Alone Again

(aka Aww, here goes)

"Leave the horcrux," Harry said.

Ron wrenched the chain from over his head and cast the locket into a nearby chair. He turned to Hermione.

"What are you doing?"

"What do you mean?"

"Are you staying, or what?"

"I…" She looked anguished. "Please Ron-"

"MAKE UP YOU FUCKING MIND RIGHT NOW!" Ron roared.

Hermione sat still, torn and unable to choose between her two best friends. On one hand there was the boy who had always helped her, who put up with more than any of them, but never complained. Harry was her first real friend, and he would drop everything to help any of them if they ever asked for it.

"Please don't do this Ron," she pleaded, trying to stall for time if nothing else.

On the other hand, Ron was… Well Ron. He was arrogant, lazy, stupid and would jump at the chance to make a quick knut. The only reason she put up with him was because of Harry. And yet, she had always felt drawn to him. True, the feeling really started coming out after the fourth year, but she felt like she needed to be there for him. Like she had to-

"Fine, I guess you choose him," Ron spat, interrupting her internal debate. Without another word, he turned and walked out of the tent.

"Ron, wait!" cried Hermione, running after him. Ron may not be a good friend, but he still was a friend. And friends help each other. It had nothing to do with the fact that he had dropped some not-so-subtle hints that he was interested in more. Hermione couldn't just let him go, because he was a friend, that's all.

She ran for the flap of the tent, and Harry followed her. He would have loved to have let Ron get lost right then, but Hermione was a different matter entirely. Where Ron would change his attitude on a whim, Hermione had always stuck by him. When the school had shunned him during the Chamber fiasco, it was Hermione by his side. When Sirius was captured, it was Hermione who helped rescue him. When everyone though he was a fame seeking brat in their fourth year, she helped him train. When the ministry turned on him, she was the architect of the DA. Even last year, when he suspected Malfoy, she didn't believe him, but she never left his side through it. And he realized that he needed her intelligence now more than ever.

He got to the flap of the tent in time to see Hermione grab Ron and the pair of them apparated away. Harry fell to his knees in shock as his two best friends for the past seven years disappeared from in front of his eyes. In fact they were some his first friends ever. He had a feeling Ron would have eventually gotten fed up and left, but the last thing he expected Hermione to do the same.

He felt betrayed. He felt torn. He felt completely lost. Without Hermione to push him forward, or Ron to pull him back, he was just adrift. For a long while, he just stared at the spot that the two were in a moment ago. He couldn't think what else to do. He just didn't know what to do next.

Eventually, he slowly got back up, and walked back into the tent. He passed the flap and then did the one thing he hadn't since he was four. A tear escaped his eye for the first time in fourteen year. Then the dam burst, and he broke down crying. He cried long and hard, finally crying for all the loss and pain he suffered. His parents' death when he was a baby, his life with the Dursleys, Sirius getting pushed through the veil, Dumbledore's murder at Snape's hands.

Harry screamed out in anguish. His friends who swore that they would never leave his side had just done so. Now, he was alone again. A life time of tears and crying were finally allowed out, and they made up for the lost time.

Slowly, possibly hours later, when the sobs turned to silent tears, Harry regained a little of his composure. Able to think a little more clearly, he wondered, what to do next, and he was stumped. Without Ron and Hermione, he had no idea what to do or where to go.

And in that moment, he had an epiphany. He had never really made a decision for himself. Everything he did was guided by either Ron's choices or Hermione's nagging or most of all, Albus bloody Dumbledore's greater good.

Harry's musing was cut short by a soft pop outside. Not even thinking, he grabbed his wand and sent an emotionally charged stunner through the flap. He heard a shriek, but nothing else. Probably not a Death eater attack then. If the wards were still up, then it could be only one of three people. Not taking a chance anyway, he dried his eyes, calmed himself, and then stepped outside. Lying on her back was Hermione.

Harry sighed. He should have known that she would have tried to do something like this. She thought she was smart enough to get both the guys to work together with her, separately, while she tried to play the balancing act between them. For all her brains, sometimes Hermione just couldn't see what was in front of her eyes.

Harry could respect what she wanted to do, but Ron had walked out on him right when he needed him the most. Harry had forgiven him time and again in the past, but this was one that may not be forgiven. Whenever the going got though, Ron got going. The only time he really stuck by Harry was the incident at the Department of Mysteries. But, overall, he was a pretty lousy friend. And he had used up the last of the chances he was getting.

As much as he hated to do it, Harry knew he had to leave Hermione behind. He needed her mind, but with Ron gone, she wouldn't be able to focus on the task at hand. She would be too busy trying to get the boys to work together again, and mess up everything else they would work on. Realizing what had to be done, Harry let out a long sigh. Life, it seemed, would never go right for him.

He turned around and packed the tent up magically. Picking it up, he slung it over his shoulder and then turned to take down the wards.

As he worked, he let his mind wander on the history of the Gryffindor Golden Trio. Most of it involved either Harry or Hermione acting as a go-between because Ron was fighting with the other one of the pair. Come to think of it, the only major disagreement Harry had with Hermione was over the Half-Blood Prince.

Finishing with the wards, Harry turned to face the reason for his turmoil.

"Incarcerous," Harry called out. Ropes shot out from his wand and bound Hermione.

He knew that they could make a great team together, but he also knew that she had made her choice. Harry took one last look at his female best friend and then steeled himself for what he needed to do.

"Eneverate," he said and revived her.

"Harry!" Hermione exclaimed once she realized what was going on. "Please, let me go! I want to help you, I really do!"

"Hermione, Ron asked you to choose, and you did. You chose him. I can respect that, even if I don't like it."

"Harry please I-"

"You what? Want the both of us? Think Hermione. Use that brain of yours. Ron has left me for the last time. What we had we never will again."

"But-"

"But nothing." He paused then sighed.

"For what it's worth, I'm sorry you got caught in this. I really am. Good bye Hermione."

With that he released her bindings and apparated away, leaving Hermione in tears. She had tried to explain that she didn't mean to go with Ron, she was trying to hold him back. Then, when they ran into the snatchers, she was able to get out, and she came right back to him because there was nowhere else she would ever be except by his side.

Now, she was alone in the woods, without either of her two best friends. For the first time since Harry befriended her, she felt the crushing fear that she always had when the kids in school used to tease her. But, more than anything, she felt alone again.