Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognisable characters. They are all the property of J.K. Rowling.

Summary: Slytherins have feelings and loyalties too you know. Perhaps rather different from those of the rest of the world, but they're still there. Pansy listens, thinks and remembers andre-examines her loyalties. Rather random thoughts. Set after the end of HBP (spoilers!). One-Shot


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Dissonance

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by

The Penumbra

She had heard the full story from her mother who had been downing her fourth glass of sherry for the evening. Flushed cheeks, hands trembling, with an unconvincing smile plastered on her face, she had told her daughter what had really happened: of the entry into Hogwarts through the vanishing cabinet, the fight to reach the tower where the headmaster lay. She told her how they had found Draco, her Draco, with Dumbledore and of his inability to cast the killing curse. And then – here her mother's hands trembled so much that she spilt some of her remaining sherry on the rug- Snape, Snape cast the Avada Kervada, and Dumbledore had fallen.

She had listened in silence, head bowed, offering no suitable conjuncture, betraying nothing of the turmoil she was feeling inside.

It was wonderful wasn't it, her mother had babbled on, that the Dark Lord had finally got rid of his worst enemy? They would be sure to win now – Harry Potter would have no chance against the most powerful wizard of all times. They would get rid of all the mudbloods and the blood traitors, the world would finally be cleared of their horrible presence, the Dark Lord was right, of course he was always right, he must be…

The girl had looked up when her mother had suddenly stopped speaking in mid-sentence. She was staring at a spot on the wall, unblinkingly, mouth half-open. After an interminable few minutes of silence, she had turned her gaze on her daughter, her face empty, blank. "He made a child go after Dumbledore to punish his father," she had whispered, as though afraid that she could be heard, even within the safety of their home. "A child no older than my daughter." The girl started as her mother slammed her glass violently on the table, breaking it.

The girl had watched the liquid seeping over the table, the crystal fragments glittering. Her mother had taken her by her shoulders, forcing her to look into her bloodshot eyes. "He doesn't care about what happens to us, you know," she had continued quietly, "We're only his fucking, fucking puppets!" Her voice had risen to a shriek at the last word, as she loosened her grasp on her daughter and stumbled backwards, collapsing on the sofa.

Celandine Parkinson, face buried in her hands, started moaning and weeping by turn, cursing her stupid dolt of a husband for having dragged them into a war where they would never be winners. Her daughter had crept silently out of the room, leaving her mother with her sorrows, to go to deal with her own.

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She traced the outline of his features lightly with her finger. A picture of him and her, the boy and girl they had once been. The artist had been almost too kind to Draco in his sketch – his hard gaze was softened into a gentler one, his lips were curled into a genuine smile. Here she sighed. Or perhaps, she thought, with a stab of regret, she had forgotten how he used to be. Because there were no smiles left now, no freedom, not anymore. It had been too long since they had been happy together.

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Teenage rebellion, her mother would have called it. Sheer lunacy, her father would have said. Pure bliss, was how she remembered it.

Perhaps it was the heat. Perhaps it was the restlessness both of them felt; she had been cooped up for too long at home, receiving the tutoring her father felt she would need for her upcoming O.W.L.s., he had been angry following the umpteenth argument with his father after he'd come second to Granger again. Perhaps it was a phase. But Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson, who wouldn't touch Muggles with a ten-foot pole even if you paid them, had gone and done the unthinkable.

It was the summer before their fifth year, before Lucius Malfoy had been imprisoned and before Draco had distanced himself from her. It had been a hot day, stifling even. They had decided, in a moment of madness that they would run off for a day… to muggle London. She had longed to see how the other side lived without magic, even while despising them, but she was far too afraid to do it on her own. Humour me, she had asked him, and for once, after her constant teasing, he had.

She could remember slipping her hand into his as they left Diagon Ally, the thrill of feeling his skin against hers as they reached out into the unknown. They had turned back into the children they should have been, carefree, adventurous and ready to experiment and explore. They had gone to the parks, on boats, a shopping centre, even venturing into a muggle pub and eating there. She remembered Draco's struggle to appear disdainful, trying to hide his fascination with the strange box showing moving figures and emitting sounds. They had criticised, looked down their noses at these non-magical people, but she had guiltily enjoyed the feeling that they were playing with the prohibited.

