Fanfic: Five Encounters by SunsetRiot (Free to read, 564,411Clicks)

Description:

In life often the right choices are never easy & the easy choices are never right.

Characters:

Graphic Depictions Of Violence Rape/Non-ConGinny Weasley/Blaise Zabini Hermione Granger/Draco Malfoy Daphne Greengrass/Neville LongbottomGeorge Weasley Harry Potter Pansy Parkinson Ron Weasley Hermione Granger Draco Malfoy Luna Lovegood Neville Longbottom Daphne Greengrass Theodore Nott Percy Weasley Molly Weasley Arthur Weasley Bill Weasley Fleur Delacour Astoria GreengrassAngst Angst and Hurt/Comfort Heavy Angst Drinking to Cope Lost Love First Love Flashbacks Wizarding World (Harry Potter) Wizarding Wars (Harry Potter) Denial of Feelings Hate Sex Love/Hate True Love Depression POV Ginny Weasley Ginny is a little lost Rare Pairings The Golden Trio Out of Character Ginny Weasley Needs a Hug Protective George Weasley Good Percy Weasley Poor Harry Potter Minor Character Death Secret Relationship Ginny Weasley is sad Minor Harry Potter/Ginny Weasley Everyone Needs A Hug Quidditch Player Ginny Weasley Vineyard owner Blaise Zabini

Summary:

Summary:

In life often the right choices are never easy & the easy choices are never right. Becoming a good liar was never part of Ginny Weasley’s life plan but, as the days continuously drag on she finds it’s the only way she keeps afloat. Three years after the end of the Wizarding War she’s barely surviving forever haunted by the easy choice she made on the morning before the battle. It would have been so easy if they’d just never had that first encounter. Blaise X Ginny

Notes:

Hello!!! I want to thank everyone on the response to my previous piece I entered for the Dramione rom-com competition! They were beyond lovely!!! I can’t believe a couple of the things I’ve written have had over 1,000 reads!! This story is a little different and centres around Blaise and Ginny and their past encounters at Hogwarts! I’ve only very recently read the books (shocking I know?!) and the year the golden trio are on the run fascinated me because you don’t really know the full extent of what happened in the castle and this is kind of based around that! When reading Dramione any trauma aside from the golden trios I find is often over looked and I think Ginny’s is especially and I really wanted to expand on it – I’ve been writing this on and off for months and I’m really happy with the outcome! A few warnings to start:There will be discussion of rape within the story so if that isn’t for you please don’t read! It’s not a huge part of the story but it is a large part of chapter two! Violence will be discussed through out this story too so if that isn’t your cup of tea either I’d just leave this one!You might think Ginny is OOC in the now parts of this serious and she kind of is but, the whole point of this is that she’s recovering from the war and she’s not meant to be the same as she was (if that makes sense) I want you to see the massive difference in her and I want you very much to see her not be herselfI’m going to posting each part everyday there may be a reprieve on Friday as I’m going to a wedding but other than that it should be continuous!I’m really happy with how this turned out & I hope you like it too!I relate to Ginny’s character from the books the most (even though I am a Slytherin) and I just wanted to play on how the war could of changed her too! AnywAy, I’ll stop rambling thank you so much if you read and leave a comment or just read in general!!Lots of love SunsetRiot xxxxx

(See the end of the work for more notes.)

Chapter 1: Chapter One: The First Encounter

Chapter Text

“Not so much as two ships passing in the night as two ships sailing together for a time but always bound for different ports.” – P.D. James The Lighthouse

