Theodore Nott remembered the first time he ever saw Pansy Parkinson as clear as day. It was as though his mind was a library, and he would search every shelf and find a story about her. There was never in a time in his life where he didn't remember Pansy. She was his first memory; the first story he ever read and couldn't put down.
He was four years old. His mother was still alive and his father was still an asshole. He had to visit Charles Parkinson for official Death Eater business, though Theo had no idea at the time. Priscilla Parkinson greeted them at the front gates with Pansy in her arms. Her blue green eyes were the first thing he noticed; he even told his mother later that day that he thought they were so beautiful and unlike anything he had seen before. She smiled and told him he should tell Pansy that one day, because they would be seeing a lot of each other. That maybe it would make her happy. But Theo was always too shy, until his eleventh birthday right before they left for Hogwarts.
They were lying down in the field behind his family's estate. The sun was setting and the warm summer breeze was blowing thru her recently chopped off hair. Pansy was still five inches shorter than him and had her crooked teeth, but every time she looked into his eyes, he got distracted by the colors in her's. She was laughing about something he had said and turned her head to face him as he said his next words. He had planned to say something sarcastic about Draco Malfoy and how her parent's were already arranging their marriage, but instead, his subconscious thoughts spilled onto the grass like the ink on the pages he loved so very much.
"You have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen," he told her, "Have I mentioned that before?"
But she didn't take him seriously. They were only eleven years old. She snorted and playfully bumped his shoulder and told him to knock it off. He never complimented her like that again until they were fourteen and Draco yelled at her at the Yule Ball in front of everyone. She had run out of the Great Hall trying to hold back her tears, but Theo could sense her vulnerability from a mile away when others could not. She had told off Draco for his insolence before she turned and run away from the others. God forbid, she could never show her true emotions. She was much like him with how they were raised. It was only his mother who ever encouraged them to show emotions like every other kid, but she was long gone now. She had been long gone for a year at that point. Death was never fair.
Theo remembered telling Tracey he would be right back as he dipped out of the Great Hall. He knew instantly where she would go; it was their favorite place. A secret small cave by the lake that no one else had ever found. They could hardly fit in it anymore, but that didn't stop them from trying. They liked to pretend they were still eleven years old after their sorting when they found it.
Her pink dress was soaked from the snow falling around them, and her enchanted-on makeup was running down her face. Black smudges were around her eyes, but they still shined bright in the night light. Theo tried not to stare into them for too long.
"I-I'm so stupid," Pansy choked out, "I'm a jealous petty girl. He barely looked at Daphne and I-"
Theo sat down next to her as she fell into his arms. As the snow fell, he covered her up with his cloak and let her cry. He remembered that being the first time he ever felt like beating someone up for her, and Theo never had violent tendencies toward anyone. He couldn't understand why Draco would even look at Daphne with Pansy in the room, for she was all he could ever see.
"You're not stupid," he told her, "You're the smartest person I know, and the most beautiful, too."
She gave him a small smile as she cried, but he still held her. He held her for what felt like hours.
He never told Pansy he went and talked to Draco later that night and threatened that if he ever hurt her again, there would be consequences. Draco never tested Theo after that either. There was a secret understanding between them when it came to Pansy.
Then there was their first fight when they were fifteen. It was over their fathers'. Theo refused to see his any longer, and Pansy was trying to convince him otherwise to continue the Death Eater legacy. He made his decision a long time ago, even before he knew he had made it. It was written in history. It wasn't until later on that Theo realized she only fought so hard for him to be involved so she wouldn't lose him. He was the only stable thing in her life, with her vacant father and abusive mother. They made up a day later when Theo found her crying in the corner of the library. Not a word was spoken, but she fell into his arms and he closed his eyes trying to memorize the feeling of having her back. He would never lose her again. He swore that to himself again and again.
When they were sixteen, Theo's father came after him. He had been living with Blaise, whose mother was gone just as much as his dead one. It was as though she didn't exist. But his father came bursting thru the Zabini Estate's front gates threatened to kill him if he did not initiate himself with the Death Eaters, but it was Pansy who came and saved him. She cursed and hexed his father until he left and never returned. That was the first night Theo ever cried in her arms. He had always been her rock, but she had become his.
And now that Pansy was engaged to Draco Malfoy after the war, he couldn't handle it. Not when she was supposed to be with him. Not when they fought through everything together. You were supposed to marry your rock; the person who kept you grounded and allowed you to be yourself. He knew Draco never loved her; he never had in the way that Theo had. Their upcoming marriage was strictly political, even after everything that happened during the war.
It took all his courage as he slipped thru her window at her estate that night. Her parents were now both dead and it was all her's, but he had done this many times before. It felt natural to him, but Pansy didn't expect it that night.
