Nearing the end of his seventh and final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Albus Severus Potter was exhausted, and he wasn't the only one. All of his friends were holding on by threads. He could barely remember the last time he had talked to Scorpius beyond, 'hey,' or even had the time to write letters to his parents, but at least he had her.
He walked through a nearly empty library toward the Restricted Section. Just the mere sight of her made his heart lighter. "You missed dinner." Coolly, he leaned against a bookshelf with his hands in his pockets.
Eva Teller, another seventh year Slytherin, quirked a half smile without her eyes ever leaving the pages of her book. "Keeping tabs on my whereabouts, are we, Potter?"
"Maybe," he replied, crossing the threshold.
"You're not supposed to be here," she said, as she watched his form approaching from her periphery. "I'd hate to take House Points."
"Who says I'm not?" He stood behind her chair and dangled a permission form in front of her face. Before she could say anything, he bent over and gave her a soft kiss. "You're studying too hard. Did you eat?"
She gave him another kiss back before saying, "A little. I stopped by the kitchens and grabbed a sandwich during my afternoon patrol before coming here."
Albus looked at his girlfriend with worry and knew the pressure she was under. N.E.W.T.s were less than a month away, she was a prefect, and on top of things, she didn't have the greatest home life. It was one of the many things that brought them together. So many hours entwined with one another discussing their hopes and fears, wondering if two broken people could heal each other. He knew in the grand scheme of things, his family drama was nothing compared to Eva's struggles with identity. Graduation was so close, and she still had no idea what the future held as a witch in a religious Muggle family. It hurt him to see her in pain, and he would do anything he could to ease her worries. Albus swore he'd end up nothing like his father. He'd be there for Eva in the way his father was never there for his mother.
"Come on. Let's move to the back where it's a little bit more private. We need to relieve some stress."
With a mischievous grin, she took his hand and waved her wand, causing all of her belongings to fly into her bag. He led her, almost at a run, to a corner of the library that was dark, dusty, and untouched. Far from romantic, unless you were bibliophile with a book fetish, but as teenagers without a place of their own, it would do. They hastily dropped their bookbags and robes onto the floor. Albus placed his hand upon Eva's hip and captured another kiss. He felt her smile as their mouths connected, and loved that he could make her feel this way. She was happy, and so was he. They could escape the bullshit of reality for even a few moments.
Their kissing became heated and hungry. Hungrier than either of them had been for actual sustenance. Wandering hands ached to feel warmth and pleasure, frustrated with the clothing between them. "Wait," Eva gasped. She pulled out her wand and cast several charms in quick succession.
Albus smirked at how adept she had become at privacy and contraception spells. "You're so sexy when you're being responsible," he whispered into her ear as his hand brushed the inside of her leg and slipped up her skirt, finding warm, wet fabric beneath his fingertips. Contrary to belief, men don't usually care what color or fabric panties were made of, but how quickly they could come off or be pushed to the side. His fingers found their way to her clit and began slowly rubbing small circles. Her breathy pants were music to his ears. If there was just one thing he could do right in the world, he'd be happy if this was it.
Eva shivered under his touch, rocking her hips yearning for friction. Her eyes fluttered open to find him still haphazardly wearing his tie with only a few buttons of his shirt undone. She made short work of relieving him of his clothing when she noticed a small glass vial hanging from a thin leather cord around his neck. Curiously, she touched the cool glass. "What is this?"
"A little project I've been working on," he began to explain as he pushed her shirt off her shoulders and onto the floor. Softly, he kissed her clavicle and unhooked her bra. "I made a new form of Euphorus." He then unzipped her skirt and pulled it down with her underwear. "It's more potent, stable, and more sense enhancing." When he stood up, he had to stare. They had been together for over a year, but every time he saw her undressed, it still took his breath away.
He then popped the top off the vial and tapped a small line onto the top of her breast. She watched curiously as he snorted the powder then lick the remnants off her skin. Albus filled his lungs with air, invigorated by the substance's effects. "Fuck, that's good."
"What else does it do?" Eva asked curiously. Growing up in the Muggle world, anti-drugs campaigns were beaten into every school child, and the dangers were subliminally hidden into children's television. Potions wasn't her strongest subject, and she couldn't even remember if Euphorus was even legal, though she couldn't deny her curiosity.
"It's fucking amazing. Like all your worries disappear. Your senses become heightened. You can see better, hear everything, every bit of food tastes like the best thing you've ever put in your mouth." He gave her another kiss, letting her taste the remnants on his lips. "It's just helped me a lot getting through the past few months. This, and you. I don't know what I would have done without you."
"I love you, too." Eva wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him deeply. Hesitantly she asked, "Can I try some?"
"Are you sure? I don't want you to feel pressured."
She nodded in consent.
He bit his lip and smiled. There was an immense curiosity he had if they were both on Euphorus during sex. He had never told her when he had been on it before, but those times she had uttered the dirtiest things to him. Screaming in ecstasy about how hard he was and how long he lasted. His cock hardened, excited to chase the sensation of innumerable shivers and explosions and happiness all rolled into one. He turned his free hand on its side and tapped a small amount of the powder onto it. "Just a little bit for now. I don't know what your tolerance is."
As a novice, she wasn't quite sure what to do. She placed her face to his hand and vigorously snorted the drug—which was a mistake. It choked and burned her insides, causing her to cough uncontrollably.
"You okay?" Albus asked with concern. "I should have told you not to snort so hard."
After the coughing had subsided, she answered, "I'm okay. I think I feel it working."
Albus leaned in closer to her naked form and kissed her forehead tenderly, happy she was willing to share this with him. He felt her fingers run down his sides and stop at his protruding ribs.
"Albus," she said concerned, "are you eating?"
"It's just stress. I'll gain it back when these damn tests are over. Promise." He pressed her up against the stacks, eager to make both of their worries disappear.
