breath, "Yeah, we should."

"I saw you leaving the Rose Garden last week so I know you heard what Hermione and Ginny was talking about."

A short intake of breath escaped Blaise's lips, his eyes wide in shock.

He clasped his hands and let it dangle between his legs, "Look mate, I'm sorry you had to find out that way," he said sincerely.

Blaise seemed to regain his bearing, "If it's anybody's fault, it was mine, I shouldn't have eavesdropped."

"Ask me."

"Ask you what?"

"Ask me why I didn't tell you."

"Why didn't you tell me or Theo?"

He levelled his gaze with him, "Because I was a coward. I was dealing with a lot of pressure from both sides and I was so close to my breaking point. I couldn't come clean to you about my feelings towards Hermione because I didn't know how you would react," he blurted out. He then took a shaky breath and continued, "I - I know that omission is still a lie and I regret not telling you."

Blaise stared at him for a minute, the corner of his lips curling up with an amused grin, "Bloody sodding hell, when did you become so sentimental?"

He grabbed the nearest throw pillow and chucked it towards Blaise, "I haven't gone sentimental!"

Blaise easily caught the pillow and threw it back at him, "Bipolar then."

"Prick."

Blaise threw him a look as he stood up from his seat. He made his way towards the open French doors and slipped his hands inside his pockets, "To set the records straight, I don't blame you for keeping your relationship a secret."

"Okay."

Blaise averted his gaze and stared into the vast garden, "Are you back together then?"

"We're not officially back together, but we're spending time to get to know each other again," he replied. He leaned back on his seat as he watched Blaise's reaction, "Have you spoken to her?"

Blaise shook his head, "No, after the Ball, I left for Italy."

He can't help but feel like crap. He knew that Blaise only goes to his childhood Villa if he's depressed or angry, "You should talk to her."

"Why?"

"You already know why."

Blaise leaned on the doorframe and folded his arms on top of his chest, "I'll talk to her some time, I'm not yet ready."

He found himself nodding, "I understand," he said. He swallowed the bitter taste in his mouth and locked eyes with his friend, "As much as it pains me to admit this, I know she cares for you."

Blaise's eyes widened in surprise, "Did she tell you that?"

"She didn't need to tell me, I know her," he replied. He grabbed the throw pillow to his left and rested his arms on top of it, "And she wanted to take things slow, don't you think that's a glaring sign that she's second guessing her feelings with you in the picture?" he said with pursed lips.

"Are you threatened?" Blaise asked with a smirk.

His jaw clenched with annoyance so he chose to break eye contact, "You wish," he huffed.

"You are! I can't believe this!"

He snatched the pillow off his lap and tossed it towards Blaise, "Shut it!"

Blaise caught the pillow and let it dangle with his fingers. "Wow, I never thought this day would come."

"I said shut it!"

"Fine," Blaise acquiesced. "And I'll go talk to Hermione sometime this week."

He perked up, "Brilliant."

"So, we're okay?"

He mulled over Blaise's question and to his surprise, he was. "Yeah, we're good."

oOo

"Great meal," Ginny said, her face full of contentment.

Hermione smiled thoughtfully, "It was, I think I'll bring my parents, Mum would love it."

Ginny nodded in approval; "She will and I'll bring Harry as well."

"Little Jamey would love the chocolate cake."

Ginny chuckled, "He likes anything with sugar, love."

"You're right."

Ginny tapped her wand on the table and their server appeared, "Check, please."

The server pulled a leather notebook out of thin air and handed it over to Ginny.

She grabbed her bag, "How much do I owe?"

Ginny slipped her new Gringott's card inside and handed it back, "Thanks."

"But-"

Ginny shushed her, "Not buts. I asked you out so I'll be paying; your money is not good here so keep it."

"But Gin—"

"Drop it, you won't convince me."

She stared at the red head's face and she saw no room for arguments. She slipped her wallet back inside her bag, "Fine, but drinks are on me."

Ginny rolled her eyes," Stupid Gryffindor pride."

"What did you say?"

"Nothing, let's just go."

oOo

Theo stood up and stretched his arms up, "I'm tired," he yawned.

"You're getting old, Knott, it's too early to be sleepy," Draco jeered.

"He is old," Blaise piped in

Theo let his arms drop and glared at them, "I had an early meeting at 7, it has nothing to do with age."

He lifted his hand and started checking his nails, "He sounds like a ninny too, what are the odds."

Blaise threw his head back and laughed.

"Whatever," Theo huffed.

