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“Earth to Sirius. Mate, you okay?”James’ voice rang through my ears breaking the impulse to follow Jen. Why was she lying?
“Yeah, fine. Just daydreaming.”
“About Jenifer?!” I received a shock as Remus’ voice was the one to break the silence this time. The only time he’d spoke on the whole trip was when we introduced ourselves. Straight after, he buried himself in a large book that made my head hurt just looking at it.
“Maybe.” I decided to play along. Neither of them would find out the truth.
“Get in there mate!” said James with a pat on the back. “That one’s a beaut. If my heart wasn’t already Lily’s I’d give you a fight for her.”
Great! Now I am going to be left with thoughts of Jen. And they stayed with me the rest of the way to Hogsmeade station.
“Firs’years! Firs’-years over here?” The Hogwarts game keeper shouted easily towering over the students’ heads.
“C’mon follow me – any more firs-years? Mind your step, now! Firs’-years follow me.”
I’d heard little of the game keeper due to my upbringing. Feeling curious I turned to James knowing he was bound to have met him already before arriving here.
Oh, wicked! I forgot first years got to travel in the boats over the black lake. Oh crap. I need to find Jen – fast!
As I pushed through the crowd, James and Remus followed quickly struggling to keep up. Reaching the black lake, I spotted her with Lily and Snivellus. Her eyes huge but I knew she wouldn’t let her fear show through more than it already did, let alone say anything to one of them. She had been brought up not to.
“I know you’re scared. And if you just admit it, I’ll help you. Comfort you, even.” I couldn’t help but smirk playfully at my comment and because of the fact that my whispering in her ear and caused her to jump.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Or who you are for that matter. Could you please leave me alone!” I spotted the sadness and urgency that appeared in her eyes as I felt my own reflect hers. We were so alike. What was wrong with her?
“Come on Lily, let’s find a boat.” Lily obliged so they glided away to the edge with Snivellus trotting behind. Continuing to watch her, I noticed her hesitant pause before reluctantly stepping in the boat with encouragement from Lily. Was she already aware of Jen’s fear after only a couple of hours in her presence? I doubted it; Jen tended to keep those sorts of things to herself.
However, after making sure to grab the neighbouring boat, I overheard bits of their conversation. “. . . no need to be scared . . . don’t worry, I’ll be here for you if it gets too much.”
Catching up – finally! – James, Remus and an unkempt small boy with watery eyes and a rat-like face, clambered into the boat to join me.
“Mate, where did you get-” His sentence cut short as he noticed the occupants of the boat next to us. Patting me on the back again, James slid into his seat, keeping his eyes focused on the love of his life. Ha! Ye right.
My eyes shifted to the additional boy as he squeaked that his name was Peter. Introducing myself, I sat back for the ride and refocused on Jen anticipating a bad reaction from her on the trip.
Vaguely noticing Hagrid get into the last remaining boat, we started our journey, moving closer and closer to the castle that would be home to all of us for the next seven years.
“I heard there’s a giant squid in the lake somewhere. I wonder if we’ll be able to see it!” Trust Peter to spoil the mood. With my eyes still on Jen I noticed her wince. It was like I could hear what she was thinking through the daggers she was sending Pete from across the water.
Lily glanced at Jen and seemed to pick up on her mood straight away. “Don’t worry, the giant squid is harmless.”
A smile replaced the anger as Lily spoke the right words to give her reassurance.
She gasped in air as relief washed over her. Why wouldn’t she just accept that we knew each other and then I could comfort her myself instead of having to watch Lily and Snivellus make a poor effort to look after her?
Everyone clambered out onto the rocks and pebbles so that they could stumble up a passageway in the rock after Hagrid’s lamp.
Finally coming out into the shadow of the castle, one by one we ascended the flight of stone steps and crowded around the huge, oak front doors.
A stern looking witch greeted us on the other side of the door. Her black hair was smoothed back into a tight bun at the top of her tall frame. “Welcome to Hogwarts,” she said. “The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the great Hall, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory and spend free time in your house common room.
