A/N: There is a dearth of femslash. This my attempt to push Pansmione stories into triple digits. Because at the time I'm publishing this… there aren't even 100, and that's just sad.
This isn't for anything specific, but the prompt of "praise!kink" sort of started it. It isn't exactly what people might be expecting with that sort of a prompt, but as my Falcon Nexie pointed out—Pansy isn't the sort to do what is expected of her.
I've been struggling with my writing a lot this past year. Here's hoping that this year is better.
It began on a Tuesday. The cute barista at the coffee shop had complimented Pansy's shoes and had made her order perfectly. Millicent had informed her over lunch that Pansy's project was assured. Feeling inordinately good Pansy walked back to her office with a spring in her step. Not even the sight of Hermione Granger, dripping her Gryffindorishness all over the hall, was enough to dim Pansy's pleasant mood. She nodded politely to the other witch as she approached the lift that would take her to her floor.
"Parkinson," Granger said in her stiff little way, averting her eyes.
"You don't look utterly wretched today, Granger," Pansy tossed out casually. "Are those new robes?"
A dull flush spread across Granger's cheeks and she turned to look at Pansy.
"They are, thank you," Granger said with a stiff, awkward formality that was almost painful to watch.
"Well done, you," Pansy added just to watch Granger squirm. "Keep up the good work."
The lift bell chimed as the doors opened and a blushing Granger fled from Pansy, hiding behind some old behemoth from the Spirit Division. Pansy smirked to herself and stepped into the lift.
From that point on, it became a game: compliment Granger and watch her blush and stutter. Sometimes, Granger didn't make it easy. She would stumble in to work wearing Merlin-only-knew-what with her impossible hair in a tangled snarl that she managed to keep out of her face with varying degrees of success.
"Those earrings are darling, where did you get them?" Pansy said on a particularly horrific day when she couldn't think of a single other thing to compliment.
Granger looked up from the haphazard pile of papers she was frantically flipping through and stared at Pansy in surprise. There was a quill dangling dangerously near her ear and a smudge of ink on her forehead. Her ridiculous curls appeared to be even bushier and larger than normal.
"I... what?" Granger blinked at her in incomprehension.
"Your earrings, Granger. They're lovely. Where did you get them?" Pansy repeated slowly, enunciating clearly.
That was it. Granger flushed and bit her lip and Pansy fought the urge to smirk in triumph.
"Th-they were my grandmother's," Granger stammered after a moment, clutching her papers to her chest protectively.
The lift opened and Pansy entered it, turning to catch Granger still standing where she'd left her, squirming and blushing with Pansy's praise. As the doors closed Pansy allowed smug triumph to fill her and she smirked at the lift door.
One Monday, Granger wasn't there with her hair that should be classified as a menace, her horrifyingly sensible shoes, and her revoltingly modest work robes. Pansy paused in the hall outside the lift and frowned. Granger was always here—her disgusting work ethic demanded it of her.
With a dawning sense of horror, Pansy realized that she looked forward to seeing Granger. Making Granger blush adorably and squirm in discomfort like an over-excited crup had become the highlight of her day.
Merlin's bollocks... when had Granger of all people become adorable?
Worse than discovering that somehow Pansy had gone stark, raving mad and found Granger attractive, was the realization that Pansy had become accustomed to her presence. A dark, vicious part of Pansy whispered that she had become addicted to Granger, but she stomped on that part of her until it whimpered and finally, thank Merlin, shut up.
After several days, Pansy was forced to hunt Granger down.
"Theo, darling, how are you?" Pansy cooed as she draped herself in one of the chairs in his office.
"What do you want, Parkinson?" Theo asked, conveying a sense of boredom and ennui that made Pansy vaguely jealous.
"Theo, I'm hurt." Pansy pouted at Theo. "Can't a friend visit a friend?"
"Of course they can," Theo agreed. Then he looked up from his paperwork and frowned at her. "We aren't friends, Pansy. You don't even like me."
"I like you just fine," Pansy snorted. "I just don't want to fuck you."
Theo blinked at that. "Oh. That explains rather a lot."
Pansy rolled her eyes. "Please. It isn't exactly a secret."
"All I ask is that you let me be the one to tell Malfoy that you were using him as a beard," Theo said with an unseemly amount of glee.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Pansy demanded.
"He's convinced that you're secretly in love with him. Get a couple drinks in him and mention your name and he'll tell anyone within hearing distance that you are pining for him," Theo explained.
"He... he does not," Pansy breathed in horror.
