"So, you and Cho. Again."
"Yeah. Me and Cho." He takes a swig of butterbeer, which doesn't have enough alcohol to account for that silly grin on his face.
You want to tell him, aren't there more important things, there's school and Voldemort and by some miraculous happening you're in Snape's N.E.W.T. level Potions class, it's Auror training for you now and Merlin forbid, Voldemort-- but you've learned. Fifth year has made you wise. Tread lightly around Harry, and keep him happy, because his happiness is fleeting. Because he's had enough pain. Because the tiniest thing can set him off. Because the tiniest thing can get him back on track-- and this is no tiny thing, him and Cho.
Tread lightly around Harry, because seeing him unhappy is the one thing you can't bear.
So you ask the important question, then. "Are you happy?"
"Well." The smile disappears, and is replaced with a thoughtful look. "Yeah. It's a lot of work, though. I mean, you know, I don't understand girls in general very well." A lopsided grin. "Cho most of all. But-- she's like me. All this pain and stuff, weighing her down, I know what it's like. It's tough. But whatever it is, I'll give it a go."
"She's worth it."
"Oh yeah, she's worth it. I didn't think so before, but-- well. Michael didn't understand her. Cedric understood her some, but," he falters a bit, and his next words are awkward and just this much above a whisper. "I'm here now. I understand her. We undertand each other." A thoughtful pause; he's back to the same strident tone. "It just took a little time. A bit of growing-up."
How grown-up can you be at sixteen, you want to say, but you bite your tongue. Instead, you ask, "Everything about last year sorted out, then?"
"No, but you know..." he trails off. "You can't sort that out completely. But things are okay, because--" he flounders for words. So, like always, you supply them.
"Because you keep in mind the happy times. Because you remind yourself why you want her so much in the first place."
"Yeah! That's it!" he exclaims. "Wow, thanks, Hermione. I think I'll tell her that. She likes that sort of thing, you know, talking about feelings and stuff."
So do you.
"I mean, that sort of attitude," he says, face brightening, "it's what always smooths things over when stuff's rocky."
"Are they rocky a lot?"
"Look at her. Look at me." He laughts. "But it's all right. Because of what you said." He looks at you keenly. "How is it that you always know what's going on, and I don't? Even when it's about me?"
Because when it's about you, it's about me too, you think. But you stay silent, because now, like always, you are concentrating on the sound of your heart breaking, and keeping his from doing the same.