Then:
She knows she’s out past Hogwarts latest curfew, a newer ‘improved’ earlier time that has been created and enforced by the wonderful Carrow twins it’s just another excuse to hurt and persecute students, not that they ever really need one these days, if they want to send a hex your way they will.She also, knows this could end very badly if she is caught, a beating is one of the ‘lighter’ punishments, perhaps maybe she’ll feel a little incendio and suddenly her robes will be on fire or if they’re feeling particularly harsh a constant crucio until she passes out. She’s luckily missed that particular punishment so far this year but there are far more students who have felt a crucio in comparison to those whom haven’t. Some of her friends are particularly favoured targets; the Carrows have a particular affinity for picking on Neville. She cringes just thinking about the times she’s helped him hobble back to the Gryffindor dormitory, whilst he wears a forceful lopsided grim that comes out as more of a grimace on his bruised and battered face.This year has been dreadful thus far and she’s only been here a few weeks, half the students never returned and out of the other half that did come back, (foolish move) a quarter have already left. Leaving the remainder of them in the category of: stupid, stupid fools who think that one day they’ll wake up at Hogwarts and all will be back to normal. That’s what Luna seems to think anyway.But, Ginny isn’t stupid she never has been, she’s not Hermione kind of smart but she’s not stupid enough to actually believe this won’t end in a Final battle. A Final Battle that will most certainly take place here, she’s sure of it.Voldemort’s got a strange way of being slightly poetic she knows him quite well after all: he did live in her head for the better part of a year. He’s going to end it where this whole mess began: Hogwarts upon discovering he had more power than he could have ever possibly imagined and upon realising he could yield that power to rule in hopes of having a totalitarian state. He wants to inflict pain upon people and oh inflict pain he will, he already has: Harry’s parents, Sirius Black and Cedric come to mind when just naming a few. He wants to create a legacy right under the Hogwarts roof. They’re hoping he’ll lose and good will conquer all but she’s not so sure these days. Hope’s been fast dwindling since Bill and Fluer’s wedding and Harry, Ron and Hermione have been on the run, no one knows where they are of what they’re doing.It’s weird being the only Weasley currently attending Hogwarts there has always been a brother or cousin around the corner waiting to give her some unsolicited advice, to share a joke with or to just roll her eyes at as she walks past. She didn’t think she would miss any of it, she was forever waiting till everyone would leave and it would be just her but then again they say you only miss something once it’s gone, once you truly know what you’d be missing.She misses the old times, the good: playing Quidditch whenever she likes, laughing freely with Luna and Neville and sneaking kisses with Harry in quiet corners of the school.The bad: arguing with Harry about going public or being anything at all, hearing Hermione cry over her stupid oaf of a brother late at night in the Gryffindor dormitory and trying to protect Luna from her fellow housemates who have a tendency to bully the whimsical girl even though she never notices. Those problems seem so inconsequential now in comparison to what Hogwarts currently resembles.Then there was the ugly: Hermione being paralysed by a Basilisk, herself being cursed by Tom Riddles diary and watching professor Umbridge take over the school. The thing is there was hope back then a glimmer of something good that kept everyone going but, now, well now, she’s not so sure what she she’s holding onto. Smiles are few and far between and heads are always hung low and there’s an emptiness that seems to be growing inside her and all around.What Ginny misses the most about all of this is her youth, she no longer looks youthful when she see’s her face in the mirror, her cheeks are drawn, her eyes are constantly plastered with purple bags underneath them, there is just simply no glow about her: the fountain of youth seems to have dried up. Ginny isn’t vain, looks have never really been that important to her but, isn’t she supposed to look the best she possibly can right now? Isn’t that what that word ‘youthful’ is all about?She is so lost in her own head she doesn’t hear or see the arms that come out from the shadows and put a hand over her mouth, Ginny is fast with her wand but not fast enough. Fuck. The worst part is there is no point screaming everyone here acts out of survival and no one is going to come and rescue her, there’s no wizard in shining arming around the corner coming to save her. She thinks of Harry again and wonders where he is, wonders where all three of them are, she hopes they’re safe at the very least. But no one is really safe anymore not in here and certainly not out there.This brings her back to the present rather dramatically; someone is stuffing her into an alcove and it is unknown to her if the person is either a friend or a foe. Almost always they’re foes these days. She bites down on their palm and she feels them visibly stiffen behind her but, they make no move to let her go.