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» elixireleven on Wed 22 Dec, 2004 @ 12:00am
Title:Slytherin Solidarity: Canto III – Of Dust, Dragonhide and Dreamscapes
Posted On:2004-12-22 00:00:00
Posted By:» elixireleven
Slytherin Solidarity
Summary: The journal of Blaise Zabini falls open, revealing the story of the last Slytherins before the great battle begins. A house broken and torn from the inside, and the greatest of loves – lost to the ages.
Pairings: Blaise/Hermione
Category: Darkfic/drama/romance
Rating: R
Disclaimer: A non-profit adoration of J.K. Rowling’s characters. No money is being made by this endeavour and characters, places and curses remain the property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Books, Warner Brothers and all those other profiteering bigwigs.

---

Slytherin Solidarity
Canto III – Of Dust, Dragonhide and Dreamscapes

---


Complete exhaustion has a strange way of seeping into the limbs. The synchronicity normally provided in waking life seems to fade at times; it pauses and restarts itself, affixing the sluggishness to both mind and body. What’s worse, Blaise realized as he stalked the deserted halls of Hogwarts in the waning afternoon sunlight, is that it causes the images passing before the eyes to flicker and falter, producing strange superimpositions on the ancient stones and tapestries.

Dragging his feet, his deep indigo eyes scoured the castle with no particular purpose to his wandering. The Slytherin realized he’d merely draw himself away from the inevitable, avoiding what had come to pass was the best way he’s learned to survive – but at that moment, with his hands stuffed into the pockets of his school robes and his eyes combing the Gothic architecture that surrounded him, he couldn’t shake the numbness that was percolating in his bones. Distraction was most welcome. It would, he reasoned, keep him company with his tired and battered thoughts.

The vaulted ceilings sprawled twenty feet overhead, an architectural wonder, really – that such a curvaceous and beautiful structure could support the tons of mortar and sandstone used to build the old school. Muggle ingeniousness at its height – in later years the Gothic style had spurred a revolution of designers into countless revivals, fashioning furnishings, churches and ornament around the fashion, he’d learned through Muggle Studies. He’d dropped the class after fifth year, unfortunately. Draco had said studying a lower life form was nearly as drab as looking at the archaic remnants of odd and extinct magical fungi. Then again, Draco never quite captured the concept that regardless of what he’d been led to believe as a child, wizards and muggles have, and always would be, linked intrinsically – whether the pureblood elite liked it or not. The tapestries and portraits of these hallowed halls said exactly that.

His head was hurting again. The lack of a proper breakfast, adequate luncheon and consummated with the absence of a night’s rest were beginning to creep up on the Slytherin, so when the disembodied, floating silver form drifted through the west wall and aligned itself with Blaise’s slow stride he didn’t think much of it. Ghosts were common enough at Hogwarts, there were very few who were entirely unsociable, and fewer attempted to physically interact with the students deliberately. The fact that Blaise had been periodically seeing things that weren’t actually there out of the corner of his eye may have attributed to his slow response when the phantom raised its arm, placing a translucent hand on his shoulder and sending an icy chill through his flesh. He glanced around quickly, too quick in fact, for the sight that greeted him was not something he expected in the slightest. The face of the spirit, lightly dappled with silver freckles, shining pale eyes, thin turnip nose and square jaw were enough to send him staggering backwards into a suit of armour in shock and fright.

Blaise crumpled to the floor with a thud, his tailbone searing painfully, as the metallic contraption clattered in pieces on top of him. Struggling to relieve himself of the armour and cursing loudly, Blaise looked up again to find the staring, floating figure gazing at him interestedly. The boy’s smile had morphed into a small frown, the nose was longer, the limbs stockier – in fact, it wasn’t the same ghost he’d seen but two moments ago. In the place of small, silver freckles, was the light scattering of tiny, hoary drops of blood. The tunic itself was splattered heavily in shining gore, the clothing both ancient and resplendent. The Bloody Baron, Slytherin’s ghost, floated above him motionless, before shaking his head imperceptibly and tipping his wide-brimmed hat with a small bow, then drifting through the east wall.

“Barking,” Blaise muttered to the empty corridor. It couldn’t have been, it was impossible; his very eyes had just proved it otherwise… But he could have sworn that it had been Ted in the Baron’s place only moments before. Shaking himself roughly, Blaise stood, brushed himself off and decided it was about time he packed away some food before he completely cracked and they’d have to levitate him to the Hospital Wing.

Rounding the corner and preparing the descent four floors to the kitchens, the disembodied voices of three distinguishable Gryffindors carried all the way to the spot where Blaise had frozen mid-stride. It sounded as if a heated debate were carrying on between Weasley and Granger, obviously, there was nothing new there – the two sods had a row practically every other day.

“…But Hermione!”

“No buts, Ronald, I know what I saw,” she stated in annoyance.

“Well maybe you should go see Madam Pomfrey and have her check your vision. It’s impossible!”

“What is?” she fumed, “the possibility that perhaps there are more things going on in this school that we know about? It’s not like any of us are chummy with them.”

Blaise cocked an eyebrow and leaned against the wall. This could prove to be interesting. Never in his seven years at the school had he heard a member of a different house sticking up for one of his own. Chancing a glance over his shoulder to make sure the corridor was deserted and there was no one exiting the library, ghosts or human, he relaxed behind the bend and out of the Gryffindors’ direct line of sight.

“So you’re defending him, then? Is that it?” The Weasley’s voice rose in volume slightly.

She blustered, “No! I just think it’s best to analyze the situation the best we can.”

“Hermione! What’s there to analyse?” Ron stamped his foot. Blaise rolled his eyes and made himself comfortable against the stone masonry. The effing child was going to draw this tirade out, undoubtedly.

“It’s all an illusion! He’s just trying to get you to see things his way so he can suss you into some devious mind game. All-Slytherins-are-Death-Eaters! They’re no good, the lot of them.”

Another voice sighed. “Guys, perhaps this isn’t the best place to carry on this discussion. Anyone could walk by.”

Weasley scoffed. “Right Harry, you’re just trying to delay the inevitable.” He paused, “Or maybe they’ve gotten to you to…”

“Ron, stop it! Look, I saw both of Zabini’s arms and they were perfectly clear of any markings. Furthermore, he –” She quieted abruptly.

“What? He what?!” The redhead was practically yelling.

“Ron shut up!” Potter hissed.

“Let go of me, Harry!” Weasley lowered his voice menacingly. “What did he do to you ‘Mione?”

“Nothing, Ron, he just –”

“If he laid as much as a stinking, slimy finger on you –”

“Ron, stop it! You’re overreacting!” She sounded more frantic than exasperated by this point. “He didn’t do anything!”

Well, that last statement wasn’t entirely truthful – if you counted the fact that he’d probably gotten more action lying on top of the girl fully clothed than Weasley had seen in the last seven years. Blaise grinned at the thought, slimy indeed.

As much as he disliked the witch, Blaise had to hand it to her; she was doing a right good job of covering her own arse right about then, even if she did sound partially hysterical.

“I don’t believe a word of it,” Weasley hissed. “When I find out what that smarmy bastard’s up to –”

“Ron, I think someone’s coming,” Potter said quickly, a nervous hitch in his breathing.

