Puzzles and Love, 19/? Title:Puzzles and Love, Chapter 19/? Author:blueskyecloud9 Pairings: Severus Snape/Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy Word Count:4,450 Rating: PG-13 Warning(s): Threesome A/N: Any mistakes are my own! Summary: When a 500 year old contract thrusts Harry, Severus and Draco into cohabitation, the two Slytherins learn new and intruiging things that define the puzzle that is Harry Potter. And Slytherins do love puzzles. Disclaimer: The Harry Potter Universe belongs to JKR and anyone she legally lets use them. Not me. Chapter 19
Pansy Parkinson's Story
Harry pulled his hood farther down, concealing his face entirely, his iconic green eyes masked by the fabric of his cloak. He was looking for a particular item, something that was supposedly being searched for by a couple of criminals, and he was sure he'd seen it here in Knockturn Alley.
Just as Harry was about to turn the corner into the store he had been moving towards, his eyes caught a movement of a dark figure shivering in the alley. Pausing, Harry contemplated entering the alley and questioning the figure; some inner instinct told him he should. For a moment longer Harry wrestled with the idea, before succumbing to his intuition and slipping into the alley.
"Hello?" Harry whispered, crouching down in front of the figure that remained hidden in the shadows. The body in front of him flinched, and frightened hazel eyes rose to meet his. Harry's eyes widened and he let out a small gasp as he recognized the bruised, bloody, half naked figure. Pansy Parkinson.
"Parkinson?" The girl flinched and attempted to wrap herself more tightly in the rags that were on her body, as if attempting to disappear within them.
"Park-Pansy, is that you?" Harry whispered, reaching a hand out. The girl flinched again and attempted to move back, as deep into the shadows and as far away from him as possible. "Ssh, Pansy, please. I just want to help. I promise."
The girl paused and looked at him, her hazel eyes searching, before she slumped in resignation. "Potter," Pansy whispered. "Just…go away. Leave."
"Oh Pansy," Harry murmured, casting a Disillusionment Charm on himself and undoing his cloak to wrap it around Pansy. "Come, I'll take you home."
Pansy stiffened as she looked at Harry, betrayal shining in her eyes. Harry's eyes widened, "No, no. That's not what I meant. I—I'm gay. You're safe from me. I promise." Pansy searched his eyes again before nodding, letting Harry gently wrap the cloak around her. Harry frowned at Pansy's easily consenting attitude. The girl he had known during his years at Hogwarts had had a fiery spirit, fiercely independent and one of the most cunning Slytherins he'd known. She wouldn't have given into his suggestion without a fight. "I'm going to Apparate us to my house, okay?" Pansy nodded, her eyes glued to the alley floor. Harry gave the dark head one more glance, his heart clenching in sadness at the sight of the girl's defeated stance, before wrapping his arm around her shoulders and with a soft pop, Apparated them away.
Reappearing in the hallway of Grimmauld Place, Harry ushered Pansy up the stairs to the second floor and directed her towards the back of the hall. "Here, sit. Let me get some potions and salves and heal you. Unless you'd like me to call a healer?"
Pansy shook her head violently, clutching the cloak still enveloping her. Harry paused for a moment, then nodded and left to retrieve what was necessary. He returned and quickly and efficiently, in a thankfully detached manner, proceeded to heal her, never commenting on the large, hand-shaped bruises littering her arms, thighs and hips. The bloody cuts and teeth marks were healed but similarly ignored.
Harry smiled, "There, much better yes? I've got some salve for the sore bruises, but we can apply them after you've showered."
Pansy paused, "I…"
Harry stood, "The shower's right there. There are fresh, new clothes in the cabinet."
Pansy's eyebrow snapped up.
Harry flushed, "I...this used to be the Order Headquarters. This room and the room across were always equipped with fresh and new clothing in case anyone ever needed them."
Pansy relaxed and nodded. "Potter…thank you."
Harry smiled, "Call me Harry. There are fresh towels in the bathroom. You can make it on your own?"
