This was my HP_PORN IN THE SUN FIC EXCHANGE piece (May-July, 2011). The recipient was an HP fan named "hereticalvision". Her requirements were:

- Pansy Parkinson x Blaise Zabini – main couple
- Correct use of British-isms
- Solid plot of life outside of bedroom as well as in
- Infidelity
- Smoking
- Tattoos
- Complicated pasts
- People struggling to do the right thing and failing miserably
- A busy work life
- Hate!sex, wall!sex, floor!sex, biting, clawing, clothing being torn off, slight D/s, and bondage

I believe I hit all of those requirements within this story. This was a first time I penned something for this ship, so I was naturally nervous, so PLEASE REVIEW and let me know what you think, though!

Special thank you to my beta, UNSEENLIBRARIAN, for all her help with correcting my myriad of mistakes (you are a goddess, dahling!), and to EL for her help with the newest slang terms of the younger generation (love you, my baby). Thank you as well to LUVSCHARLIE, the moderator of this exchange and a wonderful help in correcting my SPaG issues (you are a fabulous moderator and I was thrilled to participate in your exchange - thank you)! Any mistakes below are wholly mine, and not the fault of my fabulous editorial team.

Timeline: Begins 1996 – Ends 2003

Story Details: Novel compliant, including Epilogue (since we know nothing of what happened to Pansy or Blaise after the war anyway, so anything goes for them!)

Main Characters (alphabetical order, by last name): Daphne Greengrass, Draco Malfoy, Mr. & Mrs. Parkinson, Pansy Parkinson, Cris Warrington, Lord & Lady Warrington, Blaise Zabini

Summary: A lifetime of trailing after Draco Malfoy has taken its toll on Pansy Parkinson, leaving her broken-hearted and cynical about men. When her best girlfriend, Daphne Greengrass, begins dating Draco, however, she realizes that her lingering feelings for her ex are toxic and she resolves to put space between them. Focused on getting her life in order, she throws herself into turning a failed witch's fashion magazine company around, determined not to fall for any man's tricks again. Can the charming and handsome Blaise Zabini convince her to give love just one more chance, and can she dodge her violent and controlling father's evil machinations in order to give the dark Italian the opportunity he's asking for? This is the story of a woman coming into her own, creating her own success, juggling moral qualms, finding out what's important in life, and learning how to love again after a series of continual set-backs.

Rating: M+/NC-17 (explicit sexual situations – consensual sex including oral, off-screen masturbation, spanking and bondage, as well as off-screen non-consensual sex; profanity; alcohol consumption; smoking; off-screen physical abuse; thoughts of committing murder and suicide)

Extra Notes: 'F-Network' is my short-slang for 'Floo Network.' This fic borrows a short scene from the "Half-Blood Prince" novel for the necessary set-up and all kudos go to the great JKR for that dialogue!

Disclaimer: I do not own "Harry Potter" or any of its characters, nor do I profit in any way from the use of said characters and situations in this writing.

Images to go along with this fic (characters, outfits, places mentioned in the story - remove all spaces to load the URL properly): http:/ / s905 . photobucket . com / albums / ac260 / RZZMG / Be%20Mine



September, 1996

I hated taking the train to and from school. The only measure of enjoyment I received from the long, drawn-out and bumpy ride was that I usually got to spend hours talking to and touching Draco Malfoy, the love of my life.

The trade-off to such an enjoyable past-time was that I had to endure the uncomfortable attentions of Blaise Zabini, Draco's best mate. Thank Merlin there were others about us at all times (usually the tag-team lummoxes, Crabbe and Goyle) to keep me from actually being alone with the darkly-brooding Italian, however, as he had always made me decidedly uncomfortable.

From the day we'd been introduced back in first year on the initial ride from King's Cross Station to Hogwarts, Zabini had ever been able to manipulate a seating arrangement so he was parked across from or at an advantageous angle to face me, all for the irritating purpose of engaging me in a heated staring contest. It's always been my belief that he employed such passive-aggressive behaviour because he was jealous of my close relationship to Draco and wanted to oust me from that place of power (everyone knew that a nice pair of breasts trumped the male bond, and as a result, I was privy to more of Draco's innermost secrets than his guy friends). Undaunted by his rude manners, I tended to ignore Zabini most days, refusing to acknowledge the odd fluttering in my belly that he unintentionally created each time our eyes met. I was Malfoy's girl – had been from day one and always would be, and nothing and no one would change that. I refused to be chased from my position at his side, especially as a result of something as pathetically benign as staring.

Today, my platinum-haired boyfriend lay sprawled across my lap, taking up two seats in our private compartment, and I listened to him rant about Professor Slughorn's first invitation-only chat, which was supposedly an introductory feeler for those select students that the man had deemed privileged enough to join his legendary 'Slug Club'. Zabini had been invited to that soiree, but Draco hadn't, and I could tell that the snub had burned his britches. "Potter, precious Potter, obviously he wanted a look at 'the Chosen One,' but that Weasley girl! What's so special about her?" he sneered.

"A lot of boys like her," I stated, my eyes zeroing in on Zabini across from me, whom I believed to have a fascination in the feisty redhead, as the two had a Quidditch rivalry that nearly equalled Draco's for Potter. I kept my boyfriend in my peripheral vision, though, trying to note his reaction, too. "Even you think she's good-looking, don't you, Blaise, and we all know how hard you are to please!"

His handsome face darkened with an emotion I didn't like and his eyes narrowed. "I wouldn't touch a filthy little blood traitor like her whatever she looked like," he coolly stated.

For some inexplicable reason, a small knot in my chest loosened with that proclamation.

The conversation went on for a bit longer and I interjected commentary here and there, but eventually it lulled and Draco laid his head back against my thigh to allow me to continue my ministrations. I ran my fingers through his baby-fine hair, scraping the scalp as he liked with my nails and silently contemplated my earlier reaction to the conversation about Ginny Weasley. Clearly, my relief at Blaise's answer had more to do with the fact that I didn't have to worry about the man's loyalty to our group. He'd made it clear that he wouldn't cross House lines, no matter how enticing the slag, and had boldly stated his allegiance to the cause of blood purity in one fell swoop. That meant that he was still one of us, and no Gryffindor pretty bird was going to change that. That was the source of my relief.

Yes, that's all there had been to it. I wasn't concerned for any other reason than that.


When we pulled into the station in Hogsmeade, and Draco stayed behind in our compartment, encouraging me to go ahead of him, I reluctantly followed Goyle out. At the torch-lit carriage area, I waited for the next coach, but my gaze was glued to the platform behind as I waited for Malfoy to reappear. What had held him back? Was he meeting with someone? For a moment, I panicked that it was another witch. Had he found someone else? Was that the reason for his nonchalant dismissal of me?

So caught up in my imaginings, I failed to notice Zabini crowding in against my back. His hot breath tickled my ear lobe as he bent his head to mine and his warm, rather solid chest pressed against my spine. Aligned just perfectly with my body, I felt the undeniable press of his hard erection. "You should know better than to be jealous of the She-Weasel, my vixen," he whispered the secret against my skin in a low, enticing tone. Unconsciously, I shivered in response.

Angry that he would dare to take such liberties, I turned with a scathing rebuttal upon my lips, but he was already gone, hopping into the same carriage as Crabbe, Goyle, Warrington, and Pucey, leaving me to catch the next ride with Millicent, Tracey, and Daphne, who were just now approaching. His dark, heated gaze locked onto mine through the coach's window and didn't waver until it turned a corner down the lane and was out of sight.

I rubbed my arms to ward off the chill, insistently attributing my goosebumps to the evening air of autumnal Scotland.


May, 1998

It was over. Our side had lost.

