Everyone sat in the great hall, talking and laughing. No one, except one person sitting at the head table, realized that one particular boy was missing from the hall. This certain boy was someone of great importance to the man who noticed. Not because of his fame, or wealth, which is what most were interested in, but because he had come to see the boy as the grandson, or more accurately great-grandson, that he never had.
From the beginning of the traditional Halloween feast speech Albus Dumbledore was looking for one person…Harry Potter. He was only in second year but Albus had often wondered how the boy of his affections would react on this particularly somber night.
The headmaster slowly rose to his feet and slipped out of the hall without anyone noticing, except Professor McGonagall, she new all. The powerful wizard chuckled slightly when he thought that, but quickly sobered when he remembered the cause for his worry and anxiety.
He swept down the corridor and made a right to climb a staircase, leading to the Gryffindor common room. The fat lady, or Dorrice, as she was once called, and only remembered by him, let him pass instantly, without the need of a password.
Although many would think this to be dangerous in such times of coming war it was a common fact among the most powerful wizards and witches that portraits can sense a use of any potion or magic that does not belong in someone's body, like the poliduce potion and can sense magical auras, so if you were familiar with one they could instantly tell it was you. So it is almost impossible to get passed a portrait if you are disguised as such, unless the said person had the password, in which case the portrait is automatically opened.
He stepped inside, stopping in the portrait hole as he heard a soft noise coming from inside. As he took a few steps forward he saw a sight that broke his old, fragile heart.
Harry woke up on the morning of Halloween depressed and miserable, as he was every year. He groaned and climbed out of bed and went straight to his first class, even though it did not start for another three hours. He sat at the back of the potions classroom, got out a book and started doodling, going into what could only be called a trance-like state.
Half an hour later he looked at the page and a tear rolled down his cheek. Without even realizing it he had drawn a child-like picture of stick figures standing in front of a cottage. There were three people and above them were the names Harry, mum and dad. Suddenly Harry felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up and was surprised to see Professor Snape behind him looking down at the picture, without the usual sneer on his sallow face. It almost looked as though he had tears in his eyes, but Harry was sure he was imagining things. Instead of making some smart-ass comment about Harry's lack of ability to do anything, even draw a muggle picture, except for flying, he spoke, for the first time, in a soft, understanding manner.
'She was one of the most wonderful people I have ever met…and I never wished their fate to befall them.'
This said the "greasy" potions master left the room with a sweep of his robes. As he left he heard a very soft 'thank-you' from behind him and nodded.
The rest of the day Harry acted as though everything was normal. He laughed with his friends and ate lunch, only Hermione suspected something was wrong, but she left him alone and decided not to pester for once.
Harry sat in the common room that night and waited for everyone to leave, giving Hermione and Ron an excuse that he was sick and couldn't eat, and raced up to the dormitories, grabbing his album and went back down, sitting on the comfy, cushioned chair by the fireplace and opened the first page. Sitting there he flipped through, page by page. Every time he turned the page more and more tears would run down his face. He dared only to cry with no one else to see. Heaven forbid, that their famous savior would show any sign of weakness. When he was about half the way through his album he heard a noise next to him and looked up.
There was the headmaster, sitting right next to him and he hadn't even noticed. Not wanting to show weakness Harry quickly went to wipe his tears away, but a withered had caught his before he could. His sore, red eyes looked up into the kindly old face of the headmaster and saw only sadness and understanding. Knowing that he was finally in the presence of someone who loved him, really him and not the boy-who-lived, he let the tears run and simply let himself be pulled in the strong embrace of the headmaster, sobbing for the family he never had a chance to know.
The child curled up in his lap and clung to his robes, refusing to relinquish his hold, not that Dumbledore cared, he simply wrapped his arms around the boy and placed a soft kiss in his hair, resting his cheek on the same place.
Once Harry's sobs were reduced to small sniffs and the occasional hiccup, and Headmaster pulled away slightly and looked into Harry's tear filled eyes.
'It's ok to miss them Harry,' the boy simply nodded and lowered his head. 'Let me tell you a story. When I was just a small boy just like you only a little older my sister, Ariana, died. Now I know that losing parents much be much harder than a sister but trust me when I say, I understand. When she died I stopped showing emotion, believing it would make me stronger and it was only after a particulary violent fight with Aberforth, my brother, that I realised something. Hiding and bottling up your emotions does not make you stronger, just less human.' He paused for a second, then continued.
'The reason Voldemort was able to become such a disgusting creature is because he cut himself off from all of his feelings, no conscience or remorse is an easy way to live… but not the right one. Now, you have friends here, to help you, to care for you. Don't cut them off. Talk to them, cry with them and laugh with them and you will be a lot happier.'
Harry simply nodded and smiled slightly. 'I just miss them… but I suppose they wouldn't want me to be sad 'cause they loved me… right?' He finished uncertainly.
'Yes Harry, they loved you very, very much.' Dumbledore replied.
Both either of them could do anymore, the portrait hole opened and someone stumbled in someone who Harry recognized immediately, the bushy brown hair and chocolate eyes were unmistakable.
'Hermione… what are you doing here.' Harry stood up from where he was sitting, wiping his eyes, trying to hide the evidence that he wascrying, but it was to late.
'Oh Harry!' Hermione ran forward and hugged him tightly and spoke into his shoulder. 'Oh Harry, I knew you were sad about something all day and then me and Ron were down at the Great Hall and I remembered… your parents. I'm so sorry, how could I be so thoughtless… I didn't even realize!'
'Hermione… Hermione!.. HERMIONE!!' She quickly stopped talking and pulled back slightly to look into his eyes. 'It's okay… Professor Dumbledore helped me a lot and I'm okay now, don't worry about it.'
She smiled sweetly at him and turned to the Headmaster, blushing when she realized he was there through her entire outburst and she never noticed him.
'No need to be embarrassed Ms. Granger and Harry I do hope you keep in mind what we talked about.' Harry smiled and nodded.
'I shall take my leave then.'
Dumbledore walked out of the common room, but just at the door, without either of the two students noticing he sneaked a glance back and smiled at what he saw. Harry and Hermione stood close to eachother, as if they got comfort from the mere presence of the other and they were holding hands…
This could be the start of something wonderful, the gentle old man thought as he left the two alone and he walked away with a smile.
A/N: please review, this is my first posted work and I would love to know what you all think… flames are welcome, I need constructive criticism! Thx