"Pansy, can I talk to you for a minute?” Draco asked. He was doing his best to keep his voice even, to maintain the cool facade he was always forced to wear, but it shook ever so slightly. Pansy looked up from where she lay on the couch, her head in the lap of her girlfriend, Daphne Greengrass.
“Is something wrong?” She responded, tucking a strand of ink black hair behind her ear and narrowing her eyes in suspicion. She kept her eyes on Draco while he scanned the room nervously and twisted his ring.
“I, well, I just had a question about the transfiguration homework. I need help with the essay assignment, but I left all my stuff in the library. Walk with me to get it, would you?” It was obviously a lie, but only those close to him would know it. Pansy figured whatever Draco had to say to her was important, otherwise he wouldn’t bother her while she was hanging out with Daphne. After all, the two of them only got to spend so much time together before the other Slytherins came back to the common room and it was back to hiding their relationship. Nodding her head, Pansy stood up and gave Daphne a kiss on the cheek before walking over to Draco.
He led them out of the common room and started walking down the hallway in silence. Pansy followed, unsure of whether she should say anything or not. After a moment of consideration, she decided to keep quiet; Draco would talk when he was ready. After walking up several flights of stairs and down a corridor, they arrived at what seemed to be a plain wall. Pansy was about to ask Draco what the bloody hell he was doing, taking her to a wall when she was in the middle of a date with her girlfriend, when two large doors appeared on the wall out of nowhere. Pansy gasped and took a step back and stared at Draco with wide eyes.
Draco saw her look at him, but he simply opened one door just enough for both of them to slip inside. As they stepped into the room, Draco released a breath he didn’t realize he had been holding.
“Draco, what is this place?”
“This is the Room of Requirement, it appears as whatever you need when you are outside of it. I found it earlier this year," Draco paused and shook his head, clearing his mind, before continuing. "But that isn’t why I wanted to talk to you, I just needed a private place to speak where I knew there would be no one lurking around and listening.”
Pansy surveyed the room, which looked very much like the Slytherin common room, only smaller. Like it was built for two people to share secrets and have discussions about things better left unsaid in the echoey hallways of Hogwarts. Out in the halls, one never knew who was around the corner, listening and observing. Draco sat down on a dark green velvet chair, and motioned for Pansy to sit in the one across from him. Draco took a deep breath before beginning.
“Pansy, I have something important to tell you, and I ask that you let me explain everything before you ask any questions.” Pansy nodded her head in response, and Draco took that as his queue to continue. “So you know that the legacy of the Malfoy family is the only thing that matters to my father. He will expect me to marry within two years of becoming a legal adult, as that is pureblood tradition. However, that is not…”he railed off. After taking a moment to find the words he needed to express his thoughts, he took a deep breath and set his hands on the arms of the chair, gripping them so intensely that his knuckles turned white. “That is not what I want. You know I have never been interested in romance or…physical intimacy. Not with boys, not with girls, no one. And, until recently, I thought I was the only one. But I was on my way to potions class when I overheard the Weasel's little sister mention a couple words I had never heard before: aromantic and asexual. She said something about one of her brothers—I think she meant the one with the dragon obsession—recently telling his family that he identifies with those terms. So I did some research. And, Pansy, what I found was, well, amazing." He formed a tight-lipped smile, and continued "There are other people who don't desire romantic relationships or physical intimacy, and it feels so good to know that I am not broken. I’m not the only one.” By this time, a few silent tears had slid down Draco’s cheeks. Pansy got up from her chair and walked over, sat down next to him on the large chair, and gave him a hug. At first he stiffened, but eventually he relaxed into the hug and his tears fell more freely.
This was a far cry from the cruel boy most people thought Draco was. The truth was that he always felt lonely, isolated, and as if he needed to live up to expectations. And both Pansy and Draco knew that when they left this room, Draco would be forced to play that role once again. Draco would have to marry and produce an heir, or he would risk losing his family and the protection from the Dark Lord that came with it—something that he could not afford.
“Draco, I am so glad you found out that you aren’t alone. It is a great feeling, I would know. And as happy as I am, I have to ask: what about your parents?” At that he looked up, sadness in his eyes.
“They can’t know. I will carry on as planned. Get married. Start a family.” His voice broke as he said it, and Pansy’s heart shattered too. She held him tighter, and felt a wave of pity for Draco, but also for all the people forced to hide who they are and live in fear because of it. After several moments passed, Draco wiped the tears from his face and moved to stand up, but Pansy pulled him back down.
“Just a few more minutes” she whispered. So they stayed huddled together in a single chair in the Room of Requirement, mourning the fact that neither of them would ever have the future they wanted.
20 Years Later
Draco showed up at King’s Cross station with his wife Astoria and son Scorpius. A few feet away stood Pansy and Daphne, hands clasped together, happy. An overwhelming sadness filled Draco, for he loved his wife, but not in the way she wanted to be loved. She craved romance, something Draco simply could not provide. In way, Draco was jealous of Pansy; her parents died in the Battle of Hogwarts. He knew it was a terrible thing to be jealous of, but it meant she was free. She got to marry the girl she loves and live the life she wants. But not Draco. He changed in many ways, such as moving past blood prejudice, and he helped bring some credibility to the Malfoy name, but when it came to his parent’s demands, he still felt like a scared little boy. So when the time came for him to marry and have a child, he did. He and Astoria were a solid partnership, neither of them could deny that, but they knew the life they were living wasn’t satisfying; the only reason they tried so hard was for Scorpius. He hugged his son goodbye and wished him good luck at Hogwarts, and turned to Astoria, one of the few people who knew Draco’s sexuality, and they started walking home. They laced their hands together in a loose grip, and a comfortable silence hung in the air. As they walked out of the station, Draco hoped for a brighter future where people would be more accepting.