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A Perfect Charade by ivy_018

Format: Novella
Chapters: 11
Word Count: 31,992

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse

Genres: Humor, Romance
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Arthur, Bill, Charlie, Draco, Fred, Ginny, OC
Pairings: Draco/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione

First Published: 08/28/2006
Last Chapter: 05/10/2008
Last Updated: 05/10/2008

Based on The Wedding Date.   When Ron splits with Hermione  right before Harry and Ginny's wedding, she gets desperate and hires Draco Malfoy to be her date.  Little do they know that their feelings might be more than professional, but it'll take some convincing and a little change of scenery to figure out that they were meant for each other. Lovely banner by Queen_Mab! 

Chapter 7: "Secrets Revealed"


A/N:  Happy New Year!  I'm sorry that that took so long, but I didn't have internet in Hawaii and I needed to clear my head before I jumped back into this.  I hope you like it!
Love Ivy

"I get lost in the beauty of everything i see.  The world ain`t as half as bad as they paint it to be..." -Onerepublic "Come Home"

On the night of the wedding rehearsal, Ron was the last person that Draco wanted to see.  The entire space was set up with chairs and a small gazebo where Harry and Ginny would take their vows.  Everyone was off making last minute preparations and as Ron approached, Draco braced himself for an encounter that he was sure was going to be altogether unpleasant.  After Hermione had told him of their breakup and how Ron had been cheap enough to cheat on her, well… It hadn’t taken much for Draco’s hatred of the tall and still gangly Weasley to further deepen.
“Well, well, well,” Ron smiled. The expression left Draco uneasy and he was rarely ever uneasy.  “If it isn’t the man of the hour…”
Draco covered up his uneasiness quite easily as a matter of fact by simply lifting an eloquent eyebrow.  “I believe you’ve mistaken me for Harry.  I’m surprised you would forget that you’re here to serve your best friend.”
Ron threw his head back and laughed like a viper about to strike.  “No, no, Draco,” Ron said Draco’s name vehemently, spitting it out as if it were poison on his tongue.  “Harry might be the one getting married, but it is you that everyone fawns over.  Why?  Because you’ve changed… Suddenly, Hermione is all over you, as is every other girl at the party.”
Draco tried to play it off lightly.  “Well, I am remarkably good-looking and very charming when I want to be.”
Ron smirked.  “Yes, yes…  Charming.”
“So, let me ask you something, Weasley,” Draco crossed his arms in front of his chest and glared at Ron.  “You’re not trying to be nice to me.  I know that.  I’m not stupid, you know…  So then, what is your purpose?”
“I simply don’t understand, Malfoy,” Ron began circling him.
“You better stop that, Weasley,” Draco began mirroring the opposing man’s movements.  “Anyone else who looks over here might think that we were about to get into a fight.”
“Maybe we are, maybe we aren’t,” Ron shrugged.  “All the same, if you cooperate, then perhaps we won’t have to.”
Draco stopped moving.  “And what makes you think that I would ever cooperate with you?”
Ron stepped closer, closing into Draco’s boundaries with no respect for personal space.  “Why is it that you suddenly show up with Hermione, two months after we split?  No one had any idea you were together and suddenly, instead of the Mudblood hating fiend you used to be, you’re sleeping with one.” 
Draco tried to walk away.  Ron was out of his mind and frankly Draco didn’t want anything to do with him.  It was, after all, all he could do to keep himself from making Weasley permanently unconscious for what he’d done to Hermione.  Unfortunately, he didn’t get very far.  A moment later, he was being swung around to face Ron.  They two men were very close to each other and all Draco could do was laugh. 
“You’re kidding, Weasley,” Draco snorted.  “You’re not actually going to try and fight me here?  In front of all these people…  You really are insane.”
But before Draco could do anything else, a fist came across his face.  He could barely think besides that he couldn’t believe Ron Weasley was hitting him like this a second time.  All of a sudden though, a huge wave of anger washed over Draco.  He could no longer control himself like he had at the bachelor party.  Poor Hermione had been wounded and hurt when Ron had cheated on her.  How could someone cheat on someone as lovely as Hermione?  She had been close to tears on the walk when she’d recounted her tale that it had been all Draco could do not to pull her into his arms. 
It was with that thought that he aimed his next punch and let it fly, right across the side of Ron’s head.  Ron went flying and it was then that people looked up. 
“I know all about you and Hermione,” Ron snapped, lying on the floor with a huge bruise on his cheek.  “I can tell everyone!”
Draco snorted.  Ron didn’t have the balls to tell everyone about whatever he was talking about.  “Yeah, okay.  I know a little something about you too.  So if you spill then maybe I’ll let my mouth run away with me.”
Ron stood up and then leapt on Draco.  “You’re a bastard, you know that?”
“My parents were married, thank you very much,” Draco rolled Ron over.  “But you?  How could you Ron?  Hermione loved you and you threw it back in her face.  Did you ever really love her?”
By now, a crowd had gathered and for some reason, no one was pulling Draco off of Ron.  In fact, Draco believed that everyone wanted to hear what Ron had to say.  With the look that Ron turned on Hermione who was standing close by, crying, Draco knew that this was not going to be good.
“I loved her in school,” Ron spat out.  “After we started going out, I got so sick of her.  Everything she did drove me nuts.”
If the room could’ve gotten any more silent, it did right after Ron’s confession. 
“Then why’d you stay, Ron?” Hermione began to cry.  “Four years?  And you were sick of me?”
Ron just glared back at her and then at Draco.  Then he snarled, “well… I guess the sex was good.”
A collective gasp echoed around the room and Draco, so angry punched Ron hard across the face.  No one, not even the Weasley parents rushed to his aid.  The confession from a man that they thought they all knew shocked them to the core and no one was quite sure of what to do.  Draco stepped back, shaking his red fist.  “You deserved that, you filthy bastard.”
No one stooped to shut Draco up because they knew he was right.  After a while, Ginny stepped up to Hermione and pulled her into her arms.  Hermione began to sob all over Ginny’s rehearsal dress.  Draco looked up at Harry who had a grim expression on his face.  Fred, George, Oliver, Kiana, and the rest of the wedding party began to surround Hermione, offering comfort.  They then stepped to Draco who felt as if he was in the middle of a haze.  He had definitely not planned for that to happen. 
And then, from the floor, Ron’s voice echoed loudly and clearly.  “You think that Draco’s off Scot free do you?  He and Hermione have lied to all of you and I think it will shock you.
“Draco Malfoy apparently is a well-known escort,” Ron divulged, smiling menacingly.  “And Hermione… Well, she was too ashamed to come here alone that she had to hire her date.”
"How did you know?" Hermione stiffened. 

