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Chapter 20: finding God
Chapter XX: finding God
“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in a love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”
“I just can’t believe that the wedding is a mere week away, it makes it all the more real!” Hermione gleefully told him as the two sat, eating their dinner, in the traditional Greek restaurant Harry had chosen for their “date”.
“Yeah,” he said with a nervous laugh, his hands shaking slightly as he kept them under the table as he impatiently waited for the food so he could focus his attention on anything other than her.
“Harry, are you okay?” she asked him worriedly as she watched him take a large gulp of his fire whiskey, his third completed drink in the past half hour—a fact that she found extremely unsettling. “You’ve been drinking like a fish and you seriously look like you’re about to drop that glass or something—what’s wrong with you? Why are you so on edge this evening?”
Harry silently cursed his abnormal lack of charisma and allure that evening. It was supposed to be the night, his night, but he seemed to be acting like some blubbering fool who had no sense of charm or any appeal whatsoever—bloody hell, he felt like that scrawny little twerp who had made his first kiss cry.
The worst part, however, was that it wasn’t just any girl. He actually did care—which, ironically enough, was also why he seemingly lacked any sense of coordination or that “je ne sais quoi,” and all that other shit that the birds seemed to go crazy for.
He wanted her—he needed her, and, most importantly of all, if he screwed it up that evening he’d officially be out of chances. She’d find a real knight in shining armor and finally realize that he was just a poser who only ever achieved as much as he had because of her.
He just couldn’t—wouldn’t imagine life without that annoying huffy voice that constantly reprimanded him, supported him, gave him hope. He had to be the one to have it—that studious girl that he was sure had a wild streak behind the good girl image. The loyal, the smarmy, the sometimes bitchy girl—he just had to have her.
The only question was how the bloody hell he’d go about actually achieving that illusive goal of his.
“I think you and I should shag!” he exclaimed suddenly, causing Hermione to choke on her drink slightly—and he silently thanked God that he hadn’t done the inevitable, by blurting out his feelings, while she was eating because than he’d be stuck with the added dilemma of having to do the Heimlich maneuver.
She gaped at him, as she did that weird squinty thing with her eyes that she did whenever she was particularly confused. “Pardon?”
“I—well… I mean… I don’t just want to shag you. I’d like there to be the whole deep and emotionally involved relationship aspect… the shagging is just a very nice added bonus-” he rambled on nervously, silently cursing the fact that God seemed to hate him or something if he was so intent on ruining everything for Harry. Couldn’t he for once just be a nice and understanding bloke and give him a little leeway when confronting the girl he loved?
“Um, where did this suddenly come from, anyway?”
“Well… it came about nine months ago really. Nine months and one day to be exact,” he told her with a decisive nod.
Comprehension dawned upon her as her eyes widened in shock. “I—I’m that girl?”
“No, I mean wow.”
He chuckled lightly. “Seems as if I’m not the only one that seems to be having trouble finding the right words tonight.”
“You know, Harry, I mean—I never really considered that…”
“Oh?” he asked as he slowly started to grip onto the table leg, anything to take his growing frustration out on.
“No… I mean… well I don’t really know what I mean, to tell you the truth. But—well it’s like this, when we were younger I did have a bit of a crush on you, nothing big just one of those girly fantasies about the sexy bloke behind that whole Boy-Who-Lived veneer-”
“Oi, don’t mock, I’m being very serious right now. Anyway, I just—after that, I realized just how much your friendship meant to me. I… I don’t know what I feel for you Harry, I can’t because I never allowed myself to see you in any sense than a platonic one,” she sheepishly admitted.
His face was soon marred by a dejected look of hopelessness. “Oh.”
“Harry… this is all—well it’s just so unexpected, I mean—you and me… well I never thought that such a thing could exist.”
“I got the point the first time you said it Hermione,” he told her through gritted teeth. It wasn’t even that he was angry at her, but more so at himself. Despite all of the talk and everything about how he was worried about what her reaction to his admission would be, he’d never really considered that she might say no. after all, no girl before her had.
But, then again, that was also where his fatal error lay. She wasn’t like those girls, she was so much more—that was, after all, what attracted him to her—he just never thought that that fact might screw him over in the long run.
“No, let me finish, please.”
He winced slightly at hearing that word, he never could say no to her. Damn.
“I’m not that girl—I’m no Ginny, instead I’m a bookworm who loves to spend her evening watching a good movie rather than going out and partying, I really only ever want to go to a good party once a week, anymore than that is just a waste of time for me. I’m not like those other girls you dated either—I actually do have a fear of STI’s, no matter how inane of a fear it may be-”
“I was tested,” he meekly admitted with a sheepish grin, anything to divert attention from his confession.
“Pardon?” she asked, genuinely surprised by the announcement.
“After that whole healer man-whore ordeal I realized you may have had a point on that count and got tested. Hate to admit it, but it kind of shocked me when they told me I hadn’t contracted anything…”
He nodded mutely.
“But—well that doesn’t change anything Harry, it can't. I mean look at the girls you date-”
“And look at how that ended,” he interjected. “Listen, Hermione, I’ve made my mistakes, I realize that, but don’t doubt my feelings like this. Stop trying to reason it all, make it sound as if it’s impossible because I promise you that they’re anything but fake. I’ve loved you for so long now, I wanted you—needed you, but I let you go because I knew you deserved better. But, Hermione, I was always a selfish prat and I just—I needed to at least try or I’d never forgive myself. I couldn’t just let you slip through my fingers again,” he earnestly told her.
“You were right when you said you’re not them—in fact, you’re so much more… it’s like what you said about Ron being a step, well they were mine. Admittedly, not steps to be particularly proud of,” he sheepishly admitted. “But necessary nonetheless. It all made me appreciate you more, realize how empty and worthless it all was without you by my side.”
When he finished his tirade he let it be, he didn’t look at her but focused his attention on the waiters that were running through the restaurant, listening to the strong accents of the warm Greek family that ran the small, home-style restaurant. He let her have her space because he knew her. He knew how she needed to analyze thing because of her need to feel safe, a deep rooted one from her awkward entrance into the wizarding world—a realm she knew nothing about. It was a habit that lasted and prevailed throughout the years, and if it had yet to let her down he was all for giving her the luxury of that much needed time for reflection.
“I honestly don’t know if it’s a good idea,” she finally admitted in a weak voice.
He nodded, not so much because he understood—no, he was too stubborn for that—but more so because he didn’t trust himself to speak, he didn’t want to further embarrass himself by his voice cracking or something under the pressure of it all. He was too proud to let that happen to him as well.
“But…well, I think maybe I’d like to give it a try regardless,” she admitted, biting on her lip nervously as she made the admission.
“Really?” he squeaked slightly—officially deciding that God was drunk that day if he was finally helping him out for once.
She shyly nodded as a blush spread throughout her face. “Yeah… I think—I mean, I don’t know what’ll happen, or if we’ll even work, but I can see it—I can see it being something good. You and I, we always clicked…”
“You’re sure?” he asked her suspiciously, slowly loosening his grip on the table leg to place it atop of hers that was resting in the middle of the table.
She smiled. “Yeah… I think that, for once, you may have realized something good before me—long before I ever came to the realization.”