Granger continued, ignoring Potter’s warning. “You didn’t see his face Ron! The look in his eyes when he said…” She faltered. “It was awful.”

Blaise heard her suck in a breath, if he didn’t know better he’d say the little chit was about to bawl, and over him no less. This day couldn’t possibly get any stranger.

“He just wants your sympathy, ‘Mione – A nice shoulder to cry on, now that his Death Eater buddy’s rotting. I bet it was a set up.” There was a sound of a fist smacking an open palm; Blaise bristled awaiting the next words to fall from the idiot’s mouth. Unlatching the holder on his wand, he extracted the delicate rowan instrument silently. Weasley continued, “I bet his own housemates killed him to set an example.”

That instant, as Blaise flung himself around the corner, there was a sizzle and a loud smack as a body hit the ground. At the opposite end of the corridor, Malfoy, flanked by Crabbe and Goyle were advancing on the party of three rapidly, wands drawn and robes billowing behind them. Potter had leapt back and was attempting to untangle his wand from the waistband of his pants; Granger was staring with her mouth agape at her fallen friend.

In an instant, Draco descended on the downed Gryffindor and thrust the tip of his wand into the taller boy’s neck, wrapping a fist into the front of his robes to draw his face up to meet his.

“Say it again,” he hissed through clenched teeth. “Please, Weasley, do me this honour. I’d like nothing more to try out some experimental curses on your miserable hide.” Draco’s face, though partially concealed by a fan of platinum blond hair, was pinched and blotchy scarlet in places. From where Blaise stood, a mere three feet away from Weasley’s sprawled form, he noted the large vein thrumming in Draco’s neck. Definitely not a good sign. Throwing a glance at Goyle, the larger boy intercepted Potter and pushed him towards the wall to clear the area in case of one Draco’s jinxes flew wildly. Crabbe looked towards Granger, standing with her back to the Italian, but Blaise shook his head and reached out for her hand. He didn’t have the opportunity, however, because as Draco released the gangly wizard and stepped back a pace to take better aim, Granger shoved the blond Slytherin roughly out of the way and leapt on Weasley herself.

The strangled sob the Head Girl emitted as she pulled him up to his feet by the front of his robes was nothing short of incredible. For a moment, Blaise thought he’d misheard a grunt or some sign of effort in pulling the wizard to his feet. It was only when he noticed the tear coursing down Granger’s cheek that he knew something was a little off, his suspicions were confirmed, however, when she drew back her hand a smacked Weasley across the face.

Draco gaped. Potter stopped struggling against Goyle, and Greg actually released him, his deep-set eyes latched onto the spectacle before him. Crabbe stared after the Gryffindor’s retreating back as she turned heel and tore down the length of the fourth floor corridor and out of sight. Blaise blinked, shoved Weasley out of his way and into Potter, and snatched Draco by the armpit, heaving him down the corridor after her.

It was a moment before Malfoy returned to his senses and struggled free of Blaise’s grasp. “Zabini, what the fuck do you think you’re doing? I had a perfect shot at him!” The blond waved furiously at the long end of the corridor where Weasley and Potter stood staring dumbly in between each other and the withdrawing Slytherins, Ron rubbing his reddened cheek. “Blaise!” Draco shouted. Blaise however, had other things in mind as he swept down the staircase with his three housemates at his heels, Draco spluttering angrily. “Damnit, Zabini where are you going?”

“To find Granger,” he said levelly.

“The hell for?” Draco’s voice echoed off the deserted stairwell, as the staircase they were descending rasped against its fixtures and began to swing in a wide arc to reposition itself. Pausing, shoulders squared, Blaise spun around to face him.

“To thank her for such a creative display of house loyalty, what do you think Draco?” he snapped.

Malfoy narrowed his eyes, behind him Crabbe and Goyle were looking between the two wizards and shuffling awkwardly, as if they weren’t entirely certain which way they should lean their loyalties if they were to split and go in opposite directions.

“You had something to do with this, didn’t you?” he replied with a calculated air. Blaise turned away and marched off the last stair, not wanting his housemates to see him bristle. On the one hand, Granger had just slapped the daylights out of someone who was supposedly her best friend, something Blaise would ordinarily laugh hysterically at for hours afterwards. On the other hand, she’d reacted violently for a member of a rival house who had enough slated against him even in death to cause a stir in the Ministry – even if the allegations were unfounded. What was worse is that she’d reacted out of sympathy for him. She’d said so herself! The display at breakfast had been quite enough, to think that she’d seen something in his face when they’d sat by the lake was enough to have Blaise reeling. He was nothing but guilty as charged.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he retorted and continued to stride down the next set of steps. Malfoy paused at the landing, Crabbe and Goyle behind him looking between each other worriedly.

“Zabini you owe no gratitude towards that filthy mudblood.” Draco’s words echoed in the large stairwell. Blaise, however, paid this last quip no heed and continued walking, leaving his friends behind him.

Draco continued to holler after him, “It’s not safe, Zabini – mixing with their kind! You can’t let your guard down around them!”

Incensed, he only realized when he’d reached the first floor that he had no idea which way Granger had gone. Like he’d actually try to understand Granger’s motivations, he just wanted her to stop whatever sympathies she’d sprouted and get on with her life. Draco’s complaints had distracted him thoroughly, and he now found himself apparently alone in the deserted foyer. All the better, he needed to think, clear his head –

“Ah, Mr. Zabini!” Blaise stiffened and turned around slowly. “Just the man I’ve been looking for,” Dumbledore, robed in long swishy robes of deep purple stood before the stairs leading down to the kitchens.

“Sir,” he said. So much for solace, Blaise thought as he inclined his head slightly towards the Headmaster. Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled behind his half-moon spectacles, as he gestured in the direction of the kitchens.

“I was just on my way for a mid-afternoon tea; would you care to join me Mr. Zabini? Perhaps an informal atmosphere and a bit of pudding would still your wanderings for a short time.”

Blaise’s stomach rumbled in response. Bugger it, he’d find Granger later. He’d deal with Draco later as well, along with Edsel and Samuel and every other bloody thing that could possibly come to pass on this positively spiffing day. Right now, Dumbledore’s invitation sounded mighty appealing. The shelter of the kitchens and a sandwich, concluded by a nap in the sanctity of his bed hangings would do him wonders. He obviously wasn’t thinking clearly, he had just seen the face of his recently deceased best friend and he could have sworn he had he just been running after Granger.

The aged wizard smiled benignly at Blaise’s lack of response, and led the way down the set of steps to the kitchens. Pausing before a large portrait of a bowl of fruit, the wizened man tickled a fat yellow pear. With a giggle, the fruit morphed into a brass door handle, and Dumbledore opened the portrait, guiding the Slytherin inside.

Several House-Elves scurried around squeaking and carrying loaded trays of sandwiches, biscuits and tea, while the Headmaster took a seat at what appeared to be the replica of the Hufflepuff table. The room was large, the walls covered in an assortment of cooking utensils, pots, and pans. Arranged similarly to the Great Hall, the four house tables stood bare in the middle of the room, later to be filled by the evening’s dinner and sent up through the ceiling. Dumbledore gestured for him to take a seat across from him, as a house elf with greying hair tufting from its ears pushed at his legs with a large plate and motioned for him to take a seat.

