Chapter 1 : A One-Sided Affair
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Disclaimer: All characters, setting, and so on are of course the property of magnificent JK Rowling. I assure you, no profit is being made.
“Accept this confession!
I’m walking on pins and needles
You’re not my possession!
I’m walking on pins and needles…”
Pins and Needles- Billy Talent
If one cared enough to ask Pansy Parkinson just when this downhill spiral chose to rear its ugly head, he or she would not have received an answer; for Pansy herself was quite unsure.
Did it begin in the midst of their sixth year, when the unfathomable mission bestowed upon him by the Dark Lord had consumed every fiber of his being, leaving not a morsel of him for her? Or did it find its beginning the following summer, when he had failed to return any one of her numerous letters? When he left her pining for a glimpse of his astonishingly pale eyes, or his white blonde hair; assuming the worse of the worse…
Or had it begun during what should have been their final year of study? When he insistently seemed to find one way or another to avoid her company, to shun her aside as if she were no longer of any significance to him? As if there was never a point in time when she was? As if it had always been a one-sided affair?
Yes, indeed it must have been that loathsome year. Something between them had shifted and she could not for the life of her put a finger on it. The manner in which he chose to dismiss her was the ultimate testament to said shift. It was no longer an innocuous “you go ahead, I’ve got to check something before dinner.” While many would consider this a rather inconsiderate dismissal, particularly should it be directed towards one’s girlfriend, Pansy knew him well enough to know that that was the most consideration one could expect from Draco Malfoy. She also knew that it was a feat he would only inflict upon himself for a select few.
Hence, when his response because a rather snappy “I’m busy, haven’t you got anything better to do yourself?” she knew to grieve her elimination from the list she once fancied herself a permanent part of. A list in which her name was now crossed out in favor of one she could no longer pretend not to know…
And here was where the story became excruciatingly heart wrenching: the part where Astoria Greengrass became the ultimate catalyst in the emergence of Pansy’s unhappy ending. Merlin, how Pansy cringed at the very thought of her; with her dark hair flowing down her back; her eyes “as green as grass” they all said, both amused and awed by the clever pun.
Contrary to what many (particularly should one choose to question those loathsome Gryffindors) might claim, Pansy was far from lacking in the self-awareness department. She knew, despite the airs she put up (again, primarily for the benefit of those loathsome Gryffindors, and occasionally those rather hopeless Hufflepuffs) that she was far from what most would consider physically ideal. She supposed she could pass for an attractive young woman if she chose to put the time and effort into her appearance (which, of course, she often did). Her short, dark bob with its sleek perfection, as well as her rather wide eyes gave her quite a few things to work with, mind you. No, Pansy was not terribly hopeless. Yet regardless, the thought that Greengrass’s fabled beauty may have whisked Pansy’s Draco away did little to stopper the bile making its way up her throat.
The thought that what had come to pass between her Draco and that Greengrass bint contained any of the romantic mysticism those myths where sailors were hopelessly smitten with beautiful, nameless sirens harbored would surely bring Pansy to an early grave.
And yet, despite her most valiant efforts to assume otherwise, it would seem that the very thing she refused to accredit has indeed come to pass. She saw his gaze flicker the wench’s way as she passed by, while his head was (as had become custom) lying atop Pansy’s lap. While Pansy herself was stroking his sleek white-blonde hair, giving him her utmost attention, her unyielding adoration, he was considering that wretched Greengrass bint right under her nose.
Soon after, Pansy began to see a certain something flicker over the surface of his pale eyes at the mention of the Greengrass bint’s name. Draco was certainly not one to “wear his heart on his sleeve” if you will. It was in fact the knowledge of this characteristic that often aided Pansy in coping with the cold detachment he sometimes treated her with. It was also the knowledge of this characteristic that made the flicker in his gaze far from a harmless glitch. Said flicker had not even existed upon the mention of that Weasley girl everyone (even Blaise) seemed so keen on.
It was this very flicker that compelled her to follow him that night. He had once again shunned her company aside.
“Draco, why don’t you come over by the fire?” Pansy pleaded; knowing that her gaze only served to reinforce her desperation to spend even a grain of time with him.
His gaze however, held nothing but the slight annoyance at what he undoubtedly considered an inconvenient interruption. This was a gaze she had forced herself to grow accustomed to.
“I’ve got something I need to do tonight. Don’t bother waiting up for me; I’m in no mood for pointless chit-chat,” was his curt response to her plea.
And with that, he turned on his heel and made his exit from the common room. He hadn’t even bothered to wish her a good night…
Well, she mentally snorted, there would certainly be nothing “good” about this dreadful night following that act.
It was then, in the midst of her despair that she found her legs mimicking the route Draco had taken to the exit.
