“I don’t care how you do it, just do it!”
“Are you seriously raising your voice at me while you’re trying to get me to do something for you?” Pansy glared up at the blond from her seated position on the couch. “I thought your mother raised you better than that.”
That struck a nerve—she could see it in the way he stiffened and slowly turned around to face her. “Don’t you dare talk about my mother,” he hissed venomously. “You know the pressure I’m under!”
“No, Draco, I don’t.” She sniffed haughtily and rose to her feet, never breaking off her glare. “I don’t know, because you won’t tell me anything.” He opened his mouth to retort, but Pansy held up a hand, noting with surprise that he actually snapped his mouth shut again. “Unless the next thing you say to me is an apology, I’m not interested in hearing it. I’m not a bloody house elf, and I will not stand for being treated like one.”
She tried to move around him to exit the common room, but a gentle push sent her back into the cushions of the couch again, and Pansy gasped in indignation. Draco moved to stand in front of her, resting his hands on the back of the couch and effectively caging her between his arms as he leaned in.
“I’m sorry,” he told her softly, but Pansy knew him well enough to know from his tone that he wasn’t genuine. “I am under strict orders to keep my mission a secret, and I’m under a lot of stress to perform it to the complete satisfaction of… well, you’re not stupid, are you? You have long figured out who…”
Draco leaned in closer. “I can’t do this with those three Gryffindor idiots sniffing around for clues. I can’t do this without you keeping an eye on them. You know I can’t trust Crabbe or Goyle with this. It has to be you. You won’t let me down, will you?”
Pansy closed her eyes and let out a shaky breath. She knew he was manipulating her, and she hated herself for being so susceptible to it. “Fine,” she finally conceded. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Draco lightly brushed his lips over her skin and smirked against her cheek. “Thank you,” he murmured smugly in her ear before straightening his spine again. He left without sparing her another glance, and Pansy stared after him as he disappeared to the dormitories.
She had always considered herself to be considerably smart. It bothered her that she hadn’t been able to figure out what Draco was so busy with most days, though she guessed it had to do with the Dark Lord. What bothered her most, though, was that he wouldn’t confide in her. They used to be thick as thieves when they were younger, and now he would barely even look at her unless he needed something.
She felt cheap. Pathetic. To let him use her like this because for some idiotic reason she hoped it would help her get back in favour with him…
Wasn’t she just a stupid, stupid girl.
* * *
It took her about a week to think of a plan that wouldn’t make her feel like some dirty, pathetic, voyeuristic wench. The penurious, gangling ginger that had managed to take hold of the position of Potter’s best friend was her way in. He was the obvious choice; the Mudblood was far too clever to be tricked, and Potter himself had somehow become rather popular overnight, meaning he was surrounded by young, female admirers pretty much all the time.
It had to be Weasley, sick as it made her. She wasn’t going to hang back after class or follow him around the corridors of Hogwarts. She was too good for that sort of behaviour. There had to be another way, a better way—one that didn’t make her seem like some love-obsessed teenage girl, yearning for the lowly blood traitor in the name of forbidden love.
And she had found a better way; something she had once read in a very old book that her grandmother had once given her about ancient magical rituals, long forgotten by most of the wizarding world now that everyone was in the possession of wands and magic was accessible at the literal tip of one’s finger.
Catoptromancy was the answer—a form of Divination by using a mirror. Thanks to questionable notes left by various maternal ancestors, she knew how to tweak the ritual to gain access to Weasley’s sight in real-time without him ever finding out, if she played her part well enough. It was perfect—that way she could see what he and his friends were up to without having to leave the comfort of her dormitory.
Pansy smirked, feeling rather pleased with herself. She studied the silver Victorian hand mirror she had bewitched; admiring the intricate floral engravings on the back. If this all worked the way her maternal ancestors had described in their notes, this might just be her proudest achievement yet.
* * *
“Put your potions away, everyone. You all did good work today. I wish you all a pleasant weekend.” Professor Slughorn strutted back to the front of the classroom, quickly collecting some of his belongings before disappearing into the adjacent office.
