Digging My Potato
A Harry Potter Oneshot
Premise: On the first day of the term, someone pranks the school by locking all of the classroom doors shut for the day, thus cancelling all lessons. Hermione Granger is not amused.
"It's the first day of class tomorrow, go to sleep, you two."
"Good night, Hermione!"
Before I went to bed, I left the door open just a crack, just enough to let a slender beam of light from the hallway filter into the darkness of the room. I'm not sure when I started sleeping with the door open like that, nor do I really remember why. It's not like I'm afraid of the dark or anything.
Some time during my childhood back home, I had started using my hand to measure out how much I wanted the door to stay open. And as I grew, the gap grew as well. The light from the hallway would outline my bedroom door on two sides, an L-shape, and a thin, slanted beam of light would snake across the floor, up my bed, and over my legs, like a guiding light back to my parents whenever a thunderstorm hit or a nightmare burrowed its way between my ears like a parasite. Over the years, as I grew, that sliver of light had grown as well.
As I lay in bed, I stared hard at that knife of flickering light as it cut through the darkness. I wasn't sure where that beam of light led to here at Hogwarts though. My parents weren't here.
Yes, I still do it here at Hogwarts. Parvati and Lavender never called me out on it though. Their first impression of me was probably that I was a strange girl, so leaving the door open just a crack like that every night was likely just another one of my quirks to them. This is the sixth year I've been with them, so they too had actually gotten into the habit of leaving a gap whenever I'd go to bed before they did. It was like an unspoken rule; or perhaps a game, since they had probably found it amusing. That was fine with me.
Restless. Can't sleep.
That light irritated me for some reason, as if it were the reason I couldn't go to sleep. But I knew that wasn't it. I had gone to sleep with that sliver of light since I had been a child, there was no reason it should bother me now.
Tomorrow was the first day of classes. Sixth year. With OWLs completed, I finally get to study NEWT level material. Excited. If I had a tail, I'm sure it would be thumping against the mattress with the rhythm of my thrilled heart. Too excited to sleep.
No, but I must sleep. I need to be alert in class. I need to make a good first impression with the new potions professor. I need to learn.
But I found myself staring at the sliver of light that ran across the floor of the dorm room. Almost hypnotic. Mesmerizing. Like a spell. Like time had frozen in the darkened stillness, gripping me in this state of infernal wakefulness, not allowing me to move forward to the tomorrow I desire so badly. The only movement in the room was the flickering of the beam of light from the crack in the door. There were no electric lights at Hogwarts; the candle flames fluttered like butterfly wings, and so did that sliver of light, as if it was the only place time still flowed within the darkness of the room.
As I continued staring at it with spellbound eyes, I could swear that I was even starting to hear things from it. It was like music that was so faint that you weren't sure whether you were actually hearing or whether you were just going mental.
I could hear it in my mind.
Ron accuses me of being mental so much that I might even start thinking he's right someday. But that day hasn't arrived yet. I'm not mental.
Restless. Can't sleep.
Eventually I closed the door, and the trail of light disappeared.
It's exasperating really. Seeing Ron and Harry with their smug grins as they watched the rest of the student body mill through the corridors to class forced me to take a calming breath. As infuriating as it was, I had to remember not to grind my teeth. My parents had been scolding me recently that my grinding has been sanding down my teeth to an unnaturally and perfectly flattened plane, like the white keys of a piano.
Ah, there I go rambling again.
Even while walking towards potions, I could hear Professor McGonagall's stern voice rise over the din. I could even imagine her shaking her head with a condescendingly raised eyebrow. I stifle a snicker. Serves him right. Wanting to know what Professor McGonagall would say to him that would wipe that smug grin off his face, I stopped to listen, an island amongst the stream of frazzled firsties trying to find where their classes were in this maze of a castle.
"Enjoying ourselves, are we? Weasley looks far too happy over there."
"Well, we both have free period this morning, Professor."
He said it in a way that made me snort. Free period, bah.
"So I've noticed. I would think you would want to fill it with potions. Or is it no longer your ambition to become an Auror?"
When Professor McGonagall explained the new entrance requirements for the sixth-year potions class, I immediately waded through the crowd and grabbed Harry by the arm, not wanting to be late for class. "C'mon, let's go!"
"Ms. Granger, take Weasley with you as well," Professor McGonagall said. She seemed slightly amused.
