Disclaimer: I do not own anything from the Potter Universe.
The cold wind wrapped around her like an embrace, her hair flying in every direction. Waves crashed onto the sand continuously, unchanging. Time would go on and on, and still, the water would still rush up onto the shore, receding back into the vast ocean. Babies would grow into children, children into adults and adults into elders, who would pass out of this world. The cycle would keep going, and as it did, the shore would always be the same, filled with the sound of the sea.
Ginevra stood, her arms limp by her side, staring at the overcast skies on the horizon and wondering why life couldn't be like the ocean. Two decades ago, she stood on these same shores, hands linked with her lover. They walked the beach, and he sheltered her from the cold with his body, wrapping his arms around her like a coat, his body radiating warmth. They laughed and smiled. They made love in the very spot she stood, their bodies united. In that moment, she didn't want things to change. She wanted them to stay the same, a continuous moment of love.
But life wasn't like the ocean. Life was like a candle. It burns bright for a short while, a brief moment of shining light and happiness. Yet, as time goes on, as the wax melts, the light dims, happiness changing to sadness, the life burning out of the candle. You can't get that shining, bright light back. That brief moment of happiness cannot be recaptured. The light dims until the wick is gone, and it ends, embers slowly dying.
A loud crash came, the tide rising. In it, she could hear the echoes of their conversations, the faint sound of their whispered words. She closed her eyes, the words wrapping around her like a cloak, reassurances of their love. Her face radiated pure bliss as she remembered his touch on her skin, the stroke of his fingers along her sides. She felt the kisses he planted on her neck, the feeling of his teeth grazing along her shoulder, his hand fastening to her hip.
Then, like a fish ripped out of the water, she gasped, angry words engulfing her. She could hear them shouting, their last words spoken to each other. She could feel the rage he felt, the sadness she felt. There were no more wisps of conversations. It was happening in front of her, the argument playing out before her eyes, careless words spoken in the heat of the moment.
"I can't go back there, Ginevra. You see how they treat me," he murmured, resting his head atop hers. "They crucify me for the mistakes I made as a child."
She leaned back into his embrace, inhaling the salty scent of the sea. "It will pass, Draco, like all things do. The war is too fresh in everyone's memory."
"I'm leaving, Ginevra. I made the arrangements already." She tensed in his arms, and he continued. "I'm going to France. My Father's business has been destroyed. I'm going to adopt my mother's last name and start fresh."
"Draco, I thought that-you're leaving?" She spun around, her eyes flashing with sadness. "We can go back and get through this together."
"I want you to come with me," he said, reaching out for her.
She stepped back. "Come with you? I can't just run off to France, Draco. What about my family? My mother has lost enough. I refuse to have her feel like she lost another child."
"Your family? Do you think they would ever accept us, Ginevra?" Anger shone through his eyes, reminding Ginevra of a storm, grey clouds and lightning flashing dangerously. "They'll regard me as nothing more than your fling on vacation, demote your behavior as foolish and expect you to run off with Potter again."
"My family loves me. They'll accept you, if not for any other reason than they care about me and my happiness. I know you don't know what-," she stopped, biting down on her lip.
"What, Ginevra? I wouldn't know what that's like because my father is the reincarnation of the devil and my mother cold and unfeeling," he spat. "Is that what you wanted to say?"
"Draco, I didn't mean-"
"No matter what you and the golden trio may believe, my parents loved me. My father did what he did because he wanted me to live a life unhindered by obstacles. If I were powerful, no one would try and cross me," he said, his voice laced with hurt that made Ginevra feel guilty. "My mother doted on me. She may not have suffocated me like your mother does. But she cared. She held me when I cried. She comforted me when I missed my father. She was my mother. I didn't need her to be insufferably overbearing."
"Don't you dare," Ginevra yelled, enraged at the comment about her mother. "My parents didn't need to follow some stupid Dark Lord in order to show their love for me. My father didn't allow an eleven year old girl to be possessed and almost die. So don't you dare talk about my mother."
"Perhaps your family would be right. This is just some foolish little fling between us," he said, hurt in his eyes. "I was just a way for you to sow your wild oats before you run back to Potter."
"Maybe you're right. We're too different. We were stupid to think otherwise," she replied. "You don't love me. If you did, you would understand why I can't leave my family behind."
"You would understand why I can't go back there," he said, hurt turning into rage.
"You're still the same coward you were in school, Malfoy," she spat, watching as his face contorted into an ugly expression. "Except this time, you can't hide behind the skirts of your parents."
