Disclaimer:

Disclaimer: story disclaimed.

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Princesses

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summary: prequel to the kismet series; can be read alone: I can honestly say that I had never planned on it or even ever allowed myself to hope for it. Instead, it—we just happened, and, I guess, that's really what made it all so magical in the end, the fact that I was totally unprepared for it. It was all a complete surprise. It was serendipity.

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As a child I never put much stake into that idea of "true love"—at least the version of it that I was presented during my formative years. What I became witness to was primarily this mirage that seems all too prevalent in the Disney fairytales that I learned about in films.

It all just seemed too fake, too perfect, too… well, honestly, I don't know… there was just always this ever illusive factor that repelled me so. Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, they could all go to hell, as far as I was concerned.

In all honesty it was all far too folly for any intellectual, such as myself, to accept—and, Merlin, I really was a right cocky little know-it-all as a child. But, still, in my opinion they committed far worse crime, they were the silly bints that were capable of falling in love after about two minutes… pathetic.

And, naturally, my mum laughed at me when I told her that, at the mere age of seven too—well that minus the expletives.

Still, though, I've always been loyal, and that loyalty extended unto my philosophy as I steadfastly held onto that opinion for the following nine years of my life.

And it's with that knowledge one can imagine how much killed me when I saw that one principle—one that had managed to stay with me despite everything that had happened, despite the huge cultural shock that I had had upon learning of my "other" talents—was permanently dismantled right before me. It wasn't that I wanted him or anything, no, instead it was the principle of the matter, the fact that they ruined it for me—they killed my conviction and faith in the nonexistence of the cliché true love.

I mean, it lived up to that cliché in every sense of the word. She was poor. He was rich. She was a nobody. He was famous, more important than any prince in our world, really. She was beautiful. He was just downright sexy. She loved quidditch. He loved quidditch. She had loved him since she was eleven; she even worshipped the ground he walked on. And then, to top it all off, she was his best mate's little sister.

Where could it go wrong, right? How could they be any more compatible? And, Merlin, I resented them for being everything that the modern day Disney romance should be because it managed to annul those rules that I had to avidly abided by and believed to be true.

It broke all the laws of logic that I had built up in my head and I abhorred it for that, even railed against it with a passion of thousand fiery, burning suns.

Oddly enough, however, it killed me to see them end as well. The thing is, as much as I despised it I also grew to accept it and add that to my list of principles, that maybe anything is possible—after all, I may be obstinate, but I am a self-proclaimed intellectual, one who learns from history and example, and their romance was no exception to that.

They had finally given me this belief in that true love—turned me over to the dark side, the clichés—and then they just ended it?! It was bloody aggravating is what it was, and then, to make matters worse, I had to deal with his moping over the fact that they had broken up. I was assigned the job of being his shoulder to cry on as he realized that as much as he liked her she was just a tad bit too one-dimensional for him to ever be in a real relationship with her—at least, it was so when combined with the burden of what he was going through.

But, regardless of personal dilemmas, there was still a war going on and we surely felt the brunt of it. And throughout the rest of that "debacle" we spent so much time together, so much time working towards this one goal—always together, always relying on one another.

I… I was never wholly sure of our friendship before those months; I had always felt that he and Ron took me for granted at times, but that epoch, so filled with destruction, also gave birth to something priceless, it helped our bond escalate to an entirely new plane. He and Ron… they never left me once during that period—always by my side, always looking out for me as I did for them. We reached this entirely unprecedented caliber of friendship; in fact, the reality is that that war was the best thing that ever happened to us, in terms of our relationship.

Ironic, no?

Then… then the most horrible thing ever happened, I realized that I was in love with my best mate… the other one. I don't know how, when, or… well what really bothered me was that I had no idea how so everything else I was considering at the time, in regards to that crisis, sort of just paled in comparison. I was left so befuddled by how much more discombobulated my life had become with that one epiphany that I was only able to rationalize one thing properly: end it with Ron so as to at least save him for my surely imminent destruction.

