Chapter 1 : Hogwarts Sorting-Year 1
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Meet me, Esmerelda Rosalie Paré, pureblood (not that I care, but my parents sure do) metamorphagus, uber powerful witch.
I don't mean to brag, but it's true.
I didn't start to show my metamorphugus powers until age five or so, as they are increadibly dormant, and I can really only change small things- like the shape of my nose. Besides, I didn't want to change my looks. I'm naturally tall and slender- well, more twiglike than anything-with silvery blond hair and green-blue eyes, more green than anything. I do tend to be a bit klutzy at times, as I haven't yet grown into my long legs and big feet.
"Let's go put your things on the train, Esmerelda," my mother said, still surveying the crowd with a look of slight distaste on her face. Her disapproving look lingered for longer on a large group of people standing close to the train. They were mostly redheads, I noticed, though several had messy black hair. I wondered if they hadn't bothered to comb it, or if it was just untamable. My mother led the way towards the Hogwarts Express, weaving in and out of the crowd, only carrying my owl, Artemis, and leaving me to carry my very heavy trunk.
Nice, Mother. No matter. I could handle it- although my mother wouldn't approve. Setting my hand on my trunk, I muttered a levitating charm, and my trunk rose obediently, hovering a couple inches off the ground. I steered it towards the Hogwarts Express, guiding it onto the train and into the compartment my mother had picked out for me.
"Esmerelda Paré! I thought I told you not to do any magic!" My mother scolded me as I entered. She apparently thought someone would find out I was more powerful than the average witch or wizard. She also worried that my magic, even if under control, could backfire.
She didn't know that I had been practicing magic in secret since I was six with my gran. She didn't need to know.
"Sorry, maman," I said tiredly, shoving my silvery hair behind one ear.
She gave me The Look. "Yes, yes, well. You know the rules, but never follow them!"
No, well, the rules are stupid.
"I know you can do some degree of wandless magic-"
That I could. She just didn't know how much.
"-but none of that is school, you will learn to use your wand- you must fit in!"
"Yes, maman." Can you leave now? I'm sure you have plenty to do!
"And no getting in trouble! You will study and get top marks, all right? We are sending you to school for a reason!"
Yeah, to get me out of the house while you and dad break up. They've been fighting for ages, because my mother had her eye on a younger, hotter French man. Henri. I didn't mind him. Quite frankly, I didn't care either way. I'm not blind, mother.
"So I shall take my leave now. Remember the rules, Esmerelda Paré." With that, my mother left.
Well, that was pleasant. Not.
Once I was sure my mother was gone, I locked the door. I wanted the time on the train ride to practice my magic. Plus I wasn't sure if I wanted to meet other kids yet or not- I wasn't used to interacting with people my age.
Pulling out my trunk from under the seat, I opened it and pulled out my first-year books and my wand. I kept the wand, but set the books aside and dug deeper, under a couple layers of robes. Finally I found what I was looking for- my father's old school books, years two through seven. Sifting through the books, I found the fourth-year books and kept them out. The others I shoved back in my trunk, closing it again.
Yes, I did say fourth year. I've been learning from the books from age six- my grandma helped me a ton every step along the way. You didn't think I would still be on first or second year magic, did you? I'm talented- know that now.
Picking up my wand, I turned it over in my hands. Rowan wood with phoenix feather core, eleven and a half inches. I hadn't used it yet. I didn't need it. Spells had always been fairly easy for me, and, because my gran and I couldn't risk letting anyone know I was learning magic at such a young age, I had had to learn wandless magic, or use my gran's wand. I mostly did wandless magic. It worked well enough, as long as I concentrated.
When I was eight, I started taking Latin lessons at my Muggle school. I learned quickly- the teacher called me "a language person"- and soon I was trying to invent my own spells. My grandma helped me there, too. She loved Latin. I soon found out that it's a bit harder than I thought to make up my own spells. It always took a ton of work to make up one tiny spell.
