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Title: Harry Potter and the Slytherin's Hair (1/10)
Author: iulia_linnea
Pairing: Harry/Girl!Blaise, others
Rating: PG-13
Warning (highlight to view): For violence and character death.
Word Count: 2841 (29,608 total)
Summary: "[E]ven great wizards is not being good at everything."
Disclaimer: This piece is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling; various publishers, including, but not limited to: Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books; and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: You may find all parts of this story by clicking the Harry Potter and the Slytherin's Hair tag.

Chapter One: That Hair of Hers

That Blaise Zabini had been made a Slytherin had not been a concern to Harry Potter when he was waiting to discover what his own house would be. While a First Year, he had not paid much attention to the skinny auburn-haired girl. In Second Year, Zabini's hair seemed to have gotten much longer, Harry noticed, but beyond that, he did not pay her much attention. He did not remember seeing much of her at all, Third Year, but one night coming out of the Hogwarts' kitchens as Blaise was going in, that hair of hers, he decided, was distracting. Fourth Year, he sometimes caught a glimpse of her, her hair whipping in the wind, as he rushed by the Slytherin bleachers during Quidditch games. The bronze sunglasses she wore attracting him almost as did the Golden Snitch. In Fifth Year, Cho Chang was in his thoughts a great deal, but Harry found himself comparing the sheen of Blaise's hair to the gloss of Cho's. It did not occur to him at the time that he had a "thing" for girls with long hair, or that he compared those girls to Zabini. In Sixth Year, a lonely, frightening time for Harry, he spent a lot of time in the Owlery and occasionally would find Blaise there, as well, her glorious—for he had decided that was the only true way to describe her tresses, which were redolent of bergamot and something indescribable—hair flowing over her shoulders to frame her smooth, pretty face. They would murmur together about general things, and then pretend as though they had never seen each other before when they encountered each other in the corridors; Gryffindors and Slytherins did not mix in public, even if they wanted to. But in Seventh Year, as Harry caught Blaise's rich brown flashing eyes peeking out at him through her long curtain of hair, he finally admitted to himself that "mixing" with the girl seemed like an excellent idea.

"Are you mad?" Ron demanded, after Harry confessed his crush. "She's a Slytherin!"

Hermione rolled her eyes. "You say that as if Zabini's a Death Eater."

"Well, she could be."

"She's not," Harry said emphatically, his cheeks growing hot.

"How d'you know, mate? Have you asked her?"

"Prat," Hermione muttered, shoving her boyfriend playfully.

The three Gryffindors were walking into Hogsmeade on a brisk but sunny morning, the first Hogsmeade Weekend of the term, and Harry had decided to say something about his . . . interest in Blaise before asking the girl out properly. I should never have said anything.

"I'm not—really, mate, Blaise Zabini? Why not Gi—ow!" Ron exclaimed, as Hermione punched him. "Well, why not Ginny?"

"Because she's not interested in me," Harry said cautiously, hoping that Ron would not push the issue.

"She's fancied you forever! Just ask her. She'd go out with you."

"No, Ron, she wouldn't," Hermione replied after exchanging an amused glance with Harry. "She's involved with someone else."

"What? She never said anything about it."

"Well, she wants her privacy."

"Harry, did you know that my baby sister was dating someone new?"

"Um . . . Hermione?"

The witch sighed. "Ron, Ginny's interested in a Slytherin, too."

Here we go, Harry thought, moving quickly away from Ron as the other wizard's arms flung out in surprise.

"What? Who? I'll kill him. Who—it's Malfoy, isn't it? Oh, Merlin! Mum'll—who?"

"Oh, it's not Malfoy," Harry said, biting his lower lip to keep from laughing.

"Well?" Ron demanded again of Hermione.

"I'm not really sup—"

"WHO?"

"Millicent Bulstrode, if you must know," Hermione replied, pursing her lips into a tight, worried line.

Ron's face reddened in outrage, and Harry thought the boy would yell again, but then he burst out laughing.

