Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Faithful4 Reviews
Post-OotP one-shot. Written from Hedwig's POV, as she tries to help Harry live with Sirius' death.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter
A/N: Many thanks to Konrad, who betaed the story for me.
I arouse in the middle of the night to the sound of my screaming master. I wish I could say something to soothe him, but I can't. My species and his are not meant to communicate with each other, although he seems to understand me in some strange way.
I call to him, to wake him up, but it's too late, there are people in the room already. It's those obnoxious Muggles. The pig-like man and the horsewoman. They shake my master and he wakes up. They yell at him for some time they leave him alone and lock the door behind them.
Slowly, so as not to disturb them again, I call to my master. He is on his bed again; I can see the tears in his eyes. Oh, why can't I make him understand? When he looks at me I can see the greatness of his grief. His guilt. Yes, I know what has happened. He told me some of it, and during his nightmares he calls out his name. "Sirius." He was a good man, the shapeshifter. He would always have some treat for me. Meat sometimes, meat that he hunted for himself, but he would share with me. Yes, he was a good human, and my master blames himself for his passing through the veil. I whish that I could talk to my master and tell him of the wonders beyond the veil. I wish I could tell him that his godfather is happy now, in a place where he belongs, where there is no pain, only happiness.
I fly to my master's shoulder and nibble on his ear. I try to make clear to him that I will never leave him, that I am there for him.
"Thank you, Hedwig," he whispers, and I know he understands. He knows that I will stand by him, that I will never leave him. "You are my best friend, did you know that?" He says. "Since Hagrid brought me to the wizarding world, you have been my friend. When Hermione was in France, you went all the way to her, just so I could get her present. And when I told you to insist for a reply last year you hurt Ron, just so I could get a decent letter. You are a great friend, Hedwig. Thank you."
I call to him softly, the way my mother called to me when I tried to fly for the first time and failed. Yes, he considers me his friend, and he treats me like one. He talks to me, he listens to me, and does his best to make me comfortable in his home. He never locks me in my cage, only if it's necessary, and when he's angry he snaps at me, but he always apologizes. And when I'm angry with him he seems to know and he says he's sorry. Nobody has done that before. I had two masters before him. One barely let me see the light, and the other didn't care much about me, so I left. When I was caught and they brought me to the shop I thought that I was going to spend the rest of my life there. Then the half-giant came and got me out of there. And I have had a new master, no, friend since then. And my friend needs help now. I wish I could help him, but I can't. When I was hurt, he took me to a healer who repaired my broken wing. How I wish that his wounds were physical, something that could be healed with a potion or the touch of a wand! But his wounds are deep, etched into his soul. Only another human can heal those wounds, another who understands his pain.
Two days have passed, and my master is the same. He barely eats and his nights are spent thrashing in bed or crying. He doesn't cry when other people can see him, he cries in the dark, away from the world. He is slowly wasting away and I don't know how to help him. He seems to take comfort in my presence, so I spend hours on his desk, watching him, encouraging him to write. He has no homework, and I do not know what he writes, but he always throws the parchment away. There have been few letters for him, and after he read the second one he became really angry. He hasn't received letters since then, and he has spend hours looking out the window, waiting, watching. There used to be a light in his eyes, but it's gone now, and I know that he wishes to leave this world, to be free of pain. If I could, I would write him a letter, but I can't, I only deliver them. But his friends can, why aren't they writing to him? Without them, my only friend will waste way, and I will die with him, because I am bonded to him, and our lives are tied together. I will go to them, and they will write to him even if they do it with injured fingers. I have a strong beak. I am after all a hunting, healthy snowy owl.
I have left my master's home now. He is sleeping, and for once, he isn't thrashing. He has taken a pill from somewhere in the house, and it seems to help with his sleep. I know where to go. There have been two people who have always written to him. I will go to the boy first, and then I will search for the girl.
Finally, I have arrived. The house is the same, held together by magic. I stop at a window and look inside. This is not the boy's room; a girl is inside. She has long, red hair, and I believe that she is related to the boy. She is crying now. I don't like to see humans crying. When my master cries, the waves of his sorrow roll off him, and it somehow permeates the air. Usually, it is not like that. I have watched his species. None of the people I have seen crying are like him, they just shed the tears and let the pain free. My master doesn't release the pain, and I fear it will consume him. This girl shares some of the sorrow, because I can feel it in the air. It is older than my master's, but my senses are strong, and the pain is there, filling the air. Somehow, she has contained the pain, but it is there, and it is slowly eating her.
The girl saw me and opens the window. I look into her eyes and the semblance to my master startles me. They are brown, not green, but they hold the same depth, and a different kind of grief. A grief and guilt almost as deep as my master's. Yes, she should understand. My decision is made. I will not go to the boy and the other girl, their eyes do not hold such fire, such depth.
"Hedwig?" She whispers.
I call to her, and she lets me into her room. I fly right to her small desk and nudge a stack of parchment with my wing. Her eyes fill with tears again.
