By J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Chapter Sixteen. Godric’s Hollow
When Harry woke the following day it was several seconds before he remembered what had happened. Then he hoped childishly, that it had been a dream, that Ron was still there and had never left. Yet by turning his head on his pillow he could see Ron’s deserted bunk. It was like a dead body in the way it seems to draw his eyes. Harry jumped down from his own bed, keeping his eyes averted from Ron’s. Hermione, who was already busy in the kitchen, did not wish Harry good morning, but turned her face away quickly as he went by. He’s gone, Harry told himself. He’s gone. He had to keep thinking it as he washed and dressed as though repetition would dull the shock of it. He’s gone and he’s not coming back. And that was the simple truth of it, Harry knew, because their protective enchantments meant that it would be impossible, once they vacated this spot, for Ron to find them again. He and Hermione ate breakfast in silence. Hermione’s eyes were puffy and red; she looked as if she had not slept. They packed up their things, Hermione dawdling. Harry knew why she wanted to spin out their time on the riverbank; several times he saw her look up eagerly, and he was sure she had deluded herself into thinking that she heard footsteps through the heavy rain, but no red-haired figure appeared between the trees. Every time Harry imitated her, looked around (for he could not help hoping a little, himself) and saw nothing but rain-swept woods, another little parcel of fury exploded inside him. He could hear Ron saying, “We thought you knew what you were doing!”, and he resumed packing with a hard knot in the pit of his stomach.
The muddy river beside them was rising rapidly and would soon spill over onto their bank. They had lingered a good hour after they would usually have departed their campsite. Finally having entirely
repacked the beaded bag three times, Hermione seemed unable to find any more reasons to delay: She and Harry gasped hands and Disapparated, reappearing on a windswept heather-covered hillside. The instant they arrived, Hermione dropped Harry’s hand and walked away from him, finally sitting down on a large rock, her face on her knees, shaking with what he knew were sobs. He watched her, supposing that he ought to go and comfort her, but something kept him rooted to the spot. Everything inside him felt cold and tight: Again he saw the contemptuous expression on Ron’s face. Harry strode off through the heather, walking in a large circle with the distraught Hermione at its center, casting the spell she usually performed to ensure their protection.
They did not discuss Ron at all over the next few days. Harry was determined never to mention his name again and Hermione seemed to know that it was no use forcing the issue, although sometimes at night when she thought he was sleeping, he would hear her crying. Meanwhile Harry had started bringing out the Marauder’s map and examining it by wandlight. He was waiting for the moment when Ron’s labeled dot would reappear in the corridors of Hogwarts, proving that he had returned to the comfortable castle, protected by his status of pureblood. However, Ron did not appear on the map and after a while Harry found himself taking it out simply to stare at Ginny’s name in the girl’s dormitory, wondering whether the intensity with which he gazed at it might break into her sleep, that she would somehow know he was thinking about her, hoping that she was all right.
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Harry potter and the deathly hallows (16 chapter)