Chapter 5 : The Sorting: Part Two
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Breathing hard and feeling very shaky, Ella took a glimpse of the sea of faces staring at her, before the hat fell over her eyes.
“Ella Weasley?” The Hat said quietly. “I can see where your intelligence comes from of course. Plenty of courage, I see a willingness to prove yourself. Very cunning, maybe Slytherin?”
“No,” Ella whispered, gripping the sides of the stool.
“Very smart – how about Ravenclaw?”
Gryffindor, she thought desperately.
“Ah, but yes! You seem almost destined for Gryffindor – courage of course, it’s in your blood!”
“Yes,” Ella whispered.
“But I can see you need protection. Dark forces are rebuilding, and they want you. They are rising again, greater and more terrible than ever before! Forgive me, it is for your own protection…RAVENCLAW!”
Ella lifted the Hat off her head numbly, feeling only utter confusion. She didn’t even hear the cheering that filled the hall. Ravenclaw? The hat admitted she belonged in Gryffindor, didn’t it? Why did she need protection? Would Gryffindor protect her more?
Ella pondered on these thoughts as the cheering and applause stopped. She noted that most Gryffindors were sharing the same confused looks as her. Ella walked shakily to the Ravenclaw table.
It was Cindy, gesturing at the empty seat beside her. Ella slipped into it gratefully.
“What -” She started, but Cindy interrupted her.
“Not now!” She whispered. “After the Sorting!”
Ella scowled, staring at her plate. She was so hungry; the Chocolate Frogs seemed ages ago.
Willis walked off to join Malfoy and Smith at the Slytherin table.
After Isaac had left the stool, Professor McGonagall hurriedly moved it and the Sorting Hat out of the way.
The wizard in the centre of the table stood up, and the chatter ceased to silence. Albus Dumbledore beamed at the students, his flowing, silver hair shining brightly.
“Welcome,” he said. “Welcome to all first years; welcome to Hogwarts, a new beginning! As for everyone else – welcome back!” He sat back down and everyone clapped and cheered.
Ella glanced at the Ravenclaw table and noted happily that the dishes were piled with food.
Starving, she began piling her plate with lots of food.
“Ella, why are we in Ravenclaw?” Cindy said quietly, helping herself to so roast beef.
Ella swallowed the hot chips she’d just shoved into her mouth. “I don’t know…” She said slowly. “But the Hat told me Gryffindor couldn’t protect me, yet Ravenclaw could. It even admitted that I belonged in Gryffindor.”
Cindy looked thoughtful. “Yeah, the Sorting Hat told me that it was putting me in Ravenclaw for my own protection…look, lets discuss this another time. I want to relax, it’s the first time I’ve ever had a meal without Dormeins sitting across for me and sneering…”
Ella looked around her. There was a good-looking guy sitting across from her. He looked like a third-year. The boy glanced at her, and Ella felt her pulse quicken. She looked away.
“Hey,” The girl sitting next to Cindy smiled at Ella. “I’m Nikki. Nikki Johnson. You’re a first year too, aren’t you?”
“Yeah,” She replied. “I’m Ella Weasley.”
“Are you? Oh, cool!” Nikki exclaimed loudly, causing people to stare at her. She didn’t notice. “Didn’t your Uncle defeat You Know Who?”
Everyone in the vicinity was watching Ella. She stared at her plate of food, not used to the attention. Even the third year was watching her intently.
“Yeah,” She said quietly. “My parents were Harry’s best friends.”
“Hermione and Ron,” Nikki said knowledgably.
Cindy straightened up. “Thanks to the trio, Gryffindor won the Cup every year.”
The third year spoke up. “But why aren’t you in Gryffindor?”
“Must be her brains – Hermione was very smart, you know,” a fifth year said.
“Maybe,” Ella said.
Everyone who was watching Ella went back to eating or talking to their friends. They all seemed to forget about Ella in that space of a second. Even Cindy was arguing with Nikki about how she wasn’t like the other Malfoys. Crystal was listening as they ranted on and on.
“Hello, Ella.” It was Isabel.
Ella held back a groan. Even though Isabel was sitting at the far end of the Ravenclaw table, she still felt the need to visit Ella. “Hi, Isabel.”
“As a school prefect, Ella, it is my duty to tell you that prefects have the ability and power to give out detentions and punishments. I hope, Ella, that this does not mean that you think its okay to break the rules because we know each other, which I will not allow. I do not abuse my position; nor do I let my friends get off,” Isabel finished. “And well done on being sorted into Ravenclaw. But just remember Ella, that if I catch you breaking any rules, I will write to your mother immediately, as well as punishing you.” Isabel tapped her prefect badge twice, and strolled back to her seat, not even noticing how everyone sitting near Ella was staring at her disbelievingly.
“You know,” Cindy said loudly once Isabel was out of sight, “I think its kind of pointless arguing about whether I’m good or bad. I mean, the Sorting Hat put me in Ravenclaw, not Slytherin. Aren’t Ravenclaws meant to be smart?”
Nikki scowled, but remained silent. She turned to her left, and began chatting to Crystal.
Just then, the remainders of food on Ella’s plate disappeared and puddings and desserts appeared on the golden plates.
