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Chapter 1: Sorting of the Last
The romance has been taken away for her. The grand staircase, the high ceilings, and the armour that supposedly follows students around- all that she knew. She knew it like the back of her hand and she was only eleven. She hadn’t even departed on the boats yet; she was sitting in the fourth from the left with a surly looking boy and a ginger haired girl who was splashing her hand in the lake.
The stories she knew of this place, the secrets that she wouldn’t have to discover because she already knew. The kitchens were behind the pear and the fourth floor staircase in the west wing moved whenever someone stepped on the third stair. The caretaker was an old batty man by the name of Leo, he had a stump of a leg and most people taunted and called him Leo one leg. No one seemed to know that he lost that leg in the war. That tidbit came from her brother who had a strange way of making friends with the down and trodden, the people no one wanted to be friends with.
The boats had started moving by now and their boat had filled up by another girl with golden hair. They were all wondrously looking up at the castle that was gleaming in the dark night like a lantern in a cavern. All but her. She was pulling little tidbits out of her robe pockets. She had asked her daddy – no her dad because saying daddy was now too childish – to give her robes with extra pockets.
She would hand out a sweet to each of her boat mates just before they got to the dock. She started organizing her trinkets with a small smile, pushing some of the bigger things into the deep pockets that were hid on the inside the robe. There wasn’t another student who had as cool as robes as her she thought.
The place she was going to was known to be magical, to house the best wizards and witches that England had ever known. The winding passages, the dank dungeons, and the high towers that seemed to be trying to reach the heavens were where angels and devils had danced. She knew that a man named Tom Riddle used to have a medal in the trophy room but her uncle was the one to have it burned. Tom, her uncle said, was a very bad wizard, the worst.
They were getting close to the docks and she pulled out four brightly coloured sweets from her left pocket and held them out to her boat mates with a smile on her face. The ginger haired girl squealed in delight and grabbed the red one, the golden haired girl took a yellow one but the surly looking boy looked skeptical. As he should. He asked why she was handing sweets out and she replied with a bright smile ‘let’s be friends!’ She let out a giggle for good measure. He contemplated for a moment before he took the green one. She smiled brightly at them all and put the last sweet in her pocket.
She would whistle till the deputy headmistress, who she knew was Professor Sinistra, collected them at the dock. She wondered if anyone would be impressed if she said all she knew and told them what was to come. Though she couldn’t really be bothered because she thought they all looked funny with the gaping faces and wide eyes bigger than any house elf. She could probably throw her extra sweet into the mouth of the kid with big glasses in the boat next to hers, just for a laugh.
There was a lot that she knew; she was the last of them to get here so her head was filled with stories of a magical place where spells were cast in corridors and how ghosts felt like ice when they walked through a person. There was a classroom that if someone walked into it, the door would slam behind them and they’d had to wait for someone to open it from the outside to get out. It was on the second floor fortunately and a lot of traffic went by it to get to the Great Hall for food. It was a newbie mistake, one that she wasn’t likely to make.
She was, as it was, the last of the Weasley clan to enter through these hallways. Newbie didn’t suit her anymore. The multitude of pictures she’d seen and the stories she’d heard she practically knew the place like the back of her hand. Even the dank and dirty smell of the dock underneath the castle didn’t surprise her; it somehow smelt familiar like an old friend.
She heard the nervous laughter of the children around her as the scuttled up the stairs behind the Sinistra, the woman’s back was rigid and her black hair done carefully in braids. Her hair was done much in the same way but instead of being sleek like the woman’s, her hair was frizzy and bits were sticking straight up because she could never sit still.
Everyone was busy looking around, some students, muggle born perhaps, saw the moving portraits and stopped outright to stare while others seemed to get whiplash as they wanted to take in everything at once. She expected it like the dawn comes after the night.
Her attention instead was settled on her boat mates. The ginger girl stuck close to her like glue while the others had drifted away, too caught up in their own wonder to focus on anything else. She watched and waited with a devious grin plastered across her face.
They passed the tapestry of Lady Talia; her cousin told her if you took it you could shave twenty minutes off your commute from the east to the west wing. Not many people knew about it and she, an eleven year old, passed it with a glint in her eye and skip in her step thanking Dominique because she knew it would be helpful as she was always running late.
There was however, one thing this girl did not know. Past the carved archways, the moving portraits, and the milling ghosts, one secret had remained elusive. No matter her attempts to steal them from her cousins, her parents, or uncle’s lips. So while they walked in a line through the Great Hall and all the other first years were looking up at the sky that actually wasn’t the sky she felt a spark of fear.
Her eyes landed on her older brother sitting in Ravenclaw. He had the wit and cleverness of the family, she the pranks and the chaos. His black eyes were smiling at her as she walked with trepidation down the aisle. It was a foreign feeling to her and she realized she hated it. It felt like she was walking the plank. How great it would have been if she could have been distracted by the floating candles or the rows and rows of students with black hats. She had seen the photos, heard the stories. That wasn’t surprising to her.
She had tried to find out, listened through doorways, crept around like a thief, and even used extendable ears but it was to no avail. The one secret they kept was the one she was desperate to know. She had asked, thinking it would be like another story they all were always willing to indulge her rabid curiosity. However, it was like a festering present that sat in the corner and no matter how many times she shook it, only a strange thudding noise telling her very little of what was inside. That’s what irritated her the most, the not knowing.
