"It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us." Norman Maclean
Even when it hurts, he smiles.
Scratch that; especially when it hurts, he smiles.
He does it for her. So she won't see the pain.
She never did look further than the surface.
No one does. That almost makes it harder.
But she noticed.
He knows she did. She always was too perceptive.
That hurts. That she would notice while the one who claims to love him doesn't.
But that's not right.
Ginny does love him. Or, at the very least, she loves the idea of him.
And he loves her. Enough to let her think he loves her like she does him.
Is that cruel?
He is what she always wanted. He has given her her heart's desire.
But not completely. Even if that's what she thinks.
Ginny sees what he shows her. Luna can see through him like he's transparent.
It's disconcerting, that someone who knows him so little knows him so well.
But maybe it's because she knows him so little that she sees so much.
He knows so well how to pretend to be himself.
They see him being himself and don't look further.
But she doesn't know who he is.
So when she looks, she sees the mask.
The fake smile that he can't keep off his face.
Even if he tried, he doesn't think he could take it off.
Perhaps there was some truth to the saying 'Your face will get stuck like that.'
Because he doesn't doubt he's stuck.
She saw that too, he thinks.
Far too perceptive.
She noticed everything.
He wouldn't be surprised if she noticed that he didn't love her like that.
He hoped she wouldn't tell.
That would only hurt her worse than rejection from the beginning.
He was waiting.
Waiting for her to find the next big thing.
Something would come along.
Something bigger and better.
He knew she would find it. That was who she was.
She didn't know it though.
And when she found it, he would let her go.
He hoped it would make her happy.
He hoped she wouldn't be sad when he didn't fight for her.
He thought she would be, a little.
Not too much.
She was drifting away, even now.
She had always expected him to stay big, to be an Auror or even Minister.
He never wanted that.
He wanted peace.
He wanted solitude.
He didn't ask to be famous.
She basked in it.
He hid from it.
The tiny shop in the back alley near the Leaky Cauldron was enough for him.
Not for her.
He was still big, of course.
The "Slayer of Voldemort" would never be old news.
But she could see that he wouldn't always be the biggest.
She had always had an eye for those things.
And right now, that eye was on Neville.
No longer the clumsy, awkward boy she had gone with to the Yule Ball.
Now he was an Auror, rising quickly through the ranks.
He had learned a lot his seventh year.
Harry saw her eyes there a little too frequently, and he was glad.
Soon, he wouldn't have to pretend for her anymore.
Just everyone else.
Pretend that he was an unwounded soldier.
Pretend that killing Voldemort had been okay with him.
Pretend that he didn't feel guilty for all the graves this war had filled.
Pretend that he wasn't hurt by the Dursleys.
Pretend that he felt like he belonged.
Pretend that he didn't still feel worthless sometimes.
Pretend that he wasn't still plagued by nightmares.
Dang. He should be an actor.
But then he'd have nowhere to hide.
That was the nice thing about being the Wizarding World's savior.
The muggles didn't know him. They didn't care.
He got to be a nobody.
That was a wonderful feeling.
She probably saw that too, he supposed.
AN: I planned for this to be longer, but I've found that I've said all I need to say.
I found the quote at the top after writing this and was astonished at how well it fit.