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6. Please remember the prompts when voting: "O! beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on."
Results will be posted Saturday. Have fun!
Title: Old School
Pansy sat on the edge of the bed, clad in just her underwear. She watched in amusement as Ron rifled noisily through their wardrobe. After several loud crashes, and a few muttered curses, she took pity on him.
"What are you looking for?"
Ron emerged from the wardrobe, hair dishevelled and face flushed. "My old tie," he explained. "It's got to be here somewhere."
"Your school tie?" Pansy asked carefully, keeping a grin off her face.
"It's the only one I have," Ron muttered defensively, now rummaging through their drawers.
"Not any more." Pansy eased herself off the bed and retrieved a bag from the corner. "Here." She held it out towards him.
Ron paused in his search and eyed the bag dubiously.
Pansy huffed and pressed it into his hands. "Take it, then. I'm not one of your brothers; it won't bite."
With a rueful grin, Ron delved into the bag, and then looked in surprise at the tie in his hands. "It's..."
"Lovely? Yes, it is rather," Pansy replied. "Here, let me." She took hold of the tie and looped it around his neck.
Ron shook his head slightly. "No, I meant it's—"
"Fine Italian silk?" Pansy interrupted. "Only the best for you, dear." She winked as her fingers deftly tied a perfect Oxford knot. Then she placed her hands on his shoulders and turned him towards the mirror. "There," she said proudly.
"It's green," Ron exclaimed finally.
"Very observant," Pansy replied, busily shimmying into her dress. "Now zip me up, would you?"
"It's green," Ron repeated, even as his fingers tugged the fastener on Pansy's dress.
"You seem awfully fixated on colour."
"Slytherin green," Ron added.
Pansy rolled her eyes. "It's just a tie, Ron. Besides, if I'm forced to spend an evening surrounded by your Gryffindor friends, the least you can do is wear that for me."
Ron's face became serious. "We really don't have to go, if you don't want to. I'm sure Hermione will understand."
Pansy gave a dismissive snort. "Don't be ridiculous. It's her engagement party and you're her best friend -- you have to go. And new fiancé or not, if you think I'm sending you off alone for a night with Granger, you can think again."
Ron sipped steadily from his champagne and allowed the flow of conversation to wash over him. He had no idea what his friends were saying; he was too busy watching Pansy across the room.
For all her protestations, Pansy seemed to be having a fine time of it. In fact, if Ron didn't know for certain that Terry Boot was head over heels for Hermione, there'd have been trouble later.
Making his excuses, Ron headed across the room.
"I didn't know you two were so friendly," he commented.
Pansy gave him a light kiss. "Who, Terry? He's not such a bad bloke."
Ron spluttered. "Since when?"
Pansy grinned broadly. "Since he took Granger off the market and out of my hair."
Pansy could nearly taste the bitter jealousy that consumed her as she watched her husband mingling with their guests. It was eating at her, threatening the consume her from the inside out, and it took nearly everything she had to keep it from showing on her face.
Her eyes lit upon Ron, and her face softened for a quick moment. He looked so happy that it made her want to cry. Of course, he’d always loved Christmas; every year, he acted like a five year-old the day December first rolled around on their calendar. It was a time for family, friends, food and love- that was what he’d told her. Pansy had experienced the holiday quite differently as a child, but she was willing to try the season his way.
Ron moved, and Pansy’s gaze hardened as it fell upon the glowing young woman behind him. Ginny Malfoy looked more beautiful than ever. Her red hair was bright as the fairy lights on their tree, and her skin practically shone with radiance. Her joyous demeanor only enhanced the small bump that protruded from her midsection.
She inhaled sharply, closing her eyes. Merlin, she wanted a baby.
Outsiders were loathe to believe that Pansy actually had a heart, let alone maternal instincts. But they were there and in full force, especially at times such as these. When the full force of the Weasley family gathered, offspring in tow, it just made her want what she didn’t have even more.
They had been trying for over a year now. Besides the jealousy she routinely felt whenever she saw Ginny or Fleur, their bellies swollen with child, Pansy could feel another creeping in in its place: desperation.
“Everything alright, love?”
Ron’s voice jolted her out of her reverie, and she opened her eyes to glance up at him. Her face was schooled into a mask of contentment as she answered, “Of course, darling.” Despite herself, she let her gaze wander back towards the tree, where his sister and her oldest friend stood chatting with Percy and his new wife.
He could see through her, of course. He always could.
“Pansy,” he said softly, placing a hand on her shoulder to turn her towards him. “Are you still worrying about that?”
“I can’t help but do so,” she whispered. It hurt so much; Ron would be a wonderful father, she was sure of it. What she wasn’t sure of was her own ability to give him those children. “I see Ginevra and Draco, how happy they are with the baby, and I want that. Like I’ve never wanted anything else in my life, I want to give you a child.”
“And you will,” he reassured her, arms circling her waist to draw her close. He let her rest her head on his shoulder, and one hand came up to stroke her long black hair comfortingly.
Pansy took a shuddering breath. “How can you be sure?”
“Because I love you,” he replied, kissing her forehead before he drew back to smile at her. “And until then, we’ll just keep trying.”
