Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Going through old files, there are a lot of works in progress that are never going to happen. Some can be easily adapted into one-shots, and this is one of them.
Smile on Her Face
Pansy arrived at Draco's wedding with a flask hidden in her purse and a smile on her face.
When Draco's engagement to Astoria was announced, people Pansy barely knew came up to her in the streets to express shock and give their condolences. That had been really odd. Apparently everyone at school thought they were going to end up together. Everyone thought they would marry and live a pretentious life with servants and snotty kids. Everyone but Draco.
After five years together, two at school and three after that, Draco decided that he did not love her anymore. Or maybe it was that he had never love her. It was little hard to hear him with her heart pounding and the blood rushing in her ears. Pansy's greatest flaw, as far as she could tell, was her absolute inability to show vulnerability. So, she smiled and agreed and refused to let Draco know how much he was hurting her. Now she had to sit under their stupid canopy and smile again, because their break-up had been so amicable, and she was so happy for Draco. Sometimes Pansy wondered what was wrong with people that they could not notice polite lies.
When Draco personally invited her, plus one, to the wedding, she had almost hit him over the head. She did not want to be his friend. No matter what she had said in the haze of their break-up, he should have realized that. But once again, that would should vulnerability, more so than before. So she had to smile.
Pansy did not bring a plus one to the wedding. Because she wasn't seeing anyone at the time, and she was so secure and fine with their marriage that she did not need to pretend that she was seeing someone. Pansy had put a lot of thought into that and decided that going alone really was the best course of action.
She did not end up drinking from her flask at the reception. There was an open bar, and she did not see the point of wasting the stuff she had paid for. She was careful, though. The last thing she wanted was to undo all her hard work, all her smiling, by getting too drunk at Draco's wedding. She had two stiff drinks and toasted the couple with champagne, but that was all she allowed herself. Still, she got a really satisfying buzz.
Pansy was leaning against a pillar, watching the happy couple dancing, still with the damn smile plastered on her face. She had her arms crossed and was holding her empty champagne glass as a prop.
"It must be really hard for you." The voice came from behind her.
Pansy was used to relative strangers worrying about how devastated she must be. Just since arriving at the wedding, six people had made similar comments. Pansy turned her head to show off her perfect smile and assure the person that she was fine. She saw Ron Weasley, of all people, and she decided to change her tact a little bit. "What must be hard?"
Ron came around to face her. "Seeing him with her. Knowing that he'll never be yours. You know, the usual stuff."
For some reason, though she had heard all this so many times before, Ron had managed to twist the knife in deeper. "He was mine," she said with a little more venom than she meant. "And we just weren't right for each other, and it was mutual, and I'm fine." She listed off the standard answers without much passion.
He smirked, and somehow it worked for him. That's when Pansy knew she was a little too buzzed. First off, she had always found red hair and freckles to be disgusting on guys. Little ginger girls could sometimes pull it off with their pigtails, but not boys. Secondly, he was sporting stubble, which just made the whole thing that much more red. But she did not think that he looked gross, and that was disturbing.
"Yeah, you really sound fine," he said.
"Hmm, well, I don't actually need to convince you of that. So, you can either take my word for it, or you can go. In fact, either way, you can go."
He ignored her. "The question is, how did you manage to convince Malfoy that you're so fine with it? What with the way you've been following him with your eyes all night."
Pansy bristled at this. "Draco knows me and the situation much better than you ever... What? How would you know that unless you've been watching me all night?"
"Well, I saw you earlier, and you just looked so miserable that I haven't been able to look away since. Considering the way you make other people miserable, I like this look on you."
"Okay, one, I did not look miserable. I have been the soul of poise and dignity. Everyone believes that this smile--" She demonstrated it. "--is genuine. Two, why are you even here?"
He looked at the reception. "My father's mother and Astoria's mother's mother were cousins, which was a close enough relation for Astoria because she wanted a huge wedding."
"Just because someone invites you to a wedding doesn't mean you have to go."
He gave a disarming smile. "I could say the same thing to you."
Pansy decided to not respond and hoped that he would walk away. He didn't. They stood in silence, both looking out at the dance floor. "What do you want?" Pansy finally asked.
Ron shrugged. "I guess I was just spoiling for a fight. Don't worry, you're doing great."
Pansy felt like they were getting somewhere now. "What happened to the girl you normally fight with?"
