Harry scavenged through the piles of things in the room of requirement. He was looking for something to give Hermione for Christmas, and he figured that the Room had a multitude of things that she would love.
"Ouch!" He cried as a Cornish Pixie sank its teeth into his hand when he reached into a corner he shouldn't have. The little pixie giggled, scampering away.
"Bloody Lockhart" Harry cursed. He jammed his stinging hand into his pocket and continued on through the piles. There were stacks of old chairs, cabinets of broomsticks, potions bottles, old trophies, even a mummified arm that looked like it belonged to the same troll who's leg ended up at Grimmauld Place.
"If I were Hermione, what would I want?" Harry asked himself. The answer was obvious... A book. He proceeded over to a large stack.
"Mystical revolutions in the divine ways? No. Ten thousand edible grasses? No... How to charm cattle? Definitely not. Hula dances with Hungarian Hags? Who the bloody hell wrote this? Oh. Lockhart, should have known..."
Harry sorted through the books until sweat began building on his brow. There was nothing that screamed Hermione to him... though he did find a book that shrieked its passages in rather badly accented italian opera, and a romance novel that crooned ballads when stroked the right way.
Harry moved away from the stack towards a bookshelf that had thick dusty volumes on it, jut the sort of thing that Hermione enjoyed as light reading.
He picked up one, dusting the cover carefully.
"How to reverse? Reverse what... A car?" `Harry flipped to the first page. It was completely blank. He kept turning pages, looking for any hint of ink, but there was none. The book was completely empty.
"Strange..." Harry said, putting the book back.
"Harry, mate, you in here?" Ron's voice came from the direction of the door. Harry jumped.
"Yeah, i'm over here" He replied, continuing to scan the shelves. He heard Ron curse and the distinctive giggle of a Cornish Pixie before his best friend stumbled around the pile of books.
"Bloody Pixies, you would think they'd have died out by now" Ron growled. Harry smiled in amusement.
"What you doing?" Ron asked, wiping his hand on his shirt.
"Looking for a present for Hermione..." Harry replied. "Haven't found anything yet"
Ron stooped to pick up a book from the stack.
"Hula dances with Hungarian Hags? Who the bloody hell wrote- Oh, that makes sense" Ron tossed the book away with a snort of disgust. Harry chuckled.
"So, mate... Have you seen Hermione recently?" Ron asked after a moment of flipping through 'Broomsticks and bunions'
"Not recently, no" Harry replied.
"D'You suppose she's mad at us?"
"Why do you think that?" Harry asked in reply, putting another reject back.
"Well, seems like she's been avoiding us. I went to the library to ask her if she could help me with some spelling, and she practically threw the muggle dictionary at my face before storming out in a huff"
"You're right, that sound like nothing Hermione would do to you on a regular basis" Harry said sarcastically.
"Good point" Ron replied.
"When's the next Hogsmeade weekend?" Harry asked, frowning as he reached the end of the shelf.
"This coming, I reckon" Ron replied, taking a seat in a nearby armchair. "Why?"
"I can't find anything here, figured we'd get her something at Tomes" Harry said. Ron nodded in agreement before leaping up with a yell. A slightly squashed Cornish Pixie teetered off the armchair cushion.
"C'mon Ron, let's at least go find Hermione and ask what she'd like" Harry said, trying not to laugh as the Pixie collapsed in a heap. Ron nodded in agreement, still glaring at the pixie and rubbing his backside.
The two boys found Hermione in the Common Room, poring over some homework.
"Hey" They said in unison, sitting down across from her. Hermione frowned, keeping her eyes on her work.
"Hermione?" Harry asked tentatively, shooting Ron a look. Hermione slammed her hands into the table, gathered her homework, and disappeared up the girl's dormitory steps.
"Blimey, Ron... You weren't kidding" Harry said. Ron's only reply was his eyebrows disappearing into his hairline.
The next day in Divination, Harry and Ron scooted over to Parvati and Lavender's table to look at tea leaves together.
"Hello Harry" They said in unison.
"Can you tell me what's going on with Hermione?" Harry asked. Parvati and Lavender looked at each other and then to Harry and Ron.
"We'll tell you, but we won't tell him" Parvati said to Harry while giving Ron an ugly look. Ron rolled his eyes and scooted his chair over to join Seamus and Dean.
"Well, I heard it from Alicia and Katie that Hermione's cat's gone" Parvati said in hushed tones. Harry raised an eyebrow.
"Apparently, her and Ron got into an argument about the Cat chewing up something or another, and Ron threatened to kill it!" Lavender said dramatically. Harry's other eyebrow went up.
The group fell silent as Professor Trelawney swept past, muttering to herself.
"You must be crazy if you think Ron would actually harm Crookshanks. He hates the cat, but he's been threatening to kill it since she got the bloody thing..." Harry whispered back. Parvati glared at Ron over Harry's shoulder. Ron waved.
"Thanks" Harry said to the girls, rolling his eyes as he scooted over to where Ron was waiting.
"So she thinks I did it?" Ron practically yelled in the hallway.
"Shut up" Harry said, looking around. They began to walk back to Gryffindor Tower.
"I didn't kill her bloody cat... You know i've been threatening to do it for years and never followed through" Ron growled.
"I know that, but that doesn't mean Hermione does..." Harry sighed.
The Common Room was deserted except for Hermione sitting at her usual spot, back turned to the portrait hole. Harry and Ron strode over to where she was sitting.
"I didn't hurt your cat" Ron said bluntly. Hermione looked up in shock. "He probably had an affair with Mrs. Norris and got lost afterwards" Ron continued, failing to make a good joke. Harry looked between the two, resisting the urge to facepalm.
"Ronald Weasley." Hermione started. Not a good sign. Ron gulped and took a step backwards. Hermione tried to keep up her anger, but instead collapsed back into her chair, crying softly.
Ron awkwardly put a hand on her shoulder, and Harry circled the table to rub her other shoulder.
"I-I'm just so worried about h-him..." Hermione sobbed. "H-He's never dis-disappeared before"
"Shhh, Hermione it's all right. We'll go looking for him after Dinner" Ron said in a surprisingly tender tone.
"Okay" Hermione replied, wiping her nose. Harry and Ron hugged her tightly.