A/N: Hi. Welcome to my new story: A Darkened World. The basic idea of this is that Hermione goes with Ron when he abandon's Harry in Deathly Hallows. They, along with others are driven out of Britain by Voldemort's forces. Years later, their daughter Rose discovers just what has become of Harry.

Please note that this story will contain more than a few aspects that are either inspired by or parodies of scenes from The Lord of the Rings. But then let's face it; Harry Potter is very similar to The Lord of the Rings anyway (The One Ring/Horcruxes, Wormtongue/Wormtail, Proudfoot the Auror and Proudfoot the Hobbit family, Neville Longbottom and Longbottom leaf… I could go on, but not for one minute shall I compare Dumbledore with Gandalf coz Gandalf wins hands down!)


A Darkened World

Chapter 1: The Exodus of Ron and Hermione

The night was a dark one. Dense black clouds blocked out the light of the moon and stars, and across most of Britain rain was hammering down hard. It was the kind of thing that soaked every animal to the bone in seconds. It was the kind of rain that could turn a road into a virtual river within half an hour. And the wind was the kind of wind that could hurl tiles off of a roof. It was the kind of wind that could make even the strongest of tree branches creek and groan. It was the kind of wind that made the rain appear to travel horizontally, so that it would pelt you in the face with such force that it almost feels more like a hailstorm.

But as vicious as the storm outside was, its force was nothing in comparison the opposing explosions of rage that were being unleashed inside a small tent that sat hidden near a riverbank in Wales.

After nearly two whole months Harry Potter had had enough of Ronald Weasley. Ever since they had had to abandon Grimmauld Place for this tent, Ron's moaning and whinging had rapidly gotten worse and worse. The red-headed boy rarely did anything of use these days, and instead took to moaning and sniping about their living conditions, their lack of food and Harry's apparent lack of information. Take earlier this evening, for example: low on food, Harry had gone out and caught a fish from the nearby river so that they could have something to eat. Granted all he managed to catch was a pike, and they don't make for good eating, but it was better than the nothing that they would have otherwise. Hermione, who admittedly was not the best of cooks in the world, had done what she could to prepare and cook it properly. And Ron? He sat around moping and moaning about not being able to help out as his arm was still injured from the splinching he received when they escaped the Ministry (Harry suspected that the git was faking in order to try and garner some sympathy from Hermione, as it had, after all been two months since Ron had been hurt.)

Then, when the roasted pike was set onto the table before him, and they all sat down to eat what little there was for them to share between them, what had Ron done? He had prodded and poked at the lumps of fish on his plate with his fork before making an asinine comment about how well his mother could cook. That, of course, had set Hermione off on a rant that had, of course, caused Ron to bite back. Things had only gotten worse from there, and now Ron's self-centred longing for a bacon sandwich and the comfort of his own bed at home was mixing itself with his disappointment at the lack of information that Harry had at his disposal before being spewed forth from his mouth in a horrendous diatribe of spiteful comments and unfounded accusations.

And Harry, disappointed with the lack of information that they had to go on, exhausted from over work and lack of sleep, paranoid about the conversations that Ron and Hermione regularly held behind his back, tortured by the horrors of Voldemort's reign and downright pissed off at Ron's whole attitude was raging back at him, every bitter emotion and twisted thought being unleashed upon a person who, quite frankly, had done everything in the past two months to deserve being on the receiving end of it all.

-[Some quotes here from the Deathly Hallows book and film]-

"It's not like I'm not having the time of my life here, with my arm mangled and nothing to eat," Ron ranted.

"Is that all you can think about? Your bloody stomach?" Harry bit out

"And freezing my backside off every night" Ron continued as though Harry had said nothing "I just hoped, you know, after we'd been running round a few weeks, we'd have achieved something."

Hermione tried to interrupt, but she could not get through the overflowing rage seeping off of the two, now most likely former friends

"So what part isn't living up to your expectations? Did you think we'd be staying in five star hotels? Finding a Horcrux every other day? Did you think you'd be back to Mummy by Christmas?"