He scratched his chin and chuckled. "She off getting herself some space, whatever that means. Or more specifically, she's in France."
"Oh, so that's what the stubble is all about." Then something occurred to Pansy. "So were you spoiling for a fight or something else?"
"Oh, definitely just a fight. No offense. I was kind of hoping we could get into a shouting match and ruin the reception."
"Well, if that's really what you wanted, you picked the wrong thing to fight about. I am not going to start shouting about how fine I am, because that would have the opposite effect of what I want. In fact, you picked the wrong person, because there is no way in hell I am going to do anything to ruin this reception. Because I am happy for them."
Ron gave her an appraising look. "So do you want to get out of here?"
Pansy knew that, given the things she had said, it was too late for her to pretend to Ron that she really was fine. "So much so I can't stand it."
She said this without fully realizing what he was suggesting, but when Ron took her hand and led her out the nearest exit, she got the message. She followed him, making her decision as she walked. The truth was that she had not been with anyone since the break-up a year and a half before. In her slightly tipsy state, this manchild (she had always found Ron to be quite immature) with his rugged, adequate, if not good, looks seemed almost perfect for a one night stand. Pansy decided to just go for it since, as Ron pointed out, Draco would never again be hers. How fitting for her to move on with her life on the night of his wedding.
The time for Apparation came, and that was tricky. Either party could suddenly change their minds. Pansy particularly was afraid that Ron was going to realize that this whole thing was crazy and back out, which would cause Pansy two problems. First, now that she had decided that she wanted to make this symbolic gesture, she wanted to do this. Second, if he backed out that would mean that she wanted him more, for whatever reasons, and that would give him power and make her vulnerable. It would have been better if they could have continued on without actually speaking to each other, but unfortunately logistics needed to be discussed.
"Er," began Ron, "I still share a flat with my brother, and you're not exactly..."
"I'm not exactly what?"
"You're not the kind of girl I would want to introduce to my family," he finished sheepishly.
Pansy knew that was what he meant, but she wanted to hear him say it. She nodded with a wry smile. "Nice."
Ron sat down in the grass. Pansy scoffed. "I'm not... doing it here."
He looked up at her with eyes full of wonder. "You still want to? After I insulted you?"
Pansy tried to find a way to frame the truth in a way that did not make her sound too bad. "Draco and I were together for five years. He got engaged to that twit after six months. I just had to sit through their wedding and pretend that I'm fine with that. So, yeah, I need to do something drastic."
He laughed. "Sit down, Parkinson." She hesitated because she was wearing her best robes, and Ron rolled his eyes. He laid his cloak out for her to sit on, which Pansy reluctantly did.
"Are you going to make this worth my time, Weasley?"
"Nope. Because I can't do that to Hermione."
Pansy did not care at all about Ron's personal drama, but since he was so willing to listen to her complain, she felt obligated to return the favor. "I was under the impression that you broke up."
Ron chuckled. "We did. But I still can't... do that to her. I still love her." They sat in silence for a few moments. "Did Malfoy really get engaged after six months?"
"No, it was eight. I exaggerated for dramatic effect."
"Hermione's been gone for five months, and that's my biggest fear. That she's going to come back married to some bloody Frenchman." There was silence again. Finally Ron said, "Why did you and Draco break up?"
Pansy sighed. "Are we really doing this?"
He shrugged. "We're just talking right now."
"That's what I mean. Are really going to sit here and tell each other about our heartache?"
He leaned closer to her. "It doesn't seem to me that you have very many people you can talk to about it. So yeah, why not?"
Pansy took a deep breath. There were a lot of reasons why not, but he was right. For a year and a half, ever since the break-up, she had not been able to express her feelings to anyone else. His question had an answer of sorts, and she wanted to be able to say it out loud. "Okay. Why did we break up? I don't know. I thought everything was going really well. I thought, and this is a little embarrassing, I thought he was going to propose any day. But instead, he decided that he didn't love me anymore. So, why did you two break up."
"I wanted to get married, and she wanted to go to France. She said I was stifling her. And that would have been okay. We fought like that a lot, but I pushed, and it got really ugly. And things were said that can't be taken back." He stopped and sighed deeply. "So she went to France, and we haven't talked in five months."
"So, it's been five months, and you still can't bring yourself shave properly?" She reached out to feel his stubble.
He batted away her hand. "What do you see in Malfoy anyway, that you're still pining for him?"
