disclaimer: disclaimed.
notes2: i love Pansy. so much.

title: failure to launch
summary: The problem was that Slytherins were people, too. — Ron/Pansy.






Pansy had no clue what was going on.

The world was ending. Her whole world was ending. Draco was odd, Professor Snape was odder, and the world was up in flames. Everything was ending and Pansy had no control and it was starting to make her crazy.

Crazy was the last thing Pansy wanted to be.

Crazy was for Gryffindors—crazy was for idiots. Crazy was for people who were brave. Crazy was for people who wanted to fight the Dark Lord.

Crazy was not for Slytherin girls. Crazy was not for Pureblooded girls. Crazy was not for girls who liked being alive and in one piece.

Crazy was not for Pansy.

Ron Weasley was crazy.

This did not bode well for either of them.

/ / /

It was near-midnight and she patrolled the corridors because she'd been told to. The dungeons were quiet. Pansy wasn't surprised. Slytherins were far sneakier than anyone in the castle gave them credit for (Pansy had always thought that this was a great disservice on the part of the other Houses—they didn't know what they were up against). If they were out and about, she knew they wouldn't allow themselves to be caught.

She wasn't worried.

The swish of robes and the unmistakable sound of footsteps had Pansy tense. She surreptitiously pulled her wand from her pocket, ash wood and dragon heartstring underneath her fingertips. She attached herself to the wall, dark hair and pale skin blending into the shadows.

Never let someone get the jump on you, Pansy thought. She tilted her head just so as to be completely invisible in the dark hallway.

"Oi! Parkinson! You alive, down there?"

A very soft hiss escaped Pansy.

That oaf.

She slunk along the wall to materialize at his side. To her very great satisfaction, he jumped. He looked rather alarmed. Pansy shot him a too-sweet smile, eerie in the bright white of his lumos.

"I'm fine, Weasley," she said. She sounded like liquid sugar, strong enough to rot a tooth away. "I already checked the Ravenclaws. They're alive."

Weasley scoffed. "What, you didn't murder them in their sleep?"

Pansy's dark eyes narrowed into slits, but her voice remained cordial. She was part of Slytherin House—she'd played power-structure games before she'd been a First Year.

She knew how this worked.

"You think I'd be so obvious? That's amusing. I'd rather poison your pumpkin juice."

The dislike that simmered between them was palpable. A muscle jumped in his jaw, and Pansy could feel the relief coursing through her body. Pouring her frustration into his was easy. It was the easiest thing she'd done all day, and that included talking the house-elves into making Darjeeling tea a part of breakfast.

The tension hung between them for another moment in a silent war, before Weasley held up his hands in surrender. He almost laughed.

"You and Hermione would be good friends, Parkinson, d'you know?"

Pansy's jaw dropped. "How—how can you even—are you mad? That—that—Granger and I?"

The outrage was so violent that Pansy could barely speak.

Weasley just grinned and shrugged his shoulders. He had very big shoulders. Pansy thought that even a boulder wouldn't hurt him. Maybe not even Vincent. Maybe not even Gregory.

Pansy would have to think on this.

Weasley's gob was still open. "—and you think alike. Yeah, you'd be great."

"Don't degrade me," said Pansy scathingly. "I'm better than that—I'm not Draco, thank Morgana."

Weasley blinked at the abrupt change in subject. He stared at her, blue eyes uncomprehending. "Malfoy? What's he got to do with anything?"

Pnasy had to choke back her delight. Weasley didn't know. Weasley didn't know.

"You don't know. Oh, this is perfect! You don't know!"

Hysterical laughter very nearly took her. Pansy wrapped her arms around herself to try to stem the shaking, shuddering breaths of glee that were escaping her. Weasley didn't know.

"What's so funny, Parkinson?" asked Weasley.

Pansy got control of herself and waved him off. "Don't worry your ugly little head, Weasley. It's nothing that'll affect you in the long run, anyway."

Which was a lie.

But Pansy was Slytherin.

Lying came second nature, only after politics.

And Pansy had always been good at games.

She brushed her hair out of her face. Cut sleek and just to her shoulders, she watched him watch the strands as they moved. There was a look of intense concentration on his features and she quietly tucked it away for later leverage.

