Author's Note: I know that with two works in progress and no time, I should not be writing one shots, but I can't help it. Also, it was very hard for me to think of a good charity, so don't put too much thought into my choice.
I believe that there are two ways Draco could go in marriage. With such a great example from his parents (because that's what I believe), he could step up and be really good at it. On the other hand, he's no Lucius, so this is another way it might go. Because Draco is a little selfish and weak.
Draco had not quite believed his parents when they told him marriage was hard. They made it look so easy. When it turned out they were right, he still did not believe that it was marriage's fault. It was Pansy's fault. She did not try hard enough, she was not understanding enough, she did not love him enough. Marriage should not be this hard, he told himself. It was not until his second marriage started to fall apart that he realized he might have the wrong understanding of marriage.
No one would be more shocked to hear this than Pansy, but being a kept woman did not suit her. From almost the moment they got home from their honeymoon, she was bored all the time. She had tea with other society wives, but they only wanted to talk about their husbands or children, all of whom were dreadfully uninteresting. A year into their marriage, Pansy did not know what could have gone wrong, why she hated this life so much. She told Draco that she wanted to get a job, and he suggested that she try having children instead. At barely twenty two years old, Pansy insisted that there was plenty of time for that, but she wanted to try working for a few years before becoming a mother. Draco in turn said that it would not be fitting for the newest Mrs. Malfoy to become a barmaid at the Leaky Cauldron. Pansy did not ask him if he thought that was all for which she was qualified because she did not want to know the answer. She let the whole job argument go because she did not want to have a huge row this early in their marriage.
Pansy considered starting a family then, even if it was earlier than she had wanted. Having a baby would make life less boring. It was a full time job and would probably be very fulfilling. It could have solved all her problems, but Pansy could not get over the resentment she felt for Draco because of his barmaid comment. She wanted to find a compromise that would allow her to get out of the house but still not give him what he wanted. She went to her mother-in-law for help in finding a position on some kind of board or committee. Narcissa was happy to help since she of all people understood how helpful it was to have interests outside of one's family. Within a month of deciding that she wanted a job, Pansy was volunteering four days a week at an organization that raised awareness for heart disease.
(Unbeknownst to Pansy and much of the population, many of the spells used in battle caused weakening of the heart muscles. It was completely reversible with magical treatments, but it was often left untreated.)
Six months after starting there, she became the co-chair of the fundraising committee.
Almost three years later, Draco had become convinced that Pansy did not value their marriage. She was working fifty to sixty hours a week at a number of disease oriented charities. He had tolerated it for a while, but surely now that they were twenty-five it was time for her to spend more time at home and start having children. Pansy agreed that it was probably time to try for a baby, but she did not see any reason to put a hold on her volunteering until she had actually conceived, or really until the baby was born. Also, she made this clear to him, she was not going to give up her charities completely no matter what. He pointed out to her that a baby was a full time commitment and that she was being selfish. She responded, "Well, he or she will have one stay at home parent," referring to him. Like she thought that planning her stupid little parties to extort money from their friends made her better than him.
It was at this time that Astoria Greengrass entered Draco's life. She was nineteen and often accompanied her sister, Daphne to Pansy's events. Daphne had a society column in Witch Weekly, and she always promoted Pansy's fundraisers because she thought they were for such a good cause. Astoria simply came for the glamor of it. Draco spent one night talking to her (because there was only so much a person could say about orphans or terminal diseases), and it quickly became apparent to him that Astoria had crush on him. He did not intend to do anything with her, but he really enjoyed the way she looked up at him with those big doe eyes, so full of admiration. It had been a really long time since Pansy looked at him that way. So maybe he encouraged the girl a little bit; it was just a harmless flirtation.
At least that was what he thought. But one night he ran into her, and they ended up having a couple drinks and talking for over an hour. Then she asked if he would walk her home, and before he knew it, he was in her shower washing off the evidence of his infidelity.
As he sneaked into his own house and up the stairs to his bedroom, Draco told himself over and over that everything would be all right. He had not actually come with an excuse for why he was out until well after three in the morning, but still, it was going to be okay. She probably would not ask. He was hoping not to wake her at all.
He eased the door closed behind him and tiptoed across the floor to his bed. Pansy was lying there, fortunately asleep. She looked beautiful, and in that moment Draco remembered suddenly, painfully, how much he had loved her. Even if their marriage was too hard, even if she was being selfish, there was no justification for what he had done to her that night.
As he lowered himself carefully into bed, Pansy stirred. "Hey," she yawned.
Draco froze for a moment, but forced himself to act cool. "Hey, I didn't mean to wake you. Just go back to sleep."