"Oh, are we fighting again? Because I have so many questions about that bushy-haired, buck-toothed thing you're in love with."
Ron smiled. "I just wanted to know. We can fight or not. It's up to you."
Pansy looked up at the stars. "It's not just him. It's the five years. He didn't love me after five years. We were so compatible and I was more myself with him than ever. If he can't love me after all that we had, how could anyone?"
Ron nodded. "I can understand that. Hermione and I were together for four years, but really longer than that. We were together for half our lives. And then one fight, and she ran off to France never to be heard from again. Our story was not supposed to end like that. The idea of starting over is a little daunting."
"Is that why you prefer one night stands that you know are never going to go anywhere?"
"Believe or it not, you were going to be the first. When I saw you at the wedding, you seemed kind of perfect for it. I mean, whoever else you were fooling, I could tell that you were miserable too. And it seemed perfect. I hate you. You hate me. Hermione hates you. Draco hates me."
She had not quite thought of it like that before. "Draco's married. He doesn't care anymore."
"I find that hard to believe."
Pansy was struck with such sadness. "I do too, but trust me."
"How do you know if he's never seen you with anyone else? Let's just say for the sake of argument that Draco is as horrible as I think he is."
Pansy laughed. "Okay."
"If he is, then maybe he doesn't even think about you. Maybe it was easy for him to move on because he never saw you move on. Maybe it would kill him if you had sex with a Weasley."
Pansy considered this. "It's too late for that though. He's married. And I had no intention of telling him anyway."
"Anyway, it works the other way, too. I hate Draco, you hate Hermione. And I really doubt that even Malfoy could feel nothing for woman after five years."
"Did you think that maybe it would bother Hermione, too? That she'd come running back if she heard about this?"
He would not look her in the eye. "Maybe."
"But you didn't go through with it. That's what you couldn't do to Hermione. You couldn't manipulate her like that, or hurt her like that, or something." She stood. "Well, I'm going to go home now. Alone."
Ron got up as well and picked up his cloak. "You know, you're really an okay person, Parkinson."
She knew that he had meant it as a compliment, but somehow, it did not seem like one. Having Ron Weasley consider her to be okay was never a goal of hers, and she felt as though, if he approved, she must have compromised her values in some way. However, she smiled and accepted it in the spirit it was intended.
At home that night, Pansy reflected back on her experience with Ron. As weird as the whole thing turned out, with them being civil to each other, she was glad it had gone that way. Out of the distracting atmosphere of the wedding, she no longer thought that having indiscriminate sex with Ron was a good idea. Up to that night, Pansy had never had sex with anyone other than Draco. She was not the kind of girl who had one night stands.
Pansy thought about her relationship with Draco. Maybe she had done some things wrong. She had loved Draco from the beginning, and she had made that clear to him as she eagerly gave him whatever he wanted. She had read that this was not the right way to go about things, and maybe she should have heeded the advice in those magazines.
But for five years, her honesty and openness had worked, and she thought these faceless writers, who clearly could not hold onto men or they would not have so many, were wrong. Now she knew that Draco did not love her, though. When he had been ready to get married, he left to find someone suitable. Pansy wondered what he really thought of her. Was it that she was not the kind of girl you fall in love with? Did he mean to treat her like a whore to be used and thrown away? Because that was how she felt. And, yes, they were still friends, but how could he think that after five years he could walk away and they would still be friends? How, if he didn't think of her as a whore, did he convince himself that she was not emotionally involved at all?
Lying there in bed, Pansy was suddenly so angry at him, at his leaving her, his getting married, everything. It came to her suddenly that Draco did not deserve to be the only man she had slept with. Then she kind of wished that she had had sex that night. What if Ron was right and it would kill Draco. Taking the high road, pretending to be fine, it wasn't hurting him, but she realized that seeking revenge, trying to hurt him, it would only end up hurting herself. Pansy was stuck in a repetitive hell, where the hurt never went away, and there was nothing she could do.
Besides, Draco was married. Why would he care who she was having sex with? Unless, she thought, she told him that Ron was better, but that would sound so petty and false, because no one says things like that unless they just want to hurt the other person. The best revenge, as her mother and women's magazines would tell her, is a life well lived. As if it was really that easy to just be happy.
Pansy rolled over in bed and hugged her pillow to herself. If she wanted to move on, that was it. She needed to stop worrying about Draco and what he would think, what anyone thinks, and just get on with her life. Easier said than done.