I scrambled over tumbled stone blocks in my path, looking for a familiar white-blond head, terrified of finding it lying inert with the other bodies on the ground. I hadn't participated in the fighting, but I and a few of my Housemates had doubled-back when we were told to leave the grounds and instead held-up in the Slytherin Common room, waiting to learn the outcome. Personally, I had gone back for Draco, in case he showed up down here in the dungeons, needing help for whatever reason. When the news had come that Voldemort had been defeated, I'd scurried out of the portrait hole as fast as my legs could move, led on by a desperate need to know.

A flash of white hair raced past from down the corridor and my eyes tracked it, recognised it as belonging to Lord Malfoy. He was heading into the Great Hall. Behind him, the pale-gold locks of Lady Malfoy followed. I ran to catch up…

There against the wall, being held in the tight embrace of his parents was a very dirty, exhausted-looking Draco.

My knees nearly gave out.

From seemingly out of nowhere, Zabini stepped before me, blocking my way and grabbing onto my shoulders to steady me. I glanced up in astonishment, noting the black soot covering him head to toe, and the deep, clotted cut above his left eyebrow. The top of my head fit right under his chin perfectly as he pulled me into a relieved hug. "Thank Slytherin," he murmured, his heart beating strong and fast against my ear as he held onto me for dear life.

I was too astounded to move or to speak. Frozen in shock, my mind whirling around and around, I struggled for the words to convey my gladness that he, too, was alive and well versus my desire to chastise him for daring to step over certain lines with me when I was his best friend's girl. "Blaise," I began, swallowing back a lump of emotion, tears gathering in my eyes. "I'm glad… that you're safe, but-"

He pressed a small kiss to my temple. "You're unhurt?"

Mutely, I nodded.

We stood like that for several long minutes before the sounds of shouting on the other side of the room caught our ears. In a flash, Zabini had my hand and pulled me out of the Hall and down the stairs into the dungeons. In the chaos of the war's aftermath, no one paid particular attention to us, as people were still running to and fro in chaotic motion, looking for loved ones amongst the standing or the rubble. "Wait!" I protested, tugging against his hold, but he was firm and yanked me after him. I struggled to keep up with his long-legged, hurried stride else my shoulder be wrenched from its socket.

"They're going to start the arrests now," he explained, wrestling me into an empty classroom and checking it out with what I knew to be a quick but methodical glance before locking the door behind us. Lighting the tip of his wand, toning the luminescence way down so that it was no brighter than candlelight, we both looked about. We had intruded into an alternate Potions classroom that hadn't been utilised in quite a while, I realised; the dust was thick on the desks and chairs.

With another flick of his wand and a muttered spell, Zabini secured the room against spying and sound so we could talk and move about without detection. Pressing me as far away from the door as possible, he walked me backwards down the middle aisle until my bum hit the teacher's desk at the front of the room. "They'll start on the main level and work their way up and down to flush everyone out. We have a little time - maybe an hour or so." Putting his wand down on the desk beside me, his shaking fingers reached up and caressed my cheek. "You weren't involved with any of the fighting, were you?"

I shook my head. "I stayed in our Common area until someone came through the portrait and shouted out that the Dark Lord was dead and that it was over."

He nodded, swallowing hard. "Good. That's good. You just need to tell the Aurors that when they come for you. Make sure you're clear that you didn't fire off a single spell, and that you didn't aid the Dark Lord or the Death Eaters in any manner, right? Cooperate with them in every way, Pans. For once, be totally truthful. No Slytherin games. Promise me."

My brow furrowed. "I promise no lies or half-truths. But why would they arrest me? I've done nothing wrong."

He pressed his forehead to mine. "You're a member of Salazar Slytherin's House. That'll be more than enough for most of them." He closed his eyes, and I could see the pain in his features. "You should know that Crabbe and Flint are dead. Goyle, Nott, Pucey, Warrington, Malfoy and I will be taken in and interrogated – most likely incarcerated. I don't know about anyone else. We picked the wrong bloody side." He sighed and it was a sound of defeat.

My chest caved. Everyone was going to be arrested? They would end up in Azkaban, wouldn't they? Would I, too? What about Millie and Daphne and Tracey? They'd all been in the Common room with me during the fighting, waiting for news. "But-" I tried to argue.

Zabini's mouth on mine shut me right up. His kiss burned a hole straight through my soul and stunned me flat; it spoke of a desperation and a longing I hadn't even realised he'd carried around for me.

"No more time. I'm sorry, my vixen," he mumbled against my lips, speaking around frantic pulls and enticing licks, his hands smoothing down the sides of my body to grip my hips. "So bloody sorry for all of it."

I was the one who was sorry by the time he'd pulled away less than sixty minutes later and left me alone at emotional ground zero, to face his fate with shoulders squared and back straight. I was sorry that I'd fumblingly given up my virginity on a dusty, old teacher's desk in a dark room in a rushed coupling, rather than in a soft bed, surrounded by romantic gestures, with hours of foreplay. I was sorry that I'd completely given over to the lust – twice - that Blaise Zabini had so easily been able to coax from deep within me that I'd willingly betrayed my love for Draco. But worst of all, I was sorry that I enjoyed the experience, because now that I'd been awakened to such pleasure, I knew I would crave it for the rest of my life, and I was afraid it wouldn't be the same with anyone else.

How would I ever live with the shame?


Five years and three months later… August, 2003

"I shagged Draco last weekend."

Daphne's confession, spoken in a rush and smack in the middle of the lull in our pleasant conversation, completely ruined my nice evening. Hell, it ruined my whole year. I quickly had to turn away and take a deep breath through my nose to keep my dinner down. Pretending to be busy trying to get the tip of my wand to light my ciggie helped some, as I was able to excuse the rude presenting of my back to my best girl friend to breathe smoke in the opposite direction, and could hide my shaking hands at the same time.

"It was the hottest fuck of my life," she admitted, her pretty pale cheeks reddening with embarrassment. She tossed back the last of her Pimm's Cup. "I can't stop thinking about it."

I took another heavy drag off my fag, felt the smoke hit my lungs hard and exhaled quickly, trying not to visualise Malfoy banging my friend. There was nothing I could do about the feeling of constriction in my chest. Apparently, that was one wound that wasn't doing a good job of healing. Would it always feel like this?

"Are you angry at me?"

What could I say to that? Yes, I was.

Did I have a right to be? No, I didn't. Malfoy and I had been over for a long time now.

Two years ago, after completing his three-year house arrest, Draco had reappeared in my life. At that point, I'd only casually dated a couple of men since the war had ended, as my reputation in the wizarding world had been stained by my father's association with the Dark Lord. Also, I'd just come into my grandmother's inheritance at the age of twenty, and after taking a year or so to work up a solid business plan, finally decided upon on a career path that interested me: I'd used all of the money in my vault to buy the failing fashion magazine Strega, with the intent of turning the company around. I worked insane hours and put most of my energy into the business, and so had very little time to think about relationships.

The day Malfoy appeared at the front gates of our Manor house, though, was the day I rediscovered that I was, in fact, a sexual being with physical and emotional needs that had been far-too-long neglected. We'd made it to my room, and had just enough time for some light conversation before I was under him and he was in me and we finally consummated our decade-long relationship.

For three months after, Draco was the one insanity I allowed myself to have without reservation. I changed everything in my life to revolve around him and his needs - and my work seriously suffered for it. Instead of spending time thinking up new, creative ideas for ad space or doing last-check on editorials, I'd be writing him notes. I'd pawn off client meetings on consultants who didn't necessarily have the best interest of the company in mind, and didn't check that my sales team was meeting its monthly quotas. I often left early from my office just to meet up with him for any reason whatsoever. I was young, wholly in love and I didn't care about anything else, naïvely believing that my long-time feelings for Malfoy had been equally returned and that we were inevitably heading for the altar.

