The Truth on Parchment

Hermione stared at the book she was reading in her hand: Hogwarts, a History. She read this book so many times before, and four months ago, she had renewed the same book a dozen times. She wondered how boring she must have seemed.

In front of her was Harry and Ron’s workload of homework spread across two tables, yet they were nowhere in sight. Harry was in Quidditch practice for the fifth time this week and Ron was watching him in the pouring rain. It had been raining for three days straight, and it wasn’t showing any sign of letting up any time soon.

Hermione put her book onto the table, and curiously looked at Harry’s homework. His neat writing was readable at least. Ron was a little less fortunate. She gently picked up Harry’s essay in Transfiguration, and looked at it. He did very well, for someone who doesn’t quite have the time to study as much as anyone else in the school. Her eyes trailed the parchment from where he had signed his name, to the long list of writing below it. She read a few lines:

…Usaul the Unusual was known for Transfiguring strange magical things with Muggle contraptions, like telephones and television sets. Many people believed Usaul had a knack for inventions. That was a matter of speaking. Usaul combined the use of a toaster with the looks of a turtle. This did not turn out the way he had hoped for when he tried to slip anything into the turtle’s shell, Usual would end up with second degree burns because the turtle could breathe fire. Usaul was charged a five hundred-galleon fine from the Ministry of Magic. Serves him right…

Hermione laughed out loud. Nobody paid much attention to her; there were only a few third years in the Gryffindor common room, after all. She set down his essay, and put her elbows onto the table. She sat, silently watching the third years play exploding snap for a while, twirling Harry’s eagle feather quill that she had given him a few years ago during Christmas between her fingers.

She watched the Quill in her hand. It came to her that most wizard and witches would give anything to be merely holding an item that belonged to the famous Harry Potter. But there she was, waving Harry Potter’s quill in the air, watching it twitter in motion. It wasn’t just the Quill. Harry Potter was one of her best friends that almost never left her side. She talked, laughed, and made jokes with him, something very little people were able to do.

She was the only one waiting for Harry Potter to return from Quidditch in the world at that moment, something anyone from outside of Hogwarts only dreamed of. Pathetic, Hermione thought, Harry is human, just like me… shame everyone doesn’t treat him like he breaths air just like everyone else does.

Hermione herself had remembered reading about his life and how he had caused Lord Voldemort’s downfall in dozens of books before she had set foot in Hogwarts. She remembered how excited she was, realizing Harry Potter would be going to Hogwarts as a first year, just like her. She actually thought Harry must have acted arrogant and rude, but when she had meet him on the Hogwarts express five years ago, she found out she couldn’t be more wrong. Harry turned out to be good natured, kind and very fun to be with. From that point on, Hermione had never turned to Harry, just to look at his fabulous lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead. She saw through his fame and fortune, and now, she can barely see any trace of heroism in his bright green eyes.

Hermione almost felt tears well up in her eyes. Looking around, her eyes landed on Ron’s unused parchment, and the Harry’s quill still in her hand. She stood up, reached over, and pulled the parchment toward her. It’s better if I write my thoughts on paper, she thought to herself as she dipped the quill into its ink well. She stared at the paper in front of her, hesitated, then put the quill to the parchment, and began to write:

When I was five, my mum told me wishes are only granted if you believe in them. My mum told me a lot of things that I could not understand. You don’t need cleverness to focus on advice a special someone gives you. From that day on, I always wondered what she could have possibly meant by that. That piece of wise advice I couldn’t understand didn’t make my life any better.

I must admit, I never really did have friends in my Muggle school. All I had was bullies. I love to study, just like I do now. My classmates would throw my schoolbooks out the window and watch me scramble around, trying to retrieve them. They would trip me in the halls and spill my papers while I was trying to get to class on time, calling me toothy and making fun of my fizzy hair in the process. Life was not going to well for me then.

Then, once to many times, I found myself crying in the girl’s toilets when someone I never spoke to in my life called me a ‘flee-bitten bucked tooth beaver’. I cried for hours until it was home time at the end of the day. I remember my parents asking me what was wrong, and I didn’t answer. I locked myself in my room, and wished something I still remember well today. I wished that I had someone to make me feel better. Someone who would stick up for me and support me. I just wished for a good, solid friend that would never let me down, even if they too going through tough times.

Then I found out I had the makings of a real witch, something I always thought was just a child’s fantasy. I was enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and I would be going in only two weeks. I remember being scared of my own shadow at the moment when I read the parchment with the Hogwart’s symbol etched on the envelope. I read that I must go to Diagon Alley in London for my school supplies. At that point on, I was petrified.

I didn’t recognize myself when I bought my things in London. The robes, wand, and cauldron, I thought, were just a few things I knew I’d never been seen with. But unfortunately, I was at the end of my day, hauling bags after bags of things normal people wouldn’t dream of buying.

