Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters you may recognize from the wonderful world of Harry Potter, they all belong to the revered JK Rowling, I just like to play with them a little.
Authors Note I did this for clanmalfoy's August Moon Challenge a while back. It was about the life changing decisions that one or more of the young wizards that are Harry's contemporaries may be called upon to make in their late teens. Big hugs to gianfared for her wonderful quick beta :D
RIGHT FOR ME
Her seventeenth birthday should have been a joyous occasion full of celebrations, but her coming of age heralded new responsibilities, adult responsibilities; responsibilities she did not want.
She awoke early in the morning as her eyes fluttered open a sense of dread settled over her; this day would forever change who she was. She would no longer be free to think for herself; she would be governed in her every thought and in her every movement.
Preparing for the day ahead, she donned her school uniform, taking great care to ensure her tie was straight and her hair perfect before beginning the trek to the Great Hall for breakfast. Pausing before the enormous doors, she composed herself and strode in with her head held high. She would not allow anyone to realize her traitorous thoughts. To do that would only draw attention to herself and that was something she was keen to avoid at this point. Taking her usual seat at her house table, she graciously accepted the birthday greetings her housemates sent her.
He was not in his usual seat, nor could she see him anywhere else in the Great Hall. This was highly unusual; he never missed breakfast, and she wondered briefly where he was before deciding she did not really want to see him anyway. To see him now would mean the end of her as a person, an individual.
After eating quickly, she made her way to her first lesson, hoping she would not come across him in the corridors. Luck was on her side for now; although, she knew he would inevitably show up for class. Entering the dungeon potions classroom, she took her seat behind his vacant chair as Professor Snape swept in, the door swinging closed behind the dark haired wizard. He was late. He was never late for potions, and she wondered briefly if he was avoiding her, and maybe he did not want this anymore than she.
She did not see him all morning; he had missed all his classes. Perhaps he was ill; perhaps she should make enquiries, but she knew she wouldn't. She was in no hurry to see him; as long as he stayed away, she would retain her persona.
Lunch came and went with still no sign of him. Others had begun to notice his absence, and he did have a magnanimous presence after all. The whispers had begun: some thought him to be ill; others said he was not within the grounds of Hogwarts at all, and a few rejoiced in his absence.
Afternoon classes dragged on endlessly, still without his presence. She was beginning to hope that this day would pass without their coming together, and she knew that it had to be done today; if it was not, he held no further claim to her. She could hope.
Returning to her dormitory room after classes, she lay on her bed, flat on her back staring at the ceiling, thinking about what was to happen to her.
There were certain expectations she knew she would be duty-bound to fulfill. Possibly the most important would be to provide him with an heir, a continuance of his line, perhaps a clone of himself as he was of his father. She would honor him, even though she knew he would be free to take mistresses at his pleasure, possibly even move them into the manor. She would obey him without question; she would speak only when spoken to and never complain, more for fear of punishment than that of respect. She would become an extension of him, maybe a younger version of his mother. She would always look exceptional on his arm – a trophy wife. She had heard the none-too-inconspicuous whispers of her peers; she knew what they thought, what the professors thought and what society thought, but really it had no bearing on what she knew.
She did not want this despite what everyone around her believed. This was what her parents wanted and his parents, not she and not he. The arrangements had been made when they were babes in arms and they had always known that this day would come. Now it was here and she was desperately thinking of ways to escape her fate - to save, not only herself a life of misery, but him as well. After all, he was the closest thing to a best friend she was ever likely to have and she did care for him.
In an effort to clear these adulterous thoughts from her mind, she decided a walk by the lake would help. Ignoring her peers in the common room, she walked out of the dungeons and made her way quickly to the lakes edge. Feeling the serenity of the nature begin to seep into her soul, she relaxed but her thoughts did not leave her. So opposed to what would happen in the next few hours (she was certain he would show up before midnight and claim her for his own), she could not cease the swirling thoughts of mutiny going through her head.
It wasn't long before the sun began to dip low in the sky; she stood watching the sky turn from shades of rose to violet for the final time as an independent person. Before the sun rose again, her freedom will have been torn from her and she would be forever dependent on him.She could feel him approaching. She did not need to turn around; his gaze burned into her soul as he drew closer. He stood beside her, not touching or speaking for what seemed an eternity. He was tense; she could feel it. She knew him well -- probably better than anyone – as they had always been forced together by their respective parents. It seemed as though they had been preparing for this day all their lives.
"I'm supposed to give you this," Draco said quietly, offering her a small black jeweler's box with the silver Malfoy family crest embedded in the velvet.
This was not as she imagined it would be when she was a little girl. He was supposed to be on his knee, pledging his undying love for her, and she would fling herself into his arms accepting his proposal in a shower of endearing kisses. The dreams of the little girl she had once been would never come to fruition; she had known this for a long time, but it did not make it any easier to endure.
"I don't want it," Pansy whispered, not bothering to face him.
"Pansy, you don't have a choice."
"You don't want it either."
"It's not about what we want."
Pansy sighed before morosely replying, "It should be."
"I can't argue with that."
She knew what she had to do in spite of anything else.
Holding out the small box in front of her again, Draco heaved a heavy sigh. "Take it Pansy."
"No." She had made her decision in an instant.
"Pansy, no is not an option."
"It is if we make it an option. You love another not me."
"That is irrelevant."
"Is it?" Pansy enquired, not truly expecting an answer. He would never admit to the having the traitorous thoughts which had plagued her.
"I will not do this to myself or to you."
With that, she stalked back to the castle; her head held high and proud. She knew that there would be repercussions for her refusal but she would deal with those as they came. Her father would be outraged that she caused the family embarrassment, probably enough to send her packing, but she did not care. She had done what was right for her, and for the first time that day, a smile crept across her features.
TWENTY YEARS LATER
Pansy walked into her sister-in-law's house, glancing around at the lavish appointments of the Manor as she removed her worn cloak and passed it to the house elf who had granted her entrance. She knew that her modest home would more than likely fit into the entrance hall of the mansion her sister-in-law was lady of.
A familiar face appeared at the base of the stairs.
"Hello Draco, how is Ginevra?"