“Don’t do that,” it’s male, his body is flush against hers and when he whispers in her ear, she feels his breath tickling her neck. He smells expensive like sandalwood and mint, he’s wearing a rather large pinky ring, and she can feel the coldness of the metal on the side of her cheek.She’s struggling against him a bit but, then she hears the tell, tell signs of the Carrow twins walking past the corridor, the exact same corridor she was just walking in and now she understands why she was grabbed. Well there’s that at least, at least it’s student who’s not going to toss her out.The Carrows are talking to one another, boasting about their latest student whom they deduced to have poor behaviour they’re bragging about dishing out the most appropriate “punishment”. It’s making her feel sick, the whole school that she currently lives in does. But, her body goes into fight mode and suddenly she goes very still barely breathing as they walk right past the alcove, right past the spot where she is currently standing, they still for a moment eyeing the little crevice of the castle that dips slightly but then continue on down the corridor, laughing and joking just like they were doing before.She breathes in a deep sigh of relief once they’ve passed and turns around wand drawn at her kidnapper.He has the audacity to laugh at her, actually laugh, “come now, tiger I was only saving you from the wrath of that pair,” he ducks his head out of the alcove and gestures to where the pair had just come from. The steam of rage is practically flooding out of her head when he returns to face her; he is smirking but before she can get a proper look at him he ducks out of alcove again and checks there’s no one near by.“I had it covered,” she spits, both their voices still low incase the pair that have just walked past suddenly get bored on their journey and make a return.“I don’t think you did sweetheart but you weren’t paying any attention,” he puts his hands up in mock surrender as he moves completely back into the alcove. “If you’d rather face the fury of the Cramp twins, I can call them back.”She’s momentarily speechless, “who are they?”He just shrugs, “muggle t.v. show, it’s what we refer to them as down in Slytherin.”She laughs inwardly, she can’t be hearing him right, muggle’s and Slytherin are never referenced in the same sentence, and not by anyone she knows anyway. He casts a wordless nox and light pours out of his wand. She can now actually get a proper look at him and is rendered speechless by the sight of whom her alleged mystery rescuer is, smirk and all. She should of known by the deep baritone in his voice, the expensive aftershave and the bloody pinky ring, all the Slytherins have them and they’ve usually been gifted to them by their Fathers but, for Zabini it’s probably his Mother he’s taken his Mother’s name after all.She eyes him up and down crossing her arms as she does. He’s one of the most attractive boys at school and she’s never seen him up this close before his robes are tailored to perfection,The most defining feature of Blaise Zabini is his eyes.The boy has one green; one brown eye and they follow the old wives tale that runs in pureblood circles surrounding the notorious Zabini eyes. The tale goes that all Zabini women are born with one green and one brown eye and because of this they have special powers over love and attraction: they can break any witch or wizards heart as quickly as they can take it and all it takes is a simple look or two. Blaise is the first male in the family to be born with the identifiable feature (according to rumour) he’s had a sea of broken hearts crying over him for as long as she can remember, so perhaps there is some truth to the tale after all. He’s also, a generous lover if the rumour mill is anything to go by, no one has ever left this bedpost unsatisfied she’s not sure if that’s part of the eyes tale or if that’s just him: perhaps it’s a bit of both.Ginny notices him throughout her years at Hogwarts, it is impossible not to after all. He is a striking gentleman with his long limbs, elegant features and his two exquisite contrasting eyes. His eyes stand out even more against his black skin and he stands over a head taller than her, reminding her distinctly of her twin brothers. He’s not gangly in the slightest though, it’s as if his height wears him rather than the other way round, she’s never known a wizard who exudes so much confidence as the one standing right before her. He’s quietly confident; it’s a different confidence to Malfoy’s who’s all mouth. Blaise knows exactly who he is and what he is and he doesn’t need to stomp and screech: he can get whatever he wants with just a simple look.“What’s a matter my pretty? Cat got your tongue?” he’s probing her; he wants a reaction she’s rather notorious for her Weasley temper after all and for some reason he wants a fight. She’ll play a long a little, he set off a ticking time bomb when he cornered her and stuffed her into an alcove anyway.“No I was just surprised when I realised it was YOU of all people who brought me in here. Not that I needed saving, so thank you but no thank you and fuck off,” she finishes by fisting her hands on either side of her hips (it’s such a Hermione move).He smirks in return and it infuriates her causing her to glare at him. She has no idea why she’s doing this, he’s never actually done anything to her before, never really done anything to anyone that she can think of but, then again she’s sure he wants a bit of a fight so perhaps she’s fallen right into his little trap.There’s not much she knows about him, he’s one of Malfoy’s crew but he tends to keep his mouth shut, his reputation proceeds him that he’ll indeed bed anything with legs and ‘blood traitors’ and ‘mudbloods’ fall into that category too, not that she’s interested mind you. But, there is something in her brain that is screaming at her that this is not a good idea, Blaise Zabini has had many a witch in a little alcove all through Hogwarts and perhaps he is thinking by playing hero he will receive something in return. The answer is no and always shall be no. She’s waiting for Harry to return and besides he’s never really shown any interest in her.He leans forwards slightly and laughs, a low rumble and gently brushes a fly away hair from her face, bold she’s thinking as she huffs and slaps his hand away.