Pansy Parkinson hadn’t seen any of her old Hogwarts friends or foes since she fled the castle after the final battle. She had purposely cut herself off from everyone, for fear of being called a coward or a bitch or simply ignored. One mistake - trying to be logical, trying to think of others for once, and she had been vilified. If the other side had won, or if Harry fucking Potter hadn’t been such a hero, people would have applauded her for trying to come up with a solution that would end with less death and destruction. Someone else could have saved the day - it wasn’t like she had taken up arms for the Dark Lord or anything like that. She had simply wanted all the death and destruction to end.
What that really such a bad thing?
But Harry Potter had saved the day, and she was just another Slytherin bitch, so she knew the smart thing to do was to lay low. Well, she had done more than lay low - she had fled the country and moved to a small, definitely not magical town in France. She had found work as a waitress, a job that her parents and most of her former Slytherin peers surely would have found demeaning and below her station, but she no longer had a station. Pansy Parkinson was a perfectly ordinary woman who happened to use her magic when she was alone in her flat, late at night. She was still a witch, but only just, and she definitely wasn’t a part of the magical elite - well, now they were all part of the tarnished former elite, the people who either had to change centuries worth of thinking regarding Muggles and magic or simply go away, much like she had.
Pansy had always been a snob - it was hard not to be, when you were raised in the environment she had been in - but she had never been all that anti-Muggle. She had been against poor people, people who relied more on their brains than their looks, and the horribly uncool, but now that she was poor, used her wits to survive as well as her looks, and had no social standing whatsoever, her own views had changed. She didn’t mind her Muggle neighbors, but she wasn’t particularly close to them. She couldn’t quite give up the last bits of her magical life, and having Muggle friends in and out of her flat would have taken that away from her.
So Pansy spent her days waitressing, making small talk with the regulars and concocting plans of revenge in her head for the customers who disrespected her in anyway, and her nights writing poetry. She had only found her love of words when she had come to this small place, a town where she stood out as the British girl with only a passable accent. Writing poetry allowed her to not only use her own words, not translated ones slipping off an inexperienced tongue, but to get all of her thoughts out of her head. She had no one to talk to about so many things, but she could write about them. She could use all the flowery language she wanted and no one would call her snob (and not just because no one had ever read her words) - that was simply the way of much poetry.
Yes, Pansy Parkinson did not leave a glamorous life, not even a great one, but it was a good one. And she was resigned to the fact that good was about all she was going to get.
But that was before Daphne Greengrass walked into her restaurant one sunny afternoon.
It had been nearly ten years since Pansy had last seen Daphne, but she still recognized her old Slytherin housemate. Her blonde hair looked a little lighter, a little longer, and her face had lost any baby fat it might still have had back when she was seventeen, but it was definitely her. She wore a simple black slip dress, her hair wavy and a little tangled from the summer breeze. Pansy had always either seen Daphne in her school robes or formal wear, so it was a bit odd to see her wearing no jewelry, barely any makeup, and only a pair of bare-bones sandals, worn from walking all over who knows where.
The girls had been friendly, but never friends - Pansy spent more time trying to convince Draco Malfoy that he was in love with her, even when he was falling in with the Dark Lord and all of those other, nasty Death Eaters. She had never gotten a chance to know Daphne, and she certainly had no idea how she might have found her way to an unknown village near the French coast.
Pansy saw in Daphne’s eyes, in the way her eyebrows raised ever so slightly, that she recognized Pansy as well. Pansy supposed she didn’t look too different - she knew she had put on some weight from her teen years, thanks to many fabulous pastries that she could only afford half the time, and her dark hair was cut in a blunt bob that brushed the bottom of her chin, but otherwise she was still herself. She dressed in dark colors, but just like Daphne, she wasn’t nearly as fancy and as formal as she had been in her Slytherin days. She was simply Pansy, a girl who sometimes hated her name and other times spent too much time fussing over her namesake flower, nestled in a pot near one of the windows in her flat.
Daphne walked up to the counter, where Pansy had been sitting, a book of poetry in one hand and her chin in the other. It was after lunch, so it had been quite slow, very few customers to worry about. It made it all the harder to simply ignore Daphne, a thought that had briefly flitted through Pansy’s mind. Instead, she put down her book and put on a small, practiced smile as Daphne got to the counter.
“Well, if it isn’t the Flower of Slytherin.”
