Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Smoke and Mirrors
By Silver Sailor Ganymede
Pansy Parkinson knew that Scorpius Malfoy was not his father, but sometimes when she was with him it really was hard to tell the difference. Scorpius had the same angelic grace that his father possessed at that age, but unlike his father he was almost at peace with himself and didn't need to use his family's wealth to make others do things for him. In this respect he was more like Lucius than Draco, able to rely on his charisma to get him anything. Pansy had thought that Draco had that ability, too, but the years had taught her otherwise.
Part of her mind still thought of Draco how she saw him when she was eleven, twelve, thirteen, all the way up to her eighteenth birthday and the end of the war. The end of the war had been far more tragic for Pansy than the war itself, as that was when she had lost Draco for good, when she had realised that her angel was just a stupid little boy who could never have given her what she deserved.
She had taken over the Shrieking Skull a few years after the war had ended. It was a seedy little establishment right near the end of Knockturn Alley, which was frequented by the dregs of wizarding society (vampires and hags and goblins and such) and was certainly not the place for a pureblood lady such as herself, but it had proved to be exactly what she needed. She could be whatever she wanted and no one could say a thing. She was running a Knockturn Alley bar; Theodore Nottmarried to that horrible half-blood Tracey Davis; Blaise Zabini poncing round in the other world, in a muggle theatre of all places. The war had changed them all. How could anyone have ever expected it to be otherwise?
Pansy never regretted taking over the Shrieking Skull though, not even when her father had disowned her and the society to which she had once belonged had shunned her entirely. It was exactly what she needed. An escape. Freedom. Why should she care that her freedom had come at the price of giving up everything she had ever known? She had never felt lost; she had never had time for that. She had simply slipped into the shadows, mingling in with the vampires and the prostitutes and the other creatures of the night. She had escaped, losing everything and gaining everything at the same time.
The war had changed them all. Even her ambition, the defining Slytherin characteristic, had died because of it. All she wanted was peace, freedom – and that's what she ended up with. Pansy didn't care about the price she'd had to pay. It had been worth it. There was never any question that it wouldn't be. If she hadn't left then she would have gone mad.
And then the past had reared its ugly head once more, right in the middle of her peaceful, wonderful, hideous little hideaway, and it what had found her was the most painful thing she could have imagined.
When Pansy first saw him, she thought that her heart was about to stop completely. She was seeing a spectre, a ghost: the angel that was the young Draco Malfoy. An angel whom she'd thought she had lost forever. He had been the one thing she hadn't wanted to lose, and they'd clung onto each other all throughout the war, but then he had disappeared, casting her asideasthough she meant nothing… yet here he was again, stumbling through the door to her pub, a lit cigarette clasped in one hand, the other thrown over the shoulder of a green eyed, black haired boy who looked for all the world like a young Harry Potter, except without the glasses. Pansy didn't know what was the most wrong with the picture in front of her – the fact that Draco had somehow stumbled into her pub, or the fact that he and Potter of all people had just happened to show up together, clinging onto each other as though they were the best of friends.
The young Potter look-alike was obviously the more drunk of the two. He kept tripping over the edge of his robes, then stepped sideways into a scowling, red-headed vampire, who bared her teeth at him in a menacing manner that would have had any sane man terrified. Potter was evidently sane despite his intoxication, as he swore loudly upon catching sight of the vampire, jumping away from her quickly. She walked off and sat in a corner as Draco, that horrible, unexpected ghost, started to laugh in a way that she'd never heard before.
"I thought that was my mum for a second," Potter spat out. "Nearly gave me a bloody heart attack."
"Of course it's not your mum, Asp," Draco snickered. "What would she be doing in a place like this?"
"Shut it, Scorpius," the Potter look-alike retorted. Pansy surmised that Asp was obviously a nickname – no sensible pureblood would name a child Asp, especially not if this boy really was related to the Potters. "Gimme another drag of that, will you? You owe me a load of fags anyway." He reached to yank the cigarette out of his friend's fingers, only for his hand to be roughly swatted away.
"Salazar's blood am I giving you any. You don't even smoke."
"I do when I'm drunk," Asp whined. "Please, Scorpius. Please."
That was when it actually hit Pansy that this wasn't Draco Malfoy standing in front of her, looking for all the world like he hadn't aged a day in twenty years. Well, that made far more sense, didn't it? She cursed herself for ever having been so stupid as to think otherwise. No de-aging potions were that good, no matter how often she wished they were.
"Two firewhiskys, please."
Asp Potter was leaning on the bar in front of her. He had evidently managed to procure a cigarette from somewhere, as one was dangling loosely from his right hand and dropping ash all over the floor. She spelled the ashes away quickly and passed the drinks to the boy without commenting. It was pretty obvious that both he and the Draco look-alike were probably barely of age (their loudness suggested that they had probably just turned seventeen and were revelling in the freedom it gave him) but she didn't bother to check. This was Knockturn Alley; no one cared if you accidentally served a couple of possibly underage drinkers. There were far worse things in this place than firewhisky.
Asp and not-Draco (Scorpius, was that what she'd heard him called earlier? She thought so) had settled themselves down at the table nearest the bar. Scorpius was playing with an odd, muggle contraption that she recognised as a cigarette lighter, holding each finger in turn in the flame for a moment as he thought. Asp had chucked his drink down his throat immediately, coughing slightly and making a face as he swallowed before grinning broadly. Scorpius rolled his eyes and put the lighter into the folds of his robes.
"Why do you drink the stuff if you don't like it?" he sighed. "Trying to impress the barmaid?"
