Disclaimer: HP belongs to JK Rowling, AB belongs to Laurell K. Hamilton
Notes: First of a trilogy of AB/HP ficlets
It was stupid, she had realised, to allow for herself to be put in this position. At all. This was not how a Parkinson should act, not in the slightest, but she somehow couldn’t get enough effort to get up at the moment. She was staring up at the sky, shock still numbing her, and a puzzled expression on her face. Suddenly, there was a blond male crouching near her, a grin on his face. Strangely attractive, him, all that spiky blond hair falling into laughing blue eyes. He had wonderful bone structure, and what he was wearing didn’t do anything but emphasize the body he had under it. And what a body it was, too, Pansy thought, somewhat detachedly as he reached out a hand towards her. Pansy didn’t even hesitate before taking the hand, which was a wonder in itself, and allowed for herself to be pulled up.
“Sorry about that.” He was all boyish and teasing charm, this one, the leather trousers he were wearing seemed to be painted on his body, cupping a rather delicious arse. He was wearing a white wife beater and a well worn denim jacket, with scuffed trainers on his feet. That was it, that was all he wore to ward against the England cold. Crazy man. “I should’ve been paying more attention to where I was going. It’s a crime to knock down a beautiful woman like yourself.”
Charmer, she couldn’t but think with amusement. She didn’t mind the charm, though she somehow thought that he was hiding something behind it. It seemed too easy, too effortless, like a favourite, well worn cloak that he wore to hide who he really was against the world. She could relate to that, hadn’t she too been hiding herself? Hadn’t she too had pretended to agree with the ideals of her peers, to not get herself killed? She wondered what kind of person he was behind the boyish charm and teasing.
“I rather think it was partly my fault as well,” she said, a self-deprecating smile curving her mouth. “I was looking at the spectacle across the road and didn’t watch where I was going.”
He winced slightly at the words “spectacle across the road”, she noticed, and he looked slightly sheepish. Must be friends of his, or his doing, she decided. She didn’t mind, not really. Why should she? He still hadn’t let go of her hand, though, but it seemed to be lying in his hand like he’d forgotten it was there, not out of design. Still, the heat of his hands on hers kept her in that same not-quite-there state. She felt hazy, like she wasn’t herself, not doing this and saying this, but someone who had no control over her body. Like the Imperius, but much more pleasant.
“Yeah, must be Anita,” he winced again, as he heard shouting. “As long as she doesn’t take out her guns, though, it’ll be fine.”
“Guns?” Her eyebrows shot up at that, looking at him in disbelief. “You’re not really implying that she would shoot someone, do you?”
“Have you met
that Fudge guy?” he shook his head. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Anita made him another hole to use. I
would, but I don’t think Jean-Claude will be too happy with me.”
“You’re with the Master Vampire of St. Louis’s group, then?” How curious, she thought. She should have guessed it, of course, from that blatant, lazy accent of his. Thought the lazy tone might just be purely him and nothing to do with the accent. She’d heard, once, an American colleague of Blaise’s that spoke in the most delightful accent, all drawling and smooth and pretty. It wasn’t as rough and crass as she’d once thought it would be.
“Yeah.” He cocked his head to the side, then, seemed to contemplate her. Then he grinned again. “I don’t know your name, yet.”
“And neither do I know yours.”
“Jason,” he held out a hand. “Jason Schuyler.”
“Pansy Parkinson,” she returned, taking the offered hand. He didn’t shake it, though, but took her hand up to brush impossibly soft lips against the suddenly hyper sensitive tips. It was intimate, that gesture, as intimate as that look in his eyes, looking at her. It almost made her shiver, almost
. But she was nothing if not good at getting her composure back at lightning speed. Most thought she was unflappable, it wasn’t true. She was just stupidly good at masking that change, so just the minutest of reactions happened before she was her normal ice-cool self. Funny how that “cool” used to be cold, she thought. How wrong. She had never been cold, she was a Parkinson. Parkinsons burned with a fire that most people didn’t understand. Then again, ice burned as well… but she was more of the mind that Malfoys burned like ice. She was very much fire, though a tightly controlled fire.
“Pansy.” The way he breathed her name, that elicited another almost shiver from her, but again that was masked. Her eyes, though, couldn’t be pulled away from his hypnotic gaze. It wasn’t magic, though, she’d have felt it. She had made herself very much sensitive to magic and curses, and this was not it. The only magic was him, easing her, teasing her, charming her. She hadn’t allowed herself to be charmed for such a long time that she’d forgotten what it was like. “The name doesn’t suit you.”
The pronouncement made an almost reluctant laugh bubble out. “I think my parents were drunk when they named me. Either that, or they were wholly unimaginative and saw a pansy and decided to name me that. Or, as I might have suspected over the years, my father himself was a pansy.”