"Awwww, don't be upset with me, sweetheart," he teased.

Theo flipped him the bird and moved his attention to Blaise, "Will you be hanging around the ferret or are you heading home?"

Blaise checked his watch, "Actually, I also have to go, I need to be at work tomorrow by 8," he said as he rose from his seat.

"You two are no fun," he grumbled. He stood up from the couch and folded his arms on top of his chest, "Well, it was nice seeing you both. Next time let's drink something stronger and manlier than tea, huh?"

"Tell that to your elf," Theo bit back. He then grabbed his jacket and draped it on his arm, "We'll be heading out now, tell Aunt Cissy that we'll visit soon."

He nodded, "I'll tell her."

Blaise trailed behind Theo, "See you around, ferret, and may the best man win!" he called out before vanishing from his sight.

"Argh, don't remind me!" he called back. He plopped back on his seat and rested his head on the headrest, "Merlin, why did I have to say that," he chided himself.

oOo

Hermione made her way through the crowd while carrying two Cosmopolitan's. She carefully placed their drinks at the table and saw Ginny talking with a familiar looking blonde.

Ginny seemed to sense her presence so she turned her head towards her, "Mimi, you're back!" she exclaimed.

"Yeah, I am," she replied, still eyeing the bloke and trying to place him.

"I don't think she remembers me, Gin," The familiar bloke said with a small smile.

She took a sip from her cocktail, "Should I?"

"He's Dennis, Collin's brother, he's two years younger than us, remember?"

She felt her eyes widen in recognition, "That's the reason why you looked so familiar and you're blonde!"

Dennis laughed, "The hair color often throws people off, it's quite new."

"And it suites you, you look good," she complimented.

"Thank you! It makes me feel more confident now," Dennis joked.

Ginny laughed, "Why don't you join us for a drink?"

"Yeah, join us," she piped in.

Dennis winced, "As much as I want to I can't, I have an early day tomorrow, my boss just came back," he explained.

"He works at the Ministry, Blaise is his boss," Ginny said while giving her meaningful look.

She felt a tiny tinge inside her stomach, "Oh, he's back."

"Just this afternoon, to be exact," Dennis added.

"I see."

"Well, I better be going ladies, are you sure you'll be alright?"

She found herself nodding before taking another sip of her drink.

"We'll grab a drink another time, yeah? Good night," Dennis said before leaving with a wave.

"You didn't expect he'd be back this soon?"

"I don't know what to tell him, Gin, it's just - I don't know," she sighed.

Ginny reached for her hand and squeezed it, "Just be honest with him. Blaise is a decent bloke, I'm sure he'll hear you out."

"I hope so."

oOo

The next day:

The next morning Hermione woke up with a throbbing head; she turned to her side and groaned. She took a deep breath and hugged her pillow close to her chest. "This is the day," she thought. She yawned and began stretching her arms. She lazily sat up from her bed and stared at the clock, "7: 45, I still have 45 minutes before work," she murmured to herself. She scrambled out of the covers and made her way towards the kitchen to set up her morning tea. She was pouring out her favorite cereal when she noticed a large barn owl perched on the windowsill. She placed the box back on the counter before she approached the majestic creature. She carefully took the rolled parchment frown its scrawny leg and offered it a handful of owl treats. She watched the owl devour it before she padded back to the counter. She studied the familiar purple wax seal with trepidation for a moment, "It's now or never," she mumbled as she tore the seal and unrolled the letter.

Hermione,

I apologize for not writing to you as soon as I got back, I had a lot of things on my mind and I needed ample time to sort them out. Now that I'm ready, I would like to invite you to lunch today, if you are free. I haven't seen you in a while and I dare admit that I've missed your company dearly. Please send me an owl if you are able, I'll be on the lookout. I hope to see you soon.

Yours, Blaise

She re-read the letter a couple of more times before letting it drop to the counter. She mulled over her options and came to a realization that she can no longer postpone the inevitable confrontation. With her decision made, she summoned a piece of paper and jot down her reply.

Blaise,

Its nice hearing from you again, Of course I'll join you for lunch. Owl me the time and place and I'll be there.

Hermione

Feeling satisfied with what she wrote, Hermione summoned her own owl and slipped the letter into the holster. "Bring this to Blaise Zabini," she whispered.

oOo

"Ogden's Finest, 1 finger, add it to my tab, please," Blaise said as he slipped into a bar stool.

Tom, the bartender, let out a toothy grin and carefully handed Blaise his drink; "There you go."

