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Wilted Flower by Roots in Water
Chapter 4: Draco
It was several more days before the idea took root in her mind and became unshakeable. Its goal was aided by the loneliness that had become a part of her life. As she didn’t agree with her mother’s reactions to the house arrest and didn’t think that house elves were suitable companions, she was rather lacking in people to talk to. Eventually she couldn’t resist the temptation—at least with Amortentia Draco would once more become a part of her daily life.
She took her time, writing notes on the instructions for her to memorize and researching tips to make the process simpler. She didn’t want to believe that the potion had worked, only to be met with disappointment.
She sent the house elves out to gather the required ingredients and spent hours slicing dandelion roots into perfect strips of equal length and width, her eyes growing sore and her back aching as she bent over the table. Her nails grew dirty from the days it took to carefully peal the fairy wings and lacewings apart—they were very delicate and if you rushed you were liable to tear them, making them useless for the potion. She counted bundles of rose thorns and lovage seeds, sorting them into the doses as they would be required to be put in the potion.
When she was finally ready she found a secluded room where she set up her cauldron and carefully started a fire beneath it. She carefully lined up her ingredients in the time it took for the cauldron to heat and then nervously started to create the potion.
It was difficult and several times Pansy almost missed her cues to drop ingredients into the cauldron or almost forgot to stir at the correct moment but she managed. After several hours of hard work and near failures Pansy was relieved to be able to wave her wand and turn the fire off, only to frantically conjure another flame. She had forgotten that the potion needed to stew for another hour after the last ingredient had been added to strengthen its aroma. Had she forgotten that step, the potion would have been useless to her. She sat in a corner of the room, determined to watch the potion until completion to make sure that nothing else would go wrong. The room was hot though, and her robes were sticking to her body—it wasn’t a pleasant feeling.
She was glad when the hour was up and she was able to finally declare the potion finished. However, she had forgotten one crucial element—storage. Though she now had a cauldron full of Amortentia, she had nowhere to store the potion. She knew enough about potions to know that if left long enough after it had finished brewing, the pewter in the cauldron would begin to influence the effects of the potion—she didn’t want to risk any unknown side-effects from something that she could prevent.
She hurriedly summoned a house elf and sent it out to purchase small flasks, the kind that she had used in Hogwarts’ Potions classes. After it returned she carefully filled each flask to the brim and sealed it with wax.
She wasn’t quite sure how to transport them to her room—she didn’t want to drop them—but eventually conjured a small wooden trunk lined with soft cushions in which she firmly wedged the flasks.
She didn’t think that she had ever covered the distance between the library and her room as quickly as she did that day. She resisted the urge to run—even without an audience she was still a proper pureblood lady—but it was difficult. She was holding in her hands her link to Draco, her method of easing the loneliness that had surrounded her.
She was sure that a lesser person would have broken down and run.
But eventually her feet walked through her doorway and into her chambers. Unsure of where to store the flasks she placed the trunk on her nightstand and sat on her bed.
The mattress curved around her and suddenly she was tired, very tired. Her pillow looked so soft and her eyes felt heavy. The potion-making had taken more out of her than she had thought and she wasn’t required to attend dinner. Even though they were prisoners, they didn’t have guards.
However, Pansy couldn’t fall asleep without opening one of the flasks and smelling Draco. His scent had started to spread throughout her makeshift potions lab but it had disappeared as quickly as she had filled the flasks. She longed to have a physical reminder of him.
It had been so long since she had last seen him, touched him. Her last year at Hogwarts hadn’t been kind to their relationship and they had only been able to meet during the annual Malfoy ball that had to be held to avoid any more suspicion from the Ministry—the Malfoy ball was well known in the higher levels of society and was one of the highly anticipated social events of the season. Pansy didn’t know what had become of it this year—she had read in the newspaper that Lucius hadn’t escaped Azkaban. Narcissa and Draco had both been placed under a stricter house arrest than she had been—they had only escaped Azkaban because of Potter’s defense.
