Memoria Luxareo @tootytots1
Better Than Nothing

Draco had an overwhelming feeling that his summer holidays were going to be atrocious. The thought settled like a heavyweight in his belly and made him feel a little bit sick. Pansy was sat on the windowsill, one leg propped up, the other swinging back and forth like a pendulum. He watched it for some time before swallowing heavily and taking another swig of his father's Ludens Promise that Pansy had insisted they sample. Ludens Promise was not as nice as most alcoholic beverages, but Luden (the rather pickled wizard that had made it) promised that the liquid, while not the best tasting, would get you drunk the fastest. It was one of the only promises the wizard ever actually kept.

Pansy's eyes were closed as she soaked in the rays of sunshine filtering in through the large ornate window, the butterflies on her dress slitting about lazily from flower to flower.

"So what's this all about?" She asked lazily, gesturing towards him with her own glass of clear liquid, taking a delicate sip before letting her head fall back against the wall, eyes drifting shut.

Draco placed his glass on the polished wooden table in front of him, falling heavily into a plush leather chair, his fingers beating out an erratic rhythm on its arm. His teeth ground together with how much he did not want to have the conversation, with how much he wanted all the words he was going to say to stay burning in the back of his throat. He reached out for his glass, knocking back the contents in one swift movement. The action made him cough and splutter, his insides on fire as Luden's promise of destruction melted its way through his insides.

Pansy cracked one eye open slightly, watching the young Slytherin struggle to breathe but decided on saying absolutely nothing. Draco was not one for opening up and talking about feelings, so she imagined that they would be quite a way down the bottle before he decided to give anything up.

"I..' He started, clearing his throat when all he was able to manage was a hoarse whisper, "I...er." He scratched his chin. "I have a...a problem." Pansy's eyes opened wide at the sound of the great Draco Malfoy stuttering.

"Are you .stuttering?" She asked, sitting up and turning to face him, an evil grin spreading across her face, her pale legs swinging gleefully back and forth.

"Malfoy's don't stutter." He answered through gritted teeth.

"Well, I've always believed that but evidence to the contrary and all that," she said, shrugging her shoulders slightly and gesturing to Draco.

"I knew this was a bad idea." He let out an exasperated breath, heaving himself from his chair, "I should have asked Theo or Blaise." It was a complete and utter lie, but the look of sheer horror on Pansy's face made it all worth it.

"Blaise and Theo? Are you kidding me? That pair wouldn't know common sense if it bit them on the proverbial."

"And you would?" Draco bit back.

"Well you tell me, you're the one that sent me a letter practically commanding me to come here right away." Draco turned away, she was right of course but he wasn't going to tell her that, she would be insufferable. "Now, come and talk to Aunty Pansy." She cooed, her patronising tone going straight through him.

"Please don't refer to yourself like that." Draco's nose wrinkled in disgust.

Pansy grinned over the top of her glass as she took another sip. "Why, does it make you feel uncomfortable?"

"No, it makes you sound middle-aged." Pansy scoffed, shivering at the thought.

"That disgusting thought aside," she mumbled, fingering the pretty patterns carved into the surface of her glass, "You have a problem."

Draco nodded, "I have a problem."

"Yes?"

"A big, big problem." He poured himself another drink. "A problem the size and scale of Crabbe and Goyle given free reign with sharp objects. Possibly worse. In fact, almost definitely worse." Pansy sucked in a breath.

"Wow, that's a big problem."

"Yup, a big problem."

"Okay, so we've ascertained that you have a big problem, emphasis on the big, would you mind explaining what exactly this…'

"Granger." Draco interrupted. He thought that saying her name would have the same impact as being shot across the room by a stunning hex, however, it just made Pansy blink owlishly at him, her face then contorting into a look of pure confusion that made her nose look more upturned than normal.

" Granger," Pansy said slowly, jumping off the windowsill, swaying a little as her head spun. "Look, Draco, you know we all despise Granger, I mean who wouldn't? But seriously what could that bushy-haired cretin have done to bug you in your own home. Besides, of course, existing." Draco had to stop himself from jumping to Granger's defence, he chewed the inside of his cheek waiting for the annoyance to subside.

"That's..argh..that's the problem." He bit out, fiddling with the bottom of his shirt.

"Her general existence? I hate to break it to you Draco, murder is illegal," she muttered, placing a hand on his arm. Draco looked at her angrily and she flinched away.

"No, I mean.. I mean, hating her, that's just it." He sighed lowering his head in shame.

