Title: The Seasons Have Changed And So Have We
Author : icicle33
Warnings: AU, post war, angst, girl love, boy love, adult language, fluff
Word Count: ~ 3000
Pairing(s): Hermione/Pansy, Harry/Draco, mentions of past Hermione/Ron
Summary: Hermione let the love of her life slip away for all the wrong reasons. A year later, older and wiser, she has the chance to make things right.
Author's Notes: This was written for the HP femmefest on livejournal. This is a getting back together fic with the main pairing being Hermione/Pansy and the side pairing being Harry/Draco. Hermione and Pansy had a secret relationship in 8th year but broke things off at the end of the year. A year later, this is their first meeting, and Hermione is desperate to win Pansy back.
Hermione looked at herself in the mirror and frowned. No matter how hard she had fussed with it, or how many straightening potions she had put in it, her hair was starting to frizz. And her complicated updo of swept up curls and waves was still the slightest bit crooked. Oh well, at least her dress, a form fitting royal blue gown, looked spectacular. She had spent more than a month's wages on the designer gown, but looking at the way the dress hugged her body in all the right places and hid her flaws, she decided the hefty price tag had been worth it. Besides, it wasn't often that Hermione splurged. Never really. And tonight of all nights, she needed to look fantastic, stunning. Hopefully, this dress would do the trick. Even if her hair was far from perfect.
"Hermione...are you ready yet? We're going to be late." Harry walked into her bedroom, dressed in handsome grey dress robes, and smiled. "Wow," he said, his eyes wide behind his long fringe that he hadn't quite managed to tame either. "You look—"
"Amazing? Gorgeous? Successful?"
Harry chewed on his bottom lip. "Yes, to all those things. But I was going to go with stunning...or perfect."
Hermione blushed, tucking a loose curl behind her ear in order to hide her embarrassment. "Not perfect," she said, after a pause. "My hair's a disaster." She sighed. "But there's nothing to be done about it now. I was never very good at Glamour Charms. Not like—"
Noticing her distress, Harry walked up behind her and placed his arms around her waist, his head on her shoulder. Watching their reflection in the mirror, stirred a sharp pang in her chest. They looked so beautiful together, the perfect couple, as the entire wizarding world had speculated for years. But nothing could be further from the truth. Merlin knows her life would be easier, infinitely easier, if her and Harry were a couple, or if things had worked out with Ron. Yet, as always, Hermione had chosen the most difficult path. Her fickle, fickle heart wanted the last person she should ever be with, the last person she should ever want, her former childhood bully and mean girl. Pansy bloody Parkinson.
"You are breathtaking, Hermione. I'm going to have the most beautiful date there and everyone will be jealous of me. Now, let's go. Please. We're already half an hour late and it's not like you to be—"
"Tardy? I know." Hermione sighed again and leaned into Harry's embrace. "I'm just so nervous. What if she? I just can't."
"You can and you will." Harry kissed the top of her forehead and released his embrace. "Come on." He pulled her by the arm and started dragging her towards the Floo. "I don't want Draco to be pissed by the time we get there. He's probably already three drinks in. You know he can't hold his liquor."
Hermione squeezed Harry's hand and offered him a weak smile. "Okay, I'm ready."
When they reached the Ministry Gala, and only the cloakroom at that, Hermione's chest tightened and her hands began to shake. She thought that she could do this, thought that she was ready to face her mistakes head on. But now, she wasn't so sure. Closing her eyes, she gripped onto Harry's arm much too tightly, trying to compose herself and taking deep breaths as he led her into the hallway.
"Hey relax," Harry said, resting his head on top of hers. "Why are you so scared, love?" He pressed another kiss on her forehead and then bent down to whisper in her ear. His soft lips tickled her earlobe. "We defeated bloody Voldemort. Tracked down and destroyed his Horcruxes. And even rode a sodding dragon. Don't tell me you're afraid of a girl, a rather small one at that?"