Salazar's bane, had I called that one wrong!

The crash from our September-to-December torrid affair had left me reeling; catching the cheating wanker diddling my secretary on a conference room table when I'd unexpectedly returned early from a power luncheon with a client had nearly broken me in half. In that one moment, every dream I'd ever nurtured of him and me together to the end of our days had been shattered. There were no more fantasies of the perfect wedding dress, of anniversary dances, or of grey-eyed, blond-haired babies. Those thoughts sickened me.

No words had been necessary after that – we simply stopped all correspondence, conversations and meetings. It was as if we'd never been, minus the mess I'd made of my company in my neglect.

After that big break-up, I'd claimed I would never date any man ever again (at least, that's what I'd resolved quite loudly in the middle of The Leaky Cauldron on a busy Saturday night in late December, when the pub was packed and I was quite pissed on the multiple shots of Firewhisky that Daphne and Tracey had bought me to help me cope with my misery). I'd stuck quite true to that vow, too, refusing all suits from interested parties and concentrating on building my company back into the ranks of competition.

Exactly one year and one week after that drunken rant, though, Blaise Zabini appeared at my front door.

The wizard who'd popped my cherry years before had made it a habit since getting out of Azkaban on January the first of this year to call upon me. For several months, I'd been cool towards him, discouraging his advances. However, Blaise had a natural charm to him that, now that he was older and more experienced, I'd found to be quite endearing and hard to resist. We had slowly redeveloped a friendship once I'd relented, but for a couple more months, I'd kept him at a safe distance, not wanting to get sexually involved with him, determined never again to let any man have the kind of control over me that Malfoy had so easily exerted.

One night this past June, the sexual frustration that continually consumed me coupled with one too many Butterbeers had led Blaise and me into a heavy snog session at his flat in London that ended with me lying horizontal on his couch, bare bottomed and red lipped. That one-off morphed into a weekend of mind-boggling, ego-boosting sex, but by Sunday night, I'd had too many regrets to count – most of them having to do with the fact that I wasn't over my ex, no matter what I might say to the contrary. Zabini had been hurt, but he'd understood. He hadn't backed away from our friendship, but he knew the score.

We haven't had sex since.

Malfoy – the bane of my existence. It was always about him, wasn't it? That assicle had toyed with my head and my heart all through our teens and then as adults when we'd finally hooked up. He'd tainted me, and it was difficult for me to move past him, even after all the time that had elapsed. He'd been my first love of the heart, and fuck all, I'd never gotten closure.

All of that together is what made Daphne's question so difficult to answer now. That cold pit in my stomach expanded as I considered how to best reply to her question. "Malfoy and I… we've been done for long time. I have no claim on him. He's free to do what he wants."

My friend was quiet for a moment, staring into her glass. "I didn't ask if you were mad with him. I asked if you were brassed-off at me for totting with your ex." She'd slipped into 'street speak,' I noticed, telling me Daphne was feeling decidedly unsure of herself all of the sudden.

Looking out over the back garden of my family's ancestral home on the outskirts of Dundon in Somerset, my eyes travelling the verdant, rolling landscape, I took a deep breath and let it out slow. "I'm not angry at you, no." And I wasn't. I was mad at him, and at myself. But it had been a year and a half since our falling out, and holding onto that anger was, I realised, sucking all of the happiness from me. Why shouldn't Daphne try out my cast-off to see if they fit better? As I'd told her, I no longer held any rights where Draco Malfoy was concerned; I don't think I ever did, honestly. And she knew what had gone down between us, so if she wanted to get involved with him, the onus was on her.

Daphne sat up in her chair and politely set down her empty glass upon the patio table. "Upset and disappointed, though?" she pressed me.

Reaching for my own drink, I took a healthy swig, letting the alcohol burn down my throat and trying not to allow my jealousy to ruin my friend's potential new relationship. "Are you going to see him again?"

"He owled me yesterday," she hesitantly admitted. "Asked me to a Quidditch game this weekend between the Tutshill Tornados and the Wimborne Wasps. Box seats."

I took a long drag off my smoke, let the taste roil around my tongue, held it for as long as I could manage and then blew it out behind me. "Go if you want to," I decided for us both, forcing my hands to remain steady and my heart back down my throat. "You both love Quidditch, so I'm sure you'll have a fun time."

Daphne didn't reply for the longest time, staring at me, trying to gauge my true feelings, but I had slammed down the mental walls to my emotions and let her see nothing but the dark of my irises reflecting the sunlight. Only when I crushed out my fag and waved it away with my wand did she agree to go on the date.

That night, I cried myself to sleep.


Saturday night, I went out with Blaise. He took me to a Muggle cinema in Soho to see some pirate movie which had just been released a few weeks previous and had me laughing in my seat at the antics of some guy named Captain Jack. This was my third experience in such a theatre, and all at my date's behest (he'd become much more tolerant of non-wizarding folk once he'd discovered during his time incarcerated, through letters he exchanged with his siblings, that his father had, in fact, been Muggle-born), and I had to admit that for people without the ability to call upon magic, Muggles were not only more clever than I'd previously given them credit for, but they were also quite a talented bunch.

As we left the theatre, we agreed to a late snack at The Leaky Cauldron. Blaise talked animatedly about the movie as we sat in a table for two in the corner and sipped coffee, dividing up a bite of berry pie. When he suddenly stiffened, his eyes trained on the door, I made to turn to observe what had upset him. His hand on my arm stopped me. "Malfoy just walked in." His lips pursed in disapproval as he watched my former lover with a narrowed, assessing gaze. "Candy-arsed tosser."

I wondered what he was seeing, exactly. "Is Daphne with him?" I tried for unconcerned. "She mentioned them going to a Quidditch match this weekend."

A dark, indignant gaze met and hooked mine, and I could tell that for all my bravado, Blaise could read the trembling in my heart. "Yeah, they're together. We should leave." He threw some galleons down on the table and stood up, holding his hand out to me. "Pinch your cheeks. You look like you're about to faint," he kindly whispered.

I bent to make it appear I was checking the heel of one shoe and did as he advised, then reached for his hand and let him help me up. In a performance guaranteed to make me seem less pathetic, he laughed heartily and swept me up against him, pressing his nose into my hairline. His warm lips rested near my ear, and a shiver ran up my spine as hot air blew upon the sensitive skin. "Play along. They've seen us."

I tentatively hugged back, unsure and uncomfortable with this plan. Was Blaise trying to help me or make his sometimes-friend jealous? If it was the latter, I could have told him it wouldn't work. Clearly, Malfoy had moved on.

He herded me towards the front door, away from the two just coming in, his tall, well-proportioned body always between me and them, talking to me as if we were a couple out on an actual date - which we sort-of were, only platonic. "What would you like to do next? Clubbing? Yeah, let go have some fun!"

I tried to smile at the suggestion, feeling positively ill as I spied Daphne hanging on Draco's arm, talking with gusto. She hadn't seen us yet, but he had. Steely-grey eyes zeroed in on me and there was distinct disapproval in his cold gaze. It was the first time I'd seen him since our break-up, and that familiar sinking of my chest and riot of butterflies in my belly hit me again like a punch. He was still so beautiful

There was no avoiding them; he and Daph stood near the door and we'd be passing them any second. I gripped Blaise's hand in a tightly entwined hold and tried to remember that I was the one who had been hurt, not the other way around. Anger bloomed once more as I recalled opening that conference room door and seeing my secretary bent over the table, him behind her drilling away. I straightened my spine.

"Zabini," Malfoy greeted his friend in a rather frosty drawl. "Long time."

