Notes: I wrote this fic for a Harry Potter fic exchange, hp_spring_fling on livejournal. The recipient was ceirdwenfc. It was my first exchange fic, so I worked really hard and I hope you all enjoy!
Pansy Parkinson walked into the Agency of Temporary Jobs for Professional Wizards and Witches with her head held high. She had never expected to work a day in her life. She was so sure that she'd marry Draco Malfoy right out of school and become an elegant trophy wife. But with the way the war ended, with most purebloods on the losing side, the families were desperately scrambling to save face. That meant that many of them had ordered their children not to marry other purebloods. That wasn't why her plans with Draco had fallen through unfortunately. Draco had just never taken a proper interest in her, no matter what she'd tried. He had taken her to the Yule Ball and even danced with her once, but the evening had been rather unspectacular. Draco had been more interested in making fun of Potter and Weasley than making rounds with her.
Not marrying Draco Malfoy would have been tolerable if her parents hadn't decided that she should get a job. She had thrown a spectacular tantrum and blew up her mother's favorite teapot upon hearing the news. It had taken a lot of money and favors to keep her father out of Azkaban. He'd had to pay thousands of galleons in court fees, fines, and reparations. Anything the Ministry could think of to charge him with, they had. Despite that, her father was a smart businessman and their various holdings were still profitable. No matter how Pansy argued that it was unnecessary for her to work, her father disagreed. He had decided it would be good for the family's image and good for her, personally, to go out and find a job. He wanted her to see how the new world worked. Despite her tantrum and eventual tears, for her father was always weak to her tears, he had been insistent that she do as he asked. To make sure she followed through, he'd cut off her funds until she finally relented.
Since she'd never expected to work, she had never even thought of what to do for a job. After dragging her heels for a week, she finally decided to visit a temp agency. She could try a variety of jobs and pick the one that suited her best. Pansy was smartly dressed in a lovely white blouse and a gray wool skirt coupled with matching dove gray robes. She accessorized her outfit with a simple pair of pearl earrings and a pearl necklace. Pearls were classic after all. Despite her careful attempt to look smart and professional, the frumpy secretary behind the sign in desk barely glanced up at her.
The woman shoved a stack of forms and a quill at her and waved her off to a chair to fill them out. Pansy frowned as she gathered up the forms and turned to look for a suitable chair in the waiting room. She froze as she recognized the only other person in the room. Sitting in one of the waiting room chairs was a Gryffindor. Seamus Finnegan grinned at her but she quickly looked away, ignoring him as she moved to settle in the farthest possible seat. Soon, she was lost in a long boring series of forms and questionnaires that seemed to take a small eternity. When she finally completed them, she returned them to the secretary and was asked to wait until called. She turned to reclaim her seat and found that Finnegan had moved into the one next to hers.
With an annoyed huff, she moved to take up a seat near his former location, not wanting anything to do with him. But Finnegan seemed to have no such desire as he rose and moved to sit next to her, not even having the courtesy to leave a seat between them! His knee brushed against hers as he sat beside her and smiled.
"Hey Parkinson." He paused as if considering. "Pansy," he amended. "Haven't seen you in a while," he said cheerfully, despite her death glare.
"That's because I like to avoid goody two shoes Gryffindors," she hissed.
He chuckled. "Yeah, Slytherins and Gryffindors are like cats and dogs. They just don't go together."
Pansy didn't bother to respond, she just clenched her purse and studied the ancient cover of an old Hearth and Herbology issue sitting on the coffee table in front of her.
"So," Seamus said, stretching out the word. "What kind of job are you looking for?"
"If I knew that, do you think I'd be here?" She snapped. She had just wanted to get this done and find a job to pass the time until she found a husband. She hadn't imagined that she'd run into anyone who knew her. At least it was just a Gryffindor. If her Slytherin friends had caught wind of her situation, she would have been laughed straight out of their social circle.