Pansy almost smiled. Her lips quirked up as she waggled her fingers at him.

"Well," she said, "always lovely talking to you, Weasley. Goodnight."

She walked down the corridor and didn't look back. She didn't need to, to know that he was staring after her with a slightly gobsmacked look on his ugly, freckled face.

She smiled to herself, pleased.

He wouldn't be able to get it out of his head.

Pansy couldn't wait.

/ / /

Except that Gryffindors were frustratingly trusting. Pansy would have torn her hair out (except that she rather liked her hair)—Weasley was acting exactly the same as always. He was as disgustingly good-natured as ever. His table manners were just as appalling.

Pansy delicately wrinkled her nose.

He was revolting in his happiness.

He reached for a goblet of juice. Pumpkin, Pansy thought with a thrill of snark up and down her spine. He looked up for the briefest moment. His eyes were blue and wary and Pansy took a terrible pleasure in the knowledge that she had been the one to put it there.

There was a very long moment unbroken by the dull roar of the hall around them. Pansy smiled with her teeth.

He drained the goblet back without another look in her direction. Pansy threw her head back and laughed shrilly at something Milly said.

And the moment was gone.

/ / /

Pansy watched Quidditch, alone among the crowd.

It was such a stupid game.

"Weasley is our King," she sang underneath her breath and watched the Quaffle fly past him, through golden hoops and to the jeering of the crowd.

Pansy smiled.


/ / /

Sometimes, Pansy despised having friends.

Sure, they were lovely when one was lonely, but they asked for favours and it was just so ugh.

Pansy sighed.

It was Draco's turn for patrol, but he'd begged off on account of… something. Pansy wasn't quite sure what that something was, but he'd been so very odd recently. Odder than normal, that was, and that was saying something—Draco liked Granger, for Morgana's sake. Pansy recoiled in sheer horror at the very thought.

(She fought very hard not to think of what Weasley had said about her and Granger and being too much alike.)

So Draco had been odd and Pansy had consented to take his round on the condition that the single photo of blackmail he had on her be destroyed lest he feel her wrath and possibly scorpions in his bed for the next month.

Draco had shifted awkwardly and accepted, no bargaining involved. That would have been odd on its own, but Pansy did not pry. They'd been friends since before either of them could form full sentences.

And Pansy knew Draco well enough to know when he was tying himself into knots over a girl.

(Even when that girl was Granger. Especially when that girl was Granger.

Pansy sighed.)

She really ought to have figured that Weasley would be on duty.

With Draco run off, Granger was sure to be close behind.

Pansy wrinkled her nose. They were sickening, they were.

And now this meant she dealt with Weasley.


Pansy spared him a single glance. "I'll take the Ravenclaws and the dungeons again. We'll meet outside the kitchens to compare."

Weasley was standing there with his hands in his robe pockets and an odd look on his face.

(Odd was such a stupid word. And so easy to overuse.)

"Aren't you ever nice?" asked Weasley.

Pansy stiffened, readying herself for a fight; back up like a cat, she bristled with her nose up in the air. "I'm nice to people I like."

Weasley just looked at her with tired eyes, and Pansy wondered what had happened to make him life that.

Maybe just being Harry Potter's sidekick his entire life.

Pansy smiled despite herself. She knew what that was like; being second, that is. Being unwanted. Being neglected. Wanting, wanting, always wanting—Pansy had been born a girl in a family looking for a boy.

She knew what being second was like.

Weasley studied her quietly. "You're… right smart, you know. When you smile."

He shrugged at her and turned to leave.

Pansy watched him go, speechless.

/ / /

"Oi, Parkinson—"

"My name," she snarled, "is Pansy."

He blinked at her for a moment.

"Right then. Pansy. Snape wants us to watch—"

/ / /

The crazy was creeping up on her in ways that Pansy didn't even like to think about. Sometimes it made her cringe.

She just had all these feelings.

It was disgusting.

Pansy caught herself thinking about him at the most inappropriate moments—during classes, in the hallways, by the lake, at lunch, in the greenhouses, just before bed…

It really was starting to get out of hand.