"Yes, Professor," I said with a polite nod.
"Wha? Where we going?" Ron stammered as I dragged the two boys down the hall.
"Potions, apparently." Harry shrugged.
"Are you mental? I don't want to take potions!"
I couldn't help grinding my teeth in exasperation as my grip on their arms tightened along with the clenching of my jaw. It really was a bad habit. When I was younger, I had complained about my front teeth protruding out, but now my teeth are too uniform in their straightness due to years of grinding.
It's the stress. If these two were at least half as responsible as me, then I wouldn't have all this stress, and I wouldn't be grinding my teeth into an artificially and perfectly smooth flat plane. It didn't look natural; nothing organic should be sanded down to be that smooth. Teeth should have pits, fissures, valleys, and hills, like the natural landscape; it shouldn't be flat like the pavement of a city street. Too mechanical. It was like I was turning into a machine. These two were already using me as a homework machine. Yes, I blame these two.
It just wouldn't do for the daughter of two dentists to have less than ideal teeth. When I had gotten my first dental cavity I had been so ashamed that I hid under my blanket all day and cried, the tangle of heavy fabric binding me in its darkness and trapping my humid breath until it turned into a muggy and oppressive weight, suffocating me with my own air.
It's hard being a daughter of two dentists. I don't want to reflect poorly on their dental practice. Nor do I want my own parents to be disappointed in me. Disappointing my parents scares me almost as much as disappointing myself.
I live by my own standards (which, I would like to think, are higher than the standards my parents set for me), but I still want my parents to be proud of me. I must go to class and overachieve, so as to not disappoint my parents or myself. Yes, class.
When we got to Professor Slughorn's classroom, I was relieved to see a familiar group of fellow overachievers waiting outside. We weren't late. And Professor Slughorn probably has a reasonable explanation as to why he wasn't here yet to open the class for us.
"The door's locked," somebody said. "Professor Slughorn couldn't get it open and went to get the headmaster."
All of the classrooms were locked and no one knew how to open them.
My previous relief was promptly shredded to little pieces by the grinding of my teeth.
I remember, one time, back when I was younger, we had been learning compound words that day in primary school. The teacher had asked the class if we could name any, so I had raised my hand as usual.
I, of course, being the charitable person that I am, had wanted to leave the easy ones to my peers, so I had rattled off the fancier words I could think of, starting off with overachieve.
That's right, bow down to my then five-year-old genius. My classmates must have had been so astounded by my knowledge that no one else spoke up. So I had kept on listing more and more compound words. Then I had reached sandwich.
Sandwich is not a compound word.
When the teacher had told me so, I had felt so humiliated that I hadn't spoken for the rest of the day in fear of being wrong again, in fear of being a disappointment.
"You should eat," Harry said, breaking me out of my thoughts as he sat down next to me in front of the locked door to the potions classroom.
"Thanks, Harry. Why aren't you eating lunch in the Great Hall?"
"Just in case another troll just happened to rampage around the castle," he replied.
Oh, right, I had been absent from the Great Hall for a meal during the troll incident as well. I smile a little in gratefulness as we both began eating a couple of the sandwiches that Harry had brought.
In between bites, I spouted off every unlocking charm I knew. Nothing worked. Every single classroom in the entire castle was still locked. As infuriating as it was, I needed to keep a level head in order to figure how to unlock the doors. Don't get angry, get even.
Though, we had found that, after using seven consecutive unlocking charms, the doors would display a message. It told us to give up. It told us that the doors would unlock tomorrow morning anyway, so there was no point in wasting the day trying to get the doors open. It told us to have fun instead and start classes tomorrow.
But classes were fun! Learning was fun! The library was fun! How dare this message tell me to have fun and yet withhold it from me behind this blooming locked door? Even the library was locked! How dare they! Tomorrow, it said! It was always tomorrow! I had already waited for tomorrow yesterday!
Professor Dumbledore had actually seemed amused though, with that twinkle in his eye. He had excused classes for the day, much to the delight of the rest of the students, even though I had suggested we hold classes outdoors on the grounds. I had been pelted with a crumpet for my efforts to uphold the standards of education. The nerve!
