A Fair Game

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Story Notes:

ABC Challenge #33: C – Candid for fangirlwithak

Originally Published: April 12, 2006

The library was always quiet on Saturday mornings. It was one of Hermione’s favorite times to visit because she rarely had to worry about running into students frantically revising or doing homework they’d put off until the last minute. People who were in a hurry tended to make more noise than those who were simply taking their time. The pages of the books turned faster and there would sometimes be torn parchment and softly muttered curses.

On Saturdays, however, it was practically empty. Some days, she wouldn’t see anyone the entire time she was there before breakfast. It wasn’t that surprising since not many students were up as early as Hermione tended to wake. This year, especially, she’d been sleeping less and waking with a sense of restlessness that drove her to the library before Madam Pince even had it open. Fortunately, Hermione had earned the librarian’s trust and had the codes necessary to sneak in during the morning, with Dumbledore’s approval.

On this particular Saturday, Hermione had sought peace in the library so she wouldn’t have to see Ron snogging Lavender, which always ruined her breakfast, or Harry drooling over Ginny, which was nearly as pathetic. There were only a few students scattered amongst the aisles at this time of morning. The silence was welcoming as was the familiar scent of books. Hermione made her way to the History of Magic section, which was usually deserted and near the back so she could be alone.

Once she was seated, she opened her Charms book and began to work ahead, taking notes on her parchment and paying particular attention to anything that might useful for Harry to know should anything happen. Perhaps it was paranoia to prepare for such an event, but she’d been in the hospital after the Department of Mysteries and knew she was extremely lucky to have survived, and that Sirius had not, so Hermione simply saw it as being prepared. She could hear Moody’s voice in her head urging ‘Constant vigilance’, which she’d found out personally was a good motto.

She had been there half an hour when she became aware of the sensation of being watched. It wasn’t a familiar feeling as most people never gave her much thought, but she knew when someone was staring. After all, it was how she had met Viktor during fourth year. She’d felt him staring and after several times of having their gazes meet, they’d finally spoken. They had ended up becoming friends, and, for a brief time, something more.

Hermione tossed her hair over her shoulder in a way that allowed her gaze to discreetly scan that part of the library. The aisle where her table was located wasn’t very big so it wasn’t difficult to find the only other occupant of this section. He was seated near the end, by the Magical Language books, and was leaning back in his chair in a way that should have looked far less graceful than it did. His uniform was neat even if his green tie was askew and the top buttons of his shirt weren’t properly fastened. If anything, that added to the picture he was obviously attempting to create.

Blaise Zabini in the library was something she couldn’t recall ever seeing, not that she’d ever paid that much attention. She honestly hadn’t even known his name until they shared a small Potions class and were members of Slughorn’s little club this year. He was a Slytherin who hadn’t deliberately attacked her, either verbally or physically, so there hadn’t been a need to learn anything about him. There wasn’t a book on his table and he didn’t even pretend to be studying. He also didn’t seem to notice that she was looking at him, which gave her an opportunity to study him and try to predict whether he was a potential thread or simply bored.

He smiled suddenly, a flash of white against dark skin, and he raised his gaze deliberately to meet hers. She looked away quickly, flushing as she realized she’d been caught staring. She was then annoyed as she remembered that he had been looking first. Her book was still open so she went back to taking notes, doing her best to ignore him when he continued to stare openly.

It didn’t distract her from the fact that a Slytherin, one she really knew very little about and that seemed possibly dangerous in ways she couldn’t quite understand, was looking at her. Before she could begin to analyze his behavior and decide if he was thinking up schemes to make her life miserable, as seemed to be one of the House goals for Slytherin, the chair beside her was pulled out.


She glanced over and said coolly, “Zabini.”

He simply smirked at her tone and his gaze moved slowly over her at a far too close distance to ignore, lingering on her breasts in a way that made her blush before they looked at her legs. He reached out and had the audacity to drag his fingertip along her knee and upward as he pushed her skirt up. Hermione stopped gaping at the feel of his finger against her skin, reaching down to stop his progressing as she glared.

“I was simply seeing if those freckles went higher,” he said in a lazy drawl. “Consider it an experiment, if you must in that logical mind of yours.”

“There will be no experiments involving my legs, thank you,” she said tightly, wondering if it could be considered justified if she hexed him. Unfortunately, she could see her opportunity to become Head Girl diminish if she chose such an action so she continued to glare instead.

“What about other parts of you?” he asked in a voice that told her what exactly was meant in her mum’s paperbacks when it said ‘he spoke silkily’. He dragged his tongue along his full bottom lip as he looked at her in a very inappropriate and unfamiliar way. “I’m sure I can think of a multitude of ideas to explore if you’re willing.”

“I don’t know what sort of game you’re playing, Zabini, but I’m busy so shove off,” she told him firmly, refusing to let him fluster her.