He held his hand out, knowing this meant Blaise was going to have to let me go to shake it. My 'date' had been in Slytherin, too, though. With a smoothly coordinated shuffle, Zabini easily transferred me to his left side, reclaiming my hand in his, and received his old friend's polite acknowledgment in the customary manner. "Malfoy, how have you been?"

Draco tilted his head, and I noticed he'd had his ear pierced. A round, perfectly cut emerald winked from his right lobe – a new, chic fashion in the wizarding world, signalling the latest form of snobbery: economic elitism. It was intended as a silent mockery of the Ministry's recently-adopted laws against open blood prejudice by those of wealthy, pure-blood heritage; many of the young had taken up the trend. "Fine. You?"

"Doing well." Blaise looked down at me with a mysterious smile and squeezed my hand in a silent signal to play along. "Night's young and there's much trouble to be had. We're just on our way out now to find it."

Malfoy had no choice then but to acknowledge me. "Pansy." His voice was oh-so-careful, his eyes hooded and as enigmatic as a snake's. Not a trace of a tremor to his tone or limbs was to be found. There was nothing to give away what he was feeling.

"Hello, Draco, Daphne," I heard myself speak with cool measure, and it was as if someone were controlling me, because in that moment, I was anything but placid and even-tempered. I wanted to vomit, quite honestly. "How was your game?"

Daphne, who'd gone pale with understanding, tried to salvage something of the moment so it wouldn't blow up into awfulness and ruin everyone's evening. "Hello Pans, Blaise! The Wasps won in a sweep. The Tornadoes didn't get a score in, but they gave it a good go, making eighty-three runs at the goal. The game lasted seven hours! I don't think I've ever sat a game that went longer than four!"

I nodded, making myself care when all I wanted to do was cry. My best friend was shagging the man I still loved, despite all he'd done to me – and there was no denying that truth anymore. I still cared. I still wanted him. Salazar help me! "That's good. I'm glad you two had a fun day." I couldn't make myself say anymore, for fear I'd give away how much of a fraud I truly was.

Was I a terrible friend for not being happier for Daph's date having gone well? I wanted to show her support and encouragement, but I just couldn't. Somewhere in the last five minutes, I'd swallowed my ability to be selfless for the sake of my lifelong friend.

An awkward pause met the end of my words, but Blaise was there to catch us all again. "Well, we'd better go." He civilly nodded to the couple. "Good night, Drake, Greengrass. Nice seeing you again!" With a flourish, he directed me to the exit and held the door for me, speaking just loud enough for all to hear. "The clubs await! Let's go get nasty and work up a sweat, my dark-eyed vixen!"

Call it masochistic folly, but I couldn't help but look back once as I moved through the open door and out onto the street.

Malfoy had turned and was watching his friend flirt with me, listening to the blatant sexual innuendo with clear indifference.

Yeah, he was so over me.


Blaise and I shagged that night. It was hot, sweaty, up-against-the-wall sex in the backstage area of the wizarding club he'd dragged me into after our little run-in at the Cauldron.

We'd been drinking shots of hard liquor in between frantic rounds of dancing, and the next thing I'd known, his lips were on mine. We'd pulled apart only long enough for him to grab my hand and drag me around the 'Employees Only' areas (using his wand covertly to cover us with a Disillusionment and Silencing Spell combination) until he found a nice section of private wall he'd liked and lived out a fantasy for both of us.

He started by dropping to his knees, shoving my skirt up, tearing my knickers down, and eating me out until I creamed on his tongue with an uncontrollable scream (the first orgasm I'd achieved in over two months). As soon as I orgasmed, he was on his feet, trousers and pants at his knees and I was lifted until I had no choice but to wrap my legs around his waist and hold onto his shoulders for support. His thick, long cock entered nice and smooth, taking several passes to fully part my tight channel and bury itself to the hilt.

Without pause, he immediately established a desperate rhythm, fucking me while coaxing with naughty words, his cheek pressed to mine, his mouth hovering over my ear. "Your pussy is so tight, Pansy. I love licking it. I love fucking it. That weekend in my flat… I can't forget it. I'm sorry, but I can't." He rocked his hips, making my eyes roll back in my head at the same time. "And I love that I was your first. I've never forgotten that night either, my vixen." He thrust into me with a driving upward jerk of his pelvis, hitting deep. "Do you like me inside you, sweet girl?"

I mumbled some incoherent reply in the positive, the feel of being ridden fast and furious helping me to escape my own tortured thoughts.

"That's it, Parkinson," he enticed with a sinful tone. "Forget everything else and just come for me again. Come hard and scream my name – just like you always do for me."

I did and it was so bloody good that I cried in a tangled collision of bliss and guilt into the curve of his shoulder. With a deep, masculine groan of satisfaction against my neck, Blaise orgasmed too, even as I was still rippling around his steely length. He shoved as deep and as hard as he could into me, and I felt his warm seed splashing at the gateway to my womb.

"We forgot the pregnancy charm," he muttered with concern in the afters as I gingerly dropped my legs from his hips. "Fuck!"

I shook my head, and wiped away the tears streaking down my cheeks, even as he gently lowered me to my feet and pulled his clothing back into place. "I take a monthly potion," I tremblingly informed him, straightening my own outfit. "You don't have to worry."

He gave a deep sigh and hugged me close to his chest, pressing a kiss to my temple. "Come on, my sweet vixen, I'll take you home." It should have bothered me that Blaise was speaking to me with such loving intimacy, but I was too shaken up to really deal with it then.

My lover didn't leave once we were at my front door. Instead, he helped up to my private wing of the family manor, got me into bed, and stripped down his own clothes, climbing under the covers with me. I fell asleep in his arms, my mind a riot of thoughts that exhaustingly jumbled about. Mostly, they were about Draco and Daphne – wondering if they were doing the same as Blaise and I had done tonight.

Hours later, I awoke to my bedmate making love to me again as we spooned. He kissed my neck and caressed my nipples while slowly pumping his hips, sliding in and out of my body with full, complete strokes that perfectly touched every sensitive spot inside. "Just tonight, my vixen. I know you still love him, but just tonight, let me give this to you."

"Blaise, no-"

I tried to tell him it was all wrong and that he would only get hurt, but he shushed me, repeating, "I know, I know," over and over, even as he rolled me onto my stomach and came at me from behind, lying intimately over me, his fingers entwining with mine. That slow glide never paused, and his naughty cajoling in my ear continued to arouse. The silence of my room was punctuated by my moans, our panting breaths, and the sweet smacks of his small kisses across my shoulders and throat.

I should have said, 'stop.' I should have not gone to the club with him, or let him take me against a wall, or even step a foot inside my home. But I didn't do any of those things. The truth was it felt too good to be wanted again, to be seen as worthy by a man. So, instead, I came for Blaise three more times that night before the dawn peeked through my windows, and I forgave myself for begging him for more.


September, 2003

A month went by, and I buried my continued misery in work. I didn't see Malfoy in that time and avoided Daphne at all costs, wanting to give her time to adjust to her new relationship without my interference to lay any sort of unintentional guilt upon her. As my oldest and most loyal girlfriend, she was one of the few people I valued in this world (unlike Millie, Daphne had stuck by my side when my father had been charged by the Ministry for providing silent aid to Voldemort during the war and I'll never forget such kindness), so I honestly didn't want to lose her companionship by being petty or bitchy regarding the subject of her dating my ex-lover.

Frankly, it wasn't fair to her to have my ghost or my jealousy mucking up her chances at happiness, and really, there wasn't any practical reason she shouldn't be with Draco. Scumbag snake-in-the-grass he may be, overall Malfoy was relatively benign compared to other men in our social circle. She could do much worse - say in someone like Lucian Bole (who was known to rough-up his women) or in Theodore Nott (who was a bi-sexual philanderer who would shag anything on two legs). So, although it hurt to stay away from Daph, as it meant missing out on our weekend side-by-side pedicures and shopping trips and our tea dates and our gossiping, in the end, it was the right thing to do.

