Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 166

Hermione Granger was waiting for Harry when he arrived at the Room of Requirement. He was convinced she made the whole room brighter just by standing in it. He moved closer to her, as if he could suck up some of the colors simply by being near her.

"Harry, you aren't looking so well - are you sick?" Hermione asked, her warm brown eyes filled with that simple compassion she always seemed to master.

"Hardly." Harry Potter said laconically. "Up and down multiple flights of stairs, and not even winded."

"Well, then what's wrong?" Hermione asked, her hands on her hips. Demanding, not asking, as if she had the right... Well, in a large way, she did, Harry thought contemplatively.

"Dunno, I just... Did you ever wonder what would be, if the world was black and white? I kind of feel like that..." Harry said, "Not in my eyes, I mean," Harry tapped his temple, "In here."

"It sounds like you're... depressed, Harry." Hermione said warmly, the color in her voice a sharp contrast to his flatness.

"Oh. Is that bad?" Harry asked, glad, at least, that he could finally put a word to what he was feeling.

"It can be. Were you thinking about anything that made you sad?" Hermione asked.

"No. And... I don't feel sad. I don't feel anything." Harry Potter said.

"Well, look lively, and we'll see about waking you up!" Hermione said with a more manic grin.

Draco Malfoy ambled in, with a swagger worthy of John Wayne (how he managed to pull that off without Wayne's shoulders, Harry had no idea). "Alright, are you two ready?" Malfoy's grin was sly, and promised not just danger, but ... things that Harry knew he wasn't equipped right now to face.

"Let's just wait for Ron..." Harry Potter said slowly, lowly. He was honestly feeling flat enough that even having Malfoy around felt better. Maybe once Ron showed up, he'd be able to... wake up, just a bit more.

That thought brought coffee from the Room, and Harry drank it hastily, looking at both of them.

"What's wrong with him?" Malfoy asked Granger, and Harry struggled to actually feel the umbrage that he knew would normally come.

"Depressed. Leeg, like he's missing emotions or something." Hermione Granger said, and Draco Malfoy looked over at Harry with some surprise.

"What in Merlin's good name have you been practicing?" Malfoy asked.

Harry Potter just answers with a laconic shrug, "Dunno what you're thinking, but probably not that."

[a/n: Second post of the day.

Everyone's got off days, and this one, from an authorial perspective, lets me write a scene with Harry as observer, where he'd more usually be a very very active participant.

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Malfoy's actually forgotten about bitching about Ron Weasley, which is both hilarious and funny. Don't worry, so.]