Pansy wasn't mooning over him, precisely (although that was exactly what Milly called it, with arms crossed and a bubbling spark in her eye). Just… thinking about him. Thinking about him a lot. A lot, a lot.

Like the way he moved and the way he laughed and the way the sun caught his ginger hair and turned his entire body into some glowing orange beacon. Like his freckles and his blood pure-as-her-own and the thought that maybe happiness was better-suited to girls like her than she'd previously thought.

That maybe crazy was better-suited to girls like her than she'd previously thought.

But those thoughts were all wrong, and she knew it.

Pansy shuddered.

She shouldn't be thinking like that. She knew that. She knew that better than anyone. The Dark Lord would return. And many people would die. Blood-traitors would not be tolerated.

He would die.

She wrapped her arms around herself and vowed not to think of him, anymore.

/ / /

Pansy could feel her control slipping through her fingers.

She didn't glance at Weasley. She didn't even say a word. She did her rounds and ignored the feeling like falling in her stomach.

She wouldn't let his flaming hair and his freckles get to her. She wouldn't let his smile get underneath her skin.

(Any more than it already had, that is.)

/ / /

"Why're you avoiding me, Pansy?"

She hated it when he said her name like that. Like she meant something. Like she was someone good. Like she was someone precious.

Because she wasn't.

And he was Ronald Weasley!

He was red-haired and freckled and blue-eyed. He was blood-traitor and Gryffindor, St. Potter's best mate and Mudblood Granger's future husb—

Pansy couldn't even think the word.

He was still looking at her, waiting for an answer. Pansy didn't have anything but lies and evasion to give him, because she wasn't sure of the truth herself.

"I'm not avoiding you," she told him bluntly.

"Yes, you are!" he growled. Something flared up in his eyes, something strange and possessive. Pansy idly wondered if he ever looked at Granger like that.

(Sometimes, Pansy thought she hated Granger.)

"I'm not, Weasley. I don't avoid people I dislike. I ignore them," said Pansy.

Her words were meant to wound, and they did their intended purpose. Hurt flickered across his face.

Pansy waited for the vindictive joy.

It didn't come.

"You don't mean that," he said. His voice was soft and steady, sure.

"How do you know that, Weasley?" Pansy demanded. Her voice tore through an octave, rising up to the high-pitched shriek that always took her when she was distressed.

He spread his arms wide in the universal gesture for fuck if I know. "I don't. Just a guess."

Or a hope.

Pansy could see he wanted it to be a hope, but who had hope in a world like this? Who had hope, anymore? She reached to tuck her hair behind her ear, to brush it away from her neck, something, anything; it was a nervous habit.

He got there first.

His hands were very large. Everything about him was very large. His shoulders, his hands, his heart.

Pansy's breath caught in her throat and she couldn't speak.

"There," he said. He was staring at her intently again. Pansy caught herself drowning in bright blue, like water, robin's egg, sky, sky, falling through the sky.

"You do that a lot," he muttered. "That hair thing."

"I—thanks," said Pansy.

Self-consciousness seized her. She stared at the floor, red in the face and trying not to say anything that might screw them up—she'd done so much of that already and it was so, so late.

She wouldn't think his name.

His voice was gentle. "My name's Ron."

Pansy looked up, not daring to hope.

Hope was like being crazy. Crazy wasn't for girls like Pansy. It wasn't. It wasn't.

"Do you want to go for a walk?" asked Ron.

Pansy tucked her hair behind her ear again. He was standing very close and Pansy felt tiny in comparison, hidden in the dark of his shadow.

"Why do you keep trying?" she asked. Her voice was so low, it might have been a whisper.

He grinning, and it looked like forever. "Because I think that one day, you'll say yes."

Pansy was high-strung and crazy. She pressed her forehead into his shoulder. "You're mad."

She didn't need to see his face to know that he was beaming like a doofus. That's just how he was.

"You didn't say no," said Ron.

"I know," whispered Pansy.

She slipped her hand into his, and they walked.






notes3: so… i can write Harry/Ginny and Ron/Pansy… but not Draco/Hermione… what is wrong with me?
notes4: please don't favourite without leaving a review! :)