As for Blaise, there was no avoiding him. He made sure I didn't harbour regrets over our one-off last month by treating it as just another casual fling and reassuring me that he knew where he stood in my affections. He was as friendly and caring as usual, and made no overt move to reassert a sexual interest in me other than to hold my hand on occasion.

One Saturday morning, he arrived by Floo into my family's drawing room with two hot cups of my favourite espresso from the café that was down the way from his personal flat (how well this man knew me!). Our house-elf, Buppy, took his coat.

"Morning," he cheerfully smirked, knowing I was never at my best first thing in the a.m. Stepping forward, warm caffeinated beverage held before him as a peace offering, he teased my grumpiness away, as usual. "Are we still on for today?"

We'd planned to walk through Diagon Alley now that the students were all in school by a week and the place would be relatively quieter. I couldn't wait, as Flourish & Blotts was holding a pre-order for me: a two-hundred page, full-colour book on wizarding fashion over the last four hundred years. I'd write it off as a business expense, of course, but in reality, it was all for me. I intended on highlighting some of those older, more romantic fashions that I adored – like the corset chemise and the French bustle for floor-length gowns.

"Absolutely! Wouldn't miss it!" I couldn't help my enthusiasm as I took the bribe he offered. The best coffee on the planet, personally delivered into my hand by a rather handsome chap, and a day of shopping to look forward to – what self-respecting pure-blood girl wouldn't be happy?


We arrived at the Alley right when the shops were all flinging open their doors and turning signs, indicating they were ready for business. Some of the shop keeps were sweeping their front doorsteps, and waving in greeting to potential customers on the cobblestone way in passing. Patrons were already out and doing some serious buying but mostly, the consumers were leisurely strolling about like us, looking in the windows at the new dressings and displays.

Passing the Apothecary, I noticed that next door had just opened up a new store selling yarns, threads and fabrics. The "GRAND OPENING" banner hung from the shop window in big red and white lettering, suggesting a sale would undoubtedly be in the cards. "Can we stop here?" I asked, and my 'date' for the day easily agreed. I picked up some embroidery thread for my mama, who adored passing the time in the old traditions of tapestry weaving and quilting. This was sure to score me a nice present from the woman come my birthday in another month.

Zabini picked the next stop - Quality Quidditch Supplies – to get a broom polishing kit. In his spare time, he explained as he paid for his purchase, he played a pick-up game here and there with two of his older half-siblings who were in the league playing for the Italian National Team, just to keep in practice.

Just as we were leaving, Draco and Daphne sauntered in. "Oh, Pans, hi!" my friend enthusiastically called out. "Hi, Blaise!"

My stomach plummeted into my shoes. Malfoy looked gorgeous, as usual, and next to him, Daphne made a fetching arm ornament. They would make great-looking babies. "Hi," I tried for unaffected, even as Blaise slipped his hand in mine in support.

It was The Leaky Cauldron all over again. Zabini greeted his friend with a handshake, Draco said little, and Daphne beamed. I wove an air of nonchalance about me, and when we parted ways, this time, I didn't look back. I was rather proud of myself for that little bit of strength.

Of course, as soon as we made it outside and down the Alley a ways, I let go of my companion and lit up a fag, taking a deep inhale and letting it out slowly.

Blaise was quiet as we got all the way to the end of the strip before turning back. As we reached Flourish & Blotts, I crushed out my ciggie and magicked it away, went into the store and picked up my purchase, and then requested that we call it a day. My earlier good spirits had been tainted by the confrontation with my ex and my best friend, as it was clear they'd been out on a real date. The wizard at my side said nothing until we reached the Floo at The Leaky Cauldron, and then it was only to grab hold of me, throw some powder down and call out his address.

As soon as we arrived in the front room of his flat, he threw our shopping bags and my purse aside and was on me, kissing me with heat and desperation. There was a dark look in his eye as he dragged me to the floor, tearing at my clothing. For my part, I was too stunned to protest, and honestly, something in the far back of my skull said I needed this right here and now anyway.

With my partially ripped knickers hanging off one ankle and my skirt up around my waist, he parted my thighs, lined us up and slammed his heavy, dripping cock between my folds, entering me with a force that scooted me back several inches. Pounding me into the thick, soft carpet he kissed me as if he were eating my mouth. Going with the flow, I gave as good as I got, thrusting my hips up to meet his, letting him crash against my clit until the pain made me cry out.

"I fucking hate it when you smoke," he snarled in my ear.

I bit his bottom lip and scratched at his arms, digging my nails in deep through the cotton of his shirt. "Yeah, well I fucking hate it when you try to tell me what to do, you arrogant bastard." Of course, that pronouncement was weakened by my mewling "Ooh, yes, harder, deeper!" as he hit me just right a second later.

"You're going to stop thinking about him, Pansy," he threatened, grabbing my legs and pulling them to rest upon his shoulders. He hammered into me as he sat up on his knees, his face a mask of anger and desperate lust. "You're only going to think about me from now on… and you're going to beg me to let you come now, you stubborn bitch. Come for me. Call my name, Pans. Do it!"

Wailing, I did as he commanded, brought to the brink by his strength and his need as much as my own. "Fuck me harder, Blaise!" I pleaded as he continued shuttling in and out at a pace that nearly stole all my breath and left my heart aching. "Bring me!"

He bent my knees to my ears and did me just as I asked, and I climaxed around a scream in moments, stimulated by his reckless dominance. I was crying with the flood of emotions that stormed through my heart when we untwisted and he pulled me up over his lap, bouncing me up and down with a firm grip on my hips. His mouth captured my lips again, and he kissed me until my brain fuzzed and every nerve in my body burst with pleasure. I flung my arms about his neck and met his passion with my own.

"You're destroying me," he groaned around our passing lips. "Every bit of me, my vixen. I'm lost for you - always have been." Trailing over my throat, he bit down on my pulse and came inside of me with a muffled roar. His hips continued pulsing, clipping my tiny bead with perfect pressure and I followed him over the edge of insanity once more.

Limp, overheated, exhausted, I let him carry me to his oversized, too-soft bed, where we slept wrapped around each other like the desperately needy people we both were.


October, 2003

Blaise and I became official shag-buddies after the sex fest at his flat that afternoon.

My new lover was insatiable, he fancied spontaneity and he got off on the thrill of us potentially being caught. He would often take me in the most inappropriate places - like, on the breakfast table before my parents showed up in the morning at my family's home, or on my oak desk in my office just minutes before I had a meeting scheduled, or in the changing rooms of Madam Malkin's when we were out shopping together. It was harried, mad lust between us, and a nice distraction for my wounded heart.

To be honest, Zabini was one hot fuck. He was an expert at foreplay, both verbal and physical. He knew just where to caress, lick and pinch and exactly the right word to whisper in my ear to make me his willing (and begging) sex kitten. I guessed that all of those years in prison had given him time to mentally perfect his game, because he had a very active imagination and a bold willingness to exercise it in real life.

I came alive under Blaise's touch in a way I'd never believed possible, and in only a few weeks, I'd felt my whole world undone and remade… and I found I liked the new paradigm very, very much.

On the evening of my birthday, after the meal had been cleared and the cake had been cut and my social duties performed to my mother's and father's approval, my beau snuck me away to my bedroom and fucked me solidly for the rest of the night all over the furniture in my quarters, bending me in ways that even a professional contortionist might envy. It was the best gift I'd ever received (even more so than my mother's strand of heritage pearls, passed down from her great-grandmother), and I was so knackered and sated the next day that I slept in until well past noon. I floated on air for days after.

Of course, my good mood would be ruined by Daphne's owl a week later.