"I followed you yesterday when the two of you snuck off, if you must know," Ron grinned maliciously at his ex-girlfriend.  "I guess you'll think twice when you divulge secrets in public.  I was simply waiting for the right moment.  I knew you were hiding something and that if I caught you at the right time I'd find out everything.  Lucky for me and for all of us that we know about your treachery now."

She couldn’t believe that Ron had just told everyone that.  But what was more, how had he known about it?  It wasn’t like she and Draco went around advertising the whole thing.  And then, the people in the party began murmuring and looking speculatively at Hermione and Draco.  Even Harry and Ginny were looking at them oddly, as if everything was beginning to make sense.  Excusing herself, Hermione slipped outside. 
She had no idea how she was going to be able to face anyone anymore.  Damn Ron.  He had to go and ruin her entire life.  It was his fault that she even had to hire Draco.  It was his fault that he had gone out with her simply because of the sex.  Where was the Ron that she remembered from school who was pissed that she was going to the dance with Viktor Krum and not with him?  Where was the Ron who had kissed her in the middle of the war? 
Sitting down on the steps of the church, Hermione put her head in her hands.  Footsteps came from behind her and she ignored them.  “Hermione?”
It was Draco’s voice.  It had become so dear to her over the past few days that the thought of making him going away nearly ripped her heart apart.  Unfortunately, he had to go.  There was no use pretending anymore.  The truth was out and Hermione was left where she had started.
“What do you want, Draco?” Hermione’s voice was muffled.
“I came to see if you were okay,” he said, trying to take her hand.  She pulled away, jerking quickly.
She wheeled on him.  “Do I look okay, Draco?  Can you honestly say that I look okay?”
“Jeez, Hermione,” Draco held up his hands.  “I’m sorry, but you can’t take this out on me.  It’s not my fault.”
“No, Ron ruined everything,” she said bitterly.  “But whatever.  I’ll be fine.  You can go back to your regular life.  The wedding’s tomorrow so I’ll be fine.  Then I’ll just go home.”
“No, Hermione,” he shook his head.  “I’m not leaving now.  Harry’s probably going to kick Ron out of here.”
“He is not, Draco,” Hermione snapped bitterly.  “Just get out of here.  We don’t need to pretend anymore and I know that that’s what you’re doing.”
Draco looked at her disbelievingly.  “Uh, no.  That’s not what I’m doing.  I’m actually here to try and comfort you.  I care about you Hermione.”
Hermione stood up, tears streaming down her face.  “No! No!  No!  Go away, Draco.  Leave me in peace!  You don’t care about me!  You never did and you never will!”
Draco looked angry now.  “Fine. But I’m leaving because you asked me to, not because my job is over.  I know that Ron hurt you.  But here’s the thing, I’m not Ron and this,” he motioned between them, “this is not pretend.  I thought you would’ve been a smart enough woman to realize that.”
With those last words, Draco turned on his heel and strode out of her life as quickly as he had come.  And all Hermione could do was get up and run the other way.  Where she was running, she didn’t know.  All she knew was that she was going to run far away.



A knock on the door came later that night.  When Draco returned to the hotel room that he had rented for him and Hermione, he wasn’t surprised to see all of her stuff gone, all the way down to her toothbrush.  Sighing, he collapsed on the bed, feeling more alone than he ever had. 
