Anyone who had read the Daily Prophet in the six months following the end of the Great War had been given full access into the fall of the Parkinsons. As Voldemort's reign of terror ended, it came to light that Mr. Parkinson had been deeply involved with the Death Eaters. He'd been sentenced to life in Azkaban, barely avoiding the Dementor's Kiss.
Unfortunately for the remaining Parkinsons, their patriarch had not been spending the family money wisely. Mr. Parkinson had racked up substantial debts before his arrest, which he had done his best to hide from his family. When these debts were revealed, the Parkinsons had been forced to use their remaining money to pay off all sums that were due.
Broke, the only Parkinson child, Pansy, had been forced to take a job for the first time in her life. It was a difficult time for her; thrust into a new situation, and forced to relive her shame each morning when she read the paper, Pansy struggled to find an employer. Everyone was very aware of her father's connections to the former Dark Lord, and therefore most managers turned her away after looking at her name on the application.
After weeks of fruitless searching, and down to her last few knuts, Pansy was incredibly relieved when she received an owl from Florean Fortescue offering her a position as his ice cream parlor. It was not her ideal position. In fact, a few months before she may have even considered it demeaning. However, she had swallowed her pride and accepted the job.
The first week was rocky; having never been forced to work before, Pansy was put off by how much she was made responsible for. She had to learn the different flavors and be able to recognize them by sight and taste, as well as learn how to open and close the store. She had to adapt new people skills. After seven frustrating days of trying to learn so much at once, Pansy was very nearly ready to quit.
Her bank statement arrived by owl, however, and she decided to stay.
With time, things around Fortescue's became easier. Pansy somehow managed to learn all of the flavors the parlor offered, and opening and closing the store was soon second nature. She settled into a routine at work, and as the gossip about her family's tragic downfall faded away, she found that she was actually beginning to enjoy earning her own money. There was a certain sense of satisfaction she got when she bought something with the money she had earned.
Which wasn't to say that she was glad she'd lost her riches. She still very much longed for them; there was a security that came attached to being wealthy. This was, however, the hand of cards she'd been dealt, and she was glad to know that in the face of adversity, she'd proven she could be independent.
It had been a long day at the shop for Pansy. She'd opened that hot summer morning, and the crowd has been non-stop throughout the day. As the afternoon began to cool and the sun started to set, Pansy found herself watching the clock, counting the minutes to when she could go.
It was nearly time for her to clock out when a customer wearing a hooded sweatshirt walked in, the hood up around their head, blocking the view of their face. Pansy huffed; now she was going to be late getting home. She tapped her fingernails against the counter and gave the man across the counter a stiff smile.
"How can I help you, sir?"
She had prepared herself to hear the name of a type of ice cream, but instead she heard a gasp.
"Pansy? Pansy Parkinson?"
Pansy squinted, taking in the sight of the stranger before her. She could not recognize him with the hood blocking her view, but the voice seemed very familiar. The man reached up and removed the hood, revealing a shock of raven hair and a very well-known scar.
A blush painted her cheeks as Pansy looked away from Harry Potter. She felt terribly embarrassed of her situation; not only had her father tried to kill the young man in front of her, but Harry had also become one of the most successful young people in all of Britain. And here she was, someone who had taunted him relentlessly in school, working in an Ice Cream Parlor.
"Hello, Potter." She said formally, acknowledging her former classmate, "What kind of ice cream would you like?"
Harry broke out into a grin. "Pansy! How are you doing?"
Though Pansy herself had never been affiliated with Voldemort, her father had been, and she felt very awkward having a conversation with the Boy Who Lived. She rocked back and forth on her feet, trying to remain polite without inciting further small talk.
"I'm fine, thank you. What kind of ice cream would you like?"
Observing his choices as he spoke, Harry continued to talk as if Pansy was as actively engaged in the conversation as he himself was. "When did you start working here?
"A few weeks ago." Pansy sighed impatiently, "What kind of ice cream would you like?"
"Imagine seeing you here! You look great."
At this time, Pansy fairly exploded. "Potter! I'm poor, I broke three nails today, I don't have enough money to go to a professional hairstylist or buy makeup, and I've been working for hours. I do not look great, and I do not appreciate being lied to. Understand?" her anger abated, she smiled pleasantly, "What kind of ice cream would you like?"
Harry blinked furiously, eyes wide behind his glasses. He shifted his gaze toward the sign stating all the flavors behind Pansy, before deciding. "Strawberry, please."
It was degrading, having to serve a former classmate she'd once considered to be very much below her. Swallowing her pride and handing him in ice cream cone, Pansy managed to choke out the price. When Harry handed her far more than the required amount, she immediately moved to give him his change. He shook his head.
"You keep it." He said, smiling.
To his surprise, Pansy ignored him and retrieved his change from the drawer, holding it out to him with a very angry look on her face. Harry cocked his head to one side, confused.
"Didn't you hear me? I told you to—"
"And I'm telling you to take this change and shove it up your arse."
Harry's jaw dropped. "Excuse me?"
Pansy slammed the change down on the counter and gave the young man across from her a withering glare. She had experienced so many hard times in the past six months, and she did not need to be patronized by Harry bloody Potter.
"I don't need your pity, or your charity." She sneered, knowing full well that she had no reason sneer. "I don't need anything from you."
There was a long pause, then—
"What are you doing on Saturday?"
This time it was Pansy's turn to pause. Harry had rendered her speechless; that was about the last thing she'd expected to come from his mouth. She was so surprised, she didn't know how to react. Part of her wanted to scoff at the invitation, the other part wanted to know what had made him ask her.
Her curious side won out. "What for?"
"Dinner?" Harry supplied, a hopeful expression on his face.
Pansy rolled her eyes. "No, I wasn't asking what we'd do. I mean why are you asking me?"
Harry took a deep breath. "You're perfect."
"I am so tired of people needing me." Explained the black-headed man in front of her, wringing his hands, "People needed me to be strong, to save them, to never let them down. They needed me to kill. They needed me to do so damn much." Harry let out a sigh of frustration, "And I just don't want to be needed anymore. I want someone…independent."
With those final words, he risked a glance at the surprised girl on the other side of the counter. Pansy was staring at him distrustfully, skeptically looking him up and down. She shrugged, rolling her eyes.
"I guess I'm free Saturday."
It was difficult for Harry to keep his smile in check. "Pick you up at seven?"
Pansy didn't even spare him a glance, shooing him away and motioning for the customer who had just entered to approach the counter. "Whatever." She replied carelessly.
Harry broke down and grinned.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. And I'm sure we're all surprised, right?
A/N: Ehh, just popped into my head, and I thought I'd post it. Never written Harry/Pansy before, so I'd like to know how I did. Reviews and feedback and much appreciated!
For anyone who reads my story Pure Blood, an update is coming. I know it's been awhile. Many apologies. When college starts, my life outside it ends. Ha. Hope you enjoy this while you wait!