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Matching-Muff Matrimony - a Pansy/Ginny novella

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I had a blast exploring a pairing I've always liked but never really written, in addition to being all Fisher Price: My First Femmeslash (TM). So, overall, holiday exchanges for the win! I'm really surprised at how well this story has been received, and it gives me encouragement to keep writing when I ever get through the abyss of hell and overwork that is this final quarter of graduate school.

The other noteworthy aspect of posting this is that I have to out myself as an avid reader of romance novels. I learned in the process of writing this story that they are even more fun to write than to read, so if I ever do write any original fic, I daresay it will be a straight-up, no-holds-barred bodice ripper!


Title: Matching-Muff Matrimony

For: dramedy, who requested "something fluffy and sexy, humor and sarcasm a plus".

Rating: NC-17/NWS for explicit descriptions and depictions of sex.

Length: 22,500 words, two drawings.

Pairing(s): Ginny/Pansy, passing mention of canonical het pairings, developing Harry/Draco.

Summary: It was a comfortable marriage of inconvenience, really, given how much they hated each other.

Warning: Character death, but it's Voldemort, so I don't think anyone will really mind.

Acknowledgments: Thanks to Imogene, my amazing beta-who-may-once-again-be-named, and to confiteor_3 for hosting fem_exchange!

Author's notes: Set in December of 2005, when same-sex marriage became legal for Muggle Britain.


However uncertain the end of the war was at many points leading up to the final victory, no one, not even Dumbledore with all of his knowing twinkling, had ever expected it to end quite this way.

Popular opinion, buoyed by Prophesy, had pretty much reduced the choice of outcomes to a binary one between Voldemort finally succeeding one of these Junes in causing the demise of one Harry Potter, or, the more popular alternative, Harry Potter finally offing the villain who had killed his parents, hidden his godfather behind a curtain, marred his forehead, and made him prone to unpredictable fits of rage and sulking in his later adolescence.

Indeed, of all people who wished for the latter option, Ginny Weasley had been particularly fervent in holding out hope for her boyfriend putting paid to He-Who-Can-Once-Again-Be-Named. This was not only because she wholeheartedly embraced the Side of Good and Light and Fluffy Baby Kneazles, but also so that their temporary relationship hiatus would be over, and that her famous boyfriend could finally be persuaded to put out rather than stalking about muttering about what Draco Malfoy might be up to.

Mr. Weasley's Ford Anglia had returned several weeks ago in May, bruised but not broken after its harrowing run in with the Whomping Willow.

Ginny, being an enterprising sort, had taken full advantage of the opportunity and borrowed her parents' car for a chance to offer Harry encouragement in his Horcrux hunt, if by "borrowed" one meant "hijacked in the middle of the night" and if by "offering encouragement" one meant "attempting to talk Harry into going in for a casual booty call at the very least, because you know, a girl does have needs".

Ginny most definitely had not known that on this evening, Harry had, with the assistance of Ron and Hermione, finally succeeded in finding and destroying an ancient and valuable compendium of dodgy erotica that had either belonged to, or possibly been penned by, Rowena Ravenclaw. This was not because Harry was on some kind of puritanical mission to rid the world of medieval smut of middling quality, even though he had found particular passages in Chapter 11 to be a bit distasteful, but rather, because it represented the very last of the Horcruxes, and its destruction, after Hermione had carefully copied down particularly juicy bits for posterity, reduced Voldemort to his mortal coil again.

Ginny also had not adequately appreciated just how hard it was to drive a gun-shy, slightly paranoid, enchanted Ford Anglia who was by now quite afraid of trees. The invisibility booster was still broken, necessitating earth-bound travel. It was late and Ginny was admittedly a bit tipsy because the brilliant idea had only occurred to her only after several rounds of drinks. Additionally, it was quite rainy and stormy for June, even in Scotland, so when the car spooked upon passing a copse of trees blowing ominously in the wind, Ginny found herself careening through slick, sharply twisting corners with very little traction and ill-advised speed.

So, when Ginny hit someone midway through a hairpin curve, she understandably thought that she would be in quite a good deal of trouble, and ran from the car screaming and attempting to administer first aid although she'd always been total pants at healing charms.

She was absolutely not expecting the winning teenage combination of recklessness, inebriation and being a bit randy to land her the title of New Savioress of the Wizarding World.

But when Ginny inadvertently ran over the evil over-lord known as Voldemort, she found herself quite suddenly thrust into the center of a great deal of attention, and then, much to her surprise, she also found herself out of a boyfriend.

She was understandably put out by this development with Harry, having hoped that the happy conclusion of the epic and ongoing struggle to put an end to Voldemort, no matter how bizarre the actual circumstances, might have led to a lot less hearing about what tattoos Draco Malfoy might harbor under his robes and a lot more action involving the specially-purchased postwar-celebration-designated underwear in lacy gold that Ginny was harboring under her robes. Just because the roles of "vanquishing hero" and "grateful heroine" had been reversed didn't mean some postwar celebratory nookie would be at all remiss. Ron and Hermione had certainly twigged the spirit of the thing...but Harry turned out to be anything but grateful.

