Chapter 2 : Sorting
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“Oi! Patil! Over here!” Grace yelled from the carriage.
Meera glanced up, caught sight of Grace, and grabbed her brother’s arm, dragging him over to the carriage. “Come on, Neel,” I heard her say.
“Is that any way to talk to a Prefect?” Neel asked, a bit bitterly as he climbed into the carriage after Meera.
“I’ll talk to you however I damn well please,” Grace declared seriously. “Budge over, Vicky!” She shoved me to the far edge of the carriage.
“I could give you detention for that mouth, Michaels,” Neel said, on the verge of anger.
“But, you won’t,” Meera cut in. “She was only joking, honestly!” She shook her sleek black head at her brother.
“ ‘Lo Vicky,” Neel greeted me, seeming to forget that he had been angry only a second before.
“Hey,” I grinned, barely making out his face in the darkness. The carriage had begun to lurch forwards, pulled by unseen horses and I relaxed into the seat.
Meera echoed my thoughts, “Finally, a bit of rest,” she declared happily. “Those First Years are a right bit of work this year.”
“Did you see Polly?” Grace asked, interested.
“You mean you didn’t?” Meera asked, slightly appalled.
“No,” Grace shrugged. “I mean, she’s only my sister, right?”
“Only a sister?” Meera laughed. “Really, Grace, you know she might look up to you a bit, for a role model. If she acts like you, she’ll be loads of trouble for us all. God knows me don’t need another Grace Michaels around Hogwarts.” That earned her an elbow from Grace.
“To answer your question,” Neel interrupted, “She wasn’t the one causing trouble. We didn’t even see her. We were too busy trying to break up some prank that James Potter orchestrated.”
“James Potter?” Grace gasped. “The James Potter? As in Harry Potter’s son? As in Vicky’s cousin?”
“That’ll be the one,” Meera nodded.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Grace rounded on me. “I thought that he wasn’t coming until next year, at least. He can’t be eleven, can he?”
I sighed. “Last time I checked, you had to be eleven to get into Hogwarts and McGonagall’s not one to break the rules even for Potter.” I paused a minute, to let Meera snort and try to contain her laughter, but after a moment, and a death glare from Grace, I elaborated. “So, yeah, James is here. And his parents will have a right fit too, if they hear he’s already causing trouble.”
“But, I didn’t see your aunt and uncle at the station,” Grace mused, completely ignoring me.
“Yeah, well neither did I,” I said, a bit surprised that I hadn’t seen Uncle Harry or Aunt Ginny at the platform.
“Think of it,” she continued, still oblivious. “I missed a chance to shake Harry Potter’s hand. The Harry Potter.”
Meera, Neel and I shared a collective eye roll. “Grace, dear,” Meera said calmingly. “It’s not like you’ve never met him before. He’s lectured to us in Defense Against the Dark Arts twice a year.”
“But I’ve never actually spoken with him.”
I held up my hands in mock defeat. “Really, I had no idea you were so obsessed. If you want to meet him, just stop by the Burrow at Christmastime. The whole Weasley/Potter clan gets together there. You probably would be able to have a whole conversation with him, too.”
Neel chuckled at that. “Face it, Gracie,” he said, “You’re a bit young for him.”
Grace nodded. “Right. I guess.” Grace always did have a bit of thing for glamour and danger.
“Oh cheer up,” Meera laughed. Then, “Look, there’s the castle!”
We all leaned forward in our seats to catch sight of Hogwarts Castle. It was always a sight, especially at night, under moon and star light. The towers soared upwards and the Great Hall sat right in front of us.
After a bit more riding in the carriage, it slowed to a halt, letting us get out and head into the hall. All around us, students were chattering with friends, catching up and giggling and complaining about how hungry they were.
I made my way over to the Gryffindor table with my friends and we settled in the middle, surrounded by some of our fellow Sixth Years. I glanced around, the table as people settled down, making sure that neither of my sibling had gotten lost in the process. There was Louis, near Nearly Headless Nick. And Dominique was towards the end. Making out with Xander Wood?
“My God,” I chocked, grabbing at Meera’s arm and making her look towards my sister. “I think she’s set a new record or something. First snogging of the school year.”
“And before we even had pudding,” Meera said with a light laugh.
“It’s not funny!” I cried, still not taking my eyes off Dom and the Gryffindor Quidditch captain (who also happened to be a Seventh Year). “It’s disgusting!”
Grace glanced over. “Ugh,” she shuddered, making her curls bounce. “It looks like she’s eating his face or something.”
I thought I heard Neel mutter something like, “Lucky.”
“What was that?” I rounded on him. “Are you eying my sister?”
Neel, to his credit, didn’t even flush under his dark skin. “No, I’m not. And if you don’t calm down Vicky, I’m going to….” I was saved from knowing what exactly Neel would do because Professor McGonagall stood up. “Good Evening, Students!” She called, a charm magnifying her voice. “I’d like to welcome you all to another year here at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
When the elderly woman spoke, the whole room fell silent. “Now, it’s time to sort the new students to their houses.”
A line of tiny children filed into the hall, led by Deputy Headmaster Collins. He carried a long scroll and made his way to the stool where the sorting hat stood.
As it did every year, the hat burst into song, talking about the founders of the school. And one it was done Collins began to read from the list of names. “Abbott, Ellen,” ended up being a Hufflepuff. “Bernard, Bertram,” a Slytherin. Each table cheered loudly as they received the tiny children.
When “Michaels, Polly,” was called Grace bit her lip in anxiety. Finally, the hat called out, “Ravenclaw!” Grace’s jaw dropped to the floor.
“Polly?” she whispered. “Polly? A Ravenclaw? I didn’t think she had it in her! Wait till Mum hears,” she said in an awed voice.
