A/N: Okayokayokay I profusely apologize to anyone who actually reads this story or has been waiting for the next chapter. I'm a daft bimbo, a loaf, an imbecile, a git, whatever you want to call me. Another apology is that this isn't actually chapter two; it's the partial rewrite of chapter one... surprise. I hope you like this one better. CHAPTER TWO IS COMING!... after I finish season 4 of Doctor Who. My deadline is the 28th! Wish me luck! Enjoy! ~friggin' Lost Cause


Blaise Zabini hated Christmas.

He hated the carols; he hated the merriness; he hated the gaudiness (why the bloody hell would anyone ever mix Slytherin and Gryffindor colours?); and he hated the company. The one, greatest evil of Christmas, however, was the mistletoe. Blaise hated mistletoe more than he hated Malfoy; more than he hated his ex-stepfathers. But, of course, there's an exception to everything. The one redeeming quality was the gift; Blaise adored being showered in presents. The greatest part was, being devilishly handsome and cynically reclusive, Blaise only had to give one person a gift each year, while everyone else gave him many. But that was it. Blaise hated Christmas' connotation— family. Family. He mentally scoffed. This 'family' hasn't been united in over twelve years; not since the bastard me with her. He sobered and visibly tensed. After a minute, he took a look at his glass, tossed it back, summoned an elf, and took a look around the room. Blaise hated his past— even more than Christmas— which made him so introverted, so sadistic, so cynical. Dangerously enticing. He had his own magnetic field, his own orbit, and it drew every and anything, or one, in.

Christmas last year, the Ministry tried him as a Death Eater. A bloody Death Eater. He had dignity! Ironic, he thought, how I, a bloody Zabini, have dignity. It's definitely paternal. They checked his wand, no trace of Unforgivables. They searched his Manor, his vault, the Zabini family vault, and each house they owned— no mask or robes. No mark, no evidence. He didn't even think about joining the Death Eaters; however, he was possibly acquainted with Malfoy. The Death Eater pet. "Guilty by association"— the crack sentence they decided on. Three months in Azkaban, he gave St. Mungo's a new wing, and he was just removed from house arrest and returned his wand three months ago. Holed up in the Manor with her for six months. Her damn nagging was worse than the permanent chill of Azkaban. The Dementors were long since removed; the Aurors seemed even worse. They weren't technically allowed to abuse the prisoners; but, as long as no marks and bruises were visible, everything was peachy.

He turned 19 in a metal box. A cage. He shuddered. Let's change the subject to something more... proper, shall we?

Blaise took a long look around the room. To anyone else, it seemed like he was assessing the decorations, contemplating whether or not the house elves deserved punishing. His criminal smirk could be mistaken as a 'yes'. As time passed, Blaise grew better at this game. Before, it was all about the real capture for him; the trapping and gaming were a nuisance to him. Now, it was all about the chase. He preferred to play with his food. Look smart, speak impeccably, but always know your prey. Inside and out; predict their next moves. But when his eyes stopped on her, his stance became rigid, his jaw clenched and his hands folded into fists, any onlooker would notice that his mind wasn't on house-elves. He murmured a quick Disillusionment charm in Italian.

There she was. Somehow, she looked the same. After all these years; always. Her timid stance, her uncomfortable expression, her fidgeting like a child, her aura. Her innocence. He wondered if she knew why she was here; if she had heard about his sick little game. No, she couldn't have, he chided. He contemplating reaching out to her, letting her feel his presence. As her eyebrow quirked and she turned to face him, he backed away. He couldn't ruin it this soon. Blaise walked to the outskirts of the room and reversed the charm, dully noting the coven ogling and smirking at him. He sent a dashing and wicked smile to them, appeasing them just the slightest.

But they weren't right. They were the epitome of elegance and wonderful breeding. Everything stuffed, hidden, and sculpted. They weren't real. They lost themselves and innocence long ago when their parents uttered those two words "marriage arrangement". They bided time that wasn't theirs by scavenging; turning eligible wizards into shells of themselves. A quick satiation, then an even quicker Obliviate. Or Crucio. It didn't matter to them. What mattered was the chase– the feel of doing something wrong, rebelling. That's what they wanted. Blaise, however, was not. They didn't have time to play with their food; Blaise did. Blaise had all the time in the world– one thing he could thank his mother for, instead of leaving every party an hour early with one of her guests of honour. Blaise inspected her again.