Pansy nodded and Harry smiled once more before leaving, gently closing the door behind him. For a moment Pansy stood in the middle of the room in confusion. Why was Potter helping her? What was in it for him? What was he going to ask for in return?
Pansy had been forced to give up her pride a long time ago, and today, after a long time, she ached at the loss of self she was experiencing.
But at the moment she could care less. She was healed, she could take a shower, and she wasn't going to have to work tonight. Thank the Founders.
Pansy took a long shower, using all the soap and shampoo she could to remove the grime of her shame, the hot water helping soothe her bruised and battered body. Finally, she turned off the water and, wrapping herself in a towel, moved towards the wardrobe. Opening the heavy wooden doors, she was surprised to find herself with a number of options, different variations of underwear, tartan robes, brightly patterned blouses, even Muggle jeans. Fingering the soft material of a pair of sweatpants, Pansy clothed herself quickly, choosing to wear the soft black sweats and a green, over sized, t-shirt. Ah, comfort.
Opening the door, she moved gently across the hallway, listening for Potter, until she finally found him, humming, in the kitchen. Walking slowly down the stairs, she entered the kitchen cautiously. Harry spun around, giving her a brilliant smile, and gestured towards the food that was placed on the table. "Bon appétit! I hadn't had dinner yet and figured you'd be hungry too?"
The smile had blinded her and made her pause. Had any other man found her, Pansy would have tried her best to escape. But this was the Boy Who Lived, the Man Who Saved Us All. If Pansy couldn't trust him, who could she trust?
She nodded, too shell-shocked to do much else. Why was Potter helping her?
Pansy's eyes were drawn to the feast that lined the dining table and, unable to resist any longer, she said, softly, "Why Potter?"
Harry cocked his head, "Huh?"
Pansy looked up from the appetizing dinner in front of her, "Why are you helping me?"
Harry's whole demeanor softened, "Food first. Then we can talk. I promise."
Pansy stared into Harry's eyes again, as if to decipher what he meant, and then nodded, gently lifting a fork to begin eating.
Dinner was finished quickly and silently, neither in the mood to say much. Finally, the dishes were cleared away and Harry led Pansy into the library, settling her onto the soft sofa, before seating himself in an armchair. "Because I know what it feels like to work a job you do not care for."
Pansy's head snapped up. Potter was an Auror, everyone knew that, and a damn fine one. What was he talking about? "What are you talking about Potter? You have a job you're damn good at…"
"Perhaps, but one that I did not choose of my own volition."
Pansy blinked, "What?"
Harry leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, "Let us make a trade." Instantly, Pansy's shackles were up. Trades, for Slytherins, did not always mean good things. "I shall tell you my story if you tell me yours."
Pansy blinked, "That's it?"
Harry nodded, "That's it. However, I ask that you go first. I am a Gryffindor after all, I keep my promises. Slytherins…they tend to slither out of these things if they can." Harry winked, keeping his tone light and humorous.
Pansy paused, her hazel eyes locked with Harry's viridian ones. Did she want to tell Potter this? It would give him an unimaginable amount of information about her. Power over her. But there was no one else. And perhaps Potter…could help.
Taking a deep breath, Pansy began her tale. "Mum and Dad died during the last battle. I…wasn't marked, but everyone assumed I was a Death Eater, and I was condemned, perhaps not legally, but socially." Pansy glanced down, "I did not care to take a stand during the war. I didn't really believe one way or the other. But fear…" Pansy looked up to meet knowing eyes, "Fear drives us to do things we did not think ourselves capable of." Harry nodded, his eyes brimming with understanding. Swallowing, Pansy continued, "After the war, the Parkinson vaults were frozen, supposedly until a full inquiry was taken. But what with them having to reorganize the Ministry, basically rebuilding it, and then going through all those Death Eater trials…I suppose they forgot. I've tried for years to remind them, I submit a request in every week. But I suppose no one cares." Pansy sighed, "I didn't have anyone to turn to. Draco has disappeared, as has Professor Snape, Blaise was neutral and I am too proud to ask him for anything. Theodore's dead." Pansy choked, "There was no one I felt…comfortable telling that I had nothing. Nothing to my name."
