Fandom: Harry Potter
Categories: fanfiction, sad, romantic
Other info: This is a Draco/Pansy one shot. Even if you don't like the Harry Potter books you might like this, because I think that the theme is universal. It's about 3,500 words long, so it'll take a few minutes to read. This is also posted at Fiction Alley here.
Disclaimer: I am not making any money of this, nor do I claim to be the creator of any of the characters, settings, or concepts found in the Harry Potter series.
"You look absolutely stunning," I said, standing in her doorway.
Her hair was held at the top of her head with a barrette, and dark brown ringlets spilled out of it to just below her ears. She had on a low-cut red dress that fell below her knees, with thin straps and a low back. Around her neck was the locket I had gotten her for her birthday. The chain was twisted a little bit so the back of the locket was showing and I could see the one-word inscription: Forever. As I walked in she was putting on her makeup. She had never looked better.
"Thank you," she replied, standing up and spinning around for me to see. As she spun her dress flew up a little bit, though not quite enough. Oh well, one can't have everything. "You are looking equally amazing. We have about ten minutes until guests start arriving, so we should probably go help my parents set things up."
"I can think of a better use of ten minutes," I said, giving her my most charming grin and raising an eyebrow. I leaned rakishly on the doorframe, hoping she'd get the picture.
"Draco! We can't do that! This is my parents' anniversary. And besides, ten minutes just isn't worth it," she admonished, strapping on her red, high heeled shoes and walking toward the doorway.
"Not worth it?!" I cried out in shock. "It's always worth it!"
"Well, maybe for you it is," she replied nonchalantly. The look on my face must have been one of indignation, because she laughed and said, "Oh, get over yourself."
When she reached the doorway I grabbed her arm, gazed deep into her eyes, and said in the sexiest voice I could manage, "If you give me a chance, I'll make it worth it."
I miss those days. We were young and innocent. We had fun. Whatever happened to those days? I loved watching her put her makeup on, because she was touching her face. She had a beautiful face; it always had to be touched. I would always trace my fingers around her nose, and not-too-high cheekbones. Her chin stuck out a little, and her hairline was high, but she was beautiful anyway. Her face lit up with a natural light. The sun shone everyday on my life; everything was grand. I was rich, popular, and had a wonderful girlfriend. Now I live in a dark, dank place. No sun warming me from the outside in, no stars twinkling through the dark, nor even a crescent moon to light me up. I didn't know what could happen. I didn't know that the simple things were actually the most complicated. I honestly can't remember if any of it was worth it. I don't think that anything I've done with my life has been worth it.
"C'mon, Pansy. Don't you want to fight for what you believe in? Don't you want to preserve our ways? Do the right thing? This could be your chance!"
"I don't know..." She seemed hesitant to answer. "It doesn't seem like such a good idea. I could get injured, or killed, or worse, caught. It just doesn't seem worth it. I can support my cause without risking my life for it, can't I? And besides, what if we lose?"
"Yes, it is dangerous. Life is dangerous. But how would you feel knowing everyone else was out fighting for the right thing, while you sat at home? It's rather cowardly and selfish, in my opinion. Losing is something that could happen, yes, and it would be very bad, no one is denying that. But Pansy, what if we win?" My bloodstream filled with adrenaline at the very thought, and I couldn't understand her lack of enthusiasm.
"Well, Draco, what about you? This is a big decision; are you sure you want to do it? How do you know you won't end up just like your father?"
"My father was an idiot. It's his own damn fault he is where he is--"
"What? You no longer blame Potter for everything that's gone wrong in your life? Have you finally come to terms with reality?"
"Shut up!" I shouted at her. "Don't you dare say that! If he had died when he was supposed to then none of this would have happened! What do you know about reality? Nothing! You're just a spoiled little girl! Don't talk to me about reality."
"Yelling and insulting me is no way to get me to agree with you." I don't know how she so easily managed to keep her cool when I had so quickly lost mine. "Now, do you think we can carry on our conversation with calm, polite words, or should I just come back when you can control your anger?"
"No, no you're right. I shouldn't have yelled at you; I'm sorry." I paused for a moment to regain my composure and think of how to word what I wanted to say next.