I miss you. Can we talk? I really need a friend right now.

Love, Daphne

I penned an affirmative reply and sent it off via return owl, feeling slightly ill. Daphne never used those words unless something big and upsetting had happened. The last time had been when Theodore had tried to pressure her into participating in a threesome with him and one of his bi-puff boy-toys and she'd split from him as a result. I intuitively deduced what she would tell me, and so mentally prepared myself as she came through the fireplace via the F-Network an hour later.

Immediately, she fell into my arms, sobbing like a broken-hearted doll, and I knew – just knew – that my suspicions had been correct: Draco had dumped her. Biting back the growl of righteous anger I felt for my friend, I comforted her in the best manner that I could, eventually getting the whole story from her in between hiccups, nose-blows and bursts of tears.

When she was finished, I sat stunned at her news. It was worse than even I could have imagined.

"Astoria?" I repeated, hardly able to believe it. "He pretended to date you only so he could get close to your little sister? What. The. Fuck? That's a new low even for him." The urge to send a nasty, exploding howler to Malfoy Manor warred with the desire to simply lure him out into the open under false pretence and proceed to hex his crotch until he limped home, dragging a testicle behind. "I'll string his guts up for the crows, that bloody bastard!" I ran a soothing hand over my friend's hair and rocked her back and forth. "I'm so sorry, Daph. You didn't deserve this."

"Neither of us did," my best friend agreed around a hiccup. "I hope he gets his someday, though. The rotten snake deserves a nasty curse or two."

The idea of reprisal appealed to my darker nature. "What do you say to helping Karma along with that?"

We looked at each other, slow, identical smirks crossing our faces; we hadn't been sharing the same dorm room for seven of our most formative years for nothing, after all.

"The female of the species…" she quoted our old mantra.

"…is more venomous than the male," I finished around a wicked snicker.

Daphne spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at my house. We had dinner and conspired together as in olden days, and finally came up with the perfect revenge. I owl'd Zabini to see if he could help, and by the next morning, he'd agreed to our plan.

Our scheme went off without a hitch.

Enticing Malfoy with the promise of a free-for-all pick-up Quidditch game with members of the Wasps team that Saturday (an event that had already been pre-planned and worked perfectly with our machination), Zabini met him out at the park where he usually played. Afterwards, the boys went out for some drinks. Buying round after round, Blaise managed to get Draco thoroughly pissed. He then convinced him to go to a wizarding tattoo parlour in Knockturn Alley (the same one that Daph and I had paid just two years ago to get a matching pair of black roses done on our ankles) so they could boldly proclaim their life-long fraternity to Slytherin House with a little permanent ink. I bribed the unscrupulous artist to give our 'friend' a unique tat somewhere sensitive, and Malfoy was so blitzed that he'd passed out before even hitting the table and so had no idea of the fun that he'd voluntarily signed up for.

The howler Blaise received and shared with Daph and I the following day left the three of us in gales:

Blaise, you pig-headed fucker, I'm going to rip you a new dick! Why the bloody hell did you let me get a tattoo of a cat in heat on my backside that screams, "I love pussy!" every time I sit my bloody arse down? I was drunk off my bollocks, and now I'm stuck with this fucking thing until I can figure out a way to get rid of it! You owe me, you bastard. Once I get this off, your cock is mine!

After Daphne left us, feeling quite vindicated, I was riding the high of delicious deviousness and did something I hadn't done yet in my relationship with Zabini: I initiated sex between us. Dragging my wizard up to my room, I proceeded to strip him and shag him to within an inch of his life in reward for being the perfect co-conspirator and the man to defend not only mine and Daph's honour, but the honour of every witch who'd ever been burned by Draco Malfoy.

"I love it when you're evil," I purred against his lips as I rode him for a second time to bliss. "It makes me wet just thinking about how conniving you are."

He growled, flipped us over and grinned against my mouth. "Yeah? I seem to recall that it was your plan, not mine, vixen," he pointed out, ramming into me with increasingly faster surging, bringing me to the brink very quickly. "I merely served your needs - as I will ever do."

And boy, did he! Again and again and again…


November-December, 2003

At twenty-three years old, I felt that things in my life were finally coming together. I had a fantastic job where I bossed around twenty-two employees and felt important, and we produced a quality rag that had a subscription base almost as large as Witch Weekly. I had my best girlfriend back, and it was as if the break in our social calendars and the gap in our relationship had never occurred. And best of all, I was getting the best sex of my life from the most sinfully delicious male on the planet!

The one hiccup in my perfect picture was that my parents didn't like Zabini very much because of his father's blood status, but I could care less. I was happy with him and that's all that mattered. Go, me!

Blaise was everywhere now – in my thoughts, in my bed, on my skin. I loved his scent and his flavour and his touch. It was unbelievably freeing and incredibly frustrating at the same time to be this obsessed, because although I'd never felt so sexy and self-confident in my life, I also found it hard to concentrate on anything but him. In a phrase, I was consumed by the warmth we shared. Day and night, I continually relived my favourite moments of our encounters when we weren't together. Sometimes, I even had to relieve my need at the office so I could actually get work done. Thank the Founders for Scourgify and Silencing Charms!

Those fantasy moments I indulged in were a startling revelation to me of how far my feelings had evolved within the frame of a few months. It wasn't Malfoy I thought of screwing me into the woodwork anymore, but Zabini. It was a pair of dark, mocha-coloured hands that caressed my nipples, not pale, alabaster fingers. It was a thick, ten-inch cock with a brownish crown that I craved, not a long, eight-inch penis with a pink head. It was a pair of cocoa-coloured eyes that now haunted my dreams, not arctic-grey ones.

My emotions went right along with the ride, of course. There was no doubt that I was falling hard and fast for my Italian suitor – that despite my past negative experiences in trusting a man with my heart - and I dared to hope (believe) that he fancied me with an equal intensity. I even tried out the sound of 'Mrs. Blaise Zabini' and 'Mrs. Pansy Zabini' in the undisclosed vaults of my mind, just for fun, and found I actually liked the way the names rolled off the tongue.

Merlin's rod, I was like a ridiculously silly schoolgirl all over again! I revelled in it, amazed that I could feel such things again after having crashed and burned so badly.

Of course, just as I was at last braving a walk in the sunshine, the universe crashed around my ears again.

On Friday, November the twenty-eighth, my father entered my private chambers and informed me that we were to attend a private supper at the Warrington residence that evening. "Wear something appropriate for a dinner gala," he'd advised with a stern look. "Young Lord Warrington will be in attendance."

Shaking in my boots, I sat down on the small settee before my knees gave out, knowing what my father was up to. It was common for females of pure-blood families to have arranged marriages before their twenty-fifth year. Thus far, I'd assumed I'd dodged that hex, as my mother held with more liberal leanings when it came to matters of the heart. It seemed, however, that I was going to be sold to the best candidate, probably to make a political match.

I was no fool; I understood where our family's reputation stood after the war. The Parkinsons were disliked by the remaining supporters (secret or otherwise) of the Dark Lord, and distrusted by those who'd stood on the side of 'light.' We had neither the political connections (like the Warringtons and Greengrasses) nor enough money (like the Malfoys, Puceys and Notts) to buy influence - which left us precisely in the middle of fucked. And I was to be the sacrificial lamb to bridge that deficit and help my family dig its way out of the grave and back into high society.

When my father returned an hour later to ask if I needed anything in my preparations, I knew the house-elf had squealed and told him I wasn't getting ready and that I had absolutely no plans to do so. Two hours later – and a slew of magically covered-up bruises and healed cuts – and I was in an elegant, floor-length, black silk chiffon gown with accordion pleated skirt and capped sleeves. The v-neckline dipped low showing off cleavage and the waist and under the bust areas were trimmed to accentuate these assets of my shape. The dress was my father's idea, of course. My mother came to help me with my hair and make-up and accessories, as my hands were shaking too much to accomplish the task.

