Loneliness

Chapter 9

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.


Heads turned when Harry Potter sat down next to Hermione Granger. Not only was it unusual for two students from different houses to sit together, but also for those particular students. Harry - who was viewed as a self-made social pariah by every other house, even his own - and Hermione - whose crippling shyness had alienated her from everyone, by her own choice or not. Yet here they sat, two loners come together.

After taking in the spectacle, every head turned to the front of the classroom, to see how their Potions Master would react. Snape acted as if he hadn't noticed, though to be sure, he had. Whispers began, but before they could really get started, Snape cleared his throat and the room fell immediately silent.

Harry smiled at Hermione. She ducked her head and smiled in return. As Snape began his lecture, Harry took out a piece of parchment and wrote: You okay? He slid it across to Hermione.

She read it quickly, and then replied with a quick flick of her quill. Yeah.

Harry drew a smiley face and then wrote: People will talk. Ignore them.

Hermione knew that. She'd been preparing herself for it for weeks now. They had been talking like this in library, or rather, she had been writing, Harry had been speaking. The communication was a small thing, but day-by-day, it became easier, until she didn't even think about it anymore. It was so easy now; she couldn't believe how quickly she had become accustomed to it. The next step was this. Sitting together in class where the other people could see. In the library it was different. They sat right at the back where hardly anyone came, and the people that did come were serious students like themselves, and weren't the types to gossip. It was such an unusual feeling, this being the object of people's attention. Hermione normally went out of her way to make sure she wasn't such an object, and now here she was, surely the biggest object of interest in Hogwarts. Or she would be, once word spread. Thinking about it made her stomach all queasy.

I feel sick, she wrote, with a sad face.

Harry drew a sad face of his own. Sorry. It'll pass though. You're stronger than you think. You'll be okay. I promise.

Not your fault. I knew this would happen. And thank you. Smiley face.

Hermione had been intending on asking Harry everything, asking him about the fires, about the rumours, about why he had taken such an interest in her. Yet after talking like this for weeks, she had yet to do so. Finally she realised she didn't want to speak of those things in this haphazard way. She wanted to save that for when she could finally speak to Harry. Yes, she was determined she would speak to him. He had made so much effort; she didn't want to let him down. And she desperately wanted to talk to him, to ask him all those things. But actually speaking was so much harder than writing little notes. She didn't feel quite ready for that, yet.

In the meantime, this message system would have to do.

Harry wrote: Meet me outside your common room later? I want to show you something.

Okay. Do you know were Ravenclaw Tower is?

Of course I do. Harry drew a smiley with his tongue sticking out.

Hermione giggled, then slapped a hand over her mouth. Harry grinned. Everyone turned to stare. Hermione blushed and buried her head in her arms.

'Ahem,' Snape coughed. 'As fascinating as Miss Granger's little giggle is, she is not conducting this lesson!'

Heads turned back the right way, but Hermione kept hers hidden, horribly embarrassed. Harry couldn't stop smiling.

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