"Why am I doing this? Why am I risking life and limb? To help makes things right in our lives, especially my own. This is my chance to get my father back, and to get revenge. I need payback for all those years of injustice I suffered. I'm sure you and your family suffered, too. We all suffered. Come on. You know it's right." I looked directly into her eyes, but she turned her head.
"You have a good point, but I have to think on this awhile. I just don't want you dying on me. I don't know how I would take that. I love you too much to let you go."
It would be so easy to lay the blame on anyone but myself; I can't be held responsible. My father was a power-hungry man who underestimated a fourteen-year-old. He got himself thrown in prison; it's his fault my life is as messed up as it is. The old ways of our families were nice and all, but were they worth it? Was getting revenge on Potter worth the effort? I showed my parents that I was no coward, that I was willing to do what it took. But did they even notice? Did they even care?
"What? Did you just say what I think you said?" I sincerely hoped she was kidding me. This would change my life; it would ruin everything. My whole lifestyle would have to change. I wanted to be angry, but there was no one to which I could direct my anger. If it was anyone's fault, it was my own, but that thought did not make the situation any better. How could I let this happen? Shit, shit, shit. Why did these kinds of things always have to happen to me?
"Yes, I did just say what you think I said." Pansy was sitting on a couch in my bedroom, staring intently at her hands in her lap, looking for all the world like she had accidentally killed someone's puppy. I was too restless to sit down, and so was in the middle of the room, pacing. How could she be so calm? This news would change her life even more than it would change mine, and she was just sitting there, looking guilty.
"Well--are you sure? I mean, you could be mistaken, couldn't you?" Please be mistaken; please be mistaken; please be mistaken; please--
"No. Draco. I'm sure. There's nothing else it could be." She became even more subdued, if that was possible.
"Shit." Shit, shit, shit, shit.
At my very eloquent response she got up off the couch and came toward me. "Yeah, no kidding," she said cynically, then paused. Her voice softened, then, as she said, "But look, I don't really think the situation is that bad. If we stick together, I know we can do this. I need you, and you need me. Please don't leave me. You won't, will you?"
Tears were forming in her eyes as she looked up at me, waiting for an answer. I sighed before shaking my head. She burst into full-on wet sobs and threw her arms around my neck, crying onto my shoulder. No, I would stay. After all, I had brought this upon myself, and it would have been ungentlemanly, dishonorable, and cowardly to leave her alone. And, despite myself, I really did love her. But that didn't mean I couldn't wish to high Heaven that this had never happened in the first place.
Change can arrive in the blink of an eye. I thought it could never happen to me. Change, I mean. I knew what I wanted in my life, and how I wanted to get it. Everything seemed so clear, so straightforward. But then it Changed. I couldn't go back to the way my life was before I heard Pansy's news, but I would have given anything if I could. I didn't know if I was a man or a mouse. Nothing was turning out how I had planned. But that was before I knew that dreams didn't matter; the outcome of our lives would always be the same. I didn't know what could happen. For the life of me, I cannot remember what made us think that we were wise. Our youth, perhaps. Or our arrogance. But it doesn't matter now.
"Draco!" my mother called from the drawing room. "Draco, come look at this new painting I bought!" Irritated, I left the library, to go see what was so amazing about this painting.
"It's very nice," I replied. The thing was hideous. It was of a fat old man sitting in an ancient velvet chair with his wife, young and pretty, resting at his feet, gazing at him as if he were God. That painting made me want to strangle something.
"I'm thinking of putting it up in the entrance hall, where everyone can see it. What do you think?"
"I think it'll be fine wherever you decide to put it, Mother," I said. I started to leave so that I could go up to my room and read. It wasn't that I disliked spending time with my mother, it was just--no, actually, I did dislike spending time with my mother.
"Your father was always so much more helpful. He took an interest in what I did. You hardly ever talk to me, or even look at me. Your own mother! Why can't you be more like Lucius?"
Because the man got himself thrown in prison, and I don't intend to follow him. "Well, Mother, he's not here right now, so, unfortunately, you're stuck with me," I said, avoiding her question. I looked around the room so that I wouldn't have to look at her, and that's when I saw the half empty bottle of some sort of red liquid sitting on a bookshelf.