She unsealed one of the flasks and brought its opening to her nose. One sniff had her smiling. Yes—she had bottled Draco’s scent. She had a part of him available to her at any time she pleased. But she was still so very tired… Curious, she tipped the flask and watched as the potion dribbled over her pillow. Once the flask was empty, she hesitantly brought the pillow to her nose and inhaled. It had worked—Draco’s scent had transferred to the pillow.
Reluctantly, she released the pillow and looked towards the trunk. She placed the empty flask on the nightstand for future use—she suspected that she would soon be making the potion again and she didn’t fancy buying flasks each time. She would have a house elf clean it in the morning—right now she didn’t want to be disturbed.
She slipped the rest of the flasks in the drawer of her nightstand and carefully warded them. Fortunately the aurors had already completed their search of her room several times over and so there was no chance that they would accidentally stumble upon the potion.
Besides, the love potion was precious only to her because of what it allowed her to do. If the aurors happened to become interested in the new wards, they would only be able to accuse her of being a love-sick teenager.
Even the Dark Lord hadn’t been able to figure out how to lie under Veritaserum.
Pansy lay down on her bed, holding her pillow against her nose. She sniffed and started to cry. That was Draco’s scent on her pillow, on her bed. With her eyes covered by the pillow she could believe that Draco was beside her in the bed, that he had come to see her and stayed for the night.
She curled around the pillow and pulled her covers over her head. Draco’s scent was trapped and the added heat of the blanket augmented the illusion of another body in the bed.
She refused to open her eyes, refused to wreck her fantasy. Draco was sleeping beside her, he was.
She fell asleep with a content smile on her face.
Each night she went to sleep with her nose full of Draco’s scent and her mind full of dreams about their future together and woke each morning to disappointment, when she couldn’t deny the emptiness of her bed, when she couldn’t deny that she alone slept on her pure white sheets.
Her ability to improved drastically with practice and soon she was able to have several cauldrons going at once. The time between brewing periods grew from every few weeks to every few months, further solidifying her delusion that their relationship was real. She came to dread the sound of glass rattling on wood for it meant that it would soon be time to brew the potion again. It marked the time where she was faced with the undeniable evidence that her relationship with Draco was a farce.
She relished Draco’s daily presence in her life. She and her mother were living separate lives and the house elves were mere ghosts. Though her daily tasks were boring and predictable, she found that she didn’t mind the monotony for it allowed her to ignore the growing disaster that was the Wizarding world.
In the Daily Prophet she saw a swiftly changing society, a society that was trying to wipe its history under a rug and forget it. It was abandoning time-honoured traditions and labeling those that still followed them “pureblood supremacists”. The tables had been turned and purebloods were now the ones that were looked down upon and insulted.
This new situation was even more dangerous than the previous for now the majority of Wizarding society believed its problems to be fixed—with Voldemort long dead, killed by their saviour Harry Potter, and the purist laws rescinded, they believed their world to be without problems. Those mudbloods and half-bloods didn’t realize that they were doing the same thing that had been done to them, only in reverse.
There was no one to stick up for their traditions, no one who believed they should be saved, for everyone who followed them was without influence in this new society. Pansy forced herself to read, disgustingly fascinated, as the Wizengamot declared it illegal to “selectively breed” your offspring, to push your child in the direction of a particular witch or wizard, to “muggle bait” and show superiority over muggles, traditions that purebloods had engaged in for centuries. It made the law against discrimination based on blood status seem almost trivial in comparison.
Her mother didn’t read the paper, preferring to live blissfully without the knowledge. Pansy supposed that knowing that her husband was in Azkaban for life was unpleasant enough without the added outrage of the changing laws. Pansy herself only read the Daily Prophet because her father had told her never to be unprepared, for being unprepared was like walking into a dragon’s nest blindfolded and smelling of meat.