Seamus blinked. "No. I suppose not. I've no clue what to do either. My mam made me come. Said it would do me good to try a few things. "
"Why don't you run off and join the rest of the Gryffindors in the Aurors?"
"Nah. Not my thing. I figure if the world's not safe in Harry and Ron's hands, then there's not much I can do to help out."
Pansy snorted and Seamus wasn't stupid enough to pursue further discussions on that topic. He had just opened his mouth, probably to comment on something stupid like the weather, when a door opened and a meticulous looking man with a receding hairline and horn-rimmed glasses walked out and called Seamus' name.
"Well, that's me," he said, causing her to roll her eyes as he stood up. He grinned anyway as he headed over to the man and shook his hand.
It was another boring stretch while Pansy waited to be called. She almost wished that Finnegan was there to keep her company as she stared at the outdated employment posters on the wall. Almost.
Finally, Pansy was called in and suffered through an interview session in which most of the questions from the forms were rehashed and asked in twenty different ways in the most droning monotone. Pansy was considering hexing the man when he finally said that they only had one request for a job that day and offered it to her. She was so eager to leave the office, she didn't even ask what it was before agreeing.
"Excellent," he said. "I'll just get a portkey ready for you and call in Mr. Finnegan."
Pansy frowned. "What do we need him for?"
"There are two openings today, so you'll both be going along." He started to walk out of the office.
"Why a portkey?" Pansy asked, stopping him.
He turned back to look at her annoyed. "It's our policy. All temporary workers are delivered to their work locations via portkey so that you do not get lost along the way. That way, they cannot say that we didn't send you. Now if you'll excuse me, I must get Mr. Finnegan and the portkey."
Pansy nodded. "By all means."
Seamus was ushered back into the office and he and Pansy were encouraged to touch a broken cat statuette. After the usual whirl of portkey travel, at the end of which Seamus went sprawling onto the floor, they ended up in a dingy lobby. An older witch sat behind a desk, knitting. She looked up as they appeared and smiled.
"Hullo. Can I help you?"
"We're here from the temp agency," Seamus said, after picking himself up, looking only mildly embarrassed.
"Ah yes, come this way please." She let go of her knitting and it hovered and continued to knit without her. She stood up and led them into a very strange room. Dozens of fireplaces were situated on desks with people sitting on front of them sticking their head through.
"What is this place?" Seamus asked.
"This is a floo call center," the secretary explained. "And this is Mr. Bixby. He'll explain everything you need to know to get started."
They were handed off to a man with an expression so sour he looked like he'd just eaten a handful of ear wax Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. Bixby raked his beady eyes over them before handing them each a script and a scroll of names. "What we do here is very simple. You take this list and floo call the people on it and read them this script. You are attempting to woo the customer into signing on with our company. Now sit down and start wooing."
Seamus snickered, which earned him a glare form Bixby, but soon they were both seated in front of one of the strange desktop floos. Pansy was sick of the job within less than an hour. Her clothes were sooty. Her skin was drying out from the heat and ash of the floo. Her back hurt from leaning her head into the flames. The people she called were just as displeased to see her as she was to see them.
After some time, a crash next to her made her turn. Seamus was lying on the floor with a shoe beside him. The other workers were all looking at him and snickering. Seamus rubbed his head and glanced up, dazed.
Bixby thundered over. "What happened?" he demanded.
"Someone threw a shoe at me," Seamus said, sitting up slowly.
"You're supposed to woo the customers, not enrage them," Bixby snapped.
"I didn't do anything!" Seamus said. "I was just reading the script."
Bixby snorted. "See that you are. Now get back up there and keep calling. You have to finish the list if you want a lunch break."
Seamus stared at him. "But there's at least a hundred more people to go!"
"Then you'd better call faster." Bixby smirked. "Now get back to work! All of you!" The rest of the workers quickly stuck their heads into their respective floos to look busy.
