"Oh – she's a loser AND a dyke – ten o'clock!"
Pansy had been more-or-less tuning out the high-pitched commentary coming from her friend, leaning back on one hand and staring down at her phone. But she couldn't help but let her eyes snap up to see who the blonde woman beside her was referring to.
She spotted the woman right away; black converse, acid wash jean shorts (acid wash?!), a non-descript cheap-looking black t-shirt and, of course, a red and black plaid shirt that was four sizes too big dangling off her shoulder. A large mass of dark tightly-coiled hair was piled on top of her head in a haphazard bun and Pansy almost thought she saw a flush of colour on the girl's dark cheeks. Her arms were full of books to the point of being comical and Pansy realized a moment too late that she was staring, and found her eyes locked in a stare with a pair of large dark eyes.
Quickly, she snapped her head back down, forcing her eyes to focus once again on her cellphone and not look back up again. She couldn't help herself though, and lifted her eyes to Daphne for just a second. "I don't, like, actually think you can say 'dyke' anymore, Daph."
Daphne tittered and flapped her hand dismissively at Pansy before seeking out her next target. "Oh my god suspenders is he twelve-"
For the first time, Pansy wondered if the people walking past their sorority could hear Daphne mocking them.
Term had kicked into gear and Pansy stopped by the coffee shop on the far side of campus that she never went to for the first time. She had been meeting with a friend nearby and decided she just could not drag herself back across campus without some much needed caffeine. She was paying little attention to the line, flicking through her Tinder messages with a scowl – who really though 'hey let's fuck' was a genuinely good way to get a girl's attention? – and so when she stepped up to the cash and lifted her head she was not prepared to find a pair of dark eyes staring back at her.
"What can I get for you today?"
Pansy blinked once, opened her mouth, and swallowed, suddenly forgetting whatever it was she was planning on ordering.
The woman in front of her sighed and pressed two fingers against her temple – Pansy noticed that her nails were bitten short. "Coffee?" The woman prompted. "Tea?"
"Oh, right. Uh. Coffee, medium, black." Pansy forced the words out and then took a chance to glance at the woman's nametag – Emily, it seemed… it didn't really fit, did it? – while she tapped her debit card against the machine and collected her drink.
It was only when she was a block away and lifted the coffee up, catching a whiff of the beverage, that she realized she didn't even really like coffee nor would she ever drink it plain, and wondered why exactly she had forgotten to order her typical grande nonfat no-sugar half-sweet vanilla-hazlenutt latte 175 degrees and there-better-not-be-a-drop-of-foam-I-swear.
At least the man who lived on the ground next to her philosophy building – Kevin, she vaguely remembered – was quite pleased with her mistake.
When Pansy lay in bed that night and closed her eyes, a pair of dark black ones stared back at her.
She wasn't entirely sure what possessed her to return to the coffee shop the next day. Nor was she sure why, when she glanced in and saw that the two people behind the counter were both blonde, she decided suddenly that she didn't really need coffee after all and turned around for the trip back to campus.
Daphne never. Stopped. Talking. The two had been friends since they were three years old and normally it didn't bother Pansy quite so much. She had gotten used to drowning out her friend and tuning in at opportune moments when there was just enough scandal to make the story interesting, but that particular day it was grating on her nerves. The two were running slowly through campus, Daphne's blonde pony-tail bouncing, a smile on her sweat-free face as she babbled about the party she was at then night before. Unfortunately, Pansy had also been at that particular party, so she wasn't entirely sure why Daphne was still giving her the minute-by-minute rundown.
Pansy knew she didn't look good when she ran. Her thin, straight, currently-black hair soaked with sweat and hung limply from her ponytail, her cheeks flushed, her face went blotchy, and her feet hurt. Frankly, she wanted to drop to the ground and whine until someone would carry her home.
It was probably why, when she spotted a veritable cloud of coiled black hair further ahead and in the direction they were currently headed, she grabbed Daphne's hand and pulled her down a different path, finally breaking the stream of consciousness coming from the blonde's lips.
"Honestly Pans I do not know what has gotten into you lately?"
"Do you know anyone named Emily?"
