Pairings: Draco Malfoy/Pansy Parkinson, Draco Malfoy/Astoria Greengrass (Malfoy), Pansy Parkinson/Astoria Greengrass (implied), Pansy Parkinson/OFC (mentioned).
Warnings: Voyeurism, of sorts.
Word Count: About 1850
Summary/Description: Years have passed, and a somewhat-older Draco and Pansy meet for drinks in a secluded members club, as is their habit. The world has moved on, but they cannot help but look back to those times at Hogwarts.
Author's Notes: This story was written for daily_deviant's 'back to school' and 'traditional domestic roles' themes. I hope you like my take on these characters, here.
Everything about the club was expensive. From the thestral-skin chairs to the fine 'ting' of crystal, and carpet pile so thick a dwarf could get lost, it all breathed galleons.
It breathed, however, very quietly.
There was no sign at the bottom of the staircase that led from a Knockturn Alley doorway; no advertisement, no bragging. In the current world - ruled by the aspirant Muggleborn class - there were few refuges left where Purebloods could be themselves, and those they had, they tried to make as inconspicuous as possible. Gone were the days of lavish public balls and Ministry dominance; Old Blood had to guard its culture carefully.
One could have been forgiven for thinking that it was exclusively a club for wizards, given the denizens of the tables and sofas: frock-coated, pipe-smoking, exchanging papers and handshakes in hushed tones. Serious business wasn't usually for ladies, after all.
The pair in the alcove by the window bucked the trend, however. A blond man in his thirties - fine-featured, slightly pudgy - talking with a woman in smooth black robes and lipstick the colour of bruises. He leant toward her in eagerness - or was it comfort? - and she crossed her legs in his direction, caressing the stem of her wine glass as if it might be alive.
For Draco, seeing his old friend was the combination of his favourite blanket and his earliest top-shelf fantasy all at once.
No-one felt like home like Pansy did; no-one else understood him just-so. There were very few people who had been at his side back then, and even fewer who had survived the peace that followed. She and he: they were the last gasps of a dying breed.
Everything about Pansy was sharp: the razor-cut bob that framed her heart-shaped face, her quill-thin stilettos, and her tongue full of wit and rancour. Successful in business, she fucked both wizards and witches, literally, and anyone who stood in her way, figuratively. If he hadn't have known her for years, Draco would have been terrified.
"You're looking... well," she ventured, and her eyes flashed with amusement.
Draco's hand ghosted over the paunch beneath his robes. Age might be starting to take its toll - not to mention the recent improvement in the Manor's home-cooking. He smiled sheepishly. "Thanks. -And how are you?"
"Oh, you know. Carrying on," she replied. "We've got another thirty people lined up in America next month, a few of whom might turn out not be cretins. The target is 170K before Christmas, but I think that's optimistic. The way fashion is at the moment, I think we'd be better off concentrating on the Middle-Eastern market, but the shareholders don't seem to agree: see above comment about cretins.
"Or 'dunderheads', as Snape would have called them." She paused, as if her own words had caught her unawares. Pansy took a deep swallow of her drink, and a neat line formed at the bridge of her nose; a cloud settled against a steely sky.
For some reason, they couldn't help talking about the war. Even now, when so many years had tumbled forth; when it was barely even mentioned any more and children who had always known peace were becoming adults. Perhaps that was why the two of them couldn't help but say something.
Draco nodded companionably. "Yes, he would have."
They locked gazes, and the years melted away just behind Draco's lids.
He was scrawny, with darkened eyes, and so very scared of the half-man to whom they had all sold themselves; the Dark wizard who was surely going to kill him. He could neither eat nor sleep, and his hands shook when he tried to use his wand.
His only comfort was Pansy: laying his head in her lap and trying to rest, sneaking to her bed for eager teenage sex - but increasingly, just to hold one another until morning.
She had relieved him of his virginity earlier that year - his awkward spurting against her experienced poise - but she was kind enough not to mention it. In return, Draco was so good as not mention that she was almost certainly screwing Zabini, and likely mucked-around with Bulstrode, as well, when the boys weren't there to know. - No, he wasn't so good, Draco told himself; he didn't care whether or not they were exclusive...
It was only years later that he admitted to himself that he ignored it because he valued the friendship more than the sex.
Pansy nodded to the waiter for another drink, breaking his reverie. She turned back to smile at him.
"And how's it going with wifey?" She raised her eyebrows in expectation.
"It's good." Draco smiled equanimously and spread his hands wide, feeling a certain dull relief at being brought back to the present. "She's very nice."
"Goooood. Four months, now, is it?"
"Yes. Mother adores her."
"Well, that was the idea, wasn't it?"
He laughed. "I suppose so!"
If you'd asked him years back, Draco would never have expected to take an arranged marriage. But, now that he has, he supposes it is for the best. The Greengrass family are good, old blood, and their youngest child, sweet and traditional. Just as the club he frequents, Draco feels he must be loyal to their endangered customs - and when he doesn't think too critically, he can almost convince himself that it was a positive choice.