"Oh, good . . . one! You . . . had . . . me worried there, for a moment! Right, my baby sister's going to go out with a great hulking girl like Bulstrode!"

"With a girl like Bulstrode," Hermione said, placing her hands on her hips and staring up at her boyfriend, waiting for the realization to dawn on him.

"You're having me on, aren't you? Isn't she, Harry?"

"Afraid not."

"Wha—rea—no!"

"Look Ron, Ginny likes Millicent, and I think you should try to understand."

"And my vote's for Bulstrode if you should try to kill her," Harry added, much to Hermione's amusement.

"Everyone's gone mad—utterly, raving mad—this can't be true!"

Ron was still muttering about it when they entered the Three Broomsticks and saw the youngest Weasley chatting over butterbeers with Bulstrode.

"Excuse me."

"Should we stop him?" Hermione asked.

"Should you have told him?"

"Well, he did need to be prepared, and I knew she'd be meeting her girlfriend here, so—"

"It's that serious?"

"I'm afraid so," Hermione replied, grinning at Harry as they slid into a booth near the back of the pub. "Oh, look—there's Zabini joining them."

Harry blushed and looked down at his hands.

"You could always ask her to join us."

Before Harry could respond, Ron stormed over to the table. "Apparently," he said, sliding into the booth next to Hermione, "I'm not welcome at my sister's friends' table!"

"Well, what did you expect? You were being an ass."

"Hermione, I was being her big—"

"Brother," Harry finished for him.

"That's right."

But it was not all right, not really, because Harry could not think of anything but the way Blaise had her hair: it was braided and coiled upon her head like a burnished crown, and he wanted to see it down. He completely missed what his friends were saying as he stared across the pub at the girl, watching how animated she seemed as she laughed at something Ginny said, and then starting in mortification as Millicent turned and stared back at him.

Don't turn around, he prayed.

Blaise did not.

That, Harry decided, made it worse. What made it truly awful, however, was when Bulstrode rose from her table and walked to his.

"Potter, you checking out my girl?"

"What?" Ron spluttered, spitting butterbeer over the table.

"Nice one, Weasley," Millicent said in a dismissive way. "Potter?"

"N—no, of course not."

"Good. It wouldn't surprise me if you were, of course, now that she's not interested," the Slytherin said, before turning on her heel and joining Ginny and Blaise at the exit.

"She's got some nerve," Ron said.

"It was a distraction," Hermione observed, as Harry held up a folded piece of parchment.

"She tossed it to me."

"Well, what does it—"

"Excuse me," Harry interrupted, heading toward the loo.

"—say?" Hermione finished.

Ron laughed.

"What's so funny?"

"Harry getting notes from Bulstrode, from a Slytherin—that's funny."

"I don't think it was from Millicent, Ron."

In the gents loo, Harry carefully unfolded the note and read:

"9:00 o'clock. The Owlery."

"Millicent wants me to meet her in the Owlery?"

He folded the note and put it in his pocket, and then went to rejoin his friends. "Just a death threat," he lied. "You know, in case I look at Ginny again."

Ron snorted. "Typical Slytherin tactic."

Later that night, Harry was able to slip out of the dormitory under the pretext—not so far-fetched now that he was taking Advanced Potions—of going to the library. He arrived at the Owlery at eight-thirty, and spent some time stroking Hedwig's feathers and feeding her treats.

"Who's your friend?" he asked his familiar, for she was sitting on a rod near an unfamiliar gray owl, who was turning its head all the way around to her apparent delight. "You ruffle your feathers at him that way, and he'll get the wrong idea."

"Oh, I think Silvio has the right one, not being as dense as some," Blaise's soft voice spoke behind him.

"You're not Milli—Bulstrode," Harry said, turning.

"No, I'm not. It's good to see that you kept up with those mental-sharpening exercises of yours over the summer," Blaise replied, moving to greet her owl.

"Mental-sharpening exercises," Harry thought, suddenly suspicious. But there's no way she could know about my Occlumency lessons unless Snape told her, and he

"Perhaps you didn't. My mistake," the girl said quickly, though not sharply.