Luckily, Ron was a surprisingly understanding bloke who took what we had for what it was, an amazing romp in the sack that was a great transitory phase to prepare us for other relationships, like a necessary step in life—yeah, shocked me too when I heard that one for him of all people. The logic, however, was infallible; he did give me something vital in life: recklessness and messiness to my perfectly organized life. Merlin knows I needed some of that.

And so, I embarked on a new journey, a new chestnut so to speak, the girl that's in love with the hero. And, because that just isn't enough, there was also the truism of the best friend who's in love with the bloke who's absolutely blind… to everything.

I was a walking, talking cliché.

In fact, I began to think that that I'd always be part of the Tinkerbelle's of the world—thrown into this terrible fate of being in love with an amazing bloke who doesn't even really realize that she exists, at least not in that facet. It all seemed rather fitting to me, really; especially given that throughout my life I always seemed to take the harder road, so why not take the impossible one in love as well, right?

So, ultimately, I did what I do best, I compartmentalized; I ignored everything that I was feeling and focused fully on my work—what better therapy than that?

After the war I guess we were all left a bit at a loss as to what to do. Everyone around us just seemed so sure as to what they were going to do, where they were going to go. Ron, Harry, and myself, however, had been in the midst of that battle for so long, only ever allowing ourselves to think a day ahead at most for fear of not living that possibly final day to the fullest to avoid regretting something if we did die, that we didn't have plans. We hadn't allowed ourselves to amuse ourselves with such pointless silliness; in fact, I don't think any of us even expected to make it.

But we did.

Harry, he took it the hardest, though, blaming himself for all the deaths like the prat that he is. Really, the arse always was far too whiney for his own good, and he more than lived up to that precedent upon the end of the war.

He was so lost at that point, battling between this growing self-pity over the fact that these people had died to protect him so he could reach that ultimate goal. He even almost hexed Trelawney once for ever having made the prophecy, for making those people blindly follow him as they did. I spent months with Harry, desperately trying to get him to realize that he was ruining the honorability in those people's deaths by taking their sacrifice for granted as he was.

He was just so lost, even Ginny couldn't bring him out of what he was going through. I could tell that she had expected them to get back together at that point, for him to finally feel safe to be with her, but Harry had an even greater battle raging inside of him at that point: the idea of a future, one filled with guilt.

It took me months of a carefully executed and timed mixture of coddling and banshee like yelling at him—for being so self-absorbed and sniveling as he was—to bring him out of it, help him find his way again. Even Ron, who was busy with helping his family recover from the loss of a family member, helped when he could.

In the end we were successful and, naturally, without my goal of saving Harry's sanity to distract me I was once again reminded of the fact that I was in love with a bloke who would probably never see me. No, he had Ginny, the girl wonder to match the boy wonder. Who can argue with such a fairy tale-esque romance anyway?

Not the homely bookworm, that much I knew…

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"If I say something will you promise not to laugh at me or mock me—despite the fact that I may deserve it?" he timidly asked me as the two of us sat on my chesterfield, watching "The Illusionist" while gorging in copious amounts of take-out. It was a weekly ritual that we had acquired upon realizing that we didn't have as much time together as we once did in school and really could use the weekly dates set aside to be together.

"Sure," I muttered distractedly, drinking in the image of Edward Norton looking so sexy while performing his 'illusions'.

"I want that."

I turned to him, my eyebrows furrowed as I sent him a quizzical look. "Pardon?"

"That," he said, pointing to the screen as Edward Norton told Paul Giamatti that he risked being jailed by bringing Jessica Biel back just because he wanted to be with her. "I want that—that infallible love that makes even the greatest hurdles seem… I don't know… insignificant."

I snorted. "I never knew you were such a girl," I quipped.

"Funny," he chuckled lightly, blushing as he nudged me slightly.

"Don't worry, Harry, if you want it, you'll find it."

He sighed, nodding slowly. "And what if I have?"

I tired to ignore the sharp pang in my heart as I turned my sights back to the TV. "Then you're a pretty lucky bloke."

"Hmm…"

"The reflective stance doesn't suit you well, Harry, just tell me whatever it is you want to, but are apparently afraid to… never knew I was quite so intimidating, actually," I said, rather crisply too—I always did hate it when people ran in circles about whatever it was that was bothering them. Just be upfront, be honest, be brutal, if necessary—that's what I always say, how can you not revere that sort of honesty, right?

