Chapter VII: losing rationale
"All explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it, and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest."
-Arthur C. Clarke
“What’s bothering you today?” he heard her annoyed voice ask him as she took a seat next to him on the window sill of the Gryffindor common room.
“Do I sense a bit of aggravation in your tone?” he asked, amusedly cocking an eyebrow at her.
“Naturally, Voldemort's dead and you still find cause to mope. You truly are one of a kind, Harry,” she commented with a slightly pained smile.
He let out a small chortle at hearing her sarcastic quip. “How do you always know just what to say to make me feel better?”
“I’ve told you time and time again Potter; I’m just perfect like that. Now, come on, tell me what’s bothering you.”
He shrugged. “Nothing special.”
“You know, Potter, it’s quite pathetic when the bookworm has to tell you to learn to seize the day. You’re always so broody, and, yes, many of the girls surely find it sexy, but I’m afraid your mates would beg to differ,” she told him with a wink. “Just let it go Harry, there’s no point in crying over spilt milk. You finally have the chance to really have a life, take advantage of that. Carpe diem, Harry, carpe diem,” she told him with a smile before getting up to leave.
“You know how we had that conversation a week ago?” Neville asked as he let himself into Harry’s office, taking the liberty of seating himself on the couch.
Harry’s eyebrow furrowed in confusion. “Not that I don’t love your company, mate, but what are you doing here?—I thought professors were supposed to be dedicated to their work.”
“No Herbology classes until one today so I thought I’d come and visit you, apparated from Hogsmeade,” he explained with a noncommittal wave. “Anyway, back onto more important matters, remember what we talked about then?”
“Well it’d be rather pathetic if I forgot given what my confession was,” Harry rolled his eyes as he returned his attention to the paperwork he had previously been working on.
“Eyes up then because I have an important question.”
“And I have important work to do so I’m afraid it’s not going to happen, deadline’s in two hours and I’ve only just started,” he distractedly told him as he rifled through some papers, eyebrows furrowed in deep concentration.
“Okay fine, reasonable enough. So here’s the thing, ever since you said what you did, I’ve been thinking-”
“Lo and behold, he can use his brain,” Harry teased him with a grin.
“Yes I can, and I must say I’m rather talented at it too. Now I shall astound you with my brilliance through one question.”
“And what’s that?” Harry asked him as he took out a quill and began writing a few notes on the work he’d been reading.
“Well… okay, so don’t be offended or anything by this question… I mean if you think about it, it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to ask…” Neville stumbled, the old nervous teenage version of him slowly reappearing with each word.
“Nev, whatever it is, it’s fine, I trust you. Just say what you need to say.”
He did exactly that as he tactlessly spat out the words. “Are you sure you’re in love with her?”
Harry’s quill slipped as he heard the question and he lifted his head to look at Neville, who had moved from the couch and was currently pacing the room. “What do you mean?”
“Well it’s like this… I was thinking about everything that you said and your history with girls-”
Comprehension dawned upon him as the confused frown that was marring his face quickly disappeared. “In other words Ginny.”
“Yeah,” Neville sheepishly admitted.
Harry clenched his jaw as he forced himself to stay rational and not let his temper get the best of him, a great feat on his part. “So how’d that lead to this then?”
“Well what if you’re not in love with her, but the idea of her. I mean it’s easy to fall for her… she could easily be a savior of sorts… I just can’t help but wonder if it’s misplaced affection.”
“But how can you be so sure? I mean you haven’t seen her in two years now, she’s not the same person anymore; you know that as well as I do, whether you choose to admit it or not. Really, the entire point of leaving was so that she could change, to become someone else; so how can you be so sure that you’ll love this person as well?”
“I get letters from her-”
“But that’s it, your only form of communication, Harry.”
He let out a deep groan. “Have you ever felt like that missing piece… without it life felt worthless?”
“That could be for a friend too, Harry,” Neville reasoned.
“Have you?” he gruffly repeated.
“I’ve felt that way for two years now, I miss her and there’s nothing I can do about it. All I have now are these memories of her, ones that I’m replaying in my mind nonstop so I can at least have her by me in some form or another. I fell in love with her as I analyzed each moment, remembered her reaction to everything, how she supported me, teased me… how she was always there.”
“But Harry… what if it’s just some sort of misplaced affection?”
“It’s not!” he adamantly defended himself, almost petulantly so.
“Have you ever thought that maybe you told me because subconsciously or something you wanted me to tell you that it wasn’t true, because maybe you needed someone to tell you that it was all a farce?”
Harry shook his head. “That’s not it.”
“I can’t deny the fact that I think you could learn from Ron’s example—take a page from his book, so to speak. Don’t let that one event dictate the rest of your life like this. He’s moved on and so should you,” Neville let out a deep breath. “But, then again, I guess I also can’t change your mind, you have to be willing to do that on your own, on your own terms too. I can see that much at least… but be careful mate, when she comes back, whenever that may be, you may find that you’re severely disappointed if you realize that you were only in love with an idea this entire time. It’s a horrible fate, that’s a feeling I know, and I’m telling you now, it can break you,” he told him before exiting the office.
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