A/N I am so sorry this is so late. It's been an absolute bitch to get right. Fifth attempt and I'm finally happy with the way this goes. Normal service of twice weekly updates should now resume.
Ron's grip on her arm was the only thing keeping her standing, keeping her from running.
The room span as people pressed against them.
There were so many people.
She felt as if she were in two rooms at the same time.
This one with its mass of bodies that flinched as they looked at her.
A room full of pain, sobs and screams.
Her marks itched.
"I almost died her. Right here," she breathes. Ron glances at her and speeds up pulling her faster through the crowd.
She looks up at the ceiling hoping it will calm her as it always did.. before.
It doesn't work. Because after all. Dawn and sunsets don't look very different when they're both tinged with red.
The colour makes her already rapid heartbeat speed up.
Her breath comes fast. It's not from their dashing through the crowd.
He finally pulls her into some free space at the end closest to the stage that has been erected. He turns her so her back is to the crowd. All she can see is him.
He crouches to stare straight into her eyes.
"Lavender. Lav are you o.. are you sure you want to do this?" He says wiping from her cheek tears she hadn't felt herself shed.
She nods. She does want to do this.
The question is can she?
She takes a deep breath. She stares at his eyes.
Once when she was young her dad had taken her away somewhere hot. She remembers standing on the warm sand as the water rushes over her toes making her giggle. Her dad laughs with her. The ocean. The ocean was so clear she could see the sand below, watch as fishes danced through the waves.
It was her patronus memory. Standing staring into that ocean.
His eyes, that crystal clear blue of the ocean, made her feel as if she were there. She could almost smell the salty ocean.
"Kiss me?" She asks desperately. "Just please?"
He looks at her for a moment as if slightly concerned about her sanity before his lips meet hers. She puts a hand around his neck pulling him closer as she scratches the hair at the base of his skull.
He's the first to remember where they are. Mostly because of a cough to the side of them.
They pull apart and look at George.
"Public place kiddies," he reminds them. His grin is a little manic. His hands are shaking slightly. His eyes constantly dart around the room.
She pulls herself away from Ron and throws herself into George's arms. He grips her tight.
"I freaked out a little," she tells him.
"Are you okay now?" George asks.
"No. But I can do this," she pulls back.
He nods at her his face now solemn. He seems better. Not okay though. None of them are okay.
She pulls away from him taking Ron's offered hand. The other squeezes his brothers shoulder. The three of them join the rest of the Weasley family, Harry and Parvati. Hermione has disappeared somewhere.
They all saw the kiss.
Arthur smiles at them while Molly looks slightly bemused. She looks down at their joined hands before pulling Lavender into a tight hug. When she pulls back she's beaming. She opens her mouth to say something.
"Perhaps your gushing could be saved for when we get home dear?"
"Yes of course but why on earth didn't you tell us?" She asks.
"We're taking things slow," Ron tells them.
Hermione joins them followed by Narcissa and Draco. Molly rushes over to welcome Narcissa. The two women talk as Draco stands very close to Hermione. He occasionally leans over to whisper something in her ear but ignores everyone else until Hermione slaps him on the arm.
"Hi," he says even though he's been stood there for over ten minutes. Hermione folds her arms rolling her eyes. Her foot stamps a little. He sighs.
"How is everyone today?" He asks as if he really doesn't give a shit. Hermione laughs.
"Hating every second of this," she says taking pity on him. He smirks at her hand still joined with Ron's. He seems to be warring with an appropriate response.
"At least you aren't the villain here," he says.
"No but people flinch when they see my marks," she retorts.
"Ah yes. You're the new bogeyman," he grins. Hermione whacks him again glaring. But she just laughs.
"Am I scary?" She asks him.
"I've seen scary. It's beyond ridiculous that people think a few scratches can make you a monster," Draco tells her.
The others stare at him as she smiles.
He takes a step closer to her and Ron leaning in. Hermione moves with him.
"I've heard other rumours though. About you," he says significantly. "One of your 'cousins' has too." He says quietly before moving back. He touches the end of her braid, looks directly into her eyes and tilts his head. "Now I know.. I see it. She does too," he tells her smiling a little.
Daphne. He was friends with her at school. She looks around the hall. "Whatever other.. opinions may exist within her household she doesn't believe you're scary either."
she nods and stops looking around the hall.
Draco moves away from her. He didn't acknowledge Ron once.
"Git," Ron mutters.
"He seems like he's trying. Hermione seems to like him," she tells him.
He looks over watching them talk seeing the way they lean into each other.
"Alright fine. I'll give him a chance," he sulks.
"Thank you," she says giving him a kiss on the cheek.
"Whatever," he mutters. She lets it go. He's stopped glaring at least.
In no time at all organisers appear to whisk away Harry, Hermione and Ron. He's reluctant to leave her but she assures him she'll be okay with George.
She hopes it's true.
She watches him walk away nerves fluttering her belly. Soon it will be time. Soon everyone will know who she is. Parvati takes one hand, George the other. Ron looks over his shoulder to grin at her. All of a sudden the world doesn't seem so scary anymore.
She looks up at the enchanted ceiling as the sun finally sinks leaving the stars glittering overhead.