Amazing Kids! Magazine

Bewitchy, or The Unexpected Courageous Way A Gryffindor Solves Problems

By Sarina Patel, Jr. Assistant Editor and Comic Hub Co-Editor

 

Right from the beginning, work was all about keeping their hands busy and their mouths closed. Hermione should’ve known that it—that right there—was the root of the problem.

After Ron, Harry, and Hermione graduated from Hogwarts, they decided that they would start working. Take up some jobs; make a living out of themselves…things like that. Keeping their hands busy was the only way to avoid thinking about the Great Battle and all the sacrifices that had been made. Surprisingly, the days on the job weren’t all that stressful.

The days off were the ones that stressed them.

There would be days like that, Hermione, Harry, and Ron very well knew. They’d seen those days coming, they’d looked those days right in the face when they had first applied for their jobs. They’d…well, they’d just…never anticipated how tough those days off were going to be.

Initially, those first days that they were off from work were the toughest.

Hermione would slouch on the couch with a box of Kleenex tissues in one hand, staring at a TV that had always been off, crying and watching Muggle dramas.

Their problem was that the bandage they’d put onto their bruised hearts hadn’t numbed the pain, or the scar. Their emotional wounds from the Great War were as raw and fresh as ever. The bandage only covered up the ugliness on the surface.

When Harry would apparate home, with a bedraggled and far more bruised Ron at his side, they would immediately trudge upstairs without saying a word. Hermione would prepare the evening meal and as soon as the food was ready, they’d sit down to dinner and eat.

The tension hung thick and wet in the air, like a damp, pungent, wrung-out towel. It had a disgusting ripeness to it, like a spoiled fruit. But nobody did anything about it. The most frustrating, maddening part was that none of them talked to each other. Hermione wasn’t a social butterfly, but she would’ve liked it if Harry or Ron made conversation while diving into their food. Instead, the liveliest screeches that resounded from the dining table came from the metal utensils scraping against their china plates.

Whatever was unsaid at dinner: “Thanks for cooking this meal, Hermione.” “So how was your day, you two?” “What happened today while we were out?” “Nothing much happened. I did the usual paperwork, cleaning, and other menial tasks. Did anything happen with the Aurors?” was unsaid.

There were a few moments at the door, when Ron would say, “We’re off to work, Hermione,” while shoving on his boots. Their eyes would meet and Hermione would telepathically scream, “SAY SOMETHING!” but he was always the first to avert his gaze from the chocolate-brown depths of her irises.

Other than that, the silence slowly suffocated them. And Hermione knew full well why. They were still thinking about the Great War at Hogwarts—the war between Voldemort’s Death Eaters and Dumbledore’s Army. To be fair, it wasn’t something they could contemplate for a few minutes and then get over. They’d each lost their loved ones to the battle at Hogwart—namely, Professor Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Fred Weasley.

At the same time, the elephant in the room needed to be addressed, not fed peanuts and spoiled rotten. The problem needed to be solved, not indulged. Endless grieving would get them nowhere. Hermione knew she had to do something about this. But, for the first time in her life, she was clueless. How should she approach them? What should she do? Exasperated with herself, Hermione eventually put the thought on the back burner and waited.

Ginny tried to mend the friendship as best she could. She’d coming over as often as they would let her, doing Muggle activities with them—canoeing, hiking, taking yoga classes. But all her efforts were to no avail, and eventually, the protests of, “Let me in!” at the door stopped. You see, it was like having a tic-tac-toe expert try to solve a complex Sudoku puzzle. It was like having someone who was good at rock-paper-scissors try to solve a Rubix cube. No one fully understood the details of their fallout…just that it had happened.

“Friendships are like porcelain dolls—nice to have, but hard to hold,” her mother had explained to her. “If you slip up even the slightest bit, you can break the friendship.”

‘This was all too true,’ Hermione agreed. She had read loads of Muggle novels with similar plots in her childhood. How much worse could things get, really? she asked herself. Wasn’t there a point where the climax happened, and then the falling action quickly led to the resolution?

