End Of An Era And The Start Of A New One

"BOOOOOY!" yelled Vernon Dursley that morning, "Get me my Coffee boy" and a small and skinny boy poured hot coffee into his Uncle's cup.

Harry Potter tried to keep away from his relatives as much as possible, but as normal his Uncle found fault with his breakfast and beat Harry quite severely. Harry managed to crawl to his bedroom which was the cupboard under the stairs after he was assaulted by his Uncle, Aunt and Cousin and lay on the tatty mattress and felt the pain go through his body. It was the third beating that week, and six year old Harry wished he could die. While waiting for the next assault his Aunt opened the door and pushed through a cup of what looked like Lemon juice then closed it again. The bedroom had no light except for what filtered through the slits in the cupboard door, and Harry felt for the plastic cup and drank deeply from it. It was several seconds from the last drop until Harry was put into a drugged sleep and his unconsusious body was dragged from the tiny space and into the hallway after it was dark – Harry had had to have been out for hours.

"How long is that stuff supposed to last?" Vernon asked his wife Petunia, all the while looking at Harry.

"It lasts eight hours for people like us" Petunia replied, "It should be longer for a runt like this" and then grabbed all the items he owned. It didn't amount to more then a large suitcase and they loaded him into the car along with their son Dudley. By the time the reached the street which held their destination Harry had partly awoke. Vernon had stopped the car and spun to face Harry.

"We've decided to leave you at this orphanage because we can not look after you at all. We have written a note for the person in charge and you have all your stuff. Get out the car and wait for somebody to find you" and when a still sleepy Harry didn't move, Vernon got out of his seat and opened the passenger door and dragged poor Harry out. After a beating around the head, Harry passed out again and didn't wake up until somebody found him early the next morning. The note was read which stated that they could no longer afford to look after Harry so they had taken him here to be given away. Harry was taken inside and the Children's Home manager took one look at Harry and fed him all of the bacon, toast and juice he could manage then sent him for a bath before allocating him a room.

"I'm going to stay here for the rest of my life" Harry thought as he looked at the dreary walls of his room. That whole day was spent with the various people who registered Harry as an orphan and did the correct paper work. Harry became one more of the many children in the system. Because of the injuries that he had sustained and which the authorities had picked up on, they decided to not send Harry to school in order to give his body time to heal from all the damage. Harry spent an entire year at the home which was mostly spent in his room. None of the other kids would go near him because they claimed that he was strange and did odd things when provoked. It would be the following year when Harry would find happiness in his life for the first time ever.

# # # # #

Hermione Granger went into her classroom for the start of the new school year and saw a small black haired boy sitting alone at an otherwise empty table. As she went to sit with him because he looked lonely, Hermione knew she had never seen him at the school before.

"Hello" Hermione said.

"Hello" said the black haired boy.

"Can I sit here?" Hermione asked.

"I guess so" the boy replied, and Hermione put her things on the table.

"My names Hermione Granger" Hermione said, "Whats yours?" she asked.

"Harry" the boy replied, "Harry Potter" and Hermione smiled.

"I've not seen you here before" she said, "Have you moved here?" and Harry thought for a moment before answering.

"I've lived here for almost my whole life I think. But I've not been to school yet. This is my first year" Harry said.

"Well you will like Miss Clavel" Hermione told him, "She is the best teacher ever" she added proudly. Then Hermione noticed that nobody else came to sit with them at the table. "Do you want to be friends?" she asked.

"Really?" Harry asked, looking at her with an odd look of surprise crossing over his face.

"Sure" Hermione said, "You look as if you could do with one" and Harry nodded after a moments pause. Harry and Hermione seemed to be hitting it off. "My parents are dentists" she said, "What do yours do?" and Hermione instantly regretted asking because of Harry's reply.

"I don't know" he said, voice going sad.

"Don't know?" she asked, "Don't you know?" and Harry shook his head.

"My parents are dead" Harry said, and he started to look as if he would cry. "They died in a car crash" and Hermione reached into her pocket for her handkerchief but Harry waved her off. "I'm all right" he said, "They died when I was a baby" and Hermione felt a little sad.

"I'm sorry" she said.

"Thanks" Harry said, then looked up to see the teacher walking into the class room. Miss Clavel was a tall lady with dark black hair and painted nails. She was the sort of teacher that every child she be told by.

"Class? We have a new person starting with us today. His name is Harry Potter and he is at the back with Hermione. Please make him feel welcome and help him find places if he asks" and there were a few mumbled greetings to Harry from the class. "Now I want you all to start by picking up a piece of paper and writing down the Seven Times Table" and the children did as they where told to do. Hermione had already done that and looked over to see that Harry hadn't written a thing at all.

"Whats wrong?" Hermione asked Harry, "You have a problem?" she asked and Harry nodded.

"I don't know the seven times table" he admitted.

