Who: Draco Malfoy, Pansy Parkinson
Where: Dragon Enterprises, Coq d'Argent
Summary: Draco takes Pansy out for a thank you dinner where they show their fondness for each other in their unique way.
It had been a long day but extremely satisfying in Draco's mind. He leaned back in his chair, folded his hands over his stomach as he considered all that had happened. The best part of course had been getting the price he wanted for the brooms they were ordering to sell. A smirk turned up the corners of his mouth - after all he was a Malfoy and they always got what they wanted.
Standing and stretching, he straightened his robes. It was time for a celebration of satisfaction and that meant a meal. Perhaps he should inquire about company. He could ask Pansy, for after all he had never given her a meal as thank you for aiding him while he was away. Now was as good a time as any.
Checking his image in the mirror by the door and noting that as always he looked perfect, Draco exited and moved toward the office where Pansy was working.
Now that Draco was back, Pansy could concentrate on other matters, like catching up on administrative work and making new contacts. Despite her aloofness at school, Pansy rather enjoyed networking and making contacts. It was, after all, what she'd been trained to do from a young age - although no doubt her mother had intended her skills to be put to use in a setting aimed to advance her husband's social standing.
Pansy didn't exactly have that option these days. Though her parents hadn't been indicted for Death Eater activity, they'd lost much of their fortune investing in the wrong side. As a result, Pansy was no longer considered a prime catch by the upper echelon.
But that was no matter. Free from the stifling confines of her parents' manor, Pansy was making her own connections, ones that wouldn't flitter away like a leaf in an autumn breeze the moment the wind changed. And if she were using Draco's company to do so, well, he was getting one hell of an advisor out of it.
She smiled at him now as he entered her office. "The Smith-Gundy file is almost done."
Leaning against the doorway, an arrogant look on his face, he stated, "Good. Then you are free to come and enjoy a meal with me." Pushing off of the doorjamb, he moved toward her, coming close enough to lean against her desk, those cool grey eyes assessing her. "As a thank you, of course, Pansy. You will come." Draco rarely asked questions, but it was implied that it was an invitation by the lilt of his voice and not a demand as he often dealt with.
Well used to Draco-speak, Pansy merely inclined her head at the summons. It was about time he got around to thanking her. Any longer and she would have had to do something about it. "I'd be delighted. When is the reservation?"
"Half six," he answered promptly and reaching into his pocket watch he looked at the time. "Gives you fifteen minutes to.. fresh up." His grey eyes roved over her, cool and uninterested. "Shall I wait outside for you or do you require help?" he asked as he slid the watch back into his pocket.
Pansy sighed. Draco always did things by his own schedule and expected others to fall in with him, but after all these years of butting heads on the issue, Pansy would have hoped that he'd learned that she wasn't one to simply fall into step with him. Not without incentive, anyway. "You're very gracious if you think that fifteen minutes is all I need to make myself presentable."
"Well you already have the correct blood-line and house background for association with me, your looks," again those cool grey eyes assessed and a smirk turned up his lips, "are a definite compliment to my own. So the rest is just what you feel must be done." The smirk broadened slightly. "So did I need to stay then? Or are you ready?"
She didn't bother to hide her exasperation. "Out."
A pale eyebrow slid up and his mouth twitched. "As you wish." The watch was out and opened once more. "13 minutes." And without another word, he clicked the door shut behind him.
Pansy was no stranger to short time frames on getting ready, but it didn't mean that she liked doing it. Looking beautiful was an art, and with...strong features like hers, she preferred to take her time. Draco, of course, wouldn't know anything about that.
She was ready in ten minutes, but instead of going out to meet him, she reseated herself to finish up the file she'd been working on. In school, she would have laughed at anyone who'd even suggest that she'd one day put work over a nice dinner, but she was practical enough to understand that times changed. One had to roll with the blow to land up on top. And if Draco wanted both her presence at dinner and the work to be done, he could wait. She had no intention of coming back to the office after dinner.