Daphne frowned, pausing her run to tap a pink painted finger on her lips as she thought. "Like, from Kappa Pi Nu? Or… the redhead from psych two-oh-four?" Pansy shook her head and Daphne's frown deepened. "Why do you even care?"
Pansy sighed, not really wanting to explain whatever it was that was happening that she didn't quite understand herself. "Oh just drop it, Daph. I'm…fine. Just, like, on my period, you know how it is." The other girl nodded sagely and launched back into the story of the party, while Pansy's mind wandered off once more.
As she tried to fall asleep despite Daphne's soft snoring later that night, she wondered what it would feel like to have her hands buried deep inside a mess of dark curly hair.
It had finally reached the point in the semester that she hated most.
Pansy was in the library.
Pansy never went to the library if she could help it. It was so quiet and she always felt like everyone knew she probably didn't belong there. It wasn't as if she was stupid, not really. But, grades just didn't really matter that much to her. She had been accepted to this school on a cheerleading scholarship and had only even really come here because Daphne's dad didn't like it and they loved pissing off Mr. Greengrass almost as much as they loved the idea of joining one of the most prestigious sororities in the state, so here they were.
And here she was, in the library, because she had to take a research methods class as part of her psychology degree – what even was research methods anyways? – and now had to write a paper about quantitative data or something and wasn't it just hilarious that she was doing research on how to write a research paper, but that was besides the point.
What was not besides the point was that she was currently standing in a very small space surrounded by books that smelled old and staring at the spines in front of her, trying to figure out why her professor had demanded they use actual books instead of just the internet like always, when someone else entered the row.
A tall someone, with dark curly hair struggling to escape the elastic holding it up, and deep piercing eyes. Pansy forced herself to keep her eyes on the books in front of her, wondering when she had turned into someone who avoided other people, as if she was scared. It felt rather pathetic really, which was why Pansy forced herself to look up.
Once again, her outfit was appropriately ridiculous. She was wearing a long flowing black skirt and some sort of denim jacket on top of a plain white tank top. Actually, it probably would have been fine if she wasn't also wearing converse and a necklace with a giant lion on it. It had rubies or, probably, fake rubies stuck all over it. It was one of the gaudiest things she thought she'd ever seen. Unable to help herself, Pansy found her eyes travelling up her long smooth neck and wondering very briefly if it was as sensitive as hers.
"Research methods, right?"
Pansy frowned, blinked, reminded herself that she was a Parkinson for gods sakes and she did not gawk or stutter. "Yeah, actually. Are you… are you in that class?"
"Mm, no, but a good friend is." The woman paused, seemingly deciding if she was going to say more. "Harry? Messy black hair, glasses, ridiculous scar-"
"Oh my god he is such a-" Pansy paused, watching the frown crease over the other girl's forehead, and decided to change course. "I don't really know him." She decided instead. In fact, she did know Harry "look at how stunning I am" Potter. The asshole from the lacrosse team who everyone adored with some orphan sob-story that related to the scar that covered half his forehead. He had made quick enemies with her on-again, off-again boyfriend – or whatever you call someone who you sleep with when you're both drunk and pent up - and if she had to listen to one more goddamn word about "fucking Potter he thinks he's so great just because he's fast and Pansy did you see the atrocious jeans he was wearing at that party and can you believe he drinks Pabst like some common barbarian-" she was probably going to shoot someone.
Shaking the train of thought from her mind she focused once more on the girl in front of her. "Emily, right?" She tried, and was surprised at the blank look on the girls face.
"What?" She laughed, shaking her head. "No, oh. You must have seen me at the café, my name is too long to fit on the nametag so my boss decided that I could be Emily because I refused to let her put some butchered version of my name on there." She paused again, appraising Pansy in a way that sent heat rushing into the pit of her stomach. "Hermione." She said simply, extending a hand.
"Her- sorry what?"
Hermione shook her head at the girl standing in front of her. "Her-mione," she tried, slower, and Pansy wondered for a brief second if, not incorrectly, this woman thought she must be absolutely dense. "It's my name. Shakespeare?"
Pansy managed not to snort in response to this, after all she was named after a flower. "Ah, right. English major then?"
"Also no." Hermione – what a name, much better than Emily, at least – shook her head, turning back towards the books. "I'll, ah, leave you to it, then."
