Pansy sighed as she unceremoniously tossed her heavy coat aside and stepped into her boyfriend's flat. Usually he'd have greeted her with a kiss the moment she came through the floo, but presently he was just glaring at her. It wasn't exactly a surprise though; she'd known this was coming.
"What, no 'Hello Pansy'? No 'How was your day, Pansy'? You're not exempt from basic social niceties just because you killed some dark lord fifteen years ago, you know." His only response was to glare even harder, so clearly he didn't find that very funny. "Fine, Harry. Get it over with."
"Did you or did you not call Ginny an 'annoying bint' this afternoon?" Right to it then. Good.
"I did. In my defense, she was kind of being an annoying bint this afternoon."
"Is that supposed to be funny?" Pansy tried to keep a straight face, knowing Harry was very serious about this, but she couldn't help but smirk at how intensely he was scowling at her. This made his scowl even more intense, which in turn caused her to break completely and laugh out loud. It was a vicious cycle, really.
"It's the truth," she said, meaning it. "But I do find it pretty funny, yeah. Well, I found the look on her face when I said it funny at least. And the look on your face now, too."
"And did you know James was in the next room when you said it?"
"Of course I did. He stayed at my flat this morning, as you may remember, while you worked an extra shift at the office."
"Pansy," he began, then stopped, almost as if he didn't know what to say. Or maybe as if he knew that whatever he was about to say was pointless, so he shouldn't bother saying it. "I know you don't have kids of your own, but I should think that it goes without saying that you shouldn't call a woman...well, call her..."
"An annoying bint?" she supplied, looking at him innocently.
"Yes, that," he agreed. "You shouldn't call her that when her nine year old son is within earshot."
"Not even when she's being an annoying bint?"
"If you say so."
"I'm serious, Pansy," he said. "Ginny sent me a howler this afternoon, ranting and raving about what a horrible influence you are on our children."
"They like me, though."
"I know they do," he agreed. "Which is why James spent the rest of the day copying you, calling Ginny, his brother and sister, and even his Grandma Molly 'bint.'"
Okay, that detail was news to her. That Ginny would send him a howler was never in doubt. Their divorce had been about as amicable as a divorce can be, and they were still on friendly terms, but Ginny was both smotheringly overprotective of her kids and extremely disapproving of Harry's current choice in female companionship. But James mimicking her was something she hadn't thought of. The mental image of little nine-year old James Sirius Potter, spitting image of his father, calling a red-faced Molly Weasley a bint was just too much.
Pansy laughed. Not a chuckle or a giggle, but an all-out, side-splitting belly laugh, the kind of uncontrollable, unstoppable laugh that brings tears to one's eyes. Harry tried to remain stern, but the longer he stood there watching her doubled over in mirth, the more the facade cracked. Eventually he couldn't help but join in. The two of them stood there staring at each other and laughing long enough that if anyone had walked in, he or she surely would have marked the two of them as mentally defective in some way.
"Seriously though, Pansy," Harry said once the laughter had finally tapered off. "I know you and Ginny don't really get along, and I'm sure she says equally insulting things to you--"
"Try worse," she cut in.
"--but can you try to watch what you say, at least when the kids are around?" he finished. Much as she wanted to say something snarky, it was a reasonable enough request. And even though she'd never been overly fond of kids or at all interested in having any herself, Harry's were starting to grow on her.
"I'll try," she conceded. "But if she starts something, don't expect me to back down."
"You wouldn't be the Pansy I know and love if you did," he said with a smile.
"Is the Pansy you know and love forgiven, then?" she asked, batting her eyelashes at him for dramatic effect.
"Hmm...I don't know, love. Have you ever gotten a howler from your ex-wife while you're at work? It's bloody mortifying."
"So this is how we end, then? Torn asunder by one foul-mouthed little nine-year old?"
"It might be for the best. Ginny sure seemed to think so. Her mother too, I imagine."
"Oh please, mister war hero, give me just one more chance! I'll do anything if you'll just take me back!"
"Well," he mused, tapping his chin with his forefinger. "I'll consider it, if you can give me three good reasons why I should take you back."
"Hold that thought." She bent down to retrieve her coat from where she'd tossed it after coming in, pulled something out of one of the pockets and presented it to her boyfriend. "All yours. For the rest of the night, anyway."
"You mean--" Harry said uncertainly. He hesitantly accepted her offering as if afraid it was all a trap.
"I've been bad, Potter. Punish me."
He gave the riding crop a practice swing, and she shivered at the "swoosh" it made as it cut through the air. She hadn't yet tried to introduce him to any of the kinkier things she enjoyed, and consequently it had been far too long since she'd heard that sound.
"I guess this is one good reason," he declared.
She practically sprinted to the bedroom.