Who: Blaise Zabini, Susan Bones
Where: Susan’s flat
When: 30 August 2001, morning
As a rule, Blaise did not pry into the men that Hannah brought home. Similarly, she didn’t comment on his overnight guests, even though he was sure she really wanted to. However, last night Hannah had decided to make their shared living area her personal sexual playground with Humphrey Winfield-Hayes, of all people. Every passive-aggressive move he had tried had failed and he would have been impressed with her stamina if the circumstances were different. As things stood, there wasn’t a surface in the house that he wanted to touch, save for his own bed.
Standing outside Susan Bones’ door, he wondered if it had been a mistake leaving his bedroom door unlocked and shuddered lightly.
Birds chirped, signalling the start of a bright new day, but Blaise’s expression was anything but sunny. His sleep being interrupted by Hannah and Humphrey’s enthusiastic ‘love-making’ was bad enough, but now he had to ask a Hufflepuff for help. He pounded on the door; Susan had better have some answers, or at least some way to curb Hannah’s libido.
Susan was an early riser, and morning was usually her favourite time of day. But as she watered her plants, she couldn’t help feeling distracted, although she kept trying to push certain thoughts aside. This week hadn’t been much fun.
An aggressive hammering on her door made her jump, spilling water over the windowsill. She put the watering can down and hurried to open the door, wondering who could be calling so early. At the sight of Blaise, her face fell. “Oh. Hello.”
Then she frowned, realising there was only one reason Blaise would come over to her flat. “Is Hannah all right?” she asked uncertainly.
“That,” Blaise said, “depends on how much longer my patience lasts.” The thought of the couch being defiled was enough to make his jaw clench.
“I have a bone to pick with you. I know you’re her best friend and you were probably her maid of honour or witness or something, but could you not have persuaded Hannah to spend her wedding night in a hotel? I’ve barely got any sleep.”
“Wait, what? Wedding night? Hannah?” Susan shook her head and forced out a laugh. “I don’t know how, but you’ve definitely got the wrong end of the stick, Blaise. Unless this is some kind of joke, in which case it’s really not appreciated.”
Honestly. Hannah, married. Susan knew her best friend’s thoughts on that subject.
“Trust me, I am well aware of Hannah’s thoughts about monogamy and commitment.” It was something they’d bonded over back in the days before they’d lived together. “But she was very insistent that she was married. I even saw the ring.” Blaise had an eye for jewellery and could spot a wedding ring a mile off.
He gave a humourless chuckle. “Actually, I’ve seen a lot more than that.”
Susan swayed a little, and put a hand out to the doorframe to steady herself. “This town has gone mad,” she said faintly. “Completely and utterly. Though that’s no excuse for your being a pervert, thank you,” she added, not so bewildered that she couldn’t still defend Hannah’s honour.
“Who’s she married to?” she asked suddenly.
Apparently, Susan hadn’t known. After she’d woken him up thinking that Hannah was missing, Blaise decided they were now even. But he couldn’t let her get away with calling him a pervert. “Excuse, I can’t help it if they were trying to go at it on the couch. Which, by the way, she is going to have professionally cleaned once her little… honeymoon is over.”
Blaise frowned. “Humphrey Winfield-Hayes.”
Susan winced. That was way more information than she needed to hear.
“Humphrey? But — what — she doesn’t even — I can’t —” Realising she was rapidly becoming incoherent, Susan stopped and took a deep breath. “This isn’t right.”
“Whether it’s right or not, it’s happening.” Someone was going to have to deal with this and Blaise wasn’t sure that he could get through to Hannah. Certainly, he hadn’t tried throwing cold water over the pair of them, but he suspected that Hannah would be just as quick to turn her wand on him.
“As her best friend, I was hoping that you would be able to talk some sense into her.” He sighed. “She’s ignoring me.”
“No, I mean… this really isn’t right.” Susan bit her lip, afraid that what she was about to say would sound melodramatic, but stranger things had happened recently. “You don’t think… Well, could she be under the influence of a spell, or — or a potion? After all, Audrey was being Imperiused.” Susan wasn’t sure what anyone would gain from Imperiusing Hannah into marriage, but she was certain there had to be more to this than met the eye.
“I can certainly come over, but I don’t know how much good talking to her will do.”
Now, there was a good point. Blaise’s mother had been married several times, but not once did he recall her behaving like this. Thankfully. Perhaps the novelty wore off after the first couple of marriages. Or perhaps there was more to this than he knew.
“Living in this town, I’d say anything is possible. And if Hannah will listen to anyone, I think it’s you.”
Susan wavered, her instinct to go immediately to Hannah’s side warring with her desire to gather up as many antidotes as she had lying around the place, just on the off chance. Then reason took over. She’d need to see Hannah first to even be sure that Hannah was under the influence of something. (Something stronger than alcohol, anyway.)
“All right. Let’s go.”
“Yes, let’s.” Blaise wanted nothing more than to go home, cast a few scouring charms on the kitchen and try to make some coffee. He was going to need a lot after his sleepless night.
As they made their way back through the village, Blaise didn’t have an awful lot to say to Susan. He hardly knew her, after all. “I don’t think she’s Imperiused,” he offered, anything to break the silence. “I don’t know what anyone would get out of making her get married.”
“Neither do I,” Susan replied, “but then I don’t know what anyone would get out of Imperiusing Audrey into starting fires either.”
Thankfully Hannah and Blaise’s cottage was just down the road from Susan’s flat, so their awkward conversation didn’t have to last long. Susan walked up the front path and tried the door. “She’s locked it,” she said in exasperation, standing back so that Blaise could let them both in.
“The mystery deepens,” Blaise remarked wryly. To think he’d moved to Helga’s Hill to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city on a daily basis.
At first, Blaise wasn’t surprised when Susan couldn’t open the door; sometimes the handle was a little stiff. When he couldn’t open it, however, he frowned. He gave the handle another twist, but it wouldn’t budge even a fraction. Drawing his wand, he cast a spell with a jabbing motion, but it bounced off the door and back onto him with a crackle. He winced and dropped his wand. “That sneaky…” He pursed his lips, glancing at Susan. “Little thing,” he finished. “She’s put wards up to keep me out.”
Susan frowned, too concerned about Hannah to appreciate Blaise’s restraint in not swearing in front of her. She knew better than to try Apparating into someone else’s house, especially after having just seen the effects of the wards for herself, but she wasn’t sure how far she’d get with old-fashioned methods.
Still, it was worth a try. Hoping she wasn’t interrupting anything, Susan knocked on the door. “Hannah? Are you there? It’s Susan.” She looked at Blaise and gave a helpless shrug. “What do we do if she doesn’t open up? Can you try breaking the wards?”
“Me? No, not one of my talents, I’m afraid.” Blaise could only think of one curse breaker in town, but he was hardly going to get a notorious gossip in on this. Whatever this was.
“Personally, I’ll go find some breakfast and hope that she’s cooled off in a couple of hours.” He stooped to pick up his wand. “If she’s done this to the house, I’d hate to think what she’d do to me given half a chance.”
“But we can’t just leave her!” Susan protested, although by the looks of it that was exactly what Blaise intended to do. She rubbed her temples in an attempt to ease the headache that was building.
“All right. Go. I’ll try writing a message to her on the journals and see if she responds.” Susan sighed, wishing she could just get in there and fix this, whatever this was. But she’d be there to pick up the pieces afterwards.