Who: Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson
Where: The Dragon's Back Inn [Diagon Alley]
Summary: Waking up with a hangover is never pleasant thing and its worse when you find out...
The sunlight seeped through the slats of the blinds in the hotel room, scattering the shadows that had cumulated over the course of the night. With it came the sounds of Diagon Alley as it started to wake: stands scraping over stone as they were dragged out from indoors; the bustle of early morning greetings as neighbouring shop keepers arrived at their stores; the first cries of fish mongers and fruit vendors as people slowly trickled in to work.
In the room itself, however, there was no noise generated. Not from the pale-haired young man who shifted restlessly in bed, and certainly not from the dark-haired woman watching him from a nearby armchair. Having gone home in the night to change and get some coffee, she was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as she waited for the man to wake.
Night in Shades: His first semi-conscious thought was that his head was bloody pounding. The second was that there was light coming from the other side of his lids which was a definite sign that it was morning and therefore not to be face. Fishing around in the bed with a hand, he found the second pillow and pulled it over his head with a groan.
Draco wanted nothing more than to go back to sleep, but he could sense that someone else was in the room. Not only was there the fragrance of coffee, which his stomach rolled reminding him that he had drank quite a bit on an empty stomach, but there was a decidedly feminine smell. Draco didn't quite remember a woman, but there was vague flashes of dark hair and legs... he could remember commenting on legs.
Well, he was good and even drunk he knew he was more than capable of attracting and keeping the ladies - surely this dame was no exception.
Pushing a corner of the pillow away so he could speak, he drawled out, "Give me a moment to have a shower sweetheart and I hope you'll show me those legs again."
"Maybe after the wedding, darling," came the all-too familiar voice of Pansy Parkinson, who sounded much too amused at this time of day. "I'm an old-fashioned kind of girl, you know."
His breath was stolen from him at the sound of Pansy's voice and at the words, his mind managed to overcome the pain of his pounding headache to start a litany of oh shit, oh shit. He needed to be thinking fast to get out of this one.
Ever so slowly, he peeled the pillow off of his head and set it aside gingerly - as if it might explode. "Pansy, darling, I may have been drunk, but you must be ready for the 'special' ward at St. Mungo's if you think we are engaged." Draco's grey eyes turned to her and the panic that he felt could be seen to tinge them.
She smiled at him, much like a hungry cat who'd just spotted a particularly appealing canary. Poor boy, he really had no idea. "Don't you remember?" she asked innocently, taking out his family ring and twirling it between her fingers. "You proposed last night. I accepted. We're engaged."
His eyes widened even further if possible at the sight of that ring. Panicked, he turned toward the side of the bed and searched for the ring, immediately sure that hers was a forgery. It was only when he realised that it wasn't there that he knew for certain she had it.
Gathering his dignity, he sat up slightly and looked coolly at Pansy. "I did no such idiotic Hufflepuff thing. You took that ring, in a moment of purest Slytherin cunning, this morning when you some how convinced the concierge to let you into my room. I shall have to have a word with him about the shoddy service." It was a pretty good thought for a hung-over guy, but had enough holes that even he could see them if he had chosen to take off the blinders.
If Pansy weren't so entertained by the sheer panic in his eyes, she might have felt offended. He didn't have to be that adamant about not marrying her ever, even if she had no intention of marrying him herself. So while she might have otherwise taken pity on him and dropped the game, she decided to let him suffer a bit more.
"Oh, dear. You really don't remember, do you?" she shook her head sadly. "Well, at the very least, you ought to remember that no one can take the ring from you unless you give it up. You do remember those ancient and most noble charms, don't you?"
Grimly, Draco nodded. His long fingered hand rubbed over his face as he considered what to do next. What Pansy has said is quite true. He has to face the facts that he did propose to her. It would take some thinking to undo the damage, he liked Pansy and even lusted after her, but marriage wasn't in his playable deck of cards.
"No, I'm afraid I don't remember," he said smoothly, rubbing his hurting temples. "Perhaps if you give me a moment to shower darling, I can wrack my brain to remember the moment of pure happiness at your yes."
Pansy's eyes narrowed fractionally. He was up to something; she could almost see the steam coming out of his ears as his mind worked overtime. "Oh, I can tell you," she said cheerfully. "Maybe if I give you the details, you might remember something. I believe you did a little dance after I said yes. Either that, or you really, really wanted to churn some butter."
The mental image was a special kind of torture - one that Pansy had always triumphed in. His eyes raised to lock with hers. "I refuse to believe that I did anything so undignified."