“Mr. Zabini,” Dumbledore began, looking less bemused and somewhat grave. “Please, have a seat and enjoy a well-deserved snack,” he said gesturing at the teetering pile of sandwiches. “I daresay the subject matter we will be discussing shortly will leave you bereft of your appetite.” Glancing at the aged wizard, Blaise reached for a ham and cheese creation and took a bite tentatively. His stomach snarling in response, he proceeded to consume no less than eleven quartered pieces of bread, meat and cheese, intermittently slurping at his pumpkin juice. When he was sated, Dumbledore surveyed the Slytherin above his spectacles. Though he tried to conceal his discomfort beneath the Headmaster’s gaze, Blaise had the distinct impression that the wizard knew precisely what had happened between dawn that morning and the very sluggish thoughts dragging themselves through his head at that very moment.

“Due to recent events,” The Headmaster began, “I feel it is best to discuss with those who were closest to Mr. Nott certain things which have come to light.”

Blaise stiffened, suddenly fully alert and attentive.

“Professor Snape informs me that the members of your house are drawing closer together in this time of tragedy. I am aware, Mr. Zabini, of your ties to Mr. Nott and the friendship you shared. I am most sorry for your loss, Blaise.” Dumbledore’s eyes had lost their glint temporarily; he wore a small frown that caused the wrinkles in his weathered skin to sag into large creases around his mouth and eyes. “I must ask you, however, in the dark times ahead to remain vigilant and to be strong.”

Blaise nodded dully.

“Mr. Zabini, as you are no longer a child I must speak to you as an adult now. Though as Headmaster of this school you are still under my careful watch, you will not be forever. I am well aware of the rift being created by the onset of war, choose wisely Blaise. Guide those who will follow you where you can.” The light blue twinkle was back. Dumbledore was deliberately dropping a suggestion; the old wizard always knew whenever something particularly ghastly lurked in shadowy corners and beneath unturned stones. What is was exactly, Blaise had no idea.

“I’ll do my best, Sir,” he replied, noting that his mouth had gone somewhat dry.

“Good.” Dumbledore smiled benignly once again. “I trust you will make the right decisions Blaise. There will be many who will look to you for guidance in the future – you are undoubtedly one of the brightest in your year, and I daresay one of the most ambitious. The courage you demonstrated today alone was most worthy of your House’s reputation.”

Blaise could barely stop his eyebrows from shooting up. Never in ten lifetimes did he ever think to hear Slytherin synonymous with courageousness. The Headmaster merely chuckled in response.

“Today, you chose to protect Edsel Nott and remove her from a potentially scarring situation. It was an act of selflessness that is rare among the Slytherins if I’m not mistaken, and yet you moved to guard her in her mourning. You see Blaise, the defining lines are never so cut and dry, black and white.” He paused, “Red and green.” He looked at the Slytherin meaningfully. “I may have been a Gryffindor once myself, but that does not stop me from valuing all of my students equally – regardless of the colors they wear. Remember that in the days to come.” Dumbledore stood from his seat and stroked his beard thoughtfully. “If there is anything at all that you wish to discuss Blaise, please remember that I will always lend an open ear, free of bias or discrimination.”

“Thank you, Sir. I’ll bear it in mind.” Blaise found himself shocked to admit, he actually meant it. If ever there was an ally at Hogwarts, it was the Headmaster, surely. He would be damned to see any more of his friends fall to the madness wrought by the Dark Lord if he could help it.

Dumbledore was twinkling again. “Get some rest, Mr. Zabini. I daresay you’ll need your strength up.” With that, the purple-clad man ascended the stairs and disappeared in the swish of a star-strewn cloak.

Blaise propped his elbows onto the table and clutched at his ebony locks. The wood grain was beginning to swim before him, the sleeplessness and swirling cocktail of emotions finally beginning their descent. If he kept up the brave face any longer he’d crack. N

» elixireleven on Thu 16 Dec, 2004 @ 12:00am
Title:Slytherin Solidarity: Canto II - In This Haze of Green and Gold
Posted On:2004-12-16 00:00:00
Posted By:» elixireleven
Slytherin Solidarity
Summary: The journal of Blaise Zabini falls open, revealing the story of the last Slytherins before the great battle begins. A house broken and torn from the inside, and the greatest of loves – lost to the ages.
Pairings: Blaise/Hermione
Category: Darkfic/drama/romance
Rating: R
Disclaimer: A non-profit adoration of J.K. Rowling’s characters. No money is being made by this endeavour and characters, places and curses remain the property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Books, Warner Brothers and all those other profiteering bigwigs.

Slytherin Solidarity
Canto II – In This Haze of Green and Gold

---


September 10, 1997.

Ted’s dead.

He couldn’t stop shaking. The tremor in his hands had broached the point of reasonably uncontrolled and had all but overtaken his ability to write legibly. The two words stared up at him from the weathered parchment of the dragonhide-bound journal, but it didn’t make it anymore real. Overhead, the clock chimed 4:00 a.m. Dawn would break soon, and then the school would explode.

And Draco told me not to go to him.

Blaise pinched the bridge of his nose between a thumb and forefinger. He couldn’t look at his mates directly, though they were seated around him like a protective battalion.

And I listened to him.

He dropped his quill, a fine spotting of black ink dotting the hearth rug.

Draco had physically restrained him, not long after to be joined by Pansy, clutching at his sides and cradling his head to her chest. The girls had barged into their dorm shortly after he’d begun screaming – he’d woken the entire house bellowing Theodore Nott’s name, over and over, until he’d grown hoarse from the effort.

It had been Higgs who’d had the fortitude to get Snape, and Snape to summon Dumbledore and Pomfrey. Everything thereafter was a blur of red, white and green. The scene kept playing itself out in his mind. There was so much blood. They’d draped the lifeless body of his best friend in linen, and bundled the carpets to take them for cleaning. Blaise hoped they’d burn them. He recalled Draco’s speech; the magic is in the blood, and bit down on his lip to keep from howling again.

The word “Don’t,” echoing eerily in his exhausted mind. He was a fool, and his hesitation had cost his friend his life.

Blaise sat in Draco’s seat facing the hearth fire, he did not wish to glance at the table and chairs where Ted had sat only hours before. He wanted no reminders of the ghostly trail left by his best ally. Tracey and Pansy were curled next to him, Parkinson’s soft blond curls fanned over his legs. Looking down at the delicate girl, he noted the streaks of dried tears on her cheeks; she’d cried herself into exhaustion and fallen asleep where she lay. Draco, however, was stolid – he hadn’t broken yet, and nor had Crabbe or Goyle. The three were sitting in chairs facing the fire, Goyle snoring lightly where his chin dropped onto his shoulder.

Higgs was another matter altogether, he’d remained awake the entire time, curled into a foetal position with his arms hugging his knees. Though every half hour or so, his breathing would change and he’d hyperventilate for a good five minutes or so before picking up a paper Honeydukes bag nearby and breathing into it harshly. Intermittently, Tracey would wake from a half-sleep with a harsh gasp – her dreams chased by nightmares since she’s fallen to slumber. Draco would reach over every time her eyes snapped open and would stroke the palm of her hand until she’d settle once again, all the while never removing his slate grey eyes from the crackling fire. Millicent had locked herself in the girl’s shower, Tracey had said around two o’clock the large girl had stopped howling into the running water, but had refused to come out thereafter.

