He looked up from the mouth of the doorway leading to the entrance hall from the Slytherin dungeons to see Desiree Warbeck marching towards him, weaving through the pockets of students making their way to the Great Hall for dinner.
“Heeey Des,” Blaise said slowly, eyes flitting around the hall. They had agreed to only talk in BSU meetings or in private now that things were so bad in the wizarding world — well she had agreed to his request, despite not liking it. His first instinct was to remind her, but then he took her in. The front of her hair was tied into little knots, the back an explosion of curls and fluff. There was a fire in her eyes, her mouth was set. He could feel the anger simmering beneath the surface and took a half-step back. “What did I do?”
“Emergency BSU meeting after dinner,” she said, not even acknowledging his words.
He grimaced. He was behind on his homework and had planned to spend the evening catching up. McGonagall had set an essay on human transfiguration and he hadn’t even started on his Dementor essay for Snape yet. But he knew not to test Desiree when she had worked herself up like this. “Alright then.”
Desiree nodded once, turned, and stormed off into the Great Hall. Blaise followed more slowly, cautiously, and by the time he made it to the Slytherin table, he noticed her weaving her way up and down the other tables, finding BSU members. Dean, it seemed, looked just as surprised as Blaise himself felt, which was strange given that he was now President of the club after Blaise had stepped down.
After notifying everyone, Desiree seemed to inhale her dinner in one and then was off, hurrying from the Great Hall. Once Blaise was done eating he made his way up to Professor Sinistra’s classroom, a little worried. Desiree seemed very upset — had something happened?
By the time he got there, Desiree was the only one there, her wand out as the chairs oriented themselves in the customary circle the students usually sat in.
“No cookies today?” he joked in greeting.
Desiree’s eyes flashed up at him and he grimaced, hoping she wouldn’t snap at him. She was scary when she was angry.
That didn’t stop him from taking the seat next to her.
“Everything okay?” he asked quietly.
Desiree shook her head, “You’ll see.”
Before he had thought it through, Blaise reached out and took Desiree’s hand, giving it what he hoped was a comforting squeeze. Her face softened a moment, eyes locking onto his, and Blaise suddenly felt a swooping feeling in his gut. Everything around him seemed to go out of focus, the only thing he could take in was Desiree’s face.
The door opened and Blaise slid his hand from hers quickly, returning back to reality. Dean walked in, looking more relaxed than Blaise had seen him in a while.
“You ready to do this?” he asked, taking the seat directly across from them.
Desiree nodded resolutely while Blaise shrugged. He still didn’t understand what was going on. Soon, the other members of the BSU had arrived, including — to Blaise’s surprise — Angelina Johnson, who had graduated the year before.
“Hey everyone,” she said with a smile.
“What are you doing here?” her younger brother Alex asked.
Angelina shrugged, “Des asked me to come, so I’m here.”
Blaise raised an eyebrow at Desiree. He had assumed her mood was recent, but if she had had enough time to call in Angelina, then maybe it was deeper than that.
The classroom seemed full, but still no one had spoken. A few people, like Lavender and Alex, seemed just as confused as Blaise felt, while others like Dean and Angelina merely waited in anticipation. Finally, Hermione Granger arrived, an entire library of books stuffed into her bag as always. Desiree sat up straighter as Hermione sat down in the only empty seat between Dean and Gryffindor Keegan Thompson.
Desiree took a deep breath, “Okay, let’s start. I know some of you don’t know why we’re here, but we’re a community and I feel we should band together when one of us is struggling.”
Blaise felt a jolt of surprise and then a creeping dread. He had already talked to many of them, both as a group and separately, about why he had decided to take a step back from leading the BSU this year. Even if most of them didn’t like it, and others remained antagonistic about it, Desiree at the very least had seemed understanding. He felt affronted, upset that she would blindside him like this.
“Hermione, I know a lot of us have been having a rough year,” Desiree continued, “But I’ve seen the way Potter and Weasley have treated you for the past few months. I just want you to know that you don’t have to be friends with them, especially when they’ve been so terrible to you.”
Blaise looked to Desiree, exasperation mingled with relief. “You’re not serious,” he blurted out before he could stop himself.
Hermione was in shock, her eyes roaming around the room. “Is this really why we’re here?”
Desiree’s eyes narrowed, and Blaise shrunk back. “This is serious!”
Blaise stared at Desiree’s indignant face, fired up over who Hermione hung out with, and remembered that while there was not much a Hufflepuff got riled about, friendship was definitely at the top of the list. He’d have to tease her about this later, when she wasn’t quite so upset.
“They’re my best friends,” Hermione said, never one to back down even when Desiree was worked up, “And frankly I don’t see how this is any of your business.”
“We’re your friends too,” Angelina said kindly, “We’re just concerned that maybe they aren’t the best for you.”
“Do you need someone to study with at the library?” Desiree demanded, “I’m there all the time! I’ll join you!”
“Des, maybe you should…” Blaise trailed off at the look she gave him. He sighed, “Fine. I’ve never gotten it either, they’re so...mediocre.”
Hermione glowered at him, “They’ve saved my life a number of times, thank you.”
“Have they?” Dean asked, tilting his head to the side, “It always seemed to me like you were the one doing the saving.”
“First year they saved me from that mountain troll that got in.”
“Yeah, but didn’t Ron say something rude that got you cornered by the troll in the first place?”
“Okay, wait, let’s cut her some slack,” Angelina said before Hermione could get any more defensive, “We all know the Weasleys are tall—”
“You’re kidding,” Dean said, “Is that what it is? Is it because they’re ginger?”
Lavender was nodding next to Angelina, but Desiree cut across her before she could speak up, “Didn’t you just get dumped by one of them?”
Dean glared at her. He crossed his arms, “I — that’s different.”
This was ridiculous. Blaise glanced over at Alex next to him. “Are you taking notes?”
“I’m sure Hermione will want this all in writing,” the fourth-year responded, dipping his quill in the floating inkwell in front of him and continuing to scribble furiously across the parchment.
“I’ve thought it a long time,” Lavender piped up, “I can’t believe you put up with the both of them for so long.”
Fury filled Hermione’s face, “That’s rich, coming from a—” she cut herself off, looking away.
“From a what?” Lavender was turning red.
This was clearly getting out of hand.
“Look, I don’t think we can tell each other who to be friends with,” Blaise said, trying to sound reasonable even though he truly couldn’t care less about the entire situation.
Dean sighed, “He’s right. If Hermione wants to be friends with Harry and Ron, she should be able to without judgment. And if one of us decides to hex them for being rude to you,” he said to her, “We should be able to without judgment. Deal?”
Hermione rolled her eyes, pulling the strap of her bag back over her shoulder, “Fine. I appreciate it, really. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got about fifty translations to do by tomorrow.”
With that, the meeting was adjourned. People began filing out, some still looking just as confused as they did when they had come in. Angelina winked at Blaise before following Dean and Alex from the room. Desiree still sat in her seat. The fire seemed to have dimmed in her, which made Blaise relax. He knew he should leave now, go back down to the common room and start on his essays.
“You did a good thing,” he said quietly, “I’m sure she’s glad to have a friend like you.”
Desiree huffed but didn’t say anything.
Blaise smiled. Even when she was angry all he wanted was to be around her. He stood. “Come on. Help me with my essay on Dementors and I’ll show you a few hexes you can use on Potter and Weasley.”
A reluctant smile spread across Desiree’s face then, and she stood, taking his hand briefly and sending a jolt of electricity running through his entire body.