"Oh, you were insulting me."

"And you're relieved?"

"No, well, I mean—look, why are you here? I'm supposed to be meeting, I mean . . . ."

"You're supposed to be meeting me, Potter. I asked Millicent to pass you that note."

Harry gawked. "Y—you did? Why?"

"I wanted to see you, you git," Blaise replied, turning away to feed Silvio—and then Hedwig—treats.

"Oh." Is she blushing? She's blushing. Am I blushing?

"You're blushing, you know."

"You're not even looking at me. How'd'you know?"

Blaise turned and regarded Harry, sweeping her gaze up and down his body in a speaking way that made him relieved he had worn his robes. "You always blush when you look at me."

"I—" I do, don't I. God, she's pretty. "I'm sorry."

"Are you?" Blaise continued, moving her hands to fiddle with something in her pockets.

"Sure."

"Well, you've been looking at me for a long time, and I want to know why."

"You want to know why I look at you?"

"Very good, Potter. You can hear clearly," Blaise said, taking a step toward the boy.

"Yeah, so I can," Harry replied, swallowing hard and forcing himself not to take a step backward. "Um, Za—Blaise?"

"Yes, Po—Harry?" she mocked.

She was so close to him now that he could feel the soft press of her breasts against his chest, which made thinking a near impossibility. "I . . . I just . . ." really like looking at your hair.

"You just what?" the girl whispered against his lips.

Harry thought he might pass out from the sensation of warm breath against his mouth, from the dark gaze that met his exactly. Oh. We're the same height, aren't we? he asked himself, clenching his fists to steady himself. "Ijustwantedtoknowwhyyouputyourhairup," he said in a nervous rush, jumping as his lips lightly grazed hers.

"You what?" Blaise asked, sounding slightly vexed and taking one step back.

"Don't—I mean, you don't have to move—I like having you, I mean, it was nice, you standing where you were." Idiot, idiot, idiot!

"Potter, do you fancy me?"

"I like your hair," Harry said, hoping she would understand.

"You like my hair," the girl repeated, a disgusted expression on her face. My hair, not me? You've been staring at me because you. Like. My. Hair."

"Your breasts felt nice, too." NO! You did NOT just say that!

"Millicent was right. You are an idiot," Blaise said, turning on her heel and stalking off.

"Damn it!" Harry yelled, causing several owls to hoot at him in protest. "Sorry you lot, I just—damn it," he said more quietly, kicking at the feathers scattered across the floor. "Why am I such an idiot? What the hell is the matter with me?"

Stepping out of the shadows on the far side of the room, Severus Snape answered, "If we knew that, we'd be half-way toward curing adolescence altogether."

"Professor!"

"Yes?"

"I didn't see you there."

"Obviously. That is for the best, it is to be assumed. Really, Potter, 'Your breasts felt nice, too'? You are an idiot."

"What do you know about it?" Harry said before he could reign in his insolence. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit!

"Five points from Gryffindor for rudeness to a professor, Potter, and five more for being so ridiculous in the face of the fairer sex."

"You can't take points for that!"

"I believe I just did. Be thankful that I did not take points for your having failed to take advantage of such a splendid opportunity."

"Wh—what opportunity—Sir?"

Snape sighed. "How is it possible that you have no idea what almost just happened here?"

"Why are you being nice to me?"

"'Nice', Potter? Reviewing our discussion thus far, I see no evidence of niceness on my part. I am merely attempting to look out for one of my Slytherins, one of my evidently misguided Slytherins who appears to fancy you."

"Blaise fancies me?"

"My, you truly are not your father, are you?"

Harry's jaw tightened. "You promised not to talk about my dad anymore."

Snape sighed. "True. I did. I believe that I regret my display of gratitude toward you, but no matter. You deflected Pettigrew's hex, and I promised not to speak of your father. I apologize."

Harry gaped at the man.

"Do not look so shocked, boy. It should be clear enough to you by now that I honor my word."

