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Chapter 2 : The Sorting
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“Only about a hundred times,” James laughed. “I wish I had a sickle for every time you’d said it! I’d be a very rich wizard.”
The three followed the crowd of first years to the docks, where they were loaded onto a boat with one other boy. He was sort of chubby, with mousy hair and a very pointed, almost rat-like, face. He seemed very quiet, but seemed very interested in James and Sirius’ playful bickering. Remus felt bad for the boy, seeing as he had seemingly no friends.
“So, what’s your name?” Remus asked the boy, who looked stunned at being addressed.
“P-Peter Pettigrew,” he stuttered.
“Nice to meet you, Peter,” Remus smiled. “I’m Remus Lupin, and these are James Potter and Sirius Black.”
“N-N-Nice to meet you,” Peter replied, mustering a smile.
“So, Peter, what house do you think you’ll be in?” James asked.
“N-Not sure. I d-don’t really care much about which house I’m put in.” He thought about it for a few seconds, and then added, “B-but I wouldn’t mind being put into Gryffindor.”
Just then, the boats jolted forward, gliding across the crystal smooth surface of the lake so swiftly it was almost as if the boats were flying above the water. Remus watched with awe as a giant squid appeared just inches below the water’s surface.
“This is amazing,” Sirius breathed, and Remus nodded in agreement.
“Look! It’s the castle!” someone in a boat up ahead called, and Remus looked up just in time to see Hogwarts come into view. The scene was so breathtaking he almost felt as if he would pass out. As he thought about how he was almost not allowed to come to Hogwarts because of his “condition,” he felt truly blessed to be able to revel in this moment. The thought that he had friends by his side to witness it with him was phenomenal.
“Remus, mate, are you okay?” James asked, patting him on the shoulder.
Remus realized that he had a tear rolling down his cheek, and he quickly wiped it away in embarrassment. “Err, yeah, I’m fine.”
“James, look, it’s your little girlfriend,” Sirius whispered, pointing at a boat floating near them. Remus looked over, and was surprised to see the girl chatting happily with a sullen looking boy with greasy black hair and a hooked nose.
“That’s who she was looking for?” James asked in disgust.
“I’m sure he’s not that bad,” Remus reasoned. “She seems to be a pretty good judge of character. I mean, she didn’t give you a second glance, did she?” James elbowed him, but Sirius and Peter laughed loudly.
“He’s got a point, mate,” Sirius chuckled.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. I swear to you that before our seventh year here at Hogwarts, she will be mine, and Snivillus will be only a distant memory.”
“It’s going to take you seven years?” Sirius joked, but Remus frowned at James.
“Maybe they’re just friends, James,” Remus reasoned.
“Yeah, right. Look at the way he’s gazing at her. He’s in love with her,” James argued.
“True, his expression vaguely reminds me of yours,” Sirius said, nodding. James shot him a glare, and Sirius just smirked but didn’t say anything else.
When the boats finally docked, James was the first one off, bee lining towards Lilly. Sirius was close behind him, and Remus followed after a few second’s hesitation. Peter followed them all, looking as if he wasn’t sure if he was allowed to tag along or not.
“Lilly!” James called, walking up to her. Sirius and Remus flanked him, and Peter hung back a little ways. “That was some boat ride, huh?” He ran his hand through his hair, making it even messier. Remus figured that was what he wanted.
“Err, yeah, it was pretty fun,” she said, blushing. After a second, she seemed to remember her manners and gestured to Severus. “This is my friend, Severus.”
“Ah, the one you were looking for on the train?” James asked with a knowing smile.
“Yes, he’s the one. Severus, this is... Well, I’m terribly sorry, but I haven’t caught your names.”
“James Potter, future Gryffindor,” James said boldly, taking Lilly’s hand and shaking it.
“Sirius Black, any house but Slytherin,” Sirius introduced, stepping forward and shaking her hand.