Pansy almost winced, wondering just what she was doing and how on earth she kept making such a big fool of herself.
"Pansy." She tried, unable to stop the smile as Hermione turned her head towards her once more. "Like… like the flower." Well, that wasn't the smartest thing she'd ever said. "Psychology. My major, I mean."
Hermione hmm'd in response and plucked a book from the shelf, skimming over the title. Pansy couldn't help but glance at it and realized that it was a book about research in regards to chemistry. Chemistry. Yuck.
"Well. Pansy. Nice to… meet you, I guess." Hermione concluded, tucking the book under her arm, flashing Pansy half a smile, and disappearing back in the direction she'd come.
Pansy leaned her head against the books in front of her, wondering just exactly when and why she had decided that she liked her name, if only because she wanted to know what it would have sounded like if Hermione had said it in a moan.
"Daphne?" Pansy piped up, probably interrupting a story about another male conquest and the new necklace that glinted from Daphne's small neck.
The blonde blinked, smiled, nodded to encourage her on. Oh god, she must have sounded desperate to incite that kind of a reaction.
"How did you…" She paused. How could she word this in a way that didn't scream 'help I might be having a crisis about my sexuality, but is it really that weird to think about being with another woman in bed and besides I think I like men so that means I probably can't like women right'? "I mean. You, like, you like men, right? Like, more than just the fact that they're tall and smell nice and, I dunno, I guess they have big hands? That's, I mean, they're so insufferable sometimes but, I think, I mean, that's just men right?"
Daphne blinked again, looking like a deer in the headlights. "Is this about Draco?"
She paused, then frowned. "Uh, what?"
"Well…" Daphne giggled, raising her eyebrows brow at her best friend. And they said that she was the stupid one. "I mean, surely you've heard, about the party?"
It was Pansy's turn to blink.
"Oh my god Pansy this is what you get for going to the library instead of coming to brunch with the girls!" Daphne clapped excitedly, plopping her laptop beside her and spinning on her bed to better face her friend. "I can't believe, I mean. I figured if anyone knew it would be you, right? You slept with him after all. Clearly you'd be able to, like, tell, right?"
"Daphne, what the fuck are you saying right now?" Pansy could already feel a vein throbbing behind her temple and she had to finish this paper before tomorrow morning and she had no clue what she was even writing anymore. She did not have time for this.
"At the party. Draco was like, all over that Potter kid, with the hair? And I don't mean like... I mean… someone caught them totally making out in a closet of all places. Like, half naked and everything. And then they left together and apparently Potter kicked his roommate out – the geeky redhead? We had a class with him in freshman year, you know, his older brothers went here too, they're like, legacies but also super poor - and this morning Millie said she overheard, oh god what's her name, little redhead, the young one, Gabby? Who cares. Anyways, she said that they were still in there and like, you could hear them through the door-"
Pansy's face would have drained of colour – except. Except was it really that surprising? I mean, it wasn't that her and Draco didn't have, like, good sex, not that she really had a metric for quality. He was wholly uninterested in her most of the time but, that was pretty normal, right? Guys weren't actually ever supposed to get girls off or anything? And he did spend a lot of time criticizing people's outfits, but she knew his mother and that was probably hereditary anyways.
What was that word for the straight person a gay person dated to, like, throw off the trail…
Oh god, she was his beard.
Wait. Was he her beard too?
"Daphne. How do you… what does it…" She stopped and re-evaluated before jumping in head first. Carefully. "I've only ever slept with Draco and that was more, cause like, our moms are friends you know? And it was convenient. And I can actually stand him, he's not too annoying. But like. I don't know if… maybe I never really liked him that much? I don't… how do you… how can you tell?"
Bless her heart, Daphne was such an over-sharer that she barely skipped a beat. "Ugh okay it's like, you know how I'm sleeping with Greg right now? From the hockey team? I mean, he's kind of big and really, really quiet, but. He does this thing with his tongue that's like, I swear to god I think I saw stars the first time he did it. And I get this feeling in my stomach like. It's all heavy and fluttery and he makes me smile, and blush just by looking at me, and I'm normally not very... I mean I don't get shy right? But he kind of takes the words out of my mouth a little? And I mean, obviously, like, I keep having these super explicit dreams about him and his body on top of mine and-"
"Right." Pansy did not need to hear anything more about Gregory Goyle's sex life thank you very much. "Do you ever…" She paused, thinking it over. "I mean, do you think Draco knew he was gay? Or Potter? Do you ever… like, think you maybe might be? How would you know?"