In precisely 13 minutes, having spent them making sure he was completely pristine, Draco opened the door to Pansy's office without knocking. "Time. We need to leave now in order to make our reservation. Come along Pansy. We'll apparate there. Coq d'Argent - you know where that is in Diagon Alley one assumes."
Right on cue, Pansy swivelled the letter she'd been writing to face him and pointed her quill at him. "Sign."
Stepping in and forward, he took the quill from her outstretched hand and swished his signature across the bottom of the parchment. "Finished?" he asked with a single raised eyebrow when he shoved back the letter. "it is quite a blow to my ego that you find work more appealing than me as I am far more attractive you know." Those grey eyes danced with a bit of amusement.
"Maybe to some," Pansy acknowledged as she cast a rapid-drying spell on the ink. She put the letter aside and stood up, leaning slightly towards him as she lowered her voice to a confidential whisper. "But they don't know you like I do."
Draco closed the gap and leaned toward her. "And what is it you know?"
Pansy's lips curved up scant inches from his. "People think you're cold and unfeeling, incapable of caring for another. But I know of your first love. What was the name..." She put on a look of great concentration. "Oh, yes. 'Blankie', wasn't it?"
He scowled at her. "You don't know anything at all Parkinson," Draco sneered. "And no one would ever conceive of believing you. In fact," Draco answered straightening, "I am not capable of feelings or the like. Now, you have made us late for dinner. Shall we go?"
Pansy straightened as well, giving him a benevolent smile now that she knew she'd touched a nerve. "Oh, it's enough that I know," she assured him. "Although if you didn't want to be late for dinner, you should have given me more warning. I can forgive you for it this time. I'll meet you there."
Draco gave a nod, conceding that he acknowledged her statements. "And you know what will happen if you share that information," Draco drawled, touching her cheek lightly. "I shall see you there then." With a soft pop, he disapparated, heading for the restaurant.
Pansy appeared scant seconds after him and immediately set to smoothing down her hair, ignoring the fact that Draco's own hair was in no way mussed by the travel. "Coq d'Argent," she murmured as they headed in. "It's been a while since I've been here."
Knowing his manners well, Draco offered the brunette his arm as they walked into the restaurant. "Then I am glad I had a chance to bring you here," he said with a slight smirk on his features. "It is a place that does suit you quite well. Your beaux have not remember to bring loveliness to loveliness?"
With equal imperiousness, Pansy placed her hand on his arm and allowed the maitre d' to lead them to a secluded table in a quiet corner. "Class is a quality that's always been in demand," she says with an affected sigh. "Now more so than ever, it seems."
"Then it is lucky that you have me to make sure that your levels of class do not drop to Hufflepuff levels," Draco said, holding her chair as she seated herself and then sitting down across from her. "It would be unfortunate if that happened and we could no longer be..." Draco paused. Friends was what he had wanted to say but it was not a word he used lightly - nor it was something he quite understood. Shrugging, he set aside the philosophical discussion for another time. "Friends."
"Please, do have more faith in me than that," Pansy said, shuddering slightly at the thought that she'd become as...common as a Hufflepuff. Money came and went, but breeding ran more deeply than that. "I've certainly never lost faith in you." 'Despite certain decisions' was left unspoken.
The scowl was there on his features once more. "There are days I regret that decision more than any others in my life," he grumbled. "There is some overgrown, pretending to be human, mutt there now. I swear I find pawprints on every bloody surface and the fur." There was a definite snarl of frustration in his tone. "It is time, I think to consider new living arrangements."
"Not a werewolf, I hope," Pansy asked with some alarm. For all that Draco frustrated and exasperated her, he was the closest thing she had to a true friend and confidant. Being stuck in a houseful of holier-than-thou Gryffindors was one thing, but having his life in danger was quite another.
Draco snorted. "No. That would be easier because I could simply kill it. This is that hideous criminal - Sirius Black." Draco shook his head. "From what I understand, he's Potthead's godfather or some such nonsense. His parents supposedly owned the house before the Gryffindors moved in and Black's treachery to the good cause," he gave a derisive snort, "killed his parents. Not that I have any lost love for them you understand."
