Chapter 2 : The Sorting
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Well, not in the mail, actually. More like.............an owl flew through her bedroom window. It was a surprise to her, that's for sure. Especially what the letter contained. Information. About a school called Hogwarts. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When ten-year-old Lucy read that, she dropped the letter on the floor. She didn't move or blink for several minutes, just stood staring down at the letter as if it were some kind of cruel practical joke. It took a bit, but Lucy finally bent over and picked up the letter with trembling hands. She looked it over and almost cried.
In all those years, ever since her aunt had snapped, Lucy had never stopped believing. She wouldn't let herself. Each and every morning, Lucy would wake with fresh images of the wizarding world in her mind, and all day, new ones would appear. Lucy remembered each and every detail of every image. She'd watch as people would fly, or transform, or make spells in cauldrons. There were some people that Lucy watched most, and Lucy felt as though they were more her family than the Whitakers were.
Lucy had no idea how to control these visions she kept having, but she didn't really care, either. Their world kept her out of hers, and she was grateful to them for it. Without them, these visions, Lucy wouldn't have lasted all those years of torment.
Lucy could always see wizards and witches wherever she went, even if they were animals. Of course, Lucy didn't try and talk to anyone, especially the people pretending to be animals. (She also hated cats.)
But this..........actual proof that she was right, that she wasn't crazy, or the devil's daughter.................that she was normal, at least somewhere................
Lucy collapsed onto her bed in tears, clutching the letter tightly.
The rest of the summer passed by in a blur. Lucy had contacted whoever had sent the letter, asking for financial help, and they had agreed. The person sent her a bag full of odd coins that she remembered to be money, and said not to worry about paying them back any time soon. Lucy had written back her thanks and snuck off to downtown London for the day. She managed to locate the Leaky Cauldron, and get into Diagon Alley. Lucy cried a couple times that day. A lot, actually. At one point, Lucy just couldn't stop crying, and sat down outside an ice cream shop. The owner had come out and tried to comfort her, finally giving her free ice cream. He asked her what was wrong, and she explained to him that nothing was wrong, she was just happy. Lucy talked to the man while she ate her ice cream and he seemed to understand.
When they'd finished talking, he'd patted her arm, reassured her that things would go nowhere but up, and told her to come back any time for free ice cream. Lucy nodded and went on her way much happier now that she had a friend here.
Lucy had just enough to buy everything on her list, right down to a wand. When Lucy had finished shopping, she went back to the owner of the ice cream shop and asked him for help. He shrunk all of her purchases for her, gave her more ice cream, and sent her on her way, making her promise to come visit when she could.
Lucy managed to get back into her room without a problem that day.
"Can you drive me to King's Cross, Uncle Justin?"
"Don't you remember? I got accepted into that one private school? On scholarship?" Lucy hated lying, but if she'd mentioned magic, she would've been locked in her room without food or water for a week.
"Ah, yes, of course. I looked up that school, but I couldn't find it."
"It's very private. Doesn't like publicity." Justin nodded, then stood up.
"Okay then. Grab your trunk and we'll be off, then." Lucy ran off and grabbed her trunk. Justin drove her to King's Cross and dropped her off. Lucy waited until Justin's car had turned the far-off corner before going off to find Platform 9 3/4.
It took a bit, but Lucy found the platform easier than other first years who'd lived with Muggles. She went right for the train, getting in and storing her trunk away quickly, not bothering to "find" a compartment, as most of them were empty anyway. Once Lucy was properly situated, she climbed onto a seat and pulled her legs up to her chest, tailor-style. She leaned her head out of the window and looked out at all the families.
One family in particular caught her eye. There were three people; a mother, a father, and a boy who looked about eleven. The mother had dark brown, curly hair and was wearing glasses. Her eyes looked blue, but Lucy couldn't really tell from her seat. She was very pretty. Standing next to her was a rather tall man, with messy black hair and brown eyes. They were talking to boy, probably their son. He had messy black hair, just like his father, but blue eyes like his mother. He was wearing glasses and looked slightly tall for eleven. He was smiling excitedly and looking around. The mother gave the boy a kiss, and the father tousled his hair affectionately. He hugged them both tightly, then ran onto the train, disappearing from Lucy's view.