Daphne did seem to pause to consider this and then burst out laughing. "Oh my god Pansy. Have you met me? I need dick in my life. I just need it. It's not... Women are just... ew, you know? No. Not interested. I mean, I totally made out with Bella from Beta Pi one time to get a free drink and it was like, I dunno, her lips were really small and it was just, it was nothing. You know?"
Pansy nodded half-heartedly and then turned her attention back to her computer. She had a paper to write.
When she woke up in the middle of the night panting with a hand down the front of her pajamas, she realized belatedly that she had been picturing soft lips and small fingers and smooth skin, and piercing dark brown eyes, and soft, high pitched moans.
She wasn't sure if she had ever come that hard in her life, with a hand in her mouth to stop herself from screaming and waking up Daphne, legs twitching as she came down.
She decided to ignore it completely and pretend everything was fine.
The next time she saw Hermione was right before the winter holidays. Snow was lightly falling from the sky and Pansy had her navy blue jacket pulled tightly around her body, a hat pulled down over her newly-bleached hair.
It took a minute longer to spot the other woman across the courtyard, because she too had most of her hair hidden behind a knitted red monstrosity that did nothing for her complexion. Her winter jacket was, once again, too large for her small frame and her snow-boots looked warm and waterproof and hideous. She was walking and reading at the same time, sidestepping other people in the courtyard, and absently tucking stray curls away from her face.
Pansy had a belated thought of kissing her while snowflakes landed on their eyelashes, gloved hands on smooth chins and cheeks flushed with cold, which she quickly shoved to the back of her mind with all of the other thoughts of dark hair and dark eyes and small hands on her skin.
The school year had started up again. It was cold outside and she didn't really like any of her new classes, but at least she only had one more semester left. Then she had to… figure out her life or something. At the moment, Pansy was standing outside of the campus coffee shop giving herself a pep talk. She was not weak and she was not pathetic and just because she had spent the entirety of her holiday break dreaming of Hermione and convincing herself she was going to at least talk to the girl because it certainly couldn't make things worse right? Didn't mean she didn't need to catch her breath before she did this.
Pansy had always a reputation. She was the bitchy one, the stuck up on. She looked good and she knew it and she had the confidence to back it all up. She had snatched Draco Malfoy up (not, she thought belatedly, that any of the other girls probably even really had a chance anyways) and could probably date any guy she wanted.
If she wanted any of them.
She was using her cellphone as a mirror, examining the pink stripes she had Daphne dye into her still bleach-blonde hair in a desperate bid to be so feminine she would have to be attracted to males. They matched her pink nails and pink lip-gloss and, of course, did nothing of the sort. Her skin was tanned from the two weeks they had spent in Spain and she was wearing a white shirt under her jacket to emphasize the fact. It wasn't like she was trying or anything – or at least, not too much.
Shaking her head, she pushed the door open and headed for the counter, resolutely ignoring the curly-haired woman sitting at a table near the door, scrawling some complicated looking equation on a piece of yellow lined paper. She took deep breaths while she waited for her mocha to be ready and then spun on the heel of her boot and headed directly to Hermione's table, dropping into the empty seat across from the other girl and smiling when she looked up, surprised.
"I guess we have something in common now." She stated, dumping her purse onto the ground beside her and setting her cup on the table.
"My boyfriend – ex-boyfriend, I guess, is dating your ex-boyfriend." Pansy clarified, raising a brow and taking a sip of her drink. "Who would have guessed it, I mean, Draco hated him – I thought, anyways. I guess the heart wants what it wants."
Hermione sighed and set down her pencil to appraise the girl across from her. "Harry wasn't… we didn't date. I've known him since primary school."
She paused, seeming like there was something else she wanted to say, but did not continue.
"Right..." Pansy trailed off, not really expecting the conversation to have ended so abruptly.
