Note: This story is in progress of being edited. It was written years ago, and as I read through it again, I myself am having difficulty due to its awfulness. To everyone who read it in its initial form, bravo for managing through it. For those who gave up on it, bravo for recognizing bad writing. I hope to fix the plot as well as the awkward dialogue and sentence structure, though it still may be undesirable. For that I apologize, and hope you don't consider this story a barometer of my recent work. I promise my writing is no longer so terrible.
I've got to do something about this, Hermione thought as she was doing her Charms essay.
She looked over at Harry who was sitting near the fireplace, just staring into the flames, firelight dancing in his apple-colored eyes. He'd looked so sad and angry and lonely these past few weeks, out of it for most of them. Both Hermione and Ron had noticed it, but decided it had been best to just leave him alone to figure out what was wrong. They thought they had an idea as to what it was all about, but were almost afraid to ask him. It had gone on too long, however, and patience had never exactly been Hermione's strong suit. She slowly set down her quill and walked over to Harry, who neglected to meet her eyes.
"Harry?" she asked tentatively. He slightly inclined his head toward her.
"Yeah?" he answered dully.
When she didn't say anything, he finally looked up, and was met with a look of concern. He sighed. He thought he knew what this was about. Though they could lie to professors and other students just fine, his two best friends never could lie to him. He'd noticed their discomfort around him the past while, but had simply pretended not to. Truth was, they was exactly right in her thinking. He was almost worried himself, but was too caught up with what was all going on in his mind. Staring into space like the empty air held solutions was what he resigned himself to; it was better than being self-destructive at any rate.
Hermione stared down at her hands. "Harry, I'm worried about you," she said finally.
Harry became transfixed with the table. "I know."
"You do?" she asked, admittedly surprised. She supposed she shouldn't have been, considering Harry hadn't seemed quite all there for some time, but then he always was one to keep people on their guard.
In spite of everything, Harry managed a small smile. "Yes. Honestly, I don't know why it's affecting me so much. It's been sixteen years; you' think I'd have gotten over it by now." His voice was harsh and unforgiving and self-deprecating, and Hermione looked at him sadly.
"I wish I knew what to say," Hermione replied. "I don't know what you're going through, but I can empathize. Don't shut yourself off, Harry. I—both Ron and I—are here for you."
Harry nodded sheepishly. "Thanks, Hermione. You're a really good friend, you know that?"
Hermione smiled warmly. At this point in their friendship, the thank-you was simply a formality; after all they'd been through, it seemed trite. "So, tell me: what's ailing you?" she asked. "I hate to presume."
"It's just this whole Recommendations Essay that McGonagall asked us to write," says Harry despondently. He runs his fingers over his quill absently, then scrunches up his face when he sees the ink had bled through the feathers and dyed his skin. He abandons his efforts and continued, "The one about our heritage and our families and everything. The one that's supposed to help us get jobs in the future and all that."
"I'm aware," laughs Hermione. Who had, predictably, finished it the evening it was assigned. "I didn't find much purpose in it, personally—honestly, what does it have to do with Transfiguration?—but McGonagall always has a reason for what she assigns."
Harry stared at her incredulously, unable to find words. Save for Trelawney, Hermione had never questioned a teacher's methods. Even Snape's she'd found ways to justify. (Mostly.)
"Yes!" she exclaimed. "Companies will look for talent, not in your family history, Harry. Trust me. Unless you want to apply for a job at the Malfoys' Manor, anyone would fall over themselves to hire you."
Harry smiled. "When I was writing it," he ponders aloud, smile dissolving into a troubled sort of grimace, "I realized that I had no idea about what has happened in my past and where my parents came from. The Order could probably tell me some things, but Sirius was…" Harry paused, his godfather's death still rending his heart. "It just wouldn't be the same," he furthered, past the sudden lump in his throat.
"It's all right, Harry," said Hermione supportively. "You'll find another angle."
"You're right," Harry sighed. "I just—I hate that all this has happened. I don't hate easily, Hermione, but I hatethis. I hate that I'm such a magnet for destruction and evil. Maybe I'm just cursed." With a coarse laugh, he says only half-jokingly, "Maybe I've tempted fate too many times…"
Hermione stared at Harry like he really had gone off the deep end. "Harry," she says, clasping his shoulder with an impressive amount of strength.
"What?" he asked, confused.
"You can't be mad at yourself for this!" Hermione intones, ignoring the sharp look she senses from Madam Pince at her volume. I am so surprised and proud of you that you haven't let anything bother you about it! Do you realize how strong you are? Wizards thrice your age wouldn't be able to deal with half the things you do. You're the most resilient person I know. You've done nothing wrong. I don't know why bad things keep happening to you, but they're not your fault."
Harry smiled at her gratefully. Despite her words, he still felt he had to have done something to anger some higher power, but he appreciated her sentiments just the same. "I just wish that I could have my parents here. Like yours and Ron's. I didn't even know them, not really, but I miss them. I wish I could've…" He didn't finish his sentence, but Hermione could fill in the rest.
The firelight flickered on Harry's eyes more brightly than usual, emphasizing Harry's despondent expression. "Harry, it's not your fault," she said again It's Voldemort's. Don't ever go blaming yourself for that. Don't you dare."
Harry looked taken aback at her pervasiveness. "I know," he said. And he did, he knew it was Voldemort's doing, all of it, but his heart remained heavy.
Hermione didn't look satisfied, but could see quite plainly she could say nothing further that would make a difference. Reluctantly, she says, "All right. Well, just—" She pauses for a moment, unsure of how to continue. "Just hang in there. I'm here if you need me, know that."
She gave him swift kiss on the cheek before making her way out of the library to her dorms. She still hadn't finished her Charms essay, and she knew better than anyone apart from Ron that at times like these, it was best to just leave Harry be. Of course, she never has been one to completely stay out of things, especially when it concerns dear friends of hers. The ideas swirling in her head honestly frighten her a bit, but she swore long ago she would do anything for Harry, and for Ron; the fact that she knew full well they'd do the same for her only bolsters her resolve. She knew there was no way Harry would approve of this, that he would tell her it was too dangerous, but she didn't have a choice. It was Harry. She had to.