Alone at Christmas

December 24th

Harry appeared with a crack in front of Hermione's door. He rang her doorbell, and looked out the hall window. The snow was falling so hard, he wondered how he would have ever gotten here if he couldn't apparate. Visibility was horrible for flying, and the snow was far too deep to walk.

"Welcome, Harry," said Hermione with a wide grin as she opened the door. She gave him a big hug and brought him in. Ron was sitting on the sofa already, and he stood up as Harry entered. He gave Harry a big hug, and asked how he was doing.

"I've been better," said Harry. "But I'm feeling better than I have been."

He sat down with Ron on the sofa, and looked around Hermione's sitting room. On her mantle were three pictures. One was a Muggle photograph of her and her parents, which made Harry smile. They were terrific people. Harry had met them several times after Hogwarts, and was very impressed by them. The second picture was a wizard photograph of Hermione and her fiancée, Devin. He had his arms around her and was kissing the top of her head as she laughed, presumably at something the photographer had said. Looking at that picture, Harry felt a sharp pang of sorrow in his gut. The third picture, however, was one of Harry's favorites. It was a wizard photograph taken by Colin Creevey of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Harry and Ron both had their arms around Hermione's shoulders, and they were horsing around. Harry missed those days. They weren't simple times, far from it, but they had time for just horsing around every now and then. Admittedly, it was a dangerous time, but they still managed to have some fun. He looked at Ron and Hermione and smiled.

"That's what I like to see, Harry," said Hermione cheerfully. "A smile on your face." She plopped down next to him on the sofa and put her arm on his shoulder. "Happy Christmas, Harry."

"Happy Christmas, Hermione," he said, and his face felt like it was in a completely new shape, it had been that long since he had really smiled. "And to you too, Ron," he added for good measure.

"Let me get everybody something to drink," said Ron, standing up.

"Oh, no you don't, Ron," said Hermione, quickly standing up and pushing him back towards the sofa, a smile spread across her entire face. "Last time you tried to do something in my kitchen, you broke three glasses and bent a spoon. I'll get it."

Ron shrugged as Hermione walked into the kitchen. A minute later, she emerged with three glasses of eggnog. Handing one each to Harry and Ron, she raised her glass in a toast.

"To friendship," she said softly.

"To friendship," echoed Harry and Ron.

Harry felt a warmth permeate his body as he drank his eggnog, but he knew it wasn't his drink. It was his friends. Maybe he really wasn't so alone after all.

Author's Note: Okay, I just want to say that I appreciate all of the reviews I did get for this story, and I would like to explicitly thank BeaumontRulz for being my best reader, and indeed my greatest fan. I owe you a lot, Alex. You have reviewed every single one of my stories, and given me loads of encouragement. I appreciate everything you've done for me. This is the last story I'm planning on posting on this website. I have moved to and if any of you care, my username is haljordan. Thanks to all of you who review, and also to all of you who read this, even if you didn't review. I appreciate that you took time out of your day to let me have some kind of influence on you. So long, and thanks for all the Fish.