The parents' eyes followed their son onto the train, then scanned the windows lazily. Both pairs of eyes widened considerably when they saw Lucy. Their mouths opened slightly. Lucy drew back away from the window, startled, and wiped the tears that sneaked out of her eyes when she hadn't noticed them.
Outside, the boys' parents seemed ready to dash onto the train, but, just then, it began moving. The mother was shaking slightly and began crying, and the father drew her into a hug, rubbing her back. He glanced over her head at Lucy, eyes glistening, then both of them disappeared.
Lucy couldn't explain it, but the boys' parents had struck something deep inside of her. She was shaking and crying silently, tears streaming down her face. The way they'd looked at the boy...........the way they'd looked at her. It was all so confusing. Lucy felt as if her nerves had been shattered. She pressed her forehead onto the cool window and forced herself to go to sleep, waking up much later, to an announcement that students should change into their robes.
"First years over here! This way now, c'mon then!" A tall, giant-of-a-man stood with a lantern in one huge, dustbin-lid sized hand. He had dark, wild bushy hair, and towered over every student getting off of the Hogwarts Express. He was waving all of the first years over to him with his empty hand. He was smiling brightly, beetle-like eyes shining happily, oblivious to the terrified looks he was getting from the already-nervous first years. "Come on now, we haven't got all night!" He called good-naturedly, the first years hurrying to follow him, the older students heading in another direction.
The man took all the first-years to the edge of a dark lake, which he said was Black Lake, where a countless number of boats were waiting for them. "Go on now, climb aboard! No reason to be afraid!" The first years began climbing cautiously into the boats, none of them wishing to tip one and end up in the lake. Once every first year was seated, the man climbed into the last boat alone, and they set off.
Lucy ended up sharing a boat with only one girl, a fiery redhead with beautiful emerald eyes. "Hi!" She said cheerfully. "My name's Lily Evans."
"Lucy. Lucy..........Whitaker, I guess." Lily looked confused.
"You guess?" She asked. Lucy thought a moment, then nodded.
"Well," she began slowly, "I've lived with my aunt and uncle for half of forever. Their last name is Whitaker, and it's what I've been called, too. Especially school. And I really can't do anything about it, seeing as they never let me know my real last name." Lily nodded thoughtfully.
"But..........don't you even know your parents?" Lucy was quiet a moment, then shook her head somewhat hesitantly.
"Not........really. I mean, any time I can remember before Uncle Justin and Aunt Olivia is too fuzzy for me to really understand." Lily nodded sympathetically.
"Did your parents die when you were little?" Lucy hesitated, unsure of how to answer.
"I don't think so." She said quietly. "But everyone else says they did. But I don't think they are. Not really. I believe they're out there somewhere, looking for me. They love me, and miss me, and want me to come home."
It was quiet for a bit, Lucy and Lily riding along in a pensive silence.
"I think you're right." Lucy looked up at Lily, surprised.
"You do?" Lily nodded firmly.
"Yes." Lucy's face broke into a huge smile.
"You know what?" Lily smiled back.
"I like you."
When all the boats had crossed the lake, and all the students had climbed out, the huge man opened a large door and pointed down the large corridor.
"Keep goin that way, till you come to a huge door. Professor McGonagall'll be waitin for you there." Most of the students nodded, Lucy and Lily thanked the man. He smiled and nodded, then turned to leave.
As they were walking down the rather large corridor, a boy came over and began walking alongside Lucy.
"Hey." He said.
"Hey." Lucy replied, looking over at him. He was a couple inches taller than her, with smooth white-blonde hair and cold, calculating blue eyes. His skin was somewhat pale, but matched his features perfectly.
"I'm Lucius Malfoy." He said after a moment or two of silent walking.
"Lucy Whitaker..........And this is my friend Lily Evans."
"Hi!" Lily said cheerfully, smiling at Lucius.