“The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points; while any rule-breaking will lose house points.” – James and I shared a mischievous glance. It was obvious that this rule wouldn’t apply to us – “At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the House Cup, a great honour. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours.
“The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting. I shall return when we are ready for you. Please wait quietly.”
Bull. I bet she gives every first year the same boring speech every single year. Prof M left the chamber. Breath was released from every student as they felt able to relax now that she was gone. God, it was as if she was the devil woman.
Not long after she re-entered the Entrance Hall. “You may enter now in an orderly line of one.” Everyone looked around as they were told. Scrambling to the back, James, Remus and I pushed the crowd into the Great Hall so we would be sorted faster.
I could never have imagined such a strange and splendid place. It was lit by thousands of candles and contained four long tables filled with students. At the base of the hall was another wide table situated behind a throne-like chair that has taken up by an old man who wore half-moon glasses, had a long crooked nose and flowing silver hair, beard and moustache. That must be Dumbledore. He smiled to every student, peering over his glasses.
Looking around, I noticed the Hall was now staring at the hat. Taking that as a sign for what to do, the first years imitated the older students. What that was going to do I will never know. For a few seconds, there was silence. Then the hat twitched. A rip at the front opened wide to form a mouth. It suddenly began to sing. How did it do that?
Professor McGonagall stepped forward with a sheet of parchment between her delicate fingers.
Avery was the first person to be called out. Well I knew what house he was going to get sorted into. “SLYTHERIN!” Yes I was right.
My cousin confidently glided up to the sorting hat. Admittedly she was one of my cousins I could stand. On the other hand, she was related to Bella which was saying something. Here comes another Slytherin sorting.
Yep, cue another evil family member. Mmmm, let me see that equals how many Slytherin relatives. Oh yeah, all of them.
Right, guess it’s my turn to be sorted.
“Aaahhhh, another Black. But I see something different in you. Something good, brave. Right, I think I know where to put you!”
Finally the hat made its decision: “GRYFFINDOR!” The Slytherin’s erupted into synchronised booing whereas the rest of the hall burst into applause. I’d never felt so loved – or hated for that matter – in my life. I loved Hogwarts. I quickly sat up from the battered old stool and took a seat at the Gryffindor table. The other Gryffindor’s seemed hesitant at first to sit with me, but slowly warmed to the idea when they realised I wasn’t going to murder them like the Slytherin’s probably wanted to.
Joe Bond was the first to be sorted into Ravenclaw. You know, he does look quite smart.
“Cole, Jenifer.” Hearing the name that I knew so well, I listened intently to her verdict. Please don’t be in Slytherin. She was different. It didn’t matter to me how she was acting now. That was just it, an act. I knew her; she didn’t belong in Slytherin. She was too kind and loving to be one of those. Even if she refused to talk to me, you could see just how kind she is from the way she’s befriended Evans already.
I knew it. Wooo, I would be with her for the next seven years. She will talk to me sooner or later if it’s the last thing I do.
Her footsteps stopped, causing me to search the table for her chosen seat. Boy was I in for a surprise. Standing opposite me, with her eyes staring intently into mine was Jen. She looked like she had something to say the way her mouth opened and closed repeatedly. Then, as if nothing had happened, she turned and headed to the other end of the table, taking a seat next to a boy that looked to be in his 4th year.
Hannah Erin was sorted into Ravenclaw, taking my attention away from Jen.
Oh, she is bound to get into Slytherin. She was so mean to James and anyone who talks to Snivellus has got to be bad. Although I guess she has her ups if she was kind enough to look after Jen.
“GRYFFINDOR!” Mmmm I guess I’ll have to get used to sharing a common room with her.
Josh Fletcher and Stephan Fox were the next to be sorted. They both made it into Hufflepuff.
“Harris, Annabelle.” Silence. “RAVENCLAW!”
“Harrison, Jade.” Silence. “HUFFLEPUFF!”