"We thought you knew what you were doing! We thought Dumbledore had told you what to do, we thought you had a real plan!"

Hermione tried to interrupt again, but she was ignored again.

"Well sorry to let you down. I've been straight with you from the start; I told you everything that Dumbledore told me. And in case you haven't noticed, we've found one Horcrux-"

"Yeah, and we're about as near to getting rid of it as we are to finding the rest of them – nowhere effing near, in other words!"

At this Hermione broke in "Take of the locket, Ron," she said, referring to the one Horcrux that they had found: the locket that once belonged to Hogwarts founder Salazar Slytherin "You wouldn't be talking like this if you weren't wearing it…"

"Yeah he would," snapped Harry, who wanted no excuses made for Ron "Do you think I haven't noticed you whispering behind my back-"

"Harry, we weren't-"

"Don't lie!" Ron yelled "You said it too; how you thought he had more to go on-"

"I didn't say it like that - Harry, I didn't."

"Then why are you still here?" Harry demanded of Ron.

"Search me."

"Go home then! Run off to Mummy."

"Didn't you hear what they said?" asked Ron in a vicious tone. He was referring to the conversations of several runaways that they had overheard earlier in the day "Didn't you hear what they said about my sister? You don't give a rat's fart do you? It's only the Forbidden Forest, and Harry I've Faced Worse Potter doesn't care what happens to her in there, with all the giant spiders and-"

"You think I don't know how it feels?" demanded Harry.

"No you don't know how it feels." Ron raged back "Your parents are dead. You have no family."

And with those words, any last frail threads that might have been used to one day repair Harry and Ron's friendship were broken. Harry could have overlooked the rest, eventually. He could have put it all aside as things said in anger, under the influence of the Horcrux's evil energy, but those words could never be forgiven.

Harry did not remember moving, all he knew was that Ron's nose made a satisfying crunching sound as it broke under the force of his fist. Blood gushed from the broken nose, and Ron reeled back, clutching at his face as he howled in pain. Then he turned and lunged, his own fists pummelling Harry's body as Harry landed heavy blows about the red-heads head and at least two blows to the kidneys.

"Stop! Stop!" cried Hermione, who threw herself on them in an effort to get them to break apart.

Not wanting to hurt her, Harry shoved Ron away before stumbling back. He clutched at his side as he looked up. Hermione had her back to Ron, with her arms outstretched. To Harry it appeared as if she was protecting Ron from him. The bitterness and anger within him quickly began to boil over once again at the sight.

"Fine then." he spat venomously "Go. Go then. Go back to them and pretend you've got over your spattergroit. Then Mummy will be able to feed you up-"

Ron snatched up his wand, and Harry quickly had his own in his hand. But before either of them could cast a spell, Hermione's own wand was already in motion "Protego."

The invisible shield created by the spell sprang up between Harry and Ron, with Hermione on Ron's side of it.

Harry felt nothing towards Ron apart from a corrosive hatred.

"Leave the Horcrux, Worm."

Ron's temper flared at the name, it was blindingly obvious that Harry used it to not only compare Ron to Wormtail, the man who had betrayed Harry's parents to Lord Voldemort, but also it was a dig at how Ron and his family had unknowingly harboured that man, keeping him safe for twelve years.

Ron wrenched the golden chain from around his neck and threw the locket into a nearby chair. He then rounded on Hermione.

"What are you doing?" he demanded.

"Wha-what do you mean?" she stammered out. Harry noted for the first time that she had a bloody lip. He had no way to prove it, but he was certain that it had not been he who had hit her.

"Are you staying or what?" snapped Ron.

There was an interesting question, one that Harry instantly dreaded the answer to.