“My, my you are feisty aren’t you,” he laughs again as he speaks and it’s so sinful, he’s like a character from one of those muggle porn books Hermione introduced her to all those years ago, except he’s real: captivatingly real. He’s like a deadly sin you can’t help but want a little taste from no matter how bad it is for you. “Your reputation proceeds you Weasley, you certainly are a fire cracker.”Ginny also knows that Blaise Zabini doesn’t do anything unless he thinks he can indeed be paid back in some form or another he is a Slytherin after all and nothing comes for free in their house. She clicks her tongue, “what do you want Zabini?”“Well I did save you from those two, what about a kiss for my trouble?” does he have allure as a bloody smell or something? It was like she was falling into a trance, she shakes her head a bit and laughs at him.His confidence never wavers as she speaks, “you’re lucky you received a thank you, good night Zabini.”She moves out of the alcove but he grabs her arm and twists it pulling her back slightly, he leans forward slightly and twists his tall frame so they are in the same eye line, “good night and do you mind if I call you Rossa? Native to my Mother tongue and your hair is such a lovely shade of it,” he emphasises lovely rather a little too much and gently tugs at a strand of her hair that’s fallen forward with his other free hand, he tugs on it and laughs a little when she scowls.“Rossa? Refer to me how you want, we won’t be speaking to one another again.” She shakes his arm off and is heading down the corridor towards the Gryffindor tower when he calls out to her. “Oh Rossa, why this is only the start we will be seeing a lot more of each other,” he laughs again, “I’ll be making sure of it.”She turns back with a snark remark on the tip of her tongue but it’s lost when she looks into his eyes and that suggestive smirk. She can’t help the butterflies that are developing in her stomach at the thought of speaking to him again.She smiles to herself as she walks back to the corridor her encounter with Blaise Zabini making her feel the most alive she’s felt all term. It can never happen again of course but it doesn’t mean she didn’t enjoy it because she most certainly did.
Now:
She knows she doesn’t love him. Not in the way she should at least, they’re laying in bed his back facing her and she’s staring up at the ceiling wondering where it all went wrong.Perhaps she did know she just didn’t want to admit it, he always seems to be there when she ponders her relationship with Harry Potter, the boy who lived twice.She can’t remember the last time Harry and her had sex, perhaps a month ago but then again she’s been travelling a lot, she’s always opting to join the girls during an away game and they happen often.Teammates tend to share the away games around so everyone gets an even chance at being at home with family and friends but she agrees to all the away games jumps at every chance she can get to leave the country. She likes being part of the away team more. She’s finding being at home a little too stifling, a little too uncomfortable and a little too dishonest. She’s home for well over a month now, her teammates and coach insisting she stay home this time to rest and recuperate, they don’t even want her to play the home games explaining it’s only fair after all and why not spend some time with her lovely boyfriend. That’s the real reason they’re giving her time off, her wonderful saviour boyfriend: Harry Potter.She doesn’t think staying homes fair, they’re travelling to Italy next and it’s typical that she’s been ordered to stay put. Perhaps she would have seen him, bumped into him but Italy is a big county and there is a slim to none chance she would have even been in the right area. But a foolish girl can hope. What would she even say to him? What would she say to the man, who told her he loved her, who told her he would have done anything for her and yet she picks the man lying next to her instead? She picks the man who is a childhood crush, the man who moulded her adolescence, the man who seems perfect on paper. What would she say? ‘I’m sorry Blaise but it was all a massive miss understanding, I loved you too then and I still do now let’s run off into the sunset and forget all about the past three years.’What annoys her most is that he was right in the end, picking the easiest choice isn’t always the right one: look where it’s landed her. She glances to the sleeping man whose back is facing her, why couldn’t she love him, like she loves him? The question often ricochets around her brain, but it never comes up with an answer. There are always a lot of perhaps with the answer: perhaps if they’d never been a war, perhaps if she’d stayed the same as how she was before, perhaps if she’d never had that first encounter with Blaise she never would have been here. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.She reaches out to touch the man to her left but she falls short, hand dropping limp at her side. She’s not sleeping tonight; she knows that because whenever she lets her mind wonder to him this happens. She shuffles out of bed grabbing her wand she heads into the hallway, creeping as she walks because she doesn’t want to wake him or George who is currently staying here. Sometimes the flat above the shop is just a little bit too much for him and he stays with Harry, it doesn’t happen all that often anymore but there’s always a spare room for him if he does.Besides, Harry is alone most of the time; she’s a visitor really with the amount of time she stays here. She creeps further down the hallway and down the stairs, heading towards the kitchen she flicks her wand and unlocks the back door, stepping out into the night air it tickles her skin in a wonderful way and she allows herself to enjoy the simple pleasure: the peace that follows the night even if only for a few short minutes. She hears the shuffling of footsteps after a while of her sitting outside and taking in the night breeze. She has no idea how long she’s been out here for; it could be minutes could be hours, but the blissfully cold air feels wonderful on her lie soaked skin.