“Cool, I never got food like this back at home!” Cindy said excitedly, grabbing a jam doughnut.
Ella laughed, helping herself to some ice cream.
A while later, after Ella had eaten everything she could, all the desserts vanished and Professor Dumbledore got to his feet. The hall fell silent.
“Now that we have all eaten I have to give you the usual start-of-term-notices. Firstly, the forest in the grounds is forbidden to all students,” he started.
Ella noticed Tyson and Trent Weasley smirking at this at the Gryffindor table.
“No magic is to be used between classes in the corridors, and nor is a list of other things, which can be viewed on the list on Mr Filch’s office door. We have one change in staffing this year - I would like to welcome our new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Medea.” There was a polite applause.
Looking at the staff table, Ella decided that Professor Medea was the female sitting to the left of McGonagall. She had long dark hair that was tied back messily and a stern face. The only giveaway was Medea’s young, twinkling eyes.
“Quidditch tryouts will be held in the second week of term, the exact date will be posted in the House common-rooms. And now, bedtime. Goodnight!”
Isabel hurried over to the first years as everyone began leaving the hall. “First years, please follow me,” she commanded.
Ella, Cindy, Crystal, Nikki and a group of first year boys followed Isabel out of the Great Hall and up a marble staircase. They walked through corridors, doorways hidden behind sliding panels, up more staircases, finally reaching a portrait of a lady in grey.
“This is the entrance to the Ravenclaw common-room and dormitories.” Isabel said.
“Password?” The Grey Lady asked.
“Wingardium Leviosa,” Isabel said. Then to the first-years, she said, “You need the password to get in. It changes weekly.”
The portrait swung to the side to reveal a hidden door. Isabel seized the handle and opened it. Ella followed Isabel inside.
It was a cosy, circular room full of couches and armchairs. A fire was burning in the fireplace, crackling loudly. A few people were standing around talking, before walking up the stairs and out of sight.
“Girls up the left staircase; boys up the right,” Isabel ordered, climbing the left spiral staircase.
Ella and Cindy followed.
“The common-room’s nice,” Cindy said as they passed a door saying ‘third years’.
Ella didn’t reply; she was too tired.
“We’re here!” Cindy opened the door that said ‘first years’. Inside was another circular room, with four four-poster beds. Their luggage had already been brought up.
Ella recognized the hot-pink trunk nearest her, and headed straight for it.
The door opened again. It was Nikki and Crystal.
“This place is so cool!” Nikki exclaimed, jumping on her bed.
Ella turned to her bed; and gasped.
Sitting on her four-poster bed was a phoenix. It had red and gold plumage, the size of a swan. The phoenix had a long, golden tail and gleaming talons.
One word summed it up: The phoenix was beautiful.
It began to sing soothingly, like waves lapping on the shore. Nikki, Crystal and Cindy walked over to Ella’s bed, unsure of the noise.
“Oh, wow…” Crystal’s voice travelled off. “A phoenix, a real phoenix.”
“What exactly is a phoenix?” Nikki asked.
“What you’re looking at!” Cindy retorted.
Ella ignored their bickering and undid the note tied to its leg.
Hope your first was good, and that you’ve made lots of friends. This phoenix is a present – we meant to give her to you before you left for Hogwarts, but she only arrived after you’d left.
Mum and Dad.
Ella stroked the phoenix – her phoenix – as Crystal read the letter.
“Imagine getting a phoenix,” she murmured. “I wish my Aunt would get me something like that…”
Ella blinked. “What about your parents? Why your Aunt?”
“Because,” Crystal said quietly, “they’re dead.”
“I’m so sorry, Crystal! I had no idea. Seriously.” Ella wanted to kick herself. How could she be so insensitive?
“It’s okay,” Crystal said. “I barely remember them.”
“How did they die?”
Even Cindy and Nikki had stopped arguing and were listening intently.
“Alexia and Matt Venezuela were Aurors,” Crystal started. “Some of the best in the Ministry, up there with Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. They were always off catching dark wizards, so I always stayed at my Aunt’s place. Anyway, one day they came across Bellatrix Lestrange. This was just after You Know Who had died, only a few weeks after Neville Longbottom was murdered. She put them under the Impervius Curse, tried to make them spies for the Death Eaters. They threw it off entirely. So Bellatrix tortured them to death.”
There was a silence, but to Ella it was piercing, unbearable.
“Look, I don’t like pity at all – I hate being felt sorry for,” Crystal said finally. “I’m going to bed.”
“Me, too,” Ella left Cindy and Nikki standing motionless in the centre of the room, obviously stunned. "Just remember Crystal, we're always here for you."
"Yeah," Cindy and Nikki said together.
She crawled into bed without changing into pyjamas, and was asleep before her head even hit the pillow.
A/N: I tried to make the Ravenclaw common room a lot like the Gryffindor’s, apart from the location. And I was originally going to have owl for Ella, not a phoenix, but I changed my mind at the last minute because I think a phoenix would be more interesting. Also, I based Crystal’s history on Neville’s, but I changed most of the information. I just realised how many people have died already, and I’m only like five chapters into it! Just be warned – the story has only just started.
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