If Only (Redux)
Disclaimer: All of this is based upon the lovely J.K. Rowling's work.
"I'm sorry, my boy." I know that I will have to break his heart. "But you cannot remain at Hogwarts during the summer. You cannot go with your friends either. You must return home."
Sea green eyes gaze at me in despair. Is going home really that horrible? I know that he lives in an orphanage, but is it really that bad?
I look at him and wonder. Should I tell him?
A spark of hope now burns in his eyes. And it's like everything, save he and I, stops. It's like the universe was holding its breath, like the very fate of the world depended on what I was about to say.
Don't be silly! How could the world possibly depend on just one boy, this boy, and where he goes over summer break?
I stare at him appraisingly.
Should I? Should I say it; should I make the offer?
He is a nice boy, a good boy. He deserves so much more than he has. He deserves more than an orphanage. He deserves to be happy, to be loved.
I am not sure that I can provide that, but I have to try.
But the school rules are clear. Students cannot stay at the school during the summer nor go home with friends. Students must either travel to their residence, go home with other family members, or …
I look at him over my half-moon glasses. His eyes are filled with hope, with longing, and with some other nameless emotion. Those shining orbs rise and fall like the very ocean they share a color with.
"There is another option." He freezes, as though he is afraid that any movement will destroy what I am about to say. "Students without a legal guardian, magical or Muggle… well, you see…" I hesitate, still unsure of what to say, but those eyes are staring at me, urging me on. "Students like yourself are able to go home with one of the school staff members."
A look of pure confusion crosses his face like he does quite believe what he has just heard.
"Really?" he asks softly.
I simply smile and nod.
The hope is still there in his eyes, but it is quickly fading. He lowers his head and glances at the floor.
"But who?" He murmurs to himself, "Who would take me? Who would want to?"
I gaze at him and make the decision that I know will change at least one life.
I move from behind my desk and stand in front of him. I lift his chin gently to look into his eyes.