It is only in his darker moments that he remembers he has never been able to hold together a real relationship for more than six months - becoming twitchy and depressive and full of self-doubt whenever someone seemed to be getting close. Mainly, then, he has kept to himself: buying the odd shag when he felt like it, his waistline slowly spreading with cases of elf-made wine, and seeing Pansy whenever her schedule allowed, for a chat like old-times. It was no wonder that, eventually, Narcissa had taken charge.
Pansy still seemed keen for details, so Draco continued his point. "But yes, the Manor's never looked better. She's organising a thorough cleaning and re-hanging of all the tapestries - which doesn't much please Ulgarf the Odd, or the Doxys, for that matter - she's restocked the game park with winged deer, and is setting-to on the gardens as if they've never been landscaped before. I swear we'll be employing the entire staff of Heatherington's for the next decade."
"Excellent." She gave a conspiratorial nod, then paused. "And do you two... talk?"
"Yes, you know, like married people?"
Draco rolled his eyes, with a faint smile. "Oh, Pans, you know it's not that kind of thing."
"-Besides, what on earth would we have to say to each other? She's barely out of school, and I'm... well, you know all about me."
"Mmm." She acknowledged that in amusement, Cupid-lips pursing. "But she seems content, does she? Likes you well enough?"
"Yes, seems to," Draco replied. "Doesn't question anything, but happy to get on with everything a bride should." He sighed, a wry smile creeping over his features. "She probably just thinks of me as a walking wallet."
"Not the worst you've been called, Ferret-boy."
Draco couldn't but help laugh.
When the chuckles had settled, "So pleased to hear it's... domestic bliss," Pansy continued, with that smirk again. "And, the other side of marital relations? -The ones that take place under the beautifully-cleaned bed-hangings, I mean."
Draco thought about going to his young wife.
She lay there so prettily and dutifully for him - all golden curls and broderie anglaise and big innocent blue eyes. He undressed hastily and noxed the lights, making a conscious effort to hold in his stomach (for his own vanity, not that she would judge him), before angling predictably into position. She was warm and tight and made all the right noises, and was perfectly compliant if he wanted a repeat turn. Even in the morning, if-
"Oi!" Draco felt the familiar tickle of Legilimency and pulled himself up short, shooting Pansy a mock-glare.
"Yeah, I wouldn't mind a bit of that." She laughed, and evaded his attempts to swat her under the table. "For a week or two, at least."
"Mmph," Draco replied, feeling all eloquence. "And what have you been getting up to, lately, then? 'Tis only fair to say."
"Me? Well..." Pansy's eyes twinkled. "After a bit of a dry spell - I do admit - I came across this captivating girl we'd booked for the Autumn/Winter show in Paris. Absolute opposite to yours: a bit punkish; spirited little thing; the sort of colt that bites the hand that feeds it - but I like that. She's of good blood, and absolutely lissom in figure. Part Metamorphagus, I'd reckon, but she mainly keeps her skin dark and her hair short with turquoise. Beautiful."
Draco listened with interest, reflecting on how different their tastes seemed to be. "And what does Dimitri think of that?" It always gave him some strange sort of pleasure to point out Pansy's misdemeanours - now that they were nothing to do with him.
"Dimitri? Oh, what he doesn't know won't hurt him." She took a demure sip from her cocktail. "As long as he keeps writing the cheques..."
"Quite." Draco raised his glass, somewhat in awe of her manoeuvring, and she clinked. It was a nice feeling: being Pansy's confidante when she was so busy using and deceiving everyone else she knew. It made him feel special. It always had.
The rest of their chat passed in a familiar pattern - old friends, new reports, new people, old news that still somehow felt fresh and raw when they wanted to talk about it. That, too, was comforting - and by the end, Draco felt himself, again. He was fortified and ready to face another round of the strange parchment-cut-out life that someone masquerading as him seemed to have arranged for him to lead.
On his way back to the Manor, Draco reflected.
Perhaps, one day, when he had finally grown up, and Pansy had finished going off Being Brilliant, they might lay together, again - just as they had under the green drapes of Slytherin four-posters.
She would be older, but Pansy could never age in his eyes; she could only mature into a potion ever more potent. He might be lithe and slim again, or - more likely, Draco thought wryly - his belly would still be rounding and soft, but he wouldn't have to strain to suck it in, anymore.
Because, with all of the things sluiced under the big, stone bridge of life they had led, it really didn't matter.
Because, after years of hiding from his failures and flaws, Draco Malfoy would finally be comfortable in his own skin, with his own shady personality that actually has far more to give than he has ever allowed it.
Because, he would finally be with the woman he loves.
Draco tucked the thoughts away as he reached the Manor and arranged his features into a placid expression with which to greet his wife. Those curtains wouldn't have cleaned themselves, after all.