Ginny wasn't at all expecting that. Everyone else had taken the news just like she would have thought they might, if she had thought about such an outrageous coincidence ahead of time. Hermione was torn between outward disapproval at the drunk driving part, and far greater private delight that Trelawney had been very, very wrong. Ron, ever pragmatic, was happy that the ends had been achieved, by whatever means, and even happier about his newly minted relationship status. Even her parents were only a little bit angry about the car, although she hadn't told them exactly what had motivated the excursion.

But against all reason, instead of being happy that the obstacles to their continued relationship and thus shagging had been lifted sooner than expected, Harry was incredibly sulky that his spotlight had been usurped. He railed at Ginny for stealing the glory that was rightfully his after he had spent the better part of a year hunting down all of the Horcruxes and the better part of his life hunting Voldemort, to boot. No matter how often Ginny tried to explain that it was all an accident and that she really hadn't meant to mow over the Dark Lord in a sturdy car of late 50s extraction, and really, they didn't make cars like that anymore, Harry just ranted in the most unattractively stroppy way about how unfair his life as an unsung hero was. This struck Ginny as deeply hypocritical, because Harry had long insisted that the unremitting attention of the media was completely unwelcome.

Finally, to enormous press fanfare, Ginny broke up with Harry for good, firm in her conviction that there had to be other, less sullen fish in the sea.

***

Unfortunately, eight years later, at the end of a lackluster professional Quidditch career, the many fish in the sea that she had so been looking forward to turned out, in actuality, to be an endless parade of vapid fan-boys who only wanted her fame and celebrity endorsements. Ginny found herself the object of much male attention but with very few actual Prospects of Quality. Even worse, her celebrity status made it difficult to even sleep around with the Prospects Entirely Without Quality But With Redeeming Quantities of Prettiness without excruciatingly personal details ending up in the papers the next day. The last one-night-stand had ended with the contents of her laundry hamper being stolen, and the next day Ginny found her used knickers for sale in the Daily Prophet classifieds.

This made Ginny wonder why on earth Harry wanted any of this attention anyway, and secondly, why she wasn't just wearing knickers and selling them for a living.

As clever as that idea was, Ginny quickly learned a lesson in supply and demand theory of economics. Because her hamper had been stolen after a spectacular five-week run of avoiding laundry, the worn Savior panty market had just been saturated with goods.

Ginny really had no idea what she wanted to do with her life, beyond wearing underwear, and even that was sometimes called into question.

But the bigger problem was what she was willing to do to continue to pay the rent. Ginny was becoming increasingly certain that it wasn't continuing to put out distressingly dippy feminine hygiene commercials ("For unstoppable freshness all day, no matter what obstacles life throws in your path: Tampax, The Choice of The Chosen One!").

So Ginny had no choice really other than to accept the offered post as flying instructor at Hogwarts, expecting to use the opportunity to explore career options besides coasting on her fame to advertise now-popular flying cars, which was currently, though barely, making ends meet.

***

At the beginning-of-term meeting Headmistress McGonagall, whom Ginny would never, ever be able to think of as Minerva, introduced the newest staff member to the rest of the faculty. Ginny wasn't surprised to see that there had been rather a lot of turnover among the teachers since her own student days; the school had shut down in her sixth year and terminated contracts, and the end of the war made a great many of her own teachers contemplate staying in retirement. She knew that Neville had stepped up as the Herbology professor several years ago, but she was quite taken aback to see Pansy Parkinson, of all people, in the post of Arithmancy professor, wrapped in frothy robes in a very familiar shade of pink, sleek black bob as glossy and perfectly groomed as always.

"Parkinson!" said Ginny, making no effort to hide her surprise. "I really didn't take you to be the professorial type!"

Pansy looked at Ginny with a level of scorn that Ginny had previously seen targeted at the Hogwarts school uniform, Care of Magical Creatures and the color orange. "Oh, riiiight. Clearly, because I can dress myself without looking like a bag lady aesthetically stuck in the seventies, that must make me completely dim-witted in all things academic."

Ginny had nothing to say to this, aware that she was a glorified gym teacher, which brought back pangs of the very familiar depression about the fact that she had reached her peak with a traffic infraction at age sixteen.

Much to Ginny's chagrin, McGonagall caught the exchange and said, "Pansy has won many prestigious Young Arithmancy awards since you were students here, Ginevra. We were quite lucky to lure her away from her position at a research institute to become a professor two years ago."

"A highly lucrative position," Pansy pointed out.

"We are so pleased to have such an expert in Arithmancy on our faculty," said Minerva.

"Well, I was willing to compromise on salary when a teaching post offers so much more time for my own research," said Pansy, smugly. "And I am quite enjoying restructuring the curriculum to include a much more complex theory of fractal Arithmancy. Pioneered by my own ground-breaking research, of course."

Ginny couldn't help but voice her suspicions when Pansy sounded so self-congratulatory. "And I suppose it's just terribly convenient that such a curriculum overhaul probably results in no students taking your class?"

Pansy bristled at the insinuation, and Ginny smiled very sweetly at her while Neville politely coughed to cover what might have been a laugh.

"Well, as a mere staff member, I'd say matters of pedagogy and curriculum design are hardly any concern of yours," Pansy said, finally, in a polite tone belied only by the slight twitching of her eye.