Trousers discarded, he slipped inside of her. They released a collective gasp as their bodies connected and the feeling set in. That feeling—the one that washes over you when you finally achieve satisfaction after long lengths of anxiousness and impatience—bliss. It was the type of sensation where all of your nerve endings tingle, even ones you didn't even know existed, and your mind was miraculously devoid of thought. There against that wall, with ancient books falling off shelves as they moved in unison, all of the pressures of the outside world were gone. It was just them and the feeling.
They had lost track of time in the library. As he predicted, the Euphorus had enhanced their stamina and longing. The young lovers relished every moment spent together, feeling a deeper connection than they ever had before.
"You're so beautiful." Albus couldn't help but admire the way her skin flushed pink and how her hair was splayed in every direction. He thinks that was the moment he fell in love with her. Sixth year. On the Platform, ready to board the Hogwarts Express, there she was, with her hair down. It was brown and lustrous, but not just brown. It was chestnut and chocolate and copper. The sunlight peered through the glass ceiling, highlighting everything he had been too blind to notice before. Now here, under him, in the minimal candlelight, all of those colors shone through, even with her roots soaked in sweat.
Her ocean colored eyes met his emerald ones. "I love you so much. Never stop."
Albus wasn't sure if she meant never stop loving her, or fucking her, but he planned on both. He pulled out and commanded, "Get on your knees."
He knew the high was fading. He wasn't ready for it to end. Everything was just so perfect.
While Eva changed positions, he reached for his vial. Albus attempted to tap a small amount on the back of his hand. She backed into him, ready for more, but his hands were shaky, and the bottle spilled the powder across her back.
"FUCK!" he panicked.
"What happened?" Eva turned her head to find out.
"Stay like that." He commanded. Irrationally, he proceeded to snort as much as he could. Potion ingredients were expensive and hard to deliver to the school without raising suspicion. He stayed there on his knees, waiting for the bliss. But something was wrong...it was too much...everything went black.
"Albus?" Eva whipped around, sensing something was wrong and let out a blood-curdling scream.
There he lay, face covered in white powder, naked and convulsing. She grabbed her wand as quickly as she could and reversed the privacy wards. "HELP!" she hollered with her wand to her throat, casting the Sonorous charm.
Not even concerned with either of their decencies, she checked his pulse and breathing. "Stay with me." She had learned CPR last summer but had no idea of what the magical equivalent would be. "Help!" she called again. While she waited for someone, she began chest compressions. "Wake up, Albus. Please. Wake Up."
"Where is he?" Albus's mother hollered, panicked as she flew into the hospital wing.
"Ms. Parkinson?" Eva stepped out from behind the curtain and ran to her. The two embraced, and Eva began bawling. "I'm so sorry. I didn't know. He said he made it. I didn't think it would do that to him. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
"Eva," Pansy tried to stay calm. "What happened exactly?"
The girl went scarlet but knew she had to tell the truth. "We were...together."
"So, you were having sex, and—?"
Eva was always surprised at how blunt Miss Parkinson was. The girl tried to be respectful but realized it was best to follow Pansy's lead and not mince words. "Before that, we took Euphorus. Albus made it into a powder form so that he could take it around with him. He said he's been taking it for months, but this was the first time he showed me, and I took some too. Albus said it would help us relieve some stress. And then during...sex…we...he wanted to take more, but it spilled, and he tried to take it all. And that's when it happened. I think I broke his ribs trying to save him."
Pansy clasped her hand over her mouth in disbelief. Desperate to see her son, she rushed to his bedside. He looked so frail and thin. His ivory skin was tinged with gray, and his soft features had sunken in, leaving his cheeks hollow and dark circles around his eyes. It appeared that the mediwitch had put him on some type of intravenous drip, most likely to flush out the effects of the drug and replenish nutrients. "Eva, how long has he looked like this."
Hesitantly, she answered, "It's been a slow decline, but became bad the past few weeks. I thought it was because of exams. We're all stressed and not eating well. I guess I didn't want to see it or was too wrapped up in myself. I should have noticed."
"Don't blame yourself. Go to the dungeons and get some sleep. I'm here now. If something happens, I'll get one of the elves to retrieve you, alright?" Pansy squeezed the girl's hand reassuringly. "You saved him."
The tears began to spill from the girl once again. Eva wasn't one of those girls who easily cried or even showed emotion, but Albus brought that out of her. "I don't know if I'll be able to sleep so far away from him. Maybe Madam Nightingale will let me stay here?"
"I'll make that happen. Just freshen up and get ready for bed."
Eva conceded. She walked to the unconscious Albus and kissed his lips. "I'll be back soon."
Pansy's heart swelled watching this sweet girl dote upon her boy. She had never imagined in a million years that a Muggle-born Slytherin would capture her son's affections and her approval on top of that. Eva was smart and driven and understood Albus in ways that others didn't. Pansy knew love when she saw it. As a mother, she was afraid that they had found such an intense love so soon in life, but they seemed to make it work. Pansy had hoped that Eva's love was enough to fill that part of her boy that was missing, but today's events proved that her broken boy would need to find the strength to mend himself.
She walked over to her son and traced his sharp nose, admiring how he hadn't inherited her small, upturned one. For years she had resented that feature and all the ridicule that came with it. Albus's nose was elegant, that combined with his sharp jawline and striking eyes, Pansy found solace that her son was a combination of the best of her and Harry both in features and resilience. "I don't know how you could put something so foul up this beautiful nose of yours. Oh, my beautiful boy, what have you done?"
The hospital doors swung open and hurried steps clacked against the stone floors.
"Albus." Harry took his son's hand on the opposite side of the bed.
"What are you doing here?" Pansy seethed.
"Pansy, don't start. I'm his father."
"When you want to be, or when your wife lets you," she scoffed. "Just leave. I've done this alone his whole life. We don't need you."
"For fuck's sake, Pans." Harry frustratedly pleaded with the mother of his child, "Can we save the arguments and finger-pointing until he's conscious? He's my son, too. And I need to be here."
