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Story Notes:
March 4, 2006
War wasn’t what she expected. It was dirty and frightening, real and painful.

Pansy never thought it would affect her. She spent years hearing it whispered about by her parents and listening to Draco’s bragging about his father’s exploits. It was something that happened to everyone else but never to her. She didn’t care enough one way or another to become involved in politics, after all, and had no plans to actually choose a side, participate or risk her own life for something that didn’t involve her directly.

Now, though, she can’t even remember the girl she used to be. Her parents are dead, killed by the parents of her childhood friends because they chose to be neutral instead of swearing allegiance to Voldemort. Pansy buried her parents, listened to the threats against her should she not choose differently, and went to those she knew supported Potter and his little band of do-gooders.

She might not like Muggles and had no interest in being around Muggleborns, but they didn’t know her well if they thought she could be intimidated into joining those who ruined her life and took her parents from her. Her parents had always said she was stubborn and selfish, two traits that would do her no good in the real world when she was on her own. They’d been wrong, however, as it was her selfish desire to give their deaths some sort of meaning and her stubborn refusal to be swayed by anyone that had kept her alive during this war.

It had been two years of hiding and fighting, of learning from people she’d never liked and discovering that she had a natural ability with charms she’d never realized. They were outnumbered when it came to active participants but the defeats they suffered were few and far between. Potter and the other two were off all the time on secret missions so the focus of Voldemort was on finding them more than anything else, but she had still seen enough battles and enough death to make sleep elusive and nightmares common.

Only in his arms did she find herself able to relax and sleep. A Hufflepuff, of all things, not that school houses meant anything now. Pansy still found it difficult to believe she’d fallen in love, not that she’d admit that until the war was over and she knew they’d survived, with a bloody Hufflepuff. It never would have entered her mind back at school, but here it just felt right.

Ernie was more than she’d ever known she wanted, and it scared her that she’d lose him before she could ever actually have him. It was pointless to live in fear, though, because tomorrow could be the end of it all. Live for the day had become a common proclamation for everyone who risked their lives daily. With Ernie, she found paradise amidst the ruins. Their tent, small and uncomfortable, was their own private Xanadu.

It wasn’t sex, which would have made sense to her. Sex happened, of course, but it wasn’t her favorite thing. No, that was when they’d simply lie together in each other’s arms and talk. He liked to talk about the future, needed something to cling to, and it gave them hope to think about ‘when this is over’.

Until then, she had quiet talks, a warm embrace, and Ernie. They’d think about the future another day.

The End