Pansy deliberately packed her bag slowly while Zabini stored away the concoction they had been working on for the past two hours. Weasley was laughing with his Gryffindor chums, packing his own bag rather slowly as well. Clearly, the buffoon couldn’t focus on two things at once…
Zabini wordlessly pushed past her and stalked out the classroom, following after Draco, Crabbe and Goyle, leaving Pansy alone with Weasley, Potter and two other Gryffindors she didn’t care to remember the names of. Carefully positioning her wand, she fired a Severing charm at the seam of Weasleys worn, leather bag, tearing it and causing his books to fall out.
“Bloody hell! That’s just rotten luck…” Weasley bent down and started inspecting the damage on the bottom of his bag. “It’s fine, mate, go on,” he told Potter over his shoulder. “I’ll catch up with you in a bit. Save me a seat, yeah? And some pudding!”
The Gryffindors exited the classroom as Weasley repaired his bag, and Pansy moved forward, quickly checking that Slughorn was still in his office.
“Maybe that’ll teach you to invest some money into your belongings, Weaselbee,” she sneered in her most unpleasant voice. “Vintage is only acceptable when it was expensive in the first place. You just look like a bum.”
The redhead rose and spun around, his ears rapidly turning red from anger—or embarrassment, Pansy really didn’t care. He opened his mouth, undoubtedly to snap back some half-witted insult, but before he could form the words she lifted her hand and blew the mirror dust from her palm into his eyes.
Weasley stumbled backwards and tripped over his book bag, furiously rubbing his eyes with both his hands. Taking advantage of his momentary ocular handicap, Pansy drew her wand to make sure the ginger idiot would never remember their encounter.
The movement of his hands slowed down, indicating confusion over what had just happened, and Pansy quickly moved past him and out of the classroom. She rushed through the corridor and slipped inside the girls’ lavatory on the ground floor, where she unclasped her bag and took out the hand mirror.
In the mirror she saw two hands clumsily shoving books into a bag before closing it. The bag was lifted off the floor and the mirror showed a view of the classroom, then the door, and then the corridor.
Pansy smirked and put the mirror back into her bag.
Proudest achievement yet, indeed.
* * *
It didn’t take long before Pansy realised she had made a grave miscalculation.
She had never really taken the time to get to know any of her classmates from other Houses—least of all the Gryffindors. Draco hated them, and her ancestry dictated that she herself should hate them as well. She was of a Sacred Twenty-Eight family, after all—a family that still actually mattered, unlike that of the impoverished redhead she had unwillingly gotten to know a lot better over the past few months.
The spying had begun as a sporadic activity. She only checked when Draco wanted to leave the Slytherin common room to go wherever it was he went when he was gone, informing him what Weasley was doing and whether or not Potter and the Mudblood were with him. Then she had started checking at random times, just because she could. Soon, she briefly peeked at the ginger's life every day, telling herself it was just to make sure she was prepared for Draco's questions.
It was sad, really, that deep down she knew that she was lying to herself.
She could look down on Weaselbee all she wanted, but she couldn't deny that somewhere along the way, her opinion on him had changed. He was dirt-poor, everyone knew that, but somehow he was also rich in ways that Pansy never realised she desired.
Even when he had started dating that ditzy Brown girl—or perhaps especially when—Pansy couldn't get herself to stop from watching through his eyes, into his life. It had become some sort of disgusting addiction, to see him live that pleasant, warm social life she did not have herself. Though it sometimes made her angry with envy, she also drew a certain comfort from watching.
Weaselbee was disgustingly loyal to his friends, even to Mudblood Granger when she had stopped talking to him for weeks and weeks. He would walk into the Gryffindor common room one night—admittedly a cozy place—to find her asleep at one of the tables, surrounded by books. Instead of taking the opportunity to quietly slip past her and to his dormitory, he had conjured up a blanket and gently covered her with it, risking waking her up to undoubtedly have her unleash another flock of canaries at his face.
It was sweet. It was something Draco would never do for her.