"Look. It's not that I don't want to, I don't know, gossip or something – though, I don't really – but the year's half over and my thesis isn't going to finish itself and I'm never going to get into grad school if I can't –" she paused again, frowning, realizing she was getting carried away. "Sorry, I just. I'm busy."
Pansy couldn't help but feel a little stung but she shrugged nonchalantly and picked her purse back up. Uptight geek was not exactly a person she knew how to deal with, to be fair.
January flew by and Pansy only spotted Hermione in brief glimpses, not that she was looking. A flash of too much hair, an oversized coat turning a corner, dark eyes from across a courtyard.
She went to as many parties as she could and flirted with as many boys as she could and felt absolutely nothing when they touched her arm or twirled a finger through her still-pink hair.
Pansy pretended it was normal and that she didn't care.
She was getting so, so tired of lying.
The lacrosse season started up in February and Pansy found herself, one cold evening, sitting in the stands of the game. The cheerleaders occasionally went to the lacrosse games but it was cold and it wasn't really a big game anyways, but she'd had nothing to do and Draco was playing and if she hadn't gone she probably should have started a paper and frankly, lacrosse seemed more exciting.
That was, until someone plopped down on the bench beside her and handed her a coffee. Looking up startled, she realized it was Hermione and her breath caught in her throat, just a little.
"Oh, um. Hi." She tried, kicking herself for how 'smooth' that sounded.
"I thought I should apologize."
"Remember, in January, in the café? You sat down at my table and, I kind of snapped at you to leave?"
Pansy nodded mutely, clearly remembering the day. It was when she had decided she was ridiculous and would absolutely not be starting up any 'friendships' anytime soon. She had enough friends, more or less.
"Anyways. It was rude of me and actually I was hoping I'd see you in there again so I could say so. I-" she paused, flushing – which sent heat directly between Pansy's legs – "I saw you out here and I thought I'd get you a warm drink and, well, apologize."
"You really didn't have to do that. I mean… I was the one who interrupted you."
"I know, but you were just, being friendly, right?" When Pansy nodded in confirmation, Hermione continued. "I'm not… um… Used to making friends with people. I mean, I have friends. Harry, and Ron, and Ginny, I guess. I just… Girls like you usually make fun of, well, people like me, so I figured you were doing it to get a rise out of me, or something. Anyways, I was wrong and I'm sorry for jumping to that assumption."
Pansy was shocked into silence and she sipped her black coffee and tried not to grimace at how awful it tasted. She figured the other girl was actually trying to get her something she'd like, so she didn't say anything.
"Sorry, I guess now I'm the one bothering you."
"No, no it's fine." Pansy jumped in, probably a little too quickly. "I'm just, well, watching the game, I guess."
"Can I ask why?" Hermione teased, looking at the mostly empty stands and the game happening in front of them.
"Honestly? I couldn't tell you."
They sat in comfortable silence for a little while before Hermione spoke again. "I'm a chemistry major, by the way. I don't know if you knew. You told me you were in psych but I don't think I ever told you what I did. I'm hoping to get my PhD."
Pansy nodded, not sure what to say, but it seemed like Hermione was expecting a response. "I'm not really sure what I want to do at all. I don't really… think about work, honestly."
Hermione scrunched her face up slightly. "I can't imagine that."
"My dad wants me to go into business, I think. But god, I couldn't imagine how absolutely dreadful that would all be."
"Well, what do you like?"
Pansy thought this over for probably far too long, and the answer she managed to come up with was less than satisfactory. "I… I don't really know."
"How can you not know? I mean, who are you, Pansy?"
Pansy frowned into her coffee, feeling like she was missing something big. "A cheerleader. A straight C student. No one, really."
Hermione scoffed and shook her head. "I don't believe you. In fact, that's one of the most ridiculous things I've heard someone say." Pansy bristled but when she looked up Hermione was smiling at her. She hadn't really meant it to be mean, she didn't think. "You just have to think about it more, is all."
They chatted lightly for the rest of the game and Pansy went to bed feeling giddy and alive and like she needed to figure out exactly who she was and what she liked and when she closed her eyes and saw dark brown she fell asleep happy instead of terrified.
"You dyed your hair."
