Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter in any way, shape or form. No copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

If you go into a situation with nothing planned, sometimes wonderful stuff happens.
-Jerry Garcia

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They had always been close. Well, as close and close can be when you're Slytherins. And he had always taken care of her, regardless to how it looked on the outside. Yes, that's right. He had broken Theodore Nott's nose because he cared - not because he was jealous. Malfoy's don't get jealous.

They had been sixteen then. Sixteen year old students at Hogwarts, enjoying their young years and living life as they had always pictured it would be. Many students seemed to have thought that they would date, or start some kind of relationship together. Heaven forbid such a thing happening. They were far too close for something like love to get in the way.

He called her beautiful whenever she was upset, because he didn't like to see her cry. He didn't like those nasty students who made fun of her merely because they disliked her house or thought all Slytherins were rubbish. She was like a sister at times, and they had known each other so long that there were no secrets between the two.

But they weren't family and they weren't friends. They were companions. Two people destined to live intertwined lives and never second guess why. She knew his mother and he knew her father, and they spent almost every summer at each others estates, relishing every moment that they shared together because it was theirs.

"We'll always remember these days," she'd say surely. "And if I ever forget, I want you to make me remember. Don't let them slip away from me, Draco."

"Of course," he'd answer, nodding his head of white-blonde locks. "But don't worry, summers like these aren't so easily forgotten."

And they didn't forget. Not for many years, at least. They were always like this, always so insecure and unsure. Always so determined to live in the past and never step a foot forward. But they liked it that way, and it was their way, which neither could disagree with and nobody else would intrude upon.

Even though there were people who came close to doing so.

Brief flings and relationships had shown themselves as the two children matured into teenagers. Out of the two, she'd been the first to actually ask 'date' somebody, which surprised the few people who were ever graced with this knowledge.

But Draco had a temper, which wasn't a surprise, and he was far too protective of the little girl he'd grown up with. No matter who she chose and no matter how much they seemed to care about her, he always insisted that they didn't deserve her and that she could do better.

Pansy, however, hadn't even given him a second look when he had asked Blaise out to The Three Broomsticks the morning before their latest Hogsmeade visit. She hadn't even blinked, nor naysayed when Blaise had proclaimed her joy and glee that she would be dating the Slytherin seeker.

"It's a surprise," she'd whispered truthfully as they sat in the back of Potions class. "I mean, Blaise, of all people. But it's something that was bound to happen sooner or later."

"Yes, well she's quite interested in Quidditch," he'd insisted and she'd patted him on the back and kissed his cheek.

And neither of them felt guilty, right? Surely neither of them felt like they were missing something?

They were still close, of course. They were still those two children who ate chocolate frogs in the common room and laughed at Flint's stupid jokes. And they missed Flint. He'd been gone so long that they wondered whether he'd joined one of those Quidditch teams he'd fancied, or whether he'd write to them sometime.

"He's not forgotten us, has he?" she asked as she sat down on the end of his bed, a deck of Exploding Snap in hand and a worried expression on her face.

"Of course he hasn't," Draco protested gently. "Flint would never forget us. Look, we'll write him a letter tomorrow, okay?"

And they did. It was short and sweet, and filled with childish insults, demanding why he hadn't written to them in so long. Pansy had to quickly change many of Draco's nasty words just before sending it off with his eagle owl, merely because she didn't think Flint would appreciate being called a 'rotten turd', or a 'selfish bastard of a prat'.

"They were my words, Pansy," he'd said gruffly, and she'd brushed his dark look aside.

"They're words which will get you a black eye the next time we see him."

He'd snort and she'd roll her eyes, laying herself down onto his bed and hugging a pillow to her chest. He'd watch her with revered silence as she traced patterns on the pillow, bored, before sitting up and asking him what he wanted to do now.

Even without Flint, they had one another.

And they didn't know who they were without each other. They were lonely. And all they wanted was for something that they know to come and distract them from the ever looming feeling of change. He wasn't sure how things got this way, but he didn't like them. The world was grasping them all in its fingers and bending them to its own whims and fancies.

