The A, B, C, and H's of Love

Chapter Six: Friends

Hermione's seventh year was going better than she could ever have imagined. Her grades were still the highest in the school, she had gotten accepted into the Auror training program, and her friends were better than ever.

Of course, her new boyfriend was the greatest of all. He made her life completely perfect and she knew he loved her for who she was. She never wanted him to leave her.

It was around one in the morning by the time they got back to the Gryffindor common room. Mitch had gotten a little tipsy during the course of their evening so it had taken a little longer than usual for them to get back. He gave her a little kiss, smacked her butt, and headed to his own common room.

Hermione squealed in delight. She'd never give this heaven up. As she looked around the silent common room with a smile on her face, she realized everything was perfect…until her eyes rested on Harry.

Her best friend had been considerably different since she and Mitch had started dating. He never spoke when he was around, and when he spoke to Hermione, it was never in the same way it used to be. Hermione approached the fireplace and sat on the couch next to Harry's chair, determined to fix whatever was going on with him.

"Hi Harry." He looked at her, and gave her a small smile and a little wave. She rested against the back of the couch. "Oh, I had such a wonderful time tonight Harry. Our date was absolutely perfect in every way. I'm so lucky Harry, I really am…" Hermione stopped abruptly as Harry cut her off.

"Hermione we have got to talk. This will probably be your least favorite conversation you ever have with me, so I need to know if you're ready."

Hermione was taken completely off-guard. She had no idea what Harry had to talk about, but she knew she was ready to talk about anything if it fixed their problem. "I'm ready to talk about whatever you've got to talk about whenever."

Harry sighed and looked deep into her eyes. "Hermione, you're my best friend and I love you more than anyone. You know that, so I'm going to ask that you keep that in mind throughout all of this."

Harry ran his hand through his messy hair but refused to break eye contact. "It's about Mitch-your boyfriend. Basically I've got to be blunt…and ask what the hell are you doing?"

Hermione sat straight up, her back nowhere near the back of the couch, completely shocked by Harry's words. Harry continued without even giving her a chance to speak. "What in the hell has gotten into you Hermione? He gets drunk all the time and you're ok with that? He keeps pressuring you to have sex and you're still with him? It's disgusting Hermione."

"Harry! What are you talking about, he never gets drunk-"

"I smelled the alcohol on him from across the room the second you guys walked in. Everyone in this school knows how often and how much he drinks, stop denying it."

Hermione scoffed. "So he drinks. So he's gotten drunk a few times. I don't do it-"

"But you're representing and supporting it by being his girlfriend. I don't understand how you can stand by that when you always told Ron and I how completely repulsive it is. I know you can't control him, but it seems like you can't control yourself either."

Hermione could not believe this conversation was happening. "Harry, stop it. You're talking about somebody I love more that-"

Harry cut her off again. "Please tell me Hermione-what do you see in him exactly? How can Hermione Granger be so captivated by someone that immature, that disrespectful, that perverted, that juvenile…how?"

Hermione opened her mouth, but Harry cut her off before she could even start. "It's like you don't see! It's like you're actually trying not to see any of this…just because he gives you butterflies in your stomach."

Hermione scoffed. "You wanted me to date him!"

Harry nodded. "Yes I did. I wanted you to date him again after he broke up with you the first time. Even after he broke up with you again, I still wanted you to date him again…because you obviously don't understand yet who isn't good enough for you and who is. But the situation is different; sex and drinking are in the picture now. And you still haven't used your brain. What are you waiting for? Him to force you to have sex? Him to get you drunk? Does the bastard have to get you pregnant for you to understand?"

Hermione's eyes were filled with tears. "Stop it."

Harry shook his head and ran a hand through his hair. "No, I'm not enjoying this at all Hermione. I was hoping you'd stop all this before I had to get involved, but you didn't. You're everything to me."

Hermione scoffed. "Then why are you trying to take my everything from me?"

"Because he's not your everything. He's not everything just because he pursued you. He chased you and I know how exciting that is. But he's not good enough."

Hermione bit her lip. "He loves me."

"No he doesn't. He likes getting girl's attention. Why do you think he hugs other girls right in front of you? Why do you think he's only dated you for less than two weeks so far?"

Hermione took a deep breath and fought back tears. "Ok so yeah, we've had problems. I love him, whether you believe that or not."

"And I don't. Tell me Hermione, what do you see in him? How is the amazing Hermione Granger blinded by such a piece of trash? I know you love the butterflies, that feeling and excitement he gives you. But what else does he give you? He's either too drunk or too busy pressuring you to have sex to the boyfriend you deserve to have."

Hermione had to fight even harder to stop the tears. "Why are you doing this to me? You've never done this with anyone else I've dated."

"Yes because you used you brain with everyone else. You were that brilliant girl we all know you are. You were never so irresponsible with yourself when you were dating anyone else."

"That's because I didn't love any of them."

Harry sighed and ran his hair through his hair again, shaking his head. "And you don't love Mitch either. Why can't you see that? You've been my best friend since we were eleven, I know you. My best friend Hermione would never let herself fall in love with someone who wasn't everything she deserved."