Picking up the phone, he sent a notice down to room service.  A few minutes later, a tuxedoed waiter appeared with a very large bottle of firewhiskey and a basket of bread.  He knew the combination wasn’t the best but he wanted to do his best to wipe out all the memories he had of Hermione.  He hadn’t thought that it was possible to feel so much for someone, least of all Hermione.  And yet, the last few days with her seemed to span months instead of merely hours and it wasn’t as easy to forget, as he wanted it to be. 
Pouring himself a shot, Draco downed it in a gulp, his throat searing at the feeling of the alcohol slithering into his stomach.  Without a second thought, he drank three more in a row.  Soon, the alcohol was setting his mind ablaze.  Unfortunately, the alcohol only made it worse.  His muted brain couldn’t think of anything but the pain and so he finally sat, wallowing in grief and confusion. 
So when the knock on the door came, the last thing Draco wanted to do was answer the door.  With his luck, it would probably be Ron come to torment him all over again.  Though, then again, anybody from the wedding party was liable to show up and injure him because he had been a hired date and had been “faking” his feelings for Hermione.  The truth was that he had been faking them… at first.  He wasn’t sure when he had stopped acting.  He could name a number of times, but, in the typical stereotype of a man, he figured that it was when he and Hermione had made love, after Ron had begun to call them out. 
Groaning as his head began to spin, he hobbled to the door, running into some walls while he was at it.  He opened the door to see Harry standing there and he groaned again.  “Potter.  What do you want?  I’m leaving tomorrow so you don’t have to kill me.”
Harry raised an eyebrow at Draco’s appearance.  He frankly could not remember the last time he had seen Draco Malfoy looking this bad.  He was incredibly disheveled, his hair sticking out in odd place, his face was red (probably from lying on a pillow) and his eyes were out of focus.  One look into the room and Harry saw why.  A near empty bottle of firewhiskey was sitting on the table in the large sitting room. 
“Draco?  What the hell are you doing?” Harry asked, pushing his way into the room. 
“What does it look like?” Draco slurred.  “Not like it’s any of your business.  I’m trying to drink away my troubles.”
Harry raised an eyebrow.  “Is it working?”
“Yeah, yeah, of course it is,” Draco stumbled into the couch.  “It’s just great, you know, mate?”
Harry pulled back in alarm.  Since when did Draco Malfoy call him “mate”?  He hadn’t ever really talked to the man like a human being before the last few days.  Harry sighed.  “I came to see how you’re doing.”
Draco shrugged, a drunk grin on his face.  “I’m just fine, mate.  You don’t have to worry about me.”
“This doesn’t have anything to do with Hermione, does it?” Harry gently probed.  “What happened anyway?”
“She fucked me,” Draco shrugged.  “Fucked me up good and then left.”
Harry bristled slightly at his language.  Luckily, he reminded himself that it was only because the man was completely drunk and probably really hurt as well.  “How did Ron know?”
“Merlin knows.  I sure as hell didn’t tell him,” Draco collapsed on the couch.  “If that’s what you’re suggesting, I mean.”
“No,” Harry shook his head.  “That’s not what I thought.  I was just wondering.”
Draco squinted up at him.  “You obviously don’t have anything better to do so will you leave me alone?  I’m sick and tired of answering your stupid questions.”
Harry sighed.  “I thought we could talk, but if that’s what you want.”
“Yeah,” Draco snapped.  “It’s what I want.”
Harry turned to go and paused at the door, turning back to Draco.  “I just want to let you know that I don’t think that you’re guilty in any way.  You’ve been great with Hermione and Merlin knows we all appreciate that.  Especially after finding out about Ron.”
Draco was already snoring.



