Word Count: ~650
Rating: PG this part, NC-17 overall
Challenge: hp_may_madness 2016 Day #16: Confession, chartreuse, milk
Author's Notes: Unbeta'd.
"Are you ever going to tell us what's going on with you?" Pansy asked apropos of nothing as she slid in next to Draco at the Slytherin table.
Draco continued pouring milk into his tea. "What are you going on about?"
Pansy rolled her eyes as she reached for a scone. "You've been strange ever since the beginning of the school year, and you've only been getting stranger. It's been worse since we've been back."
"It may have escaped your notice, but a lot has happened this past year. Did you really think I was going to be the same?"
Pansy huffed in annoyance, clearly determined to pull some sort of confession from Draco. She was wearing a large chartreuse barrette in her shiny black hair, and Draco fought the urge to inform her that just because they were in Slytherin didn't mean they could pull off every shade of green.
"You know what I mean, Draco. You're always doing homework and hiding in the library. You hardly ever hang out with the rest of us, and all of a sudden you're obsessed with Care of Magical Creatures? I know you want to do well this year, but it's not like you're going to work with beasts once we leave Hogwarts."
Draco felt himself bristling. He'd had just about enough of other people telling him what he should or shouldn't do. "Who says I won't?"
Pansy looked horrified. "You can't be serious. It's so—so common."
"Well, maybe common is a good thing. Maybe I don't want to follow the path my parents laid out for me. I listened to them for seventeen years and look where it got me? I like Magical Creatures."
Pansy pursed her lips in a moue of distaste. "Yes, well, there are better ways to rebel than by rolling around with Garden Gnomes."
"I'm not—" Draco ran a hand through his hair. "Just drop it, Pans."
"Fine," Pansy snapped, clearly annoyed. She turned pointedly away to speak to Theo and Draco barely managed to keep from rolling his eyes at her back.
Pansy was one of Draco's oldest friends. A part of him would always care for her, but Draco couldn't deny that they were going down different paths. The both of them had done their fair share of terrible things, and Draco would be the first to admit that he had probably been far worse in the scheme of things. Pansy, however, seemed content to sweep the unpleasantness of the past under the rug and continue on with life as it had been before the Dark Lord had come back into power. Draco, on the other hand, couldn't pretend that his entire world hadn't been turned upside down these past few years. He didn't want to go back to petty rivalries with Potter and Weasley, to sneering down at those he'd been taught were inferior, to marrying some vapid pure-blood witch straight out of Hogwarts and lounging about the Manor, growing fat and lazy with perceived power.
Pansy wanted the life their parents had, the life they'd been promised and had been carefully raised for. Draco was becoming more and more certain he did not.
No, Draco wanted something real and exciting. He wanted something that made him feel alive, that made him feel like he was doing his part to better the world. He wanted someone that made his pulse pound and his stomach flutter.
His gaze strayed to the professor's table, eyes locking with Charlie Weasley's. Charlie quirked his lips into a small smile and Draco's stomach lurched. They were going to Hogsmeade to talk this weekend, and Draco still wasn't entirely sure what he wanted to say. There was one thing he was sure of though.
He wanted someone who made him feel like Charlie did.