The last chapter is the full story, edited and with a few additions. So if you want to skip all these chapters and just read the last chapter, that's fine too :D
Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling. This story is merely my way of saluting her. I do not own any of these characters; I just manipulate their thoughts.
"This will be a great way to let off steam, Harry," Hermione said, pushing a quill into his hand. Harry was despondently sitting at his desk in the Ministry, letting Hermione do her talking.
"I don't want to talk to strangers," he muttered, knowing that Hermione would glaze over that comment.
"Just imagine it! You can write to a random stranger about anything you want. You'll be getting a new perspective on life. They won't know who you are and so they won't know your history. In fact, this is one way of experiencing a normal life, Harry. Isn't that what you want?"
"Well, yeah… But this seems so – impersonal…"
"What you say is not always what you mean. When you write, especially to people who don't know you, it opens many doors. You can be whomever you want! They don't see you, they don't know you, and so be who you want to be. No mask to hide behind, you won't be Harry Potter. You'll just be Harry."
Harry sighed. It did sound nice, to have a person talk to him like he was normal. Not being asked questions about the final battle. Not being reassured that he had his dad's face and his mom's eyes. Not being labeled. It would be nice to just be.
Harry rolled his eyes at Hermione and nodded. She grinned cheekily and clapped her hands. "Oh, good! I'm so excited for you!" she exclaimed. "All you need to do is send you messages to this address," she handed him a piece of paper, "and they will send out your mail to someone. If that person replies back and you like what you read, then just stick with it. If not, just send in a request to find another person to talk to. I can't believe how simple it is. And let me tell you this! Some of my friends at the office have tried it, and they simply adore it! It's like keeping a diary, except that you get a reply back! Tell me how it goes!" Hermione flitted out of Harry's office after giving him a small hug.
Harry sat staring at the parchment for a while. He absently patted his wild hair down, thinking of what to say. Nothing that made him desperate, but he wanted it to be interesting nonetheless. He stared out his window, looking at the wizards and witches milling around the street, enjoying the pleasant afternoon. 'I guess I'll just… start…'
An insistent tapping on his bedroom window woke Draco up. He groaned and pulled out his wand, ready to curse the owl that would soon be flying into his room. Opening his eyes took a lot of energy and Draco didn't think the bird was going to be worth it. He blindly opened the window with a small flick of the wand and then rolled over, covering his head with his warm duvet. The owl stood by Draco's head, tilting its head. It nudged at Draco's hidden head with its beak, trying to catch his attention. Draco shooed it with his hand, but it just hopped about on his pillow. Not wanting to clean bird droppings off his bed, he snatched the letter that the owl was trying to hand him. Without another moment's delay, the owl swooped out of Draco's bedroom.
"Ruddy bird couldn't have waited a few more hours?" Draco muttered to himself, throwing the letter on his beside table and trying to get back to sleep. But once he was woken up, he couldn't sleep until that night. He tossed and turned, trying to figure out what he'd been dreaming about. After ten minutes of frustrated growls and unsuccessful positions, Draco threw his bedspread away and stumbled to his feet.
He stretched his arms above his head, finally getting his eyes to focus. He looked to the side and caught the letter that had woken him up. He had half the mind to just burn it. He scowled at the parchment before snatching it from the table. He needed to let his sleep-deprived aggression out on something, so might as well take it out on the letter. He unceremoniously ripped it open, barely glancing at the envelope. He caught the words Quill Anonymous and scoffed. Blaise had made him join the fad a couple of years ago. Blaise liked trying new things, and he figured getting Draco to join with him would make it even better. Draco had reluctantly started writing a few letters, but the responses he got made him shudder. To think that people in the world who really shouldn't be given access to quills, had the capacity to send out letters to strangers irked him. The replies were either horrifically erotic or horrifically worded. Blaise didn't seem to mind – he got a kick out of reading the awful letters, posting them up in his workplace so his co-workers could laugh at them.
Draco had tried to cancel his subscription, but Quill Anonymous just didn't seem to get the message. So he kept returning his unopened letters until they stopped sending him so many. Now he only received a couple each month, which he sometimes read and sometimes tore up. He figured, since he had nothing better to do that morning, that he'd read this one.
He sat back on his bed, slouched over and pulled out the parchment from the envelope. 'At least it's legible…'
This is my first letter that I have posted since joining the Quill Anonymous. I say this because you will have to pardon my uncharacteristic phrases and etiquette. I am sure that if we start corresponding more often, I will be able to pick up on the best way to write these letters. I would rather not divulge my name, and I will not expect you to do so either.
On a more personal note, I am open to discussing all kinds of topics – my personal soft spot being Quidditch. But I suppose all wizards harbor such a weakness. I used to play while in school; I liked the challenge and the competition. The fact that you required skill to be considered a good player drew me into the game. While I was awful at all other school related activities (well, all the pointless ones like Divination and History), I will tell you that Quidditch has always been my passion.
