disclaimer: All of it (yes, ALL of it) belongs to the wonderful Joanne Rowling. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING belongs to me.
Every day, she awaited the owl post, vigilantly, ceaselessly. As the different, brightly coloured owls flew over the hundreds of students in the Great Hall every morning, her eyes searched the ceiling, looking for one owl for her. Just one.
And every day, she was disappointed.
Still, she continued to look. Her eyes never left the sky at that time of day. Thousands of owls would fly into the Great Hall. Her eyes would grow hopeful as one flew towards her. But, the owl would land in front of the person sitting next to her.
She never showed her disappointment. She never moaned and groaned, as some of the girls did when they received nothing. Her expression never changed, but an indistinguishable emotion passed through her eyes.
And after that time, after the great fluttering of birds shook the Great Hall, the students would chatter excitedly amongst themselves: "Look, it's from Mum!" "My boyfriend wrote me!" "Oh, look, she says she misses us!" And they would smile, and laugh together.
But she never smiled, nor laughed. Instead, she would continue to search the ceiling, hoping that maybe…perhaps that owl was delayed, and would fly in at any second. But, it never did.
At times, her friends would get owls. She'd pet the birds, and whisper things to them. She'd tell them to tell that one special owl that she was waiting.
And still, that owl never came.
Sometimes, her friends would try to make her feel better: "Here, look, Mum said to tell you hello." "Look, Dad says we can invite you over this summer." They'd point out bits and pieces of their own letters, in an attempt to cheer her up. But this only depressed her, as she'd hear them swoon over letters from their own boyfriends.
And again she'd search for that owl. And again it wouldn't be there.
Her friends began to think she was being silly. They told her to stop waiting. They told her to give up. But she couldn't. She watched every morning with vigil. And every morning, that spark of hope would return to her eyes.
And every morning it would disappear as once again, there was nothing there.
Sometimes she was jealous of her friends – the ones who got letters every day. It seemed unfair to her – why do some people get many letters, and others none at all? But, though she was discouraged, she did not give up. Every day, she continued to hope for something.
And every day her hopes were crushed.
She penned long letters to him every day – why was there nothing back? Sometimes, she just wanted to put her head in her hands and sob. She wondered, sometimes, if he still cared. He had said he did; he had said he would care for her forever. But if he did…where was he?
She'd search the sky of the Great Hall, looking at every bird flying in closely. Her eyes often grew wide as she saw a bird that looked quite like that certain one. But her head would droop as she realised it wasn't.
That particular day, she rose late. Too tired to do anything with her messy red hair, she yanked a brush through it and pulled it away from her face. There were heavy bags and dark circles under her eyes. She didn't have as much vibrancy as usual.
She stumbled into the Great Hall, and shoved food into her mouth. The scrambled eggs tasted awful to her, but she didn't complain. Her hair was out of place, and her robes unbuttoned. Her grey uniform sweater was backwards, and her scarlet and gold house tie was tied wrong. Her wand was sticking oddly out of the pocket of her robes.
As the owls flew overhead once more, she didn't search the skies. What was the point anymore? She knew there would be nothing. There wasn't ever anything.
And suddenly, quite out of the blue, an owl landed in front of her.
It shook out its white feathers and clucked, holding its leg out to her. She stared, blinking at it, for several seconds.
"Well, go on and take it then," said one of her friends, nudging her. Coming out of her trance, she slowly reached out and untied the letter from the owl's leg.
She slit open the envelope almost reverently, and her hands shook as she did so. Pulling the worn piece of parchment out of the envelope carefully, she unfolded it slowly, running her hands over the smooth texture.
Her eyes immediately jumped to the top of the page, and then the bottom, and she saw what was most important. At the top of the page, it said, in large, scrawling letters:
And at the bottom, squeezed in, in minute writing, was written:
And that was all that really mattered.
author's notes: Rather like the first fan fiction I ever wrote – short and to the point, with no real plot at all, and yet strangely not too fluffy. Odd, eh? Anyway, I'm dedicating this to Amy, because you are a supercalifradoulistic beta.