All characters belong to JKR
Moments in Time
Part I: Harry and Hermione
Gentle sobs drifted through the air. The sound coming freely through the canvas walls of the tent. Her pain was clear. It hung in the air like a thick layer of smoke and he felt it would surely choke him.
'Please, stop crying.' That was his single thought. He needed her to stop crying so he would stop feeling her pain. He was tired of always feeling everyone's pain.
He sighed. He should go comfort her. Goodness knows that she had comforted him many times. He just didn't know what to say. "I'm sorry" just didn't seem like it was enough, and yet, it was more than he could bear to say right now.
Therefore, he stayed rooted to the same spot and listened to her cry.
Hours passed. Her cries went from heartfelt wails that resembled mourning to the intermittent hiccups and occasional cries that she now emitted. She would have to stop sometime, wouldn't she? She couldn't cry forever. She either had to go to sleep or dehydrate, one or the other.
He finally dared to move inside the tent. He walked up to her room and pulled back the piece of canvas covering the door. "Hermione?" he asked. The only answer was the occasional intake of breath, and the stifling of more tears.
He walked closer.
"Hermione?" he asked again.
"He's gone," she said.
"Yes, yes he is," he answered back. He crept closer and finally dared to sit on the end of her cot.
"How could he leave me?" she asked.
"He left us," he clarified.
"It feels like he left me," she justified.
He took a deep breath. He placed his hand on her leg, over the blanket.
"I'm sorry," was all he could say.
"It's not your fault," she said. Not his fault. He knew that was what she would say. Yet, he felt it was his fault. All of this was his fault.
"Hermione, I want you to leave, too. I want you to go home," he said.
Suddenly, there were more tears. "I don't even have a home to go to, Harry." He was quiet for a long time, and so was she. She finally said, "I miss my parents."
"I miss a comfortable bed,"
"I miss indoor plumbing," she said with a bit of a laugh.
At least it wasn't a cry. He smiled and said, "What I wouldn't give for a hot shower."
"And something good to eat," she added.
"I've never looked more fondly on my aunt's table scraps than I do today," he said with a smile.
"What else do you miss?" she asked. She turned over from her back to her side, so she could face him. He kept his hand on her leg.
"Jam," he said.
They both laughed.
"I miss music," she said.
"Quidditch," he said.
"Figures," she answered. "I miss Ron." She was suddenly quiet again. He could only hope that she wouldn't start crying once more.
"He's not been gone that long. I don't miss him yet," he answered honestly. "Maybe he will come back." He knew that he wouldn't, but he wanted to say that statement anyway. He also knew she was too smart to believe him.
"He won't be back," she said.
"Do you love him?" he asked. "Not just as a friend, but, you know, are you in love?"
"I thought so," she said. "I'm not sure now. He must not love me, or he wouldn't have left me. I hurt him, Harry. He thinks I chose you over him. Maybe I did. Maybe I don't love him as much as I thought."
"I think you do," he said.
"Do you love Ginny?" she asked.
"Yes, very much," he said.
"Tell me five reasons why you love her," she said.
He chuckled. 'Hermione and her lists,' was all he could think. He said, "Is this a quiz, Professor Hermione. State five reasons you love someone, and the chemical properties of that love."
She laughed and hit his arm. "Just answer the question," she said.
"She makes me happy, she feels like home, she loves me, she makes me feel safe in an unsafe world."
"That's only four," Hermione said.
"Well, that's enough," Harry said. "Give me five reasons why you love Ron."
"He makes me so angry sometimes, that I want to jinx him. He vexes me to no end. He's annoying and bothersome, and he used to make me feel protected." She started to cry again.
Harry put his hand on her arm and rubbed it up and down. "Have you kissed before?" he asked.
"Of course," she said. "Have you kissed before?"
"No, I've never kissed Ron," Harry laughed.
"I mean Ginny!" she said, smiling again.
He knew that. He smiled and said, "Yes, we've kissed."
"A lot?" she asked.
"Have you done more than kiss?" she asked.
"No," Harry said sadly. Perhaps they never would.
"I've kissed Ron seven times," she said.
He rolled his eyes and said, "Only you would remember how many times you've kissed. You probably have them all categorized and filed away in that massive brain of yours. They probably all have titles, like 'The First Time' or 'The Kiss on the Stairs', right?"
She smiled, leaned up on her elbow, and said, "But of course."
"Tell me about number four," Harry said, and then laughed.
"That was in the Burrow's kitchen. His mum had us washing dishes, and we were all alone, and he was washing, I was drying, and his arms were elbow deep in sudsy water. He splashed me with the bubbles, I hit him with the towel, and then he grabbed my face with his wet hands and kissed me. It was a hard kiss, but exciting."
Harry thought that seemed like a nice moment.
"What was number six?" Harry asked.
"That was right before we left. He took me aside and told me he would keep me safe and that no matter what he wouldn't leave me," she said somberly.
Harry expected a new batch of tears. When none came, he asked, "Number seven?"
"Two days ago. He was on watch and you were asleep. We had argued, about the lack of food, the lack of progress, and his general frustration. I went outside to apologize to him. I knew part of his problem was the damn necklace. However, I knew that you had it on, so I had hoped he would be in a better mood."
Hermione suddenly turned away from Harry, her face toward the tent wall. "I walked outside," she continued, "And knelt beside him. I leaned over and kissed his cheek. I didn't say a word to him. I just kissed him. I started to stand up, to come back in the tent, when he grabbed my arm. He pulled me down into his lap and we snogged for a good ten minutes."
Harry went to lie down on the cot beside her. He placed his arm around her.
"You don't deserve this," he said suddenly. His breath felt warm on her neck. He felt her body stiffen. "Fine, I was born into this, I can accept that, and the whole prophecy thing. I can accept that! You, you don't deserve this. Your only mistake was coming into our train car that first day and speaking to Ron and me."
She turned around. She placed her hand on his cheek. "You were a little boy, Harry, and in some ways, you still are. Too much was put on your shoulders, and all because of a happenstance of your birth. You didn't deserve this, either. You still don't. I love you. I'm your friend. If I can help you, and my world, then I am going to do it." Hermione leaned over and kissed his forehead. "I love you so much. You are all I have now. Don't caste me out, please." She couldn't help it, new tears came and so she began to cry again.
He placed his arms around her. "I don't want you to leave," he admitted. "I would be scared and alone if you left, but then, isn't that selfish of me?"
"There's not a selfish bone in your body, Harry," she answered.
They were quiet for a long time. Her head rested on his chest. He was beginning to think she was asleep when she said, "Sometimes I get so afraid, Harry. I am afraid that we won't find the Horcruxes, and that we won't defeat him."
"We won't, Hermione. I will. And I'm afraid, too," he said. He kissed the top of her head.
"What will we do, now, Harry?" she asked.
"Carry on and muddle through, I suppose," he said. Seriously, why did she expect him to know what they would do? He was sort of counting on her to tell him. He picked up a strand of her long, brown, wavy hair and twirled it around his finger.
"I'm sorry, Hermione," he finally said. He leaned over and kissed her cheek.
She placed her hand on his cheek and said, "I'm sorry, too."
-The End of Part I -
(Next Part: Hermione and Ron)