A look of anguish came over her face "I-" she stammered "I-"

And with that moment of indecision on her part, Harry knew what he needed to know. No matter what she said now, the fact that she could even consider running away with Ron rather than stay and help Harry would just cause things to deteriorate between them as well.

But her indecision had a similar effect on Ron. The mere hint of her wanting to stay here in this hellhole with Harry rather than retreat to a safer and more comfortable place with Ron said to the red-head that she was in love with Harry, and not him.

"I get it." he said, before Harry could "You choose him."

"Ron, no – please – come back, come back!"

Ron stormed out of the tent, and Hermione sped after him. Harry tried to follow, but Hermione's shield charm impeded his movements. It took him a few moments to get rid of it, and by the time he got outside, Ron and Hermione were already nearing the perimeter of their campsite. Harry ran forward to… well, he didn't know what to do, he just ran forward. But he had barely gone ten steps when Ron and Hermione passed through the protective charms that hid their campsite from others, and then they vanished. Disapparated.

They had gone. Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, the two best friends of Harry Potter, the two people to whom he had told everything, the two people who were supposed to stick by him and help him save the world had now abandoned him, leaving him next to a soon-to-be overflowing river in Wales, in the middle of a terrible storm. They were gone. Gone just like Dumbledore was gone. Just like Sirius. Just like Lily and James, Harry's parents. All gone, leaving him to face his fate alone.

Harry wanted to shout. He wanted to scream. He wanted to rant and rave, to punch something, to hex something, but he knew it would do no good. It wouldn't even make him feel better.

He had to get out of the rain.

He turned back towards the tent. His right hand came up and closed itself over the pain in his side. It felt as though Ron had broken a couple of his ribs in the fight, though the pain of such an injury was no knew experience to Harry, thanks to his bastard of an uncle, Vernon Dursley and his son Dudley.

Inside the tent, Harry shook his wet hair out of his eyes and looked around the tent. There were Ron and Hermione's beds, never to be occupied again. On the table lay the now stone cold remains of their meagre dinner, and nearby sat Hermione's beaded bag, and her book 'The Tales of Beadle the Bard', and Ron's deluminator. At least in their hurry to abandon him, they had left behind the items that Dumbledore had given them in order to aid them in this little quest.

Harry turned his gaze away from the table, and his eyes fell on the locket that lay in the chair. Harry scooped it up and threw the golden chain around his neck. Then he walked over to the table and opened the beaded bag. Hopefully Hermione had something, anything in here that would sort his ribs out.

He pulled out bottle after bottle and jar after jar, but to no avail. There were no potions, only ingredients. It seemed that Ron had used up their entire stock of pain-relief potion as well as all their food.

His actions became almost frantic as he pulled more and more things from the bag. Things that wouldn't help his pain. Things that he could make no use of, things that would remind him of Ron and Hermione too much… he gripped a glass phial too hard and it shattered in his hand. The glass cut into him and blood poured from the wounds. Upset, frustrated and angry Harry threw the beaded bag onto the floor, and then swept his arm across the table top, scattering everything, from books to clothes to bottles, in all directions, most of it crashing to the floor. He slumped into a chair, buried his face in his arms, and broke down completely. The tent lit up as lightning flashed outside, but he didn't notice. His heart-wrenching sobs were the only sound in the air until a rumble of thunder drowned them out.

He had the fate of the world on his shoulders, and he was all alone.

All alone.

A/N: So what do you think? Good? Bad? It'll get better, I promise. This is just a prologue of sorts, the next chapter will pick up with an adult Rose Weasley as she does her bit to try and step Voldemort's ever spreading power and influence (in other words, about eighteen years from now). And before anyone asks, no this won't be a Harry/Rose pairing story; at least I'm not intending it to be at this point. That sort of thing will be the last thing on Rose's mind, and won't even enter into Harry's. Oh, and the events from between now and twenty years later will be told either through flashbacks, dream sequences or just talked about. And please don't flame me for Hermione's leaving with Ron. Its the only way for this story to work.