"No, you don't. You weren't there when he broke his arm after falling off a broom trying to emulate you. You weren't there when he cried to me when your wife was cruel to him. You weren't there—ever." She seethed. "Why is it now, when he almost died, you are ready to be a father?"
"I have always been his father."
"Just fucking tell me what happened." He demanded. "Tell me, and I'll go as soon as he wakes up."
Pansy rolled her eyes, unhappy with the compromise, but decided to recall everything Eva had told her.
"How long have you known?" Harry accused. "How long have you known our son is on drugs?"
"Oh, that's nice. Just assume that I've been hiding his drug addiction from you." She clenched her jaw tightly, feeling a wave of guilt hit her. "I found something over summer, but I thought he was just experimenting. We all experimented when we were teens. How could we not? We made all these fantastic elixirs and serums that could make us feel anything and nothing. I know you can't say that you never tried anything."
Harry hung his head in shame, remembering the invincibility of Felix Felicis and the depression of mundanity when the potion's effects faded. "Months, you say?"
"That's what Eva said." She sat on the bed next to her son and began to stroke his long overgrown waves. A small smile crossed her lips, thankful enough of her genes had snuck in to offset the unruly Potter hair.
Albus sat up with a jolt and started coughing. Pansy quickly reached for a basin for him to wretch into. She smoothed his back and cooed soft, comforting words.
When he was done, he wiped off the sick with the back of his hand and laid back down. In a hoarse whisper, he asked, "Where's Eva?"
"She's fine. Just freshening up. She'll be back soon."
He grunted something beyond comprehension and fell back asleep.
Pansy vanished the vomit, and walked to a sink to wash her hands. Much to her dismay, Harry followed her.
"Jesus Fucking Christ, Pans," Harry stressed, "What are we going to do? It's hard to keep tabs on these things when we're so far away. We both know this school gives way too much freedom."
A tear rolled down her cheek, and she turned quickly to wipe it away. "Some of us are further than others."
He ignored the jab at his expense. "So what do we do? Rehab?"
"The N.E.W.T.s are too close. He won't get to graduate with his friends."
"Can Madam...what's the new mediwitch's name?"
"Does she have some sort of detox program? Or therapy?"
"Stop, Potter. Just fucking stop." Her voice was raised and irritated. "I haven't even come to terms that my son almost died and that his girlfriend saved him with brute strength. I'm not ready for what's next. Look at him for fuck's sake!"
"Our son needs a plan," he insisted.
"Can you stop with all the 'we' and 'our son.' He's mine. He's always been mine and just the two of us. You saw him. He woke up. Now go home to your wife."
A group of guests waited at a dock in Blackpool for the luxury yacht to pull into harbor. It all seemed a bit austere for an engagement party. Pansy Parkinson was shocked to see such a diverse mix of people. Purebloods, Half-Bloods, Muggle-Borns, and Muggles, all readying themselves to attend a private party at Crosslip Heights, Theodore Nott's ancestral home on a magically concealed island. She should have known this would happen when he decided to marry Hermione Granger. Quite the scandal the coupling caused. The workplace romance that dissolved the engagement of two-thirds of the Golden Trio. She smirked to herself, never having liked anyone from the Weasley family, and their self-righteous blood traitor ways. Oh, well. She guessed Theodore was in that category now, and as an extension of her support of the union to the Muggle-born, so was she.
There weren't too many people that she recognized in the crowd. It was no secret that some of the old Pureblood families didn't approve, but she had hoped to at least see a few people she knew. Perhaps they were all arriving late to minimize the interactions with the Muggles. She cursed herself for not having thought about that earlier.
Now, she was not in the least bit ashamed for turning up for a social event without a date. She was strong and independent, and honestly, it took the pressure off to entertain, so that she could network. It had only been a month that she received a promotion to senior editor at Witch Weekly, and she still had a lot to prove.
As people began to board, she held back, wanting to observe all the guests, and who she might want to interact with later. Hearing the multiple pops of Apparition, she knew the stragglers had finally arrived. The ship's horn blew, alerting all passengers to board. She greeted all her friends hastily as they embarked, but something compelled her to be the last one to board.
"Miss," the attendant said. "Time to go."
She nodded and walked up the gangway, looking to find no one there. With another sound of the horn, the ship left port.
A loud crack caught her attention. Pansy peered over the railing of the stern to see who it was, but they were already too far.
"Shit!" the dark figure swore as it stared at the departing vessel.
There was another loud crack of Disapparition, and in a split second, the Apparating figure had toppled her.
"I'm so sorry," said the bespectacled man. "Oh, shit. Parkinson. Forgive me."
"Potter," she replied curtly. "Going to help me up?"
"Of course. Sorry." He clambered off of her and held out his hand. The two had developed something of a cordial, social relationship since two of their closest friends had become a couple. Nothing really beyond niceties.
As she rose, she noticed the stunned attendant.
Harry looked at the young man, "Are you giving me that face because you're a Muggle or because I'm me?"
"Y-you're Harry Potter," he replied.
Potter nodded his head. "Ah good, I won't need to wipe your memory. Parkinson, can I get you an apology drink? After my fucking day, I really need one."
"What a way to charm a woman," she rolled her eyes. "Well, since Theo is paying for this, I know that the champagne and gin selection will be excellent."
He presented his arm, "You'd also be surprised what great taste Hermione has in whisky and cigars as well."
As the two walked toward the deck, she asked, "Where's the missus?"
Pansy noticed his stubbled jaw tense. "Tournament in the States. Going to be gone for three months, and she left me with the baby."
"And where is James?" she inquired politely to make conversation, despite her having minimal interest in children.
"With Molly and Arthur," he sighed. "They're wonderful grandparents, but I can't pull James from our home every time I have to work late or Ginny has to play."
"Sounds like you need a nanny."