Ginny seethed. "I'll have you know that unlike certain other people, I am teaching a subject of great practical importance."

"Ha," said Pansy. "You can't mean flying brooms?"

"I can, and I do," said Ginny. "Coaching Quidditch, and fine, yes, teaching the firsties in flight."

Pansy sniffed. "Aren't flying automobiles ever so much more popular of late?"

Ginny glared at Pansy.

"I wonder whose crowning glory that achievement is!" Pansy started to sing the jingle from the worst of Ginny's wireless advertisements, ending with a mocking, "The new Ford Aerial, endorsed by The Girl Who Drove!"

Ginny balled her robes in her hand.

"Although, funny, you hardly seem qualified to teach someone how to drive a car," sneered Pansy. "Except maybe if the goal is to drive drunk and maim as many bystanders as possible."

Ginny was about to launch herself across the table at Pansy to tear her limb from pink-swathed limb, when their headmistress intervened - quite like old times, really.

"Oh, will you look at the clock," McGonagall interjected hastily. "It is time for me to call the meeting to order, if you all would take your seats!"

The assembled faculty reluctantly obliged and abandoned the most excitement a start-of-term faculty meeting had seen in years.

Ginny refused to be lulled by the profusion of detail, however, and instead scowled intently at stupid Parkinson for the duration of the meeting.

Well, perhaps stupid was unfair, but just because she had secretly been cultivating some kind of genius with numbers didn't make her any less of a total bitch.

***

Dear Hermione,

Would you mind terribly telling me what Arithmancy research entails, exactly?

For that matter, what Arithmancy even is?

I know it's always been an elective reserved for complete and total masochists very devoted intellectuals, and I never really considered myself sufficiently bored committed to pursue such pedantic nonsense theoretical work... and I know I've had awful things to say about it being your favorite subject in the past, for which I'm terribly sorry.

Maybe you could give me a crash course now that I have seen the error of my ways?

OK, and since I know you'll refuse to say anything until I explain: Pansy Parkinson now holds the Arithmancy teaching post at Hogwarts. I know, can you believe it? The bitch.

Love,
Ginny

***

Fortunately, Ginny didn't see much of Pansy, except over breakfast, although that would have been the absolute last time that Ginny would have chosen if she'd absolutely had to schedule a time for it. Ginny's temper was at it's absolute worst in the mornings, and the owl post sometimes still brought an embarrassing amount of fan email.

Pansy often sauntered in with the announcement that she was still up, like she needed to flaunt her productivity, and then proceeded to goad Ginny about her feeble intellect and even more feeble aspirations in life.

This was quite surprising, given that Ginny really would have thought that Pansy's crowning intellectual achievement would have been matching her shoes to her handbag, and that her main aspirations would have been firstly, to be pretty, and secondly, to marry an equally pretty, posh boy of proper station.

But sometimes, Pansy's repertoire of insults veered to the more familiar, namely, Ginny's slovenly appearance and the dubious taste of her admirers. Moreover, there was definitely a great deal of familiarity in the warmed-over contempt that Ginny served up in return.

One morning, Ginny was delighted to notice that Pansy still had a Witch Weekly subscription delivered, although she tried to hide it sandwiched between various prestigious Arithmancy journals.

Maybe some things didn't change after all.

***

Midway through grading a stack of papers, Ginny cursed her decision to teach at Hogwarts.

She'd thought that teaching flying would be more of an afterthought tacked on to her Quidditch coaching duties. After all, classes were mostly a matter of setting the first-years loose on their brooms and hauling them to the Hospital Wing if (or, more realistically, when) something went seriously wrong. What could be easier than that, even if the first years seemed to possess either a tremendous excess of fear or a complete and reckless lack of it?

But it turned out that the Ministry had requirements for demonstrating the successful teaching of safe conduct in traffic, so there needed to be what McGonagall had referred to as "the occasional classroom component," but which Ginny was beginning to refer to as "the bane of her existence."

Ginny corrected yet another wrong answer in several flashing shades of violent red. This was the fourth time Ginny had administered the exact same Ministry-regulated quiz, and she was horrified to note that well over half the class still thought that the appropriate thing to do when intersecting with another flier was to speed up aggressively while shouting "Get out of my way!" A remaining third seemed firmly fixed on, "Jump off broom and give international signal for distress."

This was after Ginny had demonstrated, with diagrams, flow-charts, finger puppets and finally animated cutlery in the Great Hall, that the appropriate thing was to cede the right of way. She hadn't even gotten to the more subtle point that the person above or on the right technically got to go first.

Honestly, it was a multiple choice test. Ginny knew enough math to expect that at least 25% of the class should be getting the question right by chance alone.

She got herself another drink, and switched ink to the standard issue student black, deciding that if the students weren't going to circle the right answers, she was going to have to do it for them.

***

Ginny almost began to look forward to her next run-in with Parkinson on days when her students had been far too trying, which was always, because the cattiness was a predictable and almost sporting outlet for her frustrations with life in general.

When Pansy passed her in the hallway and muttered, "Look what the cat dragged in..." with a critical eye to Ginny's bedraggled athletic robes, Ginny was ready.