Title: Next Time
Ron frowned at the tie. It was just his luck to come across haphazardly discarded clothing on his rounds to the Astronomy Tower. "Slag," was muttered grumpily as he bent to pick it up.
A jet of red light grazed his cheek, and his hand went for his wand as he spun, but there was already one nestled dangerously against his throat. Unfortunately, there was a very displeased Pansy Parkinson on the other end of it. He gulped.
"Tell me," Pansy said quietly, her voice deceptively calm, "that I didn't just hear what I thought I did."
"Er." Ron was horrified to hear a whimper leave his throat as her wand dug more deeply.
"Can you not even lie properly to save your own skin?" she asked, genuinely puzzled. "What the hell do they teach you in Gryffindor?"
"Honor. Bravery. Moral Fortitude." Ron ground out, schooling his face into a frown.
"God, I might be sick," she replied.
Ron's eyes narrowed and he clenched his jaw.
"Oh, I'm sorry, the death glare doesn't work on me," Pansy said conversationally. "It's not your fault, though."
"What?" Ron asked, confused.
"I took an Anti-Weasley Death Glare Potion this morning."
"What are you--" Ron began, and then looked at her more closely. "Are you being funny?"
She sighed, obviously disappointed. "Apparently not." Removing her wand, she said, "I'm not, you know."
Ron was completely off balance in every way possible. She hadn't cursed him, she was joking with him, and she was even trying to have a conversation with him. "You're not... what, Parkinson?" he asked, genuinely puzzled. "Funny?"
"A slag," she answered succinctly.
"Oh." He held out the tie that he still clenched in his fist. "Yours?"
"Yes," she said, taking the accessory and threading it loosely around her collar. "We were only talking up here. Not madly snogging or having honorable, brave, morally fortified sex or whatever you and Granger do."
"Hermione and I don't do... that."
"Well, I'm shocked." Turning professorial, she began, "Now, Weasley, at this point in the conversation, a 'slag,' would offer herself up to you to avoid losing points." Pansy moved closer to Ron. She ran a finger along his tie, looking up at him coyly. "She'd say that you look a bit tense, and perhaps cast some warming and cushioning charms and let you unzip her skirt. Maybe she'd even relieve you of your trousers."
Ron swallowed thickly, glancing at the fastener of her skirt, his hands suddenly reaching out of their own accord.
She stepped back quickly and said, "But as I said before, I am not a slag. Shame, huh?"
"Wicked shame," Ron breathed, his voice cracking.
Pansy's pleased expression was unmistakable and she regarded Ron for a moment. "Maybe the next time you find yourself alone in the Astronomy Tower with me, you'll speak a little more kindly, yes?"
"Good." Her smile was genuine, and Pansy sheathed her wand as she sashayed to the stairwell. Before descending, she turned and winked, murmuring words Ron would think about for days after.
"Until next time, then."
Warnings: A tiny touch of innuendo and Ron's usual levels of mild profanity
Ron was sulking. He realised that, and quite frankly, he didn't care. As far as he was concerned he had a damn good reason for it, so he sat there with his feet up on his desk, flipping the stupid tie backwards and forwards irritably between his fingers and enjoying a damn good sulk.
It wasn't that the tie was hideous. It was just a green tie. He didn't particularly hate green. It was what it signified though that was the problem. It was Pansy marking her bloody territory – marking him as her bloody territory. And what had he done? He'd just chuffing well gone along with it, like some little lap dog. Well, he was sick of it!
Then there was the fact that she seemed to think a tie was a perfectly adequate birthday present. He almost snapped his quill in half when he thought of all the effort he'd gone to for her birthday – even tracking down her favourite chocolate truffles from some little shop in Paris and having them sent over by owl post – and all she could be arsed to get him was some dumb tie.
Ron was interrupted, mid-strop, by his office door flying open. His feet slipped off the desk with a thud, partly in surprise and partly in reflex at the expectation it would be his boss. It wasn't; it was his infuriating girl friend.
"Busy morning?" Her tone was arch as she took in slumped posture. Before Ron could think of any suitably scathing reply though, she wrong-footed him again by closing his office blinds.
"What are you—?"
Pansy just laughed, throaty and deep, and informed him that she'd told his secretary he would be busy for the rest of the afternoon.
Ron bristled. This was exactly the problem: she was presumptuous, and overbearing, and … pushing him back into his chair with one hand splayed on his chest and the other undoing his tie. Ron couldn't seem to remember all of a sudden what his problem had been.
He decided that he had most definitely been misguided in whatever silly little grudge he'd been clinging to as Pansy secured the tie around his eyes, blindfold style, and silenced him with a finger to his lips as he tried to ask again what was going on.
She took his hand and made him stand. No sooner was he upright than he felt the crushing pressure of Apparition, which was decidedly disorienting when he couldn't see a thing.
The air felt different, when they reached their destination – fresher and a little salty – and a cool breeze tugged at the blindfold as Pansy untied it.
"Happy Birthday," she said, when Ron could see the tartan picnic blanket spread out beneath the overflowing basket on the rough, chalky cliffside.
"You know," Ron said, looking pointedly along the coast as he turned to wrap his arms around her, "I don't think there's anyone for miles around, so perhaps I should show you just how much I like my present."
Round One, Semifinals
Colors of Love
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