The Aurors rarely interrupted their lives anymore—Pansy supposed that the Minister or Head Auror had reluctantly decided that they couldn’t paint them as guilty, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. They had combed every room in the house numerous times and had, on many occasions, made “surprise visits” to the manor, trying to catch them in the act. Pansy didn’t know why they thought that they would so absolutely stupid as to commit “Dark” acts while under house arrest—no one purposely tries to get sent to Azkaban and whatever they were labeled as, Pansy didn’t think that the Death Eaters had been stupid. The rare one, yes, but on the whole they had been intelligent.
The other side had just been lucky.
Pansy didn’t know the exact moment that her reflection had become so chatty, but she appreciated the company. It was refreshing to be able to chat with someone with similar thoughts and intelligent opinions. With her reflection Pansy didn’t have to worry about associating with inferior blood (no matter what Wizarding society thought, she would always have her standards) or disgracing her family reputation for nothing that she said in confidence would be spread from ear to ear as a traded commodity. Many afternoons passed quickly as Pansy conversed with her reflection, exchanging thoughts on whatever had caught her interest that morning.
One topic of conversation frequently reappeared, though all its possible areas of discussion had been exhausted. Pansy was unwilling to let it go and on one late spring afternoon, as the hot sun scorched the ground outside Pansy’s window, she brought it up again.
She had abandoned the small chair that sat in front of the mirror in her room and was pacing back and forth, though always within the view of her reflection. Her hair was unusually messy with strands limply framing her face as though she had tugged them loose and her hands were squeezing the air desperately.
“I mean, what if he doesn’t love me anymore? He hasn’t sent me any letters and it’s been months!” Pansy paused to glance hopefully at her reflection for reassurance, with her reflection pleasantly gave, as she had many times before.
“He still loves you—you haven’t sent him any letters either, if you recall.”
“I haven’t been able to!” Pansy cried indignantly, throwing her hands in the air and resuming her pacing. “The Ministry won’t allow me… I’ve tried! You know I have!”
“I know you have,” her reflection said soothingly, “And what’s to say that Draco hasn’t either? He’s under house arrest as well.”
“That is true… But I still wish that we were able to communicate—it would make this so much easier!” Pansy fell into the chair and looked into the mirror imploringly. “I haven’t seen him in what seems like years—you know that the last time I saw him was at his family’s ball, five months before the Dark Lord’s defeat.” Her reflection nodded patiently, having heard this many times before.
“I can’t remember if he ever said that he loved me. Though it was implied—he did show it in his actions, I’m positive that I didn’t imagine his feelings for me—I would feel so much better if I knew for certain that he loved—loves—me.”
“I’m sure he does—what could he not love about you?” Her reflection smiled widely and Pansy couldn’t help but return it. Her reflection was a blessing during the house arrest and amazing for the self-esteem.
“I love him so much, you know. I love him more than anything else in my life. I’ve loved him for years and I know I’ll love him for the rest of my life.” Pansy fiddled with the roses the house elves had arranged in a vase on her desk, imagining that Draco had sent them.
Her reflection smiled fondly down at her. “I know you do. It shows in your every action, your every word-” Pansy smiled upon hearing this—she was glad that her affections for Draco were obvious. “-and you’ll be able to share your love with him once you’re released from house arrest. It won’t be long now—you just have to stay strong.”
“I know. It’s just difficult, sometimes.” But Pansy was still smiling when she looked at her reflection. “You know what ridiculous thing Mother did this morning? She actually asked the house elves, politely even, to switch her goblet when they mixed up her drink! It wasn’t even as if she wanted something new—she still drinks that awful orange juice!” She exchanged a commiserating glance with her reflection. “If Father was here, the mistake wouldn’t have been made in the first place! I’m telling you, everything is disintegrating in quality…”
She was so glad that someone understood her, even if it was someone that most people would say didn’t exist.