"Well," Asp replied with a grin, "she is rather attractive."
Pansy realised that they were talking about her and wondered why they hadn't had the common sense to at least cast muffliato or something similar. Then again common sense and drunken teenage boys had never been known to go in the same sentence. She decided that she might as well eavesdrop; there was nothing else going on that evening. It was, after all, a Thursday.
"Thought you usually went for blondes, Potter," Scorpius said, laughing and taking a slow sip of his drink rather than downing it like his friend had just done. He had just confirmed Pansy's suspicion that the dark-haired boy was indeed a Potter. Well, that was unsurprising; how else could he possibly have resembled Harry Potter so much without the two being related? She felt rather stupid for even having considered that now she really thought about it, as their world was far too small for two individuals to so closely resemble each other without actually being related.
"Oh you know I do, Malfoy," Asp replied with a laugh. "You, on the other hand…"
Pansy felt her heart miss a beat. So this pretty, blond boy with those severe yet angelic features was indeed a Malfoy. His resemblance to Draco was no mere coincidence, of course it wasn't, but how were the two related? She had thought that his father was an only child, and his only cousin on his mother's side, that strange offspring of a Metamorphmagus and a werewolf… well, it certainly wasn't him. She had seen Teddy Lupin enough times and he never wore a face that madehim remotely resemblehisreal family; he wouldn't have done it on principle. Besides, Scorpius was a Malfoy name; the name of Draco's great-great grandfather, if she remembered her family trees correctly. They'd had to memorise all the family trees of the great pureblood houses as children – the Malfoys, the Notts, the Yaxleys, the Greengrassesandso on and so forth in order to see how interrelated they were and whom they were eligible to marry. So who was this strange young cousin of Draco's? For he had to be a cousin; he couldn't be Draco's brother because she would have heard about it if Narcissa Malfoy had ever had another son.
Scorpius had finished his drink as well by then. He grinned at Asp and said, "My round or yours?"
"I'll pay, you go and get them."
Scorpius snatched the money off Asp, walking over to Pansy with a steadiness that surprised her – well, it was surprising considering the fact that the Potter boy was already drunk to the point of having fallen sideways off his chair as soon as Scorpius got up, earning a lot of disapproving looks from other customers. The vampires especially seemed to have taken rather a dislike to the boy, which from past experience she knew didn't bode well. When a vampire took an immediate dislike to someone, they were almost certainly never going to be seen again.
Surprisingly Scorpius Malfoy seemed to have realised this as well. He went ever so slightly pink from embarrassment as his friend hauled himself back into his seat then put his head on the table, half-asleep.
"Sorry about my friend. He's a moron sometimes."
It was quite shocking. Now that she really, really listened, the boy even sounded exactly like a Malfoy; he had that same, sharp, drawling tone of voice. Except, of course, for the fact that she didn't think Draco had ever apologised for anything in his life; it just wasn't in his nature. Apologising for the mistakes he had made (and Merlin's beard how many of those there had been!) had never been in his nature. This cousin of his at least had some manners, which was something.
"Don't worry about it," she replied. "What'll it be?"
"Another shot of firewhisky and a gin and tonic," he replied. She gave them to him and he shot her such a dazzling grin that it was enough to make her cheeks flush scarlet. She ducked behind her hair quickly, hoping he hadn't noticed. This boy was young, probably hardly seventeen. Asp Potter's comments about her beauty were totally irrelevant, even though she had to admit to herself that he was right.
"You might want to warn your friend that he's managed to annoy the vampires," she said, the words tumbling out of her mouth a lout more quickly than she had anticipated.
Scorpius shrugged. "Asp always manages to annoy someone when we go out. The Gryffindor blood in his veins might not have won out, but it's still prominent enough to make him an idiot most of the time. But thanks – I'll make sure he doesn't get into a fight while we're here. Promise."
He walked back over to Asp, who had managed to get into an upright position and stay there, then put the drinks down on the table. Asp started to laugh upon seeing what Scorpius had got.
"You bloody nancy, Scorpius. Gin? Really? What are you, your grandfather?" Asp shrieked as Scorpius set the drinks down in front of them. Scorpius rolled his eyes. The vampires turned around and shot them shot them some of the filthiest looks Pansy had seen in a long time. Hopefully there wouldn't be trouble: Scorpius had promised there wouldn't be, and for some reason she was inclined to believe him. Maybe it was that dazzling smile of his… or maybe getting that glimpse into the past had unsettled her more than she wanted to admit.
The next time Pansy Parkinson say Scorpius Malfoy was on a Wednesday afternoon, about two weeks after he had first come into the Shrieking Skull. It was a hideously wet day, the sort that only British summertime is ever able to produce. Because of that the pub was completely empty, as people had preferred to shelter at home than risk going out in the torrential downpour. That was why Pansy had been surprised when a customer had entered, and even more surprised upon realising that said customer was none other than Scorpius Malfoy.
His hair was soaking wet, tangling round his shoulders and giving him the look of a drowned corpse – except for the fact that a corpse could never be so attractive or so alive. His skin and hair looked like they had been carved from marble, but there was an air of life about him that Pansy had only ever seen surrounding Draco before. Well, Draco and Blaise Zabini, but Blaise didn't count. He had never counted.
Scorpius made his way over to the bar and sat down opposite her. She hadn't realised it last time, but his hair was much longer than Draco's had ever been, worn well past his shoulders in the old pureblood fashion. His friend's had been too, now that she thought about it; she supposed she hadn't been paying as much attention to them as she thought she had when she saw them the last time. Raindrops trickled off the ends of his hair, small puddles forming on the bar. Pansy wondered whether the boy had ever heard of drying charms, but he cast the spell almost as soon as the thought had entered her mind. Unlike Draco's, his hair curled slightly now that it had been dried off.
