A/N: Hello everyone. This is just a oneshot covering something in DH that I thought just needed to be written. It takes place while Ron is gone. Just a little heart-to-heart between Harry and Hermione. Hard times, after all. This is a friendship story, just in case anyone thought otherwise. Anyway, I was really inspired by the vague descriptions like "she cried for weeks while you were gone," etc. and felt the need to tell what was really going on. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: If only, if only. What would I be doing now if I owned Harry Potter? Talking late hours into the night with Emma, Rupert, and Dan, actually. No, I don't own Harry Potter, though I'm sure that's exactly what you were all thinking. D
When It's Not All Right
Rain pounded mercilessly along the roof of the oversized tent. Harry stared down into the mug of tea he'd been slowly drinking. He hoped to Merlin there were at least some calories in it. They were starving out here. Not as badly, he knew, now that Ron was gone, not that it was really helping the situation as a whole, but still, they were definitely going hungry.
The whole tent seemed darker than usual. It was late in the evening, he knew, but even by noon on the sunniest of days he couldn't help but feel a certain darker, heavier feeling around everything.
"Harry," a weak voice came drifting to him from behind him. He turned his head slowly to find a shrunken-looking Hermione standing hunched with a blanket over her shoulders, hiding in what would be a doorway to the bedroom had they not been staying in a tent. Instead, she'd pulled away a heavy curtain that hung before the opening.
Harry opened and closed his mouth several times, hoping he'd have a miraculous inspiration as to what to say to her, but truthfully, in the weeks since Ron had left, it had been unusually silent. Harry could easily count the number of words he'd said to her.
"Harry," she said again, moving closer. He grew stiff and turned back to the table before him. He had no problem admitting he was quite frightened of his emotional friend, and his sadness could hardly help the matter. Nonetheless, he reached to pour her a mug of tea, which he set on the table before the chair next to his own.
"I think," she began, her voice shaking. It was clear to see she'd been crying. It seemed a lot of that had been going on recently. "I think I'd like to talk a bit," she whispered shyly, pulling out the chair with her mug and sliding into it slowly, letting the blanket drop from her shoulders.
Harry observed his friend. She was getting thin, he knew, but he couldn't prevent it. Her eyes were hollow and dark, like she hadn't slept in days. Her hair fell limply around her face, and all-in-all, she looked quite grey; not necessarily dirty, just neglected. He reckoned he looked about the same. Lifting his head to meet hers, he nodded, not wanting to ruin her moment with any prat-worthy phrases that could easily slip between his lips.
She sniffled a bit, but ignored it, opening her mouth to speak, only for it to be stifled by her hiccuping. When she tried a second time, her voice caught unattractively in her throat. "Ughh!" she moaned, frustrated, "I can't even talk!"
Surprised by her sudden emotional outburst, Harry saw her sadness and moved his chair closer to hers, offering to her a napkin that was sitting on the table. She gently wiped the tears from her face, drying up a bit. She looked entirely defeated.
She lifted her head finally, looking surprisingly calm, "Where do you suppose we should apparate tomorrow? To hide, I mean. Of course." Harry blinked a few times, trying to understand what it was she was saying to him. Was that really what she had intended to talk about? "We've stayed practically everywhere I can think of at the moment. It's been weeks, after all," Harry found a certain superior air returning to her voice.
"I," he began, still confused, "I wouldn't know where to, where to look," he considered the question that was not at all what he had thought he might be answering when she'd appeared in the doorway. "Perhaps if we-"
"And what would we eat?" Hermione interrupted him shamelessly, her voice becoming stronger. "We should most certainly stay somewhere where we will be able to find food. I haven't eaten in days, it feels," she starred down into her mug, twirling a finger absent-mindedly through the steamy liquid. She raised her head as if she'd finished what she felt like saying.
"Well, Hermione," Harry tried again, unsuccessfully.
"I do hope it will warm up a bit. Couldn't we find somewhere a bit warmer?" She pushed her mug of tea out in front of her, seeming to become quite angry at it. Angry at Harry, perhaps? He dismissed the idea. "And what about the next horcrux, Harry? What do you suggest?"
Harry tried to work his way into the conversation again, "Hermione," he pleaded.
"It seems its been ages since we thought about Voldemort. We really should try to-"
"Hermione!" he shouted at her.
"-get back to thinking about that," she continued to ramble, "That way we can finish as quickly as possible. It would be lovely to return home, after all. See our families, our friends, to see-" her voice slowed significantly and she no longer seemed to be paying any attention to the young man now sitting across from her. Her thought stopped completely, leaving her starring off into the distance, as if searching for something beyond the clothed sides of their shelter. Harry suddenly felt a push of pressure as her eyes glistened over and something wet seemed to well up just above her lower eyelid.