Seamus gave the man a two finger salute as he walked away. He pulled himself off the floor and dusted himself off. He set the shoe on his desk and plopped back down in his seat. "This is awful," he muttered to Pansy. She could only nod in agreement.
As it turned out, neither of them received a lunch break. Pansy had ended up shoving a chocolate frog in her mouth in the ladies room, thankful that she tended to keep one in her robe pockets. She wasn't sure what Finnegan did, but they both looked like hell at the end of the day. Sooty and grumpy, they walked out side by side.
"I'm never doing this again," Seamus muttered. He'd been hit twice more with various objects and once with a hex.
She, on the other hand, had merely been treated to the sight of her former Transfigurations professor and former Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Mad-Eye Moody, up to a little hanky panky. She hadn't seen any flesh, thank Merlin, but watching Moody slap McGonagal's ass before they became aware of her head in the fireplace was more than enough for her. "Nor am I."
"I can't believe they didn't let us eat! That's slave labor!" Seamus cried.
Pansy nodded in agreement. She wasn't a house elf after all!
"Hey, would you like to get a bite to eat with me?" Seamus asked.
Pansy looked at him and frowned. Just because they were commiserating didn't mean she wanted to spend more time with him.
"I know a no when I see one. Ok, well, have a good night." He smiled and apparated away.
Pansy sighed and apparated home as well. She took a good long bath to wipe the soot off of her skin and relax after her awful day. She just hoped that whatever job she received tomorrow, it was better.
The next day was no better than the first. Somehow, she'd gotten paired up with Finnegan again as they got stuck cleaning cauldrons at a mass brewing facility. Cauldron cleaning was the worst job ever, Pansy decided. They weren't allowed to use magic. Pansy had protested loudly at that, but they told her that it was for her protection. Spells could cause reactions with the potion remnants. Only a non-reactive soap powder, water and scrub brushes were to be used. It was like eight solid hours of detention! The cauldrons were bigger than she was and she had to crawl down into them to clean them out. She broke all of her nails from having them constantly wet and banging against the cauldron. Her hair got all limp and greasy like her old Head of House. Despite her woes, she had fared easy compared to Finnegan. He had attempted a discrete cleaning spell and managed to create a spectacular reaction complete with sparks and smoke. He'd crawled out of the cauldron up burping purple bubbles while his skin had turned bright blue. He was just starting to turn back to a normal shade as they walked out of the factory.
"I thought I was past detention when I left Hogwarts!" Seamus complained. "I look like a bloody Smurf!"
"A what?" Pansy asked.
"Oh, you've never watched television before have you?"
"No," she said flatly. She didn't engage in Muggle activities.
"Well, a Smurf is a little blue creature. It's in a children's cartoon. I used to watch it when I was a kid." He grinned enthusiastically as he started to ramble about Smurfs, cartoons, and television.
She just nodded as though she understood. She didn't really care about Smurfs, but television did sound mildly interesting.
When he finally wound to a halt, he turned to her and asked "Do you want to get some dinner with me?"
"I'm not going to be seen in public with you Finnegan. For one thing, you're a Gryffindor. For another thing, you're blue."
"We can get take out and go back to my flat," he said, ignoring her reasons.
She gave him a horrified look.
He sighed. "Ok, point taken. See you later." He gave her a wave before apparating.
She shook her head at his gall and went home for another long soak.
Pansy continued to go through a string of horrible temp jobs, always with Seamus tagging along like a faithful crup. They cleaned floos, herded magical books, groomed kneazles, and sexed puffskeins. Each job was a new horror and Pansy went home threatening to quit every night, but every morning she found herself back at the temp agency. At least she wasn't alone walking into the horrors of the temporary jobs. She was able to laugh at Seamus' screw ups and he at hers and at the end of the day, they both complained about the job together. Before they parted, he'd invite her to dinner and she always turned him down. The cycle continued for about two weeks.
