Disclaimer: Don't remind me that I don't own Harry Potter. It only makes me sad :(

Inseparable

Hermione's POV

I lean against Ron, my heart beating fast as he runs a rough finger over my hand. I can feel him breathing heavily.

"Are you alright?" he mutters, avoiding my gaze.

"I'm fine," I whisper. But I'm not. I'm afraid for Harry. I'm afraid that he's going to give himself up because he's too noble to let anyone else die. I'm shaken up and I'm scared.

Ron doesn't say anything. I know he feels the same way.

We just sit in silence for a minute, huddled together and holding hands. I'm praying that I will get the chance to hold his hand again when suddenly, I hear footsteps coming down the stairs. Ron and I jump up immediately and turn around, expecting a Death Eater, or perhaps even Voldemort.

It's Harry.

He looks completely disheveled. His clothes are ripped and torn, his glasses are cracked, his hair and eyebrows are singed, and there is a single bloody line down his left cheek. I'm sure I don't look much better. He tries to avoid my eyes, but I know better. I step up to him.

"Harry."

He looks at me, and there are no tears in his eyes. Just a hard, resolute glint. "No one else is going to die for me."

"No," I whisper. "Harry, listen to me. No one is dying for you. It's not your fault. We can end this."

I can tell that I sound completely unconvincing. Still, I feel like my heart is ripped in two when he shakes his head.

"We can't end this. I should have known all along."

"No, Harry—" I say desperately, feeling the tears form in my eyes.

"You knew," he says, looking at me.

It's not a question. It's a statement.

Of course, I knew. How could I have not realized once I found out about the Horcruxes? It all fit together. It explained the seemingly inexplicable – Harry's strange connection to Voldemort. And the prophecy: Neither can live while the other survives. But I had told myself it wasn't true. I told myself we could find a way out of this, that we could kill Voldemort without harming Harry. I managed to convince myself that it was all a lie, because I so desperately wanted it to be.

Harry doesn't need an answer. He can see it all in my eyes.

And I can see that he's not going to give up. Because he's too right and too noble and too damn brave to let this go on. He's going to sacrifice himself for the rest of the world.

Right then, I realize that I can't stop him.

But there is something that I can do.

I can follow him.

"I'll go with you." The words are out of my mouth in a second. But I know they're true. Harry is more than my best friend. He is my brother, my soul mate. I would die for him. I will die for him.

I feel my face crumple as I step forward and pull him into what I know will be the last hug we will ever share. Tears are freely streaming down my face and onto his shoulder.

He puts his arms around me, gripping me tightly. "You can't," he whispers softly in my ear, so quietly that Ron can't hear. "I'm doing this for you too, you know."

Harry is my rock. Harry is my shoulder to cry on. I can't leave. I can't be without him. I'm not strong enough. I can feel his heart beat strangely steadily against my chest. I am simply taking in his scent, his aura, his everything. I want to treasure the memory of this hug forever.

"I love you," I whisper back, my voice cracking.

"I love you, too," he says softly. "Just… kill the snake, okay? Get revenge on Voldemort for me. Tell Ginny I love her. Tell Ron you love him. Life's too short."

"I— I can't do this Harry. I need you."

He hugs me even more tightly, as though it will get rid of all the pain of loss.

"I'm going to see my parents."

I slowly release him. He exchanges a long, meaningful glance with Ron. And then he walks away. Tears fill my eyes once again, blurring the sight of his retreating back.