disclaimer: I don't own these characters; they are the sole product of JK Rowling's imagination, and I'm definitely not making any money off of them. This was written for pure entertainment.
"What're you doing up so late?"
Pansy blinked, dazed, as Draco's voice pulled her from her drowsy state. She squinted her eyes and focused on him, he was slowly crossing the room with careful steps, his arms knotted against his chest. He was the last person she'd expected to see, but none the less, she replied quickly and easily.
"Studying," she answered, casting her gaze to the books scattered in front of her, "Or, trying, anyway."
"It looked more like you were asleep." Draco said, arching an eyebrow as he sat in the green armchair across from the couch Pansy was on. Pansy watched as he sank back into
the chair, his fingers gripping the fabric of the arms tightly.
"I was on break. Refueling." Pansy thrust up her chin indignantly.
Draco didn't answer, just raised his chin a fraction of an inch in a nod.
"What're you doing up so late?"
"Zabini is talking in his sleep." He answered, his eyes heavy.
Pansy couldn't help but laugh. "About what?"
"I tried to block him out."
After thinking a moment, Pansy replied, a smirk playing on her lips, "That was probably a smart move on your part. I saw him eyeing Crabbe yesterday at breakfast-" Draco cringed, "-And he was probably living out one of his early morning fantasies tonight…"
"You really have a knack for evoking disturbing images, Pansy." Draco snorted, "Those are going to be difficult to erase." He shuddered, crossing his pale bare arms in the chilly air.
Pansy laughed in return. Determined not to give awkward silence a chance to curl its bony fingers around the room, she turned back to her papers and tried to appear busy, scanning the notes and not taking in any of the words. Her mind kept returning to the gray-eyed person sitting only feet from her, she found it odd that he was speaking to her at all. The entire year he'd been withdrawn, cautious, and even if she was sitting physically next to him she could tell he was emotionally elsewhere.
Her previous years spent with him had been a whirlwind of laughter and taunting and amused glances from across the common room. They'd had there hard times too. More than once she'd wished that he and she had never become friends in the first place in the midst of one of their many common and trivial arguments, but she never could have imagined not having him by her side would feel this unnatural.
And she'd certainly never imagined sitting with him in the common room on a cold night again could feel this right. She'd never believed in love, just convenience, but convenience didn't explain the foreign feeling of warmth rising inside her despite the cool air.
Upon realizing that she was unable to keep her thoughts from straying to Draco, Pansy was almost disgusted with herself. He'd been ignoring her every attempt at conversation all year. He didn't deserve her time of day, and he certainly wasn't worth a second thought. After all, he hadn't made an effort to consider her at all this year, despite the fact that they'd spent over a decade together.
Pansy took a break from intense "studying" and stole a furtive glance at Draco, only to find him looking at her. Her gaze wavered for only a moment, torn between the instinct of flicking her eyes back to her papers and staring stubbornly at Draco. She decided on the latter.
"You're actually studying this year, Pansy?" Draco asked, amused, the haunted look that had been ever present in his eyes through the year actually fading a bit. Pansy accredited its absence to the bad lighting in the common room, because the feeling must be embedded permanently inside them after being there all that time. Simple words and a late night meeting with a childhood friend wouldn't have a chance of wiping it away.
"Well, I figured once of us had to, right?"
"It must be frustrating for you, Parkinson, not being able to copy off my Potions homework at demand."
"Quit being a royal arse, Malfoy, or go back to bed." Pansy snapped in retaliation, not really meaning the words. Deep inside she regretted saying them at all, regretted the fact that she wasn't better at tiptoeing around Draco when he was in such a fragile state. She didn't really want him to go.
"I don't respond to commands, I'm not a dog and I'm bloody well not a Hufflepuff," He growled back. Pansy couldn't help but take comfort in his words, it had been so long since he'd talked like this.
As she looked at him, she began to feel a little sad. There had been such a change in him this year, most passerbys wouldn't see the difference in his face; he'd always hid his emotions well. But Pansy could see it clear as day. So much about him had changed, she'd begun to think of him as two different people: Before and After. She couldn't help but feel she was caught in a flashback. She'd been granted him back for one night, and she wasn't sure what to make of that.
Part of her wished he hadn't come back at all, because she didn't want to see him go again. Watching him fade away and grow less vibrant with every passing day, without being able to fix things, was more frustrating than anything at all.
Most were concerned about the war, but Pansy was selfish... and as much as she hated to admit it, she was concerned about Malfoy.
Out of nowhere, she yawned hugely, attempting to stifle it with her free hand, and failing. Draco noticed.
"Past your bedtime, is it?"
Glaring, Pansy shook her head slowly.
"Whatever dream Blaise was having should be… over, by now. I'm going back to bed, even if you're going to be stubborn and fall asleep on your books again." Said Draco rising from his seat, glancing pointedly at the mess of papers on the table in front of her. Pansy hid her disappointment quickly and effectively behind closed eyes, slowly moving so she was laying across the couch.
Pansy listened to Draco's soft footsteps as he crept out of the common room. "Mhmm. G'night, then. See you in the morning," She muttered, feigning sleepiness, determined not to let the heavy feeling in her chest show on her face.
Draco's footsteps came to a sudden halt, but he didn't reply, they knew each other well and they both knew that nothing would have changed come morning. He would eat his meal silently and pointedly ignore her, and she would pick at her breakfast pretending she was immune to his stony silence. They both knew that he would not tangle her up in the web he'd caught himself in.
"It's freezing out here, Pansy. Go to your room."
"Please stop acting motherly, it's making me just a bit uncomfortable." She answered halfheartedly, not even entirely sure he could hear her.
"Fine, be a bloody idiot. I have more important things to do than worry about where you're sleeping, Parkinson." Draco snapped, and his footsteps resumed. Pansy kept her eyes closed determinedly. Much to her dismay she was already starting to miss him. It made her feel weak.
Draco's rhythmic footsteps came to an abrupt stop once again, and Pansy fought her curiosity to see where he was and why he was pausing yet again. His indecisiveness was frustrating her.
Caught up in her own thoughts and thoughtlessness, Pansy was only half aware of the resuming of Draco's footsteps, hardly registering that they were coming back toward her. Only when he let out a haughty sigh and draped a fleece blanket over her cold body, did she focus.
She was surprised he'd turned around, but the moment felt very natural and familiar. It was reminiscent of a night they'd had at the Manor, after Pansy had fallen asleep on his couch, and instead of being a gentleman and carrying her to the bed and laying her to sleep, he'd simply tossed a blanket over her and walked away.
Now she realized that she'd taken that moment for granted.
Pansy's arm hung limply off the couch, her fingertips grazed the floor. With careful fingers, she felt Draco raise it, and tuck it safely under the blankets with the rest of her. His hand remained on hers for a second longer than necessary, and when he tightened his grip for the slightest moment, she was reminded of all the ways they used to be, and she couldn't help but to forget her façade of sleep and squeeze his fingers back.
Swiftly, he pulled his hand away, and his hurried feet carried him out of the room and it was suddenly like he'd never been there at all. Pansy did not reopen her eyes again that night, instead she finally succumbed to her tiredness and allowed sleep to wrap her up, content with the knowledge that even in the midst of a war the boy she'd grown up with still remained, somewhere.