Pansy dropped down on her four-poster bed after closing the curtains to hide herself from the curious stares of her dorm mates. She had her own friends, of course. Daphne had been her best friend since the very first moment they had walked into this dormitory together, that night when they had first arrived here as ickle first-years. Millicent, though man-like in looks and not terribly bright, was not such bad company either. Then there was Theodore, who might not quite be her friend, but he was a nice guy to study with.
And, of course, she had Draco.
She was really unsure of the current extent of their relationship. As children they had been inseparable. They had known each other even before being accepted to Hogwarts, and Pansy was sure both their parents had been overjoyed when they had immediately taken a liking to one another. They were much alike; they understood each other with very few words and sometimes with a single glance. It was a shame she had to go and ruin it by falling in love with him during fourth year. Draco had seemed flattered and receptive at first, but given the change in his behaviour after the end of their fifth year, Pansy was sure he no longer felt the same.
In a way—and she would deny ever thinking that, even just to herself—she wished Draco was more like Weasley. She could tell from the way he often stared at her that Weasley had developed feelings for the Mudblood. What little she knew about them, Pansy knew that Weasley and Granger had a very similar relationship to her and Draco when they had been younger; they had always been very close. She didn't know Granger well enough to know if she returned Weasley's feelings, but given her ice cold behaviour ever since Weasley had started dating Ditzy Brown, Pansy guessed she felt the same, at least subconsciously.
Pansy sighed and positioned the mirror in such a way that she could watch while laying down. Watching him play chess was a nice thing to fall asleep to.
* * *
Things came to a screeching halt when Weasley ended up in the hospital wing after allegedly having been poisoned. She had glanced at the mirror a few times—mostly out of habit, at this point—but the glass remained black. There was nothing to see.
She had strong suspicions that Draco was behind this. It might have been intentional or an accident, but Pansy realised that she was angry with him all the same. It was not something she could communicate, of course—explaining this, and she had no idea where to even begin, would almost be like voluntarily signing up to take up permanent residence in the loony ward of St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. It was utter madness no matter how she looked at it.
At the same time, she felt guilty, which was an even madder thing. It was not as though there was something she could have done when it had happened. She had been nowhere near Weasley, nor would she have felt comfortable doing anything even if she had been. They were of different worlds, and they weren't meant to interact. Not like that.
Still, Pansy could not shake the feeling that she had somehow failed Weaselbee. It was that feeling that led her to visit the Infirmary when everyone else was having supper in the Great Hall. Potter and Granger sat with Weasley's sister at the Gryffindor table, and Ditzy Brown had apparently not left the Gryffindor tower in days, though no one knew why.
Weasley was terribly, terribly pale; he almost seemed to have melted together with his white bed sheets. His orange hair and freckles provided a stark contrast, only accentuating how little colour there was in his face. Pansy hesitantly shuffled closer to the bed, her eyes scanning his skinny form. She stood at his bedside for a few minutes, unmoving and silent, taking in the face she had inhabited for months but never looked upon.
Without being fully aware of her movements, Pansy lifted a hand and softly stroked a few ginger-coloured strands of hair from his forehead, but then she suddenly realised what she was doing. She spun around and ran from the hospital wing, through the corridor and out the great double oak doors that separated the Entrance Hall from the Courtyard outside.
Pansy didn't stop running until she had reached the Black Lake's shore. After a moment of catching her breath, Pansy reached into her bag and took out the Victorian hand mirror she had grown questionably fond of these past few months. Without allowing herself even a second of doubt, she firmly took hold of it and smacked the mirror's surface onto a lakeside rock, shattering it into a thousand little shards of glass before tossing the pretty silver thing into the water.
Enough was enough. She couldn't do it anymore—she could no longer question herself and her relationships just because some inferior boy seemed to have it better than she did. Doing this thing for Draco, whatever he needed it for… it was just not worth it anymore. He would have to find another way to keep an eye on Potter's trio. She was done going out of her way for him.
Straightening her posture, Pansy exhaled slowly and turned around, calmly making her way back to the castle. She felt a lot better now that she had cut herself loose from whatever Draco was doing.
Maybe, just maybe, she wasn't so stupid after all.