Hermione blinked and released her grip on Harry's arm. "But—"
"No buts, 'Mione." Harry shook his head. "I guess Ron was right. He always said you were too much of a swot to be a Gryffindor. That safe Hermione, who always hides behind her books, should have been a Ravenclaw." He pursed his lips and then schooled them into a smirk. "Or perhaps even a Hufflepuff. Definitely not Gryffindor material."
"How dare you?" Hermione huffed, outraged that Harry would say such a cruel thing. "Of course, I'm a Gryffindor. And a whole lot more Gryffindor than Ronald. I'm plenty brave." She straightened out her shoulders and lifted her chin. "After all...the only thing to fear is fear itself. I-I—"
Harry laughed, a deep, throaty chuckle, and Hermione couldn't help but scowl. She narrowed her eyes at him and smacked him upside the head. "You tricked me, Harry Potter. That was a horrid thing to do...an awfully sneaky thing to do. A—"
"Bloody Slytherin thing to do," a familiar voice drawled behind her. Snapping her head around, Hermione was met with cool grey eyes that were much too amused for her liking.
"Malfoy," Hermione spat, her voice flat and eyes narrowed. "This...is your fault. You're rubbing off on Harry. And in the worst possible way."
Malfoy snorted and then twisted his lips into his own devilish smirk, mirroring the reflection on Harry's face not even moments before. "Potter was wicked way before he met me. I promise you that. You should hear the things he wants me to—"
"Hey!" Harry interrupted, pouting his bottom lip like an insolent child. "Stop talking about me like I'm not here." He walked over to Draco and placed a chaste kiss on his lips. "No one corrupted me," he insisted, turning his head towards Hermione. "And you, Mr Malfoy," he looked Draco up and down appreciatively, his eyes lingering on Draco's crotch a little longer than necessary, "look exquisite. Positively edible."
Draco preened and ran a hand through his hair. Unlike Harry, his hair was expertly slicked back with just a few loose strands framing his face. "Now, now, Potter. We're in respectable company. Sort of. That will have to wait." He raised an eyebrow at Harry. "Unless...there's a storage closet somewhere you might want to get acquainted with."
Harry's eyes widened and he parted his lips. Clearly, the two boys had forgotten her presence. "Absolutely," Harry purred. He grabbed Draco by the arm and bit down on his bottom lip, probably to keep himself from drooling.
Hermione cleared her throat. "Excuse me," she said, in her sternest and most authoritative voice, "and what about me? Harry's my date, Malfoy. He can't just abandon me."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Deal with it, Granger. He's mine now. Go entertain my date...why don't you? I was supposed to bring her another drink." He paused and creased his pale brow. "I don't know...perhaps twenty minutes ago. I can imagine she's quite angry. That one's always been a bit feisty, you know?" He smirked at her again, and Hermione wanted nothing more than to curse that smirk off his haughty face. "Go be a doll and fetch it for her. I know she's been dying to see you."
"I will not!" Hermione started to protest, but before she could finish, both boys had scurried down the hall, arms linked, and not even bothering to send a second look her way.
Hermione sniffed. "Honestly, how very rude. Those boys have appalling manners."
After several minutes and two rather enthusiastic internal pep talks, Hermione entered the ballroom. Harry and Draco were still nowhere to be found, so Hermione didn't have any other options but to face her fear head on. After all, the only reason she had agreed to attend this ball was at the prospect of seeing her. With her head high and shoulders back, Hermione walked through the ballroom and straight to the bar. If she was going to do this, to talk to her and tell her how she feels, then Hermione was going to need some liquid courage. She asked the bartender for a double shot of Firewhisky and somehow managed to gulp the whole thing down without spitting it out or choking to death.
As she placed the empty glass down on the bar, a cold hand touched her shoulder. "Impressive, Granger. Really impressive." She heard a chuckle behind her, a dark, little chortle that was all too familiar to Hermione. "The Granger I knew couldn't even swallow down half a shot of whisky...let alone a double."