"That's what I've said," frustration in his voice, "but she wants no part in it. 'What's the point of a big family if they can't help you out?' was Ginny's response. She's always gone, she has no fucking clue how confusing this is for him."
"You sound like you need that drink," Pansy insisted as they finally arrived at the bar.
They found their way toward another railing, overlooking the sea. Off in the distance, she saw the lighthouse illuminate, and gasped.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
With a smile, she answered, "It's just that Crosslip Heights hasn't lit the lighthouse since the Statute of Secrecy was passed. Over 400 years. I can't even believe it even works. The Notts have had their entire island cloaked for generations.
"Well, fuck. What does this mean for my department? I can't have an entire damn island appear out of nowhere for a night and disappear by morning," he said frustratedly.
She patted him on the shoulder, "The Muggles won't remember anything. They never do. They'll just think it was a trick or a passing cargo ship. They never notice what is right in front of them."
Harry took a sip of his whisky and smiled. "Well, that's true. I didn't even realize I was a wizard until I got my letter."
Pansy playfully slapped him. "See. They don't want to see or believe. It's not that they can't."
He clinked his glass with hers. "So you think this thing will have good food? I fucking hope so. Hermione has cycled through all these crazy ass food phases the past year. There was keto, then the Mediterranean Diet, then veganism, then she ate nothing but curry for two weeks straight."
Pansy couldn't help but chuckle, "Oh, that wasn't Granger, that was all Theo. I think they are passed all that."
During the journey, Pansy had forgotten entirely about her friends and networking. Talking to Harry was so easy, and he seemed happy to be talking about anything other than work and dirty nappies.
When the boat arrived at the island after it's short time at sea, they were overcome with the magnificence of the cliffside estate. There was still a bit of a journey from the docks to the home above. From the base of the cliff, everyone peered up to the stone and shell manor house illuminated by modern lighting, highlighting the magnificent architecture. Guests oohed and ahhed at the golden lanterns that levitated along the driveway and the carriages that awaited them.
Growing impatient at the wait for a carriage, Harry leaned into Pansy and whispered, "I think I might know a shortcut."
She quirked an eyebrow, fully aware that they both knew about various wards to prevent Apparition.
From the inside of his robes, he produced a small bag, reached inside of it, and pulled out a full-sized broom.
"Happen to have a second?" Pansy inquired.
"Fraid not," he replied. Harry mounted the broom and said, "Hop on."
Pansy gave him an incredulous look. "Potter, I'm in a cocktail dress."
"And I'm in dress robes," he grinned. "Can you transfigure it into a jumpsuit or a romper?"
"You know what a romper is?"
"I am married, you know. I even know the difference between an A-line dress and an empire waist." He beamed with sarcastic pride.
"Oh my god, you're gay."
He winked, "I assure you, I'm not."
So Pansy took her wand and transfigured the form-fitted red cocktail dress, with its thigh-high slit, into a sleek jumpsuit. It had been years since she had been on a broom. There really was no point once gaining her Apparition license. She mounted the broom and waited for Harry to levitate it.
"Hold my waist," he said to her. "Tightly. This thing has some kick."
She did as he ordered. His body felt warm against the biting sea breeze. It wasn't until that moment she realized she should have brought a cloak. The broom jumped with a jerk, and she found herself holding onto him even tighter. She could feel his firm muscles beneath the layers of clothing. He was definitely not one of those Aurors who stayed behind a desk getting fat.
"You okay?" he asked. "Are we going too fast?"
The wind was whipping her hair in every direction, and she could barely hear him. "A little."
"Don't worry. We're almost there."
They landed off to the side of the main guest drop off. Pansy took a moment to fix her dress and look at her appearance in the mirror. She had never been so thankful to have gotten a blowout with enhanced sleeking potions. All she needed was a bit more lipstick and to touch up her eyeliner. Potter, on the other hand, was a damn mess.
"Come here," she commanded, while rifling through her bag for some hair product. "Found it. Okay, now bend down."
She was a petite thing at only five-foot-two, while Harry only stood at around five-foot-ten, he was still tall enough to be out of her reach.
"I'm going to tell you, it's pretty unruly," he laughed.
"It's your genetics. It's why you're grandfather invented Sleekeazy's," she mentioned this bit of history so casually, "but this stuff is better. Let's go with the carefully disheveled look. Don't want you looking too poncy. It would make Draco and Blaise incredibly jealous. Voila. Take a look."
His pleased smile said it all. "Thanks."
"Shall we?" She asked, motioning to the flow of guests.
He produced his arm and replied, "We shall."
All of the guests piled into the manor's atrium, where Hermione and Theo were waiting for them at the top of the stairs. The moment the doors closed, Theo began speaking.
"To all our friends and family, thank you so much for attending. I know you're all expecting an engagement party—"
"Surprise!" Hermione held up a bouquet. "It's our wedding! We just couldn't see the logic in holding two big events."
The crowd gasped and tittered with excitement.
"For those of you going into fits about etiquette," Theo chuckled, "we don't want any gifts. Your presence is enough. And, of course, the Grangers know about this. Jean, Hugh, wave to the crowd. They were our accomplices."
"Oi! You robbed us of a stag party!" Blaise Zabini jokingly hollered from the crowd.
"And a hen-do!" Pansy added. Harry shook his head, pretending to be disappointed, and she just shrugged in response.
Hermione beamed, in all her bridal glory. "Clearly, this isn't a traditional wedding, so we are going to have a ton of fun. Please follow the lights to the ceremony. We'll see you soon."
"Hermione is going to be so pissed Ginny isn't here," Harry muttered.
Pansy didn't quite know how to respond to that. If she were here, she wouldn't have had him as company or have enjoyed herself as much as she had in the past hour.
"Miss Parkinson. Mister Potter," a younger girl addressed them, "I'm Cara, one of the wedding planners. Hermione and Theodore have special seating for you. Is Mrs Potter here, or your son?"
"No, they aren't. I'm by myself."