It wasn’t until nearly six in the morning that the common room door opened and Professor Snape entered looking sombre, with a sallow-faced Millicent shuffling behind him.

“Slytherins,” he addressed them, his tone grave as the black-clad man gently guided Millie to a seat near Crabbe, who opened his arms and pulled her onto his lap, she was shivering visibly and her wiry hair was damp still. Snape looked at each of them, the lines around his onyx eyes more visible than ever. His gaze rested on Blaise for a moment longer before turning to address them all as a group. “As seventh years, you are looked on by the younger members of this house. Although it grieves me to have to tell you this, I expect each of you to be present at breakfast this morning. A great tragedy has befallen us, but we cannot show weakness in the face of adversity.”

Blaise blanched.

“We must not,” Snape continued, seeing their horrified expressions, “Lose all sense of ourselves entirely. It will take great strength of character from each of you, but the younger students will look to you for both guidance and succour.” The Professor looked diminished and worn, regardless of what he was telling them – it sounded as if he did not like it one bit. Pansy had roused herself from Blaise’s lap and was now clinging to his arm, a glance at the girl showed her lip to be quivering. “You will be excused from lessons for the next few days, but your presence is crucial at mealtimes.” At this, the teacher visibly stiffened and a familiar hard look came over his features. “I will not have my students wasting away from lack of proper diet and sleep, is that understood?” He gave them all a penetrating look. “You will all need to be strong, for yourselves, for the house and for the school.” Draco straightened in his seat and an impassive look claimed his angular features. The Professor was right of course, the facade they presented to the rest of the school would determine if anyone could break them. From Draco’s expression, and the groused appearance of both Crabbe and Goyle, Blaise knew that regardless of how empty they felt, none would let anyone see it – no one other than their housemates. Tracey’s lips were set in a straight line, and Daphne was rubbing her eyes, wiping away the last tears and beginning to harden her expression.

“You all have my permission to use the Prefect’s bathroom on the fifth floor as it is that the seventh year dorms will need to be cleaned. You will find a fresh change of clothes for each of you, as well as some of your personal belongings already there for your use. Since I may not offer this privilege solely to the young men in my presence, this invitation is extended to the ladies as well. Please see to it, Ms. Parkinson, that you keep that quivering lip in check.” She nodded, clutching Blaise around the bicep a little more forcefully than necessary, though her lip continued to quiver slightly. “Ms. Bulstrode, although you have spent the better part of the night in the showers, you may accompany your housemates as well. I do not expect any of you to be separated over the next few days, in fact, I would advise against it strongly. It would not be prudent to let your guards down, I daresay, regardless of whatever misfortunes befall this house; your fellow students may attempt to test your resolve.” He grimaced, folding his arms. “I cannot stop any of you from being reactionary, though do try to maintain some semblance of decorum if you feel you must rise to their remarks – especially you, Mr. Malfoy.” Snape shot the blond a look, though once he turned his back the boy sneered openly. “I will return this evening if any of you wish to share counsel privately.” At that, Snape made a point of looking at Blaise. Unintentionally he felt his back stiffen as he gave the Professor a curt nod. With that, the older man turned to sweep out of the room. At the door he paused, and addressed Blaise over his shoulder. “When you are ready, Mr. Zabini, the Headmaster wishes to have a word with you in his office.”

“Thank you, sir,” he replied stiffly.

As the teacher left, Blaise threw a cautious look at Pansy, and carefully pried her fingers from his upper-arm. There would be bruises, of course, but Blaise knew he wouldn’t feel them for a long time – he was numb, completely and utterly. A dull tingling spread through his fingers as he snapped his journal shut and tossed it into a corner of the couch, as he stood and helped Pansy to her feet. Draco nodded and rose, followed quickly by Goyle and Crabbe, who lifted a weak-limbed Millicent along with him. Daphne and Tracey were soon to follow, both with grim expressions set to their faces.

The only person who remained seated and shaking was Higgs, though he was quickly lifted by his collar by Greg, who then proceeded to brush him off and give him a sharp slap to his cheek to cause him to focus. The two boys nodded at each other, Blaise nodding at Malfoy and then at the girls.

It was Malfoy who spoke first, their unofficial leader and representative taking it upon himself to lead the crew out into the harsh glare of the school corridors. “Right, then, shall we?” He gestured at the door in a demure manner, the mask already set to his face with a small, pink-lipped smirk already in place. Blaise gave him a perfunctory nod and proffered his right arm to Pansy, who still seemed to tremble slightly though her face was moulded perfectly for the outside world, her lips pursed and eyes narrowed. He would have to push down the bile in his throat along with his emotions for a few more hours. Blaise could do it; Blaise could poison the entire effing student body by tainting their pumpkin juice if he had to. It was in this frame of mind that the seventeen year old designee of the Zabini legacy snapped the fastenings on his robe, and tucked his wand austerely into a concealed pocket of his sleeve. Pity the fool who crossed him this day.

“Strength in numbers,” Millicent mumbled shakily from next to Crabbe, though her back was straight and shoulders set.

“Strength in numbers,” the rest replied as a group as they left the security of the dungeons.

---

Breakfast was going to be an obscene affair and a fantastic assessment of wills, Blaise mused as he strode down the Charms corridor and turned abruptly, leaping to catch a moving staircase before it swung too far out of reach. Vince and Millie were the only stragglers, but just barely, as everyone else had made the stair before it ground into motion.

He let his eyes rove over the portraits as he continued down the steps towards the Great Hall, his expression set like chiselled marble. Breakfast would just be starting; ergo the Slytherins’ entrance would not go unnoticed – Draco’s idea, obviously. Why? Who in Hades knew? He’d long ago written off Malfoy’s penchant for the dramatic as self-serving and flamboyant.

Blaise cracked his neck audibly. Hearing the satisfying pop he arranged his features in such a way that could be taken as passive. He could hold it up for an hour or so, and if he faltered, someone would cover for him. They always did.

Raking one long-fingered hand through his dark locks, he made a last diagnostic check on his appearance by pressing his fingers into his clothing, and briefly into the angles of his face. His hair was straightened enough to hang past his ears, at the back it often brushed his shirt collar but it never got long enough to be obscenely shaggy. He was tall enough for his age, muscled enough to cause a stir if a patch of flesh showed, but not enough to be labelled a ‘lumpy couch’ by any means. Everything else about him screamed Adonis, from his arched eyebrows, firm jaw line and trademark Italian nose – somewhat longish but the size balanced out his other features, inclusive of his full lips and rather girlish eyelashes, which Pansy repeatedly told him she envied him for.

He found it was best this morning to charm the bloodshot look out of his eyes – if he had to meet anyone’s gaze he’d prefer that all they saw was the strong color of deep oceans, unmarred by unshed tears and infected with sleeplessness. His clothing he’d found were cleaned and pressed immaculately thanks to the superb staff of house elves the school offered. Everything was tailored for his height and build, his shoes polished, tie tucked in neatly to the charcoal grey school sweater, and robes draped perfectly over his broad shoulders. He knew he looked good, and he carried himself as such – even if he felt like three-week old tripe.

Nearing the Entrance Hall, Pansy sidled up next to Draco and tossed her curls over her shoulder. Tracey had seen to it that she’d collected herself, and after dumping Pansy on a bench on the boys’ side of the lavatory, Draco had attacked Pansy’s sagging and limp ringlets with a ferocity that went unrivalled in magical hair care.

