dedication: to sonya, who understands that the world needs more pansy/hermy broship
notes: here it is, the kingsmen!AU nobody except sonya wanted or asked for.
notes2: do not talk shit about pansy parkinson in front of me i will fight you
title: i don't read the newspapers (they all have ugly print)
summary: "You are going to buy me a pizza after this." — Hermione, Pansy; Kingsmen!AU.
"You are going to buy me a pizza after this."
"Pfft! Says you, Granger."
"Can you not call me that when we're on assignment? It's Lancelot, thanks."
"Merlin, Pans, are you trying to kill us?!"
"What was that just now, Lancelot?"
"Oh, do shut up."
Hermione Granger and Pansy Parkinson slid down a dusty wall in some twelve-hundred year-old Roman ruin in [REDACTED]'s volatile country, and they tried to breathe. It was a dire situation: surrounded from all sides, herded in a far corner of the old building, and, most offensive of all, they'd had to resort to petty tricks to get to safety. It was unacceptable.
Had they been anyone but themselves, they would have had very little hope of getting out.
Of course, they were themselves, so this was a moot point.
"When we get out of here," Pansy said, breathing harshly through her nose, "I am going to become one with my couch. We are going to be intimate life partners, and—Granger, what are you doing."
"Building a bomb," Hermione said, quite pleasantly. The bright red and yellow tangle of wires beneath her fingers sparked beneath what looked like clay. "And it's Lancelot, Gawain, please try to remember."
"Is that another Muggle thing?" Pansy asked. She risked peeking up to look out the window. A jet of purple light went streaking over her head. It nearly singed her hair—the nerve of these people was unbelievable—and she ducked back down. "You'd best hurry, they know we're in here."
"Don't play stupid, it doesn't suit you," Hermione told her. "The door's spelled, we've got a little time."
"How much is a little?" Pansy wanted to know.
"Enough to get a message to Merlin, soon as I'm done with this," Hermione nodded down at the plastic and wires and other bits of things that would likely kill a woman as not.
"Damn, I've lost my Galleon, must've dropped it when—ugh, whatever, Granger, give me yours. I'll send it while you be daft about explosions."
"You like explosions," Hermione said boredly, and Pansy didn't deny it because it was true. Still, she stuck out her hand and waited for Hermione to drop the heavy golden coin into her hands.
A minute passed, and then another. Hermione didn't look to be paying her any attention at all. Pansy decided to take matters into her own hands.
"Sexual harassment in the workplace!" Hermione shouted, very quietly. Her hands didn't tremble.
"Shut it, Granger," Pansy said, grinning sharply. The Galleon winked brightly at them, reflecting sunlight and shining teeth. "And whatever you do, don't blow us up!"
Kingsmen was a misnomer, really.
First off, none of them were men. And none of them had anything to do with the King, but that made sense because there wasn't a King. Queensladies just didn't ring the same, and besides, Hermione took a perverse kind of glee in kicking in the teeth of the sexist arseholes that expected a man and then got her or Pansy or Ginny or whoever else was on assignment that particular day.
It had been an ambitious project when they started; howling with grief and a seething unfettered kind of rage, Hermione and Ginny took to throwing curses at each other just to see how long they each could stand it. For a battle lost and a war won, it had been little more than a Dueling club at the beginning, except there had been no rules beyond everyone must be of age. Blood status notwithstanding, of course; they all ran red and vicious on the best of days. It had only grown from there—had only taken a hope-skip-jump to go from Dueling, to sneaking out of the castle to roam the Forbidden Forest at night, to Apparating out of Hogsmead to play vigilantes in London, hunting for their next scare.
Which was, of course, exactly how Pansy Parkinson had found her way into the center of it.
"Bloody hell, Granger, can you turn that shit off?"
"Lancelot," Hermione said, lips pursed. "We're at work, Gawain."
Pansy ran her fingers through short dark hair, wincing as she caught her rings on the tangles. She always wore rings, many of them, cast in platinum because silver was too soft and she'd never be able to use them as proper knuckle dusters if they went and crushed her bones the first time she punched someone in the face, as was her wont. For all that Pansy was Pureblooded, sometimes she was more Muggle than anyone else Hermione knew.
(She had the bite for it, anyway.)
