Chapter 1 : The Sorting
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Blanca shifted nervously on her seat, her palms were sweaty and it seemed like air was something that had taken a rain check that evening. There were about forty five other students around her that day, each waiting in a large room that looked like it could have been a hallway for a giant. Some, like Blanca, were nervous, and others looked pretty confident.
“Aw righ’ little uns!” boomed the voice of the large man that accompanied them from Hogsmeade and led them there from the boats, “wait here an’ the professor will come fer yer in a jiffy! Good luck!” and with that, he turned on his heel, happily humming a tune to himself as he disappeared round a corner.
Many of the first years were shifty, she could hear a few squeals and whispers.
“I’ll probably be a Ravenclaw, though it would be nice to be a Gryffindor, that’s were all the cool people are,” she heard a boy whisper.
“Nah! For me Gryffindor is the only ‘ouse! Both me Mam and me Pa were sorted in it!” she heard another boy say. He had a thick Irish accent and Blanca smiled softly as she recognized that it was Ewan Finnigan, Uncle Seamus’ son. They had known each other ever since she was five years old; Blanca would go and stay with the Finnigans at their cottage in Cork when her father was away on business.
“I will not be in Slytherin. Will not! Will not! Will not!” she heard a boy say. She looked to her left and next to her was a girl with bushy red hair and blue eyes, the girl seemed to be comforting a boy that was seated next to her, he had messy black hair and sea green eyes. Blanca thought she had seen him from somewhere before, then she remembered. It was her 8th birthday and she and her father were closing the shop so they could begin their day out.
As she was heading downstairs, the bell rang, indicating that someone had entered the shop. When Blanca got to the landing, she noticed her father was hugging a woman with red hair and greeting a man with messy jet black hair. Instantly, she recognized the pair as THE Ginny Weasley from the Holyhead Harpies and the legendary Harry Potter! They had come in to get some toy brooms for their sons; one of the boys was already skipping around the shop, ooooh-ing and aaahhh-ing at everything, while the other was hiding behind his mother. That was the best birthday Blanca had ever had, meeting Harry Potter was great, but meeting THE Ginny Weasley was even better. Blanca had met many great Quidditch players in her day, when her father would take her along with him on his business trips. But Ginny Weasley, now Ginny Potter, was still the highlight of her life.
That was where she had seen the boy, he was the one that was hiding behind his mother.
“Don’t worry Al, you’ll easily make Gryffindor, you’ll see.”
“But what if I’m in……….” he shuddered, “what if I’m in Slytherin?” he whispered the last word as though it were poisonous.
“So what if you’re in Slytherin?” Blanca blurted out before she could stop herself.
The two turned to face Blanca, the girl had one eyebrow raised.
“Er….”Blanca grappled for words “sorry for barging in but what does it matter if you’re in Slytherin?” Blanca knew through and through the answer to this, her father had told her many times before. Dean Thomas was a nice man, but he drew the line at Slytherins or any other families that were obsessed with blood purity. Blanca thought differently, for her, everybody deserved a chance to make an impression before they were judged.
“Because,” the girl replied matter-of-factly, “Slytherins are evil.”
“I don’t think so,” Blanca said softly, “its okay if you’re sorted into Slytherin house, it’s who you are on the inside that matters right?”
The girl smiled lightly at this, “Rose. Rose Weasley,” she said as she offered her hand for Blanca to shake, “and this is my cousin Albus.”
“I think I know you,” Blanca said to Albus, “you once came to my Dad’s shop to get a broom. Blanca Thomas.” She said to the both of them.
“Wait!” Albus said, all anxiety vanishing from his face, “your Dad owns that shop in Diagon Alley? The Broom Closet?”
“Uh-huh.” Blanca replied.
“That must be so cool!” he marveled, mostly to himself.
Blanca smiled softly as she let her eyes wander across the room, they stopped when they fell upon a silvery blond head. She could have moved on but something about that boy was mysterious, almost enchanting. Unlike the other first years, he was perfectly still, almost oblivious to the world around him, his steely grey eyes fixed upon a specific spot on the wall in front of him.
“Malfoy kid,” Rose offered as she followed Blanca’s gaze. “My dad says to stay away from him, he’s trouble.”
Blanca had heard of the Malfoys, her father had told her about them. None of it was good, according to him, the Malfoys were instrumental in causing the 2nd War. Before Blanca could open her mouth to speak, the large doors opened and in walked a tall, thin woman who had her hair tied in a tight bun at the back of her head. Her face was framed by rectangular glasses that covered her beady eyes and her black robes billowed behind her as she walked towards them.
“Welcome, first years, to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I’m your Headmistress, Professor McGonagall. Your sorting ceremony is about to begin, so if you could follow me…..”