“Come back to bed Gin,” it’s Harry, she realises who’s come to check on her perhaps the bed grew cold. She turns back to face him, not sure what excuse to use for her rather odd behaviour. She’s staring into those green eyes, the ones that she once thought belonged to the love of her life, to the the boy she had, had a crush on since she was ten and she can’t help but feel her heart break a little. She isn’t in love with him, she’s not sure she ever was and she’s certain she never will be: she loves him but just not in the right way. She’s sure he knows and he loves her too much to ever say anything she’s not sure whose hurting whom more at this point. Either way they’re both lying to each other him in delusion and her to herself because this is not what she wants no matter how many times she tries to deny it.She smiles, it’s a tight-lipped smile, “I will in a bit,” he doesn’t argue just nods and starts to shuffle away. He stops half way through the kitchen and turns back to face her again, “it’s nearly four Gin, you’ll catch death don’t be too much longer.”She nods, “I won’t,” she lies, she’s a good liar these days.That’s why she hates coming back, hates staying with him because they are slowly killing each other: his with his love and hers with her lack of it. She hates it. She wishes Hermione was here, but she’s long gone, lives with Malfoy in some muggle cottage in Bath. They both work for the Ministry but once she introduced him to the muggle way of living he was fascinated and then they brought the cottage and that’s where they are now. Perhaps she should owl her, she had the courage to go after what she wanted, why couldn’t she? When was the last time she’d even spoken to Hermione? Granted it is probably too late to speak to him now and probably her too she grimaces and pushes her palms into her eye sockets, twisting slightly as she does. These trails of thought never lead to anything good.Malfoy changed sides in the war ending up being the turning point to help the light win, working as a spy and then joining Hermione, Harry and Ron whilst they hunted for horcuxes. Well, actually when Malfoy was instructed to track down wherever they were and join them, Ron left and returned home. He was stroppy, always has been even as a child. So in the end it was the three of them who found the horcruxes and destroyed them. Ron has never quite got over that, firstly, it was that he wasn’t involved with the destroying and then the weird friendship between Malfoy, Harry and Hermione. Secondly, the announcement of Hermione and Draco’s relationship: it had killed him.Ginny isn’t sure when her brothers drinking started but, it doesn’t show any signs of stopping.The Weasley’s haven’t ever really gotten their heads around the relationship between Malfoy and Hermione either, she’s sort of a no go topic at the Burrow, an unwritten rule is set to never speak about her. So Hermione did what she does best and made a calculated decision, slowly she stopped being a part of the golden trio, stopped being part of the Weasleys extended family.Hermione had admitted once that the war had taken so much she just wanted some peace, she doesn’t want to fight her friends on something else so she slowly retreats back until all of a sudden Hermione isn’t there anymore and no one is questioning it. Harry has tried, still tries, she thinks but Ginny isn’t sure she’s not sure of much these days. Ginny has never really tried; she’s not been very good at trying as of late.Besides, the Slytherins are more welcoming to Malfoy and Hermione’s relationship it’s blasted all over the Daily Profit for a while but just like with everything something shiny and new took its place and the ‘star crossed lovers romance’, ‘Gryffindor Golden Girl spotted in Snake Pit’ headline’s are long forgotten. She can remember the jealousy mind you, she’d felt it then when she’d seen those headlines because even back then Ginny hadn’t been happy with Harry.Ginny realises that she barely see’s much of anyone anymore; she doesn’t know the last time she spoke to Neville or Luna. She can’t really remember the last time she spent time with her friends. She blames it on her job as a professional Quidditch player but really she just hates lying to people, she couldn’t stomach sitting with everyone from the war and lying to them too. They would just become part of her ever-growing list of people she’s pretending tobe happy too, she was once the life and soul of the party knocking back drinks, laughing over exploding snap and debating with people over Quidditch rules. She can’t remember the last time she laughed a proper laugh that leaves your sides aching and she certainly can’t remember the last time she’s attended a party.But, it might have been with him because despite that entire year of the war being the disaster it was, he made it bearable he made it liveable, he made her feel something. He made her laugh even when he wasn’t trying to, he made her talk about things she wasn’t willing too and he made her fall in love without even trying. He helped her breathe.She let the man she was madly in love with walk away from right under her nose and it was her decision, for once in her life it was entirely her decision and she fucked it up.Growing up as the youngest a lot is decided for you, you get hand-me-down clothes and a babied a little, a lot in her case as she’s the only sister: you have to listen to everyone’s advice because ‘they’ve all been here before’ and ‘they know best’ and then they’re all making decisions for you because they’re older and they just know and at first she’s disagreeing all through her childhood she’s arguing begging to be seen like the rest of the boys, fighting and hexing