Pansy sighed, twisting her fingers together, "So I did the only thing I thought I could. No one would hire me…so I…began selling myself. It was accidental at first. I was…wandering around the Alley when a man approached me. He offered me money to have sex." Pansy shrugged, "I was naïve. It seemed so easy at first. Sex for money. Easy money. And…I liked sex, I admit it." She took a deep breath, "And it was easy at first. Almost…almost enjoyable. Or maybe I was deluding myself, I'm not really sure. And then I started to hate it." Pansy clenched her hands into tight fists, "I felt…like I was losing myself. It was like every time they ripped a bit of me out and threw it away. I tried to leave, tried to get out of it." A tear escaped, "But it's a cycle. Once you enter it…it's near impossible to leave. I kept falling back, hating myself for it…but I just didn't have any other option." Another tear escaped and Pansy angrily wiped it away, "It's demeaning, I know. Shameful as well. I am, after all, from one of the most prominent pureblood families. It's so…dirty, but it was the only thing I could do. The only option I could see after a while." Tears began to stream down the once proud Slytherin's face, and Pansy's hurt pride made her bristle in anger at herself. "At some point you feel that you really don't have any other option. It's like an addiction, except there is no pleasure in it."Suddenly, a handkerchief was pressed into her hand and a warm body settled next to hers, helping fend off the impending chill. Pansy took a deep breath, "Once in a while I get…a client…who thinks it's okay to be rough, since he's paying and all. Today…was especially bad."
Harry squeezed Pansy's hand and then opened his mouth and, softly, began to tell his own tale, of how he traded his life for the lives of two Slytherins, feeling that it was the least he could do for what they had done. Pansy nodded, one hand clutching the wet handkerchief, the other gripping the Gryffindor's hand.
"I have a proposition for you, Pansy." Harry squeezed the girl's hand as she turned her face towards him.
"I have spent years completely swamped in all these stupid fan letters. Lately, however, important letters are starting to get mixed with them. And with all the stupid Ministry engagements and then the orphanage, and everything else, I find myself in need of a secretary," Harry said slowly. Pansy's head snapped up, her eyes wide with surprise. "I was hoping you'd be willing to perhaps take the job for me?"
Pansy blinked, "Me? A Slytherin? Your secretary?" She narrowed her eyes, "I don't like taking charity Potter. It's bad enough that I let you...help today. I shall be leaving—"
Harry shook his head, "Please Pansy." Then pausing he sighed, "I'll let you in on a secret. The department is going to promote me to Deputy Head soon. Not that I want it. But they will. Because they're the fucking Ministry. And they do what they want. Anyway, I'll definitely need a cunning, manipulative secretary that will prevent the stupid politicians from coming in and out of my office all day."
Pansy paused and frowned, before saying, "And this job…what would it entail?"
Harry rose and got a clipped stack of papers off his desk. "I've written out a contract. Within are all the things expected of you, how I should treat you, your rights, things like that."
Harry paused as he handed Pansy the packet, "You can say no. Even if you do, you are welcome to stay here as long as you'd like. This is a mansion and I am but one person. And, if you choose to take the job, you should know that I will release you from it whenever you desire to leave. I assume you want to continue your education or something like that?"
Pansy nodded, her eyes not leaving the papers, "I wanted to get my Mastery in Transfiguration."
Harry nodded, "I will support you in that endeavor as well, if you choose to pursue it."
Pansy looked at Harry in complete shock, "Why Potter, why do you care? Why does it matter to you if one Slytherin, one you hardly ever cared for, has to whore herself out to live?"
Harry sighed, "I simply want to help Pansy."
"Saving me too Potter?" Pansy sneered, her protective barriers finally reappearing and rearing their heads.
