Title: Love from Darkness
Disclaimer: Pansy Parkinson and all other things Harry Potter are owned by JKR, WB and Scholastic. Willow Rosenberg is owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. None of it is owned by me.
Summary: Pansy knows what it's like to be hated. She never knew how strong it could make her. Just a ficlet in which Pansy muses on being hated, on loss, and on love. Some angst and some schmoop.
Notes: This story is for Shulik
who loves Pansy. This fic is also written in honor of the third annual International Day of Femslash. http://www.femslashday.com/
It's just a little ficlet, unbetaed, and written very quickly.
I love the smell of her hair. Even when she hasn't showered in days, and she's been running barefoot in the woods. Her skin is soft and pale, and tastes so good beneath my tongue. I never expected to find love, especially not with this barmy redhead from California. But from the moment I saw her—her eyes and hair black with dark magic; grief and agony leeching from her skin into the earth, making the earth itself sad—I knew she was special. She was so far gone, I thought I'd lose her seconds after finding her. I wanted to help her, but the daft muggle boy beat me to it. Watching him reach her made me hopeful and sad at the same time. Something about him reminded me of Theo, though they looked nothing alike. But he reached her, as I watched from afar, knowing that somehow, I needed the crying girl in my life. Maybe if I could help her, I could be redeemed.
I didn't understand at first. Having people hate you isn't as hard as Potter made it look. But it's definitely lonelier. I was used to getting dirty looks from the Gryffindors, and even the Hufflepuffs. But I hadn't expected those looks from my friends. I'd never imagined losing Millie, Theo, Blaise and Draco. Especially not Draco. But lose him I did.
When the war officially ended, it was amazing how quickly some of my friends jumped ship. Millie ran straight for Potter and his cronies, claiming she never supported the Dark Lord, and only pretended so they wouldn't kill her or her little sister. Blaise stood tall and beautiful, and flirted his way into the Chosen One's ranks, one Gryffindor girl at a time. Theo was more complicated. He had no desire to play lap dog to Potter and his gang, but he had no illusions. With his father dead and his mother in Azkaban, Theo knew he'd never make a name for himself in the UK, so he just left. Without even a word of goodbye to his friends. I found the note a few days after leaving Hogwarts. Unpacking my school trunk in my bedroom in the large, empty, lonely house, I stumbled upon the folded bit of parchment tucked between two of my books. Pansy,
I'm sorry I didn't say goodbye, but I had to go. With Father dead and Mother in prison there's no chance of the Ministry career I'd once hoped for. I won't stay around to watch my friends and family rounded up and sent off to prison, or humiliated because of their alliances during the war. I will miss you Pansy, more than the rest. I'll miss our late-night talks in the common room, and our trips to Hogsmeade. I'll try to write, but I'm not sure where I'm going yet.
I folded up the note, careful not to get tear marks on it, and slid it into my handbag. Theo Nott was my best friend at Hogwarts, my favorite cousin, and I would miss him terribly. I would mourn the loss of his friendship much more than Millie's or Blaise's. Or even Draco's.
Draco Malfoy was a difficult person for me to lose. We knew, from the time we were very young, that our parents had arranged for the match. Two young, only children from wealthy pureblood families, it was a smart match. I knew, of course, as soon as I was old enough to understand such things, that my future husband would be chosen for me, just like my father was chosen for my mother. I will always remember that afternoon. We were seven years old, and Lucius and Narcissa had come over for tea with my parents, bringing Draco with them. Draco was shorter than me, and his pale blonde hair was carefully slicked back. He looked at me with wide silver eyes, and I stared back at him, as our fathers made the agreement for our future marriage. I didn't truly understand what it meant—not completely. But still, I took a tea cake from the table and offered it to him. He took it, and smiled. When Mother gave us the instruction to go play, I eagerly pulled him towards my nursery. I'd never had a friend before.
Time went by, and my Hogwarts letter came. Draco and Theo were the only ones I knew when we lined up to board the train for this first time. Theo already knew Blaise and Millie, and Draco knew Crabbe and Goyle. I didn't like them. They were gruff and brutish, and embodied every quality of my father that I hated. But Draco was there, always. Because I knew we were to marry someday, I was determined to make Draco love me. I fawned over him and doted on him. He was nice to me, in his way, but I'm not sure he ever really liked me. Honestly, I'm not sure Draco Malfoy every really liked anyone. I don't think he even liked himself. Still, we acted the part. He invited me to the Yule ball in fourth year, he took me to Madam Puddifoot's on Valentine's Day, and he held my hand when we walked down the hall together. I didn't love him, and he didn't love me, but he was good to me. But after Lucius was sent to Azkaban, and the Dark Lord conscripted Draco to his army, I knew that nothing would be the same. He became quieter and more withdrawn, barely speaking to me at all. After the second Battle of Hogwarts ended, he would never be mine again. For whatever reason, Potter stood up for the Malfoys, and interceded with the Ministry. Once Draco had been forgiven, he never looked at me again. With my father in prison and my mother in the depths of despair, our match had been dissolved. I was the traitor.