She turned swiftly, robes swishing with her movement, and headed towards the place where Blanca had seen the large man go. The first years quickly followed her, all too afraid to speak. Even Ewan had kept quiet. She led them to an even greater hallway with bigger doors that opened as soon as she stepped in front of them.
If the air had taken a rain check earlier, it had just given in its resignation form as Blanca entered the Great Hall. The light was much brighter in here and there were five long tables. Four had been arranged next to each other in a parallel fashion and the fifth one was on a slightly higher platform, overlooking the four below. Each table seemed to be a sea of color and even though Dean had already described Hogwarts to Blanca, she was still overwhelmed. On the furthest end was a table engulfed in a sea of blue, then came the yellow, then came the red and finally the green. On the higher table sat a group of men and women who had an authoritative look about them, only the giant man seemed to be smiling, Blanca figured they must have been the teachers. She nervously shuffled her feet as she made her way up on a platform that faced all tables. The hall was washed over with silence as McGonagall got a tattered old, burnt-looking piece of leathery material and placed it on a stool in front of them.
Blanca, just like many other first years flinched slightly when the leather jumped to life and revealed that it was a hat.
“Ooooh,” the Sorting Hat groaned in a creaky old voice, “the new year is here at last!” Then it chuckled and burst into song.
“Back in the day when I was young and new and not so very charred,
Lived four great friends whose friendship bloomed from great ideas shared,
To build a place, a haven a fortress was what each one would yearn,
Where they could take the young under their wing so that magic they would learn.
Though same dream shared, it was hard to achieve,
For Rowena, it was all about smarts, for Godric, guts,
Darling Helga took them all and cared, but Salazar said ‘Magical blood or LEAVE!’
Each wanted their way and wondered how to let it be,
So they picked up a hat, gave it a mind and LO! Happy Birthday to me!
So put me on, and surely-ly
I’ll tell you where you belong, trust me, you’ll see!
You might belong to Ravenclaw
Where wit and learning is all they’re yearning
Or Gryffindor, where the daring
Those with guts of steel find their dwelling
Perhaps Slytherin eh, where the cunning the coy,
Meet their loyal friends in the quest for glory
Or maybe, just maybe, Hufflepuff is the place for you
Those Hufflepuffs loyal till the end,
Are the most dedicated people you’ll find in this school!
So come little ones, do not fear
Put me on and hear! Hear!
Let the Sorting begin!!!!”
After the song had finished, the sorting hat looked around, “I spent a year on this! Do I not get any applause?” then, after nervous glances exchanged, the hall boomed with applause. “Much better.” The hat said as soon as the clapping died down.
The atmosphere was much calmer after that, and Blanca even dared to draw in a deep breath and Professor McGonagall begun to call out names in alphabetical order.
“Frida Bullstrode!” McGonagall called out, a big, burly girl who had her brown hair in a French plait strode over, the hat was placed on her head and soon, Slytherin was called out. Blanca allowed her mind to wander as she knew that it would be quite some time before the T’s were called out.
“Ewan Finnigan!” she called, and Ewan ceased to look as confident as he was earlier, he slowly went up to the stool and allowed McGonagall to place the hat over his salt-and-pepper hair. The hat grunted for about three seconds before bellowing “GRYFFINDOR!!!!!!”
There was loud applause from the table in red. Ewan looked as though he had won a million Galleons as he skipped to the Gryffindor table.
“Adam Goyle!” McGonagall cried and a big, burly looking boy got up and sauntered to the stool. He was sorted into Slytherin house a few moments later. More names were called out and about half the first years had been sorted, the majority going to Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.
“Melanie Longbottom” McGonagall called. A tiny girl stepped forward; she had a chubby round face and her long golden-blonde hair was tied in two pigtails. Her big brown eyes were brimming as she scurried to the stool. No sooner had the hat touched her head had it announced “HUFFLEPUFF!” There was loud applause from the table in yellow and a man at the staff table that Blanca recognized as Uncle Neville was clapping really loudly, looking awfully proud of his daughter.
After a few more names, McGonagall called “Scorpius Malfoy!”
A death-like silence filled the hall as the silver haired boy mechanically walked up to the stool. The hat was lowered on his head and a few seconds later, “SLYTHERIN!” was yelled by the hat. There was loud applause from the Slytherin table and a few others politely clapped. More and more names were called out; some students took as long as five minutes with the Sorting Hat and others were sorted as soon as the hat touched their heads.
“Albus Potter!” Blanca glanced over at Albus, who was beginning to look as green as his eyes. He timidly sat on the stool as McGonagall placed the hat on his head. It stayed there for five minutes, it looked as though Albus and the hat were having a conversation inside the hat’s brim. After a while, the hat chuckled and yelled “Gryffindor!!!” There was loud applause from the hall, even louder applause from the table in red. Blanca noticed that even McGonagall had what looked like a smile on her face as Al practically sprinted to the Gryffindor table. Rose was smiling brightly as she mouthed to him, “Told you so!”