everyone who dares tell her what to do.But, at some point, at some point after the war she nods blindly, she nods eagerly to what everyone is saying, she doesn’t argue and she doesn’t groan like she used too. She’s like one of those weird muggle toys that people have on desks and you flick it’s head and it bobs up and down: it’s rehearsed and it’s easy but it’s not right.But, Blaise was hers, totally and utterly hers. Blaise is her one question that no one got to offer an opinion on, he is entirely her own mistake and she prides herself in that in some ways because it’s actually hers all hers. Even her previous boyfriends before Harry weren’t hers. They were for Harry and were some vain attempt at trying to gain some attention from the boy: her Mother has pushed their relationship every step of the way but she won’t dwell on that thought. She won’t dwell on the fact she stays with Harry to keep the peace.She hasn’t seen Blaise Zabini in three years, not since the battle of Hogwarts once the battle was won he returned to the Zabini Manor in Italy and has apparently been there ever since. Not that she asks all that much but it’s known. She doesn’t blame him he never did have that much keeping him here, only her for a short while and never really that, what a few encounters round Hogwarts with a girl who was in denial? Their entire relationsh-whatever it was, was secret. Secret kisses, secret whispers, secret feelings. She was cruel to him and the end of their relationship marks the start of her lies.That doesn’t stop him from sending anonymous flowers to Fred’s grave on the day of the funeral her heart broke when she saw them there. They were a bunch of poppies, her favourites there wasn’t a note or anything but she knew, she just knew like you know the sky is blue and grass is green.She cried even louder then and it wasn’t because of her dead brother it was because Harry didn’t know her favourite flower and he probably still didn’t not even now, he probably never will. But, then again discovering her favourite flower was something they had done together, he had taken her to a poppy field not long before the final battle. He’d shown her the endless sea of red and she had been besotted with the flower ever since. She hasn’t thought of that in a while it is probably best she doesn’t, she’s spiraling and she can’t do that: she turns and heads back to bed.When Ginny awakes the next morning, the right hand side of the bed, which Harry sleeps on, is cold; she strokes it absent-mindedly and thinks back to when someone else had occupied her bed.They’d had rules her and Blaise, rule number one: it’s not a relationship and it never will be. Rule number two: nobody could know. Blaise knew from the start that she would go back to Harry, she had told him as much and he had nodded blindly smirking as he did because he didn’t care then either. But, that was before they had both fallen for one another. She isn’t even sure when it happened but, it had felt so natural at the time. It was so easy, so simple, she didn’t realise relationships could be like that. He had felt, so right and she had fought him every step of the way. First, the attraction, then the feelings, and then finally the love. She had never even told him how she had truly felt.But, she couldn’t dwell on that now, not today.She plods downstairs and see’s George nursing a cup of coffee with the Daily Prophet in his hand. He is smiling to himself, it was a nice: a welcome sight when Fred passed they all truly believed he would never smile again.“What has gotten you so smiley this morning?” she asks with a quirk of her eyebrow.George just gives a hum in reply, he’s been seeing someone the whole entire Weasley clan is sure and his bad days are a lot rarer these days but he is still yet to introduce her to the family. Ginny can’t help but wonder who this woman is, he never answers any questions about her and resolutely ignores anyone who attempts to set him up on a date. But, she doesn’t care because her brother is slowly but surely becoming George again. Not, the George he was before she doesn’t think he ever will be but none of them have been the same since the war anyway. The war had taken a lot. But, this George is happy and smiles and occasionally cracks jokes, he runs the joke shop and doesn’t wake up wishing he’d died with his twin that day too.Ginny asked once if the special someone was a male to which George had coughed up his tea from laughing so much and replied saying, “Charlie is the only Weasley that bats for the other time, I can assure you. Unless Fred did well he probably swung both ways. As long as you’re happy that’s all that matters at the end of the day.” He grew rather wistful after that.Whoever, this girl is they they’ve known each other for over a year, they’ve not been dating that long but she can remember the day he’d come home and smiled, he said he’d made a new and unexpected friend that day. But, six months ago the smiles grew bigger and he no longer replied when Bill tried to set him up on a date with ‘why would anyone want to date half a person?’ He now replied with ‘don’t you have something better to do than trying to set up your one eared brother? Anyway she’s not my type.’ That was as a good as admittance as any. So the lack of introductions to the family is beyond a little strange.Once, he finishes fishing through the Daily Prophet he hands it over to Ginny, she scans through it just like she always does, there is never much of interest usually, too much gossip and not much news and barely any Quidditch. But, turning the page dedicated to announcements she feels the air being sucked out of her lungs. She can’t believe the headline staring back at her and the picture with two smiling individuals peering up at her.
YOUNGEST GREENGRASS DAUGHTER TO WED ZABINI HEIR!