Pansy immediately grimaced. She had hoped - naively, obviously - that Daphne wasn’t one of the people who blamed her for thinking of others, and admittedly herself, at the Battle of Hogwarts. Pansy didn’t remember Daphne fighting, but maybe she had been one of those people who snuck back after the Slytherin house had been escorted out.
Daphne immediately blushed, a pretty shade of pink spreading across her face. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Pansy, I didn’t mean to insult you. I was trying to make a joke, but obviously I’m no good at that.”
Pansy narrowed her eyes as she tried to judge whether Daphne was being serious or not.
Daphne put her hand on Pansy’s, which was now laying flat on the counter once she stopped propping up her chin. Pansy froze, unsure what to do, feeling like all the heat in her body was now located in that one spot where Daphne’s skin was touching hers. She looked down at it for a few seconds before finally looking up at Daphne, whose face was still a little pink from her embarrassment.
“I never know what to do when I see old classmates. I’ve spent the past ten years or so avoiding them, so it’s always weird when I see them, especially when I’m not expecting it. I had heard that you’d moved away, but I’d certainly never expected to come across you.”
“Me as well,” Pansy finally managed to croak out, her voice cracking slightly. She realized that was the first thing she had said since Daphne had approached her. Her social skills with people who actually mattered, rather than customers, were certainly rusty.
And she had a feeling that Daphne mattered. Here was someone from her past, someone who knew about magic, who knew about the Battle of Hogwarts, who knew that she had been a petty mean girl during her school days, and she had still approached her instead of leaving the cafe without another word. Daphne came from a Pure Blood family as well, but she had never gotten mixed up with the drama of it all, even when things got bad. Sometimes Pansy remembered wondering why she had been in Slytherin to begin with, other than her heritage.
“I’d love to catch up, see what’s going on with you,” Daphne said, mercifully ignoring how socially inept Pansy now was. “What do are you off?”
“Off?” Pansy shook her head slightly as the words traveled around her head until they finally made sense. “Oh, of course, can’t really talk now. Well, I’m done after the dinner rush, so around nine or so?”
Pansy immediately began cursing herself for turning so many of those statements into questions, but Daphne had already moved on.
“That sounds great - I’ll do some exploring, maybe even pop back in here for dinner, and then we can meet up. I assume you live somewhere around here?”
Pansy nodded and used her other hand, the hand that still wasn’t horribly, wonderfully underneath Daphne’s own, to wave vaguely in the direction of her flat.
Daphne smiled, a brilliant grin that made her look even more stunning, if that was even possible. “Wonderful. I’ll see you soon.”
Pansy looked at Daphne’s back as she headed out the door, gliding rather than walking. Whatever she had been doing for the past decade, it had been great and had done great things to her.
Pansy went back to her book of poetry, but not a single word got into her head. Her head was full of blonde hair, pretty blushes, and warm hands.
Luckily for Pansy and her customers, she barely noticed Daphne slipping in during the dinner rush. She was much too busy balancing trays, taking orders, and pretending to laugh along with tourists and the French alike who all recognized that her accent marked her as other. If she were a better person, she would probably emphasize more for people who felt like this all the time, who didn’t have the privilege she did, but Pansy hadn’t evolved quite that much, not yet.
Even once she did notice Daphne, sitting alone at a table with a half smile on her face the whole time, Pansy did her best to ignore her until the restaurant had mostly emptied out. Daphne had mercifully done little to draw attention to herself, although Pansy worried that she had done so because she thought that Pansy was so socially awkward now that she was simply taking pity on her. Still, she had returned, even though it would have been so easy to just flee and never look back. That had to be a good sign, or at least not a bad one.
Pansy collected her things - a sweater and her book of poems, certainly not the extravagant possessions she had in her former glory days - before joining Daphne. “Did you want to stay here a bit or come back to mine?”
Pansy was a bit too proud of herself for saying a full sentence without mucking it up. Her standards had certainly fallen.
“I think I’d like to see where the great Pansy Parkinson now lays her head,” Daphne said with a wicked smile.
Pansy wasn’t quite sure what lay behind that smile, but she was both scared and exhilarated.
“It isn’t much,” Pansy warned as Daphne pushed back her chair and rose. She was taller than Pansy, her legs appearing even longer thanks to the short hem of her dress. Pansy gulped and forced herself to look at Daphne’s face, not her legs, and not anywhere else. She hadn’t felt this off-kilter, this nervous, in her life. She couldn’t for the life of her figure out why.
