A Champion in the Making
After owling Sirius, Hermione left Harry alone to walk around the grounds and clear his head.
This could not be happening to him. And what was Ron thinking? How could Ron be jealous of his fame when all Harry wanted was to be normal?
Reaching a willow which stood stroking the water, Harry sat, trying to figure how everything seemed to happen to him. He was the one who was always part of the goings on at Hogwarts, and in the Wizarding world. Why couldn't the universe just pick on someone else for a few years? Was that too much to ask? And was it too much to ask that someone understood what it was like to be famous for something you didn't do, something you wished with all your heart hadn't happened?
Turning sharply, Harry chuckled darkly at the irony. Standing behind him, a small, worried smile playing on her lips, was Elizabeth.
'Hi.' Turning back to face the lake, Harry settled his back against the tree once more. 'What're you doing out here?'
'Looking for you, of course. I wanted to see how you were.' As she spoke, he heard her footsteps approach the large willow. He scooted over and she sat. 'The school's all abuzz about Hogwarts' second champion.'
Harry snorted, and replied, 'Abuzz? Is that what you would call it?'
'Well, what would you call it?'
'They're all… I don't know, Lizzie, but I wouldn't call it abuzz.'
'Don't worry, Harry. That part will pass.'
Angrily, he turned to face her. 'Elizabeth, I don't want it to pass. I want it to not have happened in the first place!'
'I know, Harry,' she cooed gently, 'but that's not going to happen now.'
'I don't care,' he muttered darkly. 'Elizabeth, why does everything seem to happen to me? I mean, first was Quirrell, and then in second year it was Riddle, and then – '
'And then in third year it was the Dementors. I know, Harry. And when you were a baby it was your parents and Voldemort. You do seem to have all the rotten luck.'
'And now according to Hermione, Ron's jealous!'
'I don't know – of my having a scar and being famous. Doesn't he get that I don't want this? I would do anything to trade places with him!'
'I know you would.'
'And now he's acting like it's all my fault that these things happen. Like I ask for them.'
'I know, Harry.'
'Why can't things just be simple. Why can't these things happen to someone else for a change?'
'They have, Harry.'
'They have happened to other people. It's just, you notice and focus on the things in your life more than in others.'
'What are you talking about?'
'Well,' Elizabeth began pensively, coaxing him to relax against her. 'In first year, Ron was hurt during the giant chess match, and Hermione was attacked by a troll…'
'Yeah, but – '
'And in second year, poor Ginny was almost drained of life by Tom Riddle, and Hermione was changed into a cat…'
'Yeah, but – '
'Third year, Sirius almost died, and Merlin knows all the things I saw - see - in the Dementors is just as bad as what you do.' She waited for his objection, but it never came. 'And Harry, you're not the only one who lost people in the war. Do you recall my family history? Or Molly Weasley's? Or – '
'Ok, ok, I get it.'
'I don't know if you do, Harry.'
'It's not all about me?'
'No, Harry, it's not. Although you seem to attract bad happenings, you're not the only one. No one's life is perfect, Harry. Not even people with loving families.'
'But – '
'No, Harry. Everyone has their crosses they have to bear – as it were – and yours is just more in the limelight than Ron's. You have to understand that.'
'But Elizabeth, he doesn't understand that I hate it, so why should I be the adult one?'
'Did I ever say it was only you that had to? I'll talk to him if you want, but I need you to understand where Ron's coming from. He's the second last child in a group of seven. He's the goodness-knows-what in the long list of his family name to cross the threshold of this school. And he's best friends with Harry Potter – the Harry Potter. It's just… I'm sure he feels shunted aside sometimes. Like he doesn't really matter in the great big scheme of things.'
'But he does matter. He's my best friend. He's the first person who made me feel like…'
'I know that, Harry. But does he? And in the great, grand scheme of things, that should be what matters… but sometimes, when you're stuck in the back corner of the stage whilst the world goes on ahead of you, you start to feel like you just don't matter anymore.'
Harry did not respond, and Elizabeth thought it best not to intrude.
'Can you tell me about my parents?'
'Could you - '
'I heard. Just... it was very random.'
'I know. But I think... I dunno. Just, nevermind. Forget it, I - '
'Your mum made the best apple crumble.'
'Your mother. Her apple crumble was the best thing I have ever tasted. Ever.'
Harry smiled, and rested his head against her shoulder, listening to the rumble of her voice. 'Yeah?'
'Oh, yes. I remember once she actually had to restrain your father magically from one she made for Sirius' birthday party...'
They sat like that for hours, until the sun had dipped behind the mountains, and the air grew cold. Listening to the voice of Elizabeth tell him about the family he once calmed him, and soon Harry was ready for the next day, when he would have to face the school, and worse, his best friend.