I was the traitor. Everywhere I went, witches and wizards would stare at me. There's the girl who tried to turn Harry Potter, the Savior of the Wizarding World, over to the Dark Lord. There's the girl who almost destroyed all chances of peace, with her loud mouth. There's the girl who tried to help the Dark Lord. The whispers and snickers and evil looks made it painful even just to do the shopping. But somebody had to do it. Our house elf was old, and my mother was in no state to leave the house. She did nothing but lay in bed all day, curtains drawn tight, and stare at the ceiling.
I'd made a snap decision in the cold terror of approaching war. Because of that, all my plans for the future were destroyed. I tried to continue on for Mother, whose 'attacks' were getting worse. The house elf, Peaches, was able to care for her, but that was about all she could manage, so I was doing most of the cooking and all of the washing up. The house was too big, too quiet, and too empty. My mother never left her room. I managed the finances, I bought the groceries and the household supplies, I did the gardening. It kept me busy. Kept me from thinking about all the things I'd lost—job prospects, friends, family, my future husband. Except in the quiet moments, when the emptiness of the house; the emptiness of my life would creep up on me and flow into every recess of my heart and mind. It became all I was: Empty. Wake up, eat breakfast, clean the house, go shopping. The routine was all I had until I became the routine.
I was shopping in Diagon Alley. I needed some crushed tortoise shell for a potion, and the apothecary was crowded that day. I was waiting in line, trying to ignore the whispering of the girls behind me. The bell over the door rang, but I didn't look over to the door, I just stared at the ingredients in y hands. The line moved forward, and I lifted my foot to keep up, but found I met with resistance as I tripped, stumbled and fell forward.
“Traitor,” a voice hissed from behind.
“Whoa,” a man's voice said. I felt warm hands grab me and lift me up to my feet. “Leave her alone,” the voice said to whoever had tripped me. “Let her be.”
I knew that voice, but I couldn't place it. I turned my face to look at my rescuer, and my eyes met his green ones. As I looked into Harry Potter's eyes, I saw pity there. I would not be pitied. Not by him. Not by Harry Potter. I threw my purchases to the ground, wrenched my arm from his, and stormed out into the street, apparating away the second I was on public ground. I was Pansy Parkinson. I refused to be pitied by the likes of Harry Potter. That was when I knew I could not stay. I needed to leave.
It seemed the universe the universe wasn't done with me yet, it had to take the last bit of what I had left. I came home to find my mother had succumbed to her long illness, and was lying dead in her bed. Years later, when I relayed this horrible day to Willow she told me that the universe was giving me a second chance. Taking my last burden away so I'd be free to find myself—free to find her. I think I like her way of looking at it better than my own. When the arrangements were made, and the funeral done, I packed a bag and left. I offered Peaches a shirt before I left. I told her it was pointless for her to be a house-elf with no family, since I did not intend to return any time soon.
“If Peaches takes the shirt, can Peaches stay here? She's an old elf, and might not find another family.”
“You can stay here if you like, Peaches, but you are not bound to me anymore. I don't know when I'm coming back, if I'm coming back. I don't belong in England anymore.”
“You was a good mistress, Mistress Pansy. Peaches loved taking care of you. You was a good baby, and a good child and now is a good witch. Mistress Pansy never hurt Peaches. Peaches wants to keep home ready for Mistress Pansy to come back to.”
“Alright, Peaches, I'll leave this here. You take it whenever you want to leave.” I left the shirt on the piano bench, my final farewell to home.
I traveled for almost three years. From time to time I'd stay in a city for a while. Find the magical community, meet some people, and then move on. Because sooner or later, some one would ask, “Oh, you're from England? Do you know Harry Potter?” And that bitter taste would fill my mouth. The emptiness would seep through my veins, and I'd remember the look of pity in his eyes. Pity for the girl who'd tried to hand him over to the Dark Lord.
