At first, Pansy felt nothing.
Her mother showed her men in magazines, trying to evoke a response from her. When Pansy admitted that she got no pleasure from looking at the men, her mother had assured her that it would come with time.
The feelings never came.
Pansy was twelve when the two walked down Diagon Alley, grabbing supplies for Pansy's next year at Hogwarts. Two men had been walking down the street, hand in hand. One of them had lilac colored hair.
Pansy had pointed them out to her mother, wanting to ask if she could dye her hair like that.
The words had died in her throat as her mother had tried to tug her to the opposite side of the street.
"Look away, Pansy," she had sneered. "They aren't normal. We should have killed them off when we had the chance."
The lilac-haired man's face would haunt Pansy for years to come.
She might not have cared, had he looked sad or angry. She was used to people looking at her like that.
No, she saw only pity in his expression.
Like he knew.
Like he knew she would grow up to be like him.
When she got back to Hogwarts, Pansy threw herself on Draco. They had grown up together, after all, and these things were expected of her.
Her mother had been relieved. Pansy was normal after all.
But just below the surface, behind the winged liner and the expression of disgust, Pansy was ready to explode.
Pansy had never grown up with much affection. She was a means to an end, a way of continuing the Parkinson line, and so long as she did what she was told, her parents paid her no mind.
So when Daphne Greengrass hugged her at the train station, well of course she enjoyed it. It was perfectly normal to crave affection, and the warmth Pansy felt was to be expected.
But when they all sat on the couch in the Slytherin Common Room that night, Pansy realized her mistake.
To her right, there was Draco, and the warmth of his body provided a small comfort to her. But to her left, there was Daphne, and the place where their thighs touched felt like it was on fire.
They fell asleep, one by one, until Pansy was left staring at the dying embers in the fire place. It eventually died out completely, and a newfound chill hung in the air.
But Pansy continued to burn.
Her fifth year, Pansy stood atop the Astronomy Tower with her class and Professor Sinestra.
She was dissociating again, a nasty habit she had picked up. Life went on, as it did, but Pansy felt like she was underwater.
She leaned forward, looking down at the ground. Pansy wondered how much a drop from that height would hurt. She went to place her hands on the magical barrier Professor Sinestra always put up, only to be met with open air.
The back of her robes caught, and Pansy turned to find that Draco had caught her just in time. Wide eyes stared into her own, and Pansy offered him a shaky smile.
"I guess I didn't realize the barrier was taken down, huh?"
"No," Draco agreed, "pay more attention next time, would you?"
"Whatever," Pansy spat, her smile widening. Draco accepted her unspoken thanks with a nod, turning back towards the front.
Pansy wondered whether she would have leaned so far over the edge of the Tower had she known the barrier was down.
Yes, she realized, she would have.
When Daphne found out she had almost fallen the next day at breakfast, she had embraced Pansy with all her might.
"Don't scare me like that again," Daphne had scolded her, "would it kill you to pay more attention? Seriously, Pansy, you could have hurt yourself!"
Pansy had buried her face in Daphne's shoulder, fighting off the urge to scream.
I know! She wanted to wail. I know, and I don't care!
But Pansy just held on tighter, swallowing the words she so desperately needed to say.
The hug was going on for too long, Daphne was clutching her like she would never let go.
They know, the little voice in the back of Pansy's head told her. They know your secret. They know you're not normal-they're figuring it out this very second.
Pansy pulled away like Daphne had shocked her, purposefully ignoring the hurt that flashed through her friend's eyes.
"I have to go," Pansy muttered, pushing away from the table and exiting the Hall.
Her seventh year, Dean and Seamus were caught kissing in the corridors.
Pansy was surprised that the two of them were together. Then again, the label "as close as brothers" never quite fit them.
She wasn't surprised, however, when the Carrows tortured them that night.
The Slytherin dormitory was in the dungeons, and Pansy could hear the screams echo through her room. She'd never known the pair well enough to distinguish between the two voices.
Pansy could almost imagine the two, lying hand in hand, stealing kisses between the curses.
Would she have done the same? Given up everything if there was someone with her to give it up for?
No, Pansy decided. She wasn't brave enough for that.
So she followed her roommates' leads, casting a Muffliato around her bed and falling into a fitful sleep.
Pansy stood in the Great Hall, echoes of Voldemort's voice still bouncing off the walls.
"We should just turn him in!" Pansy informed the group. "If we turn in Potter, he'll leave the rest of us alone! Someone grab him!"
In a moment, dozens of wands were pointed at Pansy, disgust and contempt contorting everyone's features.
Good, Pansy thought. They should hate her. It'd make it easier, anyway, once they found out what she was.
She was ushered out of the Hall with the majority of the Slytherin House, following the crowd like a sheep.
Noticing a bathroom out of the corner of her eye, Pansy slipped away, drawing no attention to herself.
She stared in the mirror for a moment-dark hair and darker eyes, a pug nose and a caramel complexion.
Pansy was indifferent towards her appearance.
Once she was sure the hoard had passed, Pansy ducked out of the bathroom.
Her wand clattered to the ground and Pansy stepped on it, hearing a resounding crack that filled her ears.
The finality of her decision washed over Pansy all at once, but she didn't have time to think anymore.
After all, in the carnage, who would notice another body?
Pansy brushed a stray hair out of her face, making her way through the crowd. Her body had gone numb, and only muscle memory carried her forward.
She caught Seamus' eye, a mask of anguish on his face.
Sorry, she mouthed, as if one word could make up for years of cruel remarks, as if the fact that he got to see her without a sneer on her face would somehow redeem her.
She mouthed the word anyway.
Slowly Pansy turned her head, finding a Death Eater only a foot away from her.
She stared at the jet of green light heading straight for her chest, and slowly Pansy smiled.
And then she felt nothing.