They had had their picture drawn by an artist in the park before they left. Draco hadn't wanted to, but eventually she had convinced him, whining, threatening and finally declaring that she wouldn't move a step until he had let her have that picture.

The man drew them sitting side by side, the dark-haired girl, and the blond boy, complementing each other in their way. It was her only tangible memory of that day, the only proof that it had not been merely a dream of hers. It was her secret and Draco's, theirs to keep and hers to treasure.

They had returned to their respective homes and had never spoken of it again; Pansy had soon realised that Draco wanted to forget - she had tried to talk to him about it but he had frozen her out before she could start – he was ashamed of having actually passed a day in the company of muggles, he was terrified that his father would find out. Pansy didn't mind; she was content to let him forget. She, after all, had her picture which would remind her of their single day away from the people they were supposed to be.

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There would be no more days like that. No more chances of taking their lives in their own hands. Pansy had known something was wrong at the start of the year. She had felt his muscles tense as his head lay in her lap, belying his nonchalance as they spoke in the train journey to Hogwarts. Pansy knew him almost as well as she knew herself – how couldn't she? They had known each other ever since they could walk. They looked out for each other, cared for each other and boosted each other's ego. You're my best friend, Pansy, he had told her, again and again, and she would smile and nod, replying in kind, hoping he could not see her that really she wanted something else, something more. But she got nothing but a single kiss in fourth year after the ball; there he told her that he couldn't go out with her; his father didn't want him to start going out with girls because he was too young and other things should come first... Like the Dark Lord, Pansy had added resentfully, but only to herself. In front of Draco she simply smiled and shrugged, pretending to him and to herself that it didn't really matter, not really.

But it did

She had worried over him, throughout the year, as she watched him growing thinner and paler, as she felt him slipping away from her, little by little. If I'm your best friend, she had challenged him after he had missed a Quidditch match, tell me what's going on. He had looked at her, oddly diminished, false bravado all gone. No, he had said, leave me alone, Pansy.

Tell me, she had insisted. But he had pushed her away.

Shove off Pansy. You're nothing to me anymore. His face was empty, and he wouldn't meet her gaze. I don't want to care about anyone anymore. He turned away, leaving her again.

I hate you, you sodding bastard! Fucking traitor! she had screamed at his retreating back, angrily fighting back her tears of panic and frustration. He made no sign of having heard except for his shoulders sagging slightly as he left.

They had barely spoken after that, even after Potter had nearly murdered him with his curse and she had nearly gone out of her mind with worry. And now? Now she didn't even know where he was, whether he was alive or dead. She couldn't tell him what she felt. She couldn't even say sorry. She could do nothing. Nothing at all.

Narcissa and Draco Malfoy seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth. She overheard whispers, rumours but nothing definite. Hiding? Captured by the Order? No one knew. But no one doubted that it would not be long before they would be found and executed by the Dark Lord for having left, for having abandoned the cause.

They had been tortured of course, after the Death Eaters had returned from Hogwarts; not even her professor been safe from the Dark Lord's wrath. She discovered it by accident - on hearing her mother crying and her father hiss back angrily at her, she had felt compelled to eavesdrop, and had heard her father tell his tale. The Dark Lord decided they deserved it: Draco, because he had only completed half his mission, Narcissa, because she was Draco's mother, and Snape, for having killed Dumbledore in Draco's place and blown his cover as a spy.

Pansy had been well…shocked at the fact that it had been Snape, cold and calculating Snape, who had eliminated Dumbledore just like that. It was a foolish fancy of hers, they all knew that he was a faithful Death Eater, but to her, it seemed almost… incongruous to think of her Head of House, always immersed in his books and potions, killing someone in cold-blood.

Death had never really bothered Pansy - she knew her father and his friends had killed people who deserved it of course, but it just wasn't real to her; it was only one of the things you knew and accepted but never really thought about. But now it had become oddly real. Her best friend had been involved. If it had been anyone else it wouldn't have mattered, but now… She put her arms around herself, suddenly cold. What must her Draco have felt, bearing a burden like that all year, trying to kill Dumbledore but not being able to? He couldn't, she said to herself, he couldn't kill. He just couldn't. Snape did instead.

Strangely enough she felt grateful to her professor for that. He had been there for his Slytherins to the last, protecting her boy. Draco was still untainted in a way; he didn't hate enough to have been able to cast an unforgivable curse. It was all wrong of course, she should have wanted him to kill, encouraged him to rid the world of filth but… killing. It was too definite. It was no longer a game Pansy realised. No more petty name-calling in the playground, she thought, no more hexing people in the corridors. This was war, and she didn't know if she was ready for it.

