The Next Chapter - Part 2 (Harry Potter)
AN: Alright than my dear readers, here is another little snippet from my imagination. I've been holding onto this one for a while now since I figured I would have been able to stick something between these two parts before now. But I haven't so I figured that you all might like to see this next one anyway.
AN: Also, as per usual, I don't promise perfection. If that's what you're hoping for you might as well look somewhere else. To all of you who don't mind the occasional typo, please, enjoy!
Draco Malfoy hurried forward so that he could get behind his next piece of cover while trying to keep his footsteps as quiet as possible. He was following a woman that he hadn’t seen or even heard from in years. Granted, during the months following the downfall of the Dark Lord Voldemort he had purposefully tried to keep his distance from her. Draco’d had enough problems with trying to help keep his family both financially afloat after the ‘fines’ they’d had to pay to stay out of prison and dragging said family’s name back out of the mud without having the woman who’d shouted ‘Potter’s there, someone grab him!’ right before the Battle of Hogwarts in his life.
By the time that he’d felt that it was safe to try and contact his old friend again she had apparently disappeared from the wizarding world and into the muggle one to escape the stigma of her school time mistakes. And he hadn’t heard from her since. At least not until today, when a boy that looked to be her son had accidentally blown up Ollivander’s Wand Shop. When he saw her Draco had of course immediately thought to approach his old friend and try and mend some of the bridges that had been burned between over a decade ago. Then he noticed the man standing next to her and realized just how awkward such an attempt would be.
Draco himself had ended up married to Astoria Greengrass almost seven years ago and they had a son of their own that was now nearing five years old. Pansy was obviously a parent as well and unless Draco was very much mistaken the man that had been standing next to her was her husband and the, then sprawled out, boy her son. Then, while still in the Alley, the Malfoy heir had taken another good long look at his old friend and he could honestly say that she looked well. Happy even… If memory served she had rarely ever been truly happy in most of the time that he’d known her as a child. Content maybe, but rarely happy.
Over the last handful of years at Hogwarts, especially with the return of the Dark Lord in their fourth year, things had become steadily more strained as tensions between the house of Slytherin and the rest of Hogwarts continued to climb almost unchecked. And whereas Pansy would have never been known as one of extraordinary beauty she had at least qualified as cute by those who could see past the Slytherin patch on her robes. Until the constant stress of living in the Dark Lord’s shadow (whether or not to serve or to die) started getting to her and her looks started going along the same paths as the rest of her life anyway. That path of course being ‘down the drain’.
And then the day had come where her life had fallen away from her completely, due to one pivotal mistake made in a moment of both blind fear and outright panic. The day that the final duel between Voldemort and Harry Potter took place and the day that Pansy Parkinson became one of the ultimate pariahs known to Wizarding Britain. By that time she had been tired, almost completely alone, and scared; terrified that the Dark Lord was going to win because she knew deep down that if he won she would die like everyone else. Voldemort only kept those around that proved useful to him after all, and she knew that she didn’t really qualify for those particular types of ‘usefulness’. So without really thinking about the consequences beforehand she had bolted to her feet and out came the fateful words that would so come back to haunt her.
Rumor had it that afterward her own parents had actually disowned her in their ‘shame’ and all of the people that she’d called ‘friends’ suddenly didn’t have the time of day for her anymore. No magical business would consider even interviewing her, let alone hiring her, and some people had even taken to actually crossing to the other side of the street when they saw her coming so as to not be near her. So even though Draco’s old pride recoiled at the thought he found himself not blaming his old friend for eventually leaving the magical world behind just over a year later and striking out onto the rest of the world.
All in all such a decision had seemed to have done her a world of good. Gone were her previously stress induced looks and attitude and in their place was a woman who had managed to grow into her own life, away from all the expectations that had come with her old one.
So why was Draco Malfoy trying to sneak around someone he’d once called a friend? Well that was simple really, because he childishly didn’t want to risk making too much of an ass of himself when he tried to apologize for not standing with her as her life crumpled around her all those years ago. Granted, yes he would of course do it again in a heartbeat, but that didn’t mean that he felt any less bad about it. So to avoid what he saw as unneeded embarrassment he was sneaking around and trying to tail his old school friend so that he could learn more about her current life before approaching her. And he was just about to turn the corner he saw them go down not three seconds ago and had crouched back down (unfortunately he was never able to get the hang of the Disillusionment Charm hence all the ducking around in the first place) when he heard an all too familiar voice in his ear and felt what he instinctively knew to be the tip of a wand in his back,
“Now what do we have here?” the voice of Pansy Parkinson asked rhetorically as Draco froze in surprise. “Did you get lost Draco? Were you hoping I could give you directions or some such?”
“Pansy, I…” Draco started only to be cut off with Pansy’s sharp voice growing colder by the syllable.
“Don’t speak Draco! Don’t you dare!!!” Pansy snapped back. “You’re lucky I was the one who came to ask the questions instead of my husband, because I know for a fact that he would be nowhere near as gentle with you as I have been. Now, why have you been following me and my family? I will not ask again.” The last words came out so icily that he felt like he’d been frozen into his current position without the ability to move. And it didn’t help that he knew that if the woman behind him didn’t like the answers that she got he would regret ever noticing her return to Britain. So he told the truth, or at least tried to anyway.
“I just… I just wanted to say I’m sorry, you know, for the way things had ended up between us after the war. I just didn’t know how to go about it.” Draco answered nervously as he continued facing away from his old friend.
“So instead of just walking up to us and saying hello like a normal person, you felt you had to try and spy on us first? Why didn’t you just take an hour to get ahold of the registration forms that we had to file when we entered the country? You and I both know you could have done that, easily. Then you could have just shown up at our door the next day, or even this evening, instead of skulking around and making my somewhat trigger happy husband nervous.” Pansy responded sarcastically before removing her wand from her old schoolmate’s back, much to Draco’s private relieve. It wasn’t helping though that he felt like a freshly scolded child, he honestly hadn’t thought about doing what she’d just said and his embarrassment got knocked up a notch as a result.
“So… Can I try again?” Draco asked as he turned around to face Pansy, his confidence slowly reappearing as he saw the smirk on her face.
“Sure.” Pansy said, this time with amusement instead of either ice or sarcasm.
“It’s been a long time Pansy, how’ve you been?” Draco said as a smile of his own crept onto his face. If nothing else it was good to see her so happy again after so many years.
“I’ve been good Draco. Yourself?” Pansy replied as she put her wand away in a blink and played along.
“The same.” Draco said, his shoulders unknotting a bit now that he no longer had a wand pointed at him.
“My family and I were just about to get lunch and ice cream at Florean’s. I hear that it’s his son running it now, but it should be just as good. Would you and yours care to join us?” Pansy asked with a bit of over the top graciousness in her voice, even though she was still watching her old companion carefully.
“I think I would like that.” Draco said with a genuine smile, glad that his encounter with Pansy had been nowhere near as awkward as he’d initially feared. Pansy, for her part, found that she couldn’t wait until Draco found out that her husband was a muggle. True he was nowhere near a ‘standard’ muggle but still…
If nothing else it promised to be entertaining.
AN: So, what did you all think? Trust me I would love to know. Until next time and here's to wishing you all the best, ~Semet