“Hush!” Meera hissed, because at that moment, a small boy, with black hair was next in line.
“Potter, James.” Collins said and the hall began to whisper.
“That’s Harry Potter’s son.” They said. “He’ll be in my house, that’s for sure.” “He looks like a little Harry, doesn’t he?”
My cousin James made his way to the stool and sat down, letting the hat flop down over his eyes. Barely a moment had passed before it yelled out, “Gryffindor!”
The whole table jumped to its feet roaring. “Potter, Potter!” Someone began to chant.
The tiny boy walked over to the table with a grin on his face, soaking in the adoration. I hoped it wouldn’t go to his head, but still called out my congratulations as he passed by.
“Thanks Vicky,” he mouthed, and walked until he found Louis and sat down next to him.
“That’s my cousin,” I found myself telling a girl next to me, to anyone who would listen. I liked that my family got recognition.
Finally, McGonagall had to raise her voice to make us all quiet down and the sorting continued.
“What’s the password?” I asked Meera as we approached the Fat Lady’s Portrait.
“Hang on,” the Indian girl glanced at a sheet of paper, then tucked it into her robes. “Je Souhaite,” she said.
“I wish,” I repeated, translating the French to English.
“Huh?” Meera asked absently.
“I wish. That’s what ‘Je Souhaite’ means in English.”
“Right,” Meera nodded. “I forgot that you speak French.”
“Oui, Mademoiselle. Je parle le français très bien parce que ma mère est française," I rattled off in perfect French. Yes, Miss. I speak French very well because my mother is French. She made sure that all of her children were fluent before they were five, something that I’m actually thankful for today.
“Password?” The Fat Lady asked us.
I said it and the portrait swung open, letting us climb up and into the common room. The room was filled with people, First Years, mostly, and some Seventh Years as well.
Meera tugged at my sleeve, “You going up to the dormitory?”
“Not yet,” I said, scanning the crowd. “I need to have a word with Dom first.”
Meera frowned, the lines marring her round face. “You sure that’s a good idea? You know that Dom has a bit of a temper when it comes to those things.”
“Yeah, I know,” I snapped. “But someone has to tell her that it’s not alright to do things like that! Honestly, it’s not like I go around snogging every male at Hogwarts. You don’t. Grace doesn’t. Most of her friends don’t. It’s just my sister who’s the whore.”
“Well, luck with that,” Meera shrugged, not listening to my rant really.
I glanced the common room, looking for my sister’s blonde head. There were a few Third Years, but none were as blonde as my sister.
Just when I was about to give up, I saw the dark head of my sort-of-cousin Teddy Lupin in an arm chair. “Teddy!” I rounded on him. “I need to talk to you.”
“Vicky?” He looked up, and absentmindedly adjusted his Head Boy badge at the same time. “Boy trouble already?” He had a very deep voice that was soothing and reassuring at the moment.
“No!” I snapped, though with a bit less anger. “I need your help though.”
Teddy nodded and closed his eyes for a moment, as if thinking hard. When they opened again, his hair had gone from its natural black to a deep chestnut and his eyes had changed from brown to green.
“I wish you would stop doing that,” I muttered to the metamorphamagus. “It’s disconcerting to see you go from black to brown like that.”
“Sorry,” he shrugged. “Now, what did you want to ask me about?”
I sat down on the arm of the chair and massaged my temples. “My dear, sweet, mental little sister.”
“Oh? Do I need to give her detention?” Teddy laughed and his hair and eye color reverted themselves to their original color.
“Please! She’s going to drive me insane, Teddy,” I moaned. “Honestly, I’m under enough stress as it is without having to watch over Dom.”
In the firelight, I wasn’t sure if his eyes had just gotten bigger, but with Teddy, anything was possibly. He could change his appearance at will, but it also changed involuntarily, when he was thinking, or relaxing. “I’m sure it’s not so bad,” he assured me.
“Oh but it is!” I stood, agitated again. “I saw her snogging today. Before they’d even started sorting!”
Teddy remained much too calm. I’d half hoped that he would have jumped out of his chair or something drastic. He merely ran a hand through his hair and said, “Alright then. A new record. Good for her.”
“Not good, Teddy. Not good!” I repeated, hoping that saying it more than once would get it through his dense skull. “Dom was kissing Xander Woods. He’s what, at least two years older than she is.”
That finally got a response out of him. “Xander?” Teddy clenched his fist. “That bloody git. I’ll kill him.” He reached for his wand, and drew it out. 10 ½ inches, maple, phoenix feather core. I knew the measurements as soon as I saw it.
“Not so fast,” I put a hand over his wand hand, to keep him from casting a spell. “I don’t want you to kill Wood. I just want you to talk to Dom. Tell her that she’s being a bloody idiot and that she can’t behave like that.”
He raised a brow. “Vicky, I don’t really think that’s my place. Can’t you write to your Mum and Dad?”
I grimaced. “You know that won’t do any good! Mum sides with Dom on everything. She probably would just bring out the firewhiskey and celebrate! And Dad, he’ll listen to Mum. And besides, Dad doesn’t care who Dom snogs, as long as it’s just snogging. You’re head boy, Ted, and we’re all practically cousins anyways. She’ll listen to you if she’ll listen to anyone.”
He nodded and put his wand back into his robes. “Yeah. I’ll have a chat with her. But you owe me one, Vick.”
“C’est bonne,” I replied, that’s good. “Merci beaucoup.”
“No problem, love.”
“Bonne nuit,” goodnight, I grinned and turned away, glad to have resolved this thing, at the very least.
“Right,” Teddy agreed, probably a bit lost with all the French I was speaking. “’Night.”
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