Pansy lifted her hands, palms up, as if she couldn't explain it. "People aren't always themselves in moments of great joy."
It was so not him that Draco couldn't even begin to comprehend himself doing something like that - even happy and drunk at the same time. It was making no sense. But this was Pansy... what did she have to gain by lying to him? Or by marrying him for that matter. His mind was still too fogged to remember. Pushing aside the duvet of the bed, he slid his legs off the edge of the bed, stripped off his pants and boxers and turned to Pansy. "I really cannot possibly continue this conversation without a shower. Shall you wait for me then darling?"
Unable to help being impressed, Pansy lifted an eyebrow at the sight that greeted her. "By all means," she said with a negligent wave of her coffee cup, "do. Shall I order you some breakfast?"
"Toast and tea," Draco said, stretching out his long lean body. His hand rubbed over his face tiredly. "And a painkiller potion." Turning his naked back to her, he stalked with regal grace into the bathroom and had his shower. It was long and scalding hot and he scrubbed away the remnants of his headache.
Wrapping a towel around his waist, he exited the bathroom and looked back at Pansy. His cool grey eyes showed how fast his mind was working. "I think we should consider purchasing you a different ring though. Something more suiting to your beauty."
Pansy glanced up from the fireplace, where the order for his breakfast had been placed by the time he returned. "What do you have in mind?" she asked, straightening. Now that he seemed more in control of himself and aware of his surroundings, she was treading carefully.
Moving further into the room and nearing her and the fireplace, he found a chair and casually seated himself in it as if he were fully dressed and not merely in a towel that gaped and displayed the fact that he had to be elegantly naked beneath it. "Something far more elegant and gracious, as you are, than that heavy hunk of junk you are clinging to now," he answered, pouring himself a cup of tea and sipping the hot brew. "Diamonds though are rather ostentations, I am sure we could find something far more suitable, don't you agree?" Those cool grey assessing eyes raked over her. "Don't you darling?"
Pansy extended her hand and examined the ring, which had adjusted itself to fit onto her finger. "Oh, I don't know," she said idly, lifting her gaze to look at him from under her lashes. "I rather like this one. It has sentimental value, don't you know."
The fact that she had extended the hand gave Draco an opening he had been looking for. Casually, he set down his cup of tea. "You are sentimental over the Malfoy family crest, how delightfully dull," he smirked and lightning fast he snaked his hand out and grabbed her wrist. With a slight tug, she was off balance and that imbalance enabled him to put her in his lap. Holding her tightly and looking down at her hand, he purred out, "It does make you seem far more delicate and feminine."
He moved too quickly for Pansy to escape; by the time she registered that he was reaching for her, she was already on his lap. "You're taking this really well," she remarked, disappointed.
It was that sentiment that made warning bells ring in his head. Pansy was definitely up to something. Between her early morning smugness, far too much to be rejoicing over getting to view his hangover, much less making herself available to him so early and her insistence that he had given her the ring, along with the fact that it must have been terribly dull sex for him not to remember a moment of seeing her naked, momentary pause for drool, or the fabulousness of him taking her. "Should I not be taking it well for some reason darling?" Draco asked in a rather coy voice as his mouth found the smooth line of her throat and tasted it gently. "One must make the best of a situation."
"Ah, ah," Pansy countered, placing a finger on his chin at the same time she leaned away from him. "None of that before the wedding. Speaking of which, I think we should start talking about plans. I've made a chart." With that, she swung her legs over to get up.
Night in Shades: "Oh no," Draco purred, grasping her free hand in one of his and clamping his other firmly around her waist. "A little taste... a little preview won't hurt darling and you do so know how numbers bother me." His grey eyes were ripe with the seduction he was obviously planning. "Don't you want to know how could it will be?"
Pansy simply looked at him for a moment. Then she leaned in to whisper into his ear. "Not when I know that your devious little mind is plotting something, darling."
"Only how best to undress you," Draco whispered in reply, eyes drawing down her clothing. "I would hate to ruin such an outfit in my desire to see all of your pale beautiful skin.
"Oh, I'm sure," Pansy murmured, running a finger down his cheek. "But you know what?" She straightened. "You really are hung over, Draco. Take your potion."
He raised an eyebrow and carefully took the potion and held it in his hand. "Need me to be sober for some reason?" he asked, uncorking the vial.
"I think you'd function better overall if you're sober," Pansy said sweetly, taking advantage of his preoccupation with the vial to free herself from his clutches.
