Where: The Three Broomsticks, a few days before term
What: A reunion and a catfight, naturally.
There were only a few days of summer left before the start of term, and Diagon Alley was bustling with people, much to Pansy's complete and utter annoyance. Common people brushed past and knocked into her and were hardly any better than the London Muggles. Not to mention the Muggles here. She wrinkled her nose and pushed past the masses of mothers trying to find sales, herself trying to find an inch of space and quiet. Pansy ducked into the Three Broomsticks, which, surprisingly, hosted only a few patrons at this time of day. She smiled dryly and ordered a butterbeer, taking a secluded seat as far away from the door as possible.
Draco had finished his shopping in a rather hurried fashion, this year being accompanied by his mother and, upon her insistence, their pesky, unctuous house elf. He had discovered through their nearly constant contact over the past few months of his father's imprisonment, she was a rather chatty, clingy woman who was quite meddlesome and could grow unbearably irritating within a matter of minutes. As Draco fled from Flourish and Blotts, attempting to retain at least a shred of his sanity for the coming school year, he threw himself into the midst of a large crowd, hoping with every fibre of his being that his mother would lose sight of him. Behind him, however, he still heard that all too familiar screeching, nagging voice. In a last ditch effort, he dashed into the Three Broomsticks, wincing as a couple of dirty, ragged children brushed past his legs. "Muggles..." he muttered bitterly to no one in particular, "...or Weasleys," he turned back, noting the colour of their hair, "No, Muggles." He cringed, fixing his disheveled hair, and walked to the back of the bar, looking for an empty seat.
Sitting so far back in the pub, Pansy only had an obstructed view of the door. Still, the sulking figure that entered seemed oddly familiar. She quickly recognized Draco- the bitter grumblings, if not for the brilliant hair, gave him away. Her first instinct, one of childhood, was to jump up and rush to greet him. However, a memory of a tea party Draco had stormed out of and she'd gone chasing after him flashed through her head, and she felt rather inclined simply to sit there. When he was close enough that she wouldn't have to raise her voice, she grinned and said, "Afternoon, good sir."
Draco turned rather sharply at the sound, expression still sullen and rather aggravated from his close call with Mummy dearest. His expression, however, quickly changed into his classic grin, winking at Pansy. "And afternoon to you, good madame." He sauntered over, taking a seat next to the girl whom he was accustomed to spending a good amount of time with during the school year. Typical Malfoy charm was beginning to take over as he began to converse. "All alone, are we? Such a shame," his grin grew wider, "How have the holidays treated you, Miss Parkinson?"
Pansy's grin settled into her usual smirk, and she leaned back in her chair a bit and rapped her nails along the edge of the table. "Yes, all alone. It's what I wanted though, with all these Muggles and half bloods dragging along their idiot parents. Not a Weasley in sight, though. I didn't check the rubbish bins, though. That's probably where they 'shop' nowadays." She glanced around and sighed at the mention of summer. "Oh, gods, it was awful. Father and Christian ran off to Greece to try and salvage the last of the stores. Ministry shut down the one in Knockturn..." she trailed off, gesturing tiredly with her hands. "...Which left me alone to entertain my mother and her endless parades of guests and tea parties. It was horrid." She frowned and leaned forward a bit, then softened as she remembered what her mother had mentioned about the Malfoys' summer. "Not as bad as your summer, though, I gather?"
Draco found himself nodded politely, keeping his gaze set on Pansy as his mind wandered, which was usual for a good many conversations he participated in. Like clockwork, he laughed at his Housemate's stab at the Weasleys. When Draco heard Pansy's complaints about her summer, however, he inwardly scoffed at this, longing to tell her that hers couldn't nearly be as horrid as his own... just as she queried him about it. 'Golden, really,' he thought. "Oh yes, it was absolutely dreadful," Draco said, ignoring everything Pansy had said and attempting to put on a look of sorrow, "Mother's been quite a mess since Father's gone off to Azkaban, the house elves are no better -- they loved Father, they really did -- and now they won't do any work at all. They're dropping like flobberworms lately, dying from the sorrow. And the rest of the family won't give us a second thought! Afraid of the Ministry, won't help their own flesh and blood!" Draco shook his head, "It's all been up to me this summer, really. I've had to take on the responsibilities of master of the house..." he finished in a lamenting tone.
Pansy leveled her gaze to Draco, murmuring here and there and simpering and sympathizing when necessary. But as he continued, she noticed his apparent lack of real emotion. She hadn't expected him to cry or anything, but really. An eyebrow raised of its own accord as he finished, and she gave him a half smile before taking a small sip of butterbeer. "Come now, Draco. You can do better than that. That performance was well below your talents. Now tell me what really happened." She was curious as to whether or not Draco actually felt, but she really didn't mind sacrificing a little bit of honesty and integrity for a little bit of that Malfoy charm. Pansy could go either way.