Picking up my Charms book, I had a sudden thought. As an extra precaution- that was it- I would change my looks so if anyone did, somehow, come in, they wouldn't recognize me later. I focused, my eyes scrunching up, as I changed my hair color just enough to be unrecognizable, and changed small features of my face. Satisfied, I opened my Charms book and started practicing the spells, casting rapid-fire spells on objects around the compartment.
Hey, I'm talented. Don't hate.
The train started moving as I finally found the page I had last stopped at, and I looked up as the scenery started to blur.
So this is it. I’m off to Hogwarts and a new life. Away from my overbearing yet distant parents, who raised me with stifling rules and manners. Or, rather, my mother did. My father was usually too tired to care.
I mean, really. I don’t need to know which fork is a salad fork, which is a dinner fork, and which is for dessert. We never had dessert at my house anyway, and a fork is a fork. You can stab things with it.
There’s no reason to worry about me, really.
I’ve always been slender, but I’d be a skeleton if it was based on food served by my mom. She likes fancy adult dishes that are about as appealing to kids as pig’s tongue.
She’s served that before. It was gross.
My grandma on my dad’s side always served good food, before she vanished two months ago. She would send me care packages by owl every week, full of healthy yet delicious food. Loaves of bread, fruit, dishes that could be heated up.
She was the only one I’d ever told about my practicing magic. She’d supported me, told me about the power of concentration. That improved my skills exponentially. She had been working with me on patronuses most recently, before the school year started. It was a slow process. She thought that perhaps I hadn't had a good enough memory yet to produce a proper patronus.
Several hours after the train started off, there was a knock on the door of the compartment. I looked up, startled.
“Anything off the trolley, dear?”
Oh! Of course! Chocolate! I love chocolate! Unlocking the door, I threw it open and shot into the aisle, pulling out my moneybag. My mouth watered as I saw the wonderfulness that was the cart. Chocolates and other sweets were piled high, all sorts.
Have I mentioned how much I love chocolate? No? Well, I do.
Scanning the selection offered, I grabbed several Chocolate Frogs, a bunch of Honeyduke’s chocolate bars, both milk and dark, and a mint chocolate bar. As I opened my moneybag to pay for the (rather large) pile, a voice spoke up behind me.
“Honeyduke’s peanut-butter-chocolate balls are pretty good too.” I spun around, surprised, to face the speaker behind me. It was one of the boys from the large group on the platform, one of the boys with messy black hair, another first-year by the looks of it. His eyes were bright green behind glasses perched messily on his nose.
“Oh, ok. Thanks,” I said, before turning back to the witch pushing the cart. “I guess I’d better try a package of those, then,” I said to the witch. She smiled, adding a bag of the peanut-butter-chocolate balls to my collection. I paid quickly, before collecting my chocolate-yum-and ducking back into the compartment. I didn’t bother locking the door- just in case the boy and his two companions came in to visit. I'm not entirely anti-social. Just nervous. I threw myself into learning magic so much when I was younger partially because I was lonely.
Setting my load down on a seat, I pulled the lunch my mother had packed out of my trunk, to see if there was anything salvageable in it. I didn’t have a lot of hope.
I’ve mentioned how my mother is a lousy judge of kid’s tastes, right?
She didn’t disappoint.
Really, mother? Caviar (yuck) and whole-wheat crackers? And prune juice?
I offered the caviar to my owl Artemis. She gave me a disgusted look and shuffled away on her perch, ruffling her dark brown feathers. I grinned and chucked the contents of the caviar container out the window.
Hey, if my owl didn’t want it, who would?
The prune juice went out the window, too. Don’t look at me like that. Would you drink prune juice with chocolate?
Didn’t think so.
The crackers Artemis accepted. As for me, I would stick with the chocolate.
Just as I was opening a bar of Honeyduke’s chocolate, the compartment door banged open, making me jump and grab for my wand. A pale boy stood in the door, covered in my discarded caviar and prune juice.
