Chapter 2 : The Sorting Hat's Warning
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Chapter 2- The Sorting Hat’s Warning
In a second, Harry and Ron were on their feet, Ron pointing his wand at Malfoy’s throat. Despite the fact that Snape was the one to kill Dumbledore, neither Ron nor Harry felt inclined to trust Malfoy.
“What are you doing here?” Ron growled.
Malfoy simply laughed, his eyes alight. “I’m going to school; isn’t that obvious?” he drawled, leaning against the doorframe, his gray eyes sparkling with amusement. “I heard tell that Granger here had been appointed Head Girl, and I came to offer my congratulations.”
“I somehow doubt that that’s why you’re here, Malfoy,” Hermione said curtly, standing as well and breathing deeply. They were all adults now. Malfoy was nothing but a bully, she told herself.
“The hostility here is overwhelming,” Draco said sarcastically. “It almost makes me feel like I’m unwelcome.”
“You let Death Eaters into the school, you tried to kill Dumbledore...and then you ran away,” Harry said quietly, his voice almost a growl, "just like the coward I always knew you were."
“Harry, let it go…” Hermione said quietly, putting one hand on Harry's arm and keeping her eyes on Draco who looked mildly amused. "It's not him that you want; it's Snape. Remember that."
“Yes, Potter. I tried to kill Dumbledore, but you were there: I didn’t,” Draco said evenly, meeting Harry’s eyes with a cold gaze.
“You wouldn’t have done it,” Harry finally said, taking a step back. “You wouldn’t have killed him.”
Draco glared at Harry. “You fool," he spat. "You have no idea what I have the power to do.”
Draco's face had twisted into a snarl, but Ron simply laughed harshly. “Get out, Malfoy," he said bluntly, "or we’ll show you what we can do. And I don't think you want that."
Draco shook his robes straight and smirked again. "Until later," he said before he turned and swept from their compartment, his face composed and his eyes cold.
Hermione sighed, sitting back down and closing her eyes. “That was…interesting,” she said quietly, trying to keep her composure as her hands trembled.
“I can’t believe that prat is back,” Harry muttered, clenching his fists. “After last year, I really thought he wouldn't even consider coming near the school. He ran! He ran away with Snape!”
“I agree, Harry. However,” Hermione opened her eyes and looked at her friend appraisingly, “you shouldn’t have behaved that way. You know that it wasn't Malfoy who killed Dumbledore. Focus on the Horcruxes and Snape for now, okay? Malfoy isn't our problem. He's dangerous and volatile...but he does have the right to be here, even if he made some stupid choices.”
“Stupid choices?” Ron laughed. “Yeah, attempting to kill Dumbledore could fall into the category of stupid choices.”
Hermione simply shook her head and leaned back in the seat, closing her eyes once more--her head had begun to pound. “I’m taking a nap; wake me up when we’re close to Hogsmeade,” she said; and with that, she fell asleep.
“Hey, get up,” Harry ordered a while later.
“Whassamatter?” Hermione slurred, rubbing her eyes.
“We’re pulling into the station,” Ron said, gathering his belongings and shoving them into his trunk. “You should stuff that cat of yours into his basket.”
Hermione nodded and gathered Crookshanks in her arms; he had been staring out the window in fascination. She murmured to her cat as she loaded him into his travel basket and stowed him on top of her trunk.
“I’ll see you soon, Crookshanks,” she said soothingly, smiling fondly at her disgruntled pet.
“Let’s go,” Harry said, leading the way out of the compartment and into the crowded corridor. Other students bustled down the hall, looking excited. The trio was jostled to and fro as they made their way towards the doors.
“I’ll see you two at the feast; I’m going to take the first years to Hagrid,” Hermione said, waving goodbye to Harry and Ron and turning away. They called their goodbyes as Hermione wound through the crowd and stepped off of the Hogwarts Express.
The platform was crowded with people shoving past each other and calling out to their friends. The ruckus made by the students was chaotic, but Hermione instantly spotted the scared-looking first years huddled together near the train. She smiled.
“First years!” Hermione called over the din of the train and the other students. She hurried closer, calling out again to gather their attention. “First years, come this way!”
The frightened children hurried towards Hermione who smiled down at them.
“My name is Hermione Granger. I’m Head Girl this year,” she explained loudly enough so that they could all hear. “You’ll be riding over the Lake in the boats, so follow me and I’ll lead you to Hagrid.” They followed obediently, and Hermione finally spotted Hagrid, towering over all the other students who were making their way to the waiting carriages.