She knew from tailing him on previous occasions that he made frequent trips to the Astronomy Tower when he desired to be left alone. This struck Pansy as a rather ironic habit given what had taken place in said location only one year ago. She supposed however that it may have been those very events that made the place so alluring to Draco. They did, after all, act as something akin to a turning point for both the Wizarding World and Draco himself…
As she made her way up the towers’ winding steps, she began to make out voices descending from above. How odd she thought. To her knowledge, Draco was always unaccompanied during his trips to the Astronomy Tower…
With the air of someone undeterred (despite her protesting insides), she continued up the spiral steps until the voices were clear enough for her to make out their words.
“…don’t understand what you’re doing here at this hour. Unless you’ve taken to following me around now?” she heard Draco’s voice, with its barely contained annoyance.
She heard a rather unceremonious snort in response to his words, followed by what was both surprisingly and undoubtedly a female’s voice.
“Don’t flatter yourself, Draco. I happen to like the view of the grounds from up here. Besides, I don’t see your name carved on the walls, do you?”
An odd, sinking feeling hit Pansy’s midsection. The girl’s voice was light, amused even, as if this were nothing more than a friendly banter. Even more befuddling, she had referred to Draco by his first name. As far as Pansy knew (and it was becoming clearer that her knowledge was bashfully limited) a very select few, comprising mainly of their fellow housemates, were permitted to refer to him as such.
Pansy edged further up the staircase until she was rewarded with the sight of two figures, silhouetted in the semi-darkness. One she recognized instantly as Draco, for even the absence of light could not mask his white-blonde hair.
The girl however was far less recognizable to Pansy. Her hair was so long and dark that it would have been near invisible had it not been glimmering in what little light it managed to reflect. Her frame was slender, slight even, and she was a good head or so shorter than Draco. Pansy was exceptionally frustrated that she could not make out the girls’ features.
“You know when I like to come here, and you know I like to be alone when I’m here, Astoria,” Draco said, his voice flat and void of any amusement.
Despite his less than satisfactory response, Pansy could not stifle the increasing severity of the odd, sinking feeling that had consumed her midsection any more than she could stifle the pang that bought about the rapid beating of her heart. Astoria bloody Greengrass was it? Up here, at this hour, meeting with her Draco whether he wished to see her or not? The audacity, the nerve of that little wench would surely make anyone’s blood boil.
It wasn’t enough that she took his gaze captive with her passing, that she triggered the sodding flicker that drove Pansy to despair? No, it would seem not. For now, she succeeded in taking him physically; she made it her business to be where she knew he would dwell so she could make him hers once and for all. So she could take Pansy’s Draco and make him Astoria’s… Pansy’s heart would surely beat itself to death if it didn’t simmer down…
The wretched bint, undeterred by Draco’s rather dismaying response moved closer to his form and reached up to cup the side of his face with her palm. No, Pansy’s heart would not beat itself to death; it would simply stop functioning as it should.
“But, why?” She asked him, her voice losing its previous playfulness, “you don’t mind my company anywhere else. I don’t remember you complaining about my presence when you asked to meet me in the Room of Requirement last week?”
When you asked to meet me in the Room of Requirement last week… He had asked to meet her in the Room of Requirement last week. He was meeting her, speaking to her when there were days when Pansy couldn’t get so much as a word out of him…
“Draco?” Greengrass implored, for his silence had stretched quite considerably.
“Those times were different. I wanted company then, and I don’t right now. Not here…” despite his unyieldingly flat tone, Pansy did not miss the silent plea at the end. Neither, it seemed, did the wench.
“Why not here?”
To Pansy’s delight, Draco turned away from her and walked closer to balcony, placing each of his hands along the stone banister, presumably staring out into the night. Annoyingly persistent, Greengrass followed until she was right beside him, staring up at him while he continued to gaze out and away from her. She placed one of her hands on his shoulders and spoke her next words so softly that it was almost a struggle for Pansy to hear her.
“Whatever happened here, it wasn’t your fault Draco. I know you, and I know it wasn’t your fault.”
Draco finally turned to face her, and before he could so much as consider a response, she was on her toes and her lips were pressed to his.
It became more and more difficult to draw each breath. Pansy’s tears, both shameful and inevitable, blurred her vision, making the sight she so hoped was a figment of her morbid imagination less and less clear. She quickly placed a hand over her mouth, hoping to stifle any sobs that may chose to betray her.
When Draco’s hands left the stone banister to cup the Greengrass wenches face while he returned her kiss with eager compliance, it took all Pansy’s willpower not to reveal herself with a scream of anger and despair; not to run towards to two of them and toss the wench with her long shimmering locks down to her demise.
But she could do none of these things, for she was rooted to the spot, paralyzed as if hit with a particularly strong body-binding curse. Well, Pansy thought (oh how it surprised her that she was still capable of such a thing…), her detour tonight had done nothing more than break her heart and prove to her that, for at least one year, it had indeed been a one-sided affair.
Author’s Note: Thank you for reading! I did feel quite bad for Pansy when writing this, but JK intended for Draco to be Astoria’s in the end so here’s my spin on how it may have happened… Please, please review and let me know what you thought!