The professors, despite the promise that the doors would unlock by themselves tomorrow, were working on trying to decipher what exactly had been done to the doors. Most of them, including Professor Dumbledore, seemed to take a very lackadaisical attitude about it though. To them, it seemed it was, at most, an amusing puzzle with no dire consequences if left unsolved. Only Professor McGonagall seemed to understand my pain. She was currently fervently working on unlocking her Transfigurations classroom.
Oh, and Professor Snape too, though in a different sense. It was supposed to be his first day teaching Defense after pursuing the position for years. So close yet so far. Ron had likened him to a whimpering dog pawing at the cupboard that held the doggy treats, but I had to disagree. Professor Snape wasn't that pitiful.
"Maybe you should give it a rest," Harry suggested.
No, I will not allow this to become another sandwich incident.
In my hand, I had my wand; in my head, I had my brain; and surrounding me were great stacks of books, so how could I fail?
Failure was not an option. Sandwich was not an option.
It was a series of five complex coded puzzles.
After hitting the locked door with seven straight unlocking charms, it had displayed that message telling us to give up and that all the doors would unlock tomorrow morning anyway regardless of how much effort we put into trying to force them open. Another seven unlocking spells did nothing. No additional messages. So I had cast seventy-seven at it to see what would happen.
It had the nerve to call me a persistent bugger.
Do not grind teeth. Do not grind teeth. Calm yourself, Hermione Granger. Do not grind teeth.
Then it gave me the puzzles. Five of them in all.
It was driving me crazy.
It didn't even tell me what the puzzles were for. It didn't give me a promise that the door would unlock if I solved them. For all I know the puzzles could just be a distraction from focusing on actually working on the door. What were the blooming puzzles for? You can't just give them to me and not say anything! Tell me what they're for! I demand it!
Working on something without knowing whether it will bring you closer to your goal or not will drive you mad. Mental.
Sometimes I wonder why I'm here at Hogwarts. Sometimes I wonder if my parents are disappointed in me for giving up my Muggle childhood dreams so easily for magic. Sometimes I wonder if I'm disappointed in myself for not sticking to my aspirations for medical school or law school. But those goals were from before I had known about magic. Now I don't know. Maybe a healer, but it somehow doesn't have the prestige that goes with being a Muggle doctor.
Medical or law school are still attractive options to me. But then I would have spent seven years at Hogwarts when I should have spent those seven years preparing for university. I do love learning, especially about magic, but the thought that I would be seven years behind schedule if I ever chose to return to the Muggle world really stresses me out. It drives me crazy sometimes.
Kind of like working on these puzzles without knowing whether they will open the door for me or not. Kind of like, back in primary school, we had a gardening project, and I, being the thorough person that I am, had been determined to dig out every single blooming potato in that garden by the time we had finished. But then it got to the point where I had dug out so many potatoes that I wasn't sure if there were any more left to dig out. As frustrating as it had been though, I had kept digging until my hands ached. My pride in my thoroughness had depended on it.
My father's potato was music.
My father used to be a musician. It was difficult making a living as a cellist though, so he went back to school to become a dentist. I was already four years old when he had gone back to school. I saw his stress of changing careers and being years behind of his peers. He was an older musician with a music degree, not a fresh young mind straight out of studying biology at college. He had started smoking then, even though it was bad for his teeth. I don't want to be the same way if I decide to go to medical school, having spent seven years as a witch when all of my peers had spent those seven years studying biology, chemistry, physics, and maths.
Am I just digging for potatoes here at Hogwarts?
My father's potato was music. It was a very nice potato, but still a potato. He's a dentist now, a wealthy and successful dentist.
The summer after my first year at Hogwarts, I had dearly wanted to show my parents what I had learned so that they would be proud of me, but the restriction on underage magic had forbade it. Afraid that they would be disappointed in me for not going to a regular school where I could actually show them my progress, I had insisted on volunteering at their dental practice for the summer to make up for it and prove that I was still a hard worker.
They didn't let me do more than just shadow them at work, I had only been a twelve-year-old after all, but I think they were still glad that I had taken an interest in their work, that I was still a part of their world. They had always encouraged me to go to medical school or law school, and I think they still want me to pursue a Muggle career, so they had done a lot to show me how a dental practice was run.
One of the things that I had gotten to do was pick the music for the people sitting in the waiting room and then call them up for their appointment. As always, I had taken my job seriously and picked out an assortment of classical and jazz pieces for the playlist. Pop and rock weren't professional, so I left those out. Let it be known that it had nothing to do with the fact that I knew nothing about pop; there is nothing that Hermione Granger does not know. Seriously.