There were all standing up front now and she looked down the long row of giddy students and wished she had wrangled the truth out of someone. Instead, she had gotten tales of wrestling a giant troll (which she found highly unlikely; she was only eleven) to stories of having to create your own musical number (she had composed a few short ballads just in case).
She pulled on the edges of her robes and looked over her shoulders to see her brother again who gave her a thumbs up signal. It made her feel a bit better so she turned around to the front, ready to face whatever is to come. If all else fails, she’ll fire off a good old Wealsey’s Whizzfire Whiz-Bang and then run.
Before her apprehension can mount further a hat was placed upon a stool she hadn’t taken notice of. Her eyes finally widened in that childlike wonder when the hat opened its mouth and began to sing. The whole hall seemed to have quietened and the professors at the high table were watching them with a hawk like quality that made her shift in her shoes.
She listened to the song with new ears and new eyes. She let it into her soul with a small smile and for a moment she forgot to keep watch on her boat mates. Instead she stood and listened in rapture and pulled on the ends of her kinky black hair. It was wonderful and she thought much better than a musical number performed by a bunch of blubbering students whose voices had yet to crack.
The wizard hat finally stopped singing and the applause that followed, Sinistra held her hand up to quiet down. Names where called but the girl quickly tuned out and fiddled with the pockets of her robes. Her hands itching for something to do.
But mostly, she didn’t want to think. Didn’t want to think of where she would go. She was a Weasley. A Weasley. What if she ended up somewhere like Slytherin? Or even Hufflepuff? She wouldn’t mind being with her brother but still. It had been imprinted in all their minds that Gryffindor was a Weasley thing. She didn’t have the red hair of the Weasley’s. She didn’t have the knobbly knees or the stocky or tall, billowing frame. She looked like her mother more than anything.
People didn’t turn to her and say there is just another Weasley because most people just didn’t know. They may turn to the girl next to her because of the shot of ginger hair that looked more like a carrot than anything, but their eyes would overlook her. Some would say that anonymity was best, that it’s better that than being stared at, branded like that Scorpius Malfoy was. That’s what Albus always said anyway, that the kid was the perfect scapegoat and as much as the Potter children were loved, he was hated.
The idea of anonymity, of being faceless in a crowd, scared her which is probably why she was always making something happen. Whether it was a Quidditch game (though she wasn’t very good compared to the rest of the cousins, she was always too young) or putting stick-to-your-seat powder on unsuspecting chairs or toilets. Her mum said she got that from her father who was anything but faceless.
The ginger girl that was beside her was called up (a Loren Finnegan) and she was placed in Gryffindor. She noticed that as the girl bounced to the table the red sweet fell out of her pocket.
There was this pressure because what would her dad say if she was put in Slytherin? She’s renounce right now all her sneaking about and sly tactics to get what she wanted if it meant avoiding that house like a plague. She’s repent to St Mary or whoever was up there if need be and say she really was a good girl. Even if she had stolen her mum’s lipstick that once and told them that her brother really wanted to be a girl. She didn’t even know what that actually meant or if it was possible but it was better that then being found out.
The names were counting down to hers. The anxiety that was growing in her stomach was like a symphony being played out of tune and the bad notes where being shoved down her throat. She tried to distract herself with all the secrets of the castle, thinking that she wouldn’t be like those first years who got lost on their way to classes for the first month. She would smile at the caretaker and ask him how his daughter was. She’d find Sir Cadagon and ask him to take her on an adventure because apparently he was good for it or go down and talk to Hagrid who had arthritis in his hands and he could no longer be the gamekeeper anymore.
All these stories she knew but it didn’t stop her feeling ill as if she had eaten a puking pastille herself.
Finally though... “Weasley, Roxanne,” Sinistra called.
She went up the stone steps to sit before the whole student body. She saw Albus at the Gryffindor table, his mass of black hair fell into his eyes and Rose was sitting next to him with equal enthusiasm. She noticed that a seat had been saved next to them and the fear clawed at her stomach.
But, before the hat could even properly sit on her head it shouted-
A whirlwind and it was over. Relief washed over her and she glanced at Fred who was smiling and clapping along with the Gryffindor table. She waved at him cheerily and jumped into the seat beside Rose. That was her place. It was always her place.
The last student was called, the surly looking boy who was apparently called Darren Yates. She came out of her happy stupor and watched him move to his place on the stool.
There was a ripple of laughter through the school because as the hat was deciding the boy’s fate a look of horror struck his face. His face turned red and out of his mouth came his tongue, growing by the second and turning a hideous shade of purple.
She leaned back in her seat and let out a hearty laugh that could be heard high above all the others. She poked Rose in the side.
“Ton-Tongue Toffee for the win!” she squealed in delight. She knew this year was going to be a good one. The best perhaps. Because of all the stories she had heard, it was the ones her dad told her she loved the most. It was here, he said, he learned chaos in its purest form. Here that he learned to find out who he really was.
Note: This was written for MargaretLane's NextGeneration Start Hogwarts challenge. I hope you enjoyed this piece and would really love to hear if you did. I haven't read many Roxanne stories and it was really fun to explore her character as an eleven year old.
I do not own anything you recognize obviously, everything is owned by JKR and no copyright infringment is intended.