A/N: Lyrics from "It's A Happening World" by Lesley Gore

So come along with me
You can be as young as you want to be
Oh yeah, throw convention away
And you’ll have a ball just being a part of today

Susan and I lay in the neighborhood muggle park, our bare toes playing freely in the long grass. This is the third weekend in a row that we’ve seen each other, and we have already fallen into the most beautiful rhythm together.

At first I thought it was as if no time had bad passed since we had parted ways at Hogwarts. But that is not it at all. So much time has passed, and in that time we have somehow grown into people who fit so seamlessly together. Whatever it is that we have now, it is totally new.

In the distance a blue jay chases a squirrel across the path. Susan throws her head back with uninhibited laughter, the sunlight dancing playfully against her wavering chestnut hair. I love that laugh. Like everything that she does, it is one hundred percent her, with no excuses, no apologies.

“Ernie thinks we’re just friends,” I confess all at once.

Susan considers for a serene moment. “Are we not?”

I avoid her eyes as I twiddle my fingers amid the grass. “Hannah,” she says sharply, drawing my face up to hers; those deep mahogany eyes pierce me with sharp discernment. “You haven’t done anything wrong.”

“I know, I know,” I flounder. “But this way I feel…”





“Beautiful.” She repeats the word slowly, her lips moving the same pattern as mine. “And that’s a bad thing?”

I give an exasperated sigh. Susan always tries to make things so simple in such a complicated way. “Well, yes.” I make an effort to put more certainty in my voice than I feel in my heart. “Because I’m with Ernie. I love Ernie.”

“And so what if you love me too?” Susan asks slowly. She leans towards me, stopping my breath short as I take in her face, her hair, her breasts.

“I can’t love you,” I whisper, my eyes wide.

She shakes her head sadly. “You feel what you feel. There’s no putting rules on that. How you act on those feelings is up to you.”

“But Ernie…” I repeat, almost at a whine.

“Is a grown man, capable of having adult conversations,” Susan snaps back. She hesitates, then continues in gentler tone. “Look. Hannah. How your relationship functions is entirely between the two of you. But we both know that you and I have a thing – ”

“A thing,” I repeat, the unspoken possibilities of the word delicious on my tongue.

“Exactly.” Susan smiles that bright, gorgeous smile that carries no doubts. “I live by the choice of freedom. You are living by the choice of exclusivity. But you have to remember that it’s a choice, one that you make for yourself. And you take into account all of the feelings you have in your heart and all of the – things – you have with others.”

“And then what?” I ask meekly, intimidated by the scope of possibilities in her world.

“Then you do as you choose.”

I smile at the beautiful simplicity of her words and the worlds of possibility that they hold. “Your way of living is kind of beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Living is kind of beautiful, period. People just complicate it by making up rules and pretending it’s not.”

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