Daphne reached for her arm, lacing her own with Pansy’s. “Don’t sell yourself short. Let me judge for myself if it’s worthy of you.”
Pansy didn’t say much on the short walk from the cafe - she let Daphne take control, chatting about their old classmates.
Millicent Bulstrode and a Gryffindor girl, Romilda Vane, had had a fling a while back that had now blossomed into a full-blown relationship.
Her old crush, Draco Malfoy, still had a crush of his own - on the very boy, now man, she had tried to turn over to the Dark Lord, Harry Potter. Unfortunately for Draco, Harry was exploring a new relationship with Daphne’s own younger sister, Astoria Greengrass. Harry’s old flame, Ginny Weasley, spent most of her time on the Quidditch pitch or at the little cottage she now shared with her girlfriend, Luna Lovegood. Both of these relationships had apparently started at the lavish wedding of Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown, as well as a relationship between Parvati’s twin, Padma, and another former Slytherin, Blaise Zabini.
The beautiful and broken Cho Chang had healed with a little help from her former friend, now wife, Marietta Edgecombe, and Hermione Granger had been seen out with Fred Weasley, while his twin had been spending some less-than-platonic time with Lee Jordan and Hermione’s former Weasley beau, Ron, had just gotten out of a star-studded relationship with the Quidditch great, Viktor Krum, and was currently seeing a former Quidditch player, his former teammate, Demelza Robins. At this point, all of the Weasleys had found someone (even Percy was seeing Angelina Johnson, one of his brother’s old girlfriends), except Charlie Weasley, who proudly remained unaligned with any romantic partners.
There were plenty of names now bouncing around in Pansy’s head - Penelope Clearwater and Theo Nott! Katie Bell and Oliver Wood! Katie Bell and Alicia Spinnet! Katie and Alicia and Oliver? (Even Daphne had been unable to find out for sure, and apparently that was a rare feat, to fly that low and avoid her detection) Susan Bones and Hannah Abbott! Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas! Tracey Davis and Neville Longbottom! - and she felt a bit overwhelmed. She had gone nearly a decade without hearing about any of this people, quite on purpose, and now Daphne had burst into her life and swept her up again. She wanted to get angry, to turn to Daphne and throw poisoned words at her like she was still a schoolgirl, only her words would likely be sharper and prettier now with her years of experience and poetry habit - but she couldn’t.
Mere minutes with Daphne Greengrass, and she was already so affected. What was this girl doing to her?
After walking up a flight of stairs, Pansy attempted to open the door of her flat with a flourish, but she ended up nearly tripping on the welcome mat instead. The damn thing had been there for three years and she had never found herself floundering over it, but the first time she actually had someone to welcome, it worked against her. Typical.
Daphne grabbed her elbow in an attempt to help, but it just made Pansy stumble even more. She managed to hop over to the couch, which was right by the door thanks to the fact that her place was too small for it to be further away. Everything seemed like it was merely a hop away.
“Are you alright?” Daphne asked as she sat down on the couch next to Pansy, a couch that now seemed a lot smaller than it ever had before. Sure, Daphne was taller than Pansy, but it was ridiculous how much its depth seemed to change with another person beside her.
Daphne’s face appeared to be far too close.
Pansy didn’t move.
It took her a moment to remember that she had been asked a question. “Yes, yes, perfectly alright. I suppose I’ve gone too long without all those deportment lessons.”
That got a laugh out of Daphne, which made Pansy smile.
“Oh, how I hated those! My mother made Astoria and I take them until things got really bad with Voldemort and I was able to convince her that we had bigger concerns.”
Pansy hadn’t heard the name “Voldemort” in ages. Growing up, even though her parents weren’t actual supporters of him, they respected his ideas enough that they always called him the Dark Lord, like the rest of their peers. Everyone else called him He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named until Harry Potter came along. It seemed that, in the time since Pansy had left, his name had lost much of its power. Not a surprise, now that he truly seemed to be gone and people like Harry Potter had so much fame and prestige.
Pansy didn’t say anything about the name. Instead, she waved one of her arms around the room, as if she were a common showgirl. “Welcome to Chateau de Pansy.”
