To Be Kind
She came down the stairs in the middle of the night to find him sitting there alone in the living
room of the Burrow. He sat with his knees hugged to his chest before a dimming fire.  

The flickers of heat lit his face; she saw, with a plummeting heart, the heavy bags under his eyes
and the way his shoulders hunched in despair. He’d held the weight of the world on them for so
long; it was beginning to show.  

She knew she should turn around and go back up the stairs, pretending she’d never come down,
never seen him in such a state of vulnerability.  

Or she could go to him, get him to let her in, finally break down his walls and accept her help.

No, she would go back to her room, give him the privacy he so greatly cherished and never
seemed to be granted.

She heard his ragged sigh and it called her to him.

She tread lightly on the carpeting, careful not to startle him. She sunk to her knees facing his
back. She was quite certain he didn’t even realize she was there.    

Summoning her courage, she leaned forward wrapping her arms around him. He stiffened at the
contact and when she sighed his name into his ear to calm him, he quickly squirmed out of her
grasp and stood up.


“What are you doing up,” he interrupted. “You should be in bed. Everyone’s asleep.”

“And what are you doing, standing guard?”

“No,” he said distractedly. “No, I just needed time to think.”

“And this house is only quiet for two things: sleep...” she held up one finger, and thrusting
another in the air, she added with a smirk, “and food.”

He glanced down at where she knelt on the floor. He took in her innocent smirk, the funny way
she waggled her fingers in the air to get his attention. He offered her a wan smile.

“I can’t think when you’re around.”

“I take that as a compliment.”

“No. I mean— I really do need some time to think.”

“You should leave thinking to the one who does it the best. You might hurt yourself.” She
winked at him.

“Cute.” Though he tried to hide it, his irritation was intoned on the word. She didn’t seem to
notice as she got up and stood in his path.

“I try,” she said with a smirk. She reached out to him. He flinched away from her. In a quavering
voice, she whispered, “Why won’t you let me help you?”

“I don’t
need your help! I don’t need anyone’s help,” he answered in a fierce whisper. She shrunk
away from his temper and took a few steps back.

“This is my fight. Why can’t you understand that? I shouldn’t have dragged you all into this as
much as I already have! All I do is bring death to the people I love!  I’m more like an angel of
death than a brave hero.”   

He was shaking with anger, turning red in the face, but wouldn’t raise his voice, still mindful of
the sleeping house. He raked a hand through his already crumpled hair and turned away from

She caught the frustrated growl that forced its way from his throat. Hesitantly, she stepped
toward him, placing a hand on his arm.

He turned, taking her wrist, and walked her back toward the couch where she landed when she
couldn’t step back any farther. He leaned down to her then, face inches from her own, hand still
clutching her wrist in between them. He spoke calmly, icily.

“I’ve tried to tell you this before. I’ve tried to be nice, but you just aren’t hearing me. So I’ll say it
again.” He paused, taking in her features, then shifted slightly to make sure she was staring
directly into his eyes.

“Stay away from me,” he growled. Then stood up and stepped away from the couch.   

She just stared at him, confusion and hurt laced her features.

“But, Harry, I just want—“

“We don’t always get what we want.
I’ll never get what I want.” He glanced up the stairs as he
said it and backed away to lean against the fireplace. Again, placing his back to her.

Her heart broke for him.

“Harry, don’t say that.  Of course you will. You’ll win this battle and then you’ll be free of him.
Free to live your life as you please. Free to maybe one day get married, have kids.”  She cast her
gaze downward to her slippers.

He grunted, not looking at her.  “No. I’ll never have that. I’ll never be truly free. But you might.
And that’s why I fight.”

“Can’t you even hear how heroic that is? That is you. That’s who you are.  You’re the
embodiment of that. You are a hero, Harry.”

He turned around, stepping towards her, angry.  His voice tight, strained by trying not to yell.

“No, I’m not.  I’m nothing!  I’m just a boy in a cupboard.  I wish all of you would stop looking at
me like I’m some sort of savior.  I lived in a storage cupboard for eleven years!  How does that
qualify me...I have no idea...” He broke off and started pacing.

“Mr. Harry Potter. Cupboard Under the Stairs. 4 Privet Drive.  That’s how my Hogwarts letter
came.  And that’s all I am.  All I know.  I can’t save you.  I can’t save the whole world!  I don’t
even know how to make you go away!  How am I going to get rid of Voldemort?”

Her voice was quivering as she whispered, “Oh, but Harry, you’re the bravest person I know.”

“Then you’re keeping bad company.”

“Harry, please don’t say such awful things about yourself.  We all love you. I—“

“Do yourself a favor. Get as far away from me as you can. I don’t need you or your help.  I don’t
want it either.”

She couldn’t hold back the sobs now. He’d turned back to the fire, not looking at her.

“If I’m going to die tomorrow, I want to know that you’re safe. That you’re all safe.”

Choking back her sobs, she managed, “But there aren’t any missions planned?”

“I’m leaving.”


“I’m leaving tomorrow morning.” He glanced down at his wristwatch and amended, “Well,
actually, in a few hours.”

“But you can’t.”

“I have to.”

“You shouldn’t go alone. Take someone with you. Take anyone. Take me. Harry, I’ll go with

He hesitated. “There is one thing you could do for me...”

“What, Harry? Anything.”

“Go back upstairs to bed and pretend we never had this conversation.”

He turned to her then and held her gaze. They stared at each other for a long moment. Then,
crying freely, she nodded.  

Swiping the tears trailing down her cheeks, she stood up from the couch and walked slowly to
the stairs. Stopping at the first, she turned slightly.

“You are a hero, Harry. Whether you think so or not. You’re
my hero. I would have never
survived first year without you.”

“Maybe. More like you would have never been in danger if I
weren’t around.”

A sob tore from her throat as she climbed the stairs.  He stayed still until he heard her door close.

“I’m so sorry it has to be this way,” he finished quietly.

He slumped down the wall and buried his head in his hands.  The last of the embers in the
hearth finally died out, casting him in darkness.
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I’ve decided to finally post these and give them new life. I originally wrote them in 2006, I
believe, as a character study.  

I wanted to see how each of the three main Ladies of Potter would react if they were each faced
with the same situation.

This was before the release of the last novel and there was a lot of chatter online about Harry
possibly going off alone to fight Voldemort.  

I found this hard to swallow because we all know how inept Harry can be without the help of
his friends. And I really believed that after Book 5 we had discovered our warriors and that this
band of 6 would be working together to save the world.

Little did I know at the time that Dumbledore had other ideas...

There are three different pieces, none of them mentioning who the girl is by name, choose her by
her actions.

Let me know if you can guess. (I don’t think it’s terribly hard.)
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