"You know, Draco, your father graduated first in his class. I forget; how close to the top were you?" Damn the woman! Why did she have to do this to me every time we were together? Did she get some kind of perverted joy out of making me feel inadequate?
I mumbled an incoherent word, hoping she would get the picture and leave me alone.
"I'm sorry, what was that?"
"Fifth," I said, slightly louder.
"Oh yes, fifth, hmm. That's quite a way from first, isn't it?" No, actually, it isn't; it's pretty damn close to first. But I didn't say that. "Remind me of who graduated first in your class, again. I seem to be very forgetful today."
"Granger... Granger... That name doesn't sound familiar. Why would I not have met this girl's parents?" I assumed this was a rhetorical question and that she was just thinking out loud, but then she paused, and looked expectantly at me. Would this woman not leave me in peace? Did she delight in my misery? My own mother was bent on bringing me down. I didn't know how I could provide an answer that wouldn't put me to shame. She reached behind her to take the bottle off the bookshelf and took a rather long sip. I wished I could have some, too.
I mumbled incoherently again, trying to put off the fateful moment.
"I'm sorry, dear, my hearing must be going. You'll have to repeat yourself."
"Because they're Muggles."
Inadequacy was my greatest fear. My mother didn't understand that. She didn't understand me. It didn't matter what place I graduated, and what I got wasn't even worth the effort. I am not my father, nor can I be, nor do I want to be. But my mother didn't know that. I loved her, of course. She was, after all, my mother. But she fell in love in the first place, and with someone who I could never be. I didn't hate the Grangers because they were Muggles. I'm not sure if I really hated them at all.
"What? What happened? Did something go wrong?"
Blaise nodded as his eyes filled up with tears. He furiously blinked them away.
"The place was surrounded. Daphne held them off so that the rest of us could get away. There was no way she could've made it out. Someone must have told. How else could anyone have known we were going to be there?"
"I don't know. But Blaise, it's going to be okay. We can get her out before she gets shipped off. Everything will be fine." Why was the boy crying? It wasn't like it was the end of the world. We'd been in worse predicaments.
"No, Draco. Everything won't be fine. She didn't get caught. She isn't in custody. She isn't going to prison."
As realization dawned I looked at him, my eyes wide. He gave a slow nod. Now we were both openly weeping. I didn't care how stupid I looked, nor did I care who saw me like this.
"Daphne was the only one left. We had all run away. And then she was the last one. I looked back while I was running... They surrounded her, she had no way out, so she... she... she brought her wand up to herself... and..." He couldn't finish his sentence, and for that I was glad. I didn't want him to. I didn't want to hear it, any of it. "I just sat there and watched. I loved her, and I just let her go. I couldn't cry then. I just watched her and I couldn't cry.
"I should have stayed and helped. I should have gone back. I shouldn't have gone in the first place. I should never have gotten mixed up in this. Draco, what have we done? What are we doing? There's not a goddamn good reason for any of it. Why do we do this to ourselves?"
The first time is always a shock. You cry, you rage against the world, you want to quit, and then you just sit down and accept that it happened. But you never get used to it. You hope and pray that next time it won't be you and then when it isn't, you're relieved, and then you feel guilty that it wasn't you. But we never spoke about it. We never spoke about how, when we're home alone, we're guilt-stricken, sobbing with our heads on the floor. Maybe that's why we never found the courage to stop.
"What's going to happen?" Pansy asked. Pansy, Blaise, my mother, and I were sitting on an intricately carved bench under a weeping willow in the churchyard. Well, my mother and Pansy were on the bench; Blaise and I were standing. Our conversation was strained, and I only wanted to get away and be by myself. How could I be so uncomfortable with the people closest to me?
"I don't know," my mother replied after a hushed moment. No one moved, or made a sound, or even looked at each other.
"What should we do?" asked Blaise.
"I don't know," I answered. We were all silent for several minutes. We could think of nothing to say, because there was nothing to say
"Draco," my mother said finally. "What are you and Pansy going to do? Are you going to get married?"
"We haven't really discussed it yet," I said, looking down to avoid both Pansy's and my mother's eyes. The group lapsed into another long silence.