Pansy's head snapped up at the sound of the familiar voice and she couldn't help but smile at the fact that someone had noticed. She had gotten sick of the pink, and besides, she wasn't fooling herself anyways.
"In a bad way?"
Hermione shook her head and sat down at the library table and Pansy couldn't help the part of her that cheered in response. "No. I would not have thought that anyone could pull off green hair but…"
Pansy smirked triumphantly. "Darling, I can pull off anything."
She was expecting a laugh or a snort in response.
She was not expecting Hermione's eyes to darken slightly and the woman to dart a tongue out over her lips while her eyes flickered over Pansy's face. "I think it suits you."
And then, the woman had her books out and her head down and Pansy was left staring at the top of her head, gaping slightly and wondering what exactly she had done right that day.
Pansy had been walking down a hallway, more or less minding her own business, when a hand had grabbed her upper arm and pulled her into a classroom. She had yelped in surprise and was about to shout when she realized that it was a short but muscular ginger girl who was glaring nearly daggers at her.
"Can I, uh, help you?" Pansy tried carefully, pulling her arm back and rubbing the spot where the girl's small fingers had dug in.
"Pansy Parkinson, right?"
Pansy blinked, nodded. "Yes… and you are?"
Pansy stared blankly at her, waiting for her to continue.
"Look. I don't know what your game is, but you need to stay away from Hermione."
"I'm… I'm sorry?"
"Hermione Granger? Stay the hell away from her."
Pansy narrowed her eyes, placing her hands on her hips as she stared down the shorter woman. "And who are you?"
"Well. Not that it's any of your business. But she can do far better than you, and if she wasn't such a stubborn person I'd say that to her face. But I know who you are, and I know how you treat people, and I will not let you treat her like that."
Pansy lifted a hand up to rub at her eyes. "What do you mean, she can do better than me?"
Ginny threw her hands up in the air. "I knew you were a bitch, but I didn't realize you were stupid too. Seriously. I've seen the way you look at her. And the way she looks at you. And you are nothing compared to her, and so you should just mind yourself for the next-"
Pansy didn't let Ginny finish. She raised a finger threateningly and sent her very best withering glare at the redhead. "I don't give, like, two shits what you think you know, little Red, but you're so far out of line right now. I barely know the girl, I don't look at her in any particular way, there is nothing happening, there will never be anything happening. I am happy and straight and just fine without your friend around me and so help me god if I hear you say a single thing to anyone about anything you just said to me-" Pansy took a deep breath. She could almost hear her father telling her not to be an idiot and threaten someone who did nothing to deserve it. Almost.
"Watch it." She concluded, and stormed out of the room.
The conversation played over and over in her mind for days. 'I've seen the way you look at her. And the way she looks at you.'
The way she looks at you.
Pansy forced herself not to be hopeful. Besides, straight and happy, right?
Normally, she enjoyed clubbing. Then again, normally it was her and Daphne, and Daphne did all the flirting and they got free drinks and sometimes free drugs and mostly they danced and laughed and drank and felt the music pumping through their veins and Daphne disappeared with someone and Pansy collapsed into bed happy and exhausted.
What had inspired her to go to this particular club though, she still wasn't entirely sure. It was aptly named "Diagonal" which she thought was probably a little too on the nose for a gay club, but at least they were playing good music. Pansy had never really felt more uncomfortable in her life.
She was perched on a stool at the bar, sipping on her third vodka-orange and wondering, again, what on earth had persuaded her that this was a good idea when she spotted her.
And her heart stopped.
A head of bushy, tightly coiled hair, a dark hand in the air, a laugh over the top of the crowd.
What was she doing here? Red's words rang in her ear. The way she looks at you. The way Hermione had looked at her lips that day in the library. It all seemed too good to be true. But there was no doubting it was her, and Pansy stayed frozen at the bar, stuck in fight-or-flight mode, trying not to panic.
It felt like an eternity but was probably only a few minutes before the head of hair began to move in her direction. She forced herself to look back towards the bar, taking another large sip of her drink and trying to decide if she wanted to be noticed or not.
In the end, she didn't really have a say in the matter.
"I'd say I'm surprised to see you here, but then again…"
Pansy snapped her head around and swallowed back her bitchy retort as best as she could. "And by that you mean?"