He ordered a glass of straight gin, yanking another muggle cigarette lighter from his pocket and playing with it as he did so. Normally Pansy would have been more than a little offended by the fact that she was being effectively ignored by a customer, but the only thought in her mind at that moment was the fact that he was drinking straight gin. The only person she had ever known to drink straight gin was Daphne, and she always used to drink it when she was annoyed. Only ever when she was annoyed because when she was in a good mood it made her cough and splutter and went up her nose when she laughed, which wasn't a pleasant thing at all. At least she always used to; Pansy hadn't seen Daphne in a very long time.
She suddenly wanted to open her mouth and ask Scorpius Malfoy if he knew Daphne Greengrass, and if he did, how was she? Was she married now or had she remained a perpetual spinster like she had been threatening to? Did she still drink dry white wine when in a good mood and glasses full of gin when in a bad one? Suddenly she wanted to find out all about the society that she had left behind at the end of the last war and never returned to, wanted to know all about the life she had run away from. Daphne had tried to stop her, tried to tell her that even though Draco was a bastard, the rest of them would still be there for her. But then Daphne had been forced to take over the running of her parents' estate, Blaise had disappeared, Theodore and Gregory had both made bloodtraitors of themselves by marrying Tracey and Millicent respectively. All her old friends were gone, either literally or because they were too caught up in their own world to care any more, too caught up in that hideous, garish world that Pansy had turned her back on when Draco had left her… and now this beautiful young man had appeared from nowhere to remind her of the ghosts she'd thought she'd long banished.
"You look sad," he said. He had stopped playing with that stupid muggle contraption now. It lay on the table in front of her, alien and ugly. She noticed that his nails were bitten down to the quick, the skin around them torn to shreds. It was ugly. Draco would never have let his hands get like that.
But yes, she was sad. Of course she was sad. She was being forced to remember how her life had been in the past and it was entirely his fault, how could she not be sad? Then again, she told herself, how could he possibly know that? He probably wasn't even twenty yet; he was bound to have absolutely no idea of how the world had been before the war. In fact people of his generation probably couldn't even imagine what war was like. For that she envied him.
"Never you mind how I'm feeling," she snapped, slightly more curtly than she'd intended. He blushed and took a swig of his gin, not even cringing when it obviously burnt the back of his throat. "You can't be feeling too well yourself, seeing as you've been wandering round in the rain."
"I came to see you."
Well that certainly hadn't been what Pansy was expecting. She glared at Scorpius. He blushed and began to chew at his bottom lip. It was an innocent enough gesture, but it reminded her so much of Draco that she felt a sudden searing pain in her chest; that was what he had done every time he was nervous, what he had done almost constantly during their sixth and seventh years at Hogwarts, back when they were even younger than this boy was now. Pansy couldn't believe – no, she wouldn't believe that so much time had passed. She wouldn't.
Scorpius gave up on waiting for an answer from Pansy, instead asking, "Would you think me awfully impertinent if I were to ask your name?" It was a tone of voice Pansy had heard often in her youth, the correct manner in which to address a pureblood lady of good standing. No one had addressed her with such formality in years, but now she realised how much she had missed that respect. Slytherin ambition couldn't be killed completely; it just hid, never died.
"It's Pansy," she replied, deciding that if the boy had been stupid enough to come to the Shrieking Skull in this weather just to see her, she could at least do the courtesy of giving him her name. "Pansy Parkinson."
Instead of the badly concealed shock Pansy had been expecting to see on Scorpius' face when he heard her name (Salazar only knew what society had said about her, the one who had suggested handing Potter over to the Dark Lord so no more people died, the one who they all said had betrayed them when they decided that everyone had, of course, backed Potter and his friends all along, that they had all despised the Dark Lord and his work. They knew nothing at all of her circumstances at the time; they might have understood her actions if they had) Scorpius smiled and said, "It's a pleasure to properly make your acquaintance." Then there it was, the horrified expression she had been anticipating. "You must think me terribly rude. I only just realised that I've forgotten to introduce myself. My manners are simply appalling," he muttered at his hands, looking ever so annoyed with himself and reminding Pansy once again of Draco. "Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy. Now would you let me buy you a drink?"
This boy was full of surprises, wasn't he? Pansy laughed and shook her head.
"I'm working," she protested.
"I hope you'll excuse me for saying so, Pansy, but look at how hideous the weather is today. I doubt you'll be seeing another customer until the rain stops. So how about it?"
He flashed her that dazzling smile of his again. Against her better judgement, she crossed to the other side of the bar and joined him.
It was raining again, that annoying, almost warm rain that invariably accompanied the arrival of summer in England. Almost warm but not quite – she didn't know how long it had been since they had had properly warm weather in the summer. Two years? Maybe even three, she didn't know. The most they'd had in recent years was a handful of hot days some time towards the tail end of June, and even that seemed to have bypassed them this year. Now it was the start of August and the rain was even worse than usual. Pansy hated it; it was horrible and raining and it wasn't even warm enough for a thunderstorm. That at least would have been entertaining, but the British weather had to be just as boring as the people, what with the fake politeness of upper-class pureblood society having apparently infiltrated every part of life and making it impossible to have a decent conversation anywhere.