Hermione gasped and spun around much too quickly, almost slipping on her long dress. Strong hands steadied her, and then she was met with steely blue eyes and a wicked smile.
"Careful, dear, you don't want to trip and ruin that pretty dress. It is quite smashing."
"Pansy," Hermione cried, her eyes unblinking and back pushed against the bar as she faced her ex-classmate and former lover.
"The one and only," Pansy drawled, in that cool, bored tone of hers. "Fancy meeting you here? And don't you clean up nice? Well, except for that hair. Did you fly here on broomstick?"
"I-I" Hermione was frozen to the spot; she wanted nothing more than to run away, but her feet and apparently vocal cords were stunned.
"Hmm, it seems you've gotten less eloquent since our last meeting." Pansy scowled and pursed her lips in that sour manner of hers she always seemed to make when she was annoyed, which was often. "No doubt all that time spent with Weasel and Scar face is getting to you."
"I-I don't talk to Ron any more and I know your friends with Harry now," Hermione blurted out, regaining control over her voice.
Pansy blanched and blinked at her. It was almost impossible to put that blank look on Pansy's face, so now it was Hermione's turn to look smug. Pansy was speechless, at least for a moment, which in Pansy's world was an eternity. Hermione took this rare opportunity to look her over, really look her over, as it had been more than a year since she had last seen her ex-girlfriend.
Pansy's dark hair was cropped short, a layered shaggy look that fell right below her ears. Back in school, Pansy had sported long, single-layered hair. Hermione found that her new hairstyle suited her beautifully, softening her features and showing off her elegant xylophone. But Pansy's hair wasn't the only thing that was different about her appearance. They had gotten together during their make up 7th year at school, and Pansy always paraded around in skimpy dresses and tight jumpers. For some reason, she had a kink for Muggle clothing. Right now, however, she was sporting the absolute opposite of those frilly outfits.
She was dressed in white from head to toe, which was surprising enough, but even more surprising was the fact she was sporting a tailored Muggle sports coat, cinched at her petite waist and flowing down her back in long tails. Underneath her sports coat was a tight white shirt and vest, topped off with a white bow tie—and of course, the top three buttons of her pressed shirt were left undone—a tantalising amount of cleavage visible. Hermione's favourite part of her ensemble though were her trousers—the same flawless shade of white as the rest of her suit—but oh-so deliciously tight. Hermione had never seen a pair of trousers that tight; they looked like they were painted on, and she wasn't really sure how Pansy could breathe in them. Hermione knew that Pansy had always longed to dress like this and express her true persona, but for Hermione's sake, she had held back and stuck to non-dyke wear when they were dating. Foolishly, Hermione had always been terrified of anyone finding out that they were a couple and worst of all that she was gay.
After a pointed silence, Pansy asked, "For how long?", which shook Hermione out of her thoughts.
Pansy sighed, obviously exasperated with Hermione in a matter of minutes. Their reunion was not at all going how Hermione had planned it. She had planned on whisking Pansy off her feet, not staring at her stupidly.
"Weasley," Pansy said, not bothering to hide the disdain in her voice, "how long have you stopped seeing him?"
"Well, we haven't been dating since the beginning of 7th year, you know that." Hermione chewed on her bottom lip and locked eyes with Pansy, trying desperately to find a hint of Pansy's feelings in her serious eyes. As usual, they were cold and expressionless. "But about a month after you...left," she said, her voice soft and pained, "I cut ties with Ron for good."
Pansy's eyes widened. "Really?" She stepped closer to Hermione, and Hermione swallowed, deeply, in an attempt to keep her composure. Having her ex-girlfriend, whom she still held a massive torch for so close, was unnerving.
Hermione nodded. "You were right. He was still in love with me...and he—" Hermione paused. "Well, he had been plotting to break us up. He was the one-"
"Who sent that anonymous tip to the Prophet about us?" Pansy's face darkened. "I knew it. I fucking knew it." Her face was murderous now and Hermione couldn't help being worried. "That freckled git is going to wish he'd never been born."