Hermione laughed and leaned against the bar beside her, a little too close. "Well. Your boyfriend's gay, I mean... What kind of girl dates a guy who's gay? Unless-" she finished her sentence with a shrug and Pansy shook her head.
"I'm not," she frowned, "I mean," how did she explain this?
Hermione laughed again and then her hand was on Pansy's and she almost heard the blood rushing out of her head and her skin prickled not-uncomfortably. "Sure you're not." The hand tightened around her and pulled and Pansy tossed back the rest of her drink and left the glass on the bar, smoothing down her too-short skirt and wondering exactly what it was she was doing.
"Educated guess. But then again, I'm not the top of my class for nothing."
Generally, Pansy would have found that a horrendously stuck up response, arrogant to the point of insufferable. She didn't.
All of a sudden their bodies were too close, a hand was resting on her hip, she could feel hot breath on her ear.
"Tell me I'm wrong."
Pansy inhaled; Hermione smelt like berries. "I…"
The woman stepped back, frowning slightly, but didn't move her hand from Pansy's hip.
"You're not wrong." She breathed out, and the dazzling grin that broke out across the woman's face had her smiling in response and her warm body was back and they were moving to the music.
That night, when Pansy collapsed into bed, exhausted and yet buzzing with energy, she thought about dark hair and sharp eyes and smiled.
Pansy found herself with a study-buddy more often than not, now. Not that she had ever even really studied this much in her life, but Hermione was always in the library or the coffee shop and Pansy had decided that she was happier when she was with her and she couldn't just sit there and stare at her and so, she studied.
She did better on all of her midterms than she had ever done before.
Hermione rewarded her with homemade dinner that was at least mostly edible, and they traded stories over candlelight about their childhoods and fears for the future and Pansy didn't once think about what Daphne would say about whatever this was.
Besides, it wasn't like it was anything, really, other than dinner and coffee and accidental brushes of hands on arms or legs, and Pansy going home alone happier than she realized she'd ever been.
It wasn't all easy. They were fundamentally different people, with different ideals. While Hermione could easily move home after graduation and live off her parents, she was determined to do no such thing. Pansy, on the other hand, really didn't have a problem with taking advantage of their generosity.
They fought over that more than once.
Pansy had to relearn whole swathes of her vocabulary, because she called something "retarded" and was treated to an hour long lecture about ableist language and something about white-privilege which devolved into a heated discussion about cultural appropriation and was, frankly, exhausting.
Plus, she found herself caring what Hermione thought of her, even if she occasionally thought that Daphne would find it absolutely hilarious and probably mock her endlessly about it.
The first time they kissed was on a Wednesday. They were finishing up at the coffee shop because Pansy had a class to get to and Hermione decided to walk her there to enjoy the nice weather. Pansy had stopped to buy a black coffee on her way out and they left the shop together, chatting. As they were arriving at their destination, Pansy stopped the conversation for a moment and darted across the pathway, crouched down next to a man bundled up in a sweater sitting up against the side of the philosophy building, chatted for a few moments, and then handed him her coffee. They exchanged smiles and she stood, brushing off her hands as she returned to Hermione.
The woman was standing and staring at her with her mouth open.
Pansy frowned. "What?" She asked, looking back at Kevin, and then Hermione again.
"Who is that?"
Pansy frowned more. "Kevin?" She began. Hermione nodded. "It's just Kevin." She added, not entirely sure what the other woman wasn't understanding.
"But you… I've never seen you give anyone anything?"
Pansy shook her head. "Kevin likes coffee?" She tried again, but it still wasn't working.
"Oh, this is so embarrassing. The first time I saw you in the coffee shop, you were working? Anyways, I panicked and ordered a black coffee, which, to be honest, I actually can't stand but my brain kind of fritzed out I guess and there were people in line, and, anyways, I had philosophy so I gave my coffee – which I didn't, like, drink any of! – to Kevin. And then, I don't know, he was so happy and we talked about it for a minute and then, well, I had philosophy on Tuesday and Thursday last semester but I've got it Wednesday's and Friday's now and Kevin still likes coffee?"
"So, you buy him a coffee twice a week, every week?" Hermione prompted again. "That's… wow."