How she made it in, he had no idea. She definitely wasn't a Muggleborn, but she also wasn't a Pureblood. She was accepted into this circle; albeit reluctantly. He watched her; unsure of herself, socially awkward, rehearsing conversations in her head. He watched as she hurriedly grabbed a drink to keep her hands busy. He watched as she took it all in— probably wondering why the hell she even got mixed in with this lot. The lot that she fought against; the lot that killed her boyfriend. The lot that persecuted her friends, and made her watch. He almost felt pity for her; the daft tart. Why was she even here? He embraced her presence, don't make that mistake. As stupid as she was; the girl had balls. She didn't show it; but he could tell that she was fighting herself, the Raven advising her that this is unnatural. A bird mixing in with snakes and having the nerve to feel at the bottom of the food chain.

She deserved to carry herself with pride; throw dirty looks at those that lost the War, instead of the losers being sore with the champions. She had the advantage. She had the Pureblood— the blood that diluted itself to keep clean. She wouldn't ever have to worry about birthing Squibs, or being infertile because of years of ignorance and inbreeding. The fear of "Mudblood germs" brought the advancement their magic to a halt. Her kind was confident; she deserved praise. He continued watching her, his introverted enigma.

The more he watched her squirm, the more he wondered. Normally, his sociopathic nature would have him revel in her awkwardness; take pride in her being put in her place. But she didn't deserve that. He watched her. He had watched her since school. He watched her pine over that idiot, Diggory. He watched her mourn for years, then join those dunderheads in Dumbledore's Army. He watched her date that twat, Potter. He watched her cry. Oh he hated watching her cry. It was unnatural for someone to feel that sad; that alone. Never before had he seen someone so vulnerable. He wanted to touch her; to hold her; tell her that she deserved the world, not being shoved into a hideous dress and be mentally berated by those Pureblood bitches.

As he watched her accept a flute, he waited for her to feel his eyes. He waited for that split second where he could catch her off guard; keep her awake into the long hours of the night; wonder why he noticed her and not the groupies surrounding him— spoiling his Firewhiskey and killing his buzz. He counted the seconds— 3... 2... 1...

As she turned to face him, he swiftly raised his glass at the right moment— the right angle. He was in the corner of her eye; always so precise, so punctual. He knew she was going to do a double take— whereas she was new to this, it was just part of his sick game. He knew how to read them; how to draw them in. The second she faced him, he was already heading to the ballroom doors— toward the balcony.

The cool air nipped at his face, but he didn't care. He preferred the cold. Cold was absolute. There was no worry about whether it was warm, or hot, or warm and breezy. Cold is cold; absent heat. Blaise was cold. His heart was cold; his emotions died in the blizzard. There was no connection from his heart to his brain. The only thing he ever felt was pain. He could feel the hurt he inflicted on others. Most would hate themselves or hate the power. To Blaise, it was no curse; it was a blessing. It was a gift. He could feel the power he inflicted and it reverberated back into him. It made him stronger— harder to destroy, but more attractive. Everyone loves a bad boy and he was evil.

But her.

Everyone loves a bad boy but her.

She liked them self-confident; they had enough pride and leadership and praise to blaze a trail for the both of them. Before they had her, they pined for her. Hopelessly. They were under her spell worse than an Imperius. But when she ended the chase— when they finally got her— they dropped her like hot dragon eggs. They ruined her; and he was ready to destroy them for it.

When she finally arrived, he was sitting on the ledge with his back against the column and a stiff drink in his hand. He took a swig, dropped the glass, and smiled that maniacal smile he knew she hated. She said it reminded her of Tom Riddle, of Voldemort. The smile that can hide so much, but make a distinct impression. It was the smile that Bellatrix smiled during the War. It was the last smile to ever maim her features. The smile of insanity. Reckless gloating and indignity. She said it was too normal for him. It distorted his features. He was a silent fire, but that smile spoke volumes. He watched her shiver with his crazed eyes. Something in him changed. Maybe it was the fact that nothing had gone how he planned for the night. Maybe it was the fact that his mixed drink made him feel like his least favourite stepfather. The one that berated him like a "dad" and taught him his first defensive spell. The one that tried to be a father figure in Blaise's life. That was what he hated. The prick was so bloody stupid. He had to have heard the stories of the 'Black Widow'. He should've known that he was next. But, alas, he fell for her anyway. He loved her like some ickle Second Year that frequented Madame Puddifoot's.

Love was for the weak. The Zabinis didn't believe in love— they couldn't. Although he didn't know what it was, he shied away from it. He avoided it and any form of sentiment. He invited presents because they were trivial things; no one ever gave from the heart. He felt like a God when he was pampered and adored. He tried to instill that into the girl in front of him. She tried to change him. She warmed him. It had to end. The sentiment felt like poison; golden elixir rushed through his veins, making him uncomfortable. With a look of pure internal disgust, Blaise threw his glass over the ridge and watched it crumble and shatter into pixie dust. He gestured to the general area surrounding him, his eyes avoiding her face. "Join me", was his behest.