FANTASY


He's sick of hearing her cry.

He knows that probably makes him a horrible person and an even worse friend, but he can't help it. She's been crying for weeks, and he's tired of it. It's even worse because she seems to think he can't hear her. She does it when he's on watch or when she thinks he's asleep.

He never sleeps.

When he sleeps, all he sees is death and pain and failure. It's never his death or pain, though, but it's always his failure. All the people who have died and all the ones who will still die… It's all because he failed. And will continue to fail.

He doesn't have a clue what he's doing.

He never thought this thing all the way through. It's a lot more difficult than he ever thought it would be, and he knows that's because he didn't plan it out correctly. There was never a plan beyond… find the Horcruxes and destroy them. He can't imagine why he ever thought that would work out so splendidly.

And he hates Ron more than ever for being right.

And he was right, of course. There is no plan, no schedule, no nothing. They're out there looking for anything that could be hidden anywhere. It even sounds idiotic when put like that. Harry should have known better. But he didn't. He was stupid enough to think he had a chance. And look where it's got him.

Freezing to death in a tent with a girl who won't stop crying.

Sometimes he's glad that Hermione is there. It means that someone, at least, hasn't given up totally on him. She's another live person, so he can have conversations with her when he wants to. Or when she wants to rather. He's given up trying to start the conversations because she only talks when she feels like it. She's smart, too, so it helps when he has a sudden idea to have someone intelligent to bounce it off of. Occasionally she gives her own ideas, but she's rather distracted most the time, so it's rare. She always helps him, too. So if he's hurt or in danger or about to be murdered by a snake, she's sort of handy to have around.

But sometimes he wishes she'd just gone ahead and left with Ron.

She'd be happier. If she was with Ron, she wouldn't be crying. They'd probably be having the time of their lives, laughing and joking and getting ready for Christmas. They certainly wouldn't be miserable or in tears. They both like each other more than they like him anyway.

He isn't sure exactly when that changed, but it's certainly the truth. He won't lie and say it doesn't piss him off a little bit. He used to be each of their best friend. But he isn't sure he is anymore. Well, obviously Ron hates him, so that's a given, and Hermione certainly doesn't ever duck her head and whisper with him- she's been doing that with Ron for a long time now. It angers him because he's the one who's had to put up with both of their bullshit forever. He's the one who's had to sit in the middle and try to make them stop hating each other over and over and over again. If he had a galleon for every awful thing they've said about each other over the years, he'd be the richest man in England. He's had to listen to all of it. He's the only reason they even agreed to be in the same room most of the time.

And now they both prefer each other over him.

Brilliant.

Of course, it's not like they just suddenly decided to be best friends. The sexual tension between them is too much for even Harry to handle, and he's thought on several different occasions the past few months that they'd all be much happier if those two would just get it over with already. If they were off alone together, Harry is sure they'd be halfway to married by now. So yeah, maybe she should just go after him.

At least it'd be a way to get her to stop not-so-secretly crying.

But she isn't going after him. She didn't leave with him, and she hasn't made any move to follow yet. She's apparently going to stick with Harry even if makes her miserable. He guesses he should appreciate the loyalty, but it's hard to appreciate something you're not sure you deserve. And he isn't sure. He's never done anything for Hermione that equals what she's doing for him.

Which makes the fact that he's so annoyed by her even that much worse.

She deserves to cry a little if she needs to. She's giving up everything in the world for him, so he should just shut up and deal with it when she starts getting a bit emotional. He can't help it, though. He can't help the fact that he kind of wants to grab her by the shoulders and shake her and tell her to shut the hell up.

She's making him feel worse because every time she cries, he has to relive all the reasons for her tears. He's got her out here in the middle of god knows where freezing and starving and dodging certain death every other day. He's the sole reason she had to wipe her parents' memories clean and ship them off halfway around the world. If it wasn't for him, no one would be interested in her or her parents. She'd be just another Muggleborn, which in itself would be awful right now, but no one would be trying to kill her or torture her parents for information. So all of that's his fault.

But he knows that's not the main reason for her tears.

Ron is the main reason for her tears, and that's his fault, too. He's not had too many fights with Ron over the years, but the few they've had have been fairly major. This one was the worst, though. He knows it's never going to be the same again. There's something between them that's broken now, and he knows that trying to repair it is going to be just as futile as trying to repair his broken wand. It can't be fixed. They both said too much, and they can't take it back.

He's sort of sorry, and he's sort of not.

The only good thing he can think of, though, is that now that Ron's gone, he can take care of Ginny. Wherever they are, he knows that Ron will look after her and make sure she's okay. So he can worry a little bit less. Still, though, he'd rather see her face to face and see with his own eyes that she's alright and safe.

He misses her more than he thought was possible. He's never missed anything the way he misses her. He's never worried about anything the way he worries about her. It's sort of crazy, isn't it, that he only got a few months with her but now can't focus on anything else. Still, it's those few short months that keep him going day to day. As badly as he misses her, those months with her are the only good memories he can even recall now.

He'd give anything to trade her for Hermione.

He knows he shouldn't let himself get caught up in fantasies because it's unproductive, but he can't help imagining how different things would be if she were his company instead. He can't help thinking about how wonderful it would be to be with her, alone with her, in that tent. He could tell her everything he never told her, and they could do all the things they never did.

And she wouldn't cry, either. Ginny's not a crier.

But it doesn't matter anyway, does it? She's not here. And if she was, Harry is sure he'd be a lost cause. He wouldn't be able to focus on anything else, and he'd be far too distracted. Plus, she'd be in more danger than he could handle. So maybe it's good that his fantasies are just that- fantasies. If they were real, he'd be far worse off than he is now.

So he just sits there and tries to forget all about them.

Hermione is in her bed crying quietly into her pillow, and he's sitting up to keep watch. He won't go comfort her because he's not the one she wants comfort from. And she's not the one he wants to comfort anyway. So they both just exist there. Her on her cot, and him on the floor. They're both people who aren't with the person they want to be with. So they're alike in that.

He leaves her to her own fantasies.


A/N: So that's the last one of that, I promise! I couldn't just leave Harry out, though. This one coincides with "Existing" and "Alone," by the way, so check them out if you haven't already. I'd love reviews!!!