Not, of course, that her clientele in the Shrieking Skull were dull. Oh no, of course not: they were anything but dull. They were vampires and drug dealers, prostitutes and werewolves, the dregs of wizarding society who were always, always up to something. The last Dark Lord may have been long gone, but it wasn't as though all was well in the wizarding world. That would have been contrary to human nature, those Gryffindor optimists and their stupidity be damned.
No matter that her pub seemed to be the last to be the last place in wizarding Britain that was frequented by people who actually spoke their minds, Pansy couldn't spend all of her time there. It was her sanctuary, her escape, and yet sometimes she had to get away from it. At times like this she would wander up and down Knockturn Alley and just let her thoughts run away on their own. Sometimes it was nice not to have to think about what she was thinking. Sometimes it was nice to be outside, even when the horrible, almost-warm English rain was falling from the sky and dripping down the back of her robes.
Pansy was never bothered on these walks. It suited her just fine; she wanted to peace sometimes, wanted to be away from people entirely even though she was surrounded by them. She could almost trick herself into thinking she was back at Hogwarts, wandering round the streets of Hogsmeade on a warm June evening just after the exams. That was what she and Draco had done after the OWLs – wandered aimlessly round Hogsmeade before drinking far too much by way of a celebration. She had never had a worse hangover in her life but she didn't regret it at all.
Pansy liked to be left alone with her memories at times like this… only one day she wasn't, and of course it had to be him who disturbed her. Scorpius Malfoy had just wandered out of a shabby little bookshop near Borgin and Burke's when he caught sight of Pansy and made his way towards her. She didn't know why he was bothering; she had only ever spoken to the boy on two occasions, once when he had come into the Shrieking Skull with Albus Potter, once when he came in alone and drank straight gin and they talked about nothing for hours on end. And now, for some reason she couldn't quite fathom, he was talking to her again.
"Why are you out in the rain?" he asked with a laugh.
"I could ask you the same thing."
Scorpius shrugged. "I was buying some books. I need them for work."
"What do you work as?" she asked.
"As of yet, nothing," he replied with a frustrated sigh. "I… well, I only got out of Hogwarts in June. I don't really know what I want to do yet. Something to do with curse breaking, I suppose. That's what all those books are for. There's a year-long wait to get on that course though, so I'm just staying at home for now, helping out with the animals and things."
"You have a lot of animals then, I take it?"
"Oh yes," he replied. "Peacocks, mainly. I liked Care of Magical Creatures, I just like Arithmancy and Ancient Runes more. And I'm talking about nothing now, aren't I? I'm so sorry." He was blushing again; the colour looked rather alien on his pale cheeks. Pansy thought bitterly that ghosts weren't supposed to have colour. This ghost, however, showed no signs of leaving her alone – the worrying thing was that she wasn't entirely sure she wanted him to.
They had reached the Shrieking Skull. The sensible voice in the back of Pansy's brain was telling her to end the stupid small talk now and leave him outside in the rain, but she ignored that voice. For once in her life, Pansy Parkinson didn't really want to be alone.
"Do you want to come in for a drink?"
"I thought it was shut?"
"It's my pub, I can open it whenever I like," she replied tersely. "Although I won't open it properly. Just you and me and a couple of drinks, if you want."
He smiled again, that dazzling smile of his which always made her blush like some stupid little school girl. It was ridiculous, it really was.
"I'd be delighted, Pansy," he replied.
They went inside. She shut the door behind her, leaving the sign on the door on 'closed', then walked over to the bar.
"What would you care for?" she asked. "Gin again."
"No thank you," he replied. "If it's all the same I don't really want anything alcoholic. It's only lunchtime." He paused for a second. "Actually no, I'll have some wine. Wine's always nice."
She pulled a bottle of wine and some glasses out, then carried them over to a table in the corner and sat down. Scorpius set down next to her, pulling a cigarette lighter out of his pocket and lighting up a cigarette.
"Do you smoke?" he asked, offering it to Pansy.
She shook her head. "No, I don't." She took a sip of wine instead.
It was rather strange, sitting in the middle of her own pub and drinking. She was always on the other side of the bar. In fact, Pansy wasn't sure she could remember the last time she'd been out like that herself. It was probably rather a long time ago.
Pansy noticed that Scorpius was staring intently at her. She had thought that he was simply being quiet because he'd run out of things to say; she wasn't the best conversationalist; she wasn't used to people actually wanting to talk to her. But there he was, staring at her through the blue-tinted smoke that was coming off his cigarette, and she felt her cheeks burning under his gaze. Why was he looking at her like that?
He took another sip of his wine and then, almost unintentionally, he knocked back the rest of the glass. Then he stared at the glass for a few moments before looking up at Pansy again.
"Forgive me for being so presumptuous as to say this," he stuttered out, "but you really are beautiful."
Then he kissed her, and it was as bitter as it was unexpected, bitter with the taste of cigarette smoke and cheap wine and unbidden memories. She didn't push him away though; there was a part of her that wanted this, that wanted Scorpius Malfoy and that connection he so obviously had to everything she'd left behind.
She knocked the bottle of wine off the table. It shattered, spilling everywhere, but Pansy didn't care. She didn't even notice.
Pansy saw Scorpius again three days later. He stumbled into the bar with Asp Potter, who was once again obviously much the worse for wear. The dark haired boy smiled at the vampires as soon as he caught sight of them (the same group, Pansy recalled, that he had managed to annoy wonderfully a few weeks previously), but unsurprisingly they snarled at him in return. Scorpius grabbed the back of Asp's robes and hauled him over to an empty table.
"Now sit there and don't move, for Salazar's sake."