As if a reflection of Pansy, Draco raised an eyebrow at her words, as well. Feeling quite affronted, he adjusted his posture in his seat, making his back a bit straighter, raising his head a bit higher. He opened his mouth as if to say something in retort to his Housemate's words, closed it, opened it once more, and closed it again. He sighed rather frustratedly, and attempted once more. "Well I... How-- I can't believe..." he ended quite lamely, lip curling slightly into his trademark sneer. He'd imagined-- and had been told many times -- that Malfoys did not blush, did not get flustered. Obviously he'd imagined wrong. After a few moments of sulking, his lips now comfortably resting in an all too familiar pout, he turned sharply to Pansy, and spat, "You're one to judge on such things as bad performances, really. It takes a Mudblood to know a Mudblood, darling."
Pansy smirked rather triumphantly throughout her friend's deliberation, finding it rather endearing that Draco would flounder for words. When his words did hit her, however, she drew a sharp breath and looked just as affronted as Draco just had. She drew back into her chair, pulling one leg up into it, and intently gazed at one long, manicured fingernail, pointedly refusing to glance back at Draco. "I was only teasing. You don't have to put on a show for me," she said, her lips parted slightly in sulky agitation. "Heaven knows I'll give you a pity party if you really want one. But be honest about it."
Draco was both tickled and irritated immensely by Pansy's words, not really sure which emotion dominated which. Then again, with her, he was never sure... He knew, however, which emotion he would show. He felt his nostrils flare slightly, and his jaw set into a rather rigid position. "Ah yes, teasing. This is the title nowadays, hm?" Draco slumped in his seat, that is, slumped as much as his years of etiquette training would allow him to do. Just as he was feeling quite flustered and preparing to enter into a rant about his unbearable mother, the boy was struck with an idea. Turning his face, lips set in a pout, he muttered, "I could easily find pity somewhere else," he looked back toward Pansy, attempting to retain the pout, but unable to keep the corners of his mouth turned downward, "Daphne has been telling me for ages to pay her a visit. Come to think of it, so have a few other Slytherin females. I haven't seen the lot of them in ages, really. It may be most enjoyable."
Pansy looked slightly apprehensive as she watched Draco's face change to accommodate whichever emotion he chose to display at the moment, before becoming irritated herself. "Yes, Draco," she explained patiently, "Teasing. A relatively new form of communicating, of course, but social literates such as yourself should be well accustomed to it by now." She rolled her eyes, concentrating again on her fingernail, trying her best for the apathetic expression Draco was so good at. Then at Draco's next words, she jolted forward a bit, eyes wide and incredulous. She placed both hands on the edge of the table (lightly slammed, really), leaning forward and giving Draco a look as if he were either mad or very, very stupid. "Daphne? Daphne?" she nearly shrieked, before regaining her temper and decorum. She leaned back heavily into her chair again, averting her eyes and managing "That sounds lovely. Do what you like, Draco dear," wonderfully through gritted teeth.
Struggling madly to hide his great satisfaction with himself, Draco managed to suppress a roar of laughter, keeping his face set with a rather blank look upon it. Arching a brow as if inviting Pansy to delve further into her rage, he leaned forward, staring straight at his Housemate. Mirroring what she had done moments ago, Draco braced himself with his hands on the edges of the table and said in a scalding, hushed tone, "Pansy, dear, do try and keep your voice down. Wouldn't want to embarrass ourselves, now, would we?"
Pansy glared at Draco, trying to think rationally. She had a few options. She felt very much like overturning the table and pelting Draco in the face with her bottle of Butterbeer, but that was much too crass and she hated causing a scene just as much as Draco did. She could stand it though, to prove a point. "Why, love, you couldn't be more right. I certainly wouldn't want to embarrass myself." She stood up roughly, flinging back her chair and abandoning all pretenses of grace and etiquette. "Being seen with you is far too much embarrassment for one day."
For a good, long while, Draco remained motionless in his chair, doing nothing but staring at Pansy. His hands were still gripping the sides of the table and were now shaking slightly and turning white at the knuckles. Finally, the boy rose slowly, making sure to stand as tall as possible as he said in a calm, unwavering voice, "Dear, dear...if anyone's social status is faltering because of their presence here today, it would be mine. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some," he paused for a moment, as if deliberating which word he should use in describing his next subject, "callers to see. You have a pleasant afternoon and...make sure to take care of those...ah...feminine problems of yours before our next rendezvous." With these words, Draco smiled serenely, and headed toward exit of the pub. Grinning madly, he whispered as he pushed open the door, "Exeunt," and was off into the crowded streets of Diagon Alley once more.
Pansy stood still, mouth slightly agape, watching silently as Draco left, too angry to form a single coherent sentence. Had it not been summer, and had her wand and schooling and life not been at stake, Draco would have been on the floor or a ferret in a heartbeat, but, as it were, she could only imagine strangling him. Once the pub door had swung closed, and Pansy had counted almost to ten, she pounded her fists on the table and vented her rage in a scream, then calmly smoothed her robes, gathered her things, and exited the pub through the alley.