Oops. I hadn’t expected the things I threw out the window to come back inside.
“Did-did-y-you- how dare you- what is this?” the boy spluttered, his face red.
“Caviar and prune juice,” I responded, trying not to laugh as a look of disgust bloomed over the boy’s face.
I’m not superhuman, though. So excuse me while I laugh my head off without making a noise.
“What? Fish eggs? Eww!!! Geddit offa meee!” Pale Boy was trying hard to brush all the caviar off of himself. I chose this point in time to completely crack up.
“Scorpius? What’s goin’ on?” A dull voice came from behind Pale Boy. Ah. So this was Scorpius Malfoy. I had heard my parents talk about his all-Slytherin family. They seemed to be under the impression that Slytherin was the best house because “It knows the value of pure blood”. Pfft. And that’s more important than being loyal or brave or smart or caring?
It might be, for my parents. That’s how sad they are. Or, rather, how sad my mother is.
But Pale Boy- Scorpius- didn’t seem the Slytherin type. He was too wimpy.
“Ewwwwwwwwwwww!!!!” Everybody, meet the cunning and collectedness that is Scorpius Malfoy.
He’s such a baby.
I flicked my hand and muttered“scourgify!” under my breath, cleaning both Malfoy and the goon behind him off. He continued to brush at himself for several moments before realizing that he was clean. Embarrassed, he quickly left the compartment, though not before hissing “I’ll get you back, just you wait.” at me.
Ooh, I’m terrified. Not.
I got up and closed the door behind them, locking it this time. I didn’t feel like having any more interruptions. Especially when there was a huge pile of chocolate to be eaten.
Several hours later, the conductor’s voice sounded, reminding us that we would be arriving shortly and to leave our things on the train. I had already changed into my uniform and robes, and had changed my looks back to normal. My wand- it was nice even if I didn’t need it- was tucked in a pocket, with my leftover chocolate. My dad’s old school books had been packed away, and my trunk was closed and locked. Pulling my cloak’s hood over my head- it looked cold and windy outside- I stepped outside my compartment an closed the door again.
Tucking my silvery curls under the hood further, I made my way down the aisle to a door, and stood there as the train came to a stop. As soon as it was fully stopped, I flung open the door and stepped out into the cool night air.
I was right. It was windy. Gusts of wind made the trees shiver.
And me, too. So I cast a spell to warm myself up.
I love being a witch.
“First years over here! First years!” A large, dark shape stood waving. I guessed that this was Hagrid. My grandma had told me about him.
I miss her. A lot. She's the only friend I have.
I walked over to Hagrid, who was wearing what appeared to be a coat made of many different furs. I bet it’s warm, but it sure does look strange.
“Hey Albus, Rose, Roxanne,” he said, smiling at three other first-years coming over to join the growing group. The first two- Albus and Rose- Albus I recognized as the messy-haired boy who had recommended the peanut-butter-chocolate balls- those were good- had come over together. Roxanne, a tall, slender girl with dark skin and dark red hair, had followed at a distance. “How are you doing?”
There was a general chorus of “Fine” from the three Hagrid had singled out.
“Good, good,” Hagrid chuckled. “Now- is this all the first years? Yes? All right then, follow me now, we’re going down to the boats. Everybody keeping up? Come on now, they’ll be expecting us up at the castle soon.” We all followed him, and I pulled my hood up more against the wind. Some of the other first-years gave me funny looks.
They’re stupid. I know I look forbidding and…ominous…and whatever… with my cloak pulled up. And with my great height. But they’re the ones getting soaked and buffeted by the wind. And their hair is turning into rats’ nests.
Way to make a first impression, people.
“No more than four to a boat!” Hagrid called as we reached an inlet full of little rowboats. I hopped into the closest boat and scooted out near the front, facing out towards the lake, sitting on top of my legs like I always do. It's actually really comfortable, even if a lot of people don't think so. The lake was probably usually a very pretty sight, but the wind had turned the waters choppy. The boat rocked as several more people got in- a glance behind me told me that it was Albus, Rose, and a sandy-haired boy that I took to be a friend of theirs that they met on the train.