I traveled through Asia, then through Africa. After then I sailed to the tip of South America and began to work my way up. I found the travel exhilarating. New sights and sounds and people everywhere. I'd hoped that I would meet up with Theo. We wrote each other occasionally, but it would take weeks for our letters to find their place, as we both traveled. He'd found somebody, a lover to travel with, and I felt loss again. Again, I was all alone.
I'd made it to the City of Angels when I felt the call. A pulse of magic fueled by grief and agony, magnified by the power of the Hellmouth. It was so potent, so desperate, that is drew me to a place I'd been warned never to go. We learned at Hogwarts that hellmouths were places where magic went haywire, and dark arts blossomed. But the despair of this broken witch called me there. I followed the magic until I apparated onto a bluff, where I saw her for the first time.
“I'm a witch, I can help,” I told the muggle boy. I didn't care if I broke the statue for secrecy in America. The worst they could do was deport me.
“No magic,” he said, cradling the redhead in his arms. She'd cried until she'd made herself sick, and then passed out in his lap.
“I don't use dark magic, I promise. I'm Pansy Parkinson.”
“Xander Harris,” he said, his face doubtful.
“Do you know where the nearest magical hospital is?” I asked him. “I know there's one in San Francisco, but I don't know how long it would take to get her there.”
“Magical hospital?” he asked, confused.
Then I was confused. Had I judged the situation wrong?
“Your friend. She's a witch.”
“Yeah,” he said. “I'm going to take her to the Magic Box. Giles will know what to do.” He hoisted her up and carried her. I could do nothing but follow along blindly. I was mesmerized by this girl. Her sorrow was so potent, to visceral. Her pain drowned out my own, because it was so fresh. I saw one of her hands dangle loose, and I couldn't help myself. I took her hand in my own as Xander led the way.
I love Willow. Her hair shines like copper under the sun, and her freckles spread across her face like the stars in the night sky. There is nothing about her that isn't beautiful. When she's quiet and pensive, when she hyper and bouncy, when she full of fury and rage, she is beautiful. When she tapped into the power of the Scythe of the Guardians and turned a thousand girls into slayers she radiated beauty like a goddess. When she faced down Amy, the bitch who'd gotten her hooked on the dark arts, she trembled with strength and radiance. When she moved into my family home and presented a tired and lonely house elf with a full wardrobe, but made sure to tell her that “your services will always be appreciated, and what kind of wage would you like?” her eyes sparkled with light.
When we walk down Diagon Alley, she holds my hand. I've seen her glare daggers at people who give me dirty looks. The first time we went into Diagon Alley for shopping, she looked so nervous.
“Will they try to stone us, or burn us at the stake, because we're lesbians?” she asked me.
“Of course not. Why would wizards care about to girls living together? If a wizard can marry a veela, or a giant, and a witch can marry a satyr, then why wouldn't a witch be allowed to marry another witch?”
“You want to marry me?” Willow asked, her eyes wide.
I felt my face get hot. Yes, I wanted to marry her. From the moment I learned that I wasn't going to be married off to Draco, I wanted to pick my own mate. I wanted, well, to be honest with myself, I wanted a wife. I'd never wanted Draco that way, though I'd always pretended. I reckon that's why Theo and I always got on so well, we both found love within our own sex.
“Well, I thought I'd do it proper,” I said quietly. “After we'd been together longer. But yes, Willow Rosenberg, I want to marry you.”
Her face turned from shock to happiness. She smiled a grin that lit up her whole face, and threw her arms around me. She kissed me, and she tasted like cherry lip balm. I breathed in the scent of her—vanilla, smoke, and warm moss. She wrapped her arms around me, as I slid my tongue into her mouth. He moaned slightly as I deepened the kiss, tasting every part of her mouth. Eventually we broke apart for breath.
“I want to marry you too,” she whispered.
“Lets go get our shopping done. Because I want to buy you a ring,” I told my lover, my Willow, my love.
“Okay,” she said, kissing me quickly on the cheek.
I love my red witch. I love the fire in her eyes, in her hair, in her heart. I love how she smells, and tastes, and feels under my touch. She fills me. It happened suddenly, like being run over by a herd of thestrals. But one day I looked at her and realized the emptiness was gone. The house doesn't feel so large and lonely anymore, when she fills it with her laughter and warmth and her horrible singing. Theo came home in time to give me away at our wedding. It was amazing how fast he and Xander became friends. Buffy, Xander and Dawn have filled the spots left empty by Millie, Blaise and Draco. Willow looked at the empty rooms in our home and suggested we fill them with orphans and slayers in need of family. It isn't the life I imagined for myself at the age of seven, when I gave Draco the tea cake and Mother told me he'd be my husband some day. No, the reality is much better than the dream.