Pansy didn't know why, but that stung slightly.
"Please, follow me."
The Notts had a small chapel on their property, that had to be expanded with charms to accommodate all the guests. They had charmed the ceiling to look like the night sky, while silver lanterns floated and glittered above them. Pansy was thankful this wasn't an outdoor wedding, as the winds along the cliff had become even colder. She had been seated in the front row with Blaise, Draco and Astoria Malfoy, and Daphne and Graham Montague, where siblings would have been, had Theo had any. Two empty spaces were left for his parents. It was no secret that Theo's relationship with his father was strained, but there was something to be said about his capability to forgive, and still managing to find it in his heart to honor the man. She looked over to Hermione's side. A few seats in the front row were reserved for her parents and Harry. Also in attendance were Luna Lovegood and Rolf Scamander, Neville and Hannah Longbottom, and the only representatives from the Weasley family were Bill and Fleur, which Pansy couldn't help but find intriguing.
The hum of a string quartet alerted them that the ceremony was about to begin. The vicar led the procession, followed by Theodore, then Mrs. Granger escorted by Harry. Pansy had to respect Theo and Hermione for not messing with the annoyance of a bridal party or even the formality of tradition. If they hadn't done it first, she would have wanted to do it this way.
As the song changed, Hermione, escorted by her father, came down the aisle carrying a bouquet of white roses and calla lilies. She wore a simple satin sheath gown with a low back, with her hair was down in long, beachy curls. Pansy had to give it to her. Hermione Granger was killing the less is more approach to weddings. She and Theo most definitely had to give her an exclusive article for the magazine.
The ceremony itself was short and heartfelt. Theo's friends cheered at a joke about Slytherins going after what they want, including already engaged women, while Hermione made almost everyone cry when she thanked him for being the partner and challenger she never knew she needed until he came along. As the couple recessed down the aisle, followed by her parents, Pansy found herself being escorted by Harry once again. She couldn't say for sure, but she could feel the heat on her cheeks.
As the night went on, Harry and Pansy went their separate ways to mingle with their friends, but somehow kept finding their way back to one another. When the party was in full swing, and one too many glasses of champagne had been drunk, Pansy found herself craving the cold sea air. A bonfire had been lit, and around it, were cute little seating areas with warm blankets for guests to take in its warmth. One guest had already found refuge in one of the cozy spots.
He looked up and smiled. "You have too much to drink too?"
Pansy pinched her two fingers together. "Just a little bit. Nice wedding, huh?"
Harry snorted, "A shit ton better than my wedding for sure."
"Why do you say that?" she asked curiously.
"For one, no obnoxiously large wedding party. Two, professionals running the event, not some aunt's cousin's sister's best friend and their dog. Three, the timing feels right for them."
Pansy was about to say something, but Harry continued. The alcohol had dropped his inhibitions and loosened his lips.
"You know, Ginny and I married right after she graduated. We were both still in that, 'we could die at any time, so seize the moment,' frame of mind. Fuck we were so young. And then she gets pregnant when she was only a second-string player because she thought she'd never get to play. Now she's traveling around the world, I have a toddler, no nanny, and a career of my own. I think she resents me and James. I tell her how much we need her, and she tells me I'm not being supportive of her. I get it. I do. But I didn't choose this life by myself. She wanted to play house as much as I did."
She didn't know what had come over her. Pansy's lips were on his. They were warm and soft, and tasted of malt and tobacco. Her eyes opened and realized what she had done.
"I'm so sorry. I—weddings, right? They just make you all romantic, and the next thing you know, you're kissing a married man." She covered her face in embarrassment.
He laughed it off. "It's okay. You're a good kisser, but maybe we could both use some sobering potions? Maybe something for the champagne headache too?"
"You're probably right. I think I remember where the medicine cupboard is. It's been years, but I think I can manage."
Harry took her hand and helped her up. "You're hands are ice cold. Here, take my cloak."
"I'm fine, really." Surrounded in his warmth and his smell was the opposite of what she needed at that moment.
"Positive. Follow me. I think one of the upstairs guest bathrooms has what we're looking for."
Pansy did her best to keep her distance, or else she knew she would try something else stupid. This little excursion together was stupid in itself. She also needed to get out of her own head.
Commence rambling small talk.
"So...Granger and Theo must have spent quite a few galleons to renovate this place. It used to be an absolute dump. His father let the place completely fall apart. I hated coming here with my dad when I was a kid. Our fathers were business partners. I think they hoped we would marry, but Theo is such an absolute dork. Perfect for Granger. They'll have tiny half-blood brainiacs with gigantic hair."
Harry couldn't help but laugh. "I can see it already. Those brats will be insufferable."
"And so awkward. All gangly and bushy-haired until they hit their twenties. I mean, Hermione and Theo look fantastic now, but the ugly duckling phase was real."
"Oh, don't be so harsh. We all went through our phases."
"Speak for yourself, Potter. I have always known how to make myself presentable."
"Hmm...but I think in your case, it was more of the attitude that had to grow up. You're loads more tolerable now."
Pansy turned around and scoffed, "I don't know if I should take that as a compliment or an insult."
Harry shrugged, "How about both?"
She smirked and pushed a door open to reveal a huge white marble bathroom with nautical accents. "Ooh, this is new. Now to find the meds." Pansy opened every cabinet and found nothing but towels. "Potter, I think we're going to have to check another bathroom, or just summon an elf."
The door slammed shut, and the lock turned with a click. Pansy turned to see Harry putting his wand away and shrugging his cloak to the ground.
"Potter, what are you—" Before she could finish that sentence, his mouth was on hers, his tongue begging for entry.
She parted her lips, ready to taste him again. Whisky, cigars, and beard stubble. Harry Potter had grown from a specky git to a rugged man who knew what he wanted. He hoisted her onto the vanity counter and tried to settle himself between her legs, but the dress was too fitted and had zero give.
"You're going to have to take this dress off, or I'm going to rip it off." His voice was husky with want.
