001. Study Partners.

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Chapter One,
Study Partners.

Harry Potter was more than familiar with people watching him.

He was used to the continuous feeling of eyes on his scarred back, the whispers that followed him through each corridor, the rumors and the speculation. It was as if he had to convince himself to become acquainted with the consistent looks of pity. He didn't like it, not a single bit of it, but it was something that—just like most other unfair things in his life—he simply didn't have much choice in.

This year was quite—different. To say the least.

As horrible as it might've sounded to the common ear, Harry believed that bringing the body of a dead student (especially one as adored as Cedric Diggory) back to Hogwarts grounds would've increased the pitied looks. Perhaps, it would've filled his days with absentminded, careless apologies that nobody really cared for. Instead, the looks of sympathy and admiration had turned to revulsion. The rumors and speculation became nothing more than blatant lies.

If there had been one thing that increased—the whispers. Around every corner was a different student, each ready to call him a different form of the same names or slurs he had already heard a couple hundred times.

Liar. Coward. Cheat. He even got the occasional Murderer. Harry had heard it all.

Everyone had turned their backs on their precious Boy Who Lived. He shouldn't have cared, after all he had Ron and Hermione, now Luna Lovegood, Ginny and Neville. As well as some of the other Gryffindors that didn't believe everything they read in the bloody Prophet—but he still did. Care, that is. Because no matter what he did, or what he said, the whispers and stares still followed him. There were always going to be people talking about him behind his back.

The quill in his hand snapped in half, leaving a dark smudge of black ink to trickle its way down his Astronomy paper. Harry sighed, repairing the quill with a quick flick of his wand. He took a deep breath; his emotions had really been getting the best of him recently.

Taking a quick glance around the library, Harry noticed a small group of second years studying in one corner, and another group of fourth years that were outwardly staring and gesturing at him. Right, well, that explained the broken quill then.

Harry was annoyed. Some would say that he was far beyond tired of it all. He allowed his head to fall forwards onto the table, a groan of frustration slipping past his lips. If he didn't have the previous attention of those second years, he surely did now. He wanted to focus on his paper, which he would bet was due the following morning, but if he was being honest, he couldn't even remember what he was supposed to be writing about. He couldn't help wishing the words could simply just write themselves.

It didn't help that he had become aware of his current audience, removing any previous hopes he had for some peace and quiet.

There were other options—he knew that there were. He could go into the common room with Ron and Hermione, but the looks of pity didn't stop with Hermione, and well, Ron had probably gotten Hermione to write his Astronomy paper for him. There was his dormitory, but he didn't think he could handle the whispers between Seamus and Dean that were clearly about him—regardless of how quiet they believed they were being.

So, the library was the only comfortable choice he had.

His hands came up to support his forehead, still resting on the table. He knew how it probably looked. In fact, he was sure he could predict the title of the Prophet's next headline. Harry Potter Loses Temper in Hogwarts Library. Is Potter Joining the Dark Side?

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⏰ Last updated: Feb 15 ⏰

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