Do you have a favorite team? Mine would be the Puddlemere United. Before you snort with amusement, I want to justify myself! They have a wicked offense, albeit a rubbish defense. Doesn't help that the Beater has the aim and brute of a ninety-year-old man! It's like the team just went up to a stranger and asked if he wanted to play in the greatest Quidditch matches of all time. Before he could even think about it, they whisked him away to start the game. Still, I've got to stay true to my team, even if their manager is a sodding idiot.
Now that I've got that rant out of the way, I'll finish this letter off by saying thanks. Thanks for reading my pointless thoughts.
Draco smiled at how quickly the letter had turned from a formal introductory speech to the excited ramblings of a boy to an abrupt finish. It looked like the work of a reluctant writer who enjoyed what he was writing, but didn't want to enjoy it. Draco folded the letter and placed it in the pocket of his cloak. He'd have to show it to Blaise later.
Harry was finishing his amendments to the Auror Code when his secretary strolled in with his post. He curiously shuffled through them, pulling out the envelope with Quills Anonymous on it. He hadn't expected a reply at all, and to see that this letter got to him mere days after he'd sent his was surprising. He shrugged to himself and opened it carefully. The paper looked quite expensive and the handwriting was very eloquent. He raised his eyebrows at the quality of the letter before starting to read it.
I'm fine with anonymity. We all deserve some. And regarding your support for Puddlemere, I must say I am sorely disappointed. Why settle for the fifth best team when you could support the Falmouth Falcons? They are brilliant offensively and defensively. Their Beaters are vicious and their Seeker is top notch. A much nobler team to cheer for, don't you think?
Harry smirked at the short reply. The letter was expensive and the writer wasn't trying hard to hide it. He pulled out his quill and a piece of parchment.
Draco was lying on the sofa in his drawing room. He heard the owl flutter in through his large bay windows and he looked up from his magazine. The owl perched on the back of the sofa, holding out its leg.
"Ah, another one, huh?" Draco muttered, detaching the letter from the bird's leg. He ripped it open carelessly, tossing the envelope on the floor. He rested his head on the armrest as he read the letter.
It is quite unbelievable that a person could ever cheer for the Falcons. They're off the trolley! It seems like they take pleasure in knocking the teeth out of their opponents. If that's what you call defense, then I'm glad United has a crummy one! Why, just last week, Henry Goodhill got a nasty concussion because Vincent Baggert 'accidentally' hit him on the head with his club! How on earth is that noble?
Draco rolled his eyes at the letter. 'Sounds like a pansy.' He threw the letter on the floor and it landed beside the envelope. Draco picked up his magazine and started to flip through it again.
"So, how's it going?" Hermione asked, picking at her salad.
"Good," Harry replied simply, taking a bite out of his sandwich.
"You know what I'm talking about," Hermione said, rolling her eyes.
"And I told you, it's going well," Harry said, mimicking Hermione's action.
"What do you write about?" she asked curiously.
She scoffed. "Men…"
Harry was reading the Daily Prophet while sipping his coffee when the next owl came. It had been a week since he posted his letter and he figured that he'd successfully managed to scare D off. So he was surprised when the owl stuck out its leg.
He opened the letter slowly, pondering over his breakfast over how to continue their soon-to-be mundane conversation. He didn't have to look far.
Harry snorted at the greeting.
If you can't handle a little roughhousing, then it would be best that you stick with Puddlemere, seeing as how they are getting absolutely no action on the field these days. They're total pants! At least the Falcons get their act together and win games. What are the Puddlemeres good for? They're being tossed about like a used tissue. You know what they say – no pain, no gain!
Harry read the letter a couple more times, making sure he wasn't misreading the blatant taunts that were present in it. It's been a long time since someone had talked to him like that. He smiled slightly.
"Hey, Malfoy, look at what you got!" Blaise said, strolling into Draco's kitchen. Draco raised an eyebrow, turning to look at Blaise's grinning face. Blaise was holding a letter in his hand. Draco rolled his eyes, trying to snatch it from Blaise's fingers.
"Will you ever stop going through my mail?" Draco asked, folding his arms in front of him. Blaise took a swig from his Butterbeer in response.
"Fine," Draco asked, turning back to his dinner.
"You're gonna be pissed off," Blaise said, cracking a large grin.
Now Draco perked his ears curiously. This he had to see. He put his hand out and raised his eyebrows expectantly. Blaise smirked for a moment before shoving the parchment into Draco's palm.
Draco glanced up at Blaise's amused expression. Blaise nodded at him to continue reading past the greeting.
You must be rather dense if you think that winning a Quidditch match requires spilt blood! A few bruises, perhaps. The sodding Falcons think the only way they'd win is to kill the competition! Puddlemere was the reigning champion until a few years ago, and they didn't get that far by being arseholes… The Falcons wouldn't be half the team they are right now without their daft and sadistic Beaters! The only thing holding that ruddy team together is their Seeker.
And I think you have sorely misunderstood the phrase 'no pain, no gain'.
Draco looked back up at Blaise, his mouth gaping slightly. Blaise was snickering quietly, leaning against the countertop.
"Does he know you're the Seeker?"