We went to dinner, and Cris was the height of interest and manners. For my part, I performed well, speaking when required and maintaining proper decorum for someone of my station. After the meal, I was escorted by my 'date' for the evening through the Warrington gardens, unchaperoned to my amazement, my fur stole about my shoulders and a warming charm cast about us to keep out the chill of the winter weather.

"I requested some time for us to be alone," Cris explained as he led me deeper into the hedgerow maze.

I felt like a puppet on a series of taut strings, manoeuvered into this night's affairs, and now into what I knew would be a sexual liaison with a man I didn't want, but whose intentions (by the caresses he pressed to my inside wrist and the light touches he inflicted upon my person) were all-too clear. With nothing to lose, I decided to speak candidly and hoped to make enough of a point that Cris decided I wasn't worth his effort. "I'm sleeping with Blaise Zabini. I'm in a committed relationship with him, and I don't want this match that my father and yours are trying to set up between us. I don't care if that kills my father's chances at a Ministry slot someday, either."

Cris continued taking me into the heart of the maze, silent in his consideration of my words. When we reached a square opening, I realised we were in the centre of the hedge. The bird bath in the middle was frozen solid. Thank Slytherin it hadn't snowed yet, although the grass retained some of the autumnal rain, making it spongy beneath my heels. My shoes were ruined.

To my surprise, I felt the tingle of magic cast upon me, and when I looked down, the blue glow of a Pregnancy-Check spell hit my womb and then faded. "Seems we won't have to worry about a Zabini bastard any time soon." My escort gave me a humourless smile. "Good. I hate competition."

Panic fluttered in my belly and caused my heart to slam into my throat as I backed away from him, but his hold on my arm was firm. "Let go," I demanded, but Warrington was much stronger and merely laughed at my request.

"No, I think not," he replied. "I think you and I, my little whore, are going to be getting a lot closer tonight, in fact."

I cursed my stupidity for leaving my bag with my wand back in the house as he cast several spells in succession to silence the area, to prevent outside spying, and to block off the exits with a reverse Shield Charm. He was very efficient, as if he'd done this exact sequence before, and I wondered how many witches he'd raped in just this manner.

I fought him, of course, but never stood a chance against someone who had no fear of using two of the three Unforgivables to achieve his aims.

An hour later, with standing tears in my eyes, my clothing fixed and any incriminating marks hidden with clever spell work by Cris long before we'd exited the maze, I stumbled back into the house. Immediately, I sought my mother's protection, gripping tightly to one of her arms. In a single glance, mama understood what had happened and held me against her as she prepared to Side-Along Apparate me home, a frown upon her face for my father and our hosts, all of whom watched us escape with impassioned, calculating eyes.

All except for Cris, that was. He looked at me with a triumphant, knowing smirk even as he straightened his robes out. I own you now, his eyes and mouth proudly proclaimed.

"Fucking, sick rapist!" I found the audacity to spit at him with as much hatred as I could just as we whisked away in a nauseating pull and a flash of colour.


I refused all owls, Floo-calls, or guests for the next two days and hid out in my room, taking no food, only water. I bathed the night I came home because I was sore all over and I'd scrubbed away the evil of what had been done to me. I slept very little in that time, as my nightmares were filled with tormenting visions of what Warrington had done. Only my mother was allowed to come near me. I spent that time in serious contemplation of my options.

The Ministry would do nothing about what Cris had done to me, I knew. Even if I pressed charges, his family had enough money and connections to take steps to assure the stink was covered up and that their prized heir came out of the controversy smelling like roses. And I was sure my father would help them as well. In fact, I was certain he knew what Little Lord Fuckleroy had planned for me from the very start, which was why he'd picked out the dress for me that he had; there had been just enough of an enticement to its cut to encourage unwanted attentions.

Thankfully, I wouldn't have to worry about begetting a child from the event. Even though my rapist had taken no precautions to prevent my getting pregnant (obviously hoping to get me with his bastard to force the issue of our union), I had been covered by the monthly contraceptive potion I had been taking. I'd cocked-up at least that much of everyone's foul plans for me.

Still, I felt helpless, knowing my father intended to sell my future away to the Warringtons. I was sure the solicitors had already drawn up the appropriate contracts, in fact. In a week, I'd be off the market for good – and I didn't have a damned thing to say about it. Until my twenty-fifth birthday, I was the property of my eldest male blood relative, per wizarding law, and he could decide for me what path my life would take.

For the first time in my life, I briefly considered suicide, but then I realised how stupid it was to kill myself when I could simply kill Cris or my father instead and achieve a much more gratifying result.

With hatred in my chest, I dreamed up every method imaginable to annihilate the two men in my life who were determined to destroy me, but to do it in such a manner that I couldn't possibly be tied to their deaths. Even for someone with my ability to scheme, it proved near impossible, though, as there was always some variable that would point to me, no matter how meticulously careful the plan. Even something as clean as an Avada would show its mark regardless of the wand I used to do it, for the Unforgivable Curse tore up one's soul and turned it black. Hell, one might as well paint an "I DID IT!" sign on their forehead.

All of this thinking left me no better off than I'd been on Friday night after I'd returned home. I didn't really have a solid strategy for stopping my father's lunatic plans for me, nor did I have a solution for getting rid of Warrington before he showed up at my doorstep with a signed and sealed Proclamation of Intent. I felt as frustrated and powerless as ever.

Sunday night, when my mother came in to check on me again, I looked into her dark, solemn eyes and finally understood the many sacrifices she'd made as a pure-blood wife. When she reached across the distance between us and gently took my hand and kissed the palm in silent apology, I intuitively understood the truth that had been carefully kept from me for all of my life: my mama didn't love my father - she never had. She'd merely endured him, mostly for my sake.

I sent out a prayer in thanks once more to Merlin for modern-day contraceptives and comforted the woman who'd birthed me.


On Monday morning, after a night of minimal sleep and many more tears, my boyfriend showed up. With brutal efficiency, Blaise ripped down the spells warding my door and kicked it open. It hit the wall with enough force to cause a loud bang, and startled my family's house-elf (who had been politely telling 'Master Zabini' that I wasn't accepting visitors) into Disapparating with a dramatic yelp.

Frightened by the level of unexpected violence, I reached for my wand (which I now slept with under my pillow), sat up, pushed off the covers and pointed it at the intruder, a hex ready to go upon my lips. When I recognised my lover standing at the foot of my bed, I lowered my arm.

He mutely stared at the ugly violence done upon me - visible now that the glamour spells had worn off - and I internally cursed. Why hadn't I worn to bed something with sleeves that didn't leave my legs bare? I wanted to crawl away and hide at the range of combative emotions that crossed his face: shock, anger, and pity mixed up with a heart-stopping grief. I dropped my wand without care and flopped back down onto the bed, turning into my pillow with shame. I couldn't stand to look at him just then, or to have him look at me.

Soft fingers very tentatively touched my hair, stroked over my neck and across my shoulder. I could feel him touching every discernible bruise and cut, shaking with restrained anger. His voice, though, was as gentle as his caresses. "Sweet love, look at me."

I shook my head. His kindness whipped through me like sharp ribbons, cutting deep.

With careful hands, my lover took hold of me and raised me to his chest, where I wept all the harder, and we clung to each other through the storm of my pain. It felt like we sat that way for hours, as I poured out all of my anger, my screams muffled against his shirt, crying into the curve of his neck. Thankfully, he didn't try to suffocate me with false promises of silver linings, as my mother in her well-intended nature had the night before. He remained stoic until I moved.