It wasn’t much - the same off-white paint color that it had been when she moved in, some second-hand furniture that made the whole place look homey and crowded at the same time, a doorway that led to the kitchen and dining nook, and a hallway that led to the bathroom and bedroom, which was only big enough for a dresser, a queen-sized bed, and a vanity table that Pansy had somehow managed to fit. Not much at all, but it was now her home, and Pansy found herself a bit nervous to see if Daphne would judge it too harshly.
Pansy raised an eyebrow in disbelief, a skill that she had gained in her time alone when no one else was around her to watch her practice in her mirror for hours. She called bullshit, even with the seemingly genuine smile on Daphne’s face.
Daphne knew that look, though - perhaps she had been paying closer attention to Pansy back in school than Pansy had been paying attention to her.
“No, I really do mean it! I love how you found a few things that all look to be meaningful to you, rather than spending too much money on impersonal things like our parents did. You made a home, however cheesy that might sound.”
Pansy liked the sound of it coming out of Daphne’s mouth rather than when she tried to assure herself with the same words in her own head. It was true, though - everything she had seemed to have a story, if not many, attached to them. It was her home, more than a flat in a nameless village.
“Why don’t you tell me the story of this couch? I’m sure you have one right on the tip of your tongue,” Daphne said, smiling and leaning back.
It took Pansy a few seconds to recover from hearing the word “tongue” coming from Daphne’s pink lips. She really had let her social skills slip in the past few years.
“I found this couch at a second hand shop. It was one of the first things I bought for this flat. I had been using my bed for everything - sleeping, eating, reading, whatever required a seat, basically. I finally had enough of it, and had finally saved enough, to get a used couch. This was the first one I saw when I stepped into the shop, and even though it would use up all the money I had saved, I had to have it, I had to have a real piece of furniture besides my bed. So, I got it, convinced the shop clerk to help me get it back here, and it’s been my favorite place to be ever since.”
This was the most Pansy had said since she had seen Daphne - Daphne had definitely been the one doing all the talking up until this point. Pansy wasn’t a blusher, but even she could feel the way her cheeks had heated up ever so slightly.
Daphne laughed. “I don’t remember you being this quiet back in school. You were never one to shy away from sharing your opinions.”
“Yeah, and you saw where that got me,” Pansy blurted out. Her eyes widened and she slapped both hands over her mouth. “I can’t believe I said that out loud.”
Daphne was still laughing. “I can’t understand you with your hands there,” she said as she reached for them, gently pulling them away. She didn’t let go of them. “Honestly, Pansy, you have nothing to be embarrassed about - I’m sure you weren’t the only one thinking that. Hell, I thought it for a moment, I just didn’t say it. It’s possible for people to change and no longer be their past mistakes. Do you still believe that Harry Potter should have died?”
Pansy thought about it, even though it was something she had thought long and hard about over the years. It was true that she had felt that way then and had changed now. Even though she wasn’t a part of it, she knew that the magical world was probably a lot better off than it would have been with the Dark Lord in charge - the Muggle world certainly seemed better for it. For one, it was still around, instead of being conquered by a power-hungry, Muggle-hating wizard.
She shook her head, unable to speak while Daphne was still holding on to her hands.
“Then I think you’ll be fine, Pansy Parkinson. You’re going to be perfectly alright.”
Pansy wasn’t sure why she did it - maybe Pansy still looked unsure, maybe it was going to happen anyway - but suddenly Daphne was leaning towards her, a small smile on those wonderful, pink lips. A small part of her wanted to run, a part that sounded suspiciously like her parents, but she found herself leaning forward ever so slightly. She didn’t know what she was doing.
Pansy knew exactly what she was doing.
Her eyes fluttered shut as soon as Daphne’s lips were on hers. They were soft, a little sticky from lipstick or chapstick or something else that was now on Pansy’s lips as well. It was a small kiss, neither lips really moving, and Pansy felt rather than saw Daphne pulling back. Her eyes popped back open, anxiety running through her veins. Had she done something wrong? Had Daphne decided it was the wrong thing to do and was turning away?
The small smile, still on Daphne’s beautiful face, told her everything she needed to know, and suddenly Pansy felt some of her old, mean girl, strong girl self taking charge. She surged forward, grasping at Daphne’s shoulders and planting her lips firmly on Daphne’s. This wasn’t a small kiss of curiosity, but a bigger one meant to explore.