“Remus Lupin,” Remus stated, taking her hand gently and shaking it. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“And that’s Peter Pettigrew,” James said, gesturing back to where Peter stood, looking flattered that he was being introduced. He took a tentative step forward.
“P-Pleased to meet you,” he said, and Lilly nodded kindly at him.
“So, what house are you going to be in, Lilly?” James asked.
“I’m not sure. I don’t really know what the difference is,” she said shyly.
“She’s muggle-born,” Severus piped in. “She doesn’t know too much about Hogwarts.”
“Yes, but Severus says that I won’t be in Slytherin, because I’ve got no wizard heritage.” Lilly looked disappointed at this, though Remus couldn’t figure out why. From what he’d heard, only dark wizards were put into Slytherin.
“Who wants to be put in Slytherin anyway?” Sirius asked, his voice filled with venom. “It’s just filled with dark wizards who think they’re better than everyone else. Like my cousins, for example.”
“Severus says that he’s going to be in Slytherin, and he’s not like that. Isn’t that right, Severus?” Lilly argued, turning to her friend.
“I’m sure he’s just a right field of daisies,” James chuckled, and Sirius laughed loudly. Remus wasn’t sure how he felt about this bullying, so he stayed quiet.
“Severus is a nice guy!” Lilly said protectively.
“Sure, sure,” James said, brushing her off. “Listen, Lilly, I—”
“All first years, come this way,” a strict, middle-aged woman called out, cutting James short. Everyone followed the woman into the castle. She wore square spectacles, and her graying hair was pulled back into a tight bun. Once they reached the Entrance Hall, the woman turned and addressed everyone. “I am Professor McGonagall, head of Gryffindor house. In a moment, you will be sorted into one of four houses: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin. Your houses will be like your family, and you must work together to earn house points. Good behavior will earn you points, while poor behavior will cost you points. The house with the most points at the end of the year will win the house cup.” A man came up to her and whispered something in her ear. She nodded, and then continued. “They are ready for you now. Everyone, follow me.”
As they followed, James whispered, “How do you reckon they sort us into houses?” He looked worried, for once.
“Not sure. I hope there isn’t a test,” Remus said.
“Nah, it’s not a test. It’s— Blimey!” Sirius exclaimed as they entered the Great Hall. It was a huge room, with four long tables stretching from one end to the other, filled with students staring at them. At the front was a table where the professors sat, and in the middle was Professor Dumbledore. Candles floated in the air, and the ceiling was enchanted to look like the night sky. Remus was awestruck.
“Makes you glad we’ve got seven years here, huh?” James whispered, his voice filled with amazement.
“M-Makes me wish we had longer,” Peter responded, and Remus nodded in agreement.
“Petunia would have loved this,” Lilly whispered sadly, and Remus looked at her, confused. “My sister,” she informed him. “She’s a... muggle. I wish she were here...” Severus patted her arm comfortingly, and James glared at his hand.
The procession ended, and a stool was brought forward, on which was placed a ratty wizarding hat. Remus glanced around, confused, and he saw that all of the older students were staring at it intently. He looked back at the hat, and saw that it was moving now. For a second, he wondered if it was going to attack somebody, but then...
“I am the Sorting Hat, of old
of whom the tales have been told.
I’ve been around since long ago
when the school was built that you very well know.
I’ve seen years go by
and yet not much has changed,
except, perhaps, some professor’s names.
But I still hold true
to what I was created to do.
I will put you where you deserve to go,
because where you belong is what only I know.
Do you belong in Gryffindor,
house of the brave and true?
Or in the house of Ravenclaw,
where lie the smartest of you?
Is Hufflepuff your chosen house,
where lie those fair and kind?
Or Slytherin, the purest house,
where only cunning you’ll find?
So come and place me on your head,
for I know down which path you must be led.
But hold this warning in your hearts,
we are all one people here at Hogwarts.
After a moment, everyone began to cheer. Remus was impressed, and as he glanced around, everyone else seemed impressed as well.