Then, came to Hogwarts express. I was shivering all the way to the train station. This was the time where I was thinking that it was best for me just to turn the other way and run, as fast as I could go to the exit. I was afraid if the other witches and wizards would think of me as a ‘half-breed’ or a ‘mutt’. Not many magical people are fond of Muggle born witches or wizards.

As I tucked my trunk into a compartment at the front of the Hogwart’s express, I ran into someone who looked more distressed then I was. His name was Neville Longbottom, and he had managed to loose his pet toad, Trevor. At that point, I was pushing thoughts of ‘how can you loose a bloody toad?’ out of my mind. I volunteered to help him, and I poked my head into each compartment to ask if they had seen a stray toad, with Neville, looking teary eyed, following. After about ten minutes, I came to the very last compartment at the end of the train.

I came in, and saw two first-year boys inside, one with very red hair, freckles, and a long nose. The other wizard had raven black hair, tidy robes, and brilliant green eyes. I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to have such a set of eyes.

I sheepishly asked them if they had seen a toad. Neville was whimpering beside me. This wasn’t exactly what you would call ‘holding back tears’. They both shook their heads, and Neville wailed. The black haired boy sounded reassuring as he said- “He’ll show up.” I was surprised to hear him speak in such a soothing tone. I thought he looked dark and rueful.

I remember this part the best from that moment. I started rambling on about spells and such until I saw the redheaded boy groan. So I cut short, and introduced myself. They did the same. I was sitting in front of Ron Weasley and Harry Potter.

When the black-headed boy introduced himself, I was speechless for a long moment. I read about Harry Potter in my schoolbooks. Harry Potter was one of the most famous wizards in the world, and there he was, sitting in front of me. I went all starry-eyed and stared at him in disbelief. His forehead was most noticeable where his trademark lay – a lightning bolt-shaped scar, a mark that had never been seen until that day when Harry Potter became famous.

I know now how stupid I must have seemed, all dreamy looking and just starring at Harry. I know I made him uncomfortable, and I’m sorry.

Right then and there, I realized not all my predictions are accurate. I thought Harry Potter was conceited and cruel when I finished reading about him. I was dreading even meeting him. But I couldn’t be more wrong.

Harry Potter turned out to be very nice, polite, and good-natured, something that is almost impossible to find these days. I thought he would forget about me after our first meeting, but I was wrong again. He wanted me to stick with him. I remember at that point, I felt the oddest feeling coursing through my veins- happiness and safety. I was like I hadn’t felt that in years and it was the best feeling in my life.

At this point in her writing, Hermione had to wipe wet blotches off the parchment she had been writing on. Tears clouded her eyes and her sleeve was getting soaked when she wiped her eyes. She took one fleeting glance at the not empty common room, and put her quill to the parchment again.

I couldn’t believe my luck. Harry was the most reassuring boy to be around and even luckier, he wanted to be around me. I couldn’t help but laugh or smile when he cracked a joke or said anything that he didn’t realize was funny. In the first week, all my fear and doubts ebbed away, and I became well adapted to Hogwarts – all because of Harry.

Now that I am here, writing this letter to whoever is reading it, I finally realize what ‘wishes are only granted if you believe in them’ means. From the time when I was fighting off bullies to when I boarded the Hogwarts express, I never believed in my wish. Harry made me see differently. I believed. My wish has been granted, and now I have someone to make me feel better and someone who sticks up for me and supports me. I now have a good, solid friend who has never let me down, and they, too, are going through rough times. I now have Harry Potter, the best friend I could ever have.

Harry Potter is a hero, not just for the things he has faced and what he has done. That doesn’t seem important to me anymore. He saved me from my downfall and perhaps my life. I now see him as a caring, involved person with an enormous heart and a bright soul. Forget the fame and fortune. There is more to Harry Potter then meets the eye.

I often ask myself why people bother wishing to meet the famous Harry Potter. They don’t know him. I do. I could make a list if I could about Harry Potter’s acts of kindness, but I don’t think the world could hold enough parchment. His random acts of kindness are only just the beginning.

He would sacrifice his own happiness to another in need. He would fight a hundred trolls to make anyone feel better. He would give his life to another. If you are looking for someone shallow, you’re looking in the wrong place.

Somehow, I feel I must repay Harry for all the things he has helped me in my life. I don’t think I am capable of that. Nobody is. All the galleons in the world could never repay Harry Potter for his good deeds- but I will try. I love Harry Potter very much, and that’s only one topic I feel for him from a very, very long list.

I am afraid for Harry. I fear that nobody will see him the way I do, through my eyes, for I am only one person with many dreams that I will fulfill with the help of my best friend. Harry Potter does not call me “Mudblood’ or ‘half breed’. He knows I am a human being with feelings and flesh like him. He is not that kind of person who would judge or think someone is inferior to him, so he calls me by my the name my parents gave me when I was new to the world- Hermione Granger.

