Chapter XIV: finding answers
“You won't ever be happier until you find that special place where you belong…”
“so I’m shocked to see that you’ve actually found a way to make some time for me, especially seeing as lately all of your attention has gone to a little know-it-all Gryffindor that we all love,” Neville teased him as the pair sat at the Three Broomsticks, enjoying drinks on a Hogsmeade weekend.
“Well there was also wedding stuff and work, give me some credit mate-”
“Okay, first of all, the wedding stuff is with Hermione. And, second of all, you asked for desk duty for this month since Hermione was back and you didn’t want to be dragged into a mission—I recall your exact words were ‘need to make sure all of my attention is on my best girl’—or, you know, something along those lines,” Neville commented with a smirk.
“Don’t get jealous just because she’s prettier than you, Nev, after all, green never was a good color on you.”
Neville shuddered slightly at the thought. “Bloody hell, imagine me in Slytherine during our time, Malfoy would have skinned me alive.”
Harry chuckled as he was unable to deny the truth behind that statement, particularly when an image of a younger Neville flashed through his mind.
“So how are things with Lav going?”
“Exceedingly well, she’s let me back into the bedroom so all is well with the world.”
“For now,” Harry quipped with a small snort.
“Sadly, I can’t deny that one,” Neville sheepishly admitted. “So, seriously, how are things fairing on the Hermione front?”
“It’s going well, we’re getting back to where we used to be and that’s really the most important thing for us now. We spent a lot of time apart, and I don’t know—I’m kind of enjoying reacquainting myself with her. She’s always been fun to be with.”
Neville nodded quietly in understanding. They sat in silence, each drinking their whiskeys as they watched the Hogwarts students pass through the establishment, breaking out into whispers whenever they noticed their professor’s company.
“Okay, so what is it that you’re dying to say?” Harry finally blurted out, effectively interrupting the silence. “There’s something that’s bothering you, so out with it mate.”
“Well—okay, when I say this you have to promise not to be offended… it was just something that I was thinking about a few nights back,” Neville rambled nervously.
“What is it, Nev?”
“Have you ever wondered what would have happened had Ron not been getting married?” Neville quickly asked before taking a large sip of his drink, primarily to avoid looking at Harry.
“What do you mean?” Harry asked, utterly baffled by whatever he was insinuating.
Neville sighed, he had really hoped that he wouldn’t have to go into detail on that. “Okay… well what would have happened between you and Hermione had there not been a wedding? Where would she be right now?”
He knocked on the door to her hotel room only to be met with the sight of a Hermione dressed casually in a football jersey and shorts, tilting her head at him questioningly, silently asking him why the hell he was there.
“Can I ask you something?” he asked her as he nervously shifted his weight from one foot to the other.
“Sure, Harry,” she told him with a wide smile as she let him in—hoping that his nerves would calm after they spoke about whatever it was that was bothering him at the moment. “So what is it that you needed to talk about?” she asked him, taking a seat on the couch of the common room area as she watched him pace the room.
“You have to promise to be honest with me—regardless of whatever your answer may be… regardless of whether or not it’ll hurt my feelings.”
She nodded slowly, almost hesitantly, as she said “I’ve never lied to you before, don’t plan on starting now.”
He stopped for a moment, a small smile tugging on his lips as his expression considerably softened at hearing her reassuring words. He let out a deep breath as he walked over to her, kneeling in front of her so that he could look her straight in the eyes as he asked “had it not been for Ron’s wedding would you have come back?”
He noted how she stiffened slightly at the question, sucking in a deep breath of surprise at hearing his words. “I—I don’t know.”
His eyes darkened as he stiffly asked “you don’t know?”
She shook her head weakly as she gave her choked response. “I just don’t know…”
“So this, all of this—us, we’re not enough, are we?” he asked her coldly, revolted by the fact that seeing her flinch gave him some sort of a twisted sense of satisfaction because he was able to hurt her as she had him.
“No, Harry,” she exclaimed as she jumped out of her seat, running after him as he made his way towards the door. “Don’t walk away; just hear me out, will you? Please!”
He stiffly turned to her, jaw clenched as he held a death grip on the knob. “What is it that you need to say now?”
“It’s just—I’m a selfish bitch, Harry, one who’s only thought of herself for these past three years Harry. But I don’t—I don’t want to be that person anymore, I hate that girl.”
“Then don’t be her,” he muttered gruffly.
“And I won’t,” she let out a sigh as she nervously toyed with the hem of her shirt. “I put in for a transfer today—that’s why I couldn’t have lunch with you and Neville. A while back I started organizing this separate branch for healers without borders where we’d have the patients transported to institutions where healers could do pro bono work since they’re not affiliated with us, we were hoping it’s help us branch out and be able to help more people. I… today I decided to take the position heading it here, in England,” she rambled on nervously.
His face showed absolutely no reaction to her confession as he continued to tensely stare at her, but she noticed how his vice grip on the door knob loosened. Smiling at the small, but significant change she said “I left once, but I can’t do it again. You and Ron… and Luna, you’re all a part of me. I didn’t see it before, but life without you three, it’s just not worth all that much. I was a blind and selfish idiot before, it was one thing to leave, but going away for three years without coming back, it’s just wrong. Is there any way you’ll forgive me—really forgive me?”
He smiled slightly, despite himself, as he let go of the knob, shocking her by suddenly pulling her into a tight embrace, whispering into her hair “who can forgive you if those that love you most can’t, right?”
She beamed up at him as tears streamed down her face. “Thank you.”
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