She murmured, with a veneer of a pitying smile, "At least my life isn't so devoid of meaning that I have nothing better to do than keep my laboratory notebooks company late at night. Poor you."

Pansy sneered back, and said, "Devoid? Isn't that an awfully big word for you? I'm so flattered, Weasley, that you took the time to look it up, just for me!"

"Pretentious superficial snot!"

"Slovenly troglodytic trollop!" retorted Pansy.

Ginny refused to give Pansy the satisfaction of knowing she had no idea what that meant. "At least I'm not a frigid bitch!" she insisted, and swept out, feeling much renewed by having gotten the last word, even if it was because a crowd of students had come down the hall and it wouldn't do for professors to be caught fighting.

Having an arch nemesis could be terribly satisfying - she was finally beginning to understand why Harry had always nattered on so about Draco.

***

Thus, it was the absolute least expected thing that had ever happened to Ginny, possibly even including running over Voldemort in a stolen car, when Pansy teetered in early one December morning on her impractical heels, threw a Muggle paper down on the table in front of Ginny like a gauntlet, and said, "Say, Weasley, would you perhaps fancy getting married?"

Ginny spewed coffee all over the paper, and then made a face because she'd also gotten coffee in her sinuses.

"Lovely," said Pansy. "How very civilized of you. This will go down in the annals of history as the most touching response to any proposal ever."

This confirmation that she hadn't just hallucinated the marriage offer brought Ginny back from contemplating the torment of her coffee-bathed nasal cavity, as well as the even worse torment of not having any coffee left.

Ginny blinked and dabbed at her nose with her sleeve.

Pansy crossed her arms in front of her and sneered prettily.

Ginny had always thought that the notion that a proposal of marriage would leave one speechless was total romantic hogwash, but Ginny found she really didn't know what to say... not because she was so touched, but because there were so many things wrong with a universe which had Pansy Parkinson calmly proposing marriage among insults at an ungodly hour in the morning. She settled voicing her objections in no particular order. "It's just seven o'clock in the bloody morning! And you're a girl! And I hate you! And I'm fairly certain you hate me, too!"

Pansy pursed her lips. "Your uncanny knack for perception never ceases to amaze, truly."

"But what is the meaning of this?" wailed Ginny, attracting the attention of students at the nearby Hufflepuff table.

Muttering something about not clobbering Ginny because discretion was the better part of valor, but clearly making an effort to be pleasant by not saying it directly to Ginny's face, Pansy grabbed Ginny's elbow in one hand and the sodden newspaper in the other, and then proceeded to haul Ginny off to the teacher's lounge.

Having been pushed down into a chair, Ginny looked longingly at the coffee coating the paper, then cast "Tergeo!" with a weary acceptance that all her coffee had now gone to whatever mysterious location cleaning spells banished dirt to. "Well, spill it, Parkinson."

"And here I thought you already had."

"Not the coffee," said Ginny, wistfully, unable to joke about the sad lack of caffeine in her bloodstream, which was not even remotely funny. "What on earth you're twittering on about. You can't possibly want to," she gestured helplessly to try to convey the general sense of confusion and withdrawal, "well, marry me!"

"I didn't think I needed to explain this, but that's generally what it means if someone asks you to marry them," said Pansy, like she was reviewing the concept of matrimony to a particularly dull student.

"Sod off," said Ginny.

"I have a proposal, which as I already outlined to you, involves you marrying me, which, if you were literate, you'd be able to read about becoming quite legal in the paper." She smiled and tapped at the Muggle paper with one immaculately manicured nail, like she was making perfect sense, which of course she wasn't.

Ginny noted the headline, "Gays and Lesbians To Legally Wed."

"But, why?" said Ginny, still genuinely perplexed, not sure if she was really missing some big piece of information, or whether it was just the lack of caffeine.

"You know, Weasley, philosophical introspection really doesn't become you."

Ginny barely resisted the urge hit Pansy over the head with the paper, and instead settled for fantasizing about it because she wasn't sure she wanted to make the situation weirder than it already was.

Pansy made a show of fluffing her hair, then added, "So, continuing on the admittedly shaky premise that you can read, you've probably seen in the Prophet that my darling parents are in Azkaban. And even if your skill set is exclusively limited to drunk driving, surely you've heard gossip from that alarmingly large family of yours."

"Aah," said Ginny.

"And since Mama's serving a life-term and Papa's been Dementor-kissed," Pansy did not sound terribly contrite about that at all, "there is quite an inheritance coming my way. Or rather, there ought to be."

"And?"

"But you see, my ever-so-considerate parents put together a last will and testament before all of these developments. And I'm told by my legal team that it is still very much binding."

"Bully for you, Parkinson," said Ginny. "But what does that have to do with anything? Too many late nights with the numbers, eh?"

"Getting there, getting there. You've just got loads of patience, haven't you?"

Ginny scowled some more. She really didn't want to be having this conversation, and if she absolutely had to be having this conversation, she wanted coffee.

"So the conditions of the testament are such that I need to be married before I inherit a single shiny sickle."

"Cry me a river," said Ginny, adding on under her breath, "of fucking coffee."