Harry shrugged, "Hermione says I have a savings-people thing."
Pansy gave Harry a calculating look, under which Harry was sure he was being analyzed. Finally, Pansy gave Harry a small smile, "Potter—Harry, thank you. I cannot express…" Pansy trailed off.
Harry sat on the table, setting the papers aside and taking Pansy's hands in his. "I saw you and all I could think was, what a waste of talent, of a life. Circumstances made you do what you did Pansy. You had to do it. It wasn't your fault. The ministry is fucked up, they couldn't care less of where they've screwed up, but they should. I…I want us to bury the hatchet. Besides, I really really really need a secretary." Harry looked at her pleadingly.
Pansy laughed softly, "I can imagine. Didn't Granger organize your schedule at Hogwarts?"
Harry blushed guiltily.
"Thank you Potter. You have helped me in ways no one else could. Or would."
Harry shrugged, "No problem." His cheeks were still stained pink.
Pansy smiled, taking the packet in her hands to read.
End of Flashback
Harry hadn't known initially if it was a good idea to give Pansy such direct access to his personal things. At that moment all he had wanted to do was to give Pansy a way out. But he had been right in choosing her. Pansy was an efficient and organized secretary, within days she had whipped his life into shape, while simultaneously throwing away all his clothes and redoing his wardrobe ("You're famous, a top Auror, and going to be Deputy Head soon Potter! Dress appropriately!"). Slowly she seemed to come out of the darkness that Harry had seen when he had first pulled her out of that alley, her inner strength, inner fire, rekindling itself. Seeing her like that, in the alley, shaking, in rags, bleeding, Harry had had but one thought, what if it had been Hermione, Ginny or Luna in that situation? What would they have done? It helped that Blaise was Ginny's husband, and now one of Harry's friends. He wasn't sure he'd have been able to face Blaise knowing he'd left Pansy in the alley.
However, in all the hullabaloo, he'd forgotten to tell Ginny and Blaise about Pansy.
The fireplace swirled green and Ginny Zabini stepped out into Grimmauld Place, frowning when there was no sign of Harry. Accompanied by her husband, Ginny was heading over to the orphanage and Harry had mentioned that he needed to give them some things to take over. Walking towards the library, she was surprised to see Pansy Parkinson sitting at the desk with all of Harry's mail in front of her. Drawing her wand quickly, she hissed at the other woman, "What are you doing here?"
Pansy looked up quickly, her eyes wide as she met the blazing brown eyes of Blaise's wife. Standing slowly, she said, "Miss Weasley—I mean Mrs. Zabini, I can explain."
"You had better. What are you doing going through Harry's mail?"
"Ginny what is going on—Pansy?" Blaise walked in, frowning as he'd heard his wife's yelling, but pausing in shock at the sight of his friend, his ex-girlfriend, in Harry's house. She was thinner than before, he noted, as her eyes rose to meet his before glancing away quickly. "What are you doing here?"
"She's my secretary," came the confident voice of Harry Potter. Ginny spun around to see Harry striding in, his hand gently pushing her wand down, "I gave her permission Gin."
Ginny blinked, "Oh."
Blaise frowned, "Where have you been Pansy? I haven't heard from you in ages. I haven't seen you since my wedding!"
Pansy shivered, pulling her sweater closer to ward off the internal chill she could feel creeping up her arms, inadvertently displaying one of the bruises on her wrist.
Blaise took in a sharp breath, "Pansy?" He strode over to where the woman stood, his fingers gripping Pansy's wrist in an attempt to reveal more of her arm.
"Let go of me Zabini!" Pansy snapped, jerking her arm away.
"Shut it Parkinson," Blaise growled, his fingers tightening on her arm, as pushed her sleeve up her arm. There, the dark purple bruise of a man's large hand was clearly visible. That was all the information and evidence Blaise needed. "Oh Pansy…why didn't you come to me?" Blaise said, his dark eyes sad as he met Pansy's.
Pansy shrugged, "I couldn't."
