"I can't stand it any more!" Ginny's voice was a tight snap of frustration as she lashed the stick against the tree, shattering it and missing the tops of the newly-blooming Delphiniums so closely that Neville winced. "You-Know-Who's been dead for a month, and all he does is sit around and brood and angst, and he still expects me to be all over him like he's the returning hero!"
He reached out, putting a hand on her shoulder with a sympathetic smile. "He is a hero, Ginny, maybe you should give him a little more time, it wasn't easy for him to --"
"Bollocks!" Her brown eyes were blazing as she whirled to face him. "You don't think I've talked to my own brother? He whinged and moaned and half the wizarding world died waiting for him to get his bloody act together!" She hesitated suddenly, and her eyes dropped, a high flush appearing across her cheeks, her voice little more than a whisper now. "Sometimes, I don't even know if I love him any more."
"You loved him when you didn't even know if he was alive," Neville pointed out gently, "and you weren't there. I don't think you can just take Ron's word for everything. I'm not saying he lied, but you can't get inside someone's heart, even your best mate's."
"I wasn't there," Ginny admitted. There was a long pause, and then to Neville's shock, she stepped forward, wrapping her arms around his waist and laying her head against his chest. It was hot in July, even in the middle of Yorkshire, and his thin t-shirt and her own light sundress were like nothing at all between them. He sucked in a quick breath, closing his eyes, trying to think of Harry, think of Hannah, think of anything other than what she felt like. It was wrong. She was upset.
He could feel her lips move as she spoke. "I was at Hogwarts with you, Neville. That was being a hero. That's what I thought Harry was doing. That's what hurts so much ... knowing I made the wrong choice."
His heart seemed to stop. "You ..."
"I was a stupid little girl with a crush who couldn't see beyond the scar on his head." Her hands slid under his shirt now, tracing the lines on his back, making him shiver. "I didn't realize that it's scars you choose that make a hero. I fell in love with you about halfway through first term, I think, only I just started projecting everything I knew you were onto everything I hoped Harry would be. But war brings out the truth in people, you know?"
Now her hands were out from under his shirt, thank Merlin, but it was no better, because they had run up his chest, across his shoulders, and they were cupping his face, bringing him down for a kiss that he should have stopped. But he didn't. He didn't know why, he knew he would regret it, but he kissed her back, deep and hard, and he was shaking, and this was wrong and right and going to be so, so much trouble for so, so many reasons.
When the kiss finally broke, there were tears in her eyes. "I'm not taking you from Hannah, Neville. I know you love her. And I don't think I could handle everyone in the wizarding world hating me now that Harry's told half the papers he got through the year loving me. I'm just not going to lie to a man I actually respect."