Angry at myself and the world, I took out my frustrations on my wizard, biting him on the curve of his throat hard enough to break skin. It was an animal reaction coupled with the need to refute the weakness that threatened to sap my strength and turn me into the whimpering female that Warrington and my father wanted to make of me. At my lover's gasp and his tightening hold that pulled me even closer to him, something dark, greedy and panting with sexual need awoke deep inside. Ripping at Blaise's clothing, I let out a hungry growl behind clenched teeth. "Shag me into the mattress, Zabini. Fuck me until I can't see straight!"

"No," he refused and tried to stop me. After a brief tussle, we ended up in the centre of my bed, staring at each other, our breaths exploding across each others' faces from the effort exerted. "Pans, stop this! I don't want to hurt you!" he shouted, shaking me.

I fought his grip on my wrists and reached for him again. "I don't want to remember anyone else's touch on me – only yours." Bringing my mouth to his ear, I pleaded. "I need you. I need you, Blaise. Please."

There was a moment more of indecision before he conceded and gave me exactly what I wanted, loving me at first with tenderness, and then when I demanded more, he took me as I asked. It was rough, angry sex as we closed in on orgasm, and it hurt, but it was all mine. I wanted this. I initiated it. My wizard gave me what I requested, bringing me over and over, and he came only at last when I told him he could.

Hours later, soaked in sweat, physically and emotionally drained, I lay back in the bed and stared at the ceiling, tears dripping down the side of my face to fall into my hairline. My partner lay next to me, a solid wall of heat and comfort. He made no move to crowd me, but he did take my hand, entwining our fingers together. "He'll pay, I promise you, my vixen. I just need a name."

That was the second I finally fell in love with Blaise Zabini.


Two days later, I contracted Blaise's private solicitor and he found a clause in Ministry law that stated that witches under the age of twenty-five who were capable of supporting themselves and were no longer dependent upon their parents for their necessities were considered 'emancipated' and not subject to parental supervision or authority (and that included any agreements made on my behalf by my father). That afternoon, my wizard helped me find my own flat in London and the next day, I moved out of the only home I'd ever known into something exciting and different and a little scary. I used the money I'd made working at my company, as well as the sale of some of my private jewellry pieces (to Zabini, who paid handsomely for them at his insistence, only to gift them back to me "as a belated birthday and early Christmas gift") to pay the rental fees.

I convinced my mother to come with me, as the same solicitor also looked up marriage laws, and found that a binding made under duress – which rape certainly qualified – could be made invalid at any time as an annulment, rather than an actual divorce, thus allowing the victimised party the right to walk out of the marriage without social repercussions, and even to sue for financial restitution from the party that caused the injury. My mama got the flat next door to me, thanks to my boyfriend's finagling with the landlord, and his legal advisor was at her beck and call. They set out right away to get her annulment papers ready, signed and sent to my father.

Cris got his comeuppance two weeks later when the Muggle whore Blaise had hired to surprise him on his birthday ("a gift from a friend to celebrate") gave him a pox. Not just any strain, though; this one was permanent. He would never get rid of the oozing sores on his genitalia, which would flare up irregularly for the rest of his life. My boyfriend said the Muggles called it 'herpes.' Couldn't have happened to a nicer chap, as far as I was concerned.


The very next week, Strega was nominated by The Daily Prophet reader's poll as the fashion magazine of the year, beating out Witch Weekly for the top slot for the first time in thirty years. Not bad for our second year out of the starting gate, I thought! We celebrated by using company profits to take the twenty-two staff members and their significant others out to dinner one night at the premier, new restaurant in Diagon Alley – Poseidon's.

At the head of the table in the private back room we'd rented out for the occasion, I stood to make the requisite, 'good job for all the hard work, and next year we celebrate by renting out Spinner's Hall!' speech. Glasses were raised in toasts to each member for their hard work, and at Blaise's suggestion, I made sure to highlight at least one important milestone that each of my employees accomplished to get us our coveted title.

After, we sat and enjoyed the banquet, and the talk was lively, the booze free-flowing, and the good cheer in abundance. Under the table, I received a thigh massage by my date, and in the coat closet, he recklessly shagged me against the wall.

He took me home to his bed at the close of the night, and spent over an hour eating my pussy in a sexy sixty-nine, making me come again and again before finally allowing his semen to race across my tongue and down my throat. I fell asleep to his gentle kisses and soft caresses.

I'd never been so happy in my whole life.


New Years Eve this year found me in my new flat, tied to my headboard by velvet ropes and enjoying the spanking of my life. I'd never allowed any man such liberties over my freedom or taken my sex life into the realm of bondage and submission before, but with Blaise it wasn't as scary as I had always (incorrectly) imagined.

Of course, my lover had made it easy for me to relax and take pleasure from such naughty attentions. With a purring, gentle voice and soft caresses, he'd first calmed me enough to accept being set in a submissive posture for him – up on my knees, facing away from him. Then, stroking his cock into my sopping, greedy cunt from behind, he'd held onto my meaty hips, his cadence measured and his depth absolute. He'd slapped my hips first, then my bum, matching one good strike to every five thrusts of his pelvis, increasing the heaviness of his hand in increments. By the time my bottom was rouged and stinging, I was coming around him with a delightful cry. Fireworks exploded behind my eyelids as I surrendered to the sensations. It felt heavenly to give up control and to be able to trust someone this much.

My heart, it seemed, was finally healed.

Blaise had stilled inside my grasping, milking body, feeling my climax suckle at and ripple around his penis. He groaned in bliss, and when I calmed, he began moving again, still as achingly hard as before.

"Pansy, I want you to listen to me very clearly," he instructed in a soft, yet commanding tone. "Since our first year together in school, I've been patient, watching and waiting on the sidelines for you to want me. When I was in prison, the memory of our first time together and the thought that I was going to win you over once I was released was all that got me through every blasted day. And this last year, I gave you the time to grieve the loss of your first love and to finally come into your own. You're there now, my vixen, all the way, so I'm not waiting any longer." He caressed my hips and thrust harder. I moaned and ground my backside against him, wanting him to pick up the pace. "You're mine from now on, understand, love? This-" he punctuated the word with a harder push, "this belongs only to us from now on. No one else, just us, until the end. Me capiche?"

Yes, I did understand him - and then some: he was demanding that we make this thing between us long-term permanent, as in an engagement and eventual marriage.

Dreams of a beautiful, ivory wedding dress, and lots of anniversary dances, and dark-haired, dark-eyed, mocha-skinned children flashed behind my eyelids.

Oh, yes, I was absolutely ready for this commitment. My feelings for Blaise had grown from a friendly fondness over the long years into a deep, romantic affection over the past several months. He'd proven his care for me time and again; he'd stood by me in the face of adversity and hadn't backed down. He'd protected me, and schemed and manipulated others to make my life better, and bloody hell, there was no denying that our chemistry was explosive. He respected me and treated me as an equal, and was a devoted friend and sexual partner. Most importantly, he'd never given up on me.

With a tiny nod at irony, I understood then that despite all of my desperation for Malfoy's attentions through most of my life, it had been Draco's best friend - the boy who'd stared– who'd been the only one to truly see and want the real me.

As we came together in sync a moment later and we released in tandem, I realised the truth: Blaise had always loved me.

And I loved him.

Cuddled in his arms in the afterglow, stroking fingers across his defined pecs to rest my tips over his slowing heart, I smiled up at him. "Ask me," I whispered, wanting the fairytale proposal to make this moment the most perfect one in history. "I promise you won't be disappointed with my answer."

He snuggled his cheek against my forehead and pressed a light kiss to my skin. "Marry me, my vixen? Say you'll really be mine, Pansy, in all ways, forever."

Smiling, I gave him the answer we'd both waited our whole lives for.