He grabbed her arms tightly, his fingers digging into her skin. Without hesitation, she ripped herself from his embrace, his nails scratching her skin, and slapped him, an angry red mark implanting itself on his cheek. They stood there panting, neither saying anything, the crash of the waves angry like the people standing on the shore.
Ginevra took one last look at him, and feeling rejected, she walked back to the small hotel she had been staying in. Most of her things were at Draco's palatial home on the shore, but she dared not go back there. Instead, she packed what little things were still in her hotel room and took the next Portkey back to England, back to the life that waited for her, leaving behind the shores of Ireland and her tumultuous affair with Draco Malfoy.
But those memories never left her. She could pretend it never happened sometimes, relishing in the bliss of her happy, safe marriage with Harry. But when her children left the house, moving on to have their own lives, she found that the memories reared their ugly heads. Now, at forty-one, her life was crumbling around her. She and Harry had just completed their divorce, and somehow, she ended up in Ireland.
Over the years, she wondered what happened to Draco. She wondered if he had married, maybe had a few children of his own. Often, she wished that she had gone with him. But when she was nineteen, the war still fresh in her heart, she couldn't think of leaving behind her family. It would have been cruel. Yet, as she grew older, she realized that a person only had one chance at true love, true happiness. Ginevra had stared that in the face and turned it away, sealing her fate.
The sound of laughter jarred her out of her thoughts as a child, no older than three, came running down the shoreline. Her blond hair flew about her, and she screamed as a man came chasing after her. And for a moment, Ginevra's heart stopped. She felt as if she were looking at Draco as he was twenty-two years ago, the same icy blond hair and tall frame. But when he looked at her, she saw blue eyes. It wasn't him. But she could see the resemblance and knew it was his relation, his son.
"Ahh, hello, ma'am," the man said, his eyebrows crinkled in confusion. "This is a private beach. Are you lost?"
She smiled. His direct manner certainly wasn't like his father's. "No, not lost. I was here once, twenty-two years ago, almost twenty-three."
"You must know my father, then-or maybe my grandparents," he said, picking up the little girl who was hiding behind his leg. "The Malfoys?"
"I knew Draco," she murmured, captivated by the boy who looked so much like his father. "I haven't seen him since we met here. I'm Ginevra Po-just Ginevra."
"Well, it's nice to meet you, Miss Ginevra. My name is Cameron, and this is my daughter Elizabeth." He tickled the girl's stomach. "If you are here to see my father, he's not here."
"I didn't think he would be. I didn't think anyone would be here, actually," she said with a slight chuckle.
"He'll be back shortly," Cameron said. "He went into town an hour ago."
Ginevra didn't know what to say. For as Cameron said those words, she saw him approaching, his features a bit more aged but still more handsome than she remembered him. Her heart beating rapidly in her chest, her breathing labored. He was closer now, and she could make out age lines in his face, not many, but enough for her to notice. And then he was there, next to his son, three generations of Malfoys in front of her.
"Cameron, take Elizabeth up to the house. Renee was asking for her," Draco murmured, his eyes fixated on the redhead in front of him.
"Alright," Cameron replied, eyes dancing between the two people in front of him. "Come on, Lizzie. It was nice meeting you, Miss Ginevra."
"Yes," Ginevra said, the word coming out in a breathy tone.
They were alone now, and she fought not to throw herself into his arms and recreate their many moments together. How she desperately wanted to, but she knew that he was married with children and grandchildren. He had a family, a happy little family that did not include her. She didn't expect less of him. His life, much like her own, had to move on. It wasn't the ocean.
"What are you doing here?" he asked, his words harsh to her ears.
"I don't know," she said honestly, hands clasped together nervously. "I was-I needed to come back and think."
He seemed at a loss for words.
"I'll go," Ginevra murmured, not able to resist reaching out to touch his face. She needed to feel him to make sure he wasn't a figment of her imagination. "Goodbye, Draco."
Before she could turn and leave, he grabbed her hand, holding it in place. His eyes were closed, his hand over hers, touching his cheek. She could feel his smooth hand on her own, not the ghost hand she had felt moments ago, the one that reminded her of his touch. No, this one was real. He was in front of her, touching her. She was torn between crying and laughing, neither emotion seeming to convey how she felt at the moment.
"I'm sorry," she said, her words soft. "I was stupid."
"Is that why you came here?" He opened his eyes, fixating his stormy eyes on her. "You thought you could apologize, and we would fall into each other's embrace?"
"No," she said, recoiling her hand at his tone. "I didn't think you would be here. I just-I wanted a happy place. And this was the first place that came to mind. I didn't think it would make me feel this sad."
"I moved on with my life, Ginevra. You abandoned me here. I went searching for you, and you were gone," Draco said coldly. "I wasn't going to chase you to England."
