Ruthie sat at the Gryffindor table, her nose upturned.
The roast beef was cold.
The potatoes were crunchy.
The bread tasted stale.
The butter was too soft.
The pumpkin juice was too sweet.
The milk tasted sour.
Everything was wrong! Only the desserts were good, and even they were cutting it close. She made a mental note to ask one of the house-elves to make her a nice mug of hot chocolate and put some mini marshmallows in it. It was her customary bedtime snack.
She looked down the table and sighed. Ruthie had only been in this castle for one hour and already she was bored. Camilla sat beside her with Lavinia on her other side. Ruthie decided to talk to them.
“So, when are we allowed to leave?” she asked. “I’m bored.”
Lavinia rolled her eyes, but Ruthie didn’t see.
“Well, the Prefects should be around any time now,” Camilla said, trying to spot one. “The Gryffindor Prefects are that red-head boy and the brown-haired girl next to him.” She pointed the two sixth-years out. “They’ll lead us to our dormitories after Professor Dumbledore dismisses us.”
Ruthie looked at the sixth-years and then back at Camilla. She had never heard of ‘dormitories’ before. It was probably just a fancy word for bedrooms.
Soon after this, Professor Dumbledore stood up and the hall fell silent immediately. He told them the rules for the newcomers (Ruthie didn’t pay much attention; whatever Dumbledore said wasn’t really that important) and then dismissed them. Everyone stood up and began filing out of the Great Hall.
“First-year Gryffindors!” the brown-haired Prefect girl called, beckoning them toward her. “First-year Gryffindors, follow me!”
Ruthie got up from the table and started to follow the Prefects as they went out of the Great Hall and into the entrance hall, making sure she was in the front by shoving the other students out of the way. Prefect-girl saw her, stopped them, and frowned.
“No pushing your classmates!” she said. Hermione recognized her as the girl she had seen before, snatching food from the other students’ hands, and didn’t mind using a harsh tone for her. “That’s not any way for a Gryffindor to act.”
Ruthie glared daggers at her.
“I want to be in the front,” she said.
“That’s no reason to shove your classmates,” Hermione persisted. “If you continue, I’ll take off points.”
Ruthie stamped her foot, but said nothing. She hated this girl. How dare she threaten to take points from her, the niece of the Minister of Magic!
Hermione gave her a skeptical look, and then continued to lead them out of the entrance hall, up the marble staircase, down many corridors, and up more stairs. Ruthie grew tired and grunted with indignation.
“How long does this take?” she asked impatiently.
“We still have to go up two more floors,” Hermione answered snappily.
“Who in their right mind would put a dormitory up seven floors?” Ruthie continued.
Hermione didn’t reply.
“Whoever they were, they were really stupid.”
The Prefect opened her mouth to retort, but the portrait of a knight beside them did it for her.
“Bite your tongue, you ignorant little whippersnapper!” he cried, pointing his sword at Ruthie. “The noble House of Godric Gryffindor does not stand for such talk! If I was out there right now…!”
“Shut up, you!” Ruthie said in her commanding little voice. “You’re just a dumb painting. You can’t do anything to me.”
The knight was speechless. Hermione used this time wisely to lead the rest of the Gryffindor first-years up the stairs to the seventh floor. They stopped in front of a painting of a fat lady in a pink dress.
“My, how ugly she is!” Ruthie exclaimed, but thankfully the lady didn’t hear her.
Hermione said the password and told the first-years to memorize it, for this was the only way to get in. The portrait swung open, forming a hole for them to crawl through. Ruthie scoffed at it.
“Whatever happened to doors?” she said. “I don’t want to get my knees all dirty!”
“Too bad,” Hermione said, putting a hand on her shoulder and steering her forwards. She had just about had enough with this first-year. “If you don’t want to go through there, you can sleep out here tonight.”
Ruthie pouted and crawled, very slowly, through the hole. She did it so slowly that the other, excited first-years started yelling at her to hurry up.