“Shall I speak candidly, Hermione?” Her name rolled off his tongue in a way that made her skin warm and almost distracted her from the knowledge that he was a Slytherin who was deliberately toying with her.

“I’d think you’d want to leave before someone might see you talking to a Muggleborn,” she remarked casually, unable to say Mudblood even if she was trying to prove a point.

“Why should I care what any of them say?” he asked in a bored tone. “I may have little use for Muggleborns but I have never been one to behave based on ridiculous expectations or presumed rules.”

“Go away, Zabini,” she finally muttered when it became obvious that he wasn’t going to be swayed by thoughts of someone seeing them talking.

“No,” he said in a tone that was obviously amused. “I happen to like this seat.”

“You’re aggravating,” she told him matter-of-factly. She didn’t see any reason to soften her words since she didn’t with her friends and certainly wouldn’t with someone she’d spoken maybe two dozen words to in six years before this morning. “You’re also interrupting my studying so I’d appreciate you at least being quiet if you insist on sitting there.”

“You’re not the only person at this school that is stubborn,” he murmured as he focused his attention completely on her. “I don’t plan on going anywhere until you listen to me and I sincerely doubt you could ever ignore me, Granger.”

Hermione tried to focus on her book but it was impossible with him sitting so close that she could hear his breathing and could smell a hint of cinnamon. Finally, she looked at him and saw his smug smile of triumph. “Fine. I’m listening, Zabini. You have five minutes.”

He arched a brow and leaned back in his chair with that same lazy sprawl that was definitely something Parvati would describe as sexy. He tapped his long fingers against his chair, rubbing the wood as he deliberately took his time before speaking. It only seemed to provoke her further, which made his lips curve into an amused smirk.

“I’m bored,” he announced bluntly. “Everything around here is tedious and predictable, and no one provides any sort of stimulating challenge. Except you. I find myself intrigued by you, much to my surprise. Therefore, I thought it only sporting of me to make you aware of this fact so you could prepare for your eventual surrender.”

“Surrender?” she repeated sharply. “You bloo---“

His finger touched her lips to stop her curse and he smiled as he proceeded to trace her mouth with his fingertip as she blushed and tried to recover so she could be properly angry at his sheer gall and nerve. “I could have you now if I chose, Hermione,” he said in a confident tone that actually lacked unnecessary ego. He moved his fingers down her neck and brushed his knuckles over her collarbone before she even had time to realize he’d moved. “However, I enjoy the chase, especially when my target is so delectable and feisty. I do like a fair game, though, which is why I was so candid with my intentions. It’s simply not as fun if my prey doesn’t even realize they’re being hunted.”

“I’m not prey,” she told him when she managed to find her voice. She slapped his hand away from her chest, where it had gotten far too close to the swell of her breasts. “Stop that, Zabini.”

“Blaise,” he purred as he leaned closer. His breath was warm against her ear and she bit her lip when his tongue reached out to tease her earlobe. “Say my name, Hermione.”

“Zabini,” she warned tightly, reaching down to remove his hand from her thigh where it had crept up beneath her skirt.

He chuckled and dragged her earlobe into his mouth, nibbling on it in a way that made her have to fight not to moan. “Say it, Hermione, and I’ll leave you to your books. For now.”

“Blaise,” she whispered huskily, hearing him groan as his lips ghosted over her cheek. She shouldn’t want to kiss him. She should push him away, tell him she wasn’t about to play his stupid games, and then ignore him. Instead, she felt more alive than she had in months, and she was honestly intrigued by the sincerity she’d seen in his straightforward gaze.

“Good girl,” he murmured as his lips brushed lightly against hers.

He pressed closer when she didn’t protest or pull away, kissing her more firmly as she released her quill and brought her hand up to grip his neck. It was a kiss unlike any she’d ever experienced, lacking the gentle sweetness of her few kisses with Viktor. When Blaise pulled back, he blinked and looked as shaken as she felt but recovered quickly.

“Until next time,” he said with a flash of the smirk that was already becoming familiar as he stood up. He glanced at her lips again and seemed to hesitate but shook his head slightly and walked away with an effortless grace that caught her attention.

Hermione sighed once he disappeared from view, closing her eyes as she took several deep breaths that she let out slowly. She ran her hand through her hair and lightly traced her lips, unable to focus on research at the moment. Her mind was rapidly working through everything that had just happened, trying to logically explain it all and analyze until she had some sort of answer.

She finally decided that this would take time to figure out because Blaise Zabini was an unknown in most ways. She needed to do research to determine if this was just some whim of a bored wealthy wizard or if he had possibly felt the heat and chemistry that had shocked her or if it was some nefarious scheme intended to hurt her. She opened her eyes and smiled slightly as she realized that this was the distraction she seemed to need.

The End