Things changed after they got stuck charming chocolate frogs. It wasn't hard labor. Machines made the chocolate and packaged it, but then they needed to be charmed before being packaged. Trying to charm the frogs through the package didn't work as the packages were specially made to keep the frogs fresh and ready to jump as soon as they were opened. While she understood why it needed to be that way, she hated it. There was a ten second delay between setting the charm and having the frog pop to "life." If they didn't time the charms correctly, the frogs started hopping around before the machine could slide them into their packages. To say that she and Seamus had trouble with their timing was an understatement. By the end of the day, she was covered in chocolate from being trampled over by the crazed chocolate amphibians.
Equally gooey, Seamus trudged out of the factory beside her. At some point, they'd both given up on casting constant cleaning charms and just let the chocolate build up. "I never thought I'd live to hate chocolate," he said mournfully as a chocolate frog leg twitched on his head.
"There goes one of the joys of life," Pansy agreed, pausing to pick the frog leg off of his head. It was just too disturbing to see it there, kicking and twitching. She tossed it away with disgust.
"Thanks," he said.
"I need a shower." He said, running his fingers through his chocolate coated hair. He glanced at her. "See you tomorrow." He smiled before he apparated.
Pansy frowned. He hadn't asked her out to eat. Obviously, she was going to say no, but the fact that he hadn't asked, annoyed her. Even a long bath that night didn't really soothe her and despite the long day, she had trouble sleeping. As a result, she overslept in the morning and was late getting to the agency. She was handed an assignment and a portkey as usual. She frowned and looked around.
"Where's Finnegan?" She asked the receptionist.
The woman looked up. "He received a different job today. You aren't always sent off in pairs after all."
"Of course," Pansy said, trying to look unaffected as she activated her portkey. She was taken off to a day of sitting behind a desk and smiling as she directed people to the toilets at the Muggle Artifacts Museum of London. She should have been happy. It was the easiest job she'd received yet, though terribly boring. Instead, she was grumpy and kept wondering where Finnegan was and what he was doing. She chastised herself for thinking of the Gryffindor. Surely, she hadn't grown attached to him. That was just impossible! She didn't miss the sight of his sandy hair and easy smile or the sound of his Irish accent.
The next day was the same. Seamus had already left by the time she'd arrived and she was shuffled off to the same boring job she'd worked the day before. After three days of being bored to tears by the job and driving herself mad wondering what Finnegan was doing, she decided to do something about it. After she found out that she'd be spending her day at the museum yet again, she stopped the secretary from turning away from her.
"I'd like to know where Finnegan is," she said.
The woman shook her head. "I'm not allowed to discuss the jobs of the others."
Pansy frowned. "I don't care what job he's doing, I just want to know where he is."
"I'm sorry Miss Parkinson, but I cannot disclose that information."
Pansy leaned in. "Not that it's any of your business, but Seamus and I...we've recently embarked on a little relationship," she lied. "I'd like to be able to bring him lunch today, but he didn't tell me where he was going. I would appreciate it if you could help me out here."
The woman's expression softened. "Ah," she said, clearly touched by the young love. "Well, I suppose." She scribbled something down quickly and passed it along to Pansy. "I hope you enjoy your lunch then."
Pansy nodded as she took the scrap and headed off to her own job for the day. Unfortunately, instead of stepping into a quiet museum, she seemed to step into a zoo. There was a swarm of people around the museum. The place was usually so quiet and boring that it was quite a shock. She had to fight her way to the Manager's office to pick up the name badge they insisted she wear.
The manager was pacing his office when she arrived. "Miss Parkinson! I was afraid you wouldn't come."
"What's going on?" Pansy asked.
"We're opening a new exhibit in the museum today. An interactive tutorial on how to shop in the Muggle world, trying to foster better understanding between Wizards and Muggles. The Minister himself will be here to cut the ribbon," the man said with pride, though he was obviously nervous.