"I never expected you to," she said heatedly.
"For weeks, I waited for you to write me, to reassure me that you loved me," he said, his voice rising in volume. "I would have come for you had you done so. But you left me and cut me out of your life."
"I didn't know," she said softly, eyes brimming with tears. "I wish I could do it all over again, Draco."
"You can't," Draco said, opening his mouth to say something but pausing when he heard his son yell for him. He turned around and saw his son waving.
"We're going to dinner," Cameron shouted. "Isabella and John are coming with us. Did you want to come?"
"No," Draco replied. "Go ahead."
"We'll be back in about two hours," Cameron yelled before retreating.
Draco turned back to Ginevra, who was wiping away a tear. "We can never recapture the time we lost."
"I know," she said. She leaned up and kissed his cheek. "I should go. You have a family to get back to. It was nice to see you again, Draco."
"And I was the coward?" he shouted at her retreating back. "You're the one who keeps walking away from us."
She turned back, eyes red and puffy. "What do you want from me, Draco? Are you going to invite me in for tea with your wife? Do you want to rub it in my face how happy your life is while mine is falling apart?"
He walked towards her slowly, reaching out for her and pulling her towards him. "Don't be silly, Ginevra. My wife left me twelve years ago. Apparently, I wasn't devoted to our relationship. I blame this fiery, redhead I fell in love with twenty-two years ago."
"Don't tell me your time with Potter has destroyed your intelligence," he drawled, smirking. "I always knew he was a sod. What idiot would let you go?"
"You know about my divorce?" asked Ginny, refusing to look him in the eye.
"Enough about Potter," Draco murmured. "I've been dying to do something since my children left."
Before she could ask what, his lips were on hers, demanding and supple. His hands were on her back, pressing her closer to him as if he wanted them to become one. She wrapped her arms around him, her hands running up and down his spine, electric sparks shooting from her lips to her toes. Desire flared within her, and she slid her hands underneath his sweater, clawing at his back when she felt the soft material of his shirt instead of his skin. She tugged at the shirt, freeing it from his pants, her hands finally touching the smooth, alabaster skin beneath it.
In moments, he was sitting on the sand, her on his lap with her shirt open, him bare from the waist up. They were breathing heavily, hands frantically unbuckling and unbuttoning, the yearning to be together again welling up inside them. There were no soft touches or gentle kisses. Her bra was torn off, her skirt faring no better. His pants were unbuckled and shoved down around his knees, reaching no farther. They rolled in the sand, tangled in clothes and shoes, teeth and tongue clashing in a fiery kiss.
Then they were one. She cried out as he sunk inside her, her body welcoming him back. He was encased within her, a snug fit. It was as if they were made for each other. Even after all this time, her body responded the same way. Her back was arched as he moved inside her, his mouth suckling on her breasts, biting and tugging. She tossed her head back, sand blowing around them, wild guttural sounds escaping their mouths.
He planted kisses on her neck, teeth scraping along her collarbone, one hand reaching down between them as he held himself up on his elbow. Her mind reeled as his finger touched her pleasure button, his name falling from her lips like a mantra. She could feel the pressure building in her stomach as he swelled inside her. All it took was two fingers pressed against her and one deep thrust for them to fall over the edge, diving into the bliss that they could only experience together.
They lay panting in the sand, her body limp beneath him, tears streaming down her face. She could taste sand in her mouth, mixing with the drops of salty tears that formed a river from her eyes to her lips. Her body shuddered under him, emotions overflowing from the sheer ecstasy that she experienced and the thought that she was back with him, arms wrapped securely around him. She never wanted to move.
He bit into her shoulder before murmuring, "We should put some clothes on."
"Mmm," she moaned, wiggling her hips.
He let out a groan as he hardened inside her. "You're still a little minx."
"Would you have me any other way?" she asked with a chuckle, the movement causing her hardened nipples to rub against her chest. "Are you sure we need clothes?"
"No, I think all we need is a wand," he said, grabbing his and Apparating them to his room, the same room they first consummated their love in.
As day turned into night and waves crashed onto the sand, Ginevra and Draco made love, reigniting the passion that they laid to rest two decades before. And laying in his arms, his body wrapped around hers, Ginevra realized that her life wasn't like a candle or an ocean. It was like a tree. Trees die but are reborn. Her love with Draco died, but it was never truly dead. It was simply waiting to be brought back to life. With a smile, she closed her eyes and fell asleep in the arms of her lover.
This story is dedicated to Aerileigh. She asked for something sad and bittersweet with a happy ending and smut. I did my best.