“Come on, Ruthie!” Lavinia cried angrily. “We want to get inside!”
“Oh, be quiet!” Ruthie yelled back. “This hole is filthy!”
Finally, she was through and the other first-years scrambled into the common room after her.
“Wow!” they all exclaimed.
“It’s so warm!”
Ruthie turned her nose up and rolled her eyes.
“You have never seen a sitting room before?” she asked. “Our sitting room at home is three times this big. Plus, we have five more couches.”
That put a stop to the excited chatter and they all turned to glare at the spoiled ten-year-old. Hermione, sensing an argument was coming on, said, “Come on! Time to see your dormitories for the next seven years!” and the little ones followed her to two staircases.
“This is leads to the boys’ dormitories,” she explained, pointing to the one on the left, and then to the one on the right. “And this one leads to the girls’ dormitories. I suggest you all get some sleep. Tomorrow is the first day of classes.”
Most of the first-years immediately obeyed and started trudging up the stairs. Ruthie followed Lavinia up to the girls’ dormitories.
“Stairs, stairs, stairs…” she grumbled. “The stairs at home aren’t as steep as these ones. I don’t like them.”
When they reached the first sign that read ‘First-years’ they all stopped and opened the door. Ruthie was the first one inside and her mouth dropped open in horror. Dormitories were rooms you shared with people? Shnookums was lying on the bed closest to the door and her trunk was beside her. She looked at the other girls who had started trickling inside, trying to find their trunks by the beds. Ruthie didn’t move an inch.
“This is where we sleep?” she asked incredulously. “This is where I have to sleep?”
“Yes, Ruthie. Look, here’s your things!” one girl said, pointing to the bed with Shnookums sleeping on it. “It says ‘property of R. Scrimgeour’. That’s you.”
“There...there has to be a mistake!” Ruthie cried, backing up slowly. “I can’t sleep with you!”
Before her dorm mates had time to react to this, Ruthie jumped out into the hallway and yelled as loud as she could, “PREFECT GIRL! PREFECT GIIIIIIIRL!”
Hermione, who had been passing by groaned at being addressed this way and ran over to the brown-ringleted girl.
“Yes?” she asked, feeling like a house-elf.
“There has to be a mistake! These girls say I have to sleep in here!” she cried, pointing to the group inside the dorm.
Hermione walked into the room, much to the horror of the other girls who looked terrified of her, and went over to the only empty bed. Lying on top of the covers was the trunk labeled ‘property of R. Scrimgeour’.
“Yes, this is where you sleep,” she said, impatiently. “This is your bed.”
“But-but, I can’t sleep with other people!” Ruthie persisted. “At home, I have my own room! I want my own room!”
“Sorry, but you’ll have to sleep in here. It’s where everyone else has to sleep, so you will too,” Hermione said.
“No, no, no!” Ruthie said, stamping her foot. She refused to sleep with these other girls. She was going to have her own room. End of story. “I’m going to have my own room! Take me to my room!”
Hermione’s temper rose and her cheeks were red with fury.
“You—are—staying—in—here,” she said slowly and deliberately. “And—that’s—final.”
Ruthie’s cheeks went bright red as well. She screwed up her face. And screamed.
“I WANT MY OWN ROOM! I WANT MY OWN ROOM! I WANT MY OWN ROOM!” she bellowed, falling to the floor and kicking.
Hermione was on the verge of tears. She wished Ron or Harry were here. They would know what to do. What could she do? She looked at this kicking, flailing, spoiled child whose eyes were streaming and her face red with anger.
Ruthie lay in bed in her own room, half an hour later. Shnookums was curled up beside her. She had convinced (or rather screamed for) her mug of hot chocolate, claiming she couldn’t sleep without it, and by then Hermione had been reduced to tears.
Ruthie remembered the sight of the Prefect’s glittering tears and smiled.
Life at Hogwarts would be a piece of cake.
A/N: I hoped you like this chapter. It took me two days to write. Yay for me! Please tell me what you think in your reviews! Thanks!
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