Asp mumbled something that obviously concerned cigarettes, and Scorpius sneered at him and said, "I'm not wasting my smokes on you, Albus. You're so drunk you'd probably swallow it."
Asp protested but Scorpius didn't listen, instead making his way over to Pansy.
"A firewhisky for me, please. And some water for Asp; he's a complete moron and he needs to sober up."
Pansy handed over the drinks in silence. She couldn't bring herself to look him in the eye. Scorpius Malfoy was eighteen years old, barely an adult, yet she had been stupid enough to get involved with him. And now here he was, acting as though nothing had ever happened. She supposed that she shouldn't have expected him to. He was young and thoughtless despite all his pretty words and his pretty face, wasn't he? Stupid, stupid, stupid.
"Are you alright, Pansy?" he asked. She jumped when he spoke, cursing herself that she'd been so transparent that he'd noticed that something was wrong with her.
"Liar," he replied. "I'm sorry I haven't written to you or anything for the past few days, I've just been busy."
The rational part of her mind told Pansy that it had only been three days. It had only been one time and it had only been three days and it had obviously meant nothing at all to Scorpius Malfoy.
"I'm not lying," he protested. "I… I really like you, you know."
The fact that he had declared that in public was almost enough to convince her that he was telling the truth. The fact that he had turned scarlet definitely was.
"I… but… why?"
"You're beautiful," he replied, and he smiled that smile again and Pansy felt that all was right in the world. "Now can I have a glass of water for Asp? He really does need to sober up."
"Yer idiot of a friend's just passed out on the table," a burly-looking man who probably had troll blood in him said to Scorpius, who groaned.
"I guess I won't be needing those drinks then," Scorpius sighed. "And now my mother's going to kill me."
"Take him upstairs," Pansy said. "I don't mind. You can stay here for the night if you want."
Scorpius immediately looked relieved. "You mean it?"
"Yes. Just put him in one of the rooms upstairs. It's fine. I'll be closing soon anyway."
She wondered briefly what had possessed her to make that offer, but she soon put it out of her mind. It wouldn't do to have Scorpius getting into trouble just because Asp Potter was an idiot – especially not if the alternative was having him here with her.
Pansy finally joined them upstairs almost an hour later, as soon as she'd managed to evict the last stragglers from the pub and lock up for the night. It was nearly four in the morning and was starting to get light. Pansy didn't feel so tired, being used to such late nights, but Scorpius looked quite exhausted. The black circles that were beginning to form under his eyes looked unnatural, like he'd smeared makeup all down his face. In fact any colour looked unnatural on him – apart from his eyes. His eyes were bright green and sharp, not like Draco's at all. His eyes were beautiful.
"Asp's still asleep," Scorpius replied. "I'm so sorry about him. He just doesn't know when to quit drinking. He'd had two bottles of firewhisky before we got here. I should have taken him home, really, but his mother would have got mad. And trust me, no one wants to see Ginny Potter angry."
"So he's Harry Potter's son?" Pansy asked.
"Yep. Albus Severus Potter. Hence the 'Asp'," Scorpius explained. "First Potter in around four hundred years to end up in Slytherin, though I expect you wouldn't have guessed that given the state he's been in every time you've seen him." He laughed bitterly.
"Why don't you just take him back to your house when he starts getting too drunk?"
"Last time I did that, my mother screamed at me for waking her up in the middle of the night and threatened to throw me out if I ever disturbed her sleep again," Scorpius replied. He didn't seem too concerned by these threats. "I don't know if you knew my mother. Astoria Malfoy. She was Greengrass before she got married. You probably don't remember her though, do you? You look like you would have been quite a few years below her if you were at school together at all."
Normally Pansy would have felt happy upon being told how young she looked, but as it was she just felt her heart stop for a moment, and this time it wasn't in a good way, not like what happened when Scorpius smiled at her. No, this time she felt sick, terrified and confused because of what she had just heard and the whole situation suddenly felt impossibly surreal. She couldn't believe that so much time had passed. She wouldn't believe that so much time had passed. It couldn't be. It wasn't. But it was true. Scorpius wasn't a distant cousin of Draco's; Scorpius was Draco's son. Suddenly Pansy felt the weight of her years crushing down on her shoulders; she certainly didn't feel anywhere near as young as she looked, not now.
Scorpius Malfoy was Draco Malfoy's son. Pansy knew this now, but she couldn't bring herself to bring about the end of the whole affair. It had only just started and she really, really didn't want to stop. So what if he was more than twenty years younger than her and the son of a man to whom she had once been engaged, with whom she had... no, she wasn't going to think of that. She wasn't doing anything wrong. She hadn't even started it; that had been him. He had started it all and he would finish it if he wished to. He had been the one to start it; he could be the one to finish it. She wasn't going to. She didn't want to. She didn't see why she should have to. She was doing nothing wrong.
So instead of stopping the whole damned affair (which she knew in her heart couldn't be right. Why was she chasing after Scorpius when the man she was really in love with had been gone for decades?) she continued it with even more fervour. Scorpius was the one who started it. He was only getting what he wanted, wasn't he? Why should she have to give everything up again?
She tried to tell him everything at one point – wanted to let him know that he was the most beautiful thing she had ever set eyes on, wanted to ask him why he was wasting his time on her. Her chance at living had passed away years ago when she had left society rather than making any sort of attempt at playing its games, why should he waste his life on someone like her? He probably wouldn't in the end. His father had certainly chosen otherwise.