Frowning deeply, Draco drunk deeply from it and shudder as it cleansed his system of the remnants of the alcohol and its after effects. Taking a deep breath, he looked shrewdly at Pansy. "What sort of game are you playing? Why are you trying to use me?"
Ah, there he was. "Relax, Draco, I was just having a bit of fun." The game had stopped being fun a few minutes ago, though, and Pansy was ready to end it. She slid the ring off her finger and tossed it to him. "As if I'd ever agree to marry you."
Deftly, Draco caught the ring and looked at it carefully. "Why not? Am I not charming enough for your sensibilities or are you holding out for a better deal?" he asked, turning his eyes to her.
"Please," Pansy said scornfully as she returned to her coffee, "you know I like you too much to ever want to marry you. But there are lots of other women out there who wouldn't mind being the new Mrs. Malfoy." She lifted an eyebrow at him. "I suggest you be careful about giving away that ring."
Draco slid the ring back on his right hand, watching it carefully resize to fit him. As he continued to look at it, he stated, "You aren't that bad of a deal Pansy. Don't sell yourself short. Beauty, brains and pureblood - what more could a man want." Grabbing his cup of tea, he stood, his towel barely holding on to his hips as he put his back to her and looked at the fire. "But then I am sure my words are not much of a comfort."
Pansy dismissed that with a small laugh. "Oh, I don't think myself unworthy, Draco. Please. I'd just prefer to keep our friendship unmuddled by such bothersome things like marriage."
His blonde head gave a slight nod. "So, where to from here? And what really did happen last night?"
Pansy's lips twitched at that. "Are you sure you want to know?"
Setting down the teacup, he turned around and leaned back against the mantel. "I think it would be better that I know instead of you randomly rubbing my nose in that which I can't remember," he said, folding his arms over his bare chest. "Since I don't get the pleasure of marrying you or seducing you, I should at least get something from this."
"Well, you have the people downstairs quite a show," Pansy said contemplatively. "You really stopped just short of opening up your robes for all to see. But aside from that, really, it was quite unexciting."
Draco nodded once more. Nothing that couldn't be outlived or solved with money. "No sex then?" he said and he did look a bit mournful at the whole instance.
Pansy hides a yawn. "As I said, it was quite unexciting."
Those grey eyes glittered. "Want to make it exciting?"
She stared at him as if he should be locked up in St. Mungo's just for suggesting it. "No." While she had no doubts that it would indeed be exciting - and more - she had no intentions of messing up their relationship as it stood. "And while you're at it, darling, you might want to get dressed. You might be finding it a little chilly in here."
"When you are cold, the burning heat of passion is far more exciting," he drawled out, hs grey eyes heavy lidded with passion. "But if you are not interested in the scenery, perhaps I shall and we can discuss what to do about my bloody aunt."
"I didn't say I was cold," Pansy pointed out, reaching down to pick up his robes to toss at him. "Yes, what are you going to do about your bloody aunt?"
Snatching the robe out of the hair, he put it around himself and tied the belt securely. "I need to track the bitch down. And hopefully get some better answers than the ones Snape so thoughtfully provided."
"Nocturne Alley." It was a statement more than a suggestion; after all, Draco knew as well as she that the vendors there had a pulse on dark activity in the area and beyond.
"An excellent suggestion," Draco agreed, thinking. "Though I do think sending an owl would not be remiss as an attempt."
Pansy took a moment to mull it over. "True. You did end up working for the other side. I imagine she might decide it would be worth it to come out of hiding to have a few words with you."
"After all I am her darling nephew," he sneered out. "I shall have to compose it carefully though."
"I've no doubt you'll come up with something," Pansy said lazily. She pointed to his toast. "Are you going to have that?"
Pursing his lips as he thought, Draco nodded and absentmindedly wolfed down the toast as he used it to start up his brain. "Perhaps an owl to by beloved Father as well. If they can use me, certainly I can use them."
"Sure," Pansy murmured, hoping he wouldn't notice the tightening of her fingers around her cup. Lucius Malfoy had better be out of the Parkinson Estate by the time Draco owled, or she was going to be in a whole lot of trouble. "Just be careful."
"I wouldn't do it if I didn't think I could come out on top," Draco sneered, not paying enough attention to notice the tightening of her fingers. "Any other profound words of advice?"
"Doesn't sound like you're in the mood to hear any," she replied evenly, regarding him over the rim of her cup.
