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Chapter 1 : The Flat Rock
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“Rubeus!” a girl’s voice shook him from his meditation. “Hagrid!”
Hagrid turned in shock, trying to find the source of the shouting, his eyes settling on a small blonde figure clambering up the hill to his spot. His secret spot.
“What are you doing here?” he asked gruffly.
His voice was deep for a third year and unnaturally hostile for the friendly giant. He frowned as he watched her climb to the top, short of breath.
“I – followed – you – up – the – hill,” she panted cheerily, reaching the top of the steep tor at last, putting her hands on her hips and jutting her stomach out proudly.
Although her hair was tied up behind her hair, blonde ringlets were escaping. The wind made them dance around her heart-shaped face, pointed ears and brilliant blue, mischievous eyes. Her cheeks were a healthy pink and her impish smile was set in thin, red lips.
It was only now she was in full view that Hagrid realised who he was talking to.
“Valentine,” he flushed with embarrassment, looking down at his feet immediately.
She let out a cheeky giggle. Hagrid wished he could laugh as freely as she did.
“Sorry,” she grinned, “I was just curious.”
She held her hand to her face to shield her eyes, saluting the vision of daybreak and let out a whistle at the spectacular vista. She gave a small, happy gasp and bit her lip.
“I can see why you come here. This is beautiful.”
She turned a slow 360 degrees, taking in the breathtaking view. Dawn was just breaking, and the first sparks of light were reflected like a million fragments of diamond, sapphire, emerald and amethyst in the gentle currents of the lake. The light sheet of dew made every leaf, every blade of grass, glitter like winter frost. The warm rainbow of colours in the sky silhouetted dark, capped mountains.
“This is Eden, Hagrid! It’s paradise!”
But Hagrid’s eyes hadn’t left the floor. He just wanted to be left alone, he didn’t have friends, or rather they didn’t have him.
“I’m sorry,” she apologised, “I didn’t mean to intrude.”
She only met a stony cold silence.
“I’ll leave if you want me to.”
Still nothing. But she wasn’t going to scramble all the way back down that hill unless he asked her to. Little did she know that Hagrid wanted to say something. Something clever or insightful or romantic, but he couldn’t find the words. He often found it was best he didn’t speak to the other students.
“You’ve got a spider on you,” she noticed.
She had got his attention at last. He twisted and turned frantically.
“Just here. Keep still.”
She moved in closer and closer until Hagrid could count her eyelashes. He got to twenty-seven before he stopped himself.
Her tongue stuck out in concentration as she reached up on tiptoe and caught the spindling creature that descended from his mass mane of hair. Holding it by its thread, she moved to drop it somewhere, keeping the spider at arm’s reach.
“Wait,” Hagrid said, and cupped his hands so it could be dropped into his open palm, “Give her to me.”
A surprised Valentine did as she was told of her and gently released it into the half-giant’s hand.
“Her?” she inquired.
“Male spiders are smaller than females.”
“Makes a change.”
She meant it to be ironic, but Hagrid blushed a hot, embarrassed red at the comment. Valentine realised she’d hit a nerve, she hadn’t anticipated that Hagrid would be so self-conscious of his size.
“What shall we call her?” she changed the subject quickly, pleasantly surprised at the ease with which Hagrid let the creepy-crawly run over his massive hands.
“I’ll let you call it,” he grunted a laugh.
“But I don’t know anything about spiders!” she smiled; glad to see his sunny side come out at last, just in time to see the sunrise.
“Do you want to hold her?” he asked.
She flinched away for a second, hesitating before thrusting her hands out towards
him, screwing up her face in fear.
“Go on then.”
She didn’t look as he slowly coaxed the brown scurry of legs into her tiny, pale hands. She gasped as it tickled her fingers.
“Don’t be so tense.” Hagrid laughed.
“Why, can it smell my fear?” she joked.
“What are you scared of?” he smiled. “Why are you afraid of something so small and harmless?”
She giggled because she didn’t know. Her mouth fell open as the spider began to crawl up her arm. Valentine squealed as she attempted to rescue it.
