Dear Reader

By a_blaq

Romance / Drama

A Book Returned

When Hermione returned late that evening she was dressed in a frown and a messy braid down her back. After fetching her package with Ginny and lunch with Ron she had to make a trip to Hogsmeade with McGonagall and Umbridge. The carriage was a dreadful silence and too often Umbridge would mutter obscene nonsense to herself as she escorted them around to fetch supplies. Hermione should be grateful that she could even go in the first place. Unfortunately, her pounding headache argued otherwise.

She walked in and placed her bag on the general table where a chessboard was left a mess. She frowned deeper fully aware that Ron was the perpetrator. Glancing over her shoulder she noticed that Harry was sitting on the floor scrawling over several pages of parchment. A chuckle parted her lips because she knew that Harry was rushing to have his work ready for classes tomorrow. When she turned back to the table to shrug off her robes and jacket she noticed a package wrapped in red gift paper. Upon further inspection she saw her name scrawled across the front in unfamiliar handwriting. In a panic she called to Harry from over her shoulder for answers.

"Who sent this?" Hermione's voice was bold and curious, which she doubted Harry would have recognized as being too different than her usual tone.

"Dunno." His reply was halfheartedly.

"Well did you see the owl?" She questioned as she pulled off the paper. It revealed her book – the one she'd left in the Restricted Section of the Library just two days ago. Someone had returned it! She wondered if the person had truly read it but she doesn't have to wonder long. When she lifts the cover there's a letter inside. Her heart races but she waits to hear what Harry has to say first.

"Just the usual school owl, like the one you use for letters to home. Doesn't it say?" Hermione can hear the frustration in Harry's voice but she dismisses it instantly. He is stressed, albeit his own fault. Immediately she grabs her belongings and rushes up the tower to the girl's dormitory without another word.

Before she goes inside she sits down to read the letter placed deliberately inside the book. She hadn't told anyone what she was doing it so she didn't want anyone to ask questions about a mysterious letter. She unfolded it urgently, almost as though her life depended on it. Her eyes drank in every letter written elegantly on the page.

As soon as Hermione finished digesting the letter she smiled to herself. Never mind that the writer was a stranger – they wanted her to leave another book! She managed to deduce a few things about the writer based on the language used in the response. She was dealing with a boy. A boy! Hermione clutched the letter to her hope filled chest.

Hermione got up and walked into the dorm to find Ginny sitting up with one of her friends from her year, a Mary Edwards and Lucille McMillian. Hermione only knew them because she'd been rooming with them for two years but she certainly didn't know much else about them. She was hardly ever in the dorm for anything other than sleeping. Hermione hardly ever even changed clothes in there anymore.

After Hermione politely greeted everyone she worked her way to the community desk at the far back of the room. The moonlight was shining directly over the desktop, which gave perfect mood to the serene moment of victory. Or at least 'victory' is how Hermione was labeling it. Immediately her hand began scrawling out the words she'd already picked out upon finishing her reader's letter.

Dear Reader,

If you are the same person who read the first novel left behind - then please allow me to ramble a bit. First, let me congratulate you on using your girlfriend's tissue paper. You're probably wondering how I put that together but it was actually very obvious. There were crinkles in the paper everywhere, which means it had been tossed about a lot. I suppose she stuffed it in a bag and carried around with her for a while before giving it to you. Since the wrapping was haphazard and somewhat careless I presume it is safe to say you're a boy. And even if we weren't address the more trivial details that most people would ignore – the paper smelled of crisp and playful perfume. Your handwriting was too formal and your language was lacking a feminine touch. Moving on from all of this, though.

You'll find this novel very different from "Jane Eyre." This is much more of a fairytale adventure than that piece was but the writing is every bit as phenomenal. You'll still make connections to the characters and story, albeit a symbolic relation. Reading this will be next to impossible if you don't allow yourself to be picked up by the story and transported to a different dimension. You must immerse yourself in the tale.

Also, if you will, I would like to challenge you while reading this book. It is particularly lengthy by most standards these days. My father and I were reading it at the same time this past summer. Since he has a full-time job and I worked as a barista in my free he thought a race would be a sufficient competition between us. He is a lovely man in that respect – always challenging me to be better. So I am challenging you to read this book as quickly as possible without missing any part of the story. Let me know how fast you managed and I'll tell you if you beat me.

I won't tell you how you measured up against my father, though. He cheated. Vacation days are definitely cheating but he'll never admit that he took off of work to do it. That's another silly thing about him. He bends the rules sometimes.

When you return this book please take the time to at least wrap it properly. No used tissue smelling of expensive perfume – which doesn't even smell good, in my opinion. I may seem rude for requesting this but it is equally as rude to do it in the first place. Besides, even if you don't feel compelled to respect me as an equal intellectual please at least respect the literature.

Good Luck!

Yours,

H. Granger

Hermione slept well that night, dreaming of fishermen on the lake at Hogwarts. Mermaids were jumping onto the deck to reveal the fishermen as bad guys and to bring them to their watery graves; she was admittedly a sucker for a story about justice. After waking up Hermione grabbed everything she needed for her first two classes and shoved it into her bag, including "Moby Dick" and her letter. As soon as she was in her school uniform she scrambled out of Gryffindor Tower. She would have to forgo the luxurious breakfast in the Great Hall in order to leave the book behind for her mystery reader because was already anticipating the response. Hermione had reasoned the sooner she leaves it in the library the sooner her reader could get back to her.

She double and triple checked that her letter was indeed inside snugly tucked into the cover of the book. And that it was in the same place, just as "Jane Eyre" had been before. Once she was convinced everything was perfectly and exactly the same she started out of the library to the Charms classroom. Harry and Ron would undoubtedly be wondering where she'd been all morning. She would just make something up, or talk a lot first so they would tell her to never mind about it. Littered with so much excitement Hermione hardly even realized that someone was on the other side of the Library door. She nearly knocked someone off of his or her feet.

When she stepped outside she saw none other than Draco Malfoy standing at a distance with a grimace on his face. She unintentionally made eye contact and noticed for a split second he looked relieved. Confusion caused her lips to curl into a smile while apologized softly, "Sorry, Malfoy. I didn't see you there."

"No worries, Granger. A door isn't going to kill me." He mumbled kindly? Hermione was sure that he was speaking with a kind tone in his voice.

"A hippogriff might, though." Draco Malfoy had a way of bringing out the worst in her, even when he wasn't trying to do so. She had punched him in the face back in their third year when he tried to get Buckbeak executed for his 'violent outburst' which had been provoked by Malfoy's cocky disregard for the proper approach. She pivoted with a fiery and unwarranted anger and started off in the direction of the Charms classroom.


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