Disclaimer: I don't own HP or any of these characters. That belongs to JKR, Scholastic Books, Warner Brothers, etc.

So this is how it goes. Once upon a time, you fall in love. You fall in love with a boy whom you feel like you've always known. You don't hit it off right away – you're still reeling from the shock at how familiar he seems but bit later he becomes your best friend. And it's almost perfect for awhile – he's the type of boy parents would love to see you bring home, and he's kind – you think that's more important than being charming – and most importantly, you like him. Yeah, that's right – you like him. You're not quite willing to commit to more just yet. The word 'love' is still a scary, scary to contemplate. Your head tells you that can't be it, but it's having trouble getting your heart to listen.

So you two sort of grow up together and as you get older, you get closer still. He understands you better than anyone else. That isn't to say that he understands you completely. Your relationship wouldn't be much fun if there wasn't any mystery. And one day, you think something like that and it just hits you – somewhere along the way you've begun to term your . . . connection . . . as a relationship and you think it's kind of silly to think that way when he doesn't even know how you feel. Or rather – you've no concrete evidence that he knows that you feel the way you do, but you've reasoned out that he must have some suspicion. And that logic of yours that has always been your favorite tool tells you that he must feel the same way, or else he wouldn't spend so much time with you – and he definitely wouldn't be as comfortable or as open.

So you resolve to tell him, to get the matter out into the air, to face it and make it real. But before you can utter those magic words, he kisses you.

And it's perfect.

And he knows it too.

And you're not happy, not happy at all. That word's too pale to describe this emotion. You think to yourself that you're joyful – that this intense, heart-trembling feeling that's rising up from the depths of your soul can only be joy. It fills your eyes with tears and you know it always will whenever you recall it. This moment is perfect and you hope it'll never end.

And it lasts, longer than your logic would have led you to believe. You both are soon the talk of the school, with some sighing at your romance, while others gagged, while still others fumed with jealousy. You don't really take notice of the reactions, however. You're too busy taking everything in. You're too busy enjoying the moment, reveling in it and in him, to pay heed to what anyone else thinks. You've never been so carefree in your life, but you're not worried at all about what may come.

But then, one day, he leaves.

You don't have the words to even begin to describe how that feels. Your sensible side tells you that he has his reasons – that he doesn't want to see you get hurt in what he thinks is his fight. And you know that's true but it makes you kind of angry. Doesn't he trust you enough to take care of yourself? Haven't you proven your capabilities before? But this anger is sort of a cover for the worry that you feel – and not a good one at that. You don't sleep at night, you just toss and turn, thinking up horrible ends and praying that they will not come. You become a complete wreck and sometimes you hate yourself for not being stronger. If you were stronger, you'd go after him – damning what anyone else said – but you're not and you should and you break out into tears all over again.

Fortunately, for your sanity, he does come back and you're so relieved that you'd start crying again if you hadn't already dried up your well of tears. You hug and kiss, and knowing it's over, that he doesn't have that hanging over his shoulder anymore, makes it almost perfect for awhile.

But it's not.

Because you know what perfect is and this isn't it.

Because, he's not the same person who left. It's like the boy you loved died along the way, and a different man came back in his place.

And this is the craziest thing, the stupidest thing, the part that's so idiotic that you can't believe it, the part that's so ridiculous that it shouldn't be true—

You love him still.

You love him, this man you don't know, this man who is just a shell of the boy you once knew. You love him, though he's completely different and he keeps pulling away from you. You love him, though his mind is always shuttered and he doesn't want to share anything with you.

You love him.

You love him, though you think he doesn't love you.

And that thought hurts you so deep that it almost destroys you. You don't know what to do. You know you're seventeen and the whole world is open to you – and it's really pathetic that you're at a lost at what to do. You sort of hope that things will get better but despair more and more as they don't each day. You're confused and you don't like feeling that way. You know you need to break out of this downward spiral but you don't know how and so in the end, you do the only thing you can do.

You leave.

And life is good.

Life is good. Not great and definitely nowhere near approaching perfect, but it is good. You like your new life and your new friends. You like your job and all the things that you do. You like your new flat and your new flower garden too.

You especially like how your heart doesn't break each morning when you wake.

Yet something is missing – you know what it is. You tell yourself you don't miss it – you know what comes with it. If your heart would only listen to your head, this life would never have to end.

But it doesn't and one day – too, too soon – you find yourself retracing your steps back to him. You're afraid of what you might find, of what words might be exchanged, but fate, it seems, leads you inexorably back to him. You see him first. No surprise there as his hair is sticking up as always, giving his location away to anyone who isn't blind. His eyes are closed; that small smile is on his face. You gather your resolve and muster your courage to speak, when suddenly –

His eyes open.

He catches sight of you.

Your eyes meet.

And it's perfect.

And he knows it too.

But this time – you believe.

Author's note: I'd really appreciate it if you could let me know what you think of this by leaving a review. As for updates on my other fics -- it probably won't happen until my new keyboard comes in. Sorry about that.