Staring out at the frothy waters again, I decided it would be a good idea to cast a shield spell of sorts to keep the water’s spray splashing up on me. No, I’m not vain or a girly-girl, I just don’t fancy being splashed with freezing cold water on a cold night.
“Everyone in? We’re off!” Hagrid called as all the boats started forward. I held on tight to the sides of the boat I was in as it rocked dangerously. The other occupants of the boat squeaked as a particularly large wave splashed over the side of the boat.
Although their funny noises may be more attributed to the cold water now drenching them, rather than the waves. It’s hard to tell. The red-headed girl, Rose, had been hit the worse- she was on my side of the boat, and the water that would have hit me may or may not have splashed off my shield charm and onto Rose and Albus. I could feel their gazes on the back of my head, obviously wondering why I wasn’t drenched.
Drat. Rule one broken- don’t stick out. Not like I really cared.
The boat rocked even more violently as we reached open water. The lake, which spread out before us, was frothy white foam on black water, had huge waves. More water sloshed over the sides of the boat. Above us, the dark, cloudy sky turned even darker- pitch black. It would rain, I could tell.
Ok, wasn’t expecting it to start so soon.
The skies opened, and the rain poured down. Crap. My continued dryness would be hard to explain. But I’d be damned it I was going to get wet now, now that we were halfway across the lake and, besides, the others in the boat couldn’t see my face. Thank goodness for hoods.
There were screams from many of the other boats as the waves hit them and the boats rocked dangerously. I have to admit, I was getting worried now. It was getting harder to see the other boats in the rain- what if a boat tipped? Plus the position I was sitting is wasn't the stablest- it would be easy to lose my balance and fall. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something reach out of the water. It would seem the Giant Squid had made an appearance. Cool.
“Watch yer heads!” Hagrid’s voice came faintly over the rain. Sure enough, we were fast approaching a cliff. Thank goodness- under the cliff’s protection, the water only rippled faintly. Glancing down, I noticed how much water had collected in the boat. It came up almost to the bottom of the seat I sat in.
We ran up on shore, making pebbles clatter out of place. I clambered out of the boat, followed by the others. One by one, boats pulled onto shore, and soaked, miserable-looking first years clambered out, their hair stuck to their heads.
Honestly, does nobody besides me have enough sense to make use of the hoods on our cloaks? Does nobody think? Do they think that the hoods are just a fashion statement? They’re not, people. They’re useful.
Ok, that little rant is done now. We shall continue inside.
Never mind that nobody says shall anymore.
Hagrid ushered us all inside, where most of the first years huddled together, trying to warm up. A tall, thin woman stood waiting for us. Her brown, curly hair hung loose around her shoulders. Her face had a warm smile on it as she surveyed the (rather sorry) group. Sighing, she waved her wand, and there was a whoosh of warm, humid wind. Immediately everyone was dry again. There was a general sigh of relief.
She hadn’t done anything about their hair, though. Most people still looked like they’d been a fight. Or had let rats make a home in their hair. Not a pleasant thought.
“I am Professor Maletchy, the Transfiguration teacher,” the lady told us as she tucked away her wand. “Hagrid, you didn’t lose any on the way over, did you?”
“Don’t think so,” Hagrid responded. “I counted them before and after we were on the lake.”
“Ok, good,” Professor Maletchy responded, looking us over. “You can go ahead, Hagrid- I’ll bring them in.” Hagrid left out a door behind Maletchy. She turned to us again, casting a warm but frenzied look at all of us. “All right, everyone- we will enter the Great Hall shortly. There we will have the Sorting Ceremony, where you will be sorted into your houses. There are four houses- Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each is a great house, and each produce great wizards and witches. Points will be earned for your successes, and taken away when you misbehave. We will go in now- please, form a line behind me- calmly, please! - your names will be called in alphabetical order; the line order doesn’t matter. Thank you! Now, we will go in.”