Ginny looks between the headline and the picture for far too long, openly staring, gaping at what she is seeing. She is pretty sure her mouth has been opening and closing several times; she can feel tears prick at the back of her eyes and her heart drops all the way to the bottom of her stomach. If George notices he doesn’t comment.The worst part of it all is the pair look so happy, in the picture the two of them are smiling at one another and then leaning in for a kiss, they then turn up and face the cameras. Ginny recognises that look on him, she recognises it all too well because once upon a time that look was only ever reserved for her. He clearly loves her but, Blaise had told her once in one of the alcoves in the castle, when or if he would marry it would be for love and nothing more, not politics, not power, not money but for love: he didn’t want to be like his Mother.“Gin you with us this morning?” he brother asks as he waves a hand over her face.“What? Oh hmm yes,” she replies as she continues to stare at the picture laid out before her, she’s hoping if she stares at it long enough it will disappear and she’ll forget all about it. But, the image burns at the back of her brain, the pair of them deliriously happy, looking forward to their future together.“I said my girlfriend is coming to the Burrow on Sunday and I want you to be nice.” He pauses before continuing, “I don’t think she’s going to get a very happy welcome but she’s important to me and there may come a time sometime soon that I’ll need an ally can I count on you?” He finishes with a sheepish grin, he’s nervous she can tell but, there’s a seriousness to him that’s so unlike George she can’t help but wonder what he’s not telling her or more importantly why he’s not giving her the girls name.She beams up at him trying to ensure him she’ll be there for him in whatever capacity he may need, “of course Georgey,” and reaching across the table she grabs his hand.He sobers for a moment squeezing her hand tight, “are you happy Gin?”She scrunches her face up in surprise, “of course I am,” and she is squeezing his hand right back.There’s silence for a few minutes as her brother is assessing her from across the table, she’s a rather good liar but never with George he always seems to see right though her and he’s seen right through her today. He’s evaluating her before he speaks huffing out a large breath, “no you’re not.”“I’ve got a great career, I’ve got a lovely boyfriend-““You’ve got a lovely boyfriend yes but you don’t love him Gin.” She attempts to correct him but he raises his other hand just a little stopping her before she can begin, “there’s a difference Gin and the sooner you realise it the better.”“I love him.” She tells him.He looks at her, really looks at her and starts reaching for her other hand almost knocking over his coffee in the process, “I know you do but not in the right way. There’s loving someone and there’s being in love with someone. Just like there’s having a lovely boyfriend and there’s meeting your other half.” His watch starts beeping reminding him he needs to leave for work; he rolls his eyes stopping it. He doesn’t give her a chance to respond as he drops her hands stands up screeching his chair legs as he does, “shit I forgot I had that meeting today.”Once he reaches the door he turns sighing, “I’m always here if you need to talk,” he pauses, “just think on it G.” He leaves her alone with her thoughts again, it seems her façade is splitting and people are seeing right through her slow building cracks.She’s not sure she has much of a personality outside of playing Quidditch, she isn’t really sure she knows what else she likes anymore.She wonders Diagon Alley rather aimlessly for a while, long after George had left for work for the day she had finally gotten dressed. She’d stared at that newspaper article for far too long and made a cup of coffee that had turned cold before finally deciding to get dressed and ready.She could meet Harry for lunch drag him away from the other Aurors and they could enjoy a meal together. She isn’t going to do that, she doesn’t really want to, they haven’t done that in a while and she isn’t really sure what she’ll say to him. The last time they attempt it she plays with her starter and barely looks up at him through the entire three courses.She heads to the Leaky Cauldron, she’s never been much of a drinker but she thinks days like this are made for drinking and she can understand the appeal of getting utterly sloshed and forgetting about life’s problems for a few hours.Hannah is as cheery as ever behind the bar gushing over how happy she is to see her and asking to meet up she plays her role nicely smiling and asking a few questions and agreeing to see her. She heads to the back of the pub she wants to go unnoticed after all, she peers over her tall glass of Butterbeer that suddenly appears making her jump and fiddles with a napkin, she notices a familiar black bob from the corner of her eye but she can’t see who’s she’s with so Ginny continues to fiddle with the napkin some more. Occasionally, looking out at the window and into the street as people busily shuffle from place to place.It’s the laugh she notices first. She hasn’t heard that laugh in a long time, three years plus if she’s correct. It’s a low rumbling kind of sound that makes your lips quirk of their own accord, she thinks she must be hearing things because he’s still in Italy and he’s getting married or so the Daily Profit announced today.She continues to stare into her beer glass, and tries to ignore the laugh and the increase race of her heart she thinks of all the things she could do today and tries to ignore the corner table that are enjoying a friendly lunch. Out of her proverbial vision she sees someone move, she won’t look up, pretends not to notice it, she’s stubborn like that and she’s not sure she’s ready to face him anyway, she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to face him.