"Oh he doesn't blame you," Theo continued with grim satisfaction. "You can't help yourself. He's Draco Malfoy, after all."
"I'm going to kill him," Pansy snarled. "The arrogant, pompous... who does he think he is?"
"Draco Malfoy." Theo put his elbows on his desk and steepled his fingers. A slow, wicked smile curved his lips. "Now, Pansy. Darling. What can I do for you?"
Pansy sighed and allowed herself to slump in the chair. Theo was never going to let her live this down. Not in a million years. Then again, if everything went the way she wished, Theo wouldn't have much to hold over her. A few favours, maybe, and that was standard for Slytherin.
"It's about Granger," Pansy muttered.
"What about Granger?" Theo demanded with a scowl. "She's working on three different projects right now. I don't care what your Head wants, you can't have her."
Pansy shrugged as though she didn't care. "You know how Sallow is," Pansy murmured and gave him a bland smile.
"Yes, I do," Theo muttered darkly. He glared at Pansy. "You can't have her. As much as it pains to admit it, she's utterly brilliant. You people would just waste her abilities on something ridiculous."
"We would not," Pansy protested.
Theo snorted derisively. "You would because I would do the same thing. Any of us would."
"True," Pansy acknowledged with a nod.
When Pansy finally left she felt no closer to finding Granger than she had before she had seen Theo.
Several days passed and still there was no sign of Granger. Pansy started to feel an itch under her skin. The need to see Granger became harder and harder to ignore.
In desperation, Pansy wandered into the DMLE and tried to pretend as though she had some sort of pressing business that required Granger to sign off on it. During the formulation of her cunning plan, Pansy had forgotten one detail.
"Parkinson," Draco Malfoy drawled. He leaned against a wall and tilted his head back to watch her through narrowed eyes. "What brings you round our way?"
"Nothing that need concern you, Malfoy." Pansy looked around the front desk. "Where is Potter?"
Draco scowled at her. "What do you want with Potter?"
"None of your business," Pansy told him.
After speaking to almost every person that worked in the MoM, including the Maintenance Department, Pansy was frustrated and ready to throttle Theo Nott. Being subtle wasn't working at all. With an angry huff for the things Gryffindors drove her to; Pansy snuck into administration and bribed her favourite secretary.
"You know, I had no idea that the Ministry had a library," Pansy said as she sat down at one of the tables scattered about the room.
Granger looked up at Pansy blearily. There were dark circles under her eyes and her cheeks appeared sunken. Pansy frowned.
"When was the last time you slept?" Pansy demanded.
Granger frowned. "What day is it?"
"Wrong answer," Pansy snapped. "Come with me."
"I can't just leave," Granger protested. "My research—"
"Is probably rubbish if you hadn't slept or eaten for days," Pansy told her.
Granger blinked up at her in confusion. "I... that's probably true."
"Come on; let's find you something to eat." Pansy took Granger by the elbow and dragged her toward the cafeteria.
Granger cuddled her tea against her chest as though it were some kind of treasure, sipping at it and staring at the table. She ate the curry that Pansy shoved in front of her with a methodical focus that was vaguely disturbing.
It was distressingly easy to manhandle Granger into a Floo and then, after a disjointed conversation that reminded Pansy of her misspent youth, into her flat.
Books were in piles about the room. Some were stacked neatly on the floor. When Pansy managed to push a stumbling Granger into her bedroom, there were even books on her bed.
"For the love of Merlin," Pansy huffed. She moved the books and shoved Granger into bed. "There. Now just... sleep or something. Don't come out until you don't look half-dead."
Just before Pansy managed to get out of the room, Granger spoke.
"Why are you being so nice to me?" Granger asked. She was frowning up at her ceiling, and Pansy was overcome with an urge to kiss the confusion off of her face. Instead, Pansy clenched her hands into fists, letting her nails dig into her skin and ground her.
"I can be nice," Pansy muttered.
A snort of sleepy amusement drifted over from the bed. "You're a Slytherin. Slytherins are not nice."
"We could be," Pansy continued doggedly.
"Why though?" Granger asked, propping herself up on an elbow.
"You were running yourself into the ground, Granger. Someone had to do something," Pansy explained with a sigh.
"No, not today," Granger said. She frowned up at Pansy, her brow wrinkling. "You keep being nice to me. You compliment my jewellery and my clothes and my hair."
"Oh, never your hair," Pansy protested automatically. "It's always a perfect fright."
Granger huffed and flopped back onto the bed. "You know what I mean."
"You have a pretty smile," Pansy admitted in the silence.