Blaise grabbed the glass and emptied it in one go. His eyes automatically shut close as the warm liquid smoothly glide down his throat, settling his queasy stomach. He opened his eyes and placed the empty glass back on the counter, "Thanks," he called out. Just as he swivelled into his chair, he caught sight of her. He felt the familiar pang inside his chest, making his breath hitch. He swallowed the lump inside his throat and pasted a friendly smile on his face, "Hermione, I'm here," he called out.

Hermione turned her head towards him and offered him a small smile. She tugged her bag closer to her side as he made her way through the crowd, "Hey," she said.

He hopped off his stool, "Hi," he replied. He slipped his hands inside his pockets, "I'm craving for something Muggle for a change, what do you think?"

She threw him a surprised look, "Something Muggle?"

"Yeah, something like McDonalds."

"Oh."

He gestured towards the door, "Shall we? I'm quite famished."

She nodded, "Lead the way."

oOo

The tension between them was so thick that Hermione would give her wand arm to make it stop. They walked towards McDonalds with mindless chitchats and managed to secure seats. She offered to get the food for them, but Blaise was adamant that she wait for him instead. Now, she found herself watching him as he took a big bite of his BigMac with gusto. She pulled her Strawberry Yogurt Shake and took a small sip, her appetite waning with nervousness. "It's been so long since I've been here, thank you for taking me."

Blaise wiped his mouth with a napkin before picking up a piece of fries, "It's my pleasure, I've always enjoyed eating greasy food once in a while," he joked.

"Greasy food indeed," she said as she stared at the oil-soaked burger wrapper.

"How have you been?"

She moved her eyes back to him, "I've been well, how about you? I haven't heard from you since the reunion," she threaded lightly.

"I went to Italy; I needed to take some time off for myself."

"I know you heard me and Gin talking," she blurted out.

His face turned solemn as he shifted on his seat, "I did."

She felt her eyes well with tears, "I didn't mean to hurt you, I - I didn't mean to hide it, it's just nobody knew we were together," she explained. When she didn't get a response, she swallowed thickly and continued, "Draco and I, we were together way before the war. I broke up with him because I didn't want him to get into more trouble than he already is. I love him too much to make him choose between me and his parents so I made the choice for him," she paused to swipe the errant tear the escaped her eye. "Truth is, I was a coward, I didn't fight as much as he fought for us and that was the biggest mistake of my life."

"Is that the reason why he left London without saying goodbye?"

She nodded, "He left because he doesn't want to make things harder for me and doesn't want me to hurt anymore-" she took another pause to swallow back a sob. "He - he left because I almost took my life."

A loud hiss escaped Blaise mouth, his eyes wide in shock.

She placed her hands on top of the table and locked her fingers together, "Not my finest moments. I never thought he'd ever come back and I never expected that he'd want anything to do with me. But he's here and he wants to start over - I, I don't want to hurt you, Blaise, that's the last thing I want to do."

Blaise stared at her with sadness, "Are - are you back together then?"

She shook her head, "No."

"Why not?"

She licked her lips and locked eyes with him, "You know the answer to that question," she admitted.

"Is it because of me? Do you feel something for me?"

She threw him a wry smile, "I care for your feelings, Blaise, I care for you too."

"Does Draco know about this?"

"Yes"

"What did he say?"

"He understands."

Blaise leaned on his chair, "I don't understand."

"What don't you understand?"

"Do you love him?"

"I do."

"Then why aren't you back with him?"

"Do you have feelings for me, Blaise?"

Blaise kept silent as he looked away. After a moment, he met her eyes again, "You know what I feel."

"Do you love me?" she asked bluntly.

"Why does it matter?"

"Your feelings matter."

Blaise winced as he mull over her words, "I have strong feelings for you, I want to fight for you, but I also know that it's too early to tell if I'm in love with you."

Relief surged inside her chest, making her smile, "I'm flattered, really flattered, Blaise, but are you sure you still want to fight for me even if I told you that I'm still in love with him?"

Blaise quirked a brow, "Are you already ditching me?"

She impulsively reached for his hand and gave it a soft squeeze, "I just want us to be completely honest with each other. You are my friend and I don't want to lose you because of this."

Blaise squeezed her hand in return, "You will never lose me," he promised. "You are my friend before my feelings started morphing into something deeper, so no matter what happens friendship will still be there," he added.

Fresh batch of tears swelled inside her eyes, distorting her vision.

"Awwww, don't cry, you're making me look bad here," Blaise said, his voice full of humor.