"The bloody bastards were afraid I'd become a career woman if I didn't have the proper incentive. And if I haven't married by my 27th birthday, it'll permanently pass to my next of kin, of which there aren't any, so then it will go to a Horticultural Society specializing in rare rose varieties."

"Oh," said Ginny.

"I detest flowers!"

Ginny smothered a giggle at this, because really, her parents had done a number on naming her, hadn't they? "So?"

Pansy continued, "I am allergic!", ire finally rising in her cheeks.

"So why not marry Malfoy like everyone expected you to?" said Ginny.

"Draco?" Pansy made a disbelieving huffing sound. "Please. Draco is patently gay. And, more to the point, so am I."

Ginny made a small shocked noise. "But, you two, at school, surely?"

Pansy rolled her eyes. "Maybe that one time, yes, but it really didn't work out for either one of us, mostly because Draco really isn't that girly."

Ginny coughed.

"Look, Weasley, the point is that the Muggles have a term for the very special relationship I have to Draco, which surely I would have thought a Muggle-lover like you might be well-acquainted with. It is 'fag-hag'."

"Well, hag is right," said Ginny, uncharitably.

Pansy ignored her. "And, besides, marrying Draco is exactly what my parents would have wanted! Now that I can get a legal Muggle wedding to a woman, there's no need to resort to such measures. I can do exactly what my precious parents wanted to prevent me from doing, all while meeting their terms and conditions." She smiled happily, then added in the most genuinely cheery tone Ginny had ever heard her use, "Mama will be absolutely livid!"

"Well, I wish you the best of luck in finding some sweet young thing to rope into a life sentence of sapphic bondage with you. Let me know where to send the hers and hers towel set."

"Wait," said Pansy. "Look, it would be ever-so-convenient if it were another staff member, since we're already at the school. It'd be an enormous bother bringing in an outsider and having to share my quarters."

Ginny was unmoved.

"And it wouldn't really be very long, just long enough to get the inheritance sorted out, and then we could have a falling out."

Ginny smiled a bit at the thought of a falling out.

"A nice, very public, nasty, cat-fighting sort of falling out, the kind of thing McGonagall absolutely wouldn't overlook otherwise, followed by a very swift divorce."

Ginny did quite see the appeal of that, but was still unmoved to actually commit any acts of altruism.

"And you'd stop being harassed by all those fans because you would be off the market."

Ginny supposed Pansy might have a point there.

Pansy added, "And, okay, I'd give you a cut of the profits."

Perhaps Pansy might have multiple points, even. Money was always a persuasive argument. "But I don't even like you."

Pansy snorted. "Well, good, because I don't like you either."

Ginny nodded. Perhaps they could see eye to eye on this after all.

"It goes without saying that it would be a marriage in name, only. Just because I'm gay doesn't mean I don't have standards."

If Ginny weren't so perplexed, she would actually be impressed by the density of insults per unit speech.

Pansy continued, "You know it would just be skipping straight to the loveless, sexless part that all marriages eventually end up in. Just think how efficient that is!"

A future without her name being intimately associated with feminine hygiene products beckoned invitingly at Ginny. "Look, I'll have to think about it..." she said.

Pansy smirked, but it was almost a pleasant smirk. "Well, hurry up, registrations are being accepted starting the fifth, which is tomorrow."

Ginny nodded.

"And honestly, you'd be getting the far better bargain," said Pansy. "How could you say no? I mean, I'm gorgeous and fashionable, while you look like you're incontinent!" She twirled on one heel and flounced out of the room, humming a bridal chorus.

"Bitch!" said Ginny, and tried to find her wand, because the coffee stain on her lap really was rather unfortunately situated.

***
Dearest Draco,

I hope you'll still be speaking to me by the end of the letter.

The good news is that I just proposed marriage to an eligible prospect.

The bad news is that it's Ginny Weasley, our new Quidditch coach and flying instructor.

Either good or bad, depending on your perspective: she's still thinking about it.

Contritely,
Pansy

***

My darling Pansy,

Dealing with all of those brats has clearly driven you round the bend. Couldn't you have proposed your bizarre matching-muff matrimony scheme to someone more suitable?

And by "someone more suitable" I clearly mean absolutely anyone besides Ginny Weasley. Like, I don't know, say, Moaning Myrtle?

Besides the cadre of obvious objections (déclassé, plebian, Weasley), may I also point out to you that the lesbian gym teacher thing is really ever-so-cliché?

But I bet a purple engagement ring would really clash with her hair. Could be an amethyst, really, since it's not like you need it to last forever or anything. Let me know if you want help shopping.

Offering my condolences,
Draco

***

Draco,

Well, since you refused to do drag and marry me yourself, you leave me with no other recourse!

Vis-à-vis your suggestion of an amethyst - that's unspeakably tacky. I will not give my fiancée costume jewelry, even if she is a Weasley. There are appearances to maintain, especially with the level of press coverage this will receive when we go public with it.

But I admit you're right about the purple... maybe in a sapphire? It would look unspeakably awful, and be such a comfort to me in these dark times.

With undying gratitude for your understanding,
Pansy

***

Pansy,

You didn't tell me the alternative was a Weasley. Surely I would have reconsidered and we'd be getting me measured for a hot little Vera Wang number right now.