Despite her worries, Scorpius still came to see her – still clung onto her as much as she clung to him. They always met in her rooms above the Shrieking Skull in the deepest part of the night when there would be no one to disturb them, no one to see them, and ended up staying awake to see the coming of the dawn. He would sit on the sofa, which broke every few months despite the number of charms Pansy had used to fix it, and smoke cheap, muggle cigarettes.
"You shouldn't have anything to do with anything remotely muggle," she had told him once.
It was the first time Scorpius had looked at her with anything other than embarrassment or adoration or good humour. He looked annoyed, looked rather too much like the young Draco, and Pansy had felt herself worrying already. Would one small comment about muggle be enough to drive him off? He was a Slytherin, so surely not. Surely not…
"I don't have anything to do with muggles," he snapped. "It's just easier not to have to roll my own cigarettes. If I do then Asp will steal the whole pa…" he stopped, looking horrified at himself for having mentioned his friend's name.
"Nothing's wrong," Scorpius replied. "Asp's just an idiot. And I'm sorry for snapping, but you sounded just like my mother when you made that comment about muggles. What is it with women being able to do maternal chastising even when they don't have any children?"
He was playing with that strange, muggle contraption ("Cigarette lighter, Pansy." "I know what it is.") again. He lit the cigarette, which had gone out while he was talking, but Pansy barely even noticed.
"What is it with women being able to do maternal chastising even when they don't have any children?" The phrase played over and over again in her head. How was he to know that the words would hurt her? It was just an offhand comment. But she did have a child – or should have had, even though he wouldn't have been a child any longer. He wouldn't have been a child for years; her own son would have been twenty-six by now. Would have been, had he survived. The Fates had torn the boy away from her far too soon. The magic in her blood had killed him, they said, destroyed him from the inside out. That was why squibs were so rare, that was why muggles and wizards should never mix: almost all squib children died because of their mother's magic, miscarried before they were even noticeable. Her son had been one of those rare survivors, but even he had survived for only three days, acknowledged by no one but his mother and the healers that attended her, grave looks on their faces all the while.
"It never should have survived this long," they had said. "Squibs never should. Those that do are no use to anyone – cleaners and Kneazle breeders, that's all the use a squib could ever hope to be in our world."
They had spoken as though her son was something alien and hideous, and the rational, pureblood part of her said that they were right, but Pansy couldn't bring herself to think that. Even now she had never seen a more beautiful little boy – he had Draco's silvery hair and Pansy's black eyes, and he had been a wonder to behold even as he lay there dying, even as she knew that the child in front of her was apparently a monster.
And now Draco had a son who was every bit as beautiful as her own would have been had he lived to see that age, and he was the one who was quickly saving her from this dreadful life – saving her, yes, but every moment she spent with him, Pansy felt herself die a little more inside, mourning everything and everyone she'd had to lose because of the demon that was Draco and the angel that was the son she had lost.
She had called her son Procyon Draco Malfoy. Evidently it wasn't the name Draco would have chosen had he actually acknowledged his son and stayed with her for long enough to name the boy. The proof of that, one Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy (Scorpius Hyperion, not Procyon Draco) was sitting right next her in this horrible little apartment, smoking a cheap cigarette. The smoke and the half-light of dawn made his wonderfully green eyes look almost grey. He had never looked more like his father.
Before she realised when she was doing, Pansy was clinging onto Scorpius' robes, crying in front of someone for the first time in years, but for the first time the tears didn't make her feel weak. She was scared, completely terrified; she had lost too much already.
"I don't want to lose you, Scorpius," she choked out at last.
"I know, Pansy. I know."
She cried even harder; he knew nothing at all.
It was one of the driest days they'd had in a while when Pansy overheard the screams she was never meant to hear. It was well into winter by now, cold and bitter, but on the plus side it had finally reached the time of the year where the rain let up a little, where you could step outside and not worry about getting soaked to the skin. It was too cold to rain and London seemed to have an aversion to snow or to hail. The only downside to that was the cold; it was so, so bitterly cold and dark that it made her think about what Azkaban must be like. How could anyone ever have survived time there when she couldn't even stand the normal winter cold?
Although it was hardly past four in the afternoon it was already nearly pitch black. Pansy had been to Diagon Alley, buying herbs and newt eyes and other basic potion supplies, but she wished that she could have avoided going out in this weather. She shivered, wishing that she could just curl up inside for good in the winter, that she and Scorpius could stay in her rooms, sit by the fireplace and never leave its warmth. Thinking of that only served to make her feel worse. She hated the winter; all she had to look forward to was a possible visit from Scorpius at some ungodly hour of the morning when the rest of the world had gone to bed. It was enough.
When she saw the flash of white-blond hair in front of her, Pansy almost thought it had become so cold that she was seeing things. What would Scorpius be doing on Knockturn Alley if he wasn't here to see her – and she knew that he wasn't here for her because he had owled her earlier in the day to tell her that he was ill, that he couldn't leave the Manor? It would explain why he was skulking, half-hidden in an alleyway with Asp Potter screaming at him.
She almost hadn't realised who Potter was at first; the only times she had ever seen him, he had been too drunk even to stand up straight and there had been a stupid, conniving grin on his face. Now he looked beyond furious and Pansy could see exactly why he had been sorted into Slytherin. Only a Slytherin would be capable of such cold, flaming fury as she could sense around the boy right now.
Pansy was glad that they were so caught up in whatever dispute they were having; she could sense that it wouldn't have been a good things for her had they caught sight of her. She cast a discreet disillusionment charm and stayed put where she was, watching the scene unfold.
"I should have known you were a liar," Asp spat.