Blaise slowed his pace, letting the group merge ahead of him. Catching the wafting aroma of eggs and bacon, his stomach rolled, forcing him to pause mid-stride and swallow – hard.

“Zabini?” Draco cast a hard look in his direction just before the doors of the Great Hall.

“Go on, I’ll catch you up,” he said, sucking in a deep breath to quell the rising bile in his throat. Shaking himself, Blaise picked up his stride and filed into the Hall.

Silence permeated by fervent whispers and the shuffle of cutlery greeted the Slytherins upon entry to the Great Hall, the house flags had been replaced by black curtains bearing no emblem and overhead, the sky remained grey, still virginal to the morning sunrise. Many of the students looked up as he passed them, Blaise noted, but his gaze was fixed on the empty end of his house table. He wouldn’t bear the distraction of forced condolences, not yet. He wouldn’t suffer the stares and curious mutterings of these vultures. Heads would roll before that. Reasserting himself, he set his jaw and swept to his place among the seventh years of his house.

For a moment, he merely stared at the empty spot on the mahogany bench next to him, before averting his gaze and focusing on the empty dining ware before him and clenching his jaw shut firmly, an unfamiliar prickling tugging at the corners of his eyes. Draco slid over to occupy the empty spot and poked him, roughly but discreetly, on his thigh below the table. Blaise merely shot him an acknowledging glance.

At the Teacher’s Table at the head of the Hall, Dumbledore was standing, preparing to deliver the news, as if the pecking order hadn’t already heard.

A Death Eater was dead, slashed up his arm real fine – right through the Mark, did you know?

Blaise glanced down the row of students seated at his table and caught the hardened gaze of Samuel Nott, before the boy turned his amber eyes back to his plate and continued to brutalize his breakfast. The fourth year’s face appeared oddly blank, though the look in his light eyes betrayed him. The younger brother of his deceased best friend had made no quarry the night before as to how or why Ted had killed himself; he’d merely nodded and retired to his dormitory with that ugly, stony look in place.

Blaise could have spat his disgust it was so palpable.

At the head table, Dumbledore was clearing his throat, only to be broken off by a choked sob, as a small, ashen-face second year leaped up from the Ravenclaw table and ran the length of the room, throwing herself bodily into Blaise’s arms. The best he could do was shut his eyes and wrap Edsel Nott in his embrace, as her noisy crying sliced through the silent morning air.

“Shhh, Eddie. Hush now,” he whispered, stroking the child’s long hair and rocking her on his lap. “It’ll be ok, I promise.” The words were lost on the twelve year old, however, as she continued to sob into the crook of his neck. He chanced a glance around the Hall, noting dually that not only was the entire student body gaping at this spectacle, but one face in particular stood apart from the rest of the crowd. The Head Girl, a Gryffindor and muggle-born witch, was looking at him with an expression that could only be described as pity, unshed tears sparkling in her doe eyes, and her mouth tugged down at the corners in a small frown.

Incensed, Blaise clutched the shivering Ravenclaw to his chest as if to shield her from their collective, unscrupulous stare. Ganger’s expression was worse than the combined snivelling and whispers of the entire school; in that one flicker of emotion in her eyes, she’d marked the Slytherin as a human capable of compassion, and it would not do at all to be branded as such. Not now, not in the days to come. Not ever if he had any say in the matter. In one swift motion he lifted himself off his seat, Edsel in arms, and strode away from the table, carrying her from the Hall.

Her choked wails echoing through the Entrance Hall, Blaise carried her the length of the foyer, down the school steps and out into the crisp air outside. He didn’t look back to see if anyone followed. Rather, with the top of Ed’s head tucked beneath his chin, he carried the light bundle of a child all the way to the lake before placing her on the grass and wrapping his school robes around them both to shield them from the early autumn chill. As her sobs gave way to sniffles, the pale hazel eyes that were so much like her older brother’s turned on him, looking for reassurance. He found he couldn’t meet her stare; he had no words of comfort for the small girl, especially when he had none for himself.

“You haven’t cried yet?” she asked softly.

Staring towards the dark trees of the Forbidden Forest he shook his head in response, his throat clenching involuntarily. A light mist was forming over the lake and beginning to spread towards the bank on which they sat.

“You will, won’t you?”

He sighed, his gaze remain trained on the line of old sycamores ahead of them. The sun was barely peeking over the treetops in the east, casting the sky in a light purple-grey hue.

“It’s not healthy if you don’t, you know.” He glanced at her, not a trace of jest on her soft features.

“I know, Ed. I will.”

Edsel rubbed at her lightly freckled cheeks, wiping away the last traces of tears. It wasn’t such an odd characteristic of the young Ravenclaw to grow steely so quickly. Many of the Ravenclaws Blaise knew were sops, but things tended to be slightly different when the rest of your family came from Slytherin.

“Blaise, will you be like my eldest brother now that Ted’s gone?”

He stiffened slightly, remembering the cold look on Samuel’s face in the early hours of the morning. “You have an older brother, still, Edsel.”

Her eyes narrowed and she pulled away from him slightly, measuring him with a look that would make Bulstrode jealous of her predatory features. The young blue and bronze clad girl was shrewd, no doubt. Blaise sighed again, “I’ll be here for you always, Eddie.”

Her features softened, though she whispered mournfully, “Samuel should have died.”

“Ed, don’t say that.” Blaise squeezed his eyes shut. “You don’t mean it –”

She sniffed. “He’ll never be half the person Ted was. He’s just like my father.” With that, Edsel Nott pushed away from him, a loud sob choked on the cold breeze, and tore across the grounds in the direction of the school.

Turning his gaze back on the tall trees on the opposite side of the lake, Blaise grit his teeth and stilled himself momentarily, trying to stifle the white hot prickling in his chest before the anger welled up and he exploded. The entire school and half of Hogsmeade would hear him if he did.

Instead, he breathed heavily through his nose, shut his eyes tight and tried to sooth the rushing sound in his ears. Edsel may not have expressed herself fully, but Blaise knew damn well what she meant. Samuel had grown into the footsteps of Nott Senior, where Ted had not. Sam would have taken the Mark gladly and cowered dutifully when asked, a scrap of power, a dab of fame was all it took to persuade him. Ted did not. Ted had chosen to take his own life instead of succumbing to servitude under the Dark Lord. Ted had chosen the path of the righteously unaffected, before he could be turned into a monster himself. Samuel found shame in his brother’s sacrifice; Blaise could feel it – as hot and soiled as the angry throb in his veins.

How in Hades could he protect someone who wanted to wilfully place their neck on the chopping block?

Glaring at the forest beyond, Blaise was startled out of his seething as a loud flapping and the crackling of branches punctuated the still backdrop. Out of the treetops, a large, black, skeletal creature soared high into the air above the forest. It’s black, membrane-filmy wings spread wide, Blaise could just make out the emaciated body of a black winged horse before it snapped its maw, and dove back into the foliage.

A Thestral.