Speaking of press coverage - you're inviting me, right?

Draco

P.S. I bet Potter will be there, eh?

***

Draco,

You are probably forgetting what I said about having to dye your hair because yours is just too recognizable.

Of course you're invited, you ninny... assuming she even says yes. You should have seen her face when I asked her, she spent the whole time gaping like a particularly dim-witted, biliously orange goldfish.

What with the new legislation, though, it's never too early to get measured for a lovely frock yourself, though really, I think you'd do better with something more traditionally masculine from Savile Row, because I don't think white is the best color for you. But, you never know when Mr. Right might fall in your lap when you least expect it!

Pansy

P.S. Fuck if I know if Potter's going to be there or not, and fuck if I care.

P.P.S. Why do you care, anyway?

***

Dear Hermione and Ron,

Teaching is going as well as can be expected given that I loathe and detest children from the bottom of my heart (except for any sprogs the two of you might eventually pop out, of course) and is mostly uneventful, but you'll never believe what happened to me just now. Parkinson (yes, Pansy) proposed to me. As in marriage. Did you know the Muggles just passed a law for that? Anyway, she needs someone to marry her to meet terms in her parents' inheritance, and she wants a woman because it would upset her parents more, because apparently they didn't take her coming out very well.

Am I crazy for thinking about it? Just thought I'd ask my favorite experts on matrimonial bliss.

Love,
Ginny

***

Hello Ginny,

If you want to take up with a woman, which I can totally understand by the way, why on earth would you pick Pansy Parkinson? Surely, you can do better that that conceited cow. Perhaps someone who is not a Slytherin? Perhaps someone who doesn't look quite so much like a pug?

Very perplexed! And concerned!
Ron

***

Hi, Ron!

I forgot to mention Parkinson promised a share in the profits - 50% under Muggle law, I looked it up. Be sure to tell Hermione that I was doing research in the library! While I was there, I did some digging around in old papers, and it looks like her parents were really loaded before they got sent to Azkaban.

So, it would be a marriage of convenience, or perhaps more accurately, well-compensated inconvenience. And it shouldn't take very long, just enough for the money to transfer over to Pansy. And to me!

Always your favorite sister,
G.

***

Gin,

Oh, I get it. That's bloody brilliant! Makes total sense to me. Let me know if you need a best man.

Ron

P.S. Ha ha, can't wait to see the look on mum's face when she hears the happy tidings!

***

Dear Ginny,

Honestly, I did have the thought you might be at least a bit unhinged, until I looked at the news myself, and then I realized just how awful it is for all of those gay wizards and witches who can't get married to the person they love. (They can't all be as bad as Pansy Parkinson, after all.)

Now that I see your real motives, I absolutely think you have a responsibility to use your fame to do the right thing: marry Pansy and make a statement that the Wizarding World needs to get with the civil rights program!

Of course, I'll do my part at the Ministry, too. Surely this injustice will soon be struck down and equality will prevail, everywhere.

Allow me to be the very first to offer my best wishes!
Hermione

P.S. What do you think about P.H.Le.G.M. - Petition to Help LEsbians and Gays Marry? I've enclosed a button just so you can see what it looks like.

P.P.S. Oh, drat, I just remembered... hopefully that doesn't remind you too much of Fleur. If it does, perhaps a simple E.W.W.W.W.W.W. - Equality for Wizards and Witches Who Wish to Wed Within-gender?

P.P.P.S. When's the happy date? I'm sure you know you can get married as soon as the 20th in Scotland, though not until the 21st here. But I think a Christmas eve wedding would be best, myself... the queues might have subsided a bit by then, plus nice romantic setting for best media effect, and doesn't give your mum much time to catch on to the preparations.

***

Ginny sat with the letters and an enormous mug of coffee at breakfast the next morning.

It really didn't help that both of them contained postscripts mentioning mum, and more precisely, telling mum. Ginny shuddered slightly.

But then, if Ron and Hermione thought it was a good idea, and if it could get her enough money that she wouldn't have to worry about working for a long time, she would neither have to sing jingles nor deal with snot-nosed little moppets falling off their brooms all day, then maybe, maybe this wasn't quite as crazy as it seemed. A quick wedding, a great deal of money, half of it hers by right, and then she could leave all of this behind her!

Besides, mum had always been after her to get married. Although Ginny was reasonably sure this was not at all what she'd meant, maybe it would finally put her off that delusional path for good.

Ginny trampled into Pansy's office, deliberately tracking mud all over the place, and said, "Fine! I'll marry you, you horrid stuck-up bitch!"

Pansy looked up only briefly from her grading. "Marvelous," she deadpanned.

"So long as there isn't a prenuptial agreement."

Pansy looked deeply pained for a moment, but just as Ginny was gearing up to feel relieved because her terms would be rejected, Pansy sighed and said rather wearily, "Fine."

"Does December 24th work for you?"

Pansy flicked open her calendar. "So long as we do it after an important floo-call I'm expecting around noon. And before five when my favorite show is on the wireless."

"Look, I want to bring Hermione and Ron," said Ginny. "She'll be helpful because she's Muggle-born. And they both think this is a wonderful idea."