She jumped back down from the counter and looked him in the eye. "Potter, are you sure? Once we do this, there is no turning back."
He turned her around and began unzipping her dress. "Absolutely sure. Are you?"
The dress pooled at her feet, revealing that she hadn't been wearing any undergarments, just little nipple covers.
"This whole time?"
"Well, this dress isn't very forgiving, and I didn't want lines. So are you going to fuck me? Last chance to back out."
Harry bent over the sink and dropped his trousers in the blink of an eye. Pansy felt the smooth tip of his cock at her entrance, and watched his face in the reflection. He wanted her. He really wanted her.
"Hey, if my tits are out, you have to show yours too."
He laughed, "Fair is fair." Harry undressed and took off the last of his clothing.
"Holy fuck, you're ripped."
"Thanks for noticing." He bent over her and took off his glasses, and kissed her again.
He was teasing her, just letting his hard cock brush against her cunt as she got wetter and wetter.
Two could play this game.
She reached her hand between her legs and started rubbing her clit. "Are you going to touch me, or should I just take care of myself?"
"Show me." He stepped back and started stroking himself. Her plan had backfired, and the game continued.
The two pleasured themselves in front of one another until she couldn't take it any longer. Pansy pushed him down onto the soft bath mat and sank onto his cock. She gasped at the fullness and pressure. She wouldn't admit it, it had been a while since she'd been with a man. And that is what Harry Potter was—a man.
She loved how rough he was but could still surprise her with tenderness. It felt so good. Not just the sex, but someone to talk to and banter with. He was something that she would want and crave. This was dangerous. Pansy knew it had to end immediately.
"Come for me," she whimpered in her most seductive voice.
On command, his hips snapped vigorously until he had spilled completely into her.
Even his grunts and orgasm face were sexy. Pansy logged that memory for the next time she needed inspiration.
He fell on top of her and kissed her, hopefully for the last time. "Don't regret anything about tonight. I know I won't."
Pansy's chest tightened. That wasn't what she wanted to hear. 'That was fun,' or 'I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me,'—anything but that. He had done the worst thing. He had planted a seed of hope.
Two weeks passed, and Pansy had no word from Harry. Not that she expected to. He was a married man, after all. A married man with a child. She'd just look back on that memory with fondness, and have a little joke to herself every time Theo and Hermione celebrated their anniversary.
She sat at her desk going through next week's upcoming spread, making notes for the designers and copy editors. Her job was incredibly fast-paced, but she really loved that about it. Completely engrossed, a knock at the door caught her so off guard, that her quill punctured the paper.
"Damn it." She cursed when she couldn't mend it. "Come in."
To her surprise, it was him. In her office.
"Hi," she stuttered in response. "Fancy seeing you here."
Harry rubbed the back of his neck and nervously told her, "Um, yeah. One of your staffers contacted me for the DILF Issue."
Pansy tried to remain professional and not laugh, but she just couldn't. "I'm sorry. That's...Congratulations?"
Harry couldn't hide his blush. "Yeah, so I just had my interview and photo shoot with James. He just went home with the nanny."
She gave him a little smirk. "Well, I'm glad you got the help you needed."
He closed the gap between them, a desk still separating them. "I have to tell you something."
"Yes?" She said eagerly, goose pimples rising.
"I only agreed to the article because it meant I would get to see you."
Pansy clenched her eyes, hoping this was just a daydream. When she reopened her eyes, he was still there, waiting for a response.
She was afraid of what the answer would be, but she asked it anyway. "Harry, what do you want from me?"
"Your time. Meet me tonight."
"Don't answer. Just show up or don't. Either way, I'll know where we stand." He threw a key card with the hotel's address and the room number on the sleeve onto her desk. "I'll be waiting at six."
He gave her one last smile before departing her office.
Pansy Apparated to a small park near the hotel, giving herself one last chance to back out. She walked over to the children playing on the swing sets, their caregivers casting a watchful eye. He's a married man with a child. It was a mantra she had repeated to herself since she left her office. If this just ended up being sex, she would have been the woman to taint his marriage. If this became something more, she would have been the woman to destroy his marriage. If this grew into something beautiful, could she be a stepmother to another woman's child? Or, if this goes completely wrong, was she strong enough to survive the heartache?
Every scenario that played through her mind told her no. Turn back. Throw away the key. Pretend today never happened.
Apparently, her mind wasn't communicating with her legs as she found herself in front of the hotel with the doorman welcoming her.
She stood in the lift and tried to convince herself they would just talk. That this was it. They would resolve the unsaid.
After some trouble with the electronic key, she finally was able to unlock the door. Her mouth dropped when she saw the suite. It had the most beautiful view of the city. She never imagined views like this without being on a broom. The room itself was full of sleek modern furniture and bouquets of red roses added pops of color in the monochrome space. On the table, a bottle of champagne was on ice, accompanied by a note.
Bring the champagne to the bathroom.
"You cheeky devil," she muttered to herself. "Harry Potter. You know there are other places to shag other than bathrooms, right?"
From the bathroom, he called, "Yes, but they don't have bubbles."
She took the bottle and found him already in a luxurious bath.
He gave her a devilish grin. "You came."
"Not yet," she smirked back.
This affair had gone beyond their control, with all the lies and schemes needed just to see one another. Harry suddenly had 'very important confidential cases,' while Pansy had to take 'inspiration outings' on an almost daily basis. As the months passed, the torrid affair had turned into the type of unbearable, heartbreaking love Pansy feared.
"I can't do this anymore, Harry," Pansy cried in his arms as they lay on crisp hotel linens. "I love you, but I can't have you. Not all of you. I can't even go out on a date with you without a disguise or being Polyjuiced. It just hurts. And every time I see you with her. For fuck's sake, I have to publish photos of your family on outings in my magazine. Do you know what that feels like? Seeing you play house with her, but I'm the one who knows your deepest fears and secrets. It's me you run to, but she gets to be the center of your life. We have to end this. We've already done so much damage."