Theodore and Blaise were merely scenery; by passers; objects. At least in their universe and through their eyes. As much as both wanted to ignore it, they were using said boyfriend and girlfriend and what's more, they didn't seem to have a single care in the world that they were doing so.

And it was like that until the end. And then they graduated.

What a day that had been, where everything and everyone fell into place and nothing mattered that night, as everyone partied until the sun rose. After much begging and many letters, Flint had agreed to come and he had seen the two young students leave school like he had done years earlier, eagerly awaiting the world ahead of them.

It was he, Flint, who took them and a chosen few of their comrades to Hogs Head for a wild night to end all wild nights. And there was rum and Firewhiskey - drinks people their age shouldn't be allowed near. But they didn't care and apparently neither did the barkeep, as long as he got his galleons at the end of the hour.

So they drank until dawn set in, and Draco threw up on the steps as they returned to Hogwarts for their last day with mutual friends and their old Professors who they would most probably never see again. Their soft laughter echoed through the corridors as they returned to the Slytherin Common Room to bid it farewell one last time and leave behind another set of memories of which they'll never forget.

"Do you think we'll ever see it again, Draco?" she asks as she pulls on a lace cardigan and watches him apprehensively as he throws his copy of Quidditch Through The Ages into his trunk and snaps it shut.

"See what, Pansy?"

"Hogwarts, silly," she says woefully.

"'Course we will," he announces matter of factly. "It's not like it's going anywhere."

"I know!" she answers uneasily. "But... we are, Draco. We're going somewhere."

He crosses the room and puts his hand on her shoulder, giving it a reassuring squeeze. Then suddenly, she steps forward and hugs him, taking him completely by surprise. In seventeen years, they had never once hugged. And it was a tender moment, even for two Slytherins who were considered among the scum and who were both uneasy about it.

"Are you going to be okay?" he asks as she slowly pulls away, nodding.

"Of course, of course," she whispers. "I just hope you're right, Draco."

He wasn't sure whether he had liked that moment, or whether it had scared him. Pansy seemed so hurt by a mere day and he couldn't bring himself to understand. It just didn't make sense to him, so he thought that perhaps it was just a girl thing and something he should disregard.

So they left Hogwarts on a sombre note, leaving in those beautiful carriages from which Pansy waved at the old castle as they pulled away. Theodore gave her a rather long, questioning look as she crossed the carriage and sat down next to Draco, leaning her head on his shoulder limply.

And it wasn't pride that made Draco smirk. Rather it was her approval.

He knew she'd always come back to him when she needed him the most. And leaving behind the prominent castle, with its quirky teachers and hidden secrets seemed to break her dark little heart.

So off into the world, the two lost children ventured. Pansy settled in one of her father's houses near London and Draco remained at Malfoy Manor, hoping to hatch a daring plot in a desperate attempt to repair his tarnished family name.

The odd thing was that it never happened.

And the world remained as it was - bleak, downtrodden and flawed. Nobody seemed to notice the brink of despair that these two souls now teetered on. Not while a war was still being waged and the famous Harry Potter strove to protect his friends from whatever new danger came his way.

Years went by, and the two never got around to meeting up once more. She was far too busy attending balls and squandering her father's money, while he seemed focused on edging his way into the Ministry.

But every year on her birthday, he sent her an owl. And the Howler attached wasn't pleasant, with its rash claims of abandonment and loneliness. She'd merely laugh under her breath and write back, promising that she'd visit sometime and that it would be grand and great and this wasn't the last he'd see of her.

They were greedy people. Yes, that's right. Greedy. They had all the time in the world and they wasted it on themselves.

And it was years before they saw each other once more. Years later, the irony attached would make them laugh as they recounted that night.

For you see, it had been Blaise who had called upon them one fateful summer night. Blaise, who invited them both to the party to beget all parties. A party where Ministry officials flocked avidly in hopes of being associated with the Zabini name - a sure fire tactic to lure Draco out of his dusty old Manor.

So he came in a carriage, rather than Apparating. He always did like a big show. And Pansy almost laughed as she saw him coming up the steps, his jaw set and an indignant look on his pale and pointed face. It was hilarious, you see. For she knew now that he was no longer the little boy she knew from way back when. The little boy whose crystal eyes shone brightly at the small whiff of mayhem.

