Chapter 5

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling. Blah blah blah. should just put a blanket disclaimer on the site for all the idiots that could possibly believe we actually own these stories or make any kind of a profit.

Hermione loved the Ravenclaw common room. It was one of her most favourite places in Hogwarts. The circular room was large and airy, with many windows showing spectacular views of the mountains and landscape around the castle. The thing she loved most about it was the unspoken rule that if a person was seen with a book in hand, doing homework or studying in anyway, then they were to be left in peace. This allowed her to come here and sit and listen to the conversations in the common room as if she were actually a part of them, without fear that anyone would attempt to engage her.

On this particular afternoon she overheard a conversation between a few of her fellow classmates. Terry Boot, Michael Corner, Anthony Goldstein, and Lisa Turpin sat at a nearby table, talking amongst themselves, seemingly unaware, or maybe just not caring, that she was at the next table.

They were talking about Harry Potter.

'I heard it wasn't just his family he burnt alive,' Michael Corner said. 'I heard he burnt down several other homes, with the families trapped inside and screaming for help!'

Lisa Turpin looked horrified, hand over her mouth. 'How horrible!'

'That's why they locked him away in that mental place,' Michael explained.

'Until Dumbledore let him out,' Anthony said, 'and put us all at risk. Potter is clearly a dark wizard.'

'I'm sure Professor Dumbledore knows what he's doing,' Terry Boot argued.

'But how could anyone want to do that?' Lisa was still transfixed on the idea that Harry had burnt all those people alive.

'Hello! I told you, he's a dark wizard. Like You-Know-Who. They're mental. They don't think like you and I.'

'You act like this is fact,' Terry Boot, the voice of reason, reminded everyone. 'We don't really know that he burnt all those people. It's just a rumour.'

'But we do know he burnt his family alive, so it's not really a stretch, is it? If he can do that to his family, he can burn some random people.'

'Let's talk about something else,' Lisa said, shuddering.

Hermione stopped listening after that. It wasn't the first time she had heard people talking about Harry. In the stories they told, he seemed like a monster, and yet she couldn't see him that way. Granted, she hadn't spoken to him, but she had spent many an evening sat with him, and he didn't seem like a monster. She was actually beginning to enjoy the times they spent together just studying. She was getting used to his quiet presence. He was… soothing.

The idea that this very same boy could have done those horrible things was unthinkable. Terry Boot was right. The stories about the other families were just rumours, but it was a fact that Harry had torched his families home with them trapped inside.

Hermione couldn't make the pieces fit. She couldn't connect the boy she knew to the stories they told. It just didn't make sense. Either Harry Potter was a very good actor, or there was more to the story. She was more inclined to believe the latter. Rather, she hoped it was the latter, because she didn't want the closest thing she had to a friend be a lie.

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