Fandom: Harry Potter
Character(s): Draco Malfoy, Blaise Zabini, Pansy Parkinson
Prompt: 'I'd like post-War friendship (a Slytherin Golden Trio), where they are struggling to find their places after the War. Preferably Draco's POV.'
Word Count: 1261
Author's Notes: With thanks to such_heights for the beta and to our mod for the extension. I've never written these three before so it was something of a challenge, but in a good way. I hope!
Summary: Victory and defeat have different meanings for different people. Draco, Blaise and Pansy find their own definitions.
Afterwards, the months following the battle blend into one whirl of chaos and worry. Draco’s father is quiet and still while his mother plays politician, all charm and ice. There are trials, arrests, investigations and enquiries. He has an almost civil conversation with Potter after Snape’s funeral, as they boggle over the thought of Snape and Potter’s mother being little Potions geeks together at school, and more importantly, Draco gets his wand back. Potter sends Draco’s mother his regards with an odd quirk to his lips and she curses Potter’s name when Draco tells her. Draco begins to believe that normality may eventually return.
He feels a little guilty about moving out, with his parents still so fragile and their situation remaining so precarious. They, on the other hand, seem intent on encouraging him, which seems at odds with the way they’d all but clung to him in the immediate aftermath. He watches the way they throw themselves into the task as if they need something mundane to distract themselves from the rest of their lives. His father is practically under house arrest, but some judicious use of a penseive and an artefact of dubious providence, that allows the memories to be projected into the room letting them view flats together from the comfort of one of Malfoy Manor’s many lounges.
The flat he chooses in the end is spacious and airy, as far from the tapestries, brocade, velvet and history of his childhood and schooldays as it’s possible to go. There are three bedrooms and Blaise commandeers the largest one instantly. They hadn’t discussed living together at all, but Draco’s grateful that he’s not been allowed to live alone with his penance. Sometimes when he’s alone in the flat he finds himself wandering the empty rooms, thinking of the two people he expected to inhabit them (always by his side, but no more) who now never will. One mouldering beneath the earth, the other mouldering in a cell, while he has walked free unable to save either of them. Draco rarely finds himself alone in the flat for any length of time, however, finding himself meeting old school friends or visiting his parents whenever Blaise is absent. They never discuss the issue; they both have their pride, after all.
He likes to drop in unexpectedly on his mother, especially if his father is at the Ministry negotiating furiously for his freedom, knowing all too well the feeling of a house too big and quiet. One such afternoon he Apparates into his old room and hears voices downstairs, along with an unfamiliar sound that it takes him a long moment to recognise as his mother’s laughter. Coming down the stairs he finds his mother’s visitor taking her leave and for one heart-stopping moment he thinks the woman in the hallway is his aunt Bellatrix. In the next moment she looks up at him and with her warm smile and sad eyes he realises that this is his mother’s other sister. In the wake of Andromeda’s departure, his mother looks so vulnerable, so guilty, so lonely, so unlike his mother that it’s the easiest thing in the world to vow secrecy. As he listens to her hesitantly babble about his aunt’s tiny nephew, trying to put aside her double prejudices, he realises how much of his mother’s family have died in this war, how alone she must have been when he was growing up. One sister banished and the other in Azkaban. She pauses suddenly in mid-stream and her hand on his cheek is a shock for all its unaccustomed gentleness.
“I despise Molly Weasley for many reasons, however, I cannot hold Bella’s death against her, had Bella threatened you…” she draws a long shaky breath, “I would hate you to doubt me as Pansy doubts her own mother.”
He thinks of Pansy, who led her classmates safely through the Forbidden Forest expecting the Death Eaters to welcome them with open arms. Whose only thanks had been for her own mother to turn Crucio on her for not staying in the castle to fight her former classmates. He could almost laugh at his mother, who defied the Dark Lord for his sake, fearing his disapproval. Instead he puts his own hand on her cheek and tells her that he’s never doubted that her decisions are always right. Her rare smile is reward enough.
When Draco arrives home that night instinct makes him take the stairs rather than Apparate straight into the flat. He’s beginning to regret his decision as he mounts the final flight, until the figure sitting and smoking dejectedly on his doorstep comes into view. Pansy will never be the most beautiful girl in the world, but to him she will always be a sight for sore eyes. She doesn’t rush to him as she once would have, they haven’t been boyfriend and girlfriend for a long time, but her smile at the sight of him is no less warm for how tired she seems. He’s missed her, he realises suddenly, her loyalty, her sarcasm, the soft heart she tries so hard to hide and the cruel streak to her humour. They exchange greetings and insults as he unlocks the flat to let them both in. Neither of them mentions the suitcase she was sat upon, not when he swings it up and into the flat nor when he dumps it in the spare room without a word.
By the end of the week they’re all referring to it as her room and she hasn’t said a word about the weeks of silence and shouting they all know preceded her arrival on their doorstep. Neither of the boys find they care too much, they’re just glad she’s there.
He makes them tea in their tiny kitchenette. The sound of two of his dearest friends (living, breathing, still here) talking quietly about nothing in particular is oddly comforting. Blaise has colonised the entire sofa in Draco’s absence and if Draco wants to sit down he’s going to have to make judicious use of his odd sock clad feet. For now, however, Draco’s content to lean in the doorway and nurse his tea. He’s still a little worried about Pansy, still too quiet and distant, curled up in her chair, legs tucked under her; where once they would have been slung over one of the arms, swinging nonchalantly. Her eyes are still red from not crying as she watches the sunset over the city without really seeing it.
“It’s strange,” Pansy says eventually, “we spent our whole lives waiting for this war, for this glorious victory our parents promised us and now its over. Before we even left school. I never particularly wanted to fight but I expected to feel some sort of shared emotion, the glory of victory or the despair of defeat. All the grown ups,” Draco finds himself smiling despite himself as she draws delicate air quotes with her fingers as she speaks, “on either side, just seem so tired now. This doesn’t feel like anything.”
Blaise drags a long laconic look across the room resting briefly on Draco in his doorway and Pansy in her chair before replying, “You’re alive, Pansy, we’re alive, our parents are alive. Merlin, bar Vince our entire class is alive. Feels like a victory to me.”
Looking back on all his fears during the war, Draco finds he’s willing to take this evening with two of his dearest friends as more of a victory than he ever expected to get.