Disclaimer: No, sadly I do not own Harry Potter.
Friends are relatives you make for yourself.
Hermione sat still as a statue, staring out at the gray sky that brought teardrops down onto the earth. The sky seemed to be crying, and she wasn't complaining. It matched her mood perfectly. She'd come home from school after having been teased for being nerdy, for her abnormally bushy hair, and her large front teeth. It wouldn't have been as bad if she had accepted it. The feeling that she didn't belong had existed the moment she had developed a sense of her surroundings.
From the moment she was born, queer things seemed to happen around her. She'd dyed a school bully's hair an obnoxious neon orange when she was 8. Hermione had been able to reach toys on shelves that had definitely been too far away for her to even touch. She had developed her linguistic and mathematical skills much quicker than the average child. While all her friends had been fascinated by programs on the new-fangled telly, Hermione had enjoyed reading history books and for some reason, fantasy books like the Wizard of Oz.
The first moment she'd known there was something wrong about her was when her cousins had visited when she was 4. They'd teased her, and angry, she saw red for a moment, and the next moment, they were all hanging off of the playground equipment.
The rest of their stay, they had avoided Hermione like the plague, and after hearing what had happened, none of the aunts and uncles encouraged them to hang out with her. Just today, her cousins had visited again. "She's weird, that Hermione," cousin Britney had whispered loudly at dinner. Hermione envied her perfectly straight teeth and shiny blonde hair. "She's boring and nobody likes her."
So that was how Hermione had ended up running up the stairs and locking the door to her room. She didn't wish to talk to anyone. Because here in her room, the only thing that existed was the sky, the rain, and the trees. Her only companions were books. Hermione was going to figure out what was wrong with her. Because when she did, she knew she'd be able to find a place where she belonged. And maybe there, she, Hermione Granger, could find friends.
One would think that a boy with that many siblings would never be lonely. But that isn't necessarily true. Ron sat, in a similar position where a bushy brown haired girl sat thousands of miles away. Looking out of his tiny window of his room in the Burrow, he wiped a tear off of his pale freckled cheek.
Hugging his ragged teddy bear to his chest, he sighed. Sometimes it felt like he would be eternally overshadowed by his relatives. His brothers, his cousins, even his sister, just because she was a girl. Bill was brave and smart, and he'd been Head Boy. Charlie had been Quidditch Captain, and Percy was just as smart as Bill, and he was probably on his way to becoming a Prefect. Even Fred and George, who were always getting yelled at by Molly, were clever, and at the very least, received plenty of attention. Ginny was the only girl, so she was doted on by Arthur and Molly, and teased by all her brothers, but she was turning out to be rather gifted at sports.
That left Ron, the outcast of the family, in his opinion. He wasn't smart like Bill and Percy, he wasn't naturally athletic like Charlie and Ginny, and he wasn't clever like Fred and George. He was just Ron. Sometimes it felt like he didn't even belong in his own family. His mother always forgot that he hated maroon, that he hated corned beef, that he hated spiders. She was always preoccupied with the others.
For instance, just today, she'd almost left him behind in Diagon Alley, and when they'd all gotten home, Fred and George had proceeded to tease him about getting lost, and being scared about it. They hadn't understood that he hadn't purposely gotten lost. Molly had let go of his hand to scold them, and Ron had been pushed away by the crowd. "Were you upset about being left behind?" Fred had asked jokingly, not realizing that he'd hit a sore spot. Noticing the expression on Ron's face, he'd immediately apologized, but the damage had been done. Ron had run upstairs and sat down where he currently was.
The only thing that Ron knew was that, in one year, he would turn eleven, and for once, he wouldn't be left behind. He would be with everyone else, and maybe he'd finally get a chance to prove that he wasn't just another Weasley. That he was special in his own way. And maybe he would find friends who accepted him. Who liked him, Ron Weasley.
Harry sat in his cupboard, staring not out of a window at the grey sky, but at the picture he'd drawn and taped to the wall with a little bit of used supplies he'd retrieved when cleaning up after Dudley had finished his school project. Using the left over crayon bits, he'd drawn his parents as much as he could remember them.
Which wasn't much. When he struggled to remember them, all he could see was a flash of green light. He supposed that was the car crash that had killed them. Sometimes Harry wondered how he'd managed to survive. And if he was really all that lucky for surviving. Here at the Dursley's, he'd never been hit, but he'd been starved and depraved in a way a ten year old should never be. Currently, he was locked in the cupboard for a week for burning dinner on accident. He was allowed out only to go to school.
Perhaps that was the reason for his small scrawny frame. Or perhaps it was genetics. Harry had imagined his father to be tall and strong. He had messy hair just like Harry, and kind brown eyes. Curious, when he was vacuuming the floor of Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon's room, he'd seen a picture ripped in half, of a beautiful red headed lady with bright green eyes just like Harry's. That might've been his mother. Harry would probably never know.
He didn't even know their names. All he had was his imagination. He knew he didn't fit in. Was this all his life would ever be? Existing to do chores, to go to school only to fail so that his Aunt and Uncle wouldn't be mad at him if he outdid Dudley in any class? Getting kicked around by Dudley like a football?
Harry knew he didn't belong here, but he didn't know where he belonged. His teacher Miss Richards, had allowed him to borrow a book from school called Family & Friends. He'd been curious to see what a real family was like. They were supposed to get up in the morning and greet each other cheerfully. The parents were supposed to make breakfast. The children were supposed to share the chores. They were supposed to care. Friends were supposed to care too.
Harry supposed, if he would never have a family, at least maybe he would find a place where he could make friends. Somewhere where he belonged. Not as an orphan. Not as Dudley's loser cousin. Not as the useless nephew. But just as Harry Potter, himself.
These three ten year olds might have lived thousands of miles away, one in a neat ordered house in Surrey, one in a bright but small cottage by the woods, and one in a crooked leaning house in the countryside, but they were all the same in one way.
They were lonely, and unsure of themselves. They wanted a friend.
They just didn't know that in a year, they would find what they were looking for.
A place where they belonged.
A place where they could make friends.
One more year.
A/N: So yeah, I've been writing all summer, but I haven't had a sudden inspiration like this in awhile. I think I might write a PJO fic with the same idea as this. And a Before Hogwarts, for the Marauders too. :) It's just a fun thing to write about. I'm sorry for any typos and stuff, I just really wanted to get this out.