“Lestrange, Rababstan.” Silence. “SLYTHERIN!”
“Longbottom, Frank.” Silence. “GRYFFINDOR!”
They all got rounds of applause from their new house.
“Lupin, Remus.” I crossed my fingers, hoping for at least one of my friends to be sorted into the same house as me. Knowing him though, he would be in Ravenclaw. He sure was clever enough.
“GRYFFINDOR!” Okay so I was wrong. Again!
The Gryffindor table cheered loudly as he joined the table sitting opposite me. I – of course – joined in best I could.
Walden Macnair was sorted into Slytherin shortly after.
Mary McDonald and Marlene McKinnon were the next to be sorted into Gryffindor.
They were also followed by Peter Pettigrew, James Potter and Tess Price. When James was sorted I made sure to make the most noise possible. We were going to have some fun in Hogwarts.
“Priest, Kadie.” Silence. “RAVENCLAW!”
I started to get bored. I am absolutely positive that it shouldn’t take this long to sort a year.
Logan Reed and Taylor Roberts were the next to be sorted. They each walked along the same path as Kadie, sitting at the Ravenclaw table when they reached it.
I would love to say that I didn’t get distracted and kept on watching the sorting but that would be lying. And that is bad. However, I do have amazing friends that told me what I had missed. “Terry Smith, Severus Snape and Kristen Vains were sorted into Slytherin. Vanessa Taylor was sorted into Ravenclaw and Emma Stevens, Laura Walker, Darren Ward and Tom White were sorted into Hufflepuff.” Thank you Remus for listening.
Dumbledore stood up to make the first speech: “Welcome!” he said. “Welcome to a year at Hogwarts! There are still plenty of things to say but first, enjoy you’re banquet.”
The table in front was suddenly filled with different types of delicious foods. Today’s special looked like roast dinners. Juicy meats lay next to one another with vegetables and potatoes surrounding them. I watched students thank whoever made the delicious food appear as they were starting to get hungry. Not wanting to look left out ( ") ) I tucked into the food along with James, Remus and Peter.
Soon, the dinner was replaced by pudding which soon disappeared allowing Professor Dumbledore to get up to make the last speech of the night.
“Ahem – just a few more words now we all fed and watered. I have a few start-of-term notices to give you.
“To new students welcome, to returning students, welcome back!
“First-years should note that the forest in the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. And a few of our older students would do well to remember that as well.
“I have also been asked by Mr Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors.
“Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch.
“You all have warm beds to get to which I’m sure you’re desperate to go and try out ready for an exciting new day of school the day after tomorrow. Enjoy!”
As soon as he finished, people got out of their seats and shuffled to the Great Hall door in a huge clump.
I joined the rest of the first years in Gryffindor and followed the two prefects to the common room.
After hearing that the password was ‘Nargles’, we all stepped into the Gryffindor common room with the rest of the students. I felt pleasantly surprised. It was quite large, with a magnificent fireplace surrounded by squashy armchairs and numerous other sofas for people to sit on, as well as a table which I presumed was for homework and studying. Not that I would be doing any of those two things. I made a note to keep away. There were two sets of stairs; the one on the left was for the boys and the one on the right was for the girls. It was cosy. The kind of place people would refer to as home. I could definitely see myself calling this place home soon.
Surveying the room, I noticed others moving around it, checking everything out. Jen had curled up on an armchair with Lily on the floor in front, James and Remus were talking animatedly about Quidditch on the sofa, though I could tell he didn’t have an interest at all, Tess, a girl I barely knew, was on another nearby sofa and Peter had already bid goodnight after claiming that the journey had worn him out.
Wanting to stay up but knowing Jen would get to me if I did, I headed to the boys dormitory stairs. “Night everyone.”
“Night,” they all replied except Lily. Wait – Jen said goodnight. Quickly diverting my eyes to her sleepy form I noticed the small smile that had appeared on her lips.
Thank you Draco_Luva @ TDA for the amazing chapter image above ^^^