"I see," Pansy said. She hadn't realized that she'd be at this particular job for more than a day or two, so she hadn't bothered to check its schedule of events.
"Yes yes. We'll have a stack of pamphlets and maps for you to hand out at the information desk. Things will be quite busy today." He handed Pansy her name badge.
"Quite," Pansy echoed sourly as she charmed the badge to stick to her dress.
"Just remember to smile and everything will be fine," he assured her.
"Of course." She nodded and left to fight the crowd to get to her little desk. If she sat in her chair, she couldn't see over the mound of maps and pamphlets on the desk in front of her, which was just fine by her. She'd spotted a few of her fellow Slytherins in the crowd and she was perfectly happy to cast a charm to keep them from recognizing her and hide behind the papers. Hiding did nothing for the noise level in the lobby. The tall ceilings and wide open spaces made the museum echo on a quiet day. Filled with people, there was a constant roar of conversation which grew to a crescendo when the Minister of Magic arrived. She had a dreadful headache from all the noise. Thankfully, most of the crowd moved on to another part of the museum where the exhibit was opening.
Pansy had about fifteen minutes of quiet before someone returned to the hall with a screaming child. She winced as they drew closer and a woman stopped beside her desk with a small boy in tow. Pansy tried to paste a smile onto her face, but she was sure it looked like a grimace instead. The cries and whimpers of the child did nothing for her headache. she wished she'd thought to pack a headache potion into her purse.
"The restrooms are over there," she said, gesturing across the room.
The woman frowned. "I don't need the loo. I need you to watch him," she said, thrusting the small child forward.
Pansy stare at her, flabbergasted. "Excuse me?"
The woman huffed. "I'm the Minister's niece. I don't want to miss the ceremony because he's screaming, so I need you to watch him for now."
"I'm not a babysitter," Pansy said.
The woman snorted. "You're not doing anything else," she pointed out. "So just watch him." She dropped the child's hand and started walking away.
Pansy stood up. "He's crying!" She said, feeling panicky at the prospect of being left with a squalling child. She hadn't been around small children since she was one herself. She didn't like children! Especially not the crying variety.
"Give him some candy," the woman called before she disappeared.
Both Pansy and the child were left staring at each other with wide eyes before the boy let loose another watery wail. Pansy practically dove for her purse where she was sure she had at least one chocolate frog drifting around at the bottom. She couldn't eat them anymore after her day at the factory, but she'd never removed the chocolate from her purse either. She made an excited noise as she grabbed the candy and pulled it out. "Look," she said, holding it up. She realized that she had no idea what the boy's name was, but pushed on anyway. "It's a chocolate frog. Would you like the chocolate frog?"
The boy stopped wailing and looked at her, sniffling and whimpering softly. He wiped his nose with his hand and nodded.
Pansy handed him the package and winced when his grubby little hand touched hers. The boy took the candy and clutched it. He turned it over in his hands. Pansy waited. The boy looked up at her.
She frowned. "What's the matter? I thought you wanted it."
The boy looked shy and held the candy out to her.
It took Pansy a moment to realize that the boy wasn't old enough to open the candy himself. "Oh." She accepted the candy, wrinkling her nose at the now sticky package. She opened the package and caught the frog before it hopped off. Fighting down a wave of nausea at the smell of the chocolate, she broke off one of the frog's limbs, causing it to freeze in her hand. She handed the boy the leg and he immediately stuffed it into his mouth and held his hand out for another.
A few minutes later, the boy was a gooey chocolaty mess and Pansy was out of candy. The tears seemed to be over and Pansy ventured a question. "What's your name?" She asked softly. Softly seemed to be the way one dealt with children.
"Steven," the boy said shyly.
"How old are you Steven?"
He held up four chocolate stained fingers.
"Four?" She said, watching as he grinned and nodded. Pansy thought he looked rather small for four, but it was probably best that he wasn't younger. He could talk at least. "My name is Pansy."