"Used by all those I trusted, a hangover and jilted by my supposed fiancé," Draco counted off on his fingers. "Doesn't exactly leave one in a pleasant and welcoming mood." His hand brushed through his slowly drying hair. "But, as we have always been friends, despite the moment of shared love, I would like to hear your words of wisdom."
Pansy pursed her lips, glancing at the shuttered window in thought. "The wizarding world isn't ready for another war," she said finally, as she turned to look back at him. "They don't want to acknowledge that there might be another one coming, but if your father and your aunt have their way, there may very well be another. Find out their plans, and you may very well be able to use that to regain your fortune."
Those cool grey eyes turned to her and acknowledged her words of wisdom. "You are quite correct Pansy. And from my position, war would not be profitable business for me, but beyond that I shall have to decide what to do with the information." His long legs then began pacing him throughout the small confined space as he let them help him toward thinking. "Perhaps if I showed them that I would join with their cause with the right kind of enticement..."
Around other purebloods, Pansy tended to downplay the fact that she was the daughter of a man who had to work for a living, but at the moment she was very much the merchant's daughter. "Don't cheapen your worth by turning yourself into a mere mercenary. Find out what they want to do and how they're going to do it. Do it through third parties, and no one will be able to trace anything back to you if your father fails. Invest in shipping companies. Herb and charms research companies. They're going to need potions, they're going to need spells so new that there are not countercharms for them. Invest in security companies. Once the attacks begin, people are going to want to shore up defenses for their homes. And the only thing anyone is going to suspect, Draco, is that you simply have a good feel for the market."
His elegant and graceful lips turned up in a cold sneering smile. "Pansy, darling what would I do without you. You have an excellent mind for business and if you ever consider quitting, I shall kidnap you and tie you in my cellar to use that excellent brain as I need." His grey eyes flashed with the pleasurable thought of such money.
Her lips curved up as well, though her satisfaction came from his acknowledgement of her advice. "If you make me a partner in the company, maybe I won't be inclined to quit."
"The cost of a partnership might be too much for you," Draco smirked, tossing the idea around in his head.
"You don't think I've already done enough to warrant a partnership?" Pansy countered.
"Oh yes, you certainly have," he purred, sitting back down in the chair. "There is just a ... bonus to it that I am not sure you would like." He was pure arrogance and smirking with delight at that moment, completely in control of himself and this bargain at the moment.
After finishing her coffee, she set the cup down and turned back to him. While she never believed that he'd give up even a small part of control of his precious company, she wanted to know what was putting that smirk on his fce. "Do tell."
"No," Draco said, calmly crossing his legs at the ankles. "I don't believe you are ready for such an option."
Pansy let out a long suffering sigh. "Draco, if you don't spit it out we're going to be here all day."
"And there are far more pleasant ways to spend the day," Draco concurred. His eyes flicked to the bed and then back to Pansy, starting at her feet and looking up across her body. "Don't you agree?"
Pansy laughed incredulously. "You've got to be kidding me."
"I never kid about sex, especially with someone that I want desperately," Draco said, the purr almost visible in his voice as he languidly stood and stretched. "You have to admit that it would be amazing and I could definitely use the outlet." He circled toward her, stalking his prey.
Pansy forced herself to remain still. "It might very well be amazing, but I haven't gotten to where I am now simply by indulging you in your outlets. You realise there's probably a department I can report you to."
He stopped for moment then, pausing to consider this. "I've always wanted you though," Draco whispered, moving close to her so that they were inches apart. A long finger trailed down her cheek, touching smooth skin.
Abruptly, he took a step back from Pansy and broke the spell. "I shall consider the partnership as you wish, but I make no promises."
Pansy didn't move, didn't so much as blink as he caressed her cheek. When he stepped back, her eyes were cold. "Do. I know this business of finding your mother's killer and regaining your status in society is important to you, but remember - you're not the only one trying to recover a fortune."
He sneered at her. "Of course Pansy, one forgot that you were a stone cold bitch only interested in money and what I can bring you in the form of that." Running a hand through his hair, he waved her off. "You're free to leave and return to the office. I will be writing some owls and then shall see you later." It was cool and dismissive.
"If I were so simple as that," Pansy told him as she got up, "you wouldn't value me as much as you do. Enjoy your owls."
A pale eyebrow raised as if to show he doubted that he valued her, but he knew that he did - for her honesty with him if nothing else. "I shall. Till later." He saluted her and turned to collect his writing materials, setting himself up to write the owls he needed to complete.