“Sorry I’m late!” Hagrid said gruffly as the first years cowered, and Hermione beamed, craning her neck to see Hagrid's bushy face. "Hullo, 'ermione! Knew yeh'd be Head Girl!"
“I’d stay to talk, Hagrid, but I need to get in a carriage or I’ll be walking to the school,” Hermione said, still smiling. “I just wanted to be sure this lot found you.”
Hagrid waved her on and herded the terrified first years towards the Black Lake where the fleet of small boats was waiting. Hermione watched them leave before turning and hurrying to the last remaining carriages. When she reached the thestrals, only two carriages remained. Hermione trotted to the first carriage and glanced inside: it was full. She sighed and quickly entered the last carriage without a second thought.
A disgusted sound met Hermione’s ears as the carriage began to move, jostling along the dirt path towards the castle. Looking up, Hermione cringed and flinched slightly. Diagonally from her in the carriage sat Draco Malfoy. Suddenly, its near emptiness made sense. Draco scooted farther into his corner of the small space.
“Stay as far away from me as possible. I don’t want to be contaminated,” he hissed, narrowing his eyes at her.
“Oh, get over yourself, Malfoy,” Hermione replied, unconscious to the fact that her hands had again begun to shake. It was unnerving being so close to the boy who had tried to kill Dumbledore; the carriage abruptly felt much smaller.
“Watch your tongue, Mudblood!” Draco growled, whipping out his wand. Hermione laughed, trying not to let her fear enter her voice as she spoke again.
“I wouldn’t behave that way if I were you, Draco,” she said, smiling sweetly. “I am Head Girl, after all, and you don’t want detention.”
Draco simply glared, though he replaced his wand in his pocket. Hermione looked out the window of the carriage and sighed in relief, ignoring the boy sitting only a few feet away from her. Draco, however, obviously wasn’t accustomed to being ignored. Hermione could see him fidgeting out of the corner of her eye. She smiled to herself, laughing lightly.
“What’s so funny, Granger?” Draco asked sharply.
“Nothing, Malfoy,” she countered, returning his look, her temper flaring.
“Not that I care anyway, Mudblood,” he replied, turning away from her to look out the carriage window. Hermione simply rolled her eyes; she had always thought that to be a stupid insult. She looked away from him, and watched the grounds of Hogwarts drawing nearer and nearer out the window.
It’s good to be back…Hermione thought, smiling as the carriage passed through the gates.
Exiting the carriage without a backwards glance at Draco, Hermione joined the throng of students as they trooped into the Great Hall. The floating candles threw light into every corner of the hall and Hermione grinned wildly, elated to be back at Hogwarts. All around her were the sounds of her happy classmates getting reacquainted after a long summer apart. Spotting Harry and Ron at the Gryffindor table, Hermione hurried over and took a seat between them.
“Guess who I shared a carriage with,” Hermione said without preamble, quietly enough that only her friends could hear.
“Who?” Ron asked.
“Malfoy,” Hermione replied, her eyes widening dramatically.
Harry twitched involuntarily at the name and looked at her in disgust. “He didn’t pull anything, did he?” he asked sharply.
“No, we barely even talked…but he was acting quite strangely,” Hermione replied thoughtfully. “He only called me a Mudblood twice. He didn’t even comment when I threatened him with detention; he didn’t seem as arrogant as he normally does.”
Ron and Harry contemplated this new attitude of Malfoy’s for only a moment.
“He’s still a spineless ferret in my opinion,” Ron said, glancing across the hall to where Draco was sitting alone at the Slytherin table. Harry looked like he was going to say something, but as he opened his mouth, Professor McGonagall began to speak.
“Welcome back!” she said loudly, as the last of the talking died down, and all eyes turned to the spindly stool in front of the staff table. “May I have your attention for the Sorting?”
The hall fell into absolute silence and everyone looked expectantly at the tattered old wizard’s hat perched on the stool. Hermione could hear the nervous shuffling of feet from the line of first years gathered between the House tables. For several moments, everything was silent, then the rip in the brim of the Hat opened, and it began to sing:
"Hello, hello, and welcome back
To Hogwarts School this year.
I am the Hogwarts Sorting Hat,
You have nothing to fear.
With each new year, I separate
The students of this school,
To find where best to put you
Because that is what I do.
Perhaps you belong in Hufflepuff
Where they are quite hardworking.
Those happy folks are never known
For laziness or shirking.
Or maybe you’re a Gryffindor,
A brave and daring soul.
Put me on, and I will tell you
What you need to know.
The ancient House of Slytherin
Is home to the ambitious.
Their cunning and their craftiness
Ensure ends that are auspicious.
