My character: Mr. Granger.
"Where She Belongs"
He's not really sure if he'll ever get used to this. He stands on the train platform and watches people in robes emerging from fireplaces and appearing out of no where, just after having walked through a wall to get there, and he is saddened.
He'll never be a part of this world.
He'll never be a part of his daughter's world again.
She is the bridge, though. Hermione is the bridge between two worlds – the one he's always lived in, and the one he never believed existed until it showed up on his doorstep.
He smiles at his eleven-year-old. She grins back. "This station has been in existence since 1931, Dad! That's sixty years, and none of the Muggles have ever noticed!"
"People do have a tendency to miss what's right in front of them, don't they dear? And who would ever guess?" Not him, that's for sure. And why would anyone? What reason would anyone have to guess that an entire community lay hidden behind a wall in a train station?
"All right, dear, come give me a hug," his wife says. Hermione bounds over to her mother.
"Love you, Mum."
"I love you, too, sweetheart. Be good. Be sure to write."
"Of course." After a moment, Hermione lets her mother go.
Without a word, he opens his arms. She throws her arms around him tightly, and he picks her up and twirls her around in a circle.
"I love you, my girl."
"I love you, too, Daddy."
He smiles. He's been Dad recently, and it feels good to be Daddy again, even if just for a moment.
But Hermione hesitates before letting go, like she has something else to say.
"What is it, sweetheart?"
"I don't want you to be sad, Daddy."
"Hermione, if I'm sad, it's only because I love you so much. And because I do, I want you to be happy."
Her small arms tighten around his back. "I'm going to miss you, Daddy."
"I'll miss you, too, sweetheart. Be happy, for me, won't you?"
He feels her smile where her face is pressed into his chest. "I think I will, Daddy. I think I understand now. This is why I never belonged with the other kids at home. I wasn't like them. But this is different. This is where I belong – this is my world, these are my people. It's going to be better."
"I hope so, sweetheart. I hope you're right." The words come out in almost a whisper. He kisses the top of her mass of bushy brown hair, squeezes tight, and then lets her go.
"You'd better go before you miss your train," his wife says.
Hermione nods, showing off her beautiful teeth – the teeth she hates, and he loves. He hands her the trunk and watches as his little girl, carrying only a trunk and a backpack, boards the train that will take her away from him, into a whole new world that he will never be a part of, and he hopes with all his heart that his too-wise eleven-year-old is right – that that world is where she belongs.