Chapter Ten:

Tonks and Charlie had to return to work the next day but the rest were able stay out the week.

The days past slowly for Ginevra. She didn't hear anything from Blaise or Draco. She tried to lose herself in her art but for the first time in nine years nothing worked. So, she spent a lot of time with her friends and family, showing them the city, listening to them talk, and letting them attempt to distract her.

Blaise spent every waking moment trying to talk sense into Draco. He used every approach he could come up with. He tried logic, emotion, anger, and even pleading. Nothing seemed to work. Draco was convinced it was best for everyone involved if he just stayed away from her.

Draco was honestly afraid to face her. He was afraid of seeing all the pain she had felt over the last nine years and know it was his fault. He had seen enough of it in those few moments at the picnic when she explained why she was a photographer. Then he had understood, empathized, but now it would be different; he would know he was the reason she had been alone for so long. He didn't know if he could take that. He was also afraid that she would be angry with him. He was afraid that now he knew who she was she would voice all the pain and anger she had held back to avoid giving herself away. He was afraid that she would be angry with him for going to her family rather than her when he had learned the truth. It never crossed his mind to be angry with her for not telling him who she was; that he understood perfectly. She had every right to after what she had been through.

Eventually Friday came around and Ginevra was arguing with Sarah while the others watched, not really sure if they should chime in.

"You're going." Sarah didn't leave room for argument.

Ginevra made room. "No, I am not."

"You have to."

"Why?"

"You said you would."

"I'll still pay for the ticket."

"They expect you to bring your camera, you know that."

"They didn't ask for it and therefore have no right to complain if it is not there."

"You need to go." Sarah's voice had changed. It was now soft, encouraging, and concerned.

Ginevra sighed and sat down. "No, I do not." She really did not want to have this conversation.

Snape finally decided it was time to speak. "Do you love him?"

"Yes." She didn't even have to think.

"Do you think he was a fool to leave in the first place?"

"Yes."

"Than why are you leaving your future in the hands of someone whom you know to be a fool?" Snape somehow managed to sound concerned and condescending at the same time. "I always thought you were smarter than that. If you love him, and you want him, and you know he has a history of being a fool and walking away, why in the name of Merlin's beard are you giving him the opportunity to do so again? You are angry with him because he hasn't come to speak with you; have you gone to speak with him? Fine, be angry, be hurt, you have a right. But what good does it do to exercise that right if you still lose him? Confront him about it. Make him look you in eye and face everything he has been running away from. If he walks out then you're better off without him. If you let him walk away without that, he's better off without you."

Remus covered his mouth with his hand to hide a smile. The twins clapped. Bill watched his little sister intently. Sarah gaped; this man had just said everything she was too afraid to say.

Ginevra sat there for a moment, staring at the floor. Finally she stood up and looked Snape in the eye. "Thank you," she whispered, "I needed that." He nodded.

Draco was hiding in the bathroom. Blaise, however, found him easily. "You're going."

"No, I'm not."

"You're being childish."

"I'm well aware of that. I'm hiding in a bathroom."

"I noticed. You're going."

"I'm not."

"You're presence is required."

"Why?"

"Because you are half of the reason this banquet is being thrown. If you do not show up will insult our new partners and the deal will fall through."

"Tell them I came down with something fatal."

"Listen Malfoy," Blaise had tried telling Draco off earlier to shock him into to sensible thinking, but he had not actually gotten angry; he was angry now, "you will come out of that bathroom now, get dressed, and accompany me to the banquet. You will not hide in the bathroom one we arrive; you will not run from every flash of red you see out of the corner of you eye; you will not consciously avoid her. Do you understand me?"

There was silence from the behind the door. Blaise heard a very deep groan before the door opened and a vey disgruntled Draco appeared. "You won't let this go will you?"

Blaise's eyes were sharp as he met Draco's, "No."

Sarah was attending the banquet with Blaise and Snape accompanied Ginevra. It was a toss up between him or Bill and they all agreed that Bill would probably inspire more fear in the blond. Unfortunately for everyone involved, or perhaps not, someone heard that Blaise had invited Sarah and rearranged the seating so that Ginevra would be at the same table with her long time friend. Whoever it was that made that decision honestly thought they were being kind, but it made for a very awkward atmosphere that lasted through the first three courses.

Finally, Ginevra couldn't take anymore. "I need some fresh air. You'll forgive me if I don't return until desert." Snape exchanged a look with Blaise, but neither said anything as she got up and walked out.

Once she was out of earshot Snape turned to Draco. His eyes were cold and his voice was firm. "You really should accompany her. You look a little peaked. I'm afraid if you remain in here much longer you will find breathing very difficult."

Draco gulped. He didn't doubt there was a wand pointed at him under the table, and he was correct. He looked toward the door and contemplated which he would rather face, Snape's wand or Ginevra. For a moment he favored the wand, but Blaise stabbed in the arm with a second wand and he got up and followed the red head.

She was standing on a balcony, face to the breeze with her eyes closed. Her back was to him, but he could tell her eyes were closed. She was pretending she didn't exist. She was trying to become part of the wind. She had done this frequently during the war.

He walked over the railing and leaned up against it.

"I don't care, you know, not anymore." She didn't face him as she spoke. She could feel him slump. She sighed. "I don't care that you left. I don't care that I have spent the last week terrified that I would lose you all over again. I don't care that I spent nine years alone. I don't care about the past. That's what I don't care about." She turned to face him. "All I care about is now. Are you going to walk away from me again?"

He looked up at her. Hope and fear were evident in every feature of his face. "Only if you ask me to."

She started to cry. He honestly had no idea what to do or why she was crying. He didn't know if he should leave or hold her or wait. She put her hand to her eyes. "Why would I ask you leave when all I have ever wanted is for you to return?"

He started laughing and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close. He held her like he would never let her go. She buried her face in his shoulder and cried out all the pain, loneliness, and fear of nine years and the last week. She cried for joy. When she stopped, she pulled away, wiped her face with her hands and looked up at the man she loved.

She reached out and ran her hand down the side of his face, letting it rest on his cheek. Her other hand went to his chest to feel his heart beat. Her eyes locked with his as though she were trying desperately to believe what was happening, that he was real, and that he was staying.

He pulled her in and kissed her. In that one kiss she felt all the last nine years disappear; she felt all the doubt melt away; she felt safe and whole again. When they pulled apart they held each other again. "We should get back inside. You are the guest of honor." She spoke very quietly, as if in a dream. He nodded against her head.

She went to the bathroom to wash her face and he returned to the table. Everyone looked up at him with curiosity. He surveyed the seating arrangements. Sarah was next to Blaise and Snape sat across from them with an empty seat on either side. "See, this really isn't going to work. Would you mind moving one seat over in either direction?"

Blaise grinned, Sarah beamed, and Snape smirked as he did as he was bid. Ginevra came and sat between the man she loved as a father and the man she loved with all her heart. The rest of the evening would be remembered by them all as one of the most wonderful evenings of their lives.

Ginevra and Draco still had a lot to talk about, and they would, but later. There was the question of whether or not there was a point for the three to continue avoiding the wizarding world, but that could be addressed later. She needed to deal with her family, but again, that could be done later. Right now they simply enjoyed the beauty that surrounded them, the good food, and the company of good friends.


THE END?


A/N as of now i have no intention of continueing the story. if you would like to see it go on let me know, although i do not promise it will.