"Black?" Pansy repeated, her voice rising to a pitch that veered dangerously on her childhood shriek. She immediately cleared her throat and lowered her voice back down to more dulcet levels. "You really do need to get out of there, Draco. It's bad enough that you're living with a mass murderer, but if Potter's letting his parents' killer live with him, he's more unhinged than I thought."
"The lot of them is unhinged," Draco agreed. "I am finding it hard to remember why I agreed to live in that stinking place." The waiter interrupted then and he leaned back and folded his arm over his chest once the order had been placed. "So, suggestions of where I should live then? A place of... taste?"
"The Lake District is always nice," mused Pansy. "You remember the summerhouse my parents had there. A lot of the townhouses are still available, if I recall correctly. But if you want something closer to town, Montgomery Crescent or Johnson Avenue might have something."
"I don't want to have to travel far and I much prefer town, I thought you would remember that at least since other things remain prominent in your mind," Draco drawled out, leaning forward now and accepting the glass of wine that was poured for him. "And where are you staying these days." This was obviously toned as a command.
"With Daphne Greengrass. Didn't I tell you?" Pansy took a sip of the ordered wine. "I'd invite you to stay with us for pure amusement's sake - and we really ought to be better company than your current housemates - but I think our friendship works best with limited contact. Besides, I'm quite ready to move out myself. I've grown quite used to having autonomy."
"I never would have pictured you with such a ... desire," Draco said, swirling around his wine in the glass. "But I can understand the letter of the need if not sentiment. Where will you go then?"
"Desire for autonomy, you mean?" Pansy asked, quirking her eyebrows. "I've always had that. I'm not quite sure where I'd live yet; I was going to look at some options this weekend. Perhaps we might end up neighbours."
"How delightful," Draco drawled out, grey eyes glinting. "I'll be sure to come over and borrow a cup of sugar for all the cooking that I plan to do. Though I would have to admit that there are certain advantages to being near you." His lips turned up in a smirk.
Pansy pressed her fingers to her collar and fluttered her lashes. "Why, was that a compliment? Someone hold me; I feel quite overwhelmed."
"I only hand them out once in awhile, so treasure it always my darling," he gave a short laugh, amused at Pansy. "I need someone to tell me I look spectacular first thing in the morning and last thing at night. You could have such a use."
"Always," Pansy cooed, pretending to capture the words and store them in her heart. Still amused, she reached for another sip of her wine. "Although if you just want someone to fawn over you, you're better off finding one of your groupies. My role in your life is to do just the opposite. And that's why you keep me around."
"I do not need my ego poked that regularly now do I?" Draco grinned with a hint of amusement. "I just believe that I am as good as my ego says I am. Besides, you only say that because you know you really want me desperately."
"Oh, is that what this yearning, burning sensation every time I'm around you is? I always thought it was heartburn." She lifted her glass to him.
His glass clinked against her in a silent toast to their mutually profitable and enjoyable relationship. "Someone as fine as me would not inspire such a despicable thing in anyone. I am sure that it is that Gryffindoric love thing."
"You should know, you've been around them long enough," Pansy said archly. "Have you come to any new insights on those particular specimen after all those months of study?"
"They are as dull as always and lacking in anything resembling wit and intelligence so conversations beyond grunts are something I have yet to see them master," Draco said in a disdainful tone. "They are the ones that spout out those emotions and give everyone easy hooks into them by 'feeling."
"How dreadful for you," Pansy drawled. "You really have been bereft, haven't you? I wonder why you stayed at all."
"I can sum it up in one word, Pansy," he answered immediately, "free. Hasn't cost me a cent and everything that is free means more money toward my fortune. Weren't you the one who said it was all about the money?"
"Well, if you could handle the aggravation," Pansy murmured, leaning back slightly to allow the waiter to set down the dishes that had just arrived. "One must do what's necessary to survive."