"You can copy off me if you want" Hermione said, but Harry shook his head.

"I don't…" he began and Hermione cut in.

"Want to copy off me?" she said, "Well its alright this time, you'll have to learn them though" but Harry shook his head once again.

"I can't write" he whispered.

"What?" Hermione whispered back loudly, but thankfully nobody heard her.

"I've not learned how" Harry told her. It was entirely true as well as the home had thought it much better that Harry had a repaired body rather then teach him. The Dursleys had never sent him to the local school as they said it was a waste of money to do so. Harry had told Hermione a little about himself before the teacher had come in, and she felt sad for her new friend. Hermione looked away and down at her paper before straighten and putting up her hand.

"Yes, Hermione" Miss Clavel said.

"I need to tell you something" Hermione said.

"Come to the front" Miss Clavel said, and Hermione left her little plastic seat and went up to the teacher's desk.

"I need to speak to you outside" Hermione told her teacher and they went outside into the corridor outside the classroom.

"What is the matter, Hermione?" Miss Clavel asked the bushy haired child.

"You know that new boy Harry?" she asked, and Miss Clavel nodded, "Well he told me he can't write" and Miss Clavel looked shocked.

"Wait here" she said, and Miss Clavel went in to the classroom and came back with Harry in tow behind her.

"What have I done?" Harry asked automatically. The teacher closed the door before answering.

"Hermione told me that you can't read or write" the teacher said, and Harry nodded.

"I can write my name and I can write a few things. I can read a nursery book as well" Harry said, fearful that he would be sent away from the school.

"Well that's a start" Miss Clavel said, smiling to put Harry at ease. "We will help you to catch up with what everybody else knows" and Harry looked relieved.

"Miss Clavel?" Hermione began.

"Yes, Hermione?" the teacher looked down at Hermione.

"I know the times tables already" the bushy haired child said, "Can I help Harry?" she asked.

"That's up to Harry" Miss Clavel said.

"If Hermione wants to help me" Harry said, and Hermione beamed.

"Well then, you two had better go to the library then. Get your things and I will write a note to explain why you are out of class" the teacher said.

"Thank you Miss Clavel" Hermione said, and she and Harry picked up their books and pencils and went to the library.

Harry didn't know the way as it was his first day, so he let his new friend show him the way. They found a quiet corner of the library to work in and Hermione found a few books she thought they could start with. It turned out that Harry was a quick learner and by the end of the month Harry knew his times tables up to the seven times. During their time together in what should have been math, Harry got to know Hermione quite well and they became very good friends. Every so often, Harry went to Hermione's house and had tea with her and Hermione's family as long as he was back by 7pm. On weekends, Hermione came to the Children's home in order to play with Harry. By the time it was December, Harry knew almost as much as Hermione did which meant he was very smart. It showed off Hermione's gift for helping people and her almost never ending knowledge. At school, the children wrote cards to Santa and made decorations for their homes, or in Harry's case the Children's Home. The last weekend before the Christmas break, Hermione sat at the desk and tried to think of what she wanted for this year. She was almost given up on the idea, when she suddenly hit upon the best idea she had ever thought of. She left her room and went downstairs where her parent sat watching the Television.

"Mummy? Daddy? Can I talk to you please?" she asked.

"Whats wrong, sweetie?" asked her father, picking her up and putting her on his knee.

"What is the matter?" her mother asked.

"I was wondering if I could have something different for a present this year" Hermione said.

"I told you before, Honey. You can not have a dog" her father said, but to his surprise Hermione shook her head.

"It isn't that" she told her parents, "I was wondering if I could have just one present this year" and both parents exchanged looks at each other.

"Well of course you can" her mother said causality.

"But why?" asked her dad.

"It's something to do with my friend Harry" Hermione said, and then the little seven year old girl told her parents what she wanted.

# # # # #

"Is she in bed?" asked Hermione's father.

"Yes" replied Hermione's mother, and then she sat on the sofa next to her husband. David and Jane Granger both cared deeply for their daughter and did almost anything to make her happy. They had sent her to the best primary school in the town that they lived in and made sure she had plenty of toys and things. They encouraged her to be herself and helped her when she couldn't understand a difficult word or concept that even Hermione's bright mind couldn't figure out.

"What are we going to do?" asked David, "Do you think that they would let us look after Harry on Christmas Day?" he added.

"We can always ask in the morning" Jane replied to her husband, "I'll just talk to the manager and make a few enquiries. We have looked after Harry before and they know that. It should work in our favour that" she said. David looked thoughtful for a moment and then frowned in deeper thought.

"How are our finances?" he asked.

"There's £10,000 in the bank" Jane said. She was puzzled for a moment and looked at her husband suspiciously. "Why?" she asked, "What do you have in mind?" and David smiled brightly at his wife and made certain that the living room door was closed before explaining his idea.