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Taking Off the Rose-Colored Glasses by cosmopiltan411
Chapter 21 : finding apprehension
 
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Chapter XXI: finding apprehension

--

To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be.”

Anna Louise Strong

--

“So Lavender thought she was pregnant again, and I have to tell you, regardless of how many times I’ve done it, waiting those two minutes for the pregnancy test results are the worst thing ever,” Neville announced as he, Ron, and Harry sat at the three broomsticks, enjoying a drink between Neville’s classes.

“How does that always happen to you two? It feels like every other week you repeat the same story, and the sad part is it’s a different instance that you’re referring to every time,” Ron asked incredulously.

“We’re in a rush and forget to take certain precautions,” Neville responded with a shrug.

Harry snorted. “You make it sound like you’re fixing a carburetor or something.”

Ron chuckled, choking slightly on the drink that he had, inopportunely, taken a sip from as Harry made his comment.

“You don’t even know what a bloody car is, much less a carburetor,” Neville said.

“Doesn’t mean I didn’t understand the gist of the joke—and how the hell do you know what it is?” Ron defended.

“I used to date the muggle studies professor a while back and, for some reason that’s totally beyond me, her idea of pillow talk was lecturing me—I learned far more about muggles than should ever be allowed in the whole post-sex euphoria,” he admitted with a grimace.

Harry winced. “Bloody hell, that’s worse than that time I dated the chit that liked to coo and talk to me as if I were an infant or something every time we shagged.”

Ron laughed. “Sorry mates, but I don’t have any bad sex stories.”

“No, you just leave the girls with bad memories,” Neville teased him with a grin.

“Oi, I doubt that Luna or Hermione or-”

“Please don’t remind me of that,” Harry interrupted him as his face was quickly marred by a wince at the thought of Ron and Hermione… shagging.

“It’s pathetic really; it took me ages to get her to go out with me when we gave it a go back at Hogwarts. And the bloody chit finally learns to relax some and let those inhibitions of hers down when you get her. I was the one stuck with her when she was an annoying cow! How’s that for poetic irony?” Ron whined.

“Do you even know what poetic irony is?” Neville asked him.

“No, not really—never got it, must be a muggle thing. But Hermione always uses it in things like this so I figured why not give it a go.”

“Well her taste in men has obviously improved, at least that much can be said for her,” Neville nodded, grinning as he watched Ron turn an ungodly shade of red.

“Oi!”

“Well there must be a reason why she wasn’t so quick to say yes to you!”

“Well it could just mean she respects my friendship more,” Ron haughtily proposed.

Harry stiffened.

Neville’s eyes widened after hearing Ron’s unsurprisingly tactless retort. “Or it could just mean that she was trying to avoid being with you,” he muttered.

He turned to Harry, noting how regardless of the forced smile that may have been on his face his grip on his glass betrayed whatever cool persona he was trying to pull off—the white knuckles showing just how tense he really was. “I swear to God, if you believe what that prat just said then you’re an even bigger idiot than him—and, trust me, it’s pretty hard to surpass that level of idiocy considering that he seems to have his foot permanently implanted in that monstrous mouth of his.”

“OI!”

Harry couldn’t help but a crack a genuine smile at that comment, but while his grip on the drink did loosen, his back remained stiff as the comment replayed in his mind. Trepidation remaining in the recesses of his mind even though he tried to laugh it off, put it off as just another one of Ron’s thoughtless comments—which, in reality, he knew it was. But the question—well it was a tempting one nevertheless.

And given God’s apparent hatred for him, it was very possible this was his way of making up for having been drunk enough to grant him Hermione the night before…

--

“You and I need to talk,” he announced as he entered the library where he knew she would be reading another Christopher Buckley novel—a new guilty pleasure of hers that she had decided to indulge in since she had nothing to do for the wedding that day. Harry, personally, was just relieved that it wasn’t some romance novel that he’d then be forced to listen to a recount of.

“Well hello to you too,” she sarcastically quipped as she moved her legs off of the couch, silently inviting him to join her on it.

He nervously ran a hand through his hair as he took a seat. Taking a deep breath to calm his nerves her set his gaze ahead of him, watching the balcony instead of her in a desperate attempt to holds onto whatever little resolve he had. “I need you to know that this—what we talked about last night, you and me, I’m serious about that, it’s not some sort of a joke for me.”

She nodded slowly, unsure as to what to say—feeling particularly unhinged at seeing how adamant he was about not facing her.

“This isn’t just another fling for me Hermione, this is real. I want to work for this, I want to have to put up with all of your annoying shite and nagging, I want you to see me as more than just your best mate and love me for that—in that way,” he told her as he turned to face her, but found that she too was staring out the window.

Neither knew what to say after that, or even if they really should. It was awkward, uncomfortable, and everything that they had every hoped to avoid when together—everything that they had worked toward conquering since she had returned.

Finally she interrupted the silence by a long overdue sigh. “I—it’s hard you know… figuring out if I love you or am in love with you—it’s a difficult thing to differentiate. And, honestly, I don’t know whether it will work out or not between us,” she admitted slowly, keeping her eyes trained on the book as she fiddled with the cover nervously.

Finally she looked up at him. “But I do know that no matter what happens our friendship is strong enough to persevere—withstand anything that might come its way. And… well I don’t know… I just—all I know is that, you and I, we’ve always had something special, something amazing, something worth exploring. I guess you don’t choose who you want to be with… it just happens-”

He snorted, muttering “can’t deny that one.”

She smiled, taking, what Harry assumed to be, at least, uncharacteristic initiative by crawling across the couch so that she was sitting right before him rather than on the opposite side of the couch. “I do think, however, that this has been a long time coming.”

He grinned as he pulled her onto his lap. “How much time did you spend analyzing it all to come to that conclusion?”

“Don’t over analyze things so much, just live in the moment—don’t question it all,” she told him with a saucy wink as she leaned down and did something that he never thought he’d have the opportunity to do—much less have her initiate it.

She kissed him—well, more like snogged, and he couldn’t deny that he thoroughly enjoyed it.


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