At the time, there had only been one old lady waiting for a routine checkup, a Mrs. Smith. When my first pick, the prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No.1, came floating down from the speakers hanging on the walls, like a feather drifting back and forth in the breeze with its oscillating notes and chords, I saw Mrs. Smith close her eyes and smile with the ascending arpeggios, and I felt proud of myself for making a good choice.
So I closed my eyes as well, imagining the veins of my father's strong hands breathing life into the cello by dancing upon its strings. Whenever I listened to this song, I always remember when he used to lift me up into the air and twirl me around. The rumbling bass notes were his powerful arms, not letting me fall, and the ascending high notes were his smile as he lifted me up.
I could hear him. Even when he was drilling or scaling someone's teeth, I imagined those deft hands dancing scales across the cello.
It was time to call Mrs. Smith up for her appointment. So I opened my eyes. Mrs. Smith never did. Not for her routine checkup. Not to leave. She just sat there, eyes closed and smiling.
With my father's cello reaching the climax of the song, like a peaceful ascent to heaven with lights and angels and everything, my parents ushered me to the back where I never did get to see what had happened to Mrs. Smith.
No, it never really occurred to me what really happened until...
Harry had fallen asleep while I had been trying to figure out the locking spell that was on the door, but he had been rather restless and had somehow ended up taking his kip on my shoulder. I hadn't known what he had been dreaming about until his godfather's name sent a haunting shiver down my ear.
Contrary to popular belief, just witnessing a death isn't enough to see a Thestral. If that were true, then Harry would have seen them pull the carriages at the end of fourth year rather than at the beginning of fifth year. No, you need to have actually dealt with what you had witnessed and come to terms with it.
I never really did get to talk to him about Sirius. At the end of last year, Ron had always hushed me whenever I had tried. And, over the summer, so many other things had gone on that had seemed to take Harry's mind off the death.
I was glad that he had decided to stay with me here at the locked door, even if it perhaps hadn't been a conscious decision. He had just fallen asleep and thus had never left. But it felt nice not to be alone.
I wondered if he had felt alone in Sirius's death.
So, softly, I began to hum the prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No.1.
Three down, two to go.
The five puzzles were all math riddles. The first answer was 10. The answer to the second puzzle was 9. Then 13. I decided to refrain from looking for a pattern until I solved all of them.
"I wonder who could've pulled off such a prank," Harry wondered out loud. I was actually surprised he was still here with me. Though, he wasn't helping at all, he was just keeping me company, so I wasn't sure whether to be irritated at him or grateful.
I really hate being alone. When I used to sit by myself at lunch time, it almost felt like being at the center of attention and being neglected all at the same time. I felt their jeering eyes boring into my back as I sat alone at my little table. It was like the world revolved around me, except in a bad way, with me at the center and all around me, spinning and spinning, were these cold and scornful eyes, spinning, until I got dizzy from the loneliness.
"What a loser," they would say, amongst other even more hurtful things. But it was their eyes that hurt the most.
Back in primary school, when I had been digging through the garden for that last potato, the teacher had kept telling me that I had done enough. But I refused to leave a job unfinished; such a careless and half-baked effort was beneath me.
But as the day had gone on, digging through that garden all by my lonesome, and all I had to show for it was dirt, I had started to doubt myself, whether that last potato really was there or not. I couldn't just leave it alone though. I kept imagining that last potato as being very lonely.
Somebody needed to find it.
I had wished somebody would find me. Though, a troll wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I had made that wish.
"You think this is a prank?" I asked him incredulously.
Canary creams were pranks. Ton-tongue toffees were pranks. Fred and George were pranks. Fred and George weren't even here; they had left the year before during the Umbridge fiasco.
"What else could it be?" He shrugged as he stared at the door with those kind eyes of his. I loved his eyes. He never looked at me with hateful eyes.
I sighed. "Harry... you don't have to stay here, you know. You could go goof off with Ron."
I didn't want to bore him. That was one of my fears, that people would find me boring and leave me for someone more fun. Harry was too nice though, he wouldn't tell me that I was boring him even if I really were.
"I know," he said simply.
But he stayed put, not moving a muscle, just staring off distantly at the locked door. Did he know something? Was he seeing something that I was missing?