Finally, there’s Ravenclaw,
The House of those with wit.
Intelligence and wisdom
Are prized by those who fit.
Don’t be alarmed, but hear my word:
While we sort in this great hall,
The war outside is raging,
Soon it could touch you all.
Some may say that things are fine,
Yet the danger’s in the open.
There’s fear upon the wind,
But you must continue hoping.
So tonight I sort each one of you,
But remember what I’ve said:
Though you’re each in separate Houses,
You shouldn’t have to dread.
Stick together, hear my words,
And as I send you on your way
Remember that it soon could be
The night before the day."
For the third time in Hermione’s memory, the applause in the hall was punctured by whispers and murmurs. The Hat now lay still, and the Headmistress had produced a long parchment that Hermione knew bore the names of the new students.
“Adams, Fiona!” Professor McGonagall called, and a small girl with black hair stumbled out of the line. She placed the hat on her head and seconds later became a Ravenclaw.
“Azera, Marcus!” The boy that left the line was tall for his age, and after a moment, he joined the Gryffindor table.
“Bobbins, Mary” became the first Slytherin, and several names later “Gimmer, Robert” became a Hufflepuff. Hermione let her thoughts wander as the rest of the students were sorted. Her mind was still racing with the Sorting Hat’s song.
It must know that Dumbledore was killed…Maybe it knows whether or not the war will reach Hogwarts…she thought, as she watched “Perkins, John” join the Gryffindor table, clapping absentmindedly.
At last “Zimmerman, Hailey” became a Hufflepuff, and Professor Flitwick levitated the Sorting Hat and its stool from the hall.
“Well, now that we’ve all been sorted, I dare say it’s high time for the feast to begin,” Professor McGonagall said, and a moment later, the dishes filled with the customary array of food.
Grinning, Ron grabbed a few different dishes and began to fill his plate while Hermione and Harry simply shook their heads.
“The Hat’s song was interesting again,” Harry said, addressing Neville and Seamus who sat across from the Trio.
“Yeah,” Neville suddenly looked thoughtful. “My Gran says that I have to be really careful about what I say this year. She thinks the Death Eaters will have their kids watch anyone who seems like they’ll be a problem after we leave Hogwarts.” His voice trailed off as Harry nodded.
“I don’t want to cause too much trouble this year, either. It’s getting dangerous out there,” Seamus agreed.
Hermione listened to their conversation, internally debating ways to keep her friends from getting into trouble.
They finished eating a while later and were all smiling tiredly when Professor McGonagall stood once more.
“Now that we’ve eaten, I have a few start-of-term notices for everyone.” Hermione watched the Headmistress expectantly, hanging on her every word. “Firstly, new students will note that the forest on the grounds is strictly off-limits. Also, magic is prohibited in the corridors. Quidditch captains, please see Madam Hooch to arrange a time to begin your trials.”
Around the hall, people were nodding in acknowledgement as the Headmistress continued.
“I would like the Head Boy and Girl to see me in my office before going to bed tonight. This year, the Head Girl is Hermione Granger from Gryffindor house.” Applause rang in the hall as Hermione smiled and went red in the face, waving slightly in acknowledgement. “The Head Boy is Theodore Nott from Slytherin house.” The Slytherins clapped loudly, and scattered applause from the other tables acknowledged Theodore’s position. “I hope you will all listen to them and follow their leadership.
"Finally, I have two changes in the Staff to announce. Professor Eiglen will be taking over my position as Transfiguration professor as I transition into my duties as headmistress." Applause rose in the hall as an attractive young man stood behind the High Table and waved. "Secondly, Professor Garmin will be teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts this year, as well as serving as the Head of Gryffindor House." More applause greeted a tiny old woman who nodded her head once and sat back down. "That concludes my announcements," Professor McGonagall finally said. "Now, off to bed with you and welcome back.”
There was a loud scraping as the benches were pushed back, and the students began filing out of the hall. Hermione, Harry, and Ron hung back. Sighing, Hermione attempted to smile. "I’ll see you both in the morning, I guess…” she said. Ron and Harry nodded and each hugged her before joining the throng of people on the way out of the Great Hall.
Author's Note: Here's chapter two! Please leave a review; it only takes a moment, and it's so appreciated! :D I am so incredibly proud of this chapter. That song took me quite a while to write. I love it, and I hope you did as well! Again, please review. I would love to know what you thought.
Also: If you have additional questions that you would like answered, please feel free to go to my "Meet the Author" page on the forums. There's a link on my author's page!
(edited as of 7-19-14)
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