2) Letter

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Quill kept an eye on Charlie (a nickname she's begrudgingly accepted, although she'd never called him it directly) as he played with his breakfast, pushing cereal around the bowl.

Charlie looked miserable, despite the date. But them Quill could understand why he was so unhappy. Birthdays were days for families to celebrate. His parents were dead and they were hardly a family. Quill was still yet to find anything to celebrate about getting older.

Still it was starting to get depressing. Quill had even gone though the effort of finding a small collection of books from his parents office she thought Charlie would enjoy.

With a reluctant sigh, she put down her coffee and spoke up.

"Charles please explain to me the reason behind your pitiful expression." Quill's voice was sharp, drawing his attention.

Charlie blinked his big blue eyes in Quill's direction and slid over a letter from his pocket.

Quill traced the cool red wax of a familiar crest. His Hogwarts, he was eleven after all.

"Your Hogwarts letter? That's why you look like you're about to burst into tears?"

"I just thought my parents would be here to open it with me." Charlie bit his lip like he was afraid Quill would laugh at him. She didn't.

Quill passed the letter back to Charlie, who turned his sad orphan eyes back onto it. Quill was glad, she didn't like thinking about how sad he was. He could depress the envelope instead.

"Well, open it then."

Charlie did so slowly, it was almost too painful to watch, as if he was afraid it would explode. At least that'd add some interest to their morning routine. He read over it quietly and almost looked like he was going to smile. Expect he didn't smile.

"I got in." Charlie said quietly. "I supposed I'd have to. I come from a powerful family."

"You don't look very happy." Quill observed.

When she had gotten her letter confirming she was going to her dream school, she could barely contain her excitement. However, Charles looked like he could barely contain his sadness. Quill was half expecting him to add tears to his already soggy breakfast.

"I won't fit in. I don't know how to act around other children. I don't even have any of the stuff new my teachers require me to bring."

Quill suddenly felt a wave of emotion. Not quite the usual pity that she usually felt for Charlie, or the rage that hit her sometimes when she thought of her list freedom. Instead it was the horrible feeling that he was right. Charlie had be completely alone for most of his life. And it wasn't as if he had anyone to write either. In fact the Smith's owl was hardly used, if it wasn't for Charlie's tutor, it be starting to get fat.

"Well I'll be taking you to get your school stuff." Quill couldn't bear to look at his face anymore so she got up to pick up her half empty coffee cup from the other side of the kitchen.

"There's no need to take me anywhere. I think everything can be ordered by owl." Charlie said. He was stroking the letter, smoothing out the parchment. He usually did that when he was nervous, Quill noted.

"I don't want you to have robes that don't fit. And you'll need school books. I won't deny you the chance of going to a book shop." Quill took a longer sip then necessary; Charlie had fixed his sad orphan eyes on her again. "Not to mention a wand. We'll go to Diagonal Ally next weekend."

"Thank you Quill." Charlie put down the letter. "Can I ask you a question?"

Quill still refused to meet his eyes. (They'd be tear filled, she bet.) "If you must do."

"Do you know what houses my parents where in? In school? I never found out before..." Charlie's voice trailed off, like he was afraid of saying the word dead.

"Your parents were in Slytherin." Quill answered. "A good house and my house."

"Thank you." Charlie gave her a watery smile. He got up from the table, dumping his half empty bowl into the sink.

"And Charles-" Quill couldn't believe she was actually going to say this but his sad eyes had slowly worn her down, "Happy Birthday."

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