The boy gave her a messy chocolaty smile and reached forward to take her hand. She recoiled immediately. The boy frowned in confusion and screwed up his face.
"Oh no, don't cry," she gasped.
He gave a hiccup and looked at her. She smiled and he moved forward, touching her dress with his chocolaty hands. She cried out in horror at the brown hand print on her lovely gray dress. The boy jumped and let out a cry. He turned and sped into one of the museum's exhibition halls.
"Oh bugger," Pansy muttered. She quickly started after him, her red pumps clicking on the polished floors. "Steven," she called. "Don't be scared. Please come back!" She entered a hall full of Muggle children's toys. Various photographs showed children playing with the toys and all the movement was distracting. "Steven," she called.
What came next happened so fast that she barely had time to think. Steven came running up to her, eyes wide with terror as a pack of toys chased after him. She had just enough time to pick up the boy and kick off her heels in an attempt to run before the wave of toys overtook them and she blacked out.
She came awake with the familiar shock that accompanied an ennervate spell. Looking up groggily, she saw that she was surrounded by people. It took a moment, but she quickly remembered what happened and looked around for the child. She found him held securely in the arms of the Minister of Magic. Steven smiled at her and waved, looking perfectly fine.
"Miss Parkinson. Are you all right?" The Museum manager was kneeling beside her. He gently helped her to sit up.
Pansy took stock of herself. Her head was throbbing. Her toes were cold because her feet were bare and there was a hole in her dress the size of a child's hand print where the chocolate stain had been. She stared at the hole in confusion.
Minister Shacklebolt coughed lightly, gaining her attention. "It appears that Steven here had a burst of wild magic that brought the toys to life. They then went after the chocolate that you were both wearing. We found you buried under a pile of frenzied toys that were tearing each other apart to get to you."
Pansy shuddered. She moved to stand and paused, looking around. "Where are my shoes?"
"I'm afraid we haven't been able to find them. They, also, may have been eaten."
"But I loved those shoes," she said. Those little red pumps were so comfortable and went with everything.
"I'm terribly sorry. My niece will be happy to compensate you for the damages," the Minister said, giving his niece a stern look.
The woman startled and looked as though she was going to protest.
"I am a firm believer of accountability and that goes double for my family," the Minister said.
His niece blushed and looked down at her feet. "Of course," she murmured.
"In the meantime," the Minister said, stepping forward. "Please, let me help you up Miss Parkinson." He shifted Steven to one arm and held his free hand out to Pansy.
Surprised, Pansy held out her hand and let the Minister's larger hand fold around hers gently as he helped her to her feet.
"I am truly grateful for you saving my nephew," he said, smiling. "What do you say Steven?" Steven looked suddenly shy again as he pressed his face into the Minister's shoulder. The Minister chuckled. "Come on love, you can do it."
"Thank you," Steven murmured softly, turning his head just enough to meet her eyes before he hid his face again.
"You're welcome," Pansy said, feeling a bit overwhelmed.
"Instead of standing around and staring, why doesn't someone get Miss Parkinson a pair of shoes and a cup of tea?"
"Of course!" the museum manager scuttled off to do just that.
Pansy spent the rest of her day being coddled by the other museum employees with the manager begging her to stay on full time. Reporters kept coming up to her for interviews and photos. Usually, she would have been more than happy to pose and garner the attention. She had saved the grand nephew of the Minister of Magic, but she was still working such a menial job. She almost hexed the dreadful Skeeter woman from the Prophet. By the end of the day, she just needed to let off some steam and complain to someone!
She pulled the location of Seamus' latest job out of her purse and apparated over as soon as she was released from the museum. She waited for twenty minutes before wondering if she'd missed him. She was considering leaving when a door opened spilling out Seamus Finnegan. Seamus was staring down at his feet as he almost dragged himself out of the building. He didn't even notice her and she had time to take in how tired he looked under a thick layer of soot.