"I think I'm in love with you," he blurted out in typical Harry fashion, blundered by his nervousness and awkward as can be… and I just couldn't help but swoon at the sight of it all.

I turned to him with a small smile as I shyly bit my lip. "Really?"

His smile immediately widened as he understood the connotation in my stance and that one, tiny, word. "How about I show you how much, love?"

I nodded slowly. "Think I'd like that… a lot."

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I can honestly say, if it wasn't obvious enough already, that I had never planned on it or even ever allowed myself to hope for it. Instead, it—we just happened, and, I guess, that's really what made it all so magical in the end, the fact that I was totally unprepared for it. It was all a complete surprise.

It was serendipity.

And, in so many facets, it was all down hill from there, we… somehow we just worked. I don't know how or why, but it did. I'd smack him when he got cocky, was lazy, or was an inconsiderate arse. And he… he'd mock me, relentlessly so, when I got lost in my books or was uptight. It all just fit for us; we kept each other in line.

I brought some structure into his life and he brought some much needed "pizzazz" to mine. I helped him learn how to consider things first and not always focus on him emotions and momentary pleasures—consider the long-term—and he taught me how to let things other than logic rule my life every once in a while.

I—I don't know why he chose me, and I doubt I will ever truly understand why. I know I'm his equal in so many spectrums, in many I even surpass him, but I had never thought that "true love" would be in our cards. I had honestly believed that my infatuation with him was just another necessary step in life, a turn that the fates throw at you to help you grow as a person. I had never even considered that it might be something more.

In my mind I thought that it would always be him and Ginny, it's what everyone else expected and I slowly grew into believing in that predestined mold that they had been put into. I mean, she is just so pretty, so full of life and vivacious, how could anyone not want her?

Harry, however, seemed determined to break out of that cast. I think he was done with having people choose his destiny for him, and I was the one that he wanted to break it with for whatever reasons he did.

My situation, my struggle, in terms of our relationship was very different from his though. I had once allowed myself to be second string in Harry's life when we were in our formative years at Hogwarts, always playing the second choice to Ron despite the fact that, in my very humble opinion, I was the superior and the more loyal mate. After the war and experiencing a friendship of total equals I wasn't going to let myself go back to being any less than the first choice, and I told Harry that soon thereafter he admitted to his feelings for me.

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I pulled away from the kiss, pushing him back as my senses came over me, finally managing to trump my very… natural reaction to his kiss.

"What? What is it?" Harry asked me, worry crossing his eyes as he brought a tentative hand to my cheek, almost as if afraid that I might break. It was odd how, despite everything that he had seen me do throughout the years, he was still afraid that the slightest thing might make me topple over.

And, I guess, given my feelings for him that might be true in matters that concern him.

I couldn't even bring myself to look him in the eyes as I said what I did next. "I can't do this."

"Why not?"

"You know why, Harry, I deserve more than that."

He sighed, smiling slightly after that admission. "I—I have more respect for you than that, Hermione. I'll admit, at first I thought that my feelings for you were only because you had sat by me, constantly by my side, for so long that I had misconstrued the entire thing for something more so I didn't say anything, but, Hermione, this is real for me, I'm in love with you."

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He… he helped me feel as if I was worth something more than just the resident brain. He called me his sexy little bookworm of a minx and it made my toes curl when combined with that husky voice of his followed by an almost feral growl. He made me feel sexy and it was wonderful. He even took up reading for me… and I actually learned to fly for him… poorly, but we all have to have our weaknesses, and I'd much rather that be mine. He fulfilled me in a way I had never expected, we teased one another, actually had intellectually stimulating conversations, and challenged one another.

I was no princess, nor had I ever wanted to be constricted to such a title, but for once I didn't feel like a Tinkerbelle either, and I adored that feeling.

Fin.

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author's note: I realize that I changed history a bit by having neither Harry and Ron never leave her during the war, but I never read the seventh book anyway so I'll let myself think that that's the way that it really happened, lol.

Anyway, not quite sure about this piece, but I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless, and if not pelase give advice on how to amend it—I'd be more than glad to go back to revise it!