Author's Notes: This is a companion piece to 'Need' by the beautiful, fantasmical, amazing-ul, Opalish. So go read said one-shot, to get the full effect. Teri also beta'd this.
Because she's amazing. And my pet Zombie Pig has a crush on her. Have you gotten those carcasses he sent yet, Teri?
Kris! WHERE ARE YOU?
He doesn't need her.
He can smile just fine without her, and if sometimes it's physically painful to hoist the corners of his lips and mostly the best he can do is twitchthem a little bit and grimace, if sometimes he smiles but only because he knows it's not fair for him to cry…well, it's a traumatic experience,visiting the village where his parents were murdered.
He doesn't regret leaving her behind. Her vibrant red hair was too bright for her pale face, and he didn't love running his fingers through its fiery strands. He doesn't miss her smile and her laugh and the way she bit the corner of her lip when shewas deep in thought, because these were things he never noticed anyway.
The path laid at his feetis just as darkas it was when he was with her and the fear in his stomach just as strong. Winning a Quidditch match against Ron doesn't remind him of her lips on his, ortheir attempts to walk around the lakewithout pausing every few steps to press their mouths together. She's just another girl, and life goes on just fine without her.
(His brief visit to the Burrow wasn't unbearable, and if his heart ached and his hands shook every time she was within a mile of him it wasn't because he still loved her, still missed her, still longed for her little 5'4" frame wrapped in his long arms.)
He doesn't need her to feel like he'smore than just the Boy-Who-Lived. He knows Ron loves him and Hermione loves him and that's enough. And even if she hates him forever, he's okay with that because she's safe and that's all that matters, right? She's fine on her own and he's fine on his own andhis heart beats just fine without her.
He watches her – not because of he misses her or wants to actually interact with her. He's just looking out for her, like any concerned friend would. She's moving on brilliantly – all smiles, and she's corresponding with Dean again. (Hecertainly didn't dream of Thomas coming to an untimely end at the end of Death Eaters when he received this information from Ron. His chest didn't explode and he didn't spend an hour in the bathroom, feeling nauseous.)
He doesn't need her.
And sometimes, he can almost convince himself that this is the truth.