Pansy shrugged. "Draco will be my witness. Bring whomever you want, though it might be advisable to keep mum about it."

"Fine," said Ginny, trying hard not to think about her own mum.

"And we should have a photographer so we can sell the photos to the press afterwards. The actual inheritance will take a bit to hash out with the lawyers, and I don't fancy scraping by on a professor's stipend any longer than I absolutely have to."

"Colin Creevey?" said Ginny. "He's a friend. I bet he'll do it free without leaking to the press, and he's Muggle-born, too, so he'll blend in."

"Fabulous," said Pansy. "It'll be like a mini-Gryffindor Mudblood reunion. Everything I always dreamed my special day would be!"

***

Draco,

The wedding is on! December 24th, 2pm, the Windsor Guildhall.

It won't escape your attention that's Christmas Eve. Tacky, I know.

And that pretty much makes green-and-red our wedding colors, though I suppose I can probably get away with passing it off as the union of our two houses alike in dignity, blah blah. Really, why couldn't the Gryffindor colors be a little less garish? Cor, you know how much I hate Christmas!

She definitely deserves a purple sapphire. Maybe with a two-tone setting (again with the awfully clashing house colors!) and lots of gaudy ornamentation.

The future Mrs. Ginevra Weasley

***

My favorite bride-elect*,

Are you trying to get me to ruin my best robes by sending me a letter signed like that while I'm having breakfast?

Please tell me you are keeping your name. Just think of your publication record, Pansy!

Dec. 24 is also the first day of winter. How's that for appropriate symbolism?

A cleaning bill will be sent your way forthwith!
Draco

* Although I suppose that's not really saying a great deal considering you know the low esteem I hold of the other one. But you'd be my favorite even if you had taken my advice about Moaning Myrtle. (Seriously, if you should ever reconsider, she's a very good listener, and rather pervy, too!)

***

Draco,

Bring on the bills! My financial woes will soon be answered.

Let's meet Friday afternoon in Diagon Alley to find the least attractive and most expensive PURPLE ring we can find. I should be able to work my parents' credit, especially if you pose as my fiancé.

Most sincerely,
The Girl Who Loved (catchy, no?)

***

Pansy,

Don't bother. Not sure even the most talented cleaners can get vomit out of silk charmeuse, which surely you knew when you came up with your new nickname.

The robes are now officially a lost cause... quite like your sanity will be, actually, when it finally sinks in that you're marrying into the Weasleys.

Though, really, when you think about it, what you're doing indirectly is stealing Potter's girlfriend, which is amusing in a poetically just sort of way. Ha!

Should I meet you at 4 after your O.W.L. class?
Draco

***

Draco,

Honestly, is this charming schoolyard rivalry going to continue forever? I'm not sure that's at all healthy, besides which: lame, Draco, v. v. lame.

Eventually you'll have to reconcile yourself to the fact that you and the speccy git are on the same side, and have been for years now. And of all the things to care about, his sex life should be the least of your worries... not least of all because I suspect it's nonexistent.

See you and all your deranged obsessive complexes at four!
Pansy

***

Ginny went the rest of her engagement without seeing her fiancée, but she did receive a gorgeous purple engagement ring via owl.

Or rather, the stone was gorgeous - how had Pansy guessed her favorite color? Ginny quite forgot herself and was almost enchanted as she gazed into its sparkly depths.

It was sadly ensconced in a jutting, claw-like setting amidst an alarming jumbled mess of pink and lavender side stones grafted onto a enormous sprawl of gold-and-silver filigree. When Ginny put it on with rather extreme skepticism, it took up the entire space between her second and third knuckles.

It stood to reason that she couldn't wear it when she taught, but, on the bright side, she could use it to fend off any unwelcome attention the next time she went out... not just because it was a ring on her left ring finger, but because she could probably use it like brass knuckles.

Ginny didn't particularly feel the need to reciprocate, since, after all, she was not the proposer, but the incident did make her realize that she would need to buy a wedding band.

She picked out a plain gold band, because it was the least expensive option. She was about to leave the store, but then was hit by a fit of pique at the Rococo horror enveloping her finger. Why such an awful setting when there were so many others that could have been chosen, just in the display cases surrounding her? She went back to the counter and had the inside of Pansy's ring inscribed with 'Bride: a woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.'

***

The wedding was a quick, understated affair in a judge's chambers, and happened so quickly that Ginny hardly had time to wonder if she was making a colossal mistake even worse than the time she'd made Tom Riddle her own personal agony aunt.

Besides Ron arguing with Draco, and Draco whinging that Harry wasn't there because Ron was not nearly an adequate substitute for arguing, the only disagreeable part was actually having to kiss Pansy.

After a band inscribed with 'To the ends justifying the means!' had been slipped on her finger, the judge pronounced them married by the legal authority vested in him. Ginny thought for sure the ceremony had to be over, but then he rather happily added, "You may kiss!"

Ginny was half a mind to tell the kindly old man, "No, thanks, actually!", because "may" did not equate with "absolutely have to in order for this marriage to be legally valid," but then Pansy motioned meaningfully to Colin, who was staring eagerly at them through his camera.