"What?" Pansy's brow furrowed in confusion. She wasn't used to Draco being cryptic, sure he was closed off and arrogant and unwilling to talk about feelings, but usually when he spoke he was direct and well, just brutal.

'I don't…"

"Don't what?"

"Merlin Parkinson let me finish." Pansy held her hands up and took a step back.

"You take your time, we've got all day." Her voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Argh for...I don't exactly hate her." Pansy's mouth opened and closed several times. She crossed her arms and looked Draco up and down.

"You don't hate Granger?" She asked slowly. Draco shook his head running his finger along the rim of his glass.

"No..no I don't, in fact, I'd," he took a deep breath, "I'd go as far as to say the opposite."

Pansy was quiet for some time before a humourless smile stretched across her face and she began clapping her hands slowly. "Oh haha, very funny guys." she looked around the room, inspecting the corners for Draco's two idiot friends. "Come out guys, you've had your laugh."

"Pansy…" Draco stepped forward.

"I mean you of all people, liking Granger, that's utterly ridiculous."

"Pansy.."

"Impossible." Draco sighed, realising it was going to take quite some time to drum home how utterly serious he actually was. He grabbed her shoulders making the witch look up at him, her brown eyes wide.

"Look, Pansy, you were right, about all of it."

"I was right about…"

"All of it yes. About me being quiet, withdrawn, defensive all because of a.." Draco let go of her shoulders unable to finish the sentence, the pathetic dregs of pride he still clung to wouldn't allow it.

"A girl," Pansy muttered falling back against the wall bewildered. "Granger is the girl? Hermione bucktooth Granger." she shook her head, "this can't be real." Draco cleared his throat.

"Yes well, it is."

"But how?" Draco rubbed his forehead wondering the exact same thing. How in Merlin's name had any of it happened?

"It's a long story." He muttered, burying his head in his hands.

"Well, we've got time, the whole holidays worth in fact so get explaining." Draco sighed, sitting down once again and slumping back into the chair.

"I can't tell you." Pansy looked at him incredulously, her foot tapping on the wooden floor. Draco watched it for a moment, the action reminding him of one particularly annoying Gryffindor.

"I'm sorry, correct me if I'm wrong, but did you just say you can't tell me after I don't know dragging me here asking for my help." Draco rolled his eyes.

"Look its...it's complicated." Draco buried his head in his hands wondering if the whole conversation was just a bad dream, perhaps he would wake up in a cold sweat, the tiny unicorn looking at him like he was crazy.

"Well yes it is a tad, isn't it. I mean you," Pansy struggled over the words, "you like the mudblo…"

"Don't call her that." He spat, covering his mouth when he realised, with horror, what he had actually said and who he had said it to. Pansy eyed him suspiciously as he ran his fingers through his hair. She wondered if they had somehow strayed into an alternate dimension where dragons breathed bubbles and Malfoy's liked mudbloods "Let's just say that for certain reasons she and I have been spending a lot of time together."

"And these certain reasons are?"

"I can't tell you." Pansy huffed angrily.

"So, all in all, I have nothing to work with?"

"The important thing is that I...that I do feel this way and I need you to, I don't know, make it stop."

Pansy laughed at him bitterly, "Well I don't know how you expect me to do that, I thought that you didn't do feelings." Draco glared at her, pushing himself out the chair and towards the bottle of Luden's Promise. He poured himself a small measure and gulped it down in one, coughing as it burnt his throat again.

"Look Pans I need….Merlin this can't be happening." Pansy softened slightly, her head tipping to the side. She reached out tentatively rubbing his back gently. It was by all accounts unnerving to see the blonde pureblood so riled, but he was, after all, her friend and his reaction meant that he was serious, the whole situation was serious.

"Look on the bright side, this is just...a little crush, everyone gets them," Pansy shrugged, "we can nip it in the bud before anything happens." Draco lowered his head before turning to her, guilt dull in his eyes.

"What?" she asked, searching his eyes for an answer. Draco groaned slightly and muttered something under his breath.

"What?"

"I kissed her." Pansy's mouth dropped open.

"YOU WHAT? ARE YOU CRAZY?" She screeched making Draco wince. "You kissed the know-it-all?"

"Merlin Pansy, scream it a bit louder, I don't think you-know-who heard." The mention of the Dark Lord had Pansy sobering, her next words just above a whisper.

"But the know-it-all." Draco nodded wearily.

"I know, you don't think I've gone over this?" Pansy's mouth opened and closed as she sat down in the chair slowly shaking her head in disbelief.