"Pans—" Hermione reached out and placed a hand on Pansy's arm, a deep shudder running down her spine at the familiarity of this touch. She had done this so many times before. "I'm sorry. So very sorry. And I was-"
"Scared. Yes, I know, Granger. I've heard it all before. I was there too." Pansy ran a hand through her short hair and scowled.
Pansy scoffed. "God, woman, just spit it out already."
Hermione narrowed her eyes into thin slits. As much as she loved Pansy, adored her really, and missed her desperately, that didn't change the fact that sometimes Pansy just made her want to wring her neck. Sometimes, she was just an utter cow. "I fucking miss you, okay. I made a terrible mistake. And I want you back." Hermione crossed her arms across her chest and curled her lips into a tight line. "There I said it. Are you happy now?"
Pansy grabbed her arm, much more forcefully than necessary, and pulled her close, her face only inches away. "Now, listen here, Granger," she hissed. "You were the one that ended things. You were the one that had a problem accepting that you're a filthy carpet muncher. Not me. I know who I am and I'm comfortable with it." She tightened her grip on Hermione's wrist, causing Hermione to wince. "You fucking miss me? Well, isn't that sweet? What do you want a parade from me? How does that change anything? Tell me. Tell me." Pansy was snarling now, her face contorting darkly and eyes blazing. Not that she would ever admit it, but Hermione was terrified, terrified of this tiny, Slytherin girl, who stood barely over five feet and was several inches shorter than Hermione.
"I'm different," Hermione said, keeping her voice as steady as possible.
"Because," Hermione insisted, her chest heaving now, "I'm not scared any more. I don't care what anyone thinks any more." She took a deep breath. "Not even my parents."
Pansy's eyes widened, staring at her like two sapphire pools, but she remained silent.
"That's right," Hermione continued. "I told them. Said I was in love with a girl and they would have to get used to it... their C of E be damned."
"No more buts, Pansy. I love you. And I don't care who knows it."
Without waiting for a response, Hermione shoved Pansy against the bar and devoured Pansy's lips. It had been so long since she last kissed Pansy, so long since she last kissed anyone, that she needed to make this kiss count, needed to prove she was serious. As Pansy tentatively kissed her back, Hermione deepened the kiss and tangled her hands in Pansy's hair, pulling her closer and kissing her hungrily. She put everything she had in that kiss—all her pent up frustration, her fear, pain, anger, passion and most importantly her love. And she prayed that it would be enough—that Pansy would finally believe her and grant her a second chance.
After what felt like hours, but was probably only seconds, they broke apart.
"Holy Salazar." Pansy's hair was mussed, black tendrils flying wildly around her head and her red lipstick was smeared, staining the sides of her mouth. Hermione thought she had never looked more beautiful.
"I love you," Hermione said, holding back the tears that were starting to well up in her eyes. "Please. I can't lose you again."
Pansy just blinked at her and then tried to flatten her wild hair. She looked around the room and chewed on her bottom lip when her gaze focused on something in the distance. Hermione turned her head to see what Pansy was staring at and her heart fluttered when she noticed Harry and Draco pressed against each other on the dance floor, arms wrapped around each other's necks and Harry's head resting on Draco's shoulder. Hermione sighed. If Harry and Draco had found a way to make things work, wizarding politics be damned, a just as unlikely couple as Pansy and her, perhaps even more so, then what excuse did they have? She held her breath and waited for Pansy's response.
"Okay," Pansy said, pulling Hermione close again and whispering in her ear. "I love me too. And you...I suppose. But we must do something about that hair, dear." She wrapped her hand in Hermione's, intertwining their fingers and smiled, a real smile that reached all the way to her eyes, not one of her usual half smirks or crooked grins. "Dance with me?" she asked, her usually steady voice uncertain.
Hermione let out the deep breath she was holding and returned Pansy's smile, feeling as if she could finally breathe again for the first time in months. "I thought you'd never ask."