Chapter 4 : Chapter 4: I Want To Hold You're Hand
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You’ll let me be your man
And please say to me
You’ll let me hold your hand…”
Neville stood in the falling snow, his hood pulled up over his head, trying not to watch as Ginny led Harry away for what appeared to be a private goodbye. He stared at the ground, slid his eyes out over the crowed, but no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t kee from watching the corner that Harry and Ginny had disappeared around. He tried not to imagine her slender body pressed against Harry’s as they kissed and groped in the dark. He tried not to think about every time she had looked at Harry instead of him. Every time she had held Harry’s hand or ran her fingers through his hair, but the images were relentless.
Neville wished that he was the sort of guy who could win a girl like Ginny, the sort of guy who could be chosen over the athletes or even the brains. In his mind Neville had seen it a million times. The images of his own dreams haunted his waking brain daily, knowing that he would never be that guy.
“They’ve been back there a while.” A small voice commented making Neville jump.
Startled he glanced down and was surprised to find Luna standing very close to him.
“Do you think they’ll make it back in time for the train?” she asked innocently.
Neville felt the green-eyed beast within rear up making him snap at her.
“None of my business is it.” he growled.
Glancing down Neville saw Luna staring at him wide-eyed and felt ashamed.
“I’m sorry Luna. I shouldn’t have snapped at you. It’s not your fault.” He apologized.
Luna blinked a few times and went on as though nothing had happened.
“The train is starting to board, we should probably go.” She said simply, then threaded her hand through Neville’s folded arm and led him away.
Neville let himself be guided towards the train. He knew it would be better if he didn’t wait for Harry and Ginny to reappear, it would be better if he didn’t see her hair disheveled while Harry tried to hide red checks and swollen lips. But part of him wanted to see, wanted to see the satisfied look in her eyes, if only to add it to the dreams he would never speak of.
His mind was still lurking in back allies and dark corners when Luna led him into an empty carriage. He sat across from her and absently glanced out the window, just in time to see Ginny leading Harry out of the shadows and towards the train. Her loose hair twisted and turned in the breeze but as she neared his window Neville could almost see her pulse pounding in her throat. Behind her, Harry had a glazed look in his eyes as he rubbed his free hand over his brilliantly red, swollen lips. Neville groaned and looked away.
“It’s not that bad.” Luna said quietly as she drew the shade. “As long as you keep telling yourself that their happy and that’s all that matters…. Then it’s not that bad…”
Neville looked up at Luna and for the first time realized just how much they had in common.
“How long?” he asked quietly, not quiet meeting her eyes.
“Long enough.” she answered with a sigh.
The sound made Neville look up. He had never seen Luna sad before and it was disconcerting.
Leaning forward he took her hand, “One of these day’s they’ll figure out what they’re missing out on.” He told her with a wink.
Luna laughed, “yeah, one day.”
Ron sat beside Hermione in the carriage as they waited for Harry and Ginny to arrive. He had seen his sister pull Harry away from the crowd and had felt a wave of envy. Not that he was jealous of his sister and his best friend, but he could admit to himself that he was just a little jealous of what they had. For months now he had tried to build up the courage to just ask Hermione out, and every time he thought he had reached that point he would see her turn to someone else, and had to start over again.
Now here she was, sitting not two feet from him, and all he could do was stare out the window.
“They better hurry or they’ll miss the train.” Hermione said suddenly, her voice unusually sharp.
Ron glanced over at her. She sat slightly slouched in her seat, her arms crossed, legs crossed; her foot bouncing up and down to some internal beat. Hermione was the punctual sort, and his and Harry’s constant tardiness often irritated her, but right now she looked down right annoyed. Ron marveled at it for a moment, he had never seen her quite this cross with Harry, before glancing back out the window.
“Here they come now.” He told her quietly as Harry and Ginny slipped out of the shadows and onto the platform.
Hermione leaned forward and glanced around Ron and out the window.
“No hat, no gloves, he’ll have pneumonia by the time we get to London.” She spat, then leaned back and went back to bouncing her foot.
Ron watched her out of the corner of his eyes. Her behavior had him completely baffled. It wasn’t unusual for Hermione to badger them about punctuality or even dressing properly, but this was something different, something he had never seen before.
He watched her jiggle and bounce in her seat then glanced back out the window. It seemed the closer to the train Harry and Ginny got, the faster Hermione’s foot rattled. After a moment it dawned on him.
“You’re jealous!” he exclaimed, the words slipping out of his mouth before his brain could stop them.
Hermione’s foot stopped mid bounce, but she did not turn to face him.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She nearly snarled, and went back to bouncing her foot.
Ron leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. Hermione’s jealous of Harry and Ginny, now isn’t that a kick in the pants? He thought to himself. He felt his face fall as the realization hit him. She wanted Harry, not him. It had never been him.
When Harry and Ginny entered the carriage the tension was nearly visible. Harry paused for a moment, automatically shielding Ginny behind him. Ron sat staring out the window, a carefully blank expression on his face. Beside him Hermione had froze mid-shake and stared venomously at the floor as though it had just insulted her mother.
Harry took a deep breath, and avoiding contact with Hermione’s once again rattling foot, took his seat across from them. Ginny tucked her leg beneath her and sat without saying a word. She glanced at her brother and her best friend, then turned to Harry, silently asking him if he knew what was going on. Harry shrugged and did his best not the let the tension in the room suffocate him.
A/N: Lyric from I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles
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