"This has got to be a joke."

"Yeah well, it's not," Draco said again, pouring himself some more Luden's Promise, deciding to sip at it slowly.

"How do you end up kissing someone you're supposed to hate?" Draco shook his head and turned to Pansy. He wanted to tell someone about everything, to get the infernal weight off his shoulders. He couldn't do it though, even as his mouth formed the words he was already stopping himself.

"I don't..it's just, it just happened…"

"What was it like?" The question made Draco pause; he tried not to think about what it was like because it would only lead to thoughts of how much, in spite of everything that had happened, he desperately wanted to do it again.

"I...er it was..' Draco cleared his throat scratching the back of his head, unable to meet Pansy's glare.

"Merlin, you liked it didn't you?" Draco winced but didn't answer, instead, he glared at the clear liquid in his glass, wishing the ground would swallow him whole or the Dark Lord would Avada him and save him a whole lot of pain and agony. "By Salazar, you did! I can't belie...You, you of all people actually enjoyed kissing Granger."

"Your ability to state the obvious is commendable but not really helping me right now." Draco snapped, making Pansy jump slightly.

"I know, I know, I'm sorry, it's just this is you and...and Granger."

"I feel like we are circling the same patch of crap Pans, maybe we could move on."

"Right, right." She nodded staring at the carpet. Both were silent for a while, then she looked back up at him.

"But Granger.."

"For Merlin's sake, yes Granger, the stupid infuriating know-it-all. I...I...Salazar Pans just hex me now and make my life easier."

"It's not that bad." She muttered, not entirely believing what she was saying.

"Not that bad, Pans the..' he rubbed his hand over his face uncertain whether telling her was a good idea, " Pans, you-know-who is...he's back." The horror of the situation hit Pansy like a ton of bricks, she waved her arm signalling that Draco should pass her drink. He did, watching quietly as she knocked back the remaining liquid and pulled a face.

"Oh, that is disgusting." She held her glass out for Draco to fill it up again and he obliged, smirking slightly. "You're sure about all of this, I mean the ministry is pretty vehement against the whole you-know-who being back."

"No Pas, I made all this up for shits and giggles, got far too much time on my hands." Pansy took a sip of her drink, snorting.

"You know sarcasm will get you nowhere." He nodded but said nothing, walking towards the windowsill where Pansy had previously sat, leaning against it. "Well this makes things a little bit tricky," she muttered to herself.

"Tell me about it," Draco replied.

"But not completely messed up," Pansy said slowly, standing up with determination when Draco gave her an incredulous look. "No, it's not, we can sort this out. All you need is a...is a distraction…" His brow furrowed but he stayed silent allowing the young witch to continue.

"Someone to replace the bushy-haired thoughts in your brain." Draco raised an eyebrow, realisation dawning slowly.

"Not Greengrass." He said with a groan.

"What other choice do you have?"

"Death, mutilation, let just get it over with."

"Stop being dramatic."

"I'm not being dramatic, just prefer my chances against you-know-who." Pansy snorted and rolled her eyes.

"My mother says you shouldn't say things you don't mean, it could end up biting you on the arse." Pansy crossed her arms.

"Charming woman your mother, known for her poetic turn of phrase is she?"

"Stop being a jerk. Daphne is nice and while your locking lips with her you're not doing it with Granger." Draco had to concede that she did have a point however atrocious and misguided. "I can set up a meeting and we can go from there." Draco gave her a withering look. "You won't even have to try she's already pretty crazy about you, it's quite unnerving at times."

"Fantastic I can hardly wait."

"You're going to have to try and be a bit nicer."

"You said I didn't have to do anything, besides if she's as besotted as you say she is, she should know that nice isn't really my thing." Pansy sighed, nodding her head in agreement. She supposed it was true, Draco Malfoy had not earned a reputation as being particularly nice to anyone, still thought Daphne managed to look at him like the sun shone out of his backside. "You really think this will work?" Draco asked, looking the most vulnerable she'd ever seen him.

"It's worth a shot, you just need to stay away from Granger. Far, far away." Draco nodded, laughing bitterly.

"Pans I…" He wanted to try and tell her how grateful he was that she hadn't hexed him or laughed in his face. He wanted to explain that in spite of the way he acted he was grateful that she was his friend.

She held up her hands stopping the blonde from continuing. "Please don't get all mushy on me Draco, then I might have to hex you, no magic outside of school be damned"

"Right, right." He smiled slightly and finished off the rest of his drink. He wasn't the best plan but it was better than nothing.

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