"You just—"

"The habit of years cannot be altered in a matter of months, Potter, and I did apologize."

"Fine. Yes, you apologized. Hey! I'm dreaming, that's why I was such an idiot," Harry said hopefully.

Snape closed the distance between them and pinched him.

"Ow!"

"You are not dreaming. You did just make a complete fool of yourself. Welcome to the rest of your life as far as matters of the . . . heart are concerned. Women are difficult, and you, apparently, are sadly lacking in even a rudimentary understanding of them."

"She doesn't fancy me."

"She does, and if you cannot bring yourself to form coherent sentences in her presence, you will meet Lord Voldemort a virgin, and most likely die one, as well."

"Thanks for that," Harry said, flushing. "And who says I'm a—"

"Spare me your adolescent posturing, boy. Do you want my assistance, or don't you?"

"You're offering to help me?"

Snape raised a pointed eyebrow at him.

"But why?"

"Because Miss Zabini has shown no interest in any other boy, Potter. As much as it pains me to admit it, she has fixed upon you as the object of her desires. I expect that once she . . . gets to know you better, she will realize her folly and move on."

"Great," Harry muttered. "You're just looking to 'help' me humiliate myself again. I should have known."

"Typical Gryffindor pessimism," Snape said, shaking his head. "Tell me, Mr. Potter, has it not occurred to you that I am simply looking to pass on the benefit of my wisdom to you because—"

"You think I'm going to die."

"No. Because I am attempting to honor my other promise to you."

"What?"

"Do you not remember our conversation in the wake of the most recent Death Eater attack?"

"Sure I do. You—oh—you said you'd stop being such a bastard."

"No, I said that I would to treat you with more respect, given the fact that we are constantly saving each other's lives, and you—how did you put it? Ah, yes—felt you deserved to be treated like a man instead of a child. If you still wish it, one man to another," Snape continued, raising a sardonic eyebrow, "I am in a position to offer advice that might assist you in properly wooing a witch."

"Not to be . . . rude, but . . . ."

"Potter, did it not seem odd to you that Madame Rosmerta was . . . as relieved as she was to find me well after the recent incident?"

Harry considered this question. After Pettigrew had tried to kill the professor in front of the Three Broomsticks, the publican had cried over Snape's unconscious body until Hermione had proved to the older woman that he was not, in fact, dead.

"You and Ro—Madame Rosmerta?"

"Yes, Potter, for some time now."

"Woah. I had no idea," Harry said, his admiration of Snape's conquest evident in his tone.

"Of course you did not. It's called 'discretion', something of which you are almost entirely ignorant."

"You know," Harry replied, leaning against one of the perches, "insulting me wasn't part of our deal."

"Then attempt not to leave yourself open to it. Again, do you wish my assistance, or don't you?"

"This is weird, Sir, if you'll forgive me for saying so—scratch that—it is weird, even if you don't."

One corner of the Potions master's mouth twitched, but he made no other response.

"Yeah, sure—I mean, yes—if you have anything relevant and not insulting to suggest, I'd like to hear it."

"It's rather simple, Potter. The next time a young woman is pressing herself against you and breathing into your mouth, kiss her. The next time a young woman asks you why you are watching her, tell her that she is beautiful—not her parts, but she, herself—do you think you can follow these instructions?"

"Is . . . is that how you—"

"Mr. Potter, my relationship with Madame Rosmerta is none of your affair. You will keep it to yourself, and, as far as how it began, you are not yet ready for Snape's Advanced Wooing Techniques."

Harry chuckled in embarrassment. "I suppose not. But she's mad at me, now. How do I—"

"You'll have to figure that one out on your own. If I told you everything, how would you learn?" Snape said, walking to the Owlery's exit. Good night, Mr. Potter, and good luck."

"Thanks," the boy muttered, looking at Hedwig and Silvio, who both seemed quite content in each other's company and were grooming each other in a companionable sort of way. "You two behave," he said, as he began walking back to the Gryffindor dormitory.

Hedwig and Silvio ignored him.