"Then why are you here?" I asked.
He blinked but his gaze never strayed from the door. "It's kind of like... time has stopped... hasn't it?"
It has, I realized, but not in a literal sense. And that was what was so infuriating about this whole thing. I could have spent this day learning and studying and getting ahead. Now I'm behind. This blooming door was stopping me from moving forward.
Time was something I never had enough of. Back in third year I had to beg Professor McGonagall for the Time Turner in order to take as many classes as possible. And now, if I ever did decide to pursue a Muggle career, I'd be seven years behind. Seven years! Every single minute was precious and, yet, here I am wasting my time because of this blooming door!
But then I realized the difference between Harry and I.
Harry was just sitting there, staring off at the door, not making even the slightest effort to open it, as if he had wanted it to stay shut. Or perhaps, as he had put it, he had wanted his time to stop, just for today, so that he could catch his breath before moving on. And here I was, desperately trying to get it open, to start time back up again.
Conflict of interest.
"Care to elaborate?" I prodded.
He let out a small sigh and shook his head as he absentmindedly started humming the prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No.1.
He probably didn't mean anything by it, but I understood.
10, 9, 13, 13, 25.
Those were the answers to the five puzzles. After slaving away doing endless calculations by hand, I had finally gotten it. It was almost dinner time, and there would be no more classes for the day even if I did get the door open, but I didn't care anymore. I had succeeded.
"Harry! I got it! I finally got it!" I cheered as I flung my arms around him in an ecstatic hug.
He patted me on the head, like how my father used to when I did a good job, and it was like those gentle pats were all it took to break the already crumbling concrete walls of my self-control and patience. Each pat almost sent tremors through me like an earthquake, each one breaching the defenses, a crack, a leak, then a gusher of relief from behind the dam.
I had found that last potato.
I was a blubbering mess in his arms, but I didn't care. I had done what even the professors couldn't do. I had done it, all by myself.
"10, 9, 13, 13, 25! Now open up!" I screamed a the door, my voice coming out in a shrill and commanding tone.
No. All my hard work, all for nothing.
I had found the potato, but I couldn't dig it up. I wasn't strong enough to pull it out by myself.
"Maybe we have to write it on the door," Harry suggested before I could sink into a pit of hopelessness and despair.
Yes, thank you, Harry. I could kiss you.
But I won't, I have more important things to do right now. Like getting that blooming door open so that I can study!
Working on trying to open the locked door reminded me of the time I had first decided to play the piano. I never had the natural talent for music. Though, that still didn't stop me from trying.
One summer day, all of a sudden, I had gotten the urge to learn how to play the prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No.1. But my father's cello was far too daunting for me. It had been too big for me at the time anyway. So the simple solution had been to play it on the piano that we had in the lounge.
In preparation I had read all of the books on learning piano I could. That had been the fun part. Reading about it had made it seem so easy, just reading about the techniques and understanding them had almost made me feel like I had learned it, in my mind anyway. And mind over matter, right?
It had been a hot summer day when I had sat down at the piano with the intent to master a piece of music. Playing a cello piece on piano wouldn't be too difficult, I had thought. I could play it with one hand behind my back. No, seriously, I could. You only need one hand to play cello music on a piano.
The sheet music only had one note at a time, no pressing multiple keys at once. Most of the song was really just little black dots repeatedly going up and down across the page like little ants going climbing up and down miniature rolling hills or staircases. Just one note at a time, easy, right?
But as the day had worn on, my frustrations had slid down my face and down my shirt along with the perspiration from the sweltering summer heat. I just couldn't move my fingers fast enough to play through the song smoothly, especially those arpeggios that ran down a string of thirteen notes, forcing me to slide or cross my hands over. Even with both hands, I only have ten fingers! Then there was that section with five consecutive arpeggios of seven or eight notes each!
I was running out of time. My parents would be home from work soon. I had really wanted to surprise them. Those frantic thoughts had begun to jumble my thoughts as the sequences of notes that I had painstakingly memorized (due to the fact that I couldn't read sheet music very fast) had started blurring together in a blender of vexation.
My frustrations had kept mounting, a new bitter pill tossed into the growing toxic pharmacy of bitter pills with each tick of the clock until I had been buried so deep in the overdose that I could barely move my arms.