I was near the end of the line, both by my own choosing and the fact that people are rude and were pushing others to try to get to the front of the line. Apparently they thought that if they were closer to the front, they would get Sorted faster.
Pushing isn’t going to change alphabetical order, beanheads.
We followed Maletchy into the Great Hall. The ceiling, I noticed, looked the same as it had outside. It had been enchanted, I knew-
Yes, I had read Hogwarts, a History. But only because I was bored.
We went up to the front of the hall, and pooled more or less in a straight line in front of the High Table. A dirty hat on a stool stood there, looking at us. It sang something, too, but I was too busy scanning all the other first years to see who might be good friend/minion material.
I’m kidding about the minion thing. Sorta.
Stop looking at me like that. Wouldn’t it be cool to have minions?
I can rule out the boys right away. Most of them are idiots, anyway. So about half of the firstie class is ruled out.
Next to go is anybody looking too nervous. Most of them will be Hufflepuffs, anyway. So that blond girl over there who is seriously green…off my “possible friends” list she goes. Along with that brunette, and that other girl with brown hair. Into the dust heap they go!
Ok….that wasn’t at all weird. Sometimes my brain worries me. Now is one of those times.
Perhaps I should try looking for people that would make good friends, instead of wouldn’t. The only problem them is that I don’t know what to look for in a friend. I’ve never had friends before. Except my grandma. But she’s family, and older, and it’s not the same. I always scared people at my Muggle school- they didn’t know what to think of the tall, thin, blond girl who made odd references at times- come on, Merlin is not an odd exclamation- and talked like she was much older. And who watered the trees with prune juice.
Yes, prune juice and I have a very long history. What happened on the train is just the most recent of a long line of events.
You know, this would be easier if they would just start Sorting already. Then I could eliminate the Slytherins as well. Then the pool of contestants would be further cut down, from 100% to 50 to 25%. Without the Slytherins and Hufflepuffs, that is.
Could I cut out the Ravenclaws too? I don’t want to be friends with a nerd. Not that nerds are bad or anything, it’s just that they’re….boring at times. I probably shouldn’t judge, though, until I get Sorted.
Hey! The hat’s stopped singing! Good. That thing needs to take some bloody voice lessons.
“Allen, Sophie!” Professor Maletchy called out. A short, thin girl with brown hair scurried over to the stood and sat down, Maletchy setting the hat on her head.
“Scurry” is such a fun word. It makes me think of all sorts of small insects and animals.
Well, this is boring. I might care more if I actually knew any of these people, but I don’t and I won’t ‘till later.
Albus and Rose’s sandy-haired companion went up after what must have been his sister. The hat took a minute before finally calling out “GRYFFINDOR!” Samuel got up and headed over to the Gryffindor table with a relieved expression. I noticed his sister, Laurel, laughing at him. She had gotten into Gryffindor right away.
I zoned out for several names. It didn’t matter. Most of them were Hufflepuffs and Slytherins anyway. I was too busy watching Laurel and Samuel bicker quietly over at the Gryffindor table. They didn’t look at all alike- while Samuel had sandy brown/blond hair and pale skin, Laurel had dark brown curls and evenly tanned skin. She was also obviously taller and thinner than her brother.
Oh, this would be fun.
The blonde boy slooooooowly walked up to the stool, like he was going to his death or something. He sat down, eying the hat like it was something evil. Professor Maletchy set the hat on his head, then backed up. Scorpius’s back was ramrod straight, his face white, as he waited for the hat to make a decision.
There was a stunned silence for a moment before the Ravenclaws, soon followed by Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. The Slytherins hadn’t gotten over their shock yet. Scorpius quickly scampered down the stairs and over to the Ravenclaw table, not making eye contact with anyone.