"I'm sorry, it's just hard for me to tell you these things because I know I'll somehow hurt you," she sniffed and hastily wiped her eyes. "Merlin knows that's the last thing you deserve. You are a kind man and I don't deserve you."

Sadness seeped through Blaise features for the second time, "I'm not going to lie and tell you that I'm not hurt, because in some ways, I am. But I'm also not going to stand in your way because I know what you and Draco have gone through to find each other again. You're one of my closest friends and he's my best mate, you've pinned for each other for Merlin knows how long - a love like that doesn't go away, Hermione, what you two have shared is something really special."

Tears rolled down her cheeks, "I'm sorry I've hurt you, I really am," she whimpered.

Blaise lifted his other hand and gently wiped her tears away, "There's nothing to forgive and thank you for being honest with me," he said sincerely. He then let his hand drop, "Having said that, I just want you to know that I'm bowing out, you and Draco have my blessing."

"Oh, Blaise."

Blaise offered a smile, but it didn't erase the sadness in his eyes. "Don't worry about me, Hermione; I'm going to be okay."

She folded her arms on top of the table and rested her chin on top of it, "I really feel bad, I don't like that I've hurt you."

"Want to make me feel better?"

"Anything."

Blaise smile turned mischievous, "Don't tell Draco yet."

"Why?"

Blaise leaned back and folded his hands behind his head, "Let's just say that I want payback. That wanker hid these things from me, his best friend! Don't you think he deserve a little grief for it?"

She couldn't help it, she chuckled.

"He got the girl I like, I think it's only fair to let him sweat."

"Fine, my lips are sealed," she easily acquiesced.

oOo

Blaise apparated inside his room and collapsed in the nearest loveseat; he braced his elbows on his knees and buried his face into his palms.

"You okay?"

Blaise let his hands drop and wasn't a bit surprised when he saw Theo leaning on the doorframe, "Are you my Mum now?"

"Don't be an arse," Theo bit back as he pulled away from his perch.

"Okay, my babysitter then," he deadpanned.

Theo ignored him and took a seat next to him.

He clasped his hands together and let it dangle between his legs, "I went out to see Hermione today," he said.

Theo studied his face, "She dumped you."

He scowled at his best mate, "I did not get dumped, I bowed out you arse!"

Theo waved his hand dismissively, "Semantics."

"Whatever and stop looking at me like that!" he snapped.

Theo's features suddenly become solemn, "I thought you love her?"

He averted his gaze, "I do," he sighed.

"Did you tell her?"

He shot out of his seat and walked towards the window, "She's in love with Draco and he's in love with her too. They've waited years to be together again, I won't get in the way."

"Did I ever tell you how much I look up to you?"

He turned his face towards Theo, "You do?"

Theo nodded, "I do, because I know that behind that tough exterior you really are a good man."

"I'm not that good."

Theo studied his face, "What do you mean?"

He cracked a smile, "I told Hermione to hold off on Draco, to not tell him that I bowed out."

Theo blinked a few times before bursting into fits of laughter.

He turned his attention back to the window, "That little bugger deserves a little payback for keeping his love life a secret, don't you think?"

"Slytherin through and through, I like it," Theo said proudly. "Tinky!"

A loud pop resounded inside the room, "Master called Tinky?"

"Bring us a bottle of Ogden's, your Master and I will celebrate," Theo said.

The elf flicked her fingers and a bottle whiskey and glasses appeared on the coffee table, "Does Master want Tinky to serve?"

Theo shook his head as he leaned towards the table, "You are dismissed Tinky, thank you," he said. He popped the bottle open and poured a hefty amount on each glass, "Come on over here, mate."

He retraced his steps back and accepted the glass, "What are we toasting for?"

Theo smirked, "To freshly broken hearts!"

He scowled, "Very funny, Theo," he said as he clinked their glasses together.

"Okay, I have another one." Theo tipped his glass towards him and grinned widely, "To getting dumped!" he cheered.

"I ALREADY TOLD YOU, I DID NOT GET DUMPED!"

"Whatever you say, mate!"

He flicked his wrist and sent a stinging hex on Theo's leg.

Theo yelped and accidentally emptied his glass on his trousers; "Damn you, Zabini!" he screamed.

"I love you too."

oOo

"How dare that Mudblood Slut!" The hooded figure screamed. "After whoring herself to Malfoy, now she's cuddly with Zabini? Who does she think she is!"

"Calm down, Master..."

"I cannot let this go on! Too much pure blood has been tainted it's time to eradicate that scum!"

"I'm at your command."


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