She woke up suddenly to the sound of him closing her window, and she instantly grabbed her wand.
"Lumos," she whispered.
When she saw it was him, he watched her exhale. She put her hand to her chest and that's when he saw the ring. He swallowed down the lump in his throat.
"Theo, what are you doing here so late? Why didn't you owl me?"
He moved to sit next to her on her bed and avoided looking into her eyes until he composed himself. He could feel her staring at him with concern, and she gently put her hand on his shoulder to comfort him. He took a deep breath and bravely looked into her eyes. The eyes he remembered from all those years ago; the first thing he ever thought was beautiful.
"I-I came here to talk to you about Draco," he said calmly.
"Is everything okay?" She asked worriedly, "Did something happen to him? The trial was supposed to go well-"
"Oh, he is fine," he reassured her quickly, "Don't worry about him. This has more to do with me than him."
Perplexed, she lifted up her right brow and scooted closer to him on the bed.
"Then what is it?"
He closed his eyes as he contemplated on what to exactly say, but these words were already written in history. Just like all his decisions before. They were on the pages of the novels his destiny already wrote for him. This was his path, and this was his story. It was their story; he just wasn't sure how it was going to end.
"I've been in love with you my entire life," he said, "Ever since the first day I met you."
Speechless, Theo heard her sharply intake her next breath. She moved her hand that was on his shoulder onto her lap, and he watched as she looked down at the floor. He could see tears forming in the corner of her eyes, but she pushed them back. It was the first time in years she wouldn't cry in front of him. She locked her jaw as she tried to keep it together.
"Why-why didn't you tell me sooner?" She asked him, "Why are you waiting until now?"
"Because I tried to be selfless," he whispered, more to himself than her, "But I am not selfless, Pansy. I'm selfish. I want you, and I need you, and I can't lose you. If you marry him, my whole purpose will be-"
He didn't finish his statement, but suddenly he felt her grab his hand. She was rubbing his knuckles softly with the pad of her thumb. She wasn't looking up at him, but she whispered back, "You are selfless. I am selfish for not seeing earlier and not realizing. If I had known-"
"If you had known, then what?"
"Then things would be different, but it's too late now."
Without his permission, he felt a tear slip down his cheek, and he felt her wipe it away. He couldn't look at her, he wouldn't. He knew he would be trapped in the page of this story forever if he did.
"I'm sorry," she told him quietly, "I'm sorry."
He nodded to nobody but himself as he stood up. He didn't look back at her as he climbed thru her window and out into the night, but he heard her quiet sobs as he shut her window.
Theo didn't leave his estate for weeks. Now that his father was also dead, he had the place with himself. He never minded being alone before, but now all he could hear were the ghosts of his past and the spirits of what could have been of his future if he had acted sooner.
He couldn't take it anymore and did something stupid. He went back to the field where they were those many years ago when he first tried to express his feelings in his own way. No eleven year old would say that to his best friend, he thought, she was so naive. But he was so naive to think that she would even notice that fact at eleven, too. He was mad at her, but he was also mad at himself. Why had he waited?
He sat down in the grass and brought his knees up to his chest. He put his head on his knees and cried. He cried for his mother, he cried for the father he could have had, he cried for Pansy, he cried for all that he had lost. He could have been crying for hours. He had no idea, but then he suddenly felt a gentle hand on his shoulder.
He knew his face was lined with tears and his eyes had to be red, but he looked up anyway. For once, he didn't care who saw him that way. Theo was surprised to see that it was Pansy. She looked down at him with those eyes he saw every time he shut his own. They were full of love, loss, and regret. She didn't say anything as she sat down and took his hand, and that's when he realized Draco's ring no longer occupied her left ring finger. He rubbed her left hand soothingly and looked up at the sunset ahead of them.
"What happened?" He asked her quietly, "What did he do?"
"He did nothing," she responded quickly, "I just decided on a different path. A path that was written here in this field so many years before."
Theo turned his head to look into her eyes once again. She cupped his face with her hands as she told him, "I remember. I remember the day you told me my eyes were the most beautiful thing you had ever seen. Do you remember that?"
"Yes," he answered quietly, "How could I forget?"
"I was so stupid to not see-"
"We were eleven."
"But we have never been eleven at heart. We are old souls, you and I."
He smiled slightly as he studied her face. Her teeth were no longer crooked, but her eyes were the same. Her hair was long and flowing, and she had grown up into the soul she had always been.
"I love you too," she suddenly said, "I should have said it back."
He nodded, but not to himself this time, but to her. Then he did something he had been waiting to do since that day in the field so many years ago. He kissed her, and she kissed him back. And if the universe was fair, their story would just end here, because nothing would ever get better than this. Theo wanted his story to begin and end with Pansy Parkinson. It was written in the stars.