"I can't do this either," he said softly over her sobs. "It's why I told Ginny I'm moving out."
"What?" she sat up and wiped her mascara stained cheeks. "Please don't be kidding."
"I proposed joint custody, but we'll see what the courts say."
"Where will you live?"
"I don't know. You know anyone who needs a roommate?"
It was a lazy afternoon in their new townhouse, Harry and Pansy laid in bed, imagining their future once the divorce was finalized.
"I would love a casual wedding like Hermione and Theo's, but even smaller," Pansy said as she trailed a finger down his chest.
Harry added, "Maybe somewhere tropical."
"Seychelles?" she suggested.
"Or Bali? I heard it's very magic-friendly there."
Pansy wistfully began daydreaming. "Ooh perfect. James will be our ring bearer."
"Do you want kids of our own?" He asked with an eagerness in his voice she didn't miss.
"Yes," the word escaped her lips faster than she had imagined.
"I have names for them, already, just so you know," he said proudly.
"Let's hear these terrible names," she rolled her eyes.
"For a boy, Albus Severus. Dumbledore was my mentor, and Snape was my guardian and an important part of your life," he explained.
She repeated the name in her head for a while. "A little corny, but I can live with it. I could call him Al."
"And for a girl, Lily, after my mother, and she would be named after a flower like you," he grinned in triumph.
"Oh, you romantic bastard," she teased, "You're so getting laid."
Pansy had lost track of how many times she had vomited that day. It just wouldn't stop. It could have been the curry from that sketchy restaurant or just the stress from how long and dragged out Harry's divorce was. Ginny's pettiness was utterly unreasonable. She was trying to take everything from Harry, including his son. Part of Pansy wanted to pay for Harry to get a better attorney, and the other part prayed that Harry would just let things go and they could start all over together, and they would eventually figure out how to get James.
"Olivia," She called for one of her assistants. "Can you bring me crackers and ginger ale. Oh, and set up an appointment at St. Mungos. I think I have an ulcer or something. I just can't keep anything down."
"Yes, Miss Parkinson."
Later that day, Pansy left the hospital, not with a diagnosis for a gastrointestinal disorder, but something wonderful, and she couldn't wait to tell Harry. She stopped by a shop and picked up a tiny Quidditch themed mobile. Yes, it was a little premature to decorate, but what an adorable way to surprise the man you love, and tell him that he would be a father again.
When she opened the door, Harry was already home and looked troubled. There was something wrong, Pansy could feel it in her bones.
"Pans, can you sit, there is something I need to tell you." His voice betrayed him. Any attempts to hide reluctance or emotion had gone out the window. He was about to say something he didn't want to say. "There was an accident. An illegal bludger paralyzed Ginny from the neck down, and there is nothing the healers can do. Too many nerves were severed, and leakage of spinal fluid."
"Oh my god," she gasped. While she hadn't cared about the woman, she certainly didn't want to see her paralyzed.
"She can't perform magic without the use of her wand. There are therapists that can help with wandless magic, but that all depends on her. She's going to need around the clock care, but the settlement from the team and insurance aren't enough to cover it." He paused and swallowed deeply. "She's going to need another income to support her."
"No," she shook her head. "No, I won't accept this. She can move in with her parents or one of her brothers. We'll take James. Please, Harry, think about it. This is our chance to be a real family." She fell before him and knelt on the floor. "It would be you, me, James, and this one." Pansy reached for his hand and placed it on her belly.
Tears welled in his eyes. "Please don't be lying."
"I'm not. I bought this as a surprise to tell you." She handed him the bag and watched his eyes light up as he pulled out the mobile. "Please, before you make any crazy decisions, like canceling the divorce, just think about it. We can make sure she has the right care. We can be free and happy."
"I—I already pulled the papers. I can't leave her alone."
Pansy fumed, "You did what? And you didn't even consult me? We were planning for the future. Our lives together. You're worried about her being alone, what about me? I'm having your baby."
"Pansy," he tried to reason. "She's not like you."
"Well, we both know that."
Harry clenched his jaw, biting back the words, "You're driven and resilient. Nothing stands in your way. On top of that, without me, you still have the means."
She swallowed her pride and tried to calm down. "If this is about money, I can make it work. Just refile the paperwork, add all the clauses on how you'll handle her care. Harry, please, I'm begging you."
"How will that fucking look, Pansy? Huh? I leave my crippled wife for my mistress and use your trust fund as payoff? Because that's what it's going to look like."
A fire burned behind Pansy's eyes, "Your mistress? Is that all I fucking am to you? I love you. I was willing to throw my reputation away for you, and to this day, I'm still just your mistress? Get the fuck out."
"Pansy," Harry begged, "I love you. You know that's not how I see us. It's what everyone—"
She jabbed her wand to his chest, "Get. The. Fuck. Out. Go to your wife. Just know this. This child is mine. I'll give him your name, he might even look like you, but every other aspect of his life, he's mine."
"Mrs Nott, Mr Nott, take Ms Parkinson's hands, it's almost time to push."
"It's Granger-Nott," Hermione corrected.
"Not the time, honey," Theo pointed out.
"Sorry!" She turned to Pansy, "You've been doing brilliant. How are you feeling?"
"I'm in fucking pain! Why won't they give me drugs?" She groaned.
Hermione turned to the mediwitch. "Can you do something about this?"
"We don't have any pain potions that won't also hurt the baby," she replied.
"What a load of horse shit," Hermione spat. "The muggles have safe pain medication for labor and delivery. We should too. I swear the state of women's health care in the Wizarding World is antiquated."
Pansy turned to Hermione and deadpanned, "Mines, I love you, but can you save your social justice warrior bullshit for after a push this baby out of my vagina?"
Hermione gave Pansy's hand a squeeze, "After you pop out that little demon, we're writing a piece together about this."