"Hi." It was odd the way Lucius spoke. His voice had a cold edge to it, and it sounded as if he believed himself to be higher than everyone around him.
It was quiet again, until Lily noticed a bunch of staircases moving down another hallway. "Wow!" She exclaimed. "Does everything move here?"
"What do you mean?" Lucius asked, somewhat nastily.
"Well," Lily began matter-of-factly, "I've never seen any of this before. Both my parents are.............what's the word for non-magic people again?"
"Muggles." Lucy replied absent-mindedly.
"Yeah, that's it! Muggles!" Lily agreed cheerfully. Lucius sneered disgustedly over at Lily.
"Oh, so you're a Mudblood."
Lucius was on the ground before he could blink. The second Lucy had heard Lucius call Lily a Mudblood, she'd kicked him in the back of the knees, which caused him to collapse backwards to the ground. Lucy was glaring down at Lucius with an angry snarl on her face. Lucius was gaping up at her, shocked beyond belief.
"I believe," Lucy growled, eyes flashing, "The proper term is Muggle-born." Lucius didn't respond, still too shocked at finding himself sprawled across the corridor floor. Lucy glared at him for another moment or two, then grabbed Lily's hand and pulled her down the hall. "C'mon, Lils. We need to catch up with the others."
The two of them hurried down the hall in silence, leaving Lucius alone to pick himself up. They caught up with the rest of the first years just in time to see a lady walk up to them. She had brown hair and eyes. She was wearing rectangle-shaped glasses, green robes, and a green witches' hat. Her mouth was set in a stern line, and her eyes took in the group of nervous first years carefully, as if looking out for potential trouble-makers. Her eyes lingered on the boy from the platform and three others standing close to him.
"Hello students. My name is Professor McGonagall. I'm sure Hagrid had informed you of this." Almost everyone nodded, and Lucy realized that Hagrid must be the man from who'd taken them across the lake.
McGonagall continued talking, but Lucy had stopped listening.
There was something oddly familiar about McGonagall. Lucy studied McGonagall closely, from her hair to her eyes to her glasses.............wait! Her glasses! That was it! In a flash, Lucy remembered the cat at the park, seven years ago. It was her! It had to be! McGonagall was the cat! Lucy's mouth dropped open, and her eyes widened. The shock of the realization hit Lucy like a ton of bricks, numbing her completely.
Which was a good thing, really. Because if Lucy's mind hadn't stopped working properly when it did, she would have started screaming.
"Abbot, Hans." McGonagall called. A nervous-looking boy stumbled foreword, and she put a hat on his head. He was sorted into Hufflepuff.
The Sorting had begun, and Lucy was still in shock. No matter how many times she tried to comprehend it, her mind just couldn't wrap around the idea. McGonagall. Cat. McGonagall. Cat. McGonagall. Cat. McGonagall. Cat. It just didn't make sense!
Lucy shook her head roughly. McGonagall was not the cat from the park seven years ago. McGonagall was not the reason she was locked in her room for three weeks. McGonagall was not the reason her aunt had snapped. McGonagall was not the reason she-
"You okay, Luce?" Lily asked, concerned. Lucy shook her head again, then turned to look at her friend, nodding slightly.
"Yeah, I'm okay.............." Lily gave Lucy a look that clearly said that they'd talk more later. Lucy just shrugged. The two of them turned back to watch the Sorting.
Lucy could hear faint whispers. Looking around, she saw the boy from the platform huddled close to the three that were standing with him before..............they seemed to be friends. The boy standing to the right of the boy from the platform had shaggy black hair that half-hid his gray eyes. The boy to the left of him had sandy brown hair and warm honey eyes. The last boy was standing to the right of him. He had a mop of sloppy light, dirty blonde hair and clear brown eyes, and seemed to be doing more listening than talking. All four boys seemed to be quite excited about something.
"Black, Sirius." The boy with the gray eyes went up to McGonagall. She placed the Sorting Hat on his head, and he was immediately sorted into Gryffindor. A wave of surprise and murmurings started almost the exact second the hat closed its mouth. Sirius merely shrugged and grabbed a seat at the Gryffindor table. After a few minutes, Lily was called up and sorted into Gryffindor as well.