He threw back his head and laughed, unabashedly. She was staring at him in fascination, ignoring the little goosebumps that had raised on her skin when that sound had escaped his throat. It had been far too long since she’d last heard someone laugh like him, carefree. She envied that, somewhat, she’d never been able to laugh as he had. Like he didn’t have a care in the world, like it was free for him to do so. That he was free. But he wasn’t, not really, was he? She remembered him being pointed out to her by Draco as the Master’s pomme de sang
. Apple of blood, a willing donor. That wasn’t free, was it? He was bound to Jean-Claude. Ah
, a little voice in her head said, but he came into that willingly, did he not? We never had the chance
. Sad, but true. She had always been bound, always. All her life. She had known nothing else but servitude, that was perhaps what had made the Parkinsons so proud. It was that knee-jerk reaction she got whenever she felt she was being used, because she had been used so much. That lift of the chin, that steely look she knew could come into her eyes, the straightening of her back. Pride. Useless. She had been bound to her parents, had been bound to the Slytherins, had been bound to the Death Eaters, had been bound to Voldemort. The only free choices she had made in her life had been to be friends with… but no. Not even her friendship with Blaise and Draco had been out of choice.
She had been made to play nice to the Malfoy heir for as long as she could remember, by her parents. She was to be married to him, they had decided. A Parkinson married to a Malfoy… society had expected it of them. She had hated every minute of it, every damnable minute. However, it was perhaps in their fourth or fifth year in Hogwarts when she realised something wholly unexpected. Draco wasn’t too bad a bloke, really. He was caustic as all hell, and dry, but she was quite like that, too. She’d come to respect that little ferret-y git. As for Blaise… well, one could not be friends with Malfoy and not be friends with Zabini. Those two came as a unit, you had one and you had to have the other, no questions asked. She had clashed horribly with Zabini, at first, but… he was alright, she supposed. One just had to get used to him and his perviness. It had been an almost shock for her at first, his blatancy, despite the fact that she was no prude. He liked to touch people, and every word that came out of that far too attractive mouth dripped suggestion. There was never one meaning with Zabini, what fun was it when it could have two? Or three? She realised, only slightly late enough for her to be embarrassed over the silence, that he had spoken to her, probably to ask her a question. But she didn’t blush. She just shook her head and asked, almost blandly:
“Oh hell,” he burst out laughing. “Don’t tell me I’ve bored you already. Oh, this really is too bad, I was hoping I’d charmed you enough to get you to agree to go out with me tonight.”
“Go out… with you?” she repeated carefully, almost as if those words had the power to bite her. He shot her a crooked smile that seemed slightly more real than his other flamboyant ones.
“I was hoping so, anyway. Come on, don’t break my heart.” Then he did the most extraordinary thing. He pouted. There was this man, barely any taller than she was and pouting, pouting
at her. My, twice laughter in one day, it was some kind of record. He looked pleased with himself, though. “Your laugh sounds rusty. It’s a pity, it’s wonderful.”
Pansy shook her head, almost embarrassed. “It’s never been lady-like enough for mother.” He snorted.
“To hell with lady-like,” he pronounced. “Tinkling laughs are pretty as hell, but they’re as real as leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of rainbows. You’ve got the best laugh I’ve ever heard a woman make, it’s all sorts of beautiful and sinister. Makes me all shivery to hear it.”
“Actually,” she cut in, amused, but pleased. It was perhaps the nicest compliment she’d ever received. A few men had told her she was beautiful, but very few had complimented her on her intelligence or something as seemingly mundane as a laugh. And complimented it in a way that suited her. Not sick making compliment, but real. And she was always a sucker for words like “sinister”, “dark” and “wicked”. When applied to her person in a non-evil way, it was the perfect compliment, at least to her mind. “Leprechauns do exist. The pot of gold’s an illusion, though.”
Jason stared. “Really?” then he shook his head. “Anyway, fake as pots of gold at the end of rainbows. Leprechauns aside, you still haven’t answered my question.”
“What question would that be?” She was starting to enjoy herself, she realised. This little conversation they were having. This spending time. It was relaxing, she didn’t have to put her guard up with him, he just accepted her as she was, for he knew no better. What was Slytherin, Parkinson and ex-spy against the Death Eaters to him? He didn’t know their world, it didn’t effect his. Somehow, she found that thought comforting, that until now their lives had been separate. It gave them somewhat of a chance, she believed. A chance for what, she had not decided yet. He looked a little pained at her pronouncement, though.
