Disclaimer: Harry would have either died or married Hermione if I had written that book.
Taking Off the Rose-Colored Glasses
Summary: "Every man is afraid of something. That's how you know he's in love with you; when he is afraid of losing you."
Chapter I: losing an illusion of happiness
"Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth."- Ludwig Borne
"Don't do this to me Harry… not now," she desperately whispered, feeling herself wavering at his words as she the tears slowly wreaked through her body.
"Hermione," he brought his hand to her arm, comfortingly rubbing it as he spoke, "I made a mistake and I'm sorry for that, but come on… it's us-"
She wrenched her arm from him, shaking her head forcefully. "And that's exactly the problem Harry, if you couldn't—damn it, Harry, you screwed up, that's it!" she cried desperately, hating herself more and more as each new tear streamed down her face—hating herself for being so weak, so petulant.
He flinched at her words, and she couldn't help but feel guilty for being so cruel and spiteful, he didn't deserve it, it wasn't his fault that he did that—he really didn't even realize it.
She let out a sigh, willing herself to calm down. "I love you Harry, and I'd do anything for you, but I can't always just come in second like this—I just can't. It's not even that I deserve better or anything, I just—I just need more."
"Come on Hermione, you've got to know that it's always you, you're never in second place with me, can't you see that?"
She smiled at him, wiping away at the tears that were making their way down her face, much to her chagrin. "I wish that was true, everything would be so much easier if it was, but , Harry, just be honest with yourself. I mean, whose side is it that you always choose?"
"Oi, that's not fair-"
"No, what's not fair is that it's never mine. It's always been Ron, and now—now Ginny. When are you finally going to trust me, choose me? I need you Harry," she told him weakly, wiping away all the stray tears that were flowing down her face.
"Hermione, I do-"
She shook her head, stopping him before he could even finish his thought. "Don't be a liar too, Harry. I can't go on like this; I can't always be in second place. I know it sounds pathetic and horribly unreasonable, but I can't help that, I can't change that. Every time that something tragic has happened in your life, every time that everyone else deserts you, I'm always by your side, always there to help you get by. I don't regret a day of it, Harry, I really don't, but I… I just can't help but wish that you'd do the same for me, and I hate that feeling."
"I—I-" he stumbled, desperately trying to find the words, but finding that none were coming to his aid. "I promise I'll change!"
She smiled sadly at him, bringing her hand to his cheek and caressing it in that soothing manner that she knew he loved. "Never, never do that Harry, never force yourself to change, I'd only hate you for it anyway. It's either there or it's not, and I've come to terms with that, I really have. I just need some space so I can finally be my own person."
He turned his head away from her hand with those last words, no longer able to look at her as she said good bye to him. "But what if I don't want you to leave?"
She sighed. "I'm afraid you don't have much of a choice in the matter anymore."
"But it's not fair," he whined, and she couldn't help but smile at how he sounded like petulant five year old.
"Either way one of us loses Harry, but this time—this time I just can't let it be me again. I've done what other people expected of me for so long now that I honestly can't even remember what it feels like to follow my own heart. I've done it long enough Harry, and while I wouldn't trade a day of it for the world, I just can't keep going on like this without totally losing myself to you. And, as my best mate, you shouldn't be able to let me do that either," she said, whispering the last part as she felt herself waver under his intense gaze.
He sighed, begrudgingly pulling her into his arms in a tight embrace, nonverbally letting her know that she had won.
"I love you too," she whispered.
"Just don't forget to write, all right?"
"Never," she promised.