"Hermione, what are you doing?"
She paused, mid-quill-stroke and wondered if he was ready for her answer, and then gave a mental shrug when she realised that she wasn't really ready for it either, but that didn't mean she wouldn't benefit from the results when it was done. Hermione carefully put her quill down and angled her head towards Harry without lifting her eyes from her work.
"I'm making a list of everyone I've ever known," she replied quietly while continuing to look down at her parchment. "In Hogwarts, the Order, my family, people I knew before Hogwarts—I... I need to see their names and see what happened to them. Its... it's the only way I can think of to try to make sense... no, not make sense, because it's all so senseless... but to try to wrap my head around everything that's happened. And well, I know that more of us survived than didn't, but... I need to see it. Do... do you understand?"
Harry had frozen when he realised what she was talking about and followed her eyes down to the parchment. Near the top, just above "Reg and Mary Cattermole", he saw "Lavender Brown: At St. Mungos, condition unknown, best case like Bill". He couldn't imagine how hard that must have been for her to write, especially with the girls' history the way it was. He was brought out of that train of thought by Hermione's question.
"Yeah. It's... it's a good idea."
Harry stood there quietly for a moment while Hermione continued to face the parchment, her mind obviously miles away.
"Erm.. will you let me see it when you're done?"
With eyes staring but not seeing, she silently nodded. And nodded. She was still nodding when she asked in the same hushed voice she'd been using for days,
"Is there anyone you want me to add to the list?"
Harry paused, taken aback by the question, especially as their lives had been so intertwined for so many years and he was even more reclusive than she was. There was a hesitancy though, at the back of his mind, pushing its way to the front through all of the stuff he wasn't- thinking- about. The thing was- in spite of everything- nine months of hell wasn't quite enough to unravel all of his former ties, no matter how thin or strained or totally "not what they should have been" those ties were.
Hermione looked up at him for the first time and saw that Harry seemed subdued tonight (which was normal)... and maybe a little embarrassed (which wasn't).
"Er... the Dursleys." Uncomfortable to the extreme, Harry gave up saying any more as a bad job and just dropped it with a self-conscious shrug.
Hermione nodded—she understood. If there had remained any doubt amongst the growing collection of shared looks and sentence-finishing, the months without Ron had definitively proven that she and Harry didn't need many words to communicate.
He pointed to Lavender's name, drawing her gaze back down.
"No matter what, you saved her."
Hermione's eyes quickly glazed with tears. "I know," she whispered. Then with a shake of her head, she forcefully wiped her eyes and got back to work.
Looking down at her bent and bushy head, Harry gave her shoulder a supportive squeeze before continuing on his way. There was so much to be done- an endless, exhausting...
AN: The Doomsday Book is the oldest public record in England, compiled in 1086. It's a survey of all of the major landholders at the time, together with an accounting of what taxes they pay. Today, researchers and amateur geneologists use it in the same way that they use census records, making the Doomsday Book essentially the earliest UK census available.
This one-shot is a snippet from the novel-length chaptered fic I've been working on for the past year or two. It's an unfolding of events beginning immediately after the Trio exit the Headmaster's Office at the end of DH, and will be EWE.
I've named this scene after the Doomsday Book, because I think there's a ritual to record-keeping, a rhythm that develops in the entering of data and analysis of results which would appeal to Hermione. Engaging in rituals is one of the major ways that people deal with grief, and I can see Hermione making her own record to not only process the events she's been embroiled in, and not only to try to assert control over a situation where she has none, but also to fall into and be comforted by the familiar ritual of list-making. And I think Harry—also rather introverted in how he processes information—would understand that, and possibly even envy it a little.