“Don’t,” she hears the harsh whisper of Pansy Parkinson echo in her ears but it seems it’s too late her lunch partner is making a choice and he’s heading over to her table.There’s coughing just above her and she tenses before she looks up. There he is in all his effortlessly beautiful glory: Blaise Zabini, he hasn’t aged much looks a little more of a man then a teenage boy, times been good to him: she expects no less. Her heart feels as if it’s going to combust and she swallows a little.“You cut your hair.” Is all he says, she’s forgotten she did that Harry hadn’t noticed not that she’d expected him too but, he would often comment that shorter hair would suit her back when it was just them two. She got some feathered bangs cut and a few layers, her hair sits just below her shoulders. She wanted to look a little different at some point earlier on this year she’s forgetting why now. Or maybe she’s not forgetting maybe she’s just burying it along with all the other things she’s burying in her life.She nods, “Blaise,” she speaks with a small smile.“Ginny,” he grins back in response.“You look well,” she tells him as she absentmindedly curls some of her hair between a couple of fingers.There’s grumbling behind them and then she see’s Pansy Parkinson’s face in her line of sight. She’s looking good, always was a pretty but there’s something different about her that Ginny can’t quite figure out but then there’s something different about everyone now: war changes people, it guts them out and leaves nothing but tired shells of people left. But, Parkinson’s change isn’t bad whatever it is.“Pans,” Blaise’s authoritative voice cuts through, “leave it, I’ll pay the bill you go back to work.”Parkinson is making a face and crossing her arms, “fine.” And the next thing she is hearing is the sound of her high heels as they clatter off away from the pair.He takes a seat opposite her, “you’re the best chaser the Harpies has ever seen.”She’s nodding and plays with the napkin under the table trying to ground herself she idly picks apart little pieces of the red utensil, she can feel the pile steadily growing on her leg, “we’re doing well.”“You’re top the league,” he announces but she won’t look him in the eye, she can’t bare it.“Rossa,” he whispers and her head shoots up on her it’s own accord he’s staring at her across the table, relaxing in his position. She loves to hate that nickname but he gave it to her and that means more than you can possibly imagine.“What are you doing here?” she asks.“I’m moving back,” he pauses, “we’re moving back. We’ve been away too long.”“oh.” Is all she manages to say in reply before adding, “I’m rarely here.”“I know.”“Congratulations are in order,” she’s smiling as she says it because she always wanted him to be happy, she just knows it will never be with her, “she’s beautiful.”“She’s different, she’s polite. She’s different to.” He’s halting here, “she’s just different.”“I’m glad you’re happy.” She is saying after an undetermined amount of time later.“Are you?”“Yes.” It’s short and sharp.“Good, I’m glad that’s good.” He knows she’s lying, like George he can read her like a book.“How’s the vineyard?” She is suddenly asking not knowing how to navigate a conversation with him she mumbles the first thing that floats around in her brain.Her shrugs, “business is the same as ever really.”“You aren’t going to miss the hot climate then?”He shrugs again, “home has been calling for a while and with Tori being,” he stops abruptly pausing mid sentence, “never mind, it was time.” He smiles, “I’ve never been much for small talk.”Ginny snorts and nods with a limp smile not knowing what to say next this hadn’t been her plan for today, she knew he was getting married but she didn’t know he was returning and she hadn’t expected to bump into him. He’s right he never has been one for small talk and she hasn’t either, that’s why they’d always gotten on, they didn’t feel the need to ask the inane stupid questions like how are you? Not usually anyway. But, three years away from someone means not knowing the person they’ve become, not knowing how to speak to them. But, she doesn’t think that’s true in their case they’ll always know each other, she’ll always know him because of what they were and how they fell into each other.“I’ve missed you,” he admits after far too long of them just staring at each other across the wooden table.She nods, “that year was,” she pauses, “fucking awful,” they both laugh, “you,” she pauses not knowing how to continue, “you were just you.”And then he’s reaching across the wooden table between them as he’s speaking, searching for her hand. She’s moving on instinct finally removing her hands from underneath the table putting down the napkin she’s been playing with and opens her hand palm up, he laces their fingers together. His hands are warm and smooth; she’s forgotten that about him, she’s forgotten so much about him.But, as he is sitting opposite her she is starting to remember all the little things she’s put in a little box in the corner of her mind labeled Blaise with bright red lettering written underneath with DO NOT TOUCH: the dimple on his left cheek, the ring he always wears on his right hand, the piercing in his left ear and the scar just under his chin from a broomstick fall from when he was five.She is remembering everything about him but in reality it’s nothing at all.She feels a single tear descending down her cheek, “I’ve missed you too.”He squeezes her hand in response and she follows the tear that’s fallen from her eye, it leaves a splatter mark on the table and she tries to clear it. It clears a little but it also, sort of breaks still leaving a smudged mark behind.Life’s like that, things happen, things change but things always leave a mark and sometimes the mark is too deep to remove, it stains you like tears on wood.Encounters can stain you too.

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