Blaise sighed and wrapped his arms around her, silencing the independent woman.
Ginny furrowed her eyebrows, looking to Harry for answers. Sighing, Harry bent down to whisper, "Pansy's inheritance was frozen by the Ministry and society shunned her. She had no other method of making money." Ginny's eyes widened before a sad tone took to them as she connected the dots. Ginny loved her husband, and her husband's friends were her friends. To know that one of them had had to resort to such means…
Walking over to her husband and the other woman, Ginny let a hand rest on Blaise's arm. He released Pansy, who turned cautiously to face Mrs. Zabini.
Clearing her throat, Ginny said, "Blaise is going to drop by Harry's orphanage to speak with Mum. He's got to drop some things off for Harry too. But, Hermione's been promising me she'd go to the nail salon and she still hasn't. Do you see the state of my nails? They're awful." Ginny splayed her fingers, looking at them in disgust, throwing Pansy a conversational look. Pansy blinked, not quite sure how to respond.
"I suggest you and I go to the nail salon, get a very nice manipedi, and then we'll go home and have dinner, the three of us? Harry can join us too."
Pansy searched Ginny's eyes, finding only sympathy and surprisingly, soft admiration within them. She met Harry's eyes over Ginny's red hair and relaxed as he gave her an encouraging and reassuring smile. "If you are sure Lady Zabini, I would be honored," Pansy said softly.
Ginny smiled, "Oh none of that. Lady Zabini reminds me of Blaise's mother. Call me Ginny. You won't mind if I call you Pansy, will you?"
Pansy shook her head, smiling slowly at Ginny's nonchalant attitude, releasing a trembling sigh as Blaise gently squeezed her arm in support.
Harry looked at Pansy, "Yes, I remember. And then Ginny and Blaise showed up unexpectedly..."
Pansy shifted on the sofa. "Ginny I met regularly after that. We went shopping, had lunch, had coffee. It was all very pleasurable. And then…"
Ginny looked at Pansy as she perused the French dessert menu in front of her. Pansy was once again the striking beauty she had been before, now that she'd gained a bit of her weight back and reclaimed her confidence. Dark hair, hazel eyes, her lips plump and pouty. She was curvaceous, that chest the envy of many a Hogwarts girl in her day. Ginny calmly met Pansy's questioning eyes. "Are you still in love with Blaise?" she asked the other woman bluntly, but not unkindly.
Pansy froze. This was one topic they had avoided in the weeks that she had spent with Ginny. Pansy had simply been happy to have a female friend again, her friendship with Ginny, with the support of Harry, gaining her slow acceptance from Hermione and Luna as well. She had basked in having friends again, true friends who were not out to manipulate her, who she didn't have to analyze at every turn, and had ignored everything else. Including the fact that Ginny was married to the only man she had ever loved.
"What do you mean?" Pansy said slowly.
Ginny gave the other woman a small smile, "I know about you and Blaise. He told me. That you hadn't really broken up but that you weren't together. Only then did I enter into a relationship with him…I don't steal other women's men."
Pansy nodded, "He's right. After the war, more like during…we just sort of …fell apart."
Ginny nodded, her hand resting lightly on top of Pansy's, "But do you love him still?"
Pansy's hands clenched into fists, "Why does it matter?" Pansy rose, her face darkening in anger as she put money down on the table to cover the bill and walked towards the door.
Ginny caught up with the other woman quickly and pulled her into the park nearby. "I need to know Pansy," Ginny entreated, her eyes searching the Slytherin's face.
Pansy stood stiffly, her eyes cold and shuttered. "I would never, ever, try and take Blaise away from you. I'm not that type of woman. I thought we were friends Ginny."
Ginny smiled, "I know." Raising a hand, Ginny cupped Pansy's cheek. "But what if I want to be more than friends?"
