“Ohmigod! I’m so sorry!” I said, quickly sitting up straight and turning a nice shade of scarlet.
“Not a problem,” he said, smiling.
Mortified as I was I managed to smile back. And then I looked out the window. The view made me gasp. “It’s beautiful.”
“Yeah,” James said, looking affectionately at the castle. “It is, isn’t it?”
As the train slowed to a stop, we all stood up, grabbed our things, and proceeded to leave the Hogwarts Express. As we exited the train, Remus pointed out that I should probably follow the first years to be sorted. “Look for Hagrid,” he said, “He’s huge, you can’t miss him.”
I nodded, hugged them all, and walked towards the sea of nervous looking first years. As Remus had mentioned, I found Hagrid immediately. He must’ve been part giant or something, because he was humongous. I must be crazy, I told myself, but, nevertheless, I walked toward him. There was a bunch of nervous-looking eleven-year-olds behind him, all climbing into boats. I decided to follow the crowd and hopped into a boat. There were already two people sitting there, a girl who seemed as calm as I was, and a boy who looked absolutely terrified.
“Hi,” the girl said with a smile, “I’m Dawn. And this,” she motioned to the boy, “is my cousin, Jason.”
“I’m Jay. It's very nice to meet you.” We shook hands.
“It’s nice to meet you too, Jay.” She smiled sadly at the boy sitting at the other end of the boat. “I really don’t see what everyone’s getting so worked up about. I mean, it’s not as if they’re going to torture us.”
I looked around; it seemed that most of the people around me would have welcomed torture compared to what we were about to go through. It almost made me want to laugh.
“So,” Dawn began, “How old are you? You definitely look too old to be a first year.”
“That’s because I’m not. I transferred to Hogwarts because I recently moved to England from America. I’m a seventh year.”
The boats suddenly jolted forward, and we were off towards the school.
We were up in front of the rest of the school, waiting for everyone to settle in. Once everyone was seated, the strict looking woman who had introduced herself as Professor McGonagall placed an old, ratty looking hat on a wooden stool, and took a step back. Then it began to sing.
While I was very sure that whatever this hat had to say was very interesting, I really and truly didn’t care. I instead used the time I was given to locate the Marauders. I saw them all sitting together in the middle of the Gryffindor table, laughing about something. I caught Sirius’s eye first. He smiled and waved, which started a chain reaction all down the line of the marauders. Even though Sirius, James, and Peter looked excited to see me, Remus seemed nervous for some reason. I looked at him questioningly, and he glanced at the table behind him. The apparent hatred in his eyes as he looked at them made it obvious that these were the Slytherins. I pointed to myself, in disbelief that he would even think that I might become associated with people who were, according to James and Sirius, the slimiest, most dishonest, cowards in the entirety of Hogwarts. He gave me an apologetic look and shrugged his shoulder, as if to say “it could happen.” James saw what he was insinuating, and punched him on the arm.
I smirked. That’s what he gets for thinking I’d be in Slytherin, I thought. I then realized that the hat had stopped singing, and that Professor McGonagall was about to begin speaking. “Before we begin the official Sorting, we have a new student who is going to be joining the seventh years. Janet White.” I took this to be my cue to walk over, sit down, and put on the hat.
Hmm, very interesting, I heard the hat say. Loyal, loads of talent too, and brave, extremely brave, no doubt about that. But where, oh, where to put you? Hmm, Ravenclaw maybe, but then there’s always Hufflepuff. Well, let’s go with: “GRYFFINDOR!”
I smiled and made my way down the table of cheering Gryffindors. Sirius and Remus made a space for me between the two of them. They congratulated me as the cheering quieted down and McGonagall began sorting the first years.
I looked at Remus. “See Remmy, I’m not a Slytherin after all.” I exaggerated the nickname, knowing that it annoyed the crap out of him, and I smirked at him.
Sirius looked astonished. You thought she was going to be in Slytherin?” he said the word Slytherin as though it left a nasty taste in his mouth.
He blushed a little bit. “Well—“ but he never got to finish explaining himself; Sirius had smacked him on the back of his head.
“What in the bloody hell were you thinking?!”
“I would ask you the same thing!” Remus replied, rubbing the back of his head. “There was always a possibility!”
“Actually,” I said, trying to calm down Sirius, who looked disgusted with Remus, “Slytherin was the only house the hat didn’t consider putting me in.” At first, Remus looked betrayed. I nodded towards Sirius, whose expression had gone from murderous to smugly triumphant, and he nodded understandingly.
“See, there was absolutely no possibility whatsoever.” Sirius might as well have just said ‘I told ya’ so’ with the way his voice dripped with smugness.
Remus rolled his eyes. “Fine then; I’m sorry.”
“C’mon Remus, like you mean it.” I jumped a little when I heard the voice. It was only the second time I had heard Peter speak, and the first time I had ever seen him smirk. Remus attempted to hold back a smile, to no avail.
“Oh great and powerful Janet White, I humbly beg that you forgive me for accusing you of having Slytherin-like qualities,” he laughed and bowed.
“You are forgiven,” I said, hardly able to keep laughter back myself. The other guys joined me as Remus rolled his eyes.
As we began to settle down, we heard the name “Zuckerman, Jason” called out as a nervous boy walked out onto the stage and had the sorting hat placed on his head.
“Aww,” Sirius whined, “we missed the entire sorting.”
James rolled his eyes. “Get over it Padfoot. I mean, it’s not like this is the last—“ His face fell as revelation hit. “Oh yeah… this is our last sorting.”
They all became gradually quieter as it sank in. Suddenly, food magically appeared on the large platters in front of us and people began to eat.
The second Sirius saw the food, he perked up immediately and began to dig in. The rest of the guys followed his example and cheered up, laughing at the “typical Sirius behavior.”
Dinner was quick, and Dumbledore’s speech was no longer. As everyone headed upstairs to get settled in, James, Sirius, and I stayed back to give a couple of lost First Years fake directions. After that got boring, and once the halls were relatively empty, the three of us decided it was time to go upstairs.
James walked up to a portrait of a very large woman in pink. When she asked for the password, he said “butterbeer” and the portrait swung open like a door.
“How’d you know the password?” I asked.
“Heard it from a prefect downstairs,” he answered nonchalantly. We entered the common room, which was mostly empty except for a couple of people who were finishing up games of chess or talking excitedly about different things. Sirius pointed out the door to the girls’ dormitories, said good night, and walked away with James towards a door labeled “BOYS.” I went through the door that Sirius had pointed out, and walked up until I saw another door labeled “Seventh Years.” I took a deep breath and grabbed the doorknob. Well, here goes…