Like a gunshot through the chest. I was the main character in one of those overly dramatic movie scenes where I'd just stare blankly down at the bloody wound and feel around at it with my hand until my eyes would grow wide in fear as what had just happened finally registered in my mind.
I immediately closed the piano and ran. I didn't play the piano for my parents that day.
I refuse to run away from this locked door.
It was already nearing curfew and I had tried everything I possibly could with those blooming numbers. I had tried writing the numbers on the door in all manner of ways, quill and ink, crayons, markers, charcoal, engraving, even burning them in with fire. Nothing worked.
Then I had tried finding a pattern in the numbers. They spelled JIMMY. J was the tenth letter of the alphabet, I was the ninth, M was the thirteenth, and Y was the twenty-fifth. So I had repeated the process with JIMMY. Still nothing.
"For having stayed with me all day," I said with a sigh of resignation.
"I had my own reasons," he replied, shrugging.
"Care to elaborate?"
He stood up and stretched, cracking a few joints in the process. "Sitting here, in front of this door, it was like time had stopped to give me a break... I just needed a break, that's all."
A break from what?
After Sirius had died, he had never had time to really just sit down and deal with it. First it was Voldemort and the prophecy, then the Dursleys, then recruiting Professor Slughorn, then Fleur and Bill's engagement and all the drama at the Weasley Burrow, then OWL results and career considerations, then Malfoy's suspicious behavior, everything, it had just been one thing after another.
And then it had all suddenly stopped. These locked doors. What had been a disastrous, careening trainwreck for me had been a life-saving reprieve for him. So, while I had been working on this locked door all day, he had been mulling over his godfather's death.
Of course, he didn't actually say any of that. He didn't really need to. All he had said was that he had needed a break, but I understood. I don't really like it when guys whine or play the pity card anyway, so I thought he was kind of cool just then. Like a hardboiled protagonist from a black-and-white crime noir.
"You okay now?" I asked, getting up to my feet as well.
He gave me a small smile and nodded. "Yeah, I think so. Are you?"
I glanced over at the door, my heart heavy with defeat. "I don't know..."
"Well, classes will resume tomorrow morning, so don't worry about it."
But that's not the issue here! I had failed.
No! I refuse to fail!
"Do you think your father and the Marauders were responsible for this?" I asked softly. I didn't want to sound accusatory or anything, but it was my last shot at this. It could be a clue. I can't fail!
"Why would you say that?"
"Jimmy... it's a nickname for James. Do you think Professor Lupin has his mirror on him so that we can call him?"
"Full moon." He shrugged as he nodded towards the window.
"Then... you don't think it's telling us to jimmy the lock, do you?" I wondered skeptically.
"Worth a try. Transfigure a credit card for me?"
"You know how to jimmy a lock?" I asked, raising an eyebrow as he tore off a piece of parchment and transfigured a small plastic card for him. Harry was such a nice boy that it didn't really seem to fit his image.
"Kind of hard not to pick it up after spending ten years living in a cupboard," he joked as he went to work.
Oh Merlin. Please don't tell me it was that simple. I wanted to cry.
One night, back at home, as I had tried falling asleep, all I could do was just stare at the sliver of light projecting from the gap in my bedroom door.
I could hear things. Faint. Like I wasn't hearing them with my ears. Sounds that wriggle through the crevasses of your brain and burrow themselves deep.
The next thing I knew, I was following that beam of light that was splayed out across my bedroom floor, I followed it to the door.
Then, down in the lounge, I found my father digging around inside the piano. He had a tired expression on his face, and I imagined that he was digging for potatoes.
I froze. Was he mad at me?
"I replaced the string that snapped," he said in an even tone. "Do you want to show me what you've been practicing?"
I couldn't show him magic, so I had wanted to at least show him that I had started learning how to play the piano.
Hesitantly, I sat down and placed my fingers across the smooth ivory keys.
I don't remember much of my performance that night. I had been running practically on autopilot, everything done out of muscle memory. I had been too focused on my father to remember whether I had even played the song all that well or not. All I could do was take his word for it.
"Good job. That was really good, but keep practicing. Don't let a broken string keep you from practicing."
"Huh, would you look at that," Harry chuckled as he pulled himself up to take a seat on one of the desks in the empty classroom we had just managed to finally open.
Smiling a little, I clutched his arm as I read what had been scrawled across the chalkboard in messy letters.
Don't let a locked door keep you from moving forward.