He shuddered involuntarily and shifted his weight to stand, unable to tear his eyes away from the now gently swaying branches. Never in his life woul

» elixireleven on Mon 13 Dec, 2004 @ 12:00am
Title:Slytherin Solidarity: Canto I – The Death Eater’s Son
Posted On:2004-12-13 00:00:00
Posted By:» elixireleven
Slytherin Solidarity
Summary: The journal of Blaise Zabini falls open, revealing the story of the last Slytherins before the great battle begins. A house broken and torn from the inside, and the greatest of loves – lost to the ages.
Pairings: Blaise/Hermione
Category: Darkfic/drama/romance
Rating: R
Disclaimer: A non-profit adoration of J.K. Rowling’s characters. No money is being made by this endeavour and characters, places and curses remain the property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Books, Warner Brothers and all those other profiteering bigwigs.

Slytherin Solidarity
Canto I - The Death Eater's Son


---

September 9, 1997.

Ornery. There is no better way to describe a Slytherin other than “ornery”. In the grand scheme of things the house has broken down roughly into three categories over the course of the last four years due to the influence of many people’s parentage and the jingling of galleons in front of their offspring’s faces. Slytherin could now be loosely defined internally, by the supporters who went willingly, the supporters who were forced into it, and those who remained ambivalent to the whole charade, which generally suggested that they were non-participatory – choosing to save their own skins before all else, though they were very few in number.

Of those who were coerced, Terrence Higgs, we’d learned, would blanch three shades whiter if one were to mention the words “inheritance” and “Dark Lord”, in the same sentence. Millicent and Daphne would take turns coming up with associated descriptors that would cause the brunette to falter, on one occasion they’d pushed him so far in one day by repeating certain key phrases like “delayed trust fund” and “Ministry inheritance taxation policy”, causing Higgs to develop a twitch above his left eye.

It’s been approximately two weeks since I’ve returned to classes; to say it’s been rather quiet is an understatement. Even Ted’s relegated himself to the confines of the dormitory. We’ve barely exchanged two words to each other since August. I’ve chosen to follow up on the curriculum from last term, more Arithmancy, Charms, Potions, Ancient Runes, Advanced Transfiguration and Defence Against the Dark Arts – load of bollocks if you ask me. Since Lupin and Moody, we haven’t had much success with the class, although the Professor this term seems to have some sense at least. What will happen in the upcoming weeks, I am uncertain – the war is brewing – I’ve heard it in the whispers of my housemates, many of whom have grown unnaturally hushed. Perhaps the reality that many of us will have to fight and few will survive has finally become apparent, Draco thinks so. He won’t say anymore than that however, he’s not the self-sacrificing type. In fact, I don’t think any of us are.


Blaise set down his quill and rubbed at his temples thoughtfully. Across the common room, Goyle and Crabbe were frowning over two rather long lengths of parchment and Draco was seated on one of the leather divans facing the fire, not really focusing on anything, merely staring blankly into the crackling hearth. Though his expression was unreadable, Blaise knew if he’d turned Drake around and looked hard into the boy’s slate grey eyes, he would see the gears turning with a ferociousness that went unrivalled in their year, save perhaps, for the Italian Wizard himself.

The atmosphere in Slytherin House had changed drastically since the student’s return to Hogwarts. There were no more games of exploding snap, no light tinkling of breaking chess pieces, rather, the House had drawn inwards, and chosen to ensconce itself in pensive silence, rather than become outwardly explosive like the Gryffindors, or bawl loudly and haplessly like the Hufflepuffs. Even the Ravenclaws were acting snappish and ill-tempered. His housemates weren’t languishing, exactly – there was simply no time for it. The silence that was wrought from the impending battle was dappled with the thoughts of calculation; many of them were laying the foundations of their survival, Blaise knew. No longer children who could carry on under the protective wing of their family legacies, they had come to it at last. Strictly speaking, the Slytherins were learning exactly what it meant to fend for themselves.

His head hurt, a wrathful, sharp little pain jabbing like needles beyond his eye sockets. The headache had been persistent over the last week and a half, from the moment Blaise realized a large carrion bird had perched itself over the Slytherins. In its shadow, the dark haired boy had sat back, stunned, and watched as the seeds of dissent had been sown amidst his housemates.

It had begun with Theodore Nott.

Ted, fondly referred to as Teddy or Timmy by the ladies of the House – but never ever by his full name, was one of Blaise’s oldest friends. He was the first person that the young Zabini heir had been acquainted with upon arriving in England when he was still a plump, round-faced bambino of five – just barely off the boat from Florence, where his family hailed. Ted was, at age five and three quarters, the diabolical spawn of the lesser of seven demons straight out of Hades. A wicked sense of humour and several well-placed dungbombs after their first encounter, Zabini and Nott had become fast friends. The youngest of three children, Ted was the sandy-haired, wan faced brother that Blaise never had, and frequently, their parents had to pry them apart from their daily excursions around their respective manor houses. On several occasions the boys had “pretended” to get lost in the Nott hedge maze so they wouldn’t be forced to separate and return to their respective dwellings, which were a shy hundred and fifty acres away from each other. At age nine, the pair had enacted an impromptu blood ritual of sorts, where although no magic was actually invoked, they managed to slice open their palms on a sharp shard of shale and create a bond of sorts between them. Oddly enough, their “blood brother” rite had actually established something of a link between the two, regardless of the fact that they were both too young and too stupid to realize the fortitude of the magic involved. For years after, Blaise could have sworn he knew exactly what was going through his friend’s head whenever he was feeling some particularly strong emotion. Ted would swear he would see Zabini’s comforting face in his dreams whenever he’d have nightmares, which, incidentally, had become more frequent over the last seven years. Nott Senior was one of the Dark Lord’s minions, after all. Given the fact that the boy he’d chosen as his rival had thus far been unsuccessful in his defeat/suicide, the majority of the wizarding world was still putting up with his murderous and maniacal bullshit.

So, it was nothing of a shock to the Italian Slytherin when over the summer, he awoke with the feeling that his left forearm was being scorched from the inside out. A bubbling, festering pain that caused him to rip apart his bed hangings and retch over the side of the bed consumed him, complete with the reverberating screams he heard through his dreams for the following weeks. Ted had turned seventeen, and as he was of age, his father had promptly delivered him to the Dark Lord.

Glancing around low-ceilinged common room, Blaise noted his best friend seated at a table in the corner, his head in his hands and draped by the shadows. The wan, stringy boy remained motionless. From his vantage point, seated in a large green and silver armchair that Blaise had reserved for himself since Marcus Flint had vacated the school some years before, he could not see his friend’s visage. Blaise knew however, that the tight knot pulsating behind his eyes was because of Teddy, nonetheless.

Just as Blaise snapped his journal shut and prepared to cross the distance to his friend, Ted’s head rose slowly, a lock of ashen hair falling over his forehead and into his eyes as he turned to look at Blaise. He’d sent an owl immediately after the incident in the summer, but to his chagrin it was not returned. In fact, Ted had been avoiding most everyone since school had resumed. The pale-faced boy looked awful; there were dark rings below his eyes causing the light hazel to stand out starkly against his sallow skin. In the wavering torchlight, the angles of his cheeks and jaws barely drew the flesh across his frame. He looked mentally and physically battered. Meeting Blaise’s stare, Ted shook his head once and rose from his seat, preparing to escape to a place where his former best-friend either couldn’t find him, or couldn’t reach him. They’d been playing this cat and mouse game for the last fourteen days, and Zabini was beginning to tire of his role.

