Disclaimer: The characters and world of Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling, not to me.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
Except your clock is digital, so there is nothing to prove that time is passing but the glare of the red numbers, and the hoot of your hungry owl, and the salty taste of tears you have long since stopped crying.
You could be doing something useful, you know- do some sit-ups. Pull out those tax forms you never finished. Feed the freaking owl.
But you just lie there, and stare at the ceiling, running your hands through your dark hair.
You get up for a glass of water and run straight into a wall.
If karma exists, this is it. Any Muggle house would be far below your old standards, but you can barely afford even this 500 square foot flat.
Isn't life after the war grand? Peace and prosperity for all, that's what they say.
Too bad you're not on the list.
You'll have to get up for work in a few hours. Luckily you're allowed to use Floo Powder to get to your job, or you'd need to wake up even sooner.
As it is, you still have to look perfect to get tips, and perfection takes time.
Not that anyone would dare tip you more than the default amount- how could they, you being who you are?
You can't count the number of times you've wished you could change that one moment in time, that one moment of weakness, or maybe of strength.
In the Great Hall, you stood by the table with gaps around you- friends had stood with you, once upon a time (in sixth year), the same friends who would die or flee abroad while you would stay.
Or, of course, there were those who were forced into servitude lest they watch their families die around them, before being tortured to death- for that is the punishment that awaited a traitor.
So there you stood, so long ago, fighting the trembling in your hands. Your house may not be known for their gallantry, but you do not show fear like some sniveling Hufflepuff, and besides, you were the role model for all the younger girls and boys in those times (if not quite the kind of role model Dumbledore would have had in mind).
But you will not lie to yourself. You were scared, frightened almost out of your wits, if a Slytherin can ever be called witless. And you knew what you wanted to do. Your house was taught from age eleven to look out for yourself above all.
And this was good advice, for other houses looked down upon you, and not even another Slytherin would help you without some motive of their own. That's just how it was.
And, after all, you were only seventeen. You were young, and in the middle of a war, and you could see that your younger brother Paul over in Ravenclaw looked bloodthirsty (and for which side, who could know?), and you were terrified.
So really, it should be understandable that you shrieked, "But he's there! Potter's there! Somebody grab him!"
Because what is one life weighed against so, so many? And your own, that most precious of all, that you had fought so long and so hard to be able to control… that was at stake too.
But no one seems to care very much about that, because you are a traitor- and while the Light may not kill you like the Dark Lord would, at least it would be over.
You would not be lying here in the dark, wishing you'd snuck back to die with Paul in the Final Battle instead of fleeing with the rest of your house. At least you'd be a hero.
Except Slytherins aren't heroes, because to be a hero you have to be brave to the point of stupidity, and that is something you will never, never be able to do.
You finally stand up and go to wash your face.
You dress in your plain black slacks and plain white blouse and rub your nose hopelessly as you look in the mirror. There's nothing much you've ever been able to do about it, and you certainly can't afford plastic surgery now.
What is vanity now, when people throw tomatoes at you in public?
And it's off to work for you. You're a waitress at the Leaky Cauldron, of course, because what could be more demeaning to you, the proud, proud Slytherin princess, than serving the people who burned your world to ashes with a smile?
Not to mention the prissy Hufflepuff barkeep. Abbot has always annoyed you. Little suck-up.
Eight A.M. (Nine, ten, eleven.)
The war heroes come through the pub sometimes, but nothing changes day to day. Potter tries not to stare, Weasley sneers, and Granger gives you a vapid smile, probably because she believes in "redemption" through hard, humiliating work. Longbottom and Loony Lovegood ignore you, although Loony did try to give you a butterbeer cap "to protect against Nargles" once.
That girl's a crazy one.
Weaselette has a more vindictive streak than the others and enjoys tripping you when you have your arms full of drinks.
People say that the taste of vengeance is bittersweet.
So maybe someday, someone will get to the bitter side and realize that hey, Pansy Parkinson is a human being, too, and made a mistake just like tons of people do every day.
You won't hold your breath.