She sat alone, hidden in a corner of the dark room, her knees brought up to her chest, and her arms wrapped protectively around her legs. She rocked backwards and forwards slowly, whimpering softly through short gasps of breath.
She shut her eyes, glad for the darkness. It made everything disappear, except the only thing she wished would go away--that feeling of complete love for him, that feeling of complete hate for herself.
"Damn!" she cursed softly, the words full of spite and bitterness. The tears were falling freely now; she had tried to keep them in, but it was like trying to keep a gallon of water safe in a plastic cup. She felt insignificant, worthless and so, so angry.
"Why?" she whispered looking up at the low ceiling, then back down at her knees. "Why?" She knew, though, that there was no answer; there never would be.
Suddenly, she stood up and opened her eyes, her face swollen, red and blotchy from the crying. Her hair, usually so full of life, lay limp down her back. Waiting for her eyes to adjust, she felt around until her hands landed on a stack of magazines. Taking them in her shaking hands she threw them out of frustration, letting out a scream. Through the eerie glow of the room, she made out the outline of a small mirror behind the door. She walked to it and threw her fist at it in one strong motion. She lifted her head and breathed in, feeling the blood course down her fingers. The pain was real and, for a second, it even comforted her.
But then sadness overwhelmed her so completely that her knees buckled and she crumpled to the floor, the moonlight now showing through a gap in the pulled curtains. Though her body was wracked with pain, she started shaking uncontrollably with grief. It hurt to think, it hurt to talk--but she kept asking why.
Not knowing how long she sat there trembling, the blood long since dried on her cut knuckles, she was startled when a loud knock interrupted the silence. ‘Go away!’ she thought to herself. ‘Just leave.’
"Hermione?" called a deep, male voice, hesitant but full of concern. It, too, was full of sadness.
Suddenly, it was all too much.
"Why?" she cried, a fresh wave of tears running down her face and pain pumping through her body.
The door opened slowly, and she cowered as an unwanted sliver of light illuminated her corner.
"Hermione," he repeated, bending down and giving her a hug. She returned it, but his weren’t the arms she wanted around her.
"Why him, Harry?" she whispered into his shoulder.
"I - I don't know," he croaked, his voice giving away the tears now running down his cheeks.
"I loved him so much," she gasped between sobs. "It was always him, always, and I never… I didn't ever…"
"He knew, Hermione. And he loved you too, more than anything, and he would never have let anything happen to you, never."
The pain felt like poison in their veins. They had always been connected--her, Harry and... Him. The famous trio, together forever, people used to say. But they wouldn't be together forever. He was gone. And in his place was a gaping hole, etched in her broken heart.
For hours they sat there, embracing and mourning their lost friend. For Hermione, the wound was as fresh as ever. Every time she thought of him as a friend, she realized that was all he would ever be now that he was gone.
They heard a crash from the floor below, followed by screech that only could have come from one other person.
"Ginny," Harry muttered. "I'm sorry Hermione, I think I should-"
"Go Harry, she needs you. Thank you," She whispered almost inaudibly. Squeezing her briefly before letting go, he got up and walked towards the door. Then, he turned quickly and, taking his wand out, muttered a quick spell, smiled gently and turned to walk downstairs to his girlfriend. Not quite understanding, Hermione glanced down and saw the little slices and cuts on her knuckles slowly closing up and the dried blood vanishing.
Hermione envied him. It just wasn't fair, she thought bitterly and, with this is in mind, she got up and walked towards the bed—his bed. She lay there and she cried soundlessly, clutching his pillow tightly. Memories of earlier that night flashed through her head. When the images got too vivid, she moaned and winced, remembering his touch and his smell.
She was scared to close her eyes, scared of the images her dreams may bring. Hour after hour she forced her eyes open, not giving in to pure exhaustion. She remembered the fighting. She had been so absorbed--wand flashing and her mouth dry from the spells she spat at the Death Eaters. She hadn't seen the spell Bellatrix had sent towards her from behind--but Ron had. Turning over in the bed, trying to rid herself of the renewed guilt and grief, she cried fresh tears and willed the images to go away—willed it all to just be a bad dream.
"I love you Ron. And I'm so sorry… So, so sorry," she whispered. The tears stung her cheeks, and her eyes ached from the strain, but she could not stop crying for him. She would always love him. She would always question why.
Slowly, a hand moved towards her and gently stroked her face as if to wipe away her tears, but she made no movement.
A head bent over and kissed her cheeks, but she couldn’t see him, hear him or feel him.
Ron looked at her through clear blue eyes; it hurt him that she was in so much pain.
"I love you too, Hermione," he whispered. "It was always you. You were worth dying for."
A whisper of a tear dropped and trickled across his smooth, pale cheek. "I'll watch over you, always," he said. "My Hermione."