As Blaise rose from his seat, Ted bolted from his chair, robes flapping behind him, as he strode quickly down the staircase to the boys’ dormitory. About to follow him, the black haired boy was quickly cut off by a firm “Don’t,” echoing off the walls of the chamber.

Malfoy hadn’t moved in his seat other than to turn his head slightly and talk over his shoulder. Seeing that the Italian had paused, he returned his gaze the hearth fire as Blaise descended on him in six feet two inches of indignant fury.

“Don’t what, Draco?” he seethed, as he stormed around the couch and stood over the lithe blond. “He may not be on your list of priorities right now, but he is definitely on mine! That,” Blaise jabbed a finger roughly towards the staircase, “is my oldest friend. You’ll be damned before you tell me what to do when it comes to him.”

“Has it not occurred to you, Zabini, that perhaps he has nothing to say to us anymore?”

Blaise balked. “The hell are you on about Malfoy?”

The blond lifted his grey eyes upwards and locked on the face above him. Blaise stood an imposing six foot two inches, and carried his bulk well. A firm diet of pasta and seafood in his childhood had caused him to develop an athletic build early on; to say his figure was imposing was an understatement.

“Solidarity, Blaise,” he said evenly. “He thinks that it’s best for the house.”

Blaise gaped at the smaller boy. Fumbling for a reply to this particularly ludicrous statement, Draco merely took in his housemate’s expression and nodded to the open space on the couch next to him in invitation. Not letting his gaze waver, Blaise slumped onto the divan and turned to face the younger Malfoy. Returning his gaze to the fire, Draco’s expression never changed as he began to speak. True, Blaise was only vaguely familiar with the inner workings of the older British wizarding families – his own father could never absorb the loyalties of the British when his heart still resided with the old clan of their homeland. Rather, the Zabini family interests lay in the ancient catacombs of Florence and Rome, and among the floating streets of Venice. Their ancestry and bloodlines took root in a place untouched and untainted by the Dark Wizard’s influence. Guillermo, his Papa, placed his stock in tradition – something that only came away in parts from his birthplace when they immigrated. The conquest and subsequent struggle for power here, he claimed, was total rubbish.

Composing himself, Blaise uttered only one word to his comrade and housemate, “Explain.”

Draco cleared his throat, but his expression remained passive as he began, “We are a house like family. You’ve been here as long as I have to understand how Slytherin is perceived. Yet the goals and values of this house have never wavered from the time it was established. Our tenets have ever been the same; loyalty, lineage, pride, power. These are values that have been passed on to many of us from our parents, and to them from our grandparents, and to them from our great grandparents – and so follow the line of tradition. For many pureblood English families whose children have grown up in Slytherin, the ethical code has been the same for generations. The other houses have left us bereft, cast us out, deemed us snobbish, elitist, partisan even – and so we turned inwards to those who had like values.”

“Together we stand…”

“Divided we fall. Exactly.” Draco glanced at him then, the slate grey of his eyes roiling and stormy. “When the Dark Lord came to power the first time, many of our parents chose to side with him because he was a compelling leader – he spoke of values that concerned the fading wizarding bloodlines.” He shrugged. “It was a matter of self-preservation in the light of a potentially dying species of wizards. You see, it’s always been a practiced tradition to keep the magic among us strong. The idea may seem a little medieval these days, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that when the notion of blood purity came about, genetics were never a question.”

Blaise nodded.

“It’s all so stupidly Machiavellian really.” The blond snorted derisively and waved his hands dramatically. “The end justifies the means.” He chuckled. “Anyhow, many of our parents were swayed by his motivations and moving speeches. More pomp and circumstance than actual substance if you ask me, a lot of families were killed in the first wave when they realized how far he was willing to go to achieve power. Annihilated because they thought that murder and torture were not appropriate methods to maintaining the bloodlines,” he said, quirking an eyebrow at the Italian in a self-deprecating manner. “For those who remained it became a matter of staunching the flow from the wound so to speak. A lot of our parents will never admit it, and with good reason I might add, but they remain supporters of You-Know-Who because going against him would mean killing off another line of pureblood wizards.”

Draco’s lip curled. “It’s disgusting. But it’s a matter of preserving the wizarding race that comes before all else.” He looked at Blaise imploringly.

“Alright, Drake. I follow you, but what does this have to do with us exactly? What does it have to do with Nott?”

Draco surveyed his friend shrewdly for a moment before replying.

“He has the Mark.”

“I know but –”

“Which means,” he continued as patiently as he could, “it’s his turn to choose. It’s our time to choose, Blaise.”

The two seventeen year old wizards surveyed each other in the flickering firelight. Blaise ran a hand roughly through his hair and exhaled, he hadn’t realized he’d been holding his breath. A curly lock of ebony dropped into a deep indigo eye and he blinked before making a swipe at it with an olive skinned finger.

“Ted’s father robbed him of that decision, Draco,” he replied, his tone sombre.

The blond boy scoffed, his lip curling as he leaned towards his housemate, “Hardly.” There was a gleam to his eyes Blaise hadn’t noticed before; it made them flash steely in the low light of the common room. “That despicable sack of shit may have played a part in conceiving Theo, but ultimately, we,” he gestured broadly at the common room at large, “are his true family.”

Blaise snorted, “That is some seriously fucked up, flawed logic, Drake.”

The blond looked taken aback, before he smirked and leaned back against the leather divan, carelessly throwing an arm across the backrest in a gesture that was reminiscent of the belligerent, obnoxious little prat that Blaise had grown up with. It made him grin stupidly at the familiarity of one simple gesture, and put him largely at ease.

“Not at all, Zabini, not a smidge,” he drawled. “Most of us don’t put our stock in a tradition such as your own. You can’t tell me that you don’t see your family differently than I see mine – my father’s a bastard.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “Nott’s father’s a bastard. Pansy’s mum has been trying to marry her off for years and Millie’s been the object of criticism and loathing as long as she can remember because she wasn’t born a boy to carry on the Bulstrode pedigree.” He nodded towards Crabbe and Goyle, still scowling over their parchment a few yards away, “Those two barely speak to their parents. Products of neglect, they are.” Draco leaned forwards putting his elbows on his knees. “Goyle has never even received a hug from his mother – ever. Last summer he told me that one of his house elves nursed him.”

Blaise cocked an eyebrow, well that would explain a lot.

“The point is,” Draco continued. “We’re all products of dysfunctional family situations. Save for you, of course.”

He was right of course; the Zabinis were typical of a large Italian family – through and through closely knit. The fact that they were wizards did nothing to hinder the fact that their blood was stronger for it by far, emotionally and physically. If he couldn’t rely on them, for their meddlesome, protective ways that were invariably steeped in something far stronger than tradition – the brew wrought of kin, love and honour. They were a loud lot, every slight thing that happened turned into a melodrama where someone would either beat their breast and tear their robes or gush, kiss cheeks with wet smacks and proselytize at top volume. Being raised in England, however, Blaise had skilfully tiptoed around his family’s mannerisms and managed to rear himself in a way that was demure and sophisticated in front of others, only rarely showing glimpses of his most basic instincts that involved noisy conversation and frequent fits of passion. He liked to think his family were romantic, in a raw and unbridled sort of way.