Ginny had already thoroughly regretted her suggestion of having Creevey document the proceedings, because honestly, the much-vaunted Gryffindor solidarity notwithstanding, she had always thought Colin was a creepy little voyeuristic lecher, but now he was looking at them like he'd watched far too many Fantasy Pensieves with hot girl-on-girl action.

As little as Ginny wanted to kiss Pansy Parkinson, she wanted even less to kiss Pansy Parkinson while Colin Creevey drooled on the sidelines.

She very quickly leaned over, seized Pansy's jaw, and pecked her very briefly on the mouth, before releasing her and stepping away.

"Oh come on, Weasley," she heard Pansy muttering in her ear. "That's pathetic, even for you."

"Think you can do better?" hissed Ginny. "Merlin's left buttock, I hate you!"

Pansy looked for a moment like she was going to stick her tongue out at Ginny, but then instead stepped forward, grabbed Ginny by the waist, dipped her low to the ground, and firmly fastened her lips to Ginny's quite before Ginny's brain had any opportunity to register what was going on.

Ginny opened her mouth to protest, which only yielded Pansy sticking her tongue out just like Ginny had predicted, only it wasn't at all the same when it was into rather than at Ginny.

Ginny was so literally off balance that she couldn't do much about it, other than shove her own tongue back at Parkinson and hope she got the message.

Pansy bit rather viciously in response, and Ginny fisted her hands in Pansy's hair rather harder than was really necessary to be convincing, and the kiss escalated into a fair approximation of passion, even if it was passionate hatred.

When Pansy finally righted her and they separated in a smudging of lipstick shades that didn't at all go together, Ron and Hermione clapped, and Draco cat-called, and Colin Creevey looked like he probably was thinking about where the nearest lavatory was so he could go have a quick wank.

The judge happily said, "I do so like to see young people with real feeling in their relationship! I can just tell the two of you are going to have a wonderful life together!" which Ginny thought was absolutely bizarre given that at the moment the thing she most wanted was to knock Pansy's infuriatingly smug smile into a convenient wall.

Pansy threw her bouquet to Draco, who dodged it, and then Pansy grabbed Ginny's bouquet and pelted it at him when he wasn't expecting it. "Damn seeker reflexes," he moaned when he snatched it from the air, but Ginny noticed he didn't discard the second bouquet.

They both signed the marriage certificate with the funny Muggle writing device, and Ron bickered long enough with Draco over who got to sign the second witness slot that finally Hermione drew in an additional line for herself.

And then they were married.


Part Two

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On January 16th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC), liseuse commented:
I haven't read this yet, but ...

YAY! PANSY! YAY! FEMMESLASH! YAY! PANSY!


Off to read now. Ahem.
[User Picture]
On January 16th, 2007 12:50 am (UTC), eloiselovelace replied:
OMG, wibble... Your Pansy is the ultimate characterization and your femmeslash definitive, so eeek, I hope you find it tolerable!
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On January 16th, 2007 12:57 am (UTC), liseuse replied:
Do not be daft! My Pansy is merely my ideal girl, and thus far from ultimate. And my femmeslash is also thus! I am sure I will be entranced and delirious with your genius! None of this "tolerable" nonsense.
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On January 16th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC), eloiselovelace replied:
Eh, it's still daunting because I fangirl your fic so very, very much! And your comments mean so much to me, coming from you! Yay!!!
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On January 16th, 2007 01:11 am (UTC), liseuse commented:
There are no words for how much I love this so far! Seriously none! I'd quote lines, but it would be the entire fic! And that's no good!

But, yay! for passion! hatred! bitchy Draco, catty Pansy and campaigning Hermione. Oh so much love so far!

Off to read part 2! YAY!
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On January 16th, 2007 07:14 am (UTC), eloiselovelace replied:
I am so, so glad you enjoyed this! YAY, indeed!

I have a hard time writing Hermione *not* campaigning. The whole S.P.E.W. thing was my favorite part of GoF and I was crushed when the movie eliminated it... it just reminded me of so many earnest, overly-political people in my past in such a dead-on parody way.
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On May 18th, 2007 02:54 am (UTC), peskywhistpaw commented:
Did I ever mention that this is probably one of my most favorite stories ever? *cough* I read it a while ago, added it to my memories, and recommended it like mad, but I can't remember if I ever left a comment...
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On May 23rd, 2007 01:50 am (UTC), eloiselovelace replied:
Wow, thank you so much for the comment! I am so delighted to know that you liked this so much that you'd remember it a long time later, and just all around wildly ecstatic that I've written a story that's one of someone's favorites!

I still wish I hadn't rushed it so much to get it sent in for the exchange deadline, but I had such a good time writing this, and really fell in love with the pairing. They're one of my major OTPs now!
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On May 23rd, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC), peskywhistpaw replied:
I can't tell that you rushed it. I just remember wishing there was more. XD Hee.
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On November 21st, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC), foudebassan commented:
LOL! This is the bestest story evah! *off to part two*
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On December 27th, 2007 06:52 am (UTC), kalxxel commented:
I loved it. And now. I am off to read part two. I must say that I am in love with pansy. lol :)
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