Despite his horrid appearance, she felt a little happier just seeing him for the first time in days. Her palms were annoyingly sweaty and her heart was beating a bit faster than usual. "You look like a man who could use a pint," Pansy said as casually as she could.
Seamus nearly jumped out of his skin as he looked up at her, eyes wide. "Pansy?"
She inclined her head. "Very astute Finnegan."
His mouth flopped open before he stuttered out, "Wha-what are you doing here?"
She gave an elegant shrug. "I need someone to listen to me rant. You've been elected. I thought we could do so over dinner."
Seamus blinked. "What?"
Pansy sighed in annoyance. "You're taking me out to dinner Finnegan."
"Oh. Oh! Dinner! Right. Where shall we go then?" A bewildered grin bloomed on his face.
"I doubt any place respectable will let you in looking like that." She looked him up and down, taking in his sooty coveralls. "Let's go to the Leaky Cauldron."
Seamus nodded eagerly.
"Good. I'll meet you there. And at least try to clean yourself up a bit before you get there," she said before apparating away.
Seamus was quick to join her, looking much cleaner, and they managed to secure a booth in the corner of the room. Pansy decided to indulge in some fish and chips and a Slytherin Sour to drink. Seamus went for the "whale" portion of fish and chips and a pint.
"What was your job today?" Pansy asked as their drinks arrived.
"Floo powder quality tester," he said flatly. "You know, the bad stuff drops you down in a floo on your head or shoots you out after sending you to the wrong place. You have to carry an emergency portkey just in case it sends you half way around the world. One of the regular blokes was sent to New Zealand once. He pretended that he lost his portkey and spent the weekend there."
"Clever," she said. "I would have taken a whole week though."
Seamus chuckled and nodded. "What was your job today?"
"I've been working the information desk at the Muggle Artifacts Museum of London for the past few days. It wasn't bad at first, just boring, but today was awful."
"What happened?" He asked curiously.
She took a sip of her Slytherin Sour as she described her day with the exhibit opening and the Minister's bloody irresponsible niece. She told him about Steven and the chocolate frog and showed him the patch she'd transfigured onto her dress to cover up the hand print. Seamus made all of the appropriate responses, but unlike her former Slytherin housemates, she knew that Seamus was interested and engaged. Where Draco might have ignored her words, smiling and nodding on cue, Seamus would lean forward and grin before interjecting a relevant question. She found it both rude and refreshing. At least he was listening to her. He was laughing at her misfortune, but he was listening. And his laugh really wasn't that bad. It was nice and seemed to travel down her spine in a peculiar way.
Their food arrived and conversation petered off as they ate. A loud high pitched laugh shattered the silence between them and they both looked up. Oliver Wood stepped into the pub with a tittering Lavender Brown on his arm. Pansy winced at the shrill sounds she produced.
"Do you remember when you dated her?" She asked, her small nose wrinkling in distaste. It had only been a week or so that she'd seen the Irish boy escorting the tittering twit around on his arm. Not that she watched the Gryffindors too closely. She just liked to keep herself up on all the latest gossip. Rumor had it that Lavender just dated Seamus in an effort to date all of her year mates. Of course, there were quite a few hold outs, most notably Potter. She still had her suspicions that even Draco had slept with her at least once, despite his protestations.
"She wasn't that bad," Seamus argued. "She's a really nice girl."
Pansy rolled her eyes. "You're just saying that because she put out. Of course, she was dating half of the school at the same time as you. I suppose I can't hold it against you seeing as she was the school's common broom. Everybody got to ride." She smirked. Lavender's plans to sleep with all of her year mates might have been bust, but she did get around. There were even a few rumors about some threesomes and same sex encounters and she was sure those were based in truth.
"Hey! She was not dating half the school at the same time as me!"
Pansy lifted an eyebrow skeptically, her lips tilted into a frown.
