Hermione had never been one for too much physical contact.

There had been girls at school who had insisted on hugging their friends if they met in corridors on the way to classes. In Hermione's opinion, this was entirely pointless; they had seen each other at breakfast and would see each other again at lunch! Why on earth bother, especially if you're going to clog up the corridors?

This wasn't to say that she was opposed to shows of affection. At home she thought nothing of hugging her parents; being an only child, she never really had anyone else to whom she could bestow such embraces. She would even hug her friends, or take their hands, though generally that was in a highly-charged situation, whether that be with emotion or adrenaline.

Here, it was definitely the former.

There was no adrenaline on this endless trudge from forest to hillside to hidden cove, Apparating each morning to another desolate place which drained her heart just a little more. It was truly winter now, and even if they hadn't been through enough to keep them firmly in the grasp of misery, the cold was beginning to bite through the tent's thin canvas walls.

If only Ron was here, thought Hermione, but then she stopped. If Ron was there, what? They would be moving no faster, their supplies of food would deplete more quickly, and goodness knew his Warming charms were less than effective.

The little niggling in her head and her heart gave her the answer: if Ron was here, then at least I would have someone to hold me.

In the frozen hours of night, Hermione often found herself glancing towards the bunk where she knew Harry was shivering. Would it be such a crime to go over, tell him to make some space and sleep pressed next to him? It made logical sense: body heat was more effective than any of her charms.

Yet somehow she could never quite bring herself to do it. In Ron's absence, physical contact between her and Harry became rarer. She felt as though she would be betraying Ron, making Ron's worst dreams come true, if she took those few steps closer to the only other human being in miles. And Harry seemed to feel the same.

With shivering bodies and trembling souls, they stuck to their own bunks, and Hermione wrapped her arms around herself, trying to believe that there was someone there to hold her.