For a long moment, Draco looked at her over the table that held their dishes. He contemplated her for that moment. There was something about her that had always drawn Draco to Pansy - even when they were younger (though if Draco admitted it in some flash of honesty when it was younger it had always been her squeals of irritation when he tugged her ponytail). He had to admit he was lucky to have her on his side and not as an adversary. "One does what one must as you said and have done. But perhaps business is steady enough to incur the cost."
Pansy smiled faintly in response to his regard, her eyes acknowledging their unique bond in a way that her words never would. "I would certainly hope so. I've worked hard enough on it."
His grey eyes rolled with exasperation at her hints. "I have worked as well you must admit." His fork pointed at her in demand for acknowledgement of that fact. "But.. I do thank you."
"And so you should," Pansy said demurely. Then added, before he got the idea to hex her under the table, "But yes, you've certainly made up for your absence. It's very nice to have you back. Now, if only you could get rid of that insufferable receptionist."
"The Gryffindor?" Draco asked with a hint of amusement, glad his contribution had been noted. He was bringing them money in after all. "Is she that bad?"
"You've worked with the woman," Pansy said, surprised. "Don't you think so?"
Draco shrugged. "I don't exactly pay attention. She giggles a bit much I have to admit. Who do you recommend we replace her with?"
This was the furthest she'd gotten on the issue with him, but she didn't have a replacement ready. "There is no shortage of people looking for jobs these days. We should have no trouble finding someone more suited to our style of operation."
"And this has nothing to do with the fact that she may be more attractive than you?" Draco inquired as he finished off his meal.
"I resent that insinuation," Pansy told him in no uncertain terms as she dabbed at the corners of her mouth.
"Of course," Draco said with a nod of agreement. "I would have thought that you would say that. Find me two suitable candidates and a list of five reasons of why the gryffindor needs to go and we'll discuss it." His face shuttered then and the subject was no longer under discussion. "Did you wish to have dessert?"
Pansy flicked her fingers in assent. "Done. And next time, Draco, do refrain from saying something you know I'd find insulting. It's crass and I expect better from you."
"But where would I get my entertainment if I had to mind my manners all the time?" he said with a smirk of arrogant amusement. "I must keep you on your toes after all and make sure those Gryffindors haven't made me soft as a Huffie."
"I am not your whetting stone," she told him. A discreet nod in the waiter's direction quickly gets her a dessert menu, and she looks over the choices. "I seem to recall that the sorbets here are quite good."
"What are you then Pansy, darling," Draco asked, leaning toward her, paying no attention to the pudding list in the slightest. Dessert was not his thing.
Pansy lifted her gaze to look at him over the edge of her menu. "What do you think?"
"Tsk. Let us not answer a question with a question," he said and a slight dangerous edge slipped into his voice.
"I'm interested to know," Pansy remarked mildly, knowing better than to actually defy him when he took on that tone of voice.
"Answer mine first," he demanded, eyes glittering. "What are you then?"
Pansy was quiet for a long time. There were so many things she could have said then: things that were flippant; things that would have assuaged his ego; things that were flirtatious; but in the end, she gave him what she rarely gave anyone else - the truth. "I am my own person."
Leaning back, Draco mulled that over in his mind. It was an interesting statement from Pansy but something he knew that few Slytherins and purebloods could admit to. They were all meant to be a certain breed and marry and produce more to follow in their footsteps. There was a time, and perhaps it occasionally still occurred to Draco, that Pansy would have been ideal wife material. "That is a good thing, perhaps it is why I like you," Draco answered with a hint of honesty in his voice.
Pansy's answering smile was tinged with a hint of regret. If Draco understood the full implications of being her own person, if he knew what she was keeping from him, he would think quite differently. And that reminded her: she had to start looking for another job. As well as she and Draco worked together, he was going to find out one day where his father was whether she told him or not, and she had no illusions that he'd keep her on after that. All she could do was hope that one day he'd understand why she'd kept silent. "We are alike in many ways."
"Yes, both out to save our own skins," Draco concurred, finishing off his wine. "So what have you been doing in your spare time then? Since you don't seem to work 24 hours."