"What?" Granger made to sit up again, but Pansy put a hand to her shoulder and guided her back to the bed.
"Get some sleep, Granger," Pansy said firmly. "Before you do yourself in."
There were those who felt that showing up to the Ministry early and working hard were the keys to advancement. Pansy knew better. She strolled into the Ministry at a quarter to nine with a cappuccino for herself and some sort of syrupy latte thing for Caduceus Sallow, the Department Head of the Portkey Office, who always showed up promptly at nine. As long as Pansy was at her desk when Sallow arrived, she was on time. She placed his drink on his desk and added a small warming charm to keep it hot until he arrived.
Nodding to her co-workers, Pansy made her way to her small office. She opened the door and stepped in closing it behind her. She turned toward her desk and froze.
"Did you mean it?"
Sitting on the small settee that was wedged between two sets of bookshelves was Hermione Granger. She was wearing a set of robes that Pansy had complimented as being 'not completely hideous' and a pair of shoes that Pansy had told her were 'almost fashionable'. Her hair was as it ever was: completely impossible.
Granger was twisting her hands in her lap and had apparently bitten her lips almost raw. There was an anxious look in Granger's eyes that Pansy wanted to alleviate.
"Did I mean what?" Pansy asked absently. She set her cappuccino on her desk and turned to face Granger.
"You said that my smile was pretty," Granger told her hands. Her fingers seemed to tighten on one another.
"It is," Pansy said. She looked Granger over. "You should dress like this more often."
Granger's cheeks bloomed with colour and she turned to look out the window. Pansy could feel herself begin to smirk, but she schooled her features. Now was not the time to tease.
"Don't," Granger whispered.
"Don't what?" Pansy asked. She took a step forward and Granger's eyes darted to hers. They were almost wild-looking, and Pansy had the sudden feeling that she was in a room with a proud hippogriff. She fought the urge to bow politely.
"Don't say things like that," Granger said in a slightly firmer voice. Her fingers twisted in her lap.
"Why shouldn't I?" Pansy pressed, wondering where this was headed.
"It isn't... I don't...," Granger faltered and seemed to wilt on Pansy's settee. "It isn't nice," she said at last.
"It isn't nice to give compliments?" Pansy echoed her in startled surprise. "I thought that was the very purpose of giving them. They're nice. People generally like receiving them."
"Not if they're a lie," Granger said.
"They weren't a lie," Pansy snapped. When Granger whipped about to stare at her, Pansy took another step forward. "I may tell a few little white lies here and there to grease the social wheels, but there was no point with you. You're Granger, for Merlin's sake. The perfect Gryffindor Princess of the sainted Golden Trio. Why would I bother lying to you?"
"I don't understand," Granger whispered. "Then why would you do it?"
"Because I like you, you silly witch," Pansy growled.
Then Pansy grabbed her by the shoulders and kissed her. Granger sat unmoving on the settee, her lips motionless beneath Pansy's. A horrible sinking feeling filled Pansy's chest. When she pulled back Granger was blinking and staring at Pansy with wide eyes.
"So there you are then," Pansy said stiffly. "I do apologize for kissing you, Granger. I just... I liked complimenting you. I liked it when you smiled."
"I liked it, too," Granger admitted. She smiled softly at Pansy. "I just... it seemed so unlikely that you would like me."
"Why wouldn't I?" Pansy sniffed and tilted her chin in the air. "I have excellent taste. I always have the very best of everything."
A rosy flush spread over Granger's cheeks again, and Pansy felt free to smirk at her at last.
"Two things," Granger said. Pansy nodded and Granger held up a finger. "One: call me Hermione. Two: kiss me again."
"What?" Pansy couldn't help but be surprised.
"I wasn't expecting it, before," Gran—Hermione explained. She smiled again, but there was a hint of wickedness in the curve of her lips.
Pansy leaned forward until their lips were almost touching.
"Hermione," she breathed.
This time Hermione kissed her back eagerly. She could feel the chapped skin of her swollen, bitten lips and flicked it with her tongue. Hermione made a breathy, needy noise that made Pansy rub her thighs together and long to fling herself on Hermione. She pulled back reluctantly.
"It's almost nine," Pansy huffed. She looked longingly at Hermione's mouth and then sighed. "I don't suppose you're the sort to skive off of work, are you?"
"Not really, no," Hermione agreed.
"Tonight then. After work. Five?" Pansy asked.
Hermione's cheeks darkened and she nodded. "It's a date," she whispered.
"A date," Pansy agreed.