A few more names were called, the line started thinning and the Scamander twins were sorted next, both going into Ravenclaw.
“Casablanca Thomas!” Blanca both flinched and cringed inwardly, she hated being called Casablanca. She shakily walked over to the stool and sat there as McGonagall placed the hat over her head.
Blanca jumped half a mile off her seat when she heard the hat’s voice in her ear. “Well well well, now what have we here……..” it said. Blanca was mortified, the hat had not spoken to anyone else, at least not that she heard of. She looked around and everyone seemed oblivious to the fact that that it had just spoken a few moments earlier.
“Don’t worry, no one can hear us, it’s just you and me!” the hat chuckled softly, “Daughter of Dean Thomas eh? Gryffindor that one, and a fine one he made too. So Blanca, yes I know you hate to be called Casablanca. It’s a silly name if I may say so myself, but we’re not here to discuss your parents’ lack of imagination!” Blanca raised her eyebrows at this, “What house do you feel you belong to?”
“I dunno….Slytherin maybe… ” she replied uncertainly, picking that house because she wanted to prove that a house did not define a person, and mostly because green was her favorite color; it was the colour of the Holyhead Harpies.
“No no, you’re far too honest for your own good, the Slytherin serpent wouldn’t fit well with you, decisions, decisions….” It muttered.
“Then why did you ask me in the first place?” Blanca snapped.
“Ah, there roars the Gryffindor lion! But something tells me you could do well in either three. The Ravenclaw thirst for knowledge is present, and so is the honest, loyal Hufflepuff. You’re not afraid of hard work are you?” it was more of a statement than a question. Blanca just decided to concentrate on drawing deep, calm breaths as the hat rambled on about how it was going to have to eliminate two houses so she could finally be sorted. “Ah, a fairly patient one too,” it observed, “you would do well in Hufflepuff, though ‘nice’ is not exactly what I would use to describe your personality…………but wait! The Gryffindor streak is there, loud and proud! You have quite some backbone there young lady….oh, I have never had such a good challenge come my way since the likes of Filius, Minerva and Gwengog. So, which shall it be; Gryffindor, where you would shine, or Hufflepuff, which would bring out the best in you? Decisions…..decisions…….”
By this time, everyone around was wondering what was taking so long, five minutes had gone by already!
“Okay! Okay! I’ve made my decision……which I either could regret or live to be proud of………my! I wish I could split you into two people already! Okay! You know what? I think you would make a very interesting……..HUFFLEPUFF!”
Blanca could hear McGonagall draw a sigh of relief as the hall erupted in applause. Blanca walked over to the table and took a seat, thanking Merlin her fifteen minutes in the spotlight was finally over.
“That took long yeah?” she heard a squeaky voice say, Blanca turned to see Melanie Longbottom smiling at her. All Blanca could do was nod shakily. She looked up when she heard “Louis Weasley!” a tall, blond boy who looked handsome for eleven casually sauntered to the stool. The hat muttered a something for a few seconds, Blanca was sure they were conversing. At the end, the hat bore a confused look on its face, if a hat could look confused, as it announced “RAVENCLAW!”
At first, there was a shocked silence in the hall, then a series of confused whispers followed.
“…….first Weasley to ever be sorted out of Gryffindor house…and I mean first ever!” she heard someone say from her table. Then, an uncertain applause started from the Ravenclaw table, and like a wave, everybody else joined in.
“Rose Weasley!” Rose scurried to the stool.
“Another Weasley eh?” the hat boomed as it settled on her head, “Let’s see if we can get more surprises………nope! We’re back people, Gryffindor!” and loud cheers erupted from the Gryffindor table.
A few more names were called and when the last name, Antonio Zabini, was called and sorted into Slytherin, the Headmistress gave a speech and introduced the new prefects, new head girl (who came from Slytherin) and new head boy (who came from Ravenclaw). After that, the tables were magically filled with food and drink. Blanca grabbed a goblet of water, greedily downing its contents. Never had water tasted so good. During the feast, Blanca acquainted herself with Melanie Longbottom (Uncle Neville’s daughter; they had never met because Blanca had only met Neville at the Finnigans’ and at the shop, which Melanie had never visited despite living in Diagon Alley), Bernie Macmillan, Linda Jordan (her twin brother, Lance, had been sorted into Gryffindor), Calvin Watterson and a few other students. When the feast ended, McGonagall read a few last minute rules made by Filch and then dismissed the students after that.
The first year Hufflepuffs were led by two prefects who were in their house, along the way, they were given a brief history on the house and the facts about the house, like the famous people that came from there.