In the end, Pansy decided to hold off on the dessert and instead ordered tea. "I've picked up painting again. You remember I did watercolours in school."
A nod indicated that Draco did remember this activity. "Landscapes or people?"
"Landscapes. Watercolours aren't very good at capturing portraits. Although I have to say that the view from our flat isn't very inspiring." She smiled wryly. "And you? How have you been keeping your time?"
"Reading and a bit of research mostly," he said with a careless shrug. "Nothing particularly in-depth but enough to create some stimulation in my life."
"Anything you'd recommend?" While Pansy was not as dedicated a reader as Draco was, she did appreciate a good piece of literature.
"Not at the moment," Draco answered. "I have found nothing that quite captured my attention. I have a new selection on order at Flourish and Blotts and so hopefully those shall be more to my liking."
"I hear Walter Wallaby has a new book coming out soon," Pansy mused. "It should be interesting, since his last book lost him an eye."
"It's one of the ones on order," Draco admitted. "Also several potions books and some of da Vinci's theories in essay form and several others. All looked interesting." And he watched the waiter set down Pansy's tea and his own coffee.
"Isn't da Vinci a Muggle?" Pansy asked with some surprise as she picked up her tea.
"He has some rather interesting theories about the world and sets some precedence on certain issues within the muggle society of religion that has reflections on the wizarding world," Draco calmly noted. "It is suspected by some historians that he was aware of the wizards and magic but approached from a different angle."
"Too intellectual for me," murmured Pansy - who, despite her assertions to the contrary, wasn't quite the vapid bimbo she occasionally made herself out to be. "I shall leave its reading up to you."
"Do you want a report when I'm done, a Pansified version?" Draco snarked, raising a single eyebrow. "Since you don't care to think and all."
"I don't care to think about that at all," Pansy sighed with great ennui. "I have other things to think about."
"Such as? Nails? Hair? Men?" Draco inquired with amusement, stirring his coffee.
Pansy levelled a perfectly manicured nail at him. "You scoff, but you don't understand the power of these things."
"Don't I?" Draco purred with laughter running under his voice. "I am male after all and quite good-looking myself. This," he gestured at himself, "doesn't come easily you know." Those grey eyes sparked with a mixture of ego, conceit and humor.
Pansy gave him a look of feigned shock. "You mean...are you admitting that these things don't come naturally to you? That you don't just fall out of bed looking perfect? Oh, dear." She fanned herself with her fingers. "This will positively crush your fans if they should find out."
"Of course," he drawled out, relaxing in the chair, "if they find out, that would be because someone named Pansy told them. But I have five minutes to spare each morning so I might as well make perfection more perfect." He gave her a wicked flash of a smile. "Besides, it gives you something to drool over all day and the fans something to desire endlessly."
"Please," Pansy choked, holding up a hand in an appeal for him to stop, "I just ate."
"Well, you can worship at the altar later," he said with a careless wave of his hand. "Your donations to the God Draco are behind you know."
"There is a behind involved," Pansy muttered as finished her tea. "But aside from that, it's been a lovely meal."
Draco nodded in agreement. "It has been. Quite enjoyable. And food for thought as well." He stood then and gracefully helped Pansy up from her seat. "Shall you run home to dream of me then?"
Pansy looked wry as she smoothed out her robes. "I think we'd both be very disturbed if you were to make your way into my dreams. Best that you stay out of them where you belong."
"Probably the best choice, I shall allow you to have those secrets," Draco said, still chuckling mentally as he led her out of the restaurant.
"Good," Pansy murmured complacently. Once they were outside, she turned to him. "I can Apparate home from here. But thank you again for the meal. I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Yes I hope so," Draco said, giving her a bow. "Sleep well. Dream of me." And he gave her a quick kiss, not even really a gesture of affection, a cool brush of the lips and nothing more.
"Draco, you tease," she said fondly. And then, with a small pop, she was gone.
Once she left, Draco turned and headed down the streets of Diagon Alley, a smug smirk on his face as he headed for places unknown.