Seamus sighed and looked away. "Only a third of it," he mumbled.
Pansy laughed. "At least you know when to admit that you're wrong Finnegan."
"Happens quite a lot actually. I know when to eat my humble pie," he admitted.
Pansy opened her mouth to reply, but was interrupted by another loud giggle from Lavender, all the way across the room. Pansy rolled her eyes. "I can't believe that she's wearing that in public. Is she taking fashion tips from that hack Trelawney or something?" She wrinkled her nose. "It's like a cross between a belly dancer's outfit and a trash sack with bits of trash still stuck to it."
Seamus snorted loudly.
Pansy grinned. "You know it's true."
"Yeah. It does look like she's got a chocolate frog wrapper stuck to her arse." He said, staring across the room. He squinted and tilted his head. "Maybe a crisp bag too. Prawn flavored I think."
"Trust a man to point that out," she said, shaking her head.
He shrugged. "It's what I'm good at. But they don't have jobs for identifying the flavor of crisps by the color of the bag, so I have to figure out something else."
"But you, I don't know why you're doing this stuff. I mean, I know you said your parents wanted you to work, but I don't know why you're doing temp work. You always look great!" he said, bringing a blush to her cheeks, despite her best efforts to fight it down. Luckily, he didn't seem to notice and continued. "I don't know why you're not a personal shopper or a fashion consultant or something."
She blinked. "A what?"
"Personal shopper or a fashion consultant," he repeated.
"What is a personal shopper?"
He grinned. "Oh. It's a person that rich Muggles hire to buy them nice fashionable clothes. Sort of the same thing as a fashion consultant, but they just tell you what sort of things would look good on you. Shoppers buy it for you. I guess there's no one like that in the Wizarding World though. That's a shame. I think you'd be brilliant at it."
She stared at him until he started to shift uncomfortably in his seat. "Finnegan," she finally said as her thoughts took off in a flurry. "You are a genius!" She reached across the table, grabbing his face and tugging him towards her as she planted a kiss on his lips.
Seamus was stunned. He didn't even move when the cold lager from his spilled pint dripped into his lap. He just stood there gaping even after she ended the kiss.
"Thank you for dinner. I'll be in touch," she said as she dashed for the door, leaving Seamus and half the bar staring after her.
Six months later, Pansy Parkinson, Personal Shopper and Fashion Consultant, was doing well for herself. She'd gotten off to a rocky start, since most Wizards and Witches hadn't heard of a personal shopper and most of them were horrible dressers in general. That was starting to change though. Pansy went from weeks with no clients to having a full appointment book every day. People were clamoring to get onto her client list. Of course, it hadn't happened without help. Seamus has somehow dragged Harry Potter in to see her and business exploded. Unlike Potter himself, she wasn't above cashing in on his fame. Not that it was about the money. She had plenty of that already. It was just good to do something that she already enjoyed for a living. No more horrific temporary jobs.
Her personal assistant walked in with the day's agenda and she smiled. "Come here, your tie is a mess."
Seamus scrunched up his nose. "You know I hate ties. It's like a colorful little noose." Despite his protest, he dutifully walked over to her.
Pansy rolled her eyes and stood up. She was well aware of Seamus' opinion on ties as he made sure to tell her every time she made him wear one. "Stop complaining," she said as she untied it and retied it. "You look hot." She used the tie to tug him down and press a kiss to his lips.
His annoyed expression softened into something more vulnerable. "Do you think so?"
"I know so," she assured him. "I dressed you after all didn't I?" She released his tie and smoothed it down on his chest.
He grinned. "You did."
"Yes, well, it wouldn't do to have a slovenly assistant. And it's nice to have a live example of my work standing around ready to show off the flattering tailoring of his trousers and the way it shows off his bum." She settled down into her chair.
"What? It's a nice bum." She winked at him. "Now what's on the agenda for today?"