"Hermione," he breathed soothing, reaching a hand out to her, which she simply refused, turning away from Harry and dropping her head. She pulled her blanket up around her again. "This isn't what you wanted to talk about, you know it. You don't have to hide your feelings. This is hurting me as much as it's hurting you, Hermione. Talk to me, please," his words scared him deeply. He had no idea what kind of response they could extract from her.
"It is not!" she shouted, whipping her head around so quickly Harry wondered how it hadn't snapped off. He was horrified to find her face streaked with tears once more, and angry look in the eyes that were now staring intently into his. "You don't know! You don't know how much it hurts, Harry! He may have left us, but you know damn well he was really leaving me! He doesn't want to be here, Harry! He could care less if we find all the horcruxes. Why don't you understand?" she shouted, frantic, tossing her arms in every direction, grasping at the air as if she were trying to pull down relief.
"Hermione," he began, not entirely sure of how he would answer her, "I do understand, and he most certainly did not leave to get away from you. You have to know how much he cared for you. Hermione, I'm not sure he could help it entirely. It was a stupid move, and I'm sure he realizes that now, but he's almost eighteen, and he's a man. He can hardly help his emotions."
During his speech, Hermione had sunken four or five inches lower into her chair, avoiding at all costs having to deal with the real situation. Harry felt an uneasiness when she didn't answer him. What had he done to her? It wasn't as if the mortar holding together her stone walls wasn't crumbling already.
"What if he's dead?" a slow, trembling voice came from under the blanket in which she'd buried herself. Her eyes came up from above the wool and stared wide at him.
"Don't say that," Harry began, "He's most certainly not," he paused, gulping lightly at the phrase he foresaw himself saying, "dead."
Hermione was silent. Her whole body shook beneath the folds of cloth. Harry let his eyes meet hers, concerned. "You really do love him, don't you?"
It stung him to say it, but he soon found himself watching a bushy-haired head nod slowly before him, fresh tears pouring like acid down her face. "I can't help it. I just want him to come back."
Harry pulled his chair as close to hers as physics would allow, throwing his arms around her and embracing her shivering body. "I do too, but he hasn't yet. How can he?"
Conversation halted, and the pair sat in silence, listening to the harsh pounding of the rain above them. Harry pulled Hermione closer, just wishing he could take some of her pain. Her he was, wrapped together with his best friend of seven years, crying in his arms, and what could he do to help her? He hated that he always had to be the hero, but he didn't know anything else. And he thought it better to do what he could now. The pressure moved in on him, and all he wanted was to make this moment not so hard.
"Hermione," he whispered after a few more moments had passed. She moved in his arms, indicating that she was listening, "He's going to come back. Dumbledore let me tell you two all of this for a reason. Those gifts; they were for a reason. There's no way we're finishing this whole mess unless Ron is here with us. We're going to work it out."
Hermione, who seemed to be composing herself a bit more now, nodded and separated herself from him slightly. "Do you think he misses us?" she asked warmly. He knew thinking about what Ron was doing was making her feel a bit better.
"I know he misses us," he released her gently, returning back to his mug of tea.
The air seemed to turn a bit chillier, forcing Hermione to wrap herself back up again. She grasped her mug and stood tentatively from her seat. "Harry," she spoke softly after she'd gotten a few feet from the table.
He raised his head, studying her curiously. He was glad they'd spoken. The mood seemed a bit lighter, perhaps, he thought.
She moved as if to speak to him, but her face dropped again, setting her mouth slightly in a frown, "Don't tell him what I've told you tonight," she began, "when he comes back, that is. I don't want him thinking of me as some love-sick puppy."
"You don't want me to tell him that you love him, you mean?" Harry asked, honestly.
"Yes, that, I suppose. Really though. I'd rather he not have to worry about it," she spoke quietly before turning back in the direction of her bedroom.
"Hermione," Harry breathed back to her, "I think he already knows."
He watched as she blushed furiously, trying to hide in behind the blankets that encased her frail body. He turned back to his mug of tea, listening to her sock feet slip satisfied back to her bed.
Swirling the cold remains sitting below him, he felt a tear drip down his cheek hesitantly. He was completely in the dark as to whether or not anything he'd just told Hermione was even remotely true, but he hoped. He shivered, listening to the harsh sound of rain pounding on their tent in the night.
A/N: How was it? This is my first oneshot. I hope you enjoyed it. Please review!