Disclaimer: I own nothing at all.
I stood in the entrance of the tent, watching as Harry flipped through Rita Skeeter's book on Dumbledore. Hermione moved to stand beside me. "How's he doing?" she asked.
"He hasn't moved from that spot since you've given him that book," I told her, shaking my head.
"Maybe we should move him then?"
Nodding, Hermione and I moved towards Harry, sitting down on either side of him. I placed my hand on his. "Harry –"
"Did you know that Dumbledore was friends with Grindelwald?" Harry said, ignoring. "Best friends actually. Dumbledore even wrote him a letter about how he believed that wizards should dominate over the Muggles."
"Now, Harry does that even should right to you?" I asked. "We all know how much Dumbledore cared for all people, including Muggles."
"Grindelwald was also the one who stole the wand from Gregorovitch," he continued as if I hadn't even spoken. But then, "If you don't believe me about Dumbledore, look at this."
Hermione and I leaned towards the book. Indeed there was a picture of a younger Dumbledore, arm an arm with one of the Darkest Wizards of that Age. "How do you suppose that happened?" Hermione asked.
"Says hear, that Dumbledore went home after graduation when he heard his mother died in order to keep his sister locked up," I said, a frown on my face. "Grindelwald was Bagshot's great nephew and had been expelled from Durmstrang, meeting Dumbledore that summer. . . . There's the letter wrote."
"But then he left because Ariana died two months later," Harry took up. "And then Grindelwald went on to try and take over the continent. It took Dumbledore five years to finally make a move to stop him. Rita Skeeter seems to believe that the men may have had some kind of involvement in Ariana's death but they don't know."
We all sat in silence for a while, confused and contemplative before Hermione said, "Oh, well, you know, who cares what Rita Skeeter says about Dumbledore. She always used to write stupid rumors remember? She's a vindictive woman with too much time on her hands."
"How do we know that this stuff isn't true?" Harry asked. "We never knew much about Dumbledore or his past. Who's to say that she's wrong?"
"Harry, Dumbledore was younger than and probably not as wise as he was when we knew him," I told him. "Our opinions change as we grow older. You and I know that more than anyone I would think. Besides, Grindelwald was his best friend and he was young and scared. It probably took him a lot of courage and strength to fight him."
"He was the same age as me when he wrote that letter and I'm already risking my life to fight the Dark Arts. Don't you think I'm scared too?"
Sighing I shook my head. "Don't you see that none of that matters, Harry? Dumbledore cared about you more than anything. How could you believe what someone else wrote?"
"If he cared about me so much maybe he wouldn't have sent me out here without a good plan." Harry tossed the book to the ground, moving into the tent. Hermione and I looked at each other sadly.
How were we going to make it through this?
I woke up with a start, coughing as I did so. It was dark and cold, which meant I must have fallen asleep.
Wrapping a blanket around my shoulders, I moved out of the bedroom towards the kitchen were Hermione was sitting at the table with the book Dumbledore had left her. "Hey there sleepy head," she said with a small smile.
"Hey," I said my voice hoarse. I quickly downed a glass of water. "How long was I out for?"
"Just a couple of hours," Hermione said. "You were coughing in your sleep. Are you alright?"
"Fine. Where's Harry?"
"He should be outside on patrol."
"Do we have anything warm to drink? I'm going to take him some."
"I think there's just a little bit of coffee left. Other than that, there's just warm water."
I quickly made Harry some coffee and, tightening the blanket, I moved towards the opening, looking out. We had moved into some snowy forest, the tent just barely keeping out the cold. "Harry?" I said, moving outside.
But he wasn't anywhere in sight.
The cup dropped from my hands as I ran back inside, almost running into Hermione who rushed forward when she heard the cup break. "Harry's gone!" I said, frantically.
"Are you sure?" Hermione said, sounding nervous. "Maybe he just went out for a walk."
"In the snow, Hermione?"
"Well, I don't know, where do you think he could have gone?"
We spun around as a ruffling sound caught our attention. Hermione pulled out her wand and I reached for mine, only to remember that Harry had borrowed it again.
It wasn't until Harry had moved into clearing that I was able to breathe properly again. I rushed forward and pushed Harry as hard as I could before throwing my arms around his shoulders. He was soaking wet. "Don't you ever scare me like that ever again, Harry Potter? I thought you had been kidnapped or something! Are you alright? You're soaking wet! What were you doing in the water? Here, take my blanket. Where did you –?"
Ron had just stepped into the clearing after Harry, a slight smile on his face. "Hi, Joey," he said.
"Ron's destroyed the Horcrux," Harry said, smiling. "And he saved my life. We've got the sword of Gryffindor on our side now."
I looked to Ron whose smile fell from his face as Hermione walked towards him from the tent, her mouth set in a straight line. He tried to smile again as he moved to stand in front of her, but it wasn't quite working. "Hey, Hermione," he said.
And she slapped him.
It was that kind of slap that echoed, cracking loudly across the dark forest. Ron's cheek was red and I'm sure Hermione's hand hurt. "Hey?" she said in a shrill voice. "You abandoned us and all you can say is hey?"
She spun on her heel, moving back in side the tent.
"You've got a lot of explaining to do, Ron," I said, gently taking his arm. "Might as well do it inside where we won't freeze. Harry, go change your clothes!"
"Stop acting like Mrs. Weasley, Joey," Harry said with a grin.
"Yes well, at least I have some sense."