Disclaimer: I tinker only. If you want to give me money, that's fine, but not for this.
A/N: This is being written for a femmeslash challenge and it's based on the second prompt, which is "damage." I expect it to have a couple of chapters but not too many.
Orange, Pansy Parkinson reflected, was not her colour. She tugged at the ill-fitting blouse, which kept riding up, but that just made it dangerously low with regard to neckline. Normally, Pansy wouldn't mind, but she was damned if she'd have any Mudbloods ogling her in their clothing. They could only dream.
Draco, beside her, looked over with renewed interest when he saw that her shirt was too small, but went back to staring out the window when she cast an enlarging charm. He looked bored and enraged at once but Pansy had no sympathy. What had he expected? That just because he hadn't killed anyone, the Ministry would pat him on the head, give him a sweetie, and send him on his way? He was lucky to escape Azkaban.
Well, "lucky" was perhaps a bit strong. This class was the lesser of two very great evils. The twenty-odd Purebloods sitting in the too small desks staring at a blackboard were here because they were desperate. Pansy certainly was. She had no money left, no connections who weren't in the same boat, and no way out of prison except this.
The instructor bustled in and Pansy stared at her with undisguised hate. This had all been her idea. Just because the woman had an Order of Merlin and a degree in Magical Education the Ministry thought they had to listen to her, or at least seem to. They had offered her a bureaucratic sinecure, very high up, public exposure, salary off the charts, but she had wanted "to make a difference!"
Hermione Granger beamed at her students while a piece of charmed chalk wrote on the board, Accelerated Muggle Studies: Test Today. A smiley face (Pansy had just learned about this accursed phenomenon and it was not growing on her.) appeared beside the words.
"Please put away everything but your Muggle writing instrument and paper," Granger said brightly. "And remember, if you fail, it doesn't get you out of the practical! It just means you redo this, and then you get to do the practical!" The woman could add exclamation points to a recipe for broccoli. It was, however, marginally better than the crippling nervousness she had brought to teaching for the first two weeks of the two-month period.
Granger-Professor Granger, she was very clear on that point-flicked her wand and test papers flew to all corners of the room.
1. List the gestures with which a modern Muggle might greet a) a family member or close friend and b) a business acquaintance.
Pansy chewed on the end of her Biro (Vocabulary word, week 3) and wrote a) a hug or a kiss. b) wiggling hands.
2. What are three means of Muggle mass transportation?
That one was easy. The test went on like that for pages and pages and Pansy's head began to hurt about the same time her hand cramped. She yearned for one of Binns' infamous fifty-question tests, which were short in comparison.
67. What are the units of Muggle money?
Pansy frowned. "Ounces" felt right, but also wrong, and she didn't know why. She finally wrote "weights."
It ended with 204. True or false: The further two Muggles are from each other, the louder they must shout to be heard through the telephone.
False, Pansy wrote, and set her pen down. She'd learned that one the hard way, in a practical pop quiz Granger had given the previous week.
A few minutes later, Granger gave a cheery swish of her wand and the papers flew to her. "That's all for today," she chirped. "Tomorrow I'll have your results!"
Pansy didn't know how she would stand to wait.
The next day was ominously cloudy and Pansy was in a foul mood. She didn't know which would be worse, passing or failing. She couldn't stand another two months of Granger but she also didn't think she was ready to survive in the Muggle world. Was it too late to opt for Azkaban?
She had to wear Muggle clothing to class but she picked a beautiful white shirt from the pile Granger had provided her and transfigured it black. It was the principle of the thing. That, and she had tried wearing the original clothing. The abundance of orange, presumably a nod to the Quidditch team of Granger's on-again, off-again beau, had taught her that was a mistake.
Granger had come to class early and was perched on her desk. She squirmed gleefully as the students filed in and beamed out at them. Pansy wanted to hit her. "All of you passed," she burst out as the last man sat. "Some of you by the skin of your teeth, but you all passed." Was it Pansy's imagination or had Granger looked at her and Draco when she said "skin of your teeth." Pansy certainly hadn't passed with flying colours, but Draco had seemed pretty cocky.
"Now comes the section you've all been awaiting: the practical part of the course! The basic format is simple. You have each been assigned to a Muggleborn witch or wizard who has arranged for two jobs in the Muggle world. For two months you will perform your job, with your instructor as a coworker or boss. You will be paid for said job and will spend that money as you wish. It's not practical to expect you to live alone, so you'll live with your instructor, who will give you marks for engaging with the Muggle world each day. You will get ten points for knowledge and blending in, five for effort, and five for attitude. If you make a Muggle friend, for example, you would get extra marks. Derogatory comments or trying to use magic to solve a non-magical problem will result in a loss of points.
"If you have an average of thirteen points or more at the end of June, you will graduate from this course. You will have a full pardon from the Ministry and, I hope, a more complete understanding of and respect for non-magical folk.
"That's all. Use the rest of your time today to pack. Outside you'll find a pile of suitcases, which you'll remember from my handout on Muggle ways to transport people and objects. Take one and fill it with Muggle objects. You may bring your wand if you choose, but I advise against it. Using it will result in your immediate arrest and removal to Azkaban.
"Be here tomorrow morning at eight to meet your instructor. Since some jobs are more desirable than others, we assigned instructors randomly; I will be with-" Granger checked the sheet and swallowed "-Pansy Parkinson."
She listed the other pairings but Pansy didn't pay attention. She was too annoyed. Why did Granger have to have her stupid honour system, which she applied to matters large and small? It would have been the easiest thing in the world for Granger to check and make sure she had a reasonable match, but oh, nooo, that wasn't fair play.
Granger finished listing pairs and grew serious. She leaned forward until she almost fell off her desk, lowered her head, and looked up at them from under dark, slanting eyebrows that conveyed years of disdain and bitterness. Pansy was surprised by her intensity. "Remember, you are not here to crack jokes. You are not here to confirm your prejudices through selection bias. You are here because you have damaged the wizarding world and you need to make amends. Take this seriously. I'll see you tomorrow. Class dismissed."
Pansy and Draco got up quickly and hurried to the pile of suitcases. They knew from experience that Granger always had a few fantastic items, several that were passable, and a few that were awful. They didn't want to pick last.
The suitcases were every colour of the rainbow. Every colour, that was, but emerald green. Pansy suspected a conspiracy, as Granger never gave them green items. All right, so they had all been in Slytherin, but that was no reason to ban a colour that made Pansy's grey eyes seem innocent and alluring at once. Pansy needed green. In this matter, however, she settled for purple and Draco hunted up something navy.
They walked to the Floo together, but no farther, and exchanged few words. They had no need of words. Pansy knew that Draco was glad his father hadn't lived to see this and was also feeling guilty for being so damned happy his father hadn't lived. Pansy was thinking that she was going to get herself soul-sucked by a Dementor after hexing some Mudblood. As Draco took a pinch of Floo powder, he turned to Pansy.
"The war is over," he said. "Why do I feel like they're all still fighting us?"
Pansy had no answer.