“Please, no games. Not now, not yet. Not at all, if I can help it. Have dinner with me, tonight.” As though he remembered he had her hand still, he raised it and placed a kiss at the centre of her palm, and she sucked in a breath. Unfair, so unfair. But so good. She closed her eyes, and when she opened them again, he dropped his walls. She was right, she thought faintly, he was more than the shallow shell he presented to the world, so much more. There were such layers to him, so many layers that it was… breathtaking. All of that complex humanity for her to explore, to discover, to understand. He would not bore her, because he was as changeable as she. He had issues with trusting as well, she realised, but he’d taken a chance with her. Why, though? She couldn’t help but ask the question aloud.
His eyes darkened, noticeably. Those bright blue eyes of his turned darker, not so human anymore. She almost gasped, but caught herself. Oh yes, again, she’d forgotten. The pomme de sang
was a werewolf. But… the point? It didn’t answer her question. And he knew it, because he didn’t look away from her, just reached up a hand to her chin and tilting her head so that it met his, squarely, and held on so she had no choice but to look at him. Unable to do anything but drown in him.
“Because when I saw you at the party a few days ago, you looked like you had the world on your shoulders. Because when I looked into your eyes, I could see that you were hurting, but you were strong enough to live through it, proud enough to hide it, considerate enough not to burden your problems on anyone else. Or,” here he smiled wryly. “Stubborn enough to think that you could handle it all by yourself. Because you were hurt, and you weren’t free. Because in your eyes I can see you crying out for someone to help you, even though you don’t realize it, even though you turn away any offer that comes. Because when someone kissed you, your eyes stayed cold and you were unmoved. Maybe I’m man enough to think that I can take your pain away, maybe I’m man enough to want to protect you. Maybe I’m man enough to want to be the one to thaw you. What I think, though,” here he looked oh-so-serious. “is that I just see far too close to comfort when I look at you. That is to say, that when I look at you, I see myself reflected in your eyes.”
She completely undid her. His little speech left her shaken, breathless. Excited and scared at the same time. What powers words had, it always surprised her. Words had the power to move people, to hurt, to express love. Sometimes words were unnecessary, but most of the time… most of the time it was far
too necessary. He said nothing flowery, like he had been attracted to her beauty, that she had left him spellbound or any such rot like that. He was attracted to her pain. That thought… it made her shiver like no other words, no other touch would. It made her consider what other forms of pain he was attracted to. She reached out a hand as well, touch a cheek that was so warm against her skin. He was right, she realised. He was far too much like her. Far, far too much. While she presented her dark, cool front to the world, he presented this fake, shallow thing. And the sad thing was, she thought, was that most believed those fronts to be the truth. Not so, not at all. It wasn’t, they were just too blind to see that. Or perhaps they just didn’t want to see it, didn’t want to see the cracks, the blood, the flaws. Well, tough. Suddenly, she was more than tempted to take up on his offer. He’d make her take off her guard, she realised that now. This was no simple dinner date, he wanted her, wanted to consume her. He wanted her to be to him what he wanted him to be to her. A grounding, arms to fall back on, but mostly strength. Strength to finally show the world that there was something more behind the attractive masks.
“You didn’t come up to me at the party,” she said quietly, and her tone had almost been accusing. He smiled slightly at that.
“I was trying to get over my fears.”
“My fears that once I started to talk to you, to touch you, I would be bare. And at that time, I wasn’t ready. I was scared. But I’ve always been scared and I’ll be damned before I let that ruin my life. I told Anita, once that I was waiting for someone to change me into a life I have not been accustomed to, perhaps that life was not the matrimonial and family bliss of her life, but of a life filled more with reality than the illusions I’ve been dealing with.”
“I…” what could she say to that? The eyes were already intense, still dark but human, now. The hand at her chin lightened to only the tips of fingers, which he used to trace the side of her face, her cheekbones, down the ridge of her nose and across her lips. She closed her eyes, and he traced the paper thin eyelids as well, no doubt seeing the blue veins that crisscrossed like lacework under her skin. “You had time to get ready. What if I’m not, yet?”
“I’m not planning on us baring straight away,” he grinned. “Maybe a baring in another way, but not that, not yet. All I ask is that we’re able to spend some time with each other, so that we know each other. So that it would be easier, because it’s with the other that we can finally get through this.”
“You sound so confident.”
“I have to be.”
Could she? Could she be confident enough, strong enough to do as he suggested? This was madness, this. If she did what he suggested, she would be naked and bare to the world. Vulnerable. She hated to feel vulnerable. But oh, it was such temptation that she had never thought to be possible. The temptation to let go, to just think “the hell with it” and bare herself to the world… it was as exciting as it was frightening. It was like a kind of baptism, a way of returning to the world clean and innocent, untainted. It was like reaching a redemption she had never been aware she was searching for. Could she? She looked up, then, met blue eyes that were like hers, but not. She shouldn’t have, because the moment she did, she couldn’t think, couldn’t think of anything but him. At that moment, a corner of her mind whispered, to hell with them all
“Pick me up at eight.”