Hermione whimpered, set down Harry’s quill, and buried her face into her robes, tears gushing from her eyes. She couldn’t describe the feeling inside her at that moment. It was like a small explosion had gone off in her stomach, leaving no room for pain or fear. She was happy and terribly sad at the same time.

She looked up at the now completely empty common room, and whipped her eyes with her sleeve. The parchment she was writing on was sopping wet and smudged, but readable. She picked it up, and stared at it in incredulity; she couldn’t believe she wrote all that.

But her thoughts were suddenly cut off. The portrait swung open, and the next moment, loud laughter and excitement filled the common room. Hermione’s eyes went wide. For a moment, she had a fleeting thought about running for it, but it was then when she realized it was the Gryffindor Quidditch team. She stared as Katie entered, followed by Angelina, Alica, Fred and George. None of them noticed Hermione sitting at the table with red and swollen eyes. They passed her and up the spiral staircase to their dorms. Hermione heard doors slam close, and the laughter ceased.

Hermione sighed heavily, whipping her forehead. She was glad they didn’t see her. She would have to explain everything. She wasn’t at all wrong.

Before her thoughts drifted away again, she heard another set of footsteps coming from the portrait. She jumped, and retreated to the armchair realizing whom it was – Harry Potter. She heard him stop, and then nothing.

“Hermione?” he said quietly, “Is that you?”

Hermione sobbed, stood up on her shaky legs, and turned to face him. Harry raised his eyebrows. He was wearing his soaking-wet, scarlet Quidditch robes and his wet hair was plastered to his forehead. He stared at her in alarm for a moment, and showed a sure sign of genuine concern in his bright eyes. Hermione had seen that look so many times and she had never gotten tired of it.

“Hermione, what’s wrong?” he asked urgently, running to her. Hermione stood silent for a moment, lowering her head to hide the fact that yet more tears were silently pouring down her face. She didn’t realize Harry was standing in front of her, looking stunned.

“Harry…” moaned Hermione, lifting her head to look him in the eye. She saw curiosity and worry in those pools of green. Hermione found herself fighting the urge to throw her arms around his neck; he looked so shaken.

“You can tell me, you know,” he said in less than a whisper, putting a hand on her shoulder. Hermione gave him a very weak smile.

“I know.”

She lifted her arm and handed him the piece of parchment she had been working on. Harry carefully took it from her, opened it with steady hands, and looked up at her. She nodded. He looked down at the parchment, and began to read.

This was the tensest few minutes Hermione had ever experienced in her life. What if he didn’t like it, or worse, what if he thought she was mad for writing that? She stood motionless in front of Harry, who had his eyes still glued to the parchment, showing no sign of emotion.

Hermione tried to concentrate on other things. She listened to the crackling fire, and the harsh wind lashing against the windows above them, but not taking her eyes off Harry. He moved the parchment lower in his hands to continue.

Hermione found herself wishing she could read minds. Harry looked deeply immersed in what he was reading, but he had his head so far down, she couldn’t read his emotion written in his eyes, where she found most of his feelings duel. Minutes went by, and the air grew dense. Hermione couldn’t breathe as easily; she was taking sharp intakes of air through her teeth. Her palms of her hands were damp and she kept her fingers pressed together, playing with the hem on her sleeve.

Then, after what seemed like half an hour, Harry was lowering the parchment down ever so slowly. His face was still pointing to the floor. Hermione gulped and whipped another tear from her eyes. For another brief moment, she considered grabbing the parchment from his grasp and running to her dorm, until Harry looked up at her.

Hermione bit her lip, breathing hard. Her breath caught in her throat. A single, glistening tear ran down Harry’s cheek, and she saw, as though in slow motion, the tear hit the ground. He was smiling his rare smile that made Hermione quiver in excitement. A smile crept up to her mouth, too.

Hermione gazed at his eyes for a long moment, seeing a more caring, loving Harry Potter. She gave a small cry, and each of them stepped forwards, closing the gap that lay between them.

At that moment, something enormous, something immense came over Hermione, It was like she had a whole new life. As Harry hugged her closer and she cried on his shoulder, she realized what it was.

Hermione had taken up a new perspective in life. Her world was now longer dim and cruel, but bright and spectacular. It was like her best friend, Harry Potter, was squeezing all the sadness out of her. It was as though each of their unhappy memory ebbed out of their soul and met up to form something more than a friendship. Hermione realized Harry was more than a friend to her; more like a brother or a love.

Ron stood just by the entrance of the common room, poking his head around the corner. He smiled widely and the sight of his two best friends in the common room, hugging like they needed each other as much as they needed oxygen. He silently laughed to himself, and turned around to head back out, quietly closing the portrait behind him.

Hermione looked up at Harry’s calm eyes.

“Friends till the end,” whispered Harry, grinning. Hermione smiled, stood up on her tiptoes, and kissed him on the cheek.

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