"It's not your fault," I said, breaking into the quiet. I looked at Blaise, and he glanced at me for a short second, then looked anywhere but at me. "It's no one's fault. It just happened. No one is responsible for what happened."
"You really believe that?" Blaise asked me, though still not looking in my direction.
"Yeah, I do."
We tried not to think about it, and tried even harder not to speak about it. We tried to wash our hands of all of this. But it was always in the back of our minds, however much we didn't want it to be. What could happen when you weren't looking? What could happen when you were? It was always easier for me not to look. That way I didn't have to see what horror was coming for me. Maybe if I had looked I would have discovered that I could stop it, instead of just letting it hit me.
"Pansy, please don't go. This is dangerous, and I wouldn't want you to get hurt. Please say you won't go." I didn't tell her that I was also scared for myself. Admitting that would only make her want to come to protect me. But I wasn't the one who needed protection.
"Not go? But I have to go. I said I would, and you know what happens to people who go back on their word. Besides, wasn't it you who convinced me to join in the first place? What happened to 'fighting for the cause' and 'standing up for your beliefs'?" She didn't seem nervous at all. I always wondered how she could stay relaxed in spite of all the pressures she faced.
"Maybe I was wrong about that."
"Do my ears deceive me? Draco Malfoy admitting to being wrong? What is this world coming to?" She held her hands up to her face and opened her mouth in fake shock. I cringed at her mocking of me, but continued with my crusade.
"Well, do you remember Daphne? And Greg? Are you sure you still want to do this after what happened to them?"
"That was... that was a tragedy. But that won't happen to us. We've planned better to avoid mishaps. Look, Draco, I may have been skeptical about this whole thing at first, but now I truly believe in it and want to do it. I understand that you're worried, but we'll both be right there, protecting each other."
"Please, just listen to me. It's too dangerous. You could get caught, or killed. And what about--" I glanced down at her.
"Don't worry about that. It'll be fine; it hasn't been long. Nothing will go wrong. I assure you that we will all walk out of there without a scratch. Now let's go; he doesn't like it when people are late."
We thought we knew everything. But we were stupid. We knew nothing. I thought I had done all I could. But if you ever think you've done all you can, and things don't turn out the way you want, you didn't do enough. It's amazing how what you thought was a good idea at the time turns out to be the biggest mistake you'll ever make. That's the wonderful, and horrible, thing about hindsight. The road to wisdom is covered in ice, and I've slipped and fallen a fair amount of times. I still have the bruises, and I always will. I'd give anything to undo the stupidity of my youth.
"Pansy. I need you. I don't think I've ever told you this before, but I love you. I really truly do. I don't know why I got you into all this. I don't even know why I got into any of it. It wasn't worth it, Pansy. It just wasn't worth it. It's too complicated; there's too much. I wish I had read the fine print. We are too young, why did we have to do this? We could have settled down, we could have had lives. But we were young, and we are still young. Pansy, I want to buy a house with you in the countryside, and raise our children. I still love you, even though I'm not as young as I used to be.
"Why did I have to think of my father? Why couldn't my mother be content with me? If my father hadn't been so stupid, everything would still be normal. If some people had died when they were supposed to my life would be perfect. Daphne, my parents, none of it would have happened. Pansy, I love you. And I don't understand why. Why did we have to fall in love? Why did we have to be so young? Why couldn't we have thought about things? I don't know any of those answers. Do you, Pansy? Do you know anything about anything? Do you know why?"
She didn't answer.
Author notes (for legal purposes): This fic was inspired by the song "The Freshmen" by The Verve Pipe, and some lyrics have been lifted directly from the song.
In the first of Draco's commentaries: "...because she was touching her face."
In the second of Draco's commentaries: "I can't be held responsible."
The third Draco commentary: "For the life of me, I cannot remember what made us think that we were wise."
The fourth one: "...she fell in love in the first place..."
Fifth one: "...we’re guilt-stricken, sobbing with our heads on the floor."
Sixth one: "We tried to wash our hands of all of this."
In the seventh one, the line, "The road to wisdom is covered in ice, and I’ve slipped and fallen a fair amount of times," is a reference to the line in the song, "We fell through the ice when we tried not to slip we'd say..."