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Chapter 4 : The Beginning
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He walked foward with his new classmates and followed along the narrow pathway up to the doors of the school, the place in which he would reside for the next seven years. He tried to take everything in as they stood in the hall, waiting to be escorted into what the professor had called the Great Hall.
He listened intensely as the professor told all about the four houses and the sorting. Others standing about knew of their family heritage and had a preference or hope of following in the footsteps of family members wo attended before them.
He, on the other hand, was hoping one of the houses would accept him. He began to get nervous as the tall doors opened to them all and they began their journey into their new school. It was a Great Hall, indeed. 'Appropriately named,' he thought as he walked towards the front of the hall with the other first years. The other students were already seated, divided onto four tables. Separated by house, he assumed.
He let his mind wander as the Headmaster spoke the beginning term announcements. Everyone, no matter which table they were seated at, seemed happy to be there. He glanced to the students towards the end of the tables and wondered how they must have felt, being their final year and all.
His attention fell back towards the front as the first student was called to the stool. A ragged old hat placed on her head.
"Ravenclaw!" the had yelled and the table to his right let out a cheer. He watched in awe as one by one the students were called to the front. Each of the four houses had been called out by this mysterious hat and each of the four houses welcomed their newest members with cheers and welcoming hand shakes.
He tried to mentally keep a list of any attributes or characteristics each of the students before him showed as they were being sorted but failed miserably. He still worried about his placement, or even if he would be placed at all. None of the houses seemed like a proper fit. He worried if the hat would reject him, and send him back on the train home.
He jumped a little as his name was called. Being near the end of the alphabet, there were few left waiting. All eyes fell upon him as he took his turn sitting on the stool. Afraid the sorting hat would see into his past, he began to block out all thought. A small light into a dark past he hoped to keep this mysterious hat from seeing which would allow him to be placed somewhere, anywhere. He began to sweat as the hat started to laugh in his ear. The other students and now the professors were beginning to notice how long it was taking.
Finally, when he began to get the feeling he was about to be sent back to the train due to some misunderstanding, the hat shouted for all to hear: "Slytherin!"
The table to his far right began to cheer as he let out a sigh of relief. He had been placed, given a fresh start in his new life. He stepped down from the stool and headed towards his new table. Those around him shook his hand or gave him a nod of approval. He looked to those seventh years who were leaving soon and gave a half grin as they glanced his way.
He turned to the professors as he waiting for the final students to be sorted. He noticed the troubled look on Professor Dumbledore's face. For an eleven year old, the look worried him. This was the professor who took him out of that horrid place. The one who brought him here. The one who explained he wasn't a freak, just different.
He looked around at his fellow housemates, all dressed in green and silver, and noticed the small snake emblem on the school uniforms. For once in his life he felt like he belonged. For once, he felt as if he had a purpose in the world.
He knew not where he came from but realized with the knowledge he would learn, he could accomplish great things. He glanced around once more and knew for the first time that he, Tom Riddle, was home.
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