She rubbed her eyes, and Draco was sure she was going to say something, but she only rolled over to lie across his chest. Draco breathed a sigh of relief and closed his eyes to try to get some sleep.
Pansy did not need to ask Draco why he was coming to bed so late; she had a fairly good idea where he had been. She did not know with whom he had been, but she had little doubt that he'd been with someone. She lay across his chest and breathed in the smell of his neck, trying to find corroborating evidence. He smelled of soap and lilacs, which, while not proof positive, strongly suggested that she was correct in her assessment.
Her first thought was to punch him hard in the stomach, but she knew that was a bad instinct. No matter what she had ever done wrong, she was never physically abusive. She quickly rejected any thoughts that it was her fault. She knew that she had not been perfect, but neither had Draco. No one was perfect come to think of it. Pansy had never once thought about cheating though. The next thought she had after all that was she hoped she was not pregnant.
Pansy needed to start thinking about the real implications of this. Was this the first time? What was she going to do about it? What was he going to do? If it was a one time thing, if he never did it again, if he was really sorry about it, was that good enough for her? She thought back to her wedding day when she had been so happy, so sure that all her dreams were coming true. Now her marriage was probably over. Tears pooled in her eyes, and Pansy had to roll off of Draco so that he would not feel her cry.
Part of the reason that Draco continued seeing Astoria, turned their one night into an affair, was that he wanted to believe that it was worth something. He did not want to think that he had betrayed his wife and his marriage for just one night. Another reason was that Pansy had become more distant than ever. Which might mean that she knew. Which meant that he really needed to believe that it was worth it.
Knowing that her marriage was over did not make it any easier for Pansy to let go. For months, she watched for the signs. He did not sneak into bed in the middle of the night, but he still was not that good at hiding his affair. First of all, he was having it at the house. She could smell perfume on her couch that did not belong to either herself or Narcissa. She found panties under her bed. (She had no idea how someone could forget such a thing.) Actually, when she reflected on it, it was the woman who was not good at hiding the affair, and maybe that was intentional. And then there was the way the house elf looked at her with pity, which was probably the worst part of all.
She intended to leave him as soon as she got up the courage. It just was not as easy as it sounded. Pansy did not know any divorced women, and as superficial as it might seem, she hated the thought of becoming one of them. She had no intention of putting up with his cheating, but she could not bring herself to confront him about it. She just needed more time to reconcile herself to the idea that she was going to leave her husband and throw her life into upheaval.
When Draco told Astoria repeatedly that he would leave his wife for her, he had not meant it. He had not really thought about it. He loved the way Astoria hero worshiped him. It reminded him a lot of what Pansy had been like in the early days. Maybe he would be happier with Astoria, but he could not imagine leaving his wife. He just said it to keep her on the line.
Then she got pregnant, and that changed things dramatically. Draco was pretty sure that Pansy knew about the affair and was just ignoring it. That had really suited Draco. He did not want to talk about it. Now he had to talk to Pansy about it, and more than that, he was pretty sure that he had to leave her for Astoria. There was not a lot of love left in his marriage, and with Astoria having his baby, the equation seemed simple. He hated that the issue had been forced, though, and honestly, he believed on some level that Astoria had gotten pregnant on purpose.
When Draco sat her down to have a serious talk and carefully broached the subject of his affair, Pansy had not been ready. She listened silently as he talked about how their marriage was not working out the way either of them had planned and how he had never wanted to hurt her. When he said that he had been seeing someone else, she almost stopped him. She almost told him that she did not want to know. Then he dropped the bombshell; the girl was pregnant.
Pansy felt like she was going to be sick. She asked who it was. He said it didn't matter. "I think I deserve to know the name of the woman who is pregnant with my husband's baby," she said.
When he said the name, Pansy slapped him. The reaction surprised her more than it did him. She apologized, but she was not really sorry. Astoria Greengrass was practically a child.
"The thing is," he said, "I think we should get divorced."
Pansy started to cry. She buried her face in her hands because she could not stand to look at him. This was exactly what she had wanted to avoid. She was now bawling. She had wanted to wait until she could talk to him without getting emotional. She felt Draco reach out to touch her, ostensibly to comfort her, but she batted away his hand. "Don't touch me."
She had known about the affair for months, so she wondered why she was so angry. She hated him in that moment. She took deep breaths to try to compose herself. "Are you going to marry her?"
"She pregnant." Draco had the decency to look embarrassed by this.
"What if she wasn't? Would you still want a divorce?" Pansy did not know why she asked that. She wanted a divorce.
