By the time you get up to the castle, dinner has just started.
The Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, sits at a long table with more adults that you assume to be teachers.
Fudge told you about the school before you came, so you’re not entirely clueless.
You seat yourself at the nearest table, not wanting to disturb the Headmaster’s meal. You help yourself to food—a lot of it, too. Prison food is tasteless dirt compared to this feast.
Spotting Hagrid sitting two spots away from Dumbledore (how could you have missed him when you walked in?), you nod slightly in his direction. When he sees you, his eyes widen. You imagine his mouth would have opened, too, but there’s food in it. Once Hagrid has recovered from the initial shock of seeing you, he grins broadly and waves, upsetting the goblet beside him. It knocks over with a clatter, wine spilling everywhere.
You smile. It’s the first comical thing you’ve seen in a long while.
“Something funny, miss?” an unpleasant voice comes from behind you. Two clammy fingers lock around your ear and yank you upright.
Your wand hand flies to your pocket as your body tenses. Before you’re able to cause some serious damage to the unfortunate soul, a new voice speaks.
“What seems to be the problem here, Severus?”
“No problem here, Headmaster.” The man called Severus gives your ear a vicious twist.
You remain silent, motionless.
‘Showing pain only shows weakness. It makes your enemy stronger…’
“I merely caught this little hooligan stealing, Professor Dumbledore. I’m not even sure how she got in—”
“Hooligan, Severus?” Dumbledore replies mildly. “The ear you now hold belongs to none other than our new student, Shadow. I believe that I informed the entire staff of her arrival this morning.”
Your captor narrows his eyes, but lets go.
“I’ll need to speak to you after the feast,” the Headmaster says to you, watching Severus walk away.
You wait apprehensively in Dumbledore’s office, waiting for him to return.
After what feels like ages later, Dumbledore emerges from the far end of his office, holding a hat in his hands. He holds the battered, sorry-looking hat to you. You take it cautiously.
“Put it on,” he encourages gently. “This is the Sorting Hat.”
You oblige, though hesitantly.
“Well, are you an interesting one,” A voice, coming from seemingly nowhere, makes you jump about a foot in the air. “Settle down, child. I’m merely a hat.”
“It was meant to be.”
“Read your mind? Well, aren’t you clever?”
‘Cheeky little thing, aren’t you?’
“I try. Now, about your House…”
Fudge hadn’t told you about any houses…
“Yes. Hogwarts has four Houses; Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. I would go into more detail and sing my song for you, but you missed the Sorting…”
You sigh. Nothing like a lazy hat…
“Let’s see…You’re brave, cunning too. An Assassin? My, my…How very accomplished.”
You glance down at the Symbol on your wrist, a slender, slightly curved dagger. ‘I guess you could say that…’
“Well. It’s not hard to see where you should be placed…You would be best suited in Gryffindor. Ah, yes. That large book in your left pocket…The owner, Harry Potter, is in your House.”
Dumbledore lifts the Sorting Hat off of your head. He smiles. “A Gryffindor…Well. I’d best show you the common room and the dorms.”
You and Dumbledore reach the portrait hole to Gryffindor Tower. You say the password, (“Owl pellet.”) and watch as the portrait swings open.
“I would suggest covering that up, if you can.” The Headmaster suggests, glancing at the Symbol.
“Yes, Professor.” You yank the sleeve of your robe down further.
He smiles at you, then walks away, leaving you standing alone in the common room.
You toy with the sleeve of your right hand absently, making sure that the Symbol is completely covered. You can see why Dumbledore wouldn’t want anyone to see. It’d probably scare everyone half to death, knowing that an Assassin went to Hogwarts.
A tall boy with a shock of black hair and startlingly green eyes approaches you. He grins. “Saw you up there with Snape…That’s probably been his friendliest welcome yet.” He holds out his hand to you.
You stare. What is he doing?
The boy’s smile fades slightly as his hand drops to his side.
Maybe that was supposed to be friendly? You’ve definitely got to work on your people skills.
‘People skills? What for? I don’t need anyone…’
You shake your head a little to clear it. “I’m Shadow.”
Why does that sound so familiar?
You dig into your pocket, producing the book. You hold it out to him. “I think this is yours.”
Harry takes it from you, pocketing it. “Thanks. I thought I’d lost it…The thestrals got pretty riled up this morning.”
Harry bites his lip. “Not everyone can see them…But they pull the carriages…And now I feel really stupid…”
“You probably think I’m nuts, right?” Harry laughs a little. “The only other person I know that can see them is Luna Lovegood. And that’s not exactly comforting,” he adds.
“No, I can see them, too.” You pause, remembering the thestrals’ reactions to you. “But they didn’t seem to like me much…”
“Really? They’re usually—”
“Oy, Harry! Neville’s lost Trevor in the loo again…We’re trying to get him out. We could use some help!” someone calls down from the boys’ dormitory.
“Coming, Ron!” Harry shouts over his shoulder. He turns back to you. “I’ve got to go…Maybe we can talk later?”
“Um…Sure…” you respond slowly.
“Great.” Flashing a quick grin at you, Harry starts up the stairs to the boys’ dorm.
You make your way over to an armchair and sink into it. You sigh softly, shutting your eyes, and falling asleep.
Today has been quite eventful, and you’re completely tuckered out.
I thought I'd just give everyone a break from the emotional angsty-craziness in this chapter. Sorry if you seem a little OOC compared to the previous chapters, but I wanted to show you getting acclimated to Hogwarts--It's going to change your personality. There's going to be a more angsty, emotional roller coaster ride in the next chapter, never fear!
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