Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or anything else belonging to JK Rowling. Everything but the plot belongs to her and her publishers alone. I am not earning any type of profit on this. No copyright infringement is intended.

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Happy Face

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A bouncy, happy little girl.

That was what she was, and that was what people perceived her to be. No one had ever seen a frown on the girl, not even when she hurt herself. She didn't even cry. I'm okay. It stings a little, but there's no point in worrying. They knew she'd be a Ravenclaw, and a good one at that. After all, her mother had been in Ravenclaw as well, and the two were inseparable, not to mention almost indistinguishable, when it came to their personalities.

They were always experimenting, noses in books; always giggling about something. People, even strangers, often commented on how contented the girl seemed to be, skipping down the street, humming soft tunes and grinning the entire time.

She was usually seen hopping around, stuffed animal in hand and plastic beaded necklace slipped over her golden head. Her mother would chase her down and lift her high into the air, and they would land on the floor where they brushed each other's hair, and the girl would always either ask for long braids or pigtails with purple ribbons. But most of the time, her mother told her that natural looked better, and she should leave it wild and loose. The little girl scrunched up her nose, and laughed.

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A bouncy, happy little girl.

She runs into her mother's bedroom, where the desk is covered in books, a cauldron is bubbling on the floor, and her mother is standing with her wand drawn. Stay back, darling. I'm trying something new. Ooo, good! When you learn it, will you teach me? Of course. Here we go...

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Her father suddenly bounded into the room. She was staring at the floor. At her. He ran over and knelt beside her, crying. Was she supposed to cry, too? How could she? Her best friend in the world was gone. She'd seen it. She'd seen the sparks fly, and the pages turn, and the contents of the cauldron bubble over. She was lying there, on the cold wooden floor, eyes and mouth open. Rigid as the boards which held her from falling beneath the earth and staying there forever.

And she'd seen it happen.

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The little girl was different.

She never seemed to take on any emotion. She didn't smile; nor did she frown. And she still didn't cry. She spent most of her days lying on her mother's bed, or the spot on the floor where purple ribbons would be woven into her long hair. In fact, she was rarely upright anymore. She read lying down, she slept lying down, she even ate her lunch on the ground under the table. Her father never said anything; he decided to let his daughter make her own decisions from now on. He knew she was hurting, even when she stared at him and said she wasn't.

People who are hurting aren't like me, Daddy. They cry. They bury their hands in their faces and cry and moan and ask why things happen the way they do. Sweetie, you do know that Mummy is there. She's waiting for you. Yes, I know she is. And she went and sat under the table.

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He missed his little girl. He missed the one he lost. Most nights were spent crying. Burying his hands in his face and crying and moaning and asking why she was gone forever, and not him as well. He kissed his daughter goodnight and went out with a bouquet of flowers, to lay beside a slab of stone on the corner of the street.

And he tried to get his little girl back.

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He planted a garden with her, and she dug and pulled and planted with a straight face. He took her to London, and she blankly stared straight ahead. He read her her favourite stories, and she asked if she could go to sleep. He fixed her broken music box, and she never opened it again.

She herself was broken, and he realised it. So he let her be.

I'm fine. I've got my own little place under the table, haven't I? I've got that garden in the back to look after and there are children down the street I can play with if I want to. I have my music box and my stories. Thank you Daddy.

But she didn't smile.

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When the time came, her father asked her to put on a happy face for Hogwarts. For the students and the teachers and all her new friends she's going to make. For him.

I promise, Daddy.

But she knew there was only so much you could do, when no one was there to smile with you. And as the large, scarlet train left the station and her father was out of view, she took the purple ribbons out of her hair. And she cried.