“So,” Draco sighed, “While it may seem foreign, Nott does in fact have his head screwed on straight for once.” Blaise snorted.

“I don’t see how being reclusive in light of recent circumstances contributes to house unity. In fact it seems like the exact bloody opposite of what Slytherin stands for; he might as well throw himself at the mercy of the Gryffindors if he’s going to continue on acting like he’s above and beyond all this by trying to escape it.”

Draco’s featured hardened quickly. The lions of Gryffindor were always a touchy subject, unfortunately, what with the ongoing rivalry with Potter and all…

“He’s trying to protect us,” the blond Prefect hissed. “It’s the best bloody thing he can do right now! Unless of course you think having a Junior Death Eater running around is the safest policy for this house.”

“Malfoy I think you’ve underestimated the numbers, there are plenty of You-Know-Who’s minions around here who do their job dutifully, Ted isn’t one of them!” Blaise’s head was beginning to throb viciously, the pain no longer a dull prickle, but an assaulting itch that was growing rapidly every other moment.

“Don’t you think I don’t realize that!” he spat back. “It’s not what he’s willing to do; it’s what’s expected of him now that he was the brand on him!” Malfoy was shaking visibly now, in a fury or in fright, it was hard to discern by the shifting storm clouds in his eyes.

“He won’t do it.” Blaise said firmly, and pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.

“Of course not, you sod! The problem is what he’s going to do instead!” Malfoy’s voice rose an octave, it did absolutely nothing for the ache between Blaise’s temples.

“Stop shouting Malfoy, please.” Blaise tried to reason. It was one thing for him to lose his temper on a reasonably good day, but with the pounding in Blaise’s temples he didn’t think he could take it much longer. “Well he won’t turn spy if that’s what you mean. Not with his father.” Draco paled visibly and slumped back against the couch.

“No, he wouldn’t.” Malfoy’s eyes narrowed, it was the last thing Blaise saw before his vision blurred out of focus, the pain in his skull was reaching a crescendo. He wouldn’t be able to make it up the stairs to Pomfrey for a potion if it got any worse.

“He won’t run either. The Dark Lord always finds his servants.”

The pain in Blaise’s head was screaming, he squeezed his eyes shut tightly as the first wave of nausea hit him.

“Something’s wrong…” he mumbled, he didn’t know it, but later Draco would tell him he began to sway in his seat from the dizziness.

“What is, Zabini?” Draco’s words were muffled, like there was cotton in his ears. His tongue felt odd in his mouth, like he was going to be sick.

“Blaise?” Draco’s voice was coming from far away. But it didn’t sound right; it didn’t have the sharp accent that Draco’s aristocratic tongue carried. It sounded curiously like… Ted?

Dragging himself to the edge of the couch and preparing to vomit onto the woven hearth rug, as fast as it had come, the pain ceased entirely. Blaise stilled, and looked down at his polished black school regulation shoes.

“Blaise?” Draco had scooted closer and placed a measuring hand on his back.

The tall Slytherin gathered himself and began to stand when his vision became overrun with colourful spots, and he blacked out completely.

Blaise? Tell my mother, Blaise. Tell her

» elixireleven on Mon 13 Dec, 2004 @ 12:00am
Title:Slytherin Solidarity: Prologue
Posted On:2004-12-13 00:00:00
Posted By:» elixireleven
Slytherin Solidarity
Summary: The journal of Blaise Zabini falls open, revealing the story of the last Slytherins before the great battle begins. A house broken and torn from the inside, and the greatest of loves – lost to the ages.
Pairings: Blaise/Hermione
Category: Darkfic/drama/romance
Rating: R
Disclaimer: A non-profit adoration of J.K. Rowling’s characters. No money is being made by this endeavour and characters, places and curses remain the property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Books, Warner Brothers and all those other profiteering bigwigs.
Author's Note, A Forward: Obviously those of you who stand slightly cleverer than the rest have surmised that these aren't journals per se - in my spare time I write Harry Potter fanfiction without any shame. What is to follow is an experimental novel I'm working on for 'The Dark Arts' at fictionalley.org.

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Slytherin Solidarity
Prologue: The Manifesto of Mr. Blaise Zabini

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The unravelling began as the first russet and gold leaves began to fall in the year nineteen hundred and ninety seven, crisped as the weather turned cool and the students of Hogwarts School donned their scarves and pulled their cloaks up the shield them from the sudden chill of an early autumn. There is no once upon a time, for this is no fairy tale, rather, this was the beginning of the end as I’ve learned to see it in the years since the Fall.

My full name is Blaise Domani Luciano Zabini; I am twenty two years old, an Italian by birth but English by rearing. My father, mother, and I left our country when I was still a very small child, and my two sisters had not even been as much as a twinkle in my father’s eye. In our household as children, we were taught in the way of our ancestors – the Strega Tradition, passed on through the Italian bloodlines reaching further back in history than the renaissance. True, the name Zabini finds itself entwined with the Medici and the Borgia, these days I find it almost amusing to shrug off our dark past in the face of those who question how and why we came to subtle influence in the Wizarding world. But even so, these purveyors of the myth of ruthless ambition really had no idea just how persuasive my ancestors were. Our family’s browned and dust-covered collection of poison recipes astounds me still, sometimes.

If you have found these memoirs then perchance you will find offered here the explanation that has eluded many, even those that survived the last battle. What I address here, however, is not that fateful day in the summer of the year I turned eighteen. In fact, at that time I had boarded a boat with the few treasures I stole from the ruins of Zabini manor and had set sail to Sicily, to find and care for my Grandmother and cousins who would undoubtedly feel the backlash of the greatest battle our world had ever seen. By then, my entire family was slaughtered, my friendships destroyed, and darkness had come to reign. By then, the magical world had realized it shouldered its hopes on the gradually breaking back of someone who was no more than a teenager with a rare streak of luck.

Harry Potter, I knew him well. A slight boy, clad in spectacles and clothing that were forever too large, possessing both a physical reminder of his lot in life and the immense pressure of a race slowly going mad, turning rotten from the inside out like an apple with a worm eating away at the white flesh near the core. I think about him every now and then, and I think about her.

But alas, this is not his tale and I do not wish to engage myself in thoughts about the war, I’ve spent far too many a sleepless and lonely night in hiding, living amidst the rats and the scum of this vile planet to care any longer about a battle fought between a madman who lusted for power above all else, and a boy of seventeen who could barely tie his shoes properly half the time.

It was not my fight, I chose for it not to be – and thus, I am to blame for much suffering. My weakness laid the foundations, and from there we crumbled. I remember the Gryffindors well. I recall my sweet undoing, my untimely demise in the face of propriety, my broken honour. She ruined it all, and yet I loved her with every fetid breath I took.

I remember the faces of my housemates, the hollowed look in Ted Nott’s eyes before he took his last breath, Millicent’s broken body lying in the cavernous halls of our dungeon realm on the cold stone floor between the brocaded green bed hangings, Pansy and Tracey clutching at each other as they cried with black cascades of tears streaming, and Draco – proud, stern Draco Malfoy, calm as death before the storm hit. There are days when I miss them so much it aches merely to breathe.

Let me begin then, this sordid tale, at the start of it all for my broken circle of friends and I, in our seventh year in the college of magic known then and now as Hogwarts.