"Lupin, Remus." Was the next person called that Lucy had seen before. The sandy-haired boy left his friends and went up to McGonagall. He got sorted into Gryffindor, and sat over with Sirius. It wasn't long after Remus had sat down that Lucius was called up. He was put into Slytherin, and sauntered over to the cheering table with a smug look on his face. A couple more, then the blonde-haired boy (who's name turned out to be Peter Pettigrew). He was also in Gryffindor, and sat with Remus and Sirius.
When "Potter, James" was called, the boy from the platform went up. Lucy felt odd when she heard his name. It struck something deep in Lucy's very core. There was a loud buzzing in the back of Lucy's mind, a whisper of words, too soft to understand, but much to loud to be ignored.
Lucy tried desperately to understand, to grab hold of the words which were so very important, but couldn't. It was like trying to catch air, or to hold a snowflake. Every time she came close, it disappeared, until finally it was gone.
Lucy wiped her stinging eyes fiercely, forcing all the thoughts, memories(?), to go away, to quiet. She heard her name called, and went foreword.
The Sorting Hat never touched Lucy. It barely went near her at all. It was at least a foot away when it screamed "GRYFFINDOR!", louder than it had done all throughout the Sorting. Lucy jumped, startled. She rubbed her ears as she stood, throwing the Hat an odd, confused look. Their was a loud burst of applause after Lucy stood, the shock of her Sorting gone. Lucy grinned and went over to the Gryffindor table, choosing a seat across from Lily, still rubbing her ears a bit.
After every first year was Sorted and seated, a tall man stood from his seat at the center of the teachers' table. He had long white hair, accompanied by a long white beard. He had blue eyes that twinkled merrily at the students from behind his half-moon spectacles. He was wearing long blue robes and a blue wizards' hat.
Lucy recognized him immediately as Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts. In her "visions" of the wizarding world, she'd seen him before, as well as heard many people talking about him. Dumbledore was a very powerful wizard, undefeated as far as anyone knew. He loved candies of all kinds, and no one knew how old he actually was. There were people who doubted Dumbledore himself knew anymore. A lot of people believed Dumbledore to be crazy, but nearly all of them liked him anyway. Just about every time Lucy had "seen" someone referring to Dumbledore, or even Dumbledore himself, they'd either called him crazy, or praised him.
Those who did not like him were few and far apart, though very viscous and firm in their dislike and prejudice of him. Most every witch or wizard that did not favor Dumbledore was a rich pureblood. They spoke ill of him and how he ran Hogwarts.
This was where Lucy had come across the word "Mudblood".
Dumbledore waited for the Hall to quiet, then began. "Welcome to Hogwarts, first years! And welcome back, second through eight years! I, for one, am quite happy to begin a new school year here." Lucy silently agreed from her seat across from Lily. "Good things are going to happen this year! Friendships shall be formed, magic shall be learned! Though," and here Dumbledore paused briefly, smiling, "predictions are Professor Knot's area of expertise." A lot of the older students chuckled appreciatively, even the teachers hiding smiles with their hands.
The first years just look confused.
"But there is plenty of time for speeches later, no? For now, I say; Welcome to Hogwarts! I'm sure this year will be one of our best! .........If not, exciting, at least! Now, let's eat!" Dumbledore raised his hands, and food appeared all over the long tables. Every first year gasped, and every eye lit up in the Great Hall. Dumbledore sat down, and the students began piling food up high on their plates.
"Isn't this awesome, Lucy?" Lily asked excitedly. "I just can't wait to learn magic!" Lucy nodded happily, only dimly aware of Lily's words. She took in her surroundings, from the teachers' table to the enchanted ceiling, a look of reverence on her face. Lucy's face shone with a light that had only been seen in her earlier years, when she spoke of magic. Her eyes were bright, sparkling with joyful tears. Everything was finally beginning to come together. Magic was real, she had a friend...............everything would be okay.
Lucy's world grew a little brighter that night.
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