Pansy slipped her hands down to Daphne’s hair, getting caught up in the curls and the waves and the tangles. She pulled a little too hard and Daphne hissed into her mouth, opening her lips. Pansy apologized without pulling back, mouthing the words to Daphne before slipping her tongue into her mouth. She pulled one hand out of Daphne’s gorgeous hair and let it fall to one of her thin straps, wrapping it around her finger.
Daphne had taken Pansy’s sudden passion as a sign to do the same. She had already started tugging on the buttons of Pansy’s shirt, muttering curses against Pansy’s lips before she pulled her wand out of a pocket that Pansy was sure hadn’t been big enough for a wand - perhaps wizarding fashion had gotten more practical since Pansy had left? It didn’t matter, though - all that mattered was that Daphne had used her wand to silently take care of the buttons, and suddenly Pansy’s shirt was gaping open, her plain, black bra on display.
This was faster than anything Pansy had ever done. She had had adolescent fumbling back in her Hogwarts days, making out with Pure Blood boys at formal events and even convincing Draco to spend some memorable afternoons in abandoned corridors far away from any dormitories, but she had never really felt in love, not even with Draco. She had felt in like, for sure, or at least what she assumed was a romantic interest, but even now, she found herself questioning that, simply because she had isolated herself so much that she hadn’t fallen for anyone since, male or female. She didn’t know what she was, if she had ever truly liked someone, but she certainly like Daphne right now, which was why she wasted no time in dragging the strap she had a hold of down Daphne’s shoulder, pulling her other hand out of her hair to reach for the other.
Pansy finally pulled back, but not to pull back from Daphne. Instead, she stared in wonder at her, looking at her strapless bra, which looked a little too small, even for Daphne’s small chest. She reached down to trace her ribs - Daphne was far too thin for Pansy’s liking - and suddenly she had dreams of taking Daphne out, eating croissants and rich pastries. She leaned down to kiss a small birthmark that was just underneath her bra, reaching up with her hands to explore.
Draco was the only person she had ever gotten a chance to explore in such an intimate way, other than her own body on lonely nights, and each part of Daphne was a wonder and a marvel. She squeezed and caressed, using fingers and tongue. Daphne’s head fell forward, noises slipping from her own lips and her hair enveloping Pansy. She felt hands running down her back, pulling back her open button-down, playing with her bra clasp. Slipping hook from clasp, brushing them away from each other.
Then those same hands were pulling at her, pulling her back up, capturing her lips once again before dragging the bra off her chest completely. Now Daphne was the one reaching, grabbing and squeezing and doing everything possible to elicit a response from Pansy. Pansy found herself gasping into Daphne’s lips, her face now as flushed as Daphne’s was back in the cafe.
Pansy couldn’t think, couldn’t do anything other than feel so many new, wonderful sensations, but she had just enough presence of mind to finally speak.
“Merlin, I wish we had gotten to know each other more back at Hogwarts.”
Daphne laughed, throwing her head back. “Yes, Pansy, I think our school days would have been a lot more interesting if we got to see the inside of each other’s beds a bit more.”
Pansy looked up at Daphne, biting her lip before answering. “Do you want to see mine now?”
Daphne grinned before pulling Pansy to her feet. “That sounds perfect to me.”
It took them a little longer to make it to her bedroom than it needed to, but Pansy didn’t mind. Daphne’s dress, which had been hanging around her thin hips, found its way onto the floor in front of the couch; Pansy’s jeans, which she had to trip her way out of, lay in the hall; Daphne’s lacey underwear was left on the doorknob of Pansy’s bedroom door with a giggle from its owner.
They tumbled onto her bed, rumpling the bedspread and pushing pillows to the floor. Pansy let Daphne take control back, if only for the moment, because she wanted to feel like the princess she had once been. She wanted to see someone worshiping her in a way that no one ever had, especially not from that particular angle.
There would be plenty of time for Pansy to get control back, for her to sharpen her claws once more, for her to use her wicked tongue in a way that it had never gotten the chance before. This was the perfect opportunity for Pansy to marry her past life, her past skills, with a new bliss, a beautiful future.
Pansy didn’t know what her future would actually bring, if Daphne would stay or if magic would find its way into her life in many different, wonderful ways, but as Daphne kissed her way up her thigh, she didn’t really care.
For the first time in a very long time, she liked the idea of her future, and she wanted it. But for tonight, this was more than enough.