“Hufflepuff may be the least heard about house at Hogwarts,” the boy was saying, “but it has produced just as many great people as the other houses. Talk about legendary arithmancer Bridget Wendlock; the first ever female Minister of Magic, Artemisia Lufkin; and also the founder of Hogsmeade the Hengist of Woodcroft. Hufflepuff was also instrumental in fighting for the end of the 2nd war; did you know that Hufflepuffs were the second in majority of those that were fighting for good? The most, as you may guess, were the Gryffindors. Many great, talented Hufflepuffs laid their lives down for the overthrow of the Dark Lord, Auror Nymphadora Tonks and Cedric Diggory amongst the lot that died while helping Harry Potter save the world. And in pop culture, Gwengog Jones from the Holyhead Harpies, Myron Wagtail and Heathcoate Barbary from the Weird Sisters came from Hufflepuff House too.” Blanca felt a sense of pride when she heard the name Gwengog, not that the other names did not matter, she just happened to love Gwen more than them. By this time, they had reached the Hufflepuff common room. Instead of a door or portrait (like Dean had described his common room entry), there was a large pile of barrels loaded on top of one another.
“This is where the common room is,” the girl prefect said, “tap the barrel second from the bottom in the middle of the second row to the tune of Helga Hufflepuff, like this,” she tapped the mentioned barrel with her wand in a number of times, each tap differing in speed, rhythm and pressure. When she was done, the barrel swung open to reveal a large, circular room with yellow hangings and comfortable-looking black arm chairs. There was a fire burning in the large fireplace and there were many portraits of Helga Hufflepuff and a lot of other famous figures. Large, circular windows overlooked the castle grounds, revealing that they were at ground level, “don’t worry, the windows are enchanted that no one can see them from the outside. So everyone that’s out only sees bricks.” The girl prefect, who Blanca came to know as Rosalie, said.
“Come on boys, let’s go to your dorms,” Fin, the boy prefect said, and he and the four Hufflepuff boys followed him.
“It’s time I showed you to your dorms as well little badgers,” Rosalie said. And she led them to a round barrel-top like door with the words “First Year Girls” written on a plaque. Rosalie swung the door open and stepped in, the girls following close behind.
Just like the common room, the room was draped in black and yellow. There were five four-poster beds made out of pure ebony, each had honey-yellow drapes and black covers. At the edge of each bed was a trunk and Blanca noticed hers was at the furthest end, near the window.
“Okay, here is where you will dwell from now on,” Rosalie said in her kind voice, “goodnight. If anyone would like anything, feel free to come to my dorm room- it’s the sixth year dormitory.” And with that, she closed the door behind her.
The girls looked around in silence before Linda broke the silence, “This is awesome!!!!!”
“Yeah, it’s really wicked,” said a very chubby girl with auburn hair, Blanca remembered her as Paige Cobb; she was already changing into her pyjamas. Blanca decided to follow suit and walked over to her trunk that had a cursive “C” engraved in the centre.
“Yes, it’s super amazing,” said a tiny girl with over-sized glasses that kept slipping off her nose, she had olive skin and her hair was very long, Blanca recognized her as Florence Ordaz. Florence looked like she wanted to say something but looked unsure, twiddling her fingers, she finally asked, “I just wanted to know, who is this Potter I keep hearing about everywhere? And what was the 2nd War?”
Everyone looked at her with wide eyes, “You’ve never heard of Harry Potter?” Paige asked in disbelief.
Florence shook her head, “I’m Muggleborn.” She explained.
“Oh,” Melanie said in a small voice, “don’t worry, we’ll tell you all about it!” she hopped to Florence’s bed and put an arm around her.
“Yeah, we’ll all fill in what we know and you’ll know who the legendary Harry Potter is soon enough,” Linda chimed in, “And by tomorrow, we’ll all know who the legendary James Potter is,” she said in a giggly voice.
“Who?” Blanca asked.
“James Potter, prankster extraordinaire, he’s a 2nd year,” Linda explained, “My sister said he is the best looking boy in his year, and he also pulls some hilarious pranks!”
“Uh-huh,” Melanie said, “but now, we tell Florence the story of Harry Potter.”
And they spent the entire night telling an intrigued Florence on the adventures of Harry Potter and how he killed evil Lord Voldermort and, with the help of his friends and others, he managed to save the world and end the 2nd War. Each girl occasionally interrupting the story to put in an important detail or two they had heard from their parents.
It was well past mid-night by the time they had finished. Rosalie came in to check on them and found they were still awake. She crossed her arms over her large bosom, she looked unimpressed, not angry, but unimpressed, “Do you know what time it is? Get to bed now.” She said. And in a hurry, the girls all got under their covers and drew closed their drapes.
Blanca shifted herself onto a much more comfortable position and thought about what the Sorting Hat had said.
“Yes, this will be very interesting,” she agreed to herself as she turned over and drifted off into sleep.
(A/N: i hope you enjoyed the chapter. PS: i wrote the sorting hat's song.