Right. Now that the interesting stuff was over, I could go back to people-watching. Scorpius was fidgeting in his seat, looking uncomfortable. Samuel was sitting facing the front, ignoring his sister. The other firsties up front were mostly looking sick, or nervous, or both, or excited.
Oh, hey. They’re getting to the P’s now….
“I’m up soon,” I heard Albus hiss. Not yet, Sir Messy-hair. I’m first, methinks-
I walked up to the stool confidently and sat down. The Sorting Hat slid down over my eyes.
Well, well. We have an interesting one here.
Thank Merlin. It’s not singing. I don’t think that I could stand the hat’s singing any longer.
Hey, I sing quite well! For a hat, at least.
That’s not saying much. Most hats don’t sing, thank goodness.
I object to that, but we shall move on now-
Nobody says “shall” anymore.
ANYWAY. You are smart, very talented, very much so…but studying isn’t you. It’s just a way to get to your goals, is it not?
I smiled. The hat got it.
Very brave-not reckless, but brave and headstrong. So you would best fit in GRYFFINDOR!!!
I got up, smiling, and made my way over to the Gryffindor table.
Messy-hair went up.
The Sorting went on, business as usual. Finally there was only a small handful left.
The headmistress stood up as Roxanne sat down. “Welcome, students new and old!” She smiled at the students, her grey hair pulled back in a bun. She looked stern, not to be messed with, but approachable. “For those of you who don’t know, I am Professor McGonagall. Welcome to the start of a new school year. Before the feast starts, I want to make sure everybody knows that the Forbidden Forest is, indeed, forbidden. Thus the name. Also, our caretaker, Argus Flitch, wants everyone to know that there is no magic allowed in the hallways. Also, all products from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes are banned, as well as a large list of other items….which can be viewed, if anybody really wishes, in Mr. Flitch’s office. That is all I have to say, so let us eat!” She bowed and sat down and food appeared on the tables.
I reached for a muffin- blueberry, yum- rice, and a chicken wing. As I picked up my fork to eat, I noticed Albus Potter digging into a huge pile of food. I gave him a disgusted look, as did several other girls- Laurel Catly and Roxanne Weasley, among others, whose names I didn't remember. Albus didn’t notice for several moments.
“Wha fu ‘ookn a?” he questioned through a mouthful, finally looking up.
“Pardon? I don’t speak troll,” I shot back. There were snickers heard around the table. Point for team Esmerelda. Albus bowed his head and ate a little slower.
Rolling my eyes, I went back to eating, hearing snatches of conversations around me.
“I can’t wait for DADA, I heard it’s a lot of fun, and we get to hex the Slytherins-“
“You most certainly DO NOT hex the Slytherins, where did you hear that?” One of the prefects, no doubt.
“My brother! He’s in third year-“
“Adrian Mullax? Please tell me you’re not going to be like him, he’s always breaking the rules.”
“I can’t believe that we don’t get to try out for house team, Harry Potter did-“
“We can try out on school brooms, but nobody ever gets in.”
“That’s just as bad!”
“When do we start flying lessons? I’ve never been on a broom before.”
This muffin is really good.
“I’m muggleborn- I couldn’t believe my luck when I got the letter-“
I think I’ll have another muffin.
“Laurel! Stop taking my food!”
“Stop making it so easy for me, then!”
“What’s that fizzing sound?”
There was a pause as everybody stopped to listen.
“I don’t hear anything-”
From the other end of the Gryffindor table, sparks of all colors flew out. An entire rainbow formed, shimmering brightly. Then a roar sounded, and a dragon shape formed out of the sparks, shimmering and almost large as life. It soared over the Great Hall, little fireworks shedding off of its “scales”, then completely blew up over the High Table.
Welcome to Hogwarts.
Reviews would be awesome! I've changed this chapter, just a bit, so Esmerelda would be a bit more....grounded, I guess, but I really would like feedback!!!! Constructive criticism is wanted!