"Albus, please. We're in public," Scorpius pleaded with him. He looked weak, dismayed, nothing like the boy Pansy had come to know.
"Bollocks to your 'in public'," Asp sneered. "And for Merlin's sake, don't call me Albus. You know I hate it. Or maybe you don't any more. You've changed."
"Of course I have. We're not at Hogwarts any more."
"Why should that have to change anything?" Asp cried. "Why should the fact that we're out in the real world mean that you have to leave me, have to lie to me?"
"Because this is the real world," Scorpius explained slowly. "You know as well as I do that it's nothing like Hogwarts. And you know I wasn't lying. I've never li…"
"Then what about that bloody barmaid?" Asp spat. "I know bloody well that you've been seeing her, so don't even think about trying to lie to me about it."
"What, Pansy?" Scorpius said with a frown.
Pansy felt her heart stop. What was she doing, listening in on an argument that evidently concerned her, an argument that she couldn't understand but she knew she should never have known about? She should leave; she really should le… she continued to watch.
"I never said I wasn't involved with her," Scorpius huffed, sounding so much like his father that Pansy felt chilled. He had never sounded so much like Draco before and she didn't think she ever wanted him to again. "And anyway, you didn't seem to mind her when you woke up in her flat that time you passed out in the Shrieking Skull."
"You left me for that?" Asp hissed quietly. "For an old crone like that?"
Under normal circumstances Pansy would have felt furious, but she knew there was no point in reacting, no point in doing anything. She'd just cause far more trouble if they were to realise that she was there.
"You were the one who pointed her out to me in the first place," Scorpius muttered. No: not Scorpius anymore – Draco.
"That doesn't mean you should have acted on what I said!" Asp shrieked.
"We're. In. Public," Scorpius snarled again. "And you have no right to pass comment on the matter anyway. It's not like you've never gone off with someone I've pointed out to you."
"Yes, but only ever for one night," Asp howled. "It never meant anything to me, but evidently this… this woman means something to you. What about me, Scorpius?"
"What about you?" Scorpius replied. "I told you, we can't act like we did at school any longer. It wouldn't be right."
"Damn what other people say is right!"
"No, Asp. There's nothing left for us now," Scorpius sighed. "Just… just let it go."
"Isn't there?" Asp whispered.
"No. There isn't."
Asp went silent, green eyes locking on green eyes, the fury in those jaded, jade eyes mixing with the tension in the air and suggesting that someone was going to get hurt soon. Pansy waited for a curse to be thrown. Instead of duelling, Asp went silent.
"You'll regret this, Malfoy."
"No. I won't."
"Yes, you will. I'll show you the real reason she's after you, and you and everyone else will know the truth."
Asp Potter turned around and left, storming straight past her with tears of fury running down his cheeks. He didn't notice a thing.
It was four-o-clock in the morning when Scorpius arrived, the darkest part of the night when everything is locked and the whole world sleeps. The whole world apart from them, of course; he always came to her when know one else would see, when there was no chance of their being found out.
She didn't mean to confront him about the scene she had witnessed between him and Asp Potter, but she couldn't help but ask him as soon as he sat down next to her. The words tumbled out of her mouth before she even fully realised what she was saying.
"Why did you never tell me what was between you and Potter?" she hissed.
He stared at her, first with momentary shock and then with a forced, blank stare. Pansy thought for a moment that the old saying that history repeated itself wasn't true at all; there was no way that she would ever have ended up asking Draco what he'd been doing with Potter, but now her Draco's son and that Potter's son seemed to have been up to something, at least if that argument she'd overheard was to be believed.
"I don't know what you mean," Scorpius said at last. He sounded perfectly believable, but there was a faint, pink blush to his cheeks that gave him away. On anyone else the colour would have looked healthy, but on a Malfoy is served to make them look feverish and guilty. How many times had she seen that look on Draco's face?
"I saw you with him," Pansy snapped. "I saw you in just down the street a few days ago, and I heard enough of your… conversation to know that there was something between you."
"There was nothing between us."
"Don't lie to me!" she cried. "I heard you with my own ears, you can't expect me to believe you."
Instead of trying to deny it again, Scorpius looked at her furiously. "Why were you eavesdropping anyway? Whatever I've got up to in the past, it doesn't concern you."
"So you're not denying it?"
"There's nothing to deny."
"It doesn't seem like that!"
Suddenly she felt overwhelmed. She couldn't stand to be in the same room as him any longer. She sprinted out into the darkness, into the rain. It was cold and hideous and all she was wearing was a relatively thin set of robes, but Pansy almost didn't notice. How dare he have secrets? How dare he refuse to tell her something so important as the actual nature of his relationship with Potter? He claimed it was all in the past, but what if it wasn't? What if it was still going on? What if that whole scene had just been a ploy to make her think there was nothing between the two of them any longer?
Draco had had secrets, too. Secrets like the fact that he had never been in love with her, that he had never been planning to marry her, that he was just going to use her and cast her aside to rot in the filthy depths of the Hell that was Knockturn Alley. And Scorpius Malfoy was just like his father; he was a liar. A liar, a liar, a liar, and he was even worse than Draco because at least Draco had never tried to convince her that he wasn't lying.
There was something in the shadows, following her. She ignored it; at best it would just be a vampire, aiming to suck her lifeblood from her: at worst it would be Scorpius, coming back to claim that he wasn't a liar at all, that she'd just imagined the whole thing.
She saw the shadow move again – away from her, not towards her. She was imagining things, going completely mad and it was all Scorpius' fault. There was nothing following her, nothing at all. She was just imagining things. Scorpius had gone back to Potter, back to his simple life without her, and she was never going to get him back.