One day, the silence became louder than the roar of a train in the dark dankness of a tunnel. If you are unfamiliar with the progression of silence, let me tell you something. It does not happen overnight. Months and months zipped by before change rustled in the wind. Hermione was still working on her “Master Plan” to save their friendship. She hadn’t finalized the details, but she knew it would be great.

Unfortunately, she waited too long.

Silence heavily relies on the element of stealth. It is the lion who spots a zebra from across the grassland, the shark that can smell one drop of blood from 1,000 miles away.

Silence—it is the tiger, tail curled and face lifted, proud and high. It is the tiger as it opens its mouth in a roar, when the mouth hangs agape and the fangs are bared for all to see. For after all, it is a tiger who creeps upon its prey and waits thirty seconds behind the prey with a Cheshire cat smile, all teeth and insincerity, just for the satisfaction of seeing the realization dawn upon the prey’s horrified face. The difference between the lion and the tiger is that the lion goes straight for the prize…but the tiger waits. Patience is a virtue that silence has mastered. The tiger wants to gaze upon the beaten to know who has beaten them.

This particular tiger had them all—Harry, Ron, and Hermione—in a chokehold and refused to let them out of its’ feline claws.

Fame, stress, and silence slowly eroded the friendship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Their relationship slowly turned arid—a dry and hot sandstorm of emotions bottled up and stored so far back in the cabinet that they could no longer reach them.

Soon, their friendship began peeling off, like wallpaper. It showed. You could see it in Harry’s clouded eyes, in the stern scowl Ron always wore, the pinch of Hermione’s crows’ feet—the ones she got from squinting at Ron so intensely. You could see it in the twitch of Ron’s cleft chin when he was about to laugh—whenever Hermione proposed another suggestion. How about we take a stroll down Diagon Alley? So I saw this advertisement for this trail that we could hike through…how about it? Do you reckon the cinema is open today?

The issues were stacked upon each other, like pancakes, drizzled with the syrup of her tears. Or, you could say that the issues were stacked upon each other, like fists in a very complicated handshake. Hermione felt like this was one big joke to Ron.

Hermione, though thoroughly irritated by Ron’s cavalier attitude, was close to laughing herself. She’ll give Ron this: her suggestions were feeble. This friendship was impossible to fix, from so many angles. And, she’d give Ron this, searching for help was exhausting…

But she still tried.

If problems were measured by toppings, then Hermione already had everything on her waffle. She didn’t need any other woes to trouble her life; she already had her fair share and plenty extra.

Yet, she still tried to make her frustrating, tightly-wired life work. She couldn’t surrender now, she wasn’t a quitter. She wasn’t destined to be some bored Muggle who sat in a crammed shop cleaning numerous nooks and crannies, stocking inventory, dishing out receipts. She was the Brightest Witch of the Age; she was…she was…she was a Gryffindor, for Godrick’s sake! She destroyed all of Voldemort’s indestructible Horcruxes, but she couldn’t patch a simple friendship up?

No. Hermione would rise from this friendship fallout like a phoenix from the ashes. She would pull her friends through it as well. ‘It’s when you’re being chivalrous that you are the bravest Gryffindor you can be,’ she thought to herself.

The next morning, Hermione called her friends to the living room. She had Ron and Harry sit down as she took center stage and spoke.

“I called you here today because—” Hermione faltered. ‘Get a grip,’ she instructed herself sternly. “I called you here today because I know what’s bothering you. I know you still think about Fred, Tonks, Lupin, all those who have been lost. But remember that there are so many more young wizards and witches who are alive because of us. Let go, Harry. Let go, Ron.”

She swallowed. “I still want to be friends with both of you. Look, we’ve lost some of our loved ones, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost control. Know that the present is what matters. Please…Harry, Ron…let go.”

She could see Ron and Harry frown as they tried to process this.

“In battle,” Hermione told them, “there’s always going to be that one man who you wish you could have saved. Know that you did what you had to do. Don’t blame yourself for that. You did what you did, now move on. You saved the skin of an entire population, now you must save your own skin by letting go. If you hold on to all those memories, you’re losing the battle. You’re too focused on the past and not the present. Remember that the present affects the future, probably even more than the past. Whatever wrongs you right today will alter the tomorrow as we know it.” She paused. “Ron! Harry! Listen to me!”