Pansy couldn't help but laugh, and it was definitely needed. Theo and Hermione had been so wonderful and supportive during the pregnancy, even letting her stay with them the last few weeks, but it wasn't the same as having the father of her child by her side. She blocked Harry out of her mind. If she thought about him, she'd probably break down.
"Hermione, darling, I promise that by the time I knock you up, we'll pay to get this hospital updated."
"Doesn't help me—OH MY FUCKING GOD IT'S COMING," Pansy groaned and squeezed her friends' hands as she pushed.
She was exhausted mentally and physically, sweat beading down her face, but in a few moments, she would be a mother.
Hermione wiped Pansy's brow. "You're doing amazing. I can see his head! Just a couple more pushes."
Pansy nodded and waited for the next contraction. She pushed with all her might and felt the pressure release. Then she heard it. The most beautiful sound. Her boy.
Soft and pink with a mass of black hair. He was everything she imagined and more. Measurements and clean up out of the way, her son was placed in her arms. His eyes were clenched tight as he adjusted to the bright hospital lights with tiny balled fists punching in all directions. A fighter. He would have to be for the life he was born into. Slowly, his eyes opened and found his mother's. They were dark, but it was difficult to distinguish the shade. The mediwitch who had taken his measurements shone her wand into his eyes, to inspect his responsiveness.
"What a lovely shade of green," she said.
Green. Of course. Pansy's eyes watered, overcome with joy and sorrow all at the same time.
Theo kissed his longtime friend on the top of her head. "Pans, you did it. You're a mum."
"You're going to be brilliant, you too little man," Hermione proclaimed.
"You know you nerds are his godparents, right?" Pansy remarked before kissing her son's head.
"Well, obviously," Theo scoffed.
Hermione added, "I mean, look at our collective group of friends. We're clearly the most qualified."
Despite Hermione's joke, it was true. No one else in their friend group would be able to love her son and play referee between his parents. Pansy hoped that her friends knew what a huge ask being this child's godparents actually meant.
Thankfully, Pansy's delivery was complication free, and she was moved into her new room almost immediately. Theo and Hermione let her have some time alone with the baby while they went to the hospital canteen for a bit of food and to send messages to friends and family alerting them of the baby's arrival.
Completely enamored with her little bundle, Pansy just stared and committed every feature to memory. Tiny fingers with even tinier fingernails. Wrinkly little toes. Long lashes with deep green eyes. Wispy brows. Pouty lips. So. Much. Hair.
"I can't stop saying it. You're beautiful. My beautiful boy." She cooed as he hungrily took his first feeding.
"You're a natural," Autumn, the lactation specialist observed. "You two are so in sync."
This brought a smile to her face.
One of the hospital administrators knocked at the door. "Sorry for the interruption, but we need some information for the birth certificate."
"It's fine," Pansy replied, "The baby is still feeding if that's alright."
"Oh, I see a lot of that around here," the young woman said. "Hello, I'm Annie. So, standard forms. Your name, place of birth, current age, and blood status?"
"Pansy Marie Parkinson; Salcombe, Devon; twenty-eight; Pureblood."
"And the father?"
She inhaled deeply, steadying herself to bring up his name. The baby must have been able to sense her tension, and began to squirm. "Shh, my darling. It's okay." He quieted and returned to his feeding. "Harry James Potter; Godric's Hollow; twenty-seven; half-blood."
Annie's expression went blank at the realization at who Pansy and her child were.
The media had spun the story both ways, painting her as 'The Harlot' and 'The Heartbroken.' She had tried to set the record straight as much as she could with her influence, but there was only so much she could do.
"I—I'm sorry," Annie scrambled, regaining her professional composure. "The boy's name. Have you picked one out."
"Yes, it's—sorry. Just a second." The child had finished feeding and was in need of burping. Autumn swooped in and helped Pansy adjust. The new mother smoothed his back, and he gave the tiniest little squeak of a hiccup. Pansy couldn't help but gush. "You're such a good boy."
The young woman was so warm and patient to wait so long to fill out a simple form.
"His name is Albus Severus P—" she hesitated. Parkinson or Potter? There was so much weight in a name. Give him his father's name, he could be branded a bastard. Make him a Parkinson, he would have keys to the kingdom. He was the heir no matter what, but the Parkinson name would live on—but how would that affect any future relationship he was to have with his father? Despite all anger and resentment, her heart still longed for him. And that sliver of hope led her to her decision. "Potter. Albus Severus Potter."
"My goodness," Annie replied, "with a name like that, he will surely do great things."
"I hope so," she replied. "Is there anything else you need?"
Annie packed up her clipboard. "No, Miss Parkinson. Have a good afternoon."
"I'll be leaving too," Autumn added. "Just buzz if you need my help again."
"Thank you. I appreciate it."
Finally alone with her boy, the reality of being a single parent began to settle in. When the friends went on to live their own lives, and the professionals went on to help other new mothers, she and Albus would be alone. No father. No siblings. No certainty of what the future held.
"It's just you and me, darling. Us against the world. Your father said that I could do this on my own, but I'm not sure I can. I'm going to do my damnedest. Another thing, I swear a lot, and you'll probably get in trouble from all the foul language you're going to learn from me. Just know this, I will never, ever give up on you, and I will never break a promise."
Harry never went home. He stayed there in that hospital wing waiting for his son to fully regain consciousness. When the detox took over and Albus's body shook uncontrollably, Harry grabbed extra blankets. When she began to nod off, he summoned Winky, one of Hogwarts' aged house-elves, to bring coffee and pastries. Harry even sat with Eva discussing her predicament of returning to the Muggle world.
Pansy was angry and bitter with this helpful and considerate version of Harry. Where had he been? He wasn't there the day Albus came into the world. To welcome him. To be his father. She was alone then and expected to go through this alone. She hated that just being in his presence could cause the feelings of false hope and abandonment to return. What she hated the most was that she never learned to hate him.