"Stop it Harry."

"Why do you love him? You never answered me, and I want to know. Other that the butterflies, why do you love him? And don't say you can't describe it, because in order for me to know that what I'm saying isn't true, I need to know what is true. I need to know that you know what is true."

Hermione shook her head. She didn't deserve this.

"Hermione please tell me. Why do you love Mitch?"

Hermione opened her mouth, furious, ready to tell him exactly why she loved Mitch, every little reason why she was in love with him, but it finally hit her. She had absolutely no idea why she loved Mitch.

He never made her laugh, he wasn't nice to any of her friends, he never complimented her unless is was about her body, he made fun of her when she studied in order to get good grades, he would pick a fight with her for no reason, he never did anything to make her feel loved. He never did anything to make her feel like she deserved to feel.

And somehow, even before she did, Harry knew that. Somehow he knew. He knew it all.

Unable to look Harry in the eye, she shook her head, stood up and headed upstairs.

Hermione didn't even reach the third step before she felt Harry grab her arm. She shook her head, still unable to look him in the eye. "Let me go Harry."

"I can't."

"Harry let me go right now." She still refused to look him in the eye. "Mitch and I—we—I'm not leaving him for you. I'm not losing him just because you want me to. I'm not bending my life completely around for you. Why can't you see that?"

She felt his grip loosen on her arm and for some reason, it sent a sting of pain to her heart. "I—I just never thought you'd be so willing to leave me for him. And it scares me."

Hermione felt more pain go to her heart but disregarded it as the stress she had endured that night. "You're not the only person I can love. I'm not leaving you for Mitch, but I'm not leaving him for you. There's no reason to be scared."

"Yes there is. For me, there is. You may not see it, but you are leaving me, every second of every day. Our relationship is disappearing and I'm so scared to lose it. I need you…but the more you're with Mitch and the longer you can't see…I'm losing you, I…"

His voice had slowly been becoming more and more of a whisper until Hermione realized he had stopped talking. When she decided to speak, she realized her voice was just as quiet as his. "What are you talking about?"

"I-…" Hermione heard his voice break. "I'm losing respect for you Hermione."

Hermione nearly fell over; her knees caved in, her palms were sweaty, she had chills, she was shaking…her heart was completely breaking. She spun around, her hand over her mouth, tears falling from her eyes, finally looking at Harry.

She gasped and cried harder. Harry's eyes caused her heart more pain than she ever thought she'd have to endure. His eyes were glazed over with tears, one single tear streaking down his left cheek…but what killed her the most was the dullness his eyes held. Their lively and bright shine they always had, the single little spark that made his eyes glow and stand out the most, was gone. It looked as though he had just lost everything in the world.

Hermione lost herself. She started sobbing and flung herself in Harry's arms, crying on his chest, listening to him cry with her. He buried his face in her shoulder, holding her tighter than he ever had before, muttering her name every so often, omitting more tears from both of them.

"Hermione please don't leave me, please I can't-"

Hermione shook her head and pulled away, cupping his face and looking deep into his eyes. "Harry, I'm so sorry. I would never leave you for anyone, no matter what. I couldn't live without you in my life, I need you too. I'm sorry, I've been so blinded by nothing, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."

Harry shook his head, pulling her into a huge hug again. "I'm sorry I hurt you Hermione, I just couldn't let you do this anymore. I was so scared you'd be forced into something; I didn't want you to regret anything. Everyone was worried about you, everyone was talking about doing something, but no one stood up. I just couldn't let you get hurt."

Hermione actually chuckled. "Always helping others, even when no one else will." Harry chuckled softly, refusing to release her from his arms. "I love you Harry. You will always be one of the most important people to me." Hermione had never been held so tight in her life, but she loved it more than any other hug she'd ever been given.

"God I was so scared I'd never be able to do this again. I'd never really realized how important the little things like a hug are."

Hermione laughed and pulled away, smiling even larger when she saw Harry's amazing glow back in his eyes. "Thank-you Harry."

Harry smiled and kissed her forehead. "I love you hun."

Hermione hugged him again, knowing that she had one person who truly did love her…and he was currently in her arms.

Author's Note: Lovely people, I would have updated much sooner, but…I don't know if you remember, but the Martians came, and they like tried to take over the world, and I had to fight them off before anyone died and we all became slaves, but everyone's memory was wiped because it was so horrible, and that left me no time to write!

Ok so maybe that didn't happen…I'm so sorry I haven't written. I have absolutely no excuse at all, and I just hope that you guys have stuck with me through all my slowness. I'm working to teach myself to actually get around to doing stuff, so start expecting updates more.

And just so you guys know…this may not seem like a huge, romantic, fluffy chapter, but if you go through something like this, it really is. I had this happen exactly like this, a friend told me they were losing respect for me and it nearly killed me. It hurts so badly. And I just wanted to show my interpretation of exactly how close Harry and Hermione's friendship is.

Thanks so much, hope you liked it.