“Tell me more about her,” she asked of Hagrid, glad to see him opening up to the world at last.
Hagrid looked up to see if she was joking. This wasn’t the type of conversation other students had with him. To come to think of it, he couldn’t remember the last time he had a proper conversation with anyone at all apart from Dumbledore.
“She’s a common garden spider. You can see by the pale beige spots on her
abdomen. Banded, spiny legs; see the stripes? Two dark on each leg.”
“For someone so big you know a lot about something so small,” she was beginning to enjoy the light tapping of feet across her knuckles. “I think I’ll call her Ruby. Ruby and Rubeus?”
Hagrid snorted, his face creased with a rare smile as if his skin was cracking, trying to remember how the lines were supposed to fit.
“You know it’s very rare to see them out at this time of year. They mostly appear in the summer and early autumn months.”
“Maybe she just came for a quick visit,” Valentine looked directly at Hagrid. “Maybe she wanted to see how you were doing.”
But as just as their conversation was getting easier, it was as if something pulled him back down to Earth with a sudden jolt as he remembered that people weren’t good to him. And he wasn’t good to them back.
“Why are you being nice to me?” he asked with accusing hostility in his voice.
Valentine’s smile dropped and she cupped her hands together, trapping little Ruby inside.
“I didn’t realise I wasn’t allowed to be,” she replied quietly.
“You’re making fun of me.”
“No I’m not.”
Hagrid turned back to his original position on the flat rock, gazing into the blinding rays of sun peeking out from behind the hills and forests surrounding them. He came to the flat rock to find solace, peace and quiet. He came to be alone from the other students. Somehow they managed to creep their way into his happy place, like the sinister spider captive in Valentine’s tiny hands.
“You look at me, and what do you see?” he demanded of her.
She took a minute to gaze upon him, unflinching and unblinking.
“I see two black eyes, two broad shoulders, a nose a mouth, arms, legs and dark hair. And yes, I see a boy who is twice my size, but that doesn’t mean I think you’re
“Doesn’t it? Isn’t that what everyone is saying about me? The half-breed? The monster who killed his father?” Hagrid hissed bitterly. His stomach churned with anger.
“You think I don’t hear what they talk about behind my back?” Hagrid suddenly became very distracted by a loose thread on his school robes as he unravelled it and twisted it around his little finger.
“Do you think I listen?” Valentine snapped back. “I’m sorry for what happened to your Dad, but I know it’s not your fault. And it’s not their fault either.”
“You’re defending them?” Hagrid yelled, disbelievingly.
“They’re cruel because they’re jealous. They’re silly Gryffindor boys that know full well that you could crush them all in a second and they’re threatened by that.”
Hagrid was unconvinced. The same boys laughed at him because he was coward; all that brutal strength and he couldn’t be provoked by anything. ‘Hit me!’ one cried, jabbing him in the ribs. ‘Hit me like you did your Dad!’ It amused them to see a boy of his size cry.
“You know I was the tallest in the class,” she told him, defiantly. “Back home I was like the freak show, I was taller than my Mam, my Dad, taller than some of my teachers. But then I came here.”
“Then I guess you know exactly how it feels to have people say you murdered your father.”
Hagrid instinctively turned at once to see what the matter was. He saw Valentine clutching at her hand; Ruby was nowhere to be seen.
“She bit me!” she explained, rubbing her sore palm.
“You shouldn’t have trapped her like that.” Hagrid scorned, taking her wrist to inspect the damage.
Valentine found the hard leather of his skin to be rather comforting against hers. It was bizarre how he could be so gentle and caring when the stereotype was a bumbling, clumsy brute who didn’t know his own strength. He seemed like another boy trapped in a giant’s shell.
“We better take this to the nurse, spider bites can be really painful,” he advised, rising to accompany Valentine back to the school grounds.
“Hey Hagrid,” she called after him as he took a few huge giant steps down the hill. He turned to answer her, “Any chance of a piggy-back?”
Both kids smiled and giggled as Hagrid lifted Valentine onto his back and sprinted back to the castle.
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author's note: OMIGOD A HAGRID FIC!!!!Let me know what you think. Pwease?
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