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LiveJournal for Blaise Zabini.

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Friday, September 12th, 2003

Subject:they think that I used to love you
Time:10:43 pm.
When Theodore was learning to ride, I used to watch him from his bedroom window, which was in the highest corner of the Notts' holiday house, excluding the way up to the ghoul-ridden attics where you could get into trouble for just looking at the designs sculpted around the keyholes. Theodore opened the doors once; I don't think he was smart enough to know how to open the locks, but he did know how to steal the keys. He was sixteen at the time, and when they let him come out of his room again, he was twenty. However, when he was still learning to ride, he was only eight, and I was the one watching through those white gauze folds, sneezing from the dust, keeping my promise to my parents not to participate in dangerous sports, while Theodore raced across the fields shrieking and urging his horse on faster. He killed two ponies this way, but he became an expert rider sooner than Cyril, Miles, or any of those older boys now in the military. He was never thrown from his horse, even when he drove his stallion to a fence too high that it refused to jump and nearly sent him toppling over its head. Perhaps he was too determined to be budged without his acquiescence.

Though he won't take any medication, Theodore is asthmatic. When I asked him what he had seen in the attics, he started to cough and have a lot of trouble breathing. He wasn't acting. The truth is that he never recovered from being cooped up behind the curtains, and those days when he heard my knock at his door and scrambled to shut the windows so that we could talk unheard about everything, he was actually aggravating his disease. He used to talk for hours, even more than I did, and it seems odd that there would be so much to say when he hadn't been out for most of the day.

I finally rode my first horse when I turned sixteen. Theodore had said he would teach me, but I waited too long until the most he could do was shout encouragement from up high. I had learned to love equestrian sports from seeing Theodore play, but I discovered that it was easier to watch than to ride, and I never got used to how the horse moved under you in ways your body didn't follow. I got off my first ride with trembling legs, having held onto the ripple of muscles until I lost feeling in my limbs. "Don't squeeze the horse, Blaise! You'll make it go faster!" Theodore cried from a distance, but I couldn't help it, and I don't know how the horse managed to stop because I can only recall the temporarily amnesiac rush of being so near another heartbeat.

Sunday, July 20th, 2003

Subject:impersonations reflected
Time:1:26 pm.
[ As he lies on his back amidst the sugary remains of his late birthday picnic, Blaise thinks his sister's feet resemble the extremities of a corpse. "Years of ballet lessons," says Helena fretfully, pointing her toes in the grass. They are skeletally pale and knobbed like the galls on infested tree roots, and for a second Blaise has the whimsical idea that their attachment to his sister is a living metaphor, a manifestation of their gnawing, bourgeois woes. He laughs at himself for it almost immediately afterwards.

Wasn't it his mother who taught him to look at life in metaphor, make analogies, and draw lessons from every petty moment? "Posture, Blaise, posture. Shall I have your sister take a picture? Look at your back -- you do realise you hold one shoulder higher than the other? Doesn't it bother you that you're uneven? Your body's not straight, your mind's not straight, nothing, nothing is straight. I worry about you, Blaise, and you're not as concerned as you should be."

Helena was nineteen then, and Blaise sixteen. She was playing with her camera in the parlor, filming herself blow a kiss and daintily mouth her French boyfriend's name, a memory left over from the Zabinis' last vacation to the Côte d'Azur. She was striking in a reckless, starved sort of way, black hair falling to one side in a plait, and Blaise watched her closely from the divan. At the moment of his epiphany that his sister looked exactly like Mother, an astounding light exploded in his eyes and filled his mind with brightness. Blaise has seen this picture of himself in Helena's family album, and though it is a wizard photograph he doesn't appear to be moving at all.

Since summertime, Blaise has felt terribly thin under his clinging shirts and light trousers. He lacks an athletic build and is acutely aware that from a long distance he looks like a nervous stick figure, with a slight stoop and a narrow chin. Those who knew his father swear that Blaise is the living photograph of his youth, making him bite his lip. Leaning back in the verdant cloister of his garden, he thinks his sister's toes look like the extremities of a corpse. "Years of ballet," says Helena offhandedly. Though the incongruity is striking, Blaise isn't convinced it makes her any less beautiful.

"Do they hurt you?" he wonders out loud, sensing the maple leaves overhead cast a fine net of shadows over both of them.

"No," she says simply. "Not anymore." ]

Subject:sometimes you fail in more ways than you imagine
Time:1:25 pm.
[ St. Mungo's has seen a few changes since the end of the war. Blaise was a trainee healer before the Ministry took control of the hospital, and he remembers the crowded wards with sterilized white walls, metal beds, and dingy separation curtains, with the minority of brighter, well-furnished suites hidden in a wing for wealthy patients. Now St. Mungo's only accomodates Death Eater party members and their families, and a large fraction of its original clientele has been evicted to London's underground Mudblood clinics, which are like soup kitchens in that their best feature is their good intentions. This has given St. Mungo's the space to expand all of their rooms into 'democratically' well-aired suites and to set up a state-of-the-art research facility on the fourth floor of the hospital. The spell damage department has moved to the fifth floor, to which an emergency entrance has been constructed on the roof for broom landings. There have also been subtle changes in decor, such as the Death Eater insignia embroidered on the bathroom towels and on the collars of nurses' uniforms; the new baroque windows were fashioned with Malfoy donations, as indicated in gold print on a plaque in the visitor's tearoom.

His father was enthusiastic about his prestigious St. Mungo's title, the kind of honor he couldn't buy despite his successes in banking. Blaise's reason for becoming a healer, however, was really his mother's: she had the unshakeable conviction that healers would be safe during wartime. He never found out whether his wand-and-bone badge would keep him alive if captured, but in saving his own neck, he has encountered more deaths than is natural. He first saw thestrals when he was nineteen, while still in training in the department of spell damage. He can remember a body being carried in during the night, a girl's flesh opening like a fruit, and her guts popping like peas in a pod. He didn't feel anything then and still is not sure how he should have reacted. It was not that the death didn't matter to him; it was more that his heart couldn't register what had happened. The girl was taken away, and he could have believed it had never occurred at all. Then he began seeing thestrals during his rooftop coffee breaks, and, well -- Blaise hadn't believed in spectral horses before either. "You can't feel guilty," his supervisor had said, motioning toward the black disturbance on the skyline. Blaise had nodded, but he couldn't help thinking that for healers seeing thestrals simply means failure.

Around two o'clock on Sunday, Blaise leaves St. Mungo's by the street exit after answering an emergency call that began much like one four years ago. There is a moderate flow of women carrying colorful shopping bags from the department store next door, and Blaise walks carefully along the sidewalk for some time until he is a safe distance away to Disapparate. He feels his shirt sticking to his back in the summer heat and hears the air dissolve his echoing steps. The wind that has gathered surreptitiously in the street sets his thoughts afloat with its buoyant breath. ]

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