"I don't see what good it does to... No, I don't want to divorce you." He looked down. "But I think that I have to." His voice was almost a whisper.
Pansy felt torn by emotions. At the same time that she hated him, she also realized that she still loved him. It wasn't enough though. She had no intention of fighting for their marriage. "Yeah, you have to, because I..." She gulped back another sob. "I'm not going to stay. Whatever you decide to do about Astoria, this is definitely over."
Draco made a move to hug her, and this time Pansy let him. She began to cry again, hard, and he held her tighter. After a few minutes of this, she push him away gently. "I'm going to pack a few things, and then I'll stay with my parents."
Telling Pansy about the pregnancy had been hard on Draco, but telling his parents was, in a lot of ways, worse. His father was uncharacteristically kind to him, but he looked so disappointed. His mother was always so doting and unconditionally loving, but at the news, her features grew stony in a way that frightened Draco a little. She had never looked at him like that before. He insisted that he loved Astoria, and that he and Pansy had not been right for each other. They married too young, which was what Narcissa had said at the time. Without saying a word, Narcissa stood and walked out. Lucius said that she would come around, but Draco felt that he had just broken something in their relationship that could never be repaired.
Pansy's mother had never been that loving to her. She had a great relationship with her father, but her mother and she had not gotten along very well since Pansy became a teenager. Now, her mother was smothering her with kindness and something resembling pity. Pansy tried to feel grateful for this, but it was really just annoying. She could not get on with her life while her mother was still treating her like a child. Pansy quickly got a paid position with her original heart organization and moved into her own flat as soon as she had the money saved up.
In the divorce proceeding, Pansy asked for considerably less alimony than she could have. She felt that she should not have accepted alimony at all—she truly had not married him for his money—but she felt that he owed her something for pain and suffering. If their marriage had fallen apart without the third party interference, as it was starting to do already, she would not have asked for any money. But he cheated on her and got another woman pregnant. Really, she just wanted to punish him for that in some small way.
Draco remarried days after the divorce was final. Astoria insisted on a large, fancy wedding, the kind that would make her sister's society column. Draco thought that might be in poor taste, but she insisted that he needed to be more concerned with her feelings than Pansy's. Little girls dream of their wedding day, Astoria said, and they usually are not pregnant in that dream, and they never worry about ex-wives feelings in those dreams. Draco thought she was probably right that it was not fair that she be denied her dream wedding just because he had been married before.
Draco did a really good job of convincing himself that he loved Astoria. Whereas Pansy had been discontent in their marriage right from the beginning, Astoria was young and eager to be a good wife. And when their son, Scorpius was born, that was the happiest Draco had ever been in life.
Things had gone really smoothly until Pansy got engaged.
Pansy liked being independent. Living alone, making her own money, Pansy felt like she was finally discovering who she really was. It did get lonely though.
She had been somewhat surprised to discover that she was dating Theodore Nott. It had started really casually, dinner here and there, and she had not really thought of them as dates. She was pretty sure they had not been at first. Slowly, he started to touch her hand more, and one night he kissed her. That was when she realized that they were dating.
A year later, out of the blue, he asked her to marry him. She thought he was joking at first, but he was not. She said no, and he asked her why not. "Teddy, I've been married before, and it was not good. We hurt each other, and he cheated on me. I don't want to go through that again."
"Well, no, obviously not," he said. "I'm proposing a different kind of marriage. One where we respect each other and nobody cheats."
Pansy laughed and shook her head. "That's not as easy as it sounds."
"You don't ever want to get married again? So you don't want children?" He held up a hand to show a lack of judging. "Unless you want to have them out of wedlock, which I respect because I respect you and your choices."
Pansy had not thought about children since the divorce. She did want children. "I really never intended to get married again, but I guess I haven't thought through the implications of that."
"Well, I think that you should think about it."
Pansy agreed to think about it. By that time she really loved Teddy, but she had loved Draco too. It was hard to trust again, to believe that a marriage could work out.
Finally, Pansy agreed to marry him, but with some conditions. She was absolutely firm that she did not want to get divorced again. He had to be willing to commit to forever. Divorce would not be considered a viable option unless they had exhausted counseling. He agreed to all of this, and Pansy accepted his proposal.
A month later, they were married in a small, quiet ceremony.
Draco heard about Pansy's engagement days before Scorpius' second birthday. He and Pansy had not spoken since the divorce, but she was forced to let him know that she was remarrying and that he was no longer obligated to pay alimony.
He had not even seen her in that time, which was remarkable considering how small the community was. Of course, he had his new sister-in-law, Daphne to tell him how happy Pansy was and how the divorce was the best thing that could have happened to her, but it was different seeing her again.