“He’s got the whole year to think that up, though,” Sirius whispered to Remus as the cheers were dying down. “I could make up a song like that in five seconds.”
“I will now call you up one by one to be sorted into your houses,” Professor McGonagall announced. “Baker, Helen.” A girl with very curly black hair walked shakily up to the front and sat on the stool. The Sorting Hat was placed on her head, though it was much too big and slipped down over her eyes.
After a moment, the hat shouted, “RAVENCLAW!” The second to last table on the left erupted with cheers, and Helen Baker went to sit with her fellow Ravenclaws.
“Wish me luck,” Sirius whispered as he went up. He looked cocky as he sat down and the hat slid over his eyes, but Remus was sure he was worried about being sorted into Slytherin.
“GRYFFINDOR!” The hat shouted, and Sirius’ lips spread into a wide grin as he went to sit at the table farthest to the left. Remus heard somebody booing, and he glanced over at the table farthest to the right, where an older girl with messy black hair and heavily lidded eyes sat. She was the one upset with Sirius’ sorting, and her eyes shot daggers at the back of Sirius’ head.
The rest of the sorting went by fairly quickly. Lilly Evans was also sorted into Gryffindor, and Remus’ stomach dropped to his feet when Professor McGonagall announced, “Lupin, Remus.” He made his way up to the front, and sat down on the stool. As the Sorting Hat slipped down over his eyes, he began to panic. His biggest fear had been ending up in Hufflepuff, but now he worried that he might be put into Slytherin. Suddenly, the hat’s voice spoke in his ear.
“Hmm, you’re an interesting one. Smart, yet kind... Very brave, but you have a hint of darkness in you.”
“Please not Slytherin,” Remus whispered, recalling the girl booing at Sirius.
“Not Slytherin? Well, I wasn’t going to put you in there anyway. Besides, I see potential in you, boy. No, you only belong in one house, and that is... GRYFFINDOR!”
The last word was shouted, and the Gryffindor table began to cheer. Remus took off the hat, and walked to the table, shaking hands with some students who offered them to him, and then he sat down next to Sirius, who gave him a high five.
“I was bloody terrified,” Sirius admitted. “How about you?”
“Probably more scared than you were,” Remus chuckled nervously.
“Nah, I come from a whole line of Slytherins. Don’t think there’s a Black out there who wasn’t in Slytherin... Except me, now.” He smiled proudly at this, as if happy that he was defiling his family’s history. “Mum’s going to be furious.”
“So are all Slytherins bad?” Remus asked him. Peter Pettigrew came and sat down across from them; apparently he’d been sorted into Gryffindor also. Remus smiled at him, and then turned his attention back to Sirius.
“Nah, I’ve got a cousin, Andromeda, who’s pretty decent. Our family disowned her after she married a muggle-born named Ted Tonks. I get along pretty well with her.”
“Potter, James.” They both snapped back to attention to watch their friend get sorted. Of course, he got sorted into Gryffindor, just like he said he would, and he sat down next to Remus.
“What’d I tell you?” James bragged. “Now we’re all in Gryffindor! This’ll be great!”
“This year is going to be anything but boring, that’s for sure,” Sirius enthused.
Severus Snape was sorted into Slytherin, just like he promised, and James made a show of booing him as he went and sat down at the Slytherin table. Once the sorting was finished, Dumbledore stood up at the head table, and everyone silenced to hear him speak.
“I usually like to allow you all to dig into your feast before I have to speak, but this year it is of the utmost importance that I warn you all now not to enter the Forbidden Forest if you value your lives. Also, a new Whomping Willow has been planted, and I must ask everyone to please avoid it at all costs. It is very dangerous, and if anyone ventures near it, you may very well die. Now, with those few announcements out of the way, please... dig in.” As he gestured, food appeared on their plates in heaping amounts, and everyone helped themselves. As Remus grabbed a turkey leg for himself, he couldn’t help but feel nervous.
After all, this was the first time a werewolf had ever been on Hogwarts grounds.
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