For a moment she felt nervous as to whether approach him at all. His prim and proper attitude, one she had come to respect back at Hogwarts, now flaunted an air of superiority. So she edged away into the crowd, mingling; laughing; downing shot after shot of brandy. And sooner than later, the party drew to an end and the guests slowly streamed out of the extravagant ballroom.

She bid good-bye to Blaise, giving a small wave to Terence Higgs as she turns and heads towards the exit. Yet there he is, standing by the large mahogany door, arms folded and dark grey eyes resting on her with apprehension.

Slowly she neared him, and silently they stood, staring back at one another, taking in the little changes that had occurred during their time apart. Her hair was shorter now, no longer with those honey brown ringlets which flaunted an air of innocence. His face was less pointy now, though he was still as pale as she remembered.

"You never did come to visit," he finally murmurs, his face passive and unchanging.

"Yes, well neither did you," she replies, trying to repress a small smile.

And suddenly, the silence was no longer awkward; nor was the atmosphere formidable any longer. Something short of a smile captured his lips, and he gestures to the doors.

"Walk with me?" he asks. And she nods, linking arms with him as they skip down the old steps leading up to the old manor. Strolling down the cobblestone path, they both eagerly lap up the summer breeze, reminiscing on the 'good old days'.

"Flint never did get that job with the Whimbourne Wasps," she announces, much to Draco's disappointment.

"How is old Flint, anyway?" he questions.

"Not too good," she answers. "He's working at the Ministry now, in the Department of Magical Games and Sports."

"Sounds pretty good to me," he says nonchalantly, and Pansy purses her lips.

"He's the janitor, Draco."

"Oh..."

So the night wore on, and Pansy drawled out the list of old acquaintances as they admired the Zabini Manor's rose bushes.

"So Goyle's trying to find a job," she proclaimed, shaking her head. "I hope he finds one soon. He looked awfully depressed the last time I saw him. All alone in that dusty old house, with no-one to talk to."

"Goyle? Depressed? I'll hear no such thing! I thought he and Crabbe were vacationing in Switzerland!"

"They were," she murmurs, hesitating for a moment. "But that was a year ago..."

"I see," he mutters. Silence prevailed once more, and Draco frowned with much vigor. "And what about Nott?"

"Theodore?" she asks. And of course he means Theodore, because there are no other Notts left. Pansy nods slowly, leaning her head on Draco's shoulder as they turn away from the fascinating garden and returned to the cobblestone path. "I wouldn't know how he is, we haven't spoken since we left Hogwarts."

"And you didn't even owl him?"

"No, not once."

"Why not?" he questions; his eyebrows quirked in interest.

A small smile flutters onto her pale face, and she almost laughs at the keen expression he sports. "Because he didn't owl me to begin with."

And he smirks broadly, before unlinking his arm from Pansy's, trailing his hand down to her own and grasping it tightly. "Good," he announces.

"Good?" she asks. "That's all it is? 'Good'?"

"Well what did you expect me to say?" Draco asks malevolently. "Fine? Lovely? Dandy?"

He lent in closer to her face with each word, and Pansy bit her lip in hesitation. "What are you up to, Draco?" she asks.

"Nothing," he says innocently, shrugging. She could feel his warm breath caress her face as his lips slowly brush against her own. And it was over in a moment, but a moment was all it took. And as he pulled away, she sighed deeply, looking up at him in confusion. He looks away into the distance, glancing for a moment at the carriage that are waiting to take him back home.

"So is that it?" she asks. "Had your fun, have you?" She was still so defensive, and she still had such a fiery temper. "Running away now, are you?"

Draco pondered this for a moment, before shaking his head slowly and surely. He still grasped her hand tightly in his own, and he fondly watched as the same face he'd known for years, suddenly seemed so lost and forgotten.

"No," he announces. "I'm not going yet."

He gives her hand a reassuring squeeze, before sneering and drawling in a whisper, "Not without you, at least."

~Fin