When Harry arrived back at the house where he and Ginny were staying, Hermione was already there, sobbing in a room with Ginny.  Knocking on the door, Harry couldn’t believe that he had to deal with both parties.  But even more than Draco, Hermione was one of his best friends.  Scratch that, his best friend now that Ron had turned out to be such a screw-up.
When he entered the room, Hermione tensed and then relaxed when she realized whom it was.  She looked awful.  In fact, she looked almost as bad as Draco did.  Then again, she looked bad in a completely different, completely sober way.  Her eyes were red, her hair was mussed and her clothing was disheveled.  “Hi, Harry.”
“Hermione?” Harry asked, sitting down next to Ginny who exchanged a worried glance with him.  “Are you okay?”
“I don’t know,” Hermione sniffled.  “I feel like I made a huge mistake even bringing him here.  I mean, it was so immature and cowardly of me to bring anyone, least of all, Draco Malfoy to your wedding.  I’m sorry.”
“No,” Ginny protested.  “You were so happy these last few days.  I mean, you were definitely happier than you have been the last few months.  I’m so sorry about Ron.  I never thought it was like that.”
It was the wrong thing to say.  Hermione began sobbing again and curled up on the bed in the fetal position as if trying to protect herself from the cruel world that had taken a stab at her earlier today.  Luckily, Harry and Ginny knew that she was strong and that she would get through this.
“Hermione, I’m sorry,” Ginny patted her leg.  “I didn’t mean to say that.”
“Just leave me alone,” Hermione’s voice was muffled against the blanket.
Harry and Ginny exchanged a glance and then quietly got up and shut the door behind them with a click.  Walking out into the glass dining room, Ginny leaned against the window, looking out into the French countryside.  “Did you see Draco?”
“Yeah,” Harry came up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders as he began massaging them. 
Ginny leaned her head back.  “How is he?”
“Drunk,” Harry shook his head in disbelief.  “Drunk and unhappy and hurt.”
“I can’t believe she didn’t let him talk,” Ginny sighed. 
Harry shrugged.  “It’s got to be pretty humiliating though, having everyone find out that she hired him.  Then again, it doesn’t surprise me now that I know.  I mean, Hermione showing up with our old enemy to our wedding… But still, he’s been so good with her.”
“How do we know it’s not all an act though?” Ginny asked.  “I mean it is his job.”
Harry smiled wryly.  “You sound like Hermione.”
She shrugged.  “That is what was most confusing.  She doesn’t know whether it’s real or not.  I think she really cares about him though.”
“Obviously,” Harry agreed.  “And obviously, he cares about her too.  I doubt he’d be drinking himself into a stupor if it was just a job.”
Ginny stood up.  “You want something to eat, honey?”
“Is this the end of the discussion?” Harry asked.  “Draco’s leaving apparently, but is Hermione staying?”
“Of course,” Ginny reached for some pots and pans. 
“That’s good,” Harry opened the refrigerator door and took out a jar of pickles.  “I just hope they figure this out.”