Pansy shrugged, now uncomfortable. "It's not, like, I don't know. He just… It's cold…"
Hermione shook her head and stepped forward, grabbing Pansy's upper arms and pulling the girl closer. It was quiet outside and Pansy vaguely registered that she was probably going to be late and then there were soft small lips on hers and a hand on the back of her neck and her knees went weak for gods sakes and maybe she even heard angels sing or something and Hermione was beaming at her and she realized, as they said goodbye and she headed back towards where her class was supposed to be, that she'd do just about anything to see Hermione smile at her like that again.
Daphne called her out at the end of April.
"I just, like, never even see you anymore, Pansy!"
Pansy shrugged uncomfortably. "I don't know, Daph, I'm… busy?"
Daphne shook her head. "No. You're with that girl with the big hair. What's her name? Hermy? Hermes? No, that's a scarf, isn't it?"
Pansy sighed at her friend but smiled too. "She's just, we're studying together."
"Do you, like, kiss all your study-mates goodnight when they walk you home?"
Pansy dropped the book she was holding and froze.
"Oh please Pansy, I may be, like, kind of dumb but I'm not stupid. Besides. I mean, your boyfriend was gay, and you didn't even realize? I mean…"
"Why do people keep bringing that up like it's relevant..." She grumbled, but couldn't help but smile at Daphne. "You don't, um, care?"
Daphne laughed and shook her head, tossing herself back onto her bed. "More boys for me then."
"You're my favourite, Daph."
"So, I talked to Ginny."
Pansy frowned, wondering why Hermione was bringing up little Red. They were lying in the park on a blanket that Hermione had happened to have stashed in her purse, Pansy's head on Hermione's stomach, pointing out clouds that looked like penises and dogs and talking about what they were going to do over the summer.
"She wasn't exactly, well, she doesn't really like you, is all." Hermione continued, and Pansy snorted.
"Not many people actually like me, Granger." She said, affectionately.
Hermione waved a hand dismissively. "People are generally wrong, Pans. Anyways. The point being, I talked to her and she doesn't like you but she's decided that I haven't gone totally mad or anything, so she's willing to put up with you because she's my best friend and I made it very clear I wasn't picking sides."
Pansy flushed, turning to look at Hermione. "You… You wouldn't pick her over me?"
Hermione frowned. "I just said, I'm not picking any sides."
Pansy's heart filled with joy and she couldn't help it, the next words came tumbling out of her mouth. "I love you."
She felt Hermione's breathing still underneath her head. "But… I thought… wouldn't you want me to pick you over her?"
Pansy laughed and threw her most charming smile back in response. "Darling. She's been your friend for like, ten years? The fact that you wouldn't immediately say, 'hey Red, you're right, this one seems like a right bitch let's forget I was ever so deluded', well." Pansy flushed now, realizing the full weight of what she had said and the fact that Hermione hadn't responded.
"You're absolute mad, do you know that?" Pansy nodded. "And, she wants you to stop calling her 'little Red'."
Pansy shrugged noncommittally, and drew her eyes back up to the sky. "That one looks like a butterfly." She tried, but she could tell her voice was slightly breathy. Hermione hadn't said it back. She didn't really mean anything. This was all just for laughs.
She felt Hermione move and all of a sudden she was peering up into the dark eyes she had dreamt about for so long. "Oh don't be stupid." Hermione said, eyes crinkling with the smile that was pulling at her lips. "I love you too."
That night, Pansy learned that no matter how many times she had dreamed about it, absolutely nothing compared to the feeling of Hermione's body on top of hers, their skin slick with sweat, her hands tangled in curly hair and her girlfriend's pink lips pressed between her legs, and she decided she would fall in love with her own name a million times over if only Hermione would keep saying it in that breathy moan, just like she had when Pansy rolled them over and kissed her way across Hermione's body, and that nothing else really mattered except for the fact that her year had gone wildly off course and she wouldn't change a single second of any of it even if she could. She didn't really know who she was, or what she wanted to do, but she knew that a brilliant woman loved her and really, at this point, she didn't think she needed anything else.
A/N: So! I wrote this story in the summer and it's been posted to ao3 since then, but I thought it was time to get it up on here as well. I've fallen in love with Pansmione and this was the result. :)