Pansy froze as the soft hand came into contact with her cheek. Was Ginny suggesting…
Ginny smiled and drew the other woman's face towards her, letting herself sigh as her lips finally touched the Slytherin's. Pansy froze before moaning, her arms wrapping around Ginny's waist. Ginny slid her hand down to cup the back of Pansy's neck. Their lips were locked in the moist embrace, tongues were introduced, and they were lost in the sensation of a pleasure unique to a woman's body.
Separating, foreheads pressed together, they gasped for air.
"You've-you've spoken to Blaise about this?"
Ginny nodded, tucking her head against Pansy's neck. "He brought it up. He wants us both and I told him I wanted him and you too. We just had to see if you agreed."Ginny looked up into Pansy's eyes, "Will you? Please? We both care for you."
Pansy shook, "Is it…I mean…do you…I…" Pansy was uncharacteristically at a loss for words.
Ginny smiled, kissing Pansy's cheek lightly, "We want to try and have a relationship between the three of us Pansy. Permanent, unless you wish to leave."
Pansy choked, the idea of being…happy making her throat close up. Was it possible? Or was she dreaming?
End of Flashback
Harry stared at Pansy in astonishment. Pansy nodded, "I am in a threesome with Blaise and Ginny."
Harry blinked at Pansy blankly, "Wha-what?" Harry hands were clenched, his fingers trembling.
Pansy sighed, "Harry, threesomes are accepted in the Wizarding world. They may not be prolific, but they do happen. Relationships…it's all about love in our world. Of course, monogamous heterosexual relationships are the most common, but homosexual relationships are widespread as well. Who you love, who your magic is compatible with, there are so many different situations that relationships blossom from, so of course, threesomes are just as acceptable."
Harry swallowed, "I…I…"Shaking his head, Harry shoved away thoughts that were threatening to overtake him and make him lose himself, instead focusing on the conversation at hand. "Why don't they—?" Harry's face darkened, "If they're ashamed of you, I swear I'll—"
Pansy laughed, "No, no Harry. But thank you, my hero." Pansy smiled, holding Harry's hand. "No, I just…wasn't sure how serious they were. And I didn't want to make anything awkward at family dinners." Pansy shrugged, "I was rather enjoying being surrounded by so many people that accepted me, after such a long time…I didn't want to risk it."
Harry hugged Pansy, "Oh Pansy." Releasing her, he said, "Why are you telling me now?"
Pansy shifted, "I wasn't sure how'd you take it before. Sometimes people are very opinionated against them and…since I hadn't told anyone else." Pansy shrugged and sighed, "And then…then I realized that you didn't know that threesomes were possible, were accepted, in Wizarding society."
Harry nodded, "I don't know a lot of stuff apparently. You're sure it's accepted?"
Pansy nodded, "Very. I'll get you scholarly evidence if you want?"
Harry laughed, "I think I'm in shock. It'll process tomorrow. Thank you for telling me. For trusting me." Harry's mind was rebelling again though, telling him that there was a very important connection he was failing to make.
Thankfully, Pansy was about to enlighten him.
Pansy nodded, "I'm sure you realize this is important information for you?"
Harry froze, slowly saying, "Why do you say that?"
"I know Harry."
Harry leaned away slowly, "Know what?"
Pansy squeezed Harry's hand, "I know Harry, I know." Giving him a sad look, she said, "I know that for some reason you love Draco and the Professor. You've been in turmoil because of it. I can see it on your face." Gripping the Gryffindor's hands, she continued, her eyes shining with hope for him, "But, I wanted you to know Harry, if they're interested, Harry, you can have them both. You can. You can."
Harry froze and rose quickly, "What…what are you talking about?"
Pansy looked up from the sofa, her eyes sad as she took in the tormented silhouette of her employer, her savior, her friend, "Harry, you can have what you want. You can be happy. It's possible. All you have to do is see if they reciprocate your feelings."
Harry gripped the mantle with both hands, his shoulders tense and slumped, his head bowed, his emotional pain morphing quickly into physical agony. Oh Pansy, you don't realize…but what you've told me…it changes everything. Everything.