"Yeah," Pansy said, "but you're Granger, and you'll be Granger 'til you die, so I'll keep calling you that 'til something better comes along."
"What if I get married?"
"Nah," and she shook her head rather violently so that her hair fanned out in a sleek dark sheet around her face. "Even if that happened, you'd still be Granger. Even changing your name won't stop you being Granger, you know? Bit of a curse, if you ask me."
"Not even Ron?" Hermione asked, though this was more out of curiosity than any real need to defend.
(She and Ron had been a dying thing from before they'd started, and they had broken like it, too. Ron-and-Hermione had ended like someone jumping off a building: bloody and messy, but quick. Always quick. Pansy, of course, knew this, and used it against her only when no one was around. They were Kingsmen, had been enemies and schoolmates and on opposite sides of a war, but now they were Kingsmen, and they would guard each other even when they were at their worsts. After Ron, Pansy had sat in Hermione's flat for three days, and chain-smoked every night through until dawn.)
"You'd never marry Weasley," Pansy said, drily, combing through her hair again. She did that a lot. Nervous habit, maybe. "You'd be bored before the day was out. You're smarter than me, Granger, remember. You might date him, but I don't think a marriage is in those cards."
"Well," said Hermione, "that's not very nice."
"Not untrue though, yeah?"
"Sod off, Parkinson," Hermione said, but she was smiling; it lacked the savagery it should have had. And it wasn't quite a denial, so that was okay, too.
"Why, Granger, I never," Pansy gasped, all smirking unpainted mouth and dark eyes, waggling her eyebrows like a schoolgirl with a secret. "What happened to Gawain?"
Hermione's face twisted as though she'd just bit into a lemon, and she went to shuffle through the documents that she'd been working through before Pansy had decided to be herself and interrupt anything that could be called work. "Don't you have somewhere else to be, Gawain?"
"Yeah, actually," Pansy laughed like a smoker, sharp and raspy, and she settled herself on the edge of Hermione's desk. She held out a folder. Her nails were lacquered the same colour as arterial blood. "Here, look, Looney sent it over earlier, said I could use a partner."
Hermione squinted at it. "Will I have to blow anything up?"
"Oh, probably," Pansy said happily. "It'll drive Potter just barmy if we get in there before he does."
"Stop harassing Harry," Hermione flicked between two pages, only half paying attention to the other witch, still making faces at the information in front of her. "He's our Auror liaison, Gawain, we need him on our good side."
"Pfft, like you could ever be on Potter's bad side! 'Sides, he knows well as the rest of us what his wife does, he's not going to jeopardize that."
"You know Galahad is perfectly equipped to infiltrate the Quidditch system. She makes sense where she is," Hermione said, still sour, but lightening now as she examined the sheaf of paper tucked away in the folder. Manila was so inoffensive, it would never cease to amaze her how much destruction a paper trail could wring.
"Never said she didn't," Pansy leaned back to examine her nails from a distance. "She-Weasel is quite good at what she does, the Harpies haven't won this many games in a season in a century. They'll be sorry to see her go."
"I didn't know you followed Quidditch," Hermione blinked
"I don't," said Pansy, quite pleased with herself. "But I do love watching the Canons get thrashed over and over again."
"They're Ron's team," Hermione said.
"Why do you think I like watching them lose so much?" Pansy asked, and hopped off the desk. "Anyway, let me know, I should probably go scrounge up some dinner. Unless you want to come?"
Hermione's stomach growled rather loudly, and she flushed at Pansy's knowing look. She had a very bad habit of skipping meals when she was working, especially after she'd just come off a case where she'd nearly died—it was a coping method, to analyze things until she could separate down to the minute when things started to go wrong. That way, she could avoid doing it in the future, and perhaps keep a few less people from dying. "I could eat."
"Right," Pansy clapped her hands together. "Come along, then, there's kippers to be had!"
"I don't understand you," Hermione said, rising from her desk to collect her cloak and her gloves. It wasn't quite winter yet, but the October winds were edging into November slush, and soon the windows would frost over. The DMLE was always the coldest building in the Ministry.
"I am fully comfortable with that," Pansy said, flicked her hair so that it fell over her eye. "You coming, Granger?"
"It's Lancelot," Hermione said, and then went with her anyway.