"Did Harry send you?" She asks. No, he didn't, but he needs somebody to bring him out of his depression, or he will leave this world, and I will leave with him. I do not know how to tell her all of that, only my master can understand me, but I try. I slowly blink at her, trying to express through my eyes the words that I cannot form. Her reaction surprises me. Tears fall from her eyes, and she pets my head gently, just like my master. "He needs us, right?" she asks through her tears. I hoot softly in answer, and she shakes her head, muttering to herself. "What was Dumbledore thinking, sending him there, after all of that..."
Then she looks at me again, and there is new pain in her eyes. "Dumbledore told us that we aren't allowed to send him letters. It is too risky, he says. The owls may be intercepted." I try to convey my indignation at that and she smiles. "Yes, Hedwig, I know. You are a great owl, and a good friend. My Mum agrees to Dumbledore, she told us that we aren't allowed to send him letters. She said that the Death Eaters could intercept the letter and turn it into a Portkey." I hoot again, nobody can catch me if I don't let them. The only time I was injured during a delivery was last year, when I collided with a Thestral. The Thestral helped me on my journey for a while after that, and it was him who told the other Thestrals to leave the owls alone. The girl seems to understand my message, but she shakes her head. "I want to help you, but I can't leave my room, and all the parchment and quills in the house are charmed. I can't send a letter to anybody, not even Hermione."
But she must send a letter! My master needs her help! I hoot at her, telling her to wait for me, and I take off. There is a village nearby; there must be something that could help me there. But after half an hour of fruitless searching, my wings hurt and I return to her, for some rest. She gives me a piece of cooked meat and puts a glass of pumpkin juice in front of me. I prefer to drink water, but the juice is good in an emergency. And she has shared her food with me. I drink from her glass and the food she gave me comes from her plate. Few people have done that. Only my master and his godfather. My master! He has parchment and quills. There is a stack of parchment rolls on his desk, along with several quills. If I could do it, I would smack my forehead, like my master does sometimes. I take off hastily when I hear somebody at the door. If what the girl said is true, then it is best that I am not seen.
The following night I land on the same windowsill and the girl opens the window immediately. It is near midnight, but she is awake. She has been crying again. Her eyes are swollen and red, and there is a new pain in her eyes. She is feeling sorry for the fact that she can't help my master, I realize. She cares about him; I can see it in her eyes. Her eyes brighten when she sees the roll of parchment and the quill in my claws. I have taken them from my master's desk, after he fell asleep. He sleeps more now, but he still looks dreadful, and I fear for him. His will is slowly fading away. He doesn't care about eating, and he only gets out of bed to go to the toilet.
"Thank you, Hedwig," she whispers. I set the parchment on the table and she immediately starts writing. It is a long letter, and it takes a long time until it is finished. By then, the entire roll of parchment is filled with small writing. I hoot my approval at the length and the girl - Ginny - smiles at me. "I hope it will help him," she tells me as she ties the parchment to my leg. "I've told him to send back more parchment with his reply, so make sure you rest before that."
I call to her in gratitude as I leave, after watching her hide the precious, uncharmed quill.
When I arrive to my master's bedroom he is awake and watching the sky, as usual. His eyes brighten when he sees me with a letter.
"Hedwig? A letter? But Dumbledore said..." he trails off at that point, because I hooted angrily at the name of the man who has ordered others not to send him letters. He takes the letter of my leg and starts reading. I watch him read it, and my chest swells in pride when I see a sparkle in his eyes. He no longer wants to die. No, he wants to live. I knew that it would be good for him if someone of his own species talked to him. When he finishes the letter he ruffles my feathers affectionately.
"You are the best friend I could ask for, Hedwig," he says; I am touched by the depth of his tone. He really means it. I am his friend, and he would give his life for me, as he would for one of his own species. There is a new feeling in my chest and I call to him, trying to express myself. He spends the next half an hour cleaning my cage and my feathers. There are spots that I can't reach, and when he is finished I feel better than I have felt in a long time. "Rest, Hedwig, because tonight I have a package to send. I don't care what Dumbledore says. Ginny risked a lot by writing to me, and I will write back to her. She says that she will tell no one about our letters, so take care. I don't want them to see you. This will be our secret. Mine, Ginny's, and yours."
I am in my cage now, watching him end his letter. He is looking better. His eyes still carry a bit of their haunted look, but they sparkle with life. And he takes care of himself now. He eats more, and exercises in the mornings, to keep in shape. He still spends most of his time in his room, but with the relatives he's got, I do not blame him. The whole summer I have flown between the Burrow and home. Every time the letters were long. I would carry parchment and quills, sometimes a bottle of ink. All summer long nobody discovered our secret. In two days, my master will go to school and he will be close to the one who has saved his life. Her wizard's debt is paid, but I have the feeling that they will be close from now on. I have seen them both write, and they are very much alike. Sometimes, I could tell that what they were writing caused them pain, but they forced themselves, because they knew that it would help the other. I have seen them take strength from each other's letters, and the pain in their hearts has lessened. It will never truly go away, but together, they have accepted it, and it has made them stronger.
His letter is finished, and I fly to his shoulder to watch him sign it. After his first two letters, it has become a ritual. I would fly to his shoulder and watch him sign it. At first, it was "Harry". Then "Your friend, Harry." After some time, it became "Love, Harry."
My master is healed now. But he is not my master, he is my friend, the best friend an owl could want.