A couple of days after the headmaster's death, Draco and Narcissa had disappeared. Now, they were officially declared as traitors. No one would have anything to do with them anymore – they had betrayed the Dark Lord. Not even Narcissa's own family would help her now. Bellatrix Lestrange had laughed when they tortured her sister, hysterical was how her father had described her. Pansy shivered. Her mother had told her that when they were young, Bellatrix had adored her youngest sister, defending her aggressively from anyone who dared cross her. No one could divide their bond. No one. But now?

Now no one was allowed to care for anyone anymore... unless they didn't want to survive of course. Narcissa and Draco were living examples of that.

Would anyone stand up for their family in front of him? Would her father stand up for her, if the need arose, risking his position in the Dark Lord's inner circle? Pansy doubted it. She was only his daughter after all. Pansy slammed her fists onto her mattress, wanting to hurt someone or something. She wanted to scream and scream and vent her frustration at the world, at her father, at him. She hated him, for what he had taken away from them, for what he had done to them. She even wished that sodding Potter had vanquished him at the very beginning instead of letting him live for so long. It was all wrong, she thought bitterly, tearing her pillow and watching the feathers float everywhere with fierce enjoyment, and they had to be stupid not to realise that they were all trapped in a vicious circle where no one would come out unscathed.

He took away what they loved, breaking their ties together, binding them tightly to himself, forcing them to forgo any loyalty towards anyone and anything else. She didn't care what happened to mudbloods and blood traitors; after all, they were scum. But, she thought with a sudden pang of fear, no one is safe any more. For who was more pureblood than the Blacks and the Malfoys? And look what had happened to them.

Her father was foolish enough to believe that he and his would always be safe. She was not. Angry tears fell unbidden as she slid down onto the floor, wishing that she could tear out the dull ache in her chest. She knew that her mother cried too at night, afraid for her family and friends, afraid that in a fit of madness her husband might denounce her as a traitor to the cause, because she wept for what they had lost and would lose. PerhapsPansy herselfwould soon be called on to join the Death Eaters; would the Dark Lord let her live after raping her mind, exposing the treacherous thoughts and memories which she clung to tenaciously?

What would make Pansy willing to follow the leader her father was soready to obey? Draco was in hiding and risking death, her life was torn into shreds, mother and father didn't trust each other anymore, her friends were disappearing day after day. …Hell, she couldn't even go to school anymore.

Daddy thinks I should be happy Dumbledore's dead and condemning the Malfoys, Pansy thought to herself, but I'm not and I don't. That, she supposed, was another traitorous thought. She didn't care; she owed the Dark Lord nothing. What could he give her? All she had wanted he had stolen away.

There was no place for innocence and love and life in his regime. Pansy was ambitious, of course she was otherwise she wouldn't have been placed in Slytherin now would she? She wanted to be famous and successful and have money and riches galore. But she knew that all these dreams took second place when it came to having a husband to love and children of her own. And yet all these were denied to her.

She looked at her picture one last time. It was nothing like a magical portrait; the figures could not speak, nor move. And yet, in its simplicity, Pansy could see perfection - a moment crystallised in time, a single instant captured on paper forever how it had been. She folded it carefully and used her wand to shrink it. Pansy slipped it into the heart-shaped locket she hung round her neck, and snapped it shut, away from prying eyes. If anyone ever discovered…

Where was he? Was he well? Was he afraid? She stood up and moved towards the window, holding up the locket to her lips briefly. If he asked her, if he needed her, would she be ready to help him, or would she chose the easy way out and side with them instead? She was a Slytherin; she didn't really do Gryffindor courage and Hufflepuff devotion. It was rather ironic that she was questioning whether she would be willing to risk all for a dream and a single memory.

A sudden smile played upon her lips. Then again, being a Slytherin meant she didn't quite do any of the famed Ravenclaw logic either.

She wasn't foolishly brave, nor was she brilliant, nor was she perfect. But at that moment, Pansy Parkinson knew quite well where her true loyalties lay.


Thanks for reading! Random thoughts, random ideas, written late at night after a day of -ologies and -isms... Hope that you liked it. Comments are, as always, welcome.

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