Tears bubbled in Hermione’s eyes. Her voice increased an octave and she whispered, “I don’t want to lose you, too.”

The room was filled with silence.

Suddenly, something snapped inside of Hermione. She was not going to let them mope miserably to themselves.

“You’d be bloody daft to sit here on a couch and whimper to yourselves all day long!” she yelled.

Hermione’s face was pink with indignation. “Oh come on!” she snapped. “The pair of you, hiding from the world? I won’t let that happen! ‘The Boy Who Lived’ isn’t living a life at all if he’s stuck at home bawling about the past! And the same goes for you, Ron!”

She stared at her two friends. This emotional onslaught was too much for Harry. His eyes filled with tears that he wiped on the sleeve of his fuzzy, ugly Christmas sweater. Meanwhile, Ron coughed loudly. Hermione thought she heard him mutter, “That was inspirational.”

The room swelled with the knowledge that anchored their sore hearts. The knowledge tugged at their heartstrings, which were tight from months of non-use, aching and yearning to be plucked and thrummed.

Harry spoke first. “I’m truly sorry, Hermione. I didn’t know you felt that way.”

“If we had known, we would’ve probably apologized sooner,” Ron added, eyes downcast. “Sorry.”

The warm honey of friendship slowly cascaded down Hermione’s back. She reveled in its’ marvelous warmth.

Hermione opened her mouth to speak, but Ron was right there when she needed him to speak up.

Ron continued, “It may not seem like it, but we do care about you. I hope you know that.”

Harry blew his nose into a tissue. “We’re here for you, Hermione.”

Hermione’s best friend looked up at her suddenly, and the gravity of his sparkling emerald-green eyes forced her to match his gaze. She felt as though Lilly Evans was with her, staring at her with those thin, upturned eyebrows and a gargantuan white smile.

“No!” Hermione commanded. Her voice wobbled, like a glass vase on the edge of a table. “Harry James Potter, don’t you dare say it, I’m warning you—”

The corners of his mouth turned up in a friendly, playful grin. Harry said the word that Hermione had feared he would say— “Always.”

Hermione completely lost it. The tears inside her eyes exploded out into the fresh air, trickling down her red cheeks in clear rivulets. In her relief, she let out a small shriek at the back of her throat. “I’m sorry for letting this drag on for so long,” she gulped. “I know, I should’ve told you guys everything earlier. Perhaps we would’ve avoided this drama festival if I had.”

“It’s OK, Hermione,” Harry forgave his friend with a jolly clap on the back.

There was a long pause before anyone opened their mouth.

“We’re all just one big pile of apologies, eh?” Ron asked, shaking his head. “I appreciate the sentiment, Hermione, but really? We’re all just one big pile of pansies, eh? That’s what you think of us? Apologies and tears, my word! Get a hold of yourselves, mates!”

Then he turned to Harry. “No, seriously, tell me honestly. We could form a Muggle band, I’d call it: The Ginger and The Pansies.”

Harry, Hermione, and Ron turned towards each other, sniffling and smiling. Before looking at the other person to determine if it was an adequate joke to laugh at, they all tossed their head back and guffawed. They chortled until their tears of relief turned into tears of joy; they chuckled until they could barely breathe from the emotional roller-coaster they had ridden.

Ron rubbed his hands together, “Now that we’re friends and the sappy rubbish is done, I reckon we’ll get ourselves a nice Chocolate Cauldron…or six.” Ron pitched his voice in falsetto, “Don’t worry, Hermione, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Oh dear! Double the serving! Double the calories!’” Ron snorted, and his voice returned back to normal. “What a crisis! Well, dark times like this call for extreme measures, my friends, and by ‘extreme measures’, I mean: Chocolate Cauldrons! What say you?”

That evening, at the dinner table, merriment swirled in the air. There wasn’t a smidgen of tension to be seen and, slowly but surely, the friendship was restored to its’ former glory. Peace and order was established between Potter, Weasley, and Granger. If you were to ask them, they would simultaneously say that they couldn’t be more content.

And if you were to pry further, you would know that the six Chocolate Cauldrons they ate that night certainly improved their mood.