When she showed up at his door, she looked exactly the same and yet there was something so different about her. He welcomed her into the house, telling her that Astoria was upstairs with their son. Having no idea what she was going to say, Draco hoped she had come to tell him that she still loved him. As happy as his marriage had been up to that point, and as miserable as his marriage to Pansy had been, he wanted her to want him back.
She sat awkwardly on the couch she picked out all those years before, and told him with no preamble that she was going to marry Theodore Nott. That had been pretty much the exact opposite of what he was hoping to hear. It occurred to Draco then how strange the situation was. They had been family, this had been her house, and now it was over. If they had a child together, they would still be connected, but as it was, without the alimony, they had no reason to ever speak again. For two years that had not bothered him, but the thought that he and Pansy would never be friends again, that their entire relationship was over, it hurt him deeply. That was what was different about her. For the first time Draco could remember, she was not his anymore.
He asked if she thought Theodore could make her happier than he had. She responded, "God, I hope so."
"It wasn't that bad," Draco said, although he knew it probably had been.
"It... it wasn't that good, either." She sat silently and did not make a move to leave.
Encouraged by the thought that she might be feeling the same thing he was, Draco continued. "Do you ever think that we made a mistake?"
"I think we made a lot of mistakes." After a second, she added, "I think you made a lot of mistakes."
"I'm not going to regret anything that gave me my son, but I..." He could not say what he had been thinking, that he would never love Astoria the way he had loved Pansy, even if their marriage had been a nightmare. He could not say that, because Astoria was in the house and might overhear. Instead he projected his thoughts onto Pansy. "I don't believe that you'll ever love him like you loved me."
Pansy laughed what he recognized as her angry laugh. She got up and paced. Draco had to force himself not to smile. He liked knowing he could still affect her like that. Finally she said, "I'm starting to recognize that we never talked out the end of our marriage; it just dissolved before our eyes. So I'll make this clear to you now. Whatever I may have done wrong, it in no way compares to what you did to me. I hate you for getting another woman pregnant instead of talking to me about the problems in our relationship. And you did not have to divorce me for her. You just did that for appearances. So I hope that every day you regret the choices you made, but as for me, I am grateful that you made it that easy to leave. I could have been trapped in that marriage for a lot longer than I was. I don't know if I'll ever feel for Teddy what I thought was love with you, but I truly believe that I'll never hate him the way I hate you."
She sighed with relief and smiled. "Whew. Okay, I feel better. Well, good luck with everything. I'll see myself out."
Draco sat there, stunned. He did not want to believe what she had just said to him. He knew she was hurt and angry at the time, but for her to still hate him years later, it seemed excessive. His mind could not even comprehend that he might still be in love with her, and she might feel nothing but hatred for him. He believed that she loved him, and those feeling do not just go away.
From that day on, Draco watched Pansy. When he saw her out with Theodore, he tried to remember if she had looked as happy with him when they were in public. She had always cared a lot about public image, too. Draco told himself that Pansy would not let it show if she was unhappy.
When Pansy had Theodore's baby, it had twisted like a knife in Draco's stomach. He really did love his son. Scorpius was probably the only good thing about his marriage at that point. He had always wanted Pansy to be the mother of his children though. He wanted to ask Pansy, "Don't you wish that I was the father? How could you not?" but she was not easy to approach. Remembering how she had put it off, sometimes Draco wondered if she had ever wanted to have his child at all. She was older now, of course, almost thirty.
He grew to hate her a little bit, too. He had been happy with Astoria, he really had no regrets, until Pansy went shoving her perfect life in his face. Now she was happy, and his marriage was strained. Now he was forced to think that maybe it had never been Pansy's fault at all. Maybe he hadn't tried hard enough.
For Pansy's part, she truly was happy. Once she learned what marriage could be, she stopped blaming Draco. She could see that their entire marriage had been a mistake. What they had was never real love; it was a teenage version of love that never evolved.
Draco's affair and the subsequent pregnancy was not the problem in their marriage. They had been unhappy long before that. Remembering how hard the divorce had been with those extreme circumstances, Pansy figured that if Draco had not cheated, she would probably still be married to him, as unhappy as ever. And she would never have experienced the kind of love she had with Teddy. With her relationship with Draco in hindsight, she found it easy to forgive and forget, and she found it easy to finally hope that Draco was as happy as she was.
Another Author's Note: I'm not trying to vilify Astoria. It's just that I've known Pansy longer. And, although this is very anti-D/P, they are my favorite couple, so it's hard not to dislike the woman who ruined that.