Pansy thought that she was about to cry, but instead she felt as though someone had torn her heart out of her chest. She felt sick, faint. That's why she shrieked when someone caught her before she fell. Pansy spun around to find herself face to face with Scorpius. She tensed up and glared at him.
Suddenly she didn't feel so angry. He looked like a pitiful drowned Kneazle, his usually perfect hair plastered flat to his head by the rain, his robes drenched through and soaked in filth and mud. She didn't feel angry now – upset, afraid, pitying… but not angry. How could she be angry?
"You lied to me," she whispered.
"Because I was afraid of losing you," he said.
"You lied to me."
"I wasn't keeping secrets from you intentionally," Scorpius sighed. "I just… I thought that you wouldn't want anything to do with me if you knew about that. I was young, I was stupid, and Asp is far more persuasive than you'd think when he's drunk."
Pansy glared at him in stony silence. What was she supposed to say to that?
It took her a moment to realise that there were tears streaming down his face. She had thought that it was the rain, but it wasn't. He was sobbing openly, something that she'd never thought a Malfoy capable of, and he was crying because of her. Because he was afraid of losing her, just like she was afraid of losing him. What did it matter what had happened in the past? He was hers now and she was never going to let him go.
She reached up and kissed him, tasting the salt of his tears and the cold of the raindrops on his lips. Scorpius Malfoy was hers now, hers, and she wasn't going to lose him, not like she'd lost the others.
Pansy neither noticed the flash of the camera nor heard the crack of apparition in the distance. She was too lost in the moment, almost glad for the first time in years for the lot that life had given her. If she had Scorpius, she could get through anything.
She'd seen the papers that morning. Of course she had; everyone had. Everyone knew exactly what was going on despite the fact that they'd managed to keep it secret for so long already. The photo had been plastered on the front page of the Daily Prophet – Pansy Parkinson in the arms of Scorpius Malfoy, the scandal of the century. Everyone knew now and what little had been left of her reputation was in tatters, but how had they managed to find out? However it had been, the whole world would now think of her now as a desperate whore, a delusional woman who was preying on the son because the father had long been lost to her.
It didn't matter that that wasn't what had happened. It didn't matter that she hadn't realised at first that Scorpius was Draco Malfoy's son. It didn't matter at all, because people would just believe whatever they wanted do. They always did, they always had, and Pansy knew that there was nothing she could do about it. That was why she wasn't surprised when Scorpius stormed into her rooms, throwing a copy of the morning's paper down on the floor in front of her in a rage. He was angrier than she had ever seen him; angrier than Asp Potter had been when they'd argued, angrier than she had ever seen Draco – angrier, in fact, than she had ever seen anyone.
"You lied to me!" he snarled, his voice like ice. "You just used me because you wanted my father and I was the closest you'd ever get!"
It wasn't the fact that he was right that scared her (because yes, he was right; she had lied. She had lied about more than he would ever know about). No, what scared her was the fact that even though he had his father's face, it was Daphne's eyes that are glaring accusingly at her, betrayed. He had the same, killing-curse-green eyes as Daphne did (not grey like his father's or dark like his mother's – pale, blinding green like Daphne's) and she wondered why she'd never noticed that before. Or maybe she'd only noticed now because the last time she saw Daphne, she had the same hatefulness in her gaze that Scorpius now wore. Betrayal – Daphne angry at her for leaving behind her entire life for the sake of one, stupid boy; Scorpius angry at her because he knew now that she had once been his father's and thought that that was the only reason she had ever been his. He didn't know about the loss she been through; the child she'd lost, the marriage she'd lost, the friends she'd lost, the family she'd lost, the life she'd lost. He'd never known loss, he'd never known war, but now it seemed that he finally knew pain and betrayal and he didn't know what to do about it. He was angry with her and there was nothing she could do about it: if she tried to tell the truth, things would only get even worse. The truth wasn't what he wanted to hear now. He would believe whatever he wanted to believe; people always did and there was nothing she could do about it.
"I didn't…" she choked out. "Please!"
She knew he didn't believe her, but that wasn't a surprise. Then again in some deep part of her heart, Pansy didn't even believe herself. Even though she hadn't known he was Draco's son, she had wanted Scorpius in her life because he reminded her of Draco, because he had reminded her of Procyon, because he reminded her of everything she had lost, of everything she had run away from but, when she stopped to think about it, wanted to have back.
Pansy suddenly remembered the words she'd heard Asp Potter scream at Scorpius. "You'll be sorry, Malfoy." That's what he'd said. And Scorpius was sorry, was heartbroken, and Pansy didn't know whether it was her or Asp Potter that had ruined him. Potter had paid the photographer to catch them on camera (he had to have - he'd said that soon the whole world would know about her and Scorpius, and what better way to do it than that?) but she was the one who had broken his heart.
"I loved you, you know."
When he spoke those words, Pansy Parkinson realised far too late that Scorpius Malfoy was not his father. He never had been his father, and she was never going to get back the life she had lost. She wanted her life back. She wanted those twenty-something wasted years back, wanted to be the ambitious young girl she had been rather than the ruined woman she had become, toiling away in a seedy little Knockturn Alley bar day after day after day with no chance of escape, just playing games with mirror images seen through hazy, blue cigarette smoke and telling herself that she was crying because the smoke burned her eyes. The smoke burned her eyes; that was all; it wasn't real sadness. It couldn't be.
Scorpius Malfoy left. The mirror image shattered for good, taking the remnants of Pansy's dreams with it.