Chapter 1 : One word; two baited breaths; three syllables
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“I can’t believe I’m finally going!” Lily Potter exclaimed.
Harry Potter smiled down at his youngest child, his only daughter. “I know you’ll love it, Lily.” He reassured her.
Lily smiled up at her father, but the worry that had been eating away at the back of her mind was becoming bigger and bigger, until she just couldn’t contain any longer.
“Daddy, what if I’m in Slytherin?”
Harry looked down at his daughter. He examined her. The purity of her, the look of innocent, childish worry on her face. He felt sure of his answer. “You won’t be.”
“Dad, I see them!” Lily looked up at her older brother, who, although only thirteen, seemed to tower over her. Albus Potter was peering into the haze of steam. Lily stood on tiptoe to spot a family of four coming out of the mist. She ran to them before they reached the rest of the family, eager to see her best friend.
“Hugo!” She cried.
“Hi, Lily.” Hugo Weasley said with warmth in his tone. Lily hugged her favorite cousin, and he turned a red color that nearly matched the shade of his curly hair. Ronald Weasley chuckled at his son’s obvious embarrassment, and recalled the days when he was a first year; young, innocent, and totally ignorant about girls.
“Hugo, Lily, we have to go get your luggage.” Hermione Weasley-Granger said. Her aunt was a very professional and a very kind woman. Lily admired her greatly.
Lily let go of Hugo and skipped back to her family, glancing behind her to see if the Weasley-Granger family was following.
“Hi, Al.” Rose Weasley said, greeting Albus.
“Hey, Rosie. Let’s go find Scorpius, yeah?” He asked.
“Come right back, Al!” Ginny Potter called at his and Rose’s retreating backs, and felt the familiar feeling of being left out. Once she had looked at two, three, retreating backs that looked just like theirs. “You need to look after your sister!”
Lily bristled indignantly. “I don’t need looking after!” She exclaimed, her tiny face turning slightly red. “Hugo and I manage quite fine ourselves, thanks!”
Ron chuckled. “Definitely a Gryffindor.” Lily swelled with pleasure at these words. She wanted to be in her father’s house so badly.
“Don’t worry, Mum.” James Potter, Lily’s eldest brother, said. “I’ll take care of her.”
Ginny turned her attention to James. “Yes you will, James Potter. And if you lead your sister on, or get her in trouble, or lead her out into the Forest like you did with Al, I swear to Merlin, I will take you straight back from Hogwarts!”
James backed up, raising his hands above his shoulders. He wondered if that was what Grandmum used to sound like. “Relax, Mum, I wouldn’t do that to Lily. Al, sure, but not Lily.” While Lily said, “I don’t need looking after!”
“Are you lot ready yet?” Lily turned to see Scorpius Malfoy, accompanied by Rose and Albus. Lily blushed. She had a small crush on Scorpius Malfoy. Albus teased her to no end about it.
“Yeah, nearly.” James said. “I’ll help with the luggage.” James had been practicing Quidditch all summer, and, being a fourteen year old boy, was quite strong. He took two trunks and led Rose, Albus, and Scorpius to the train to find a compartment.
Lily turned to her parents. “Goodbye, sweetheart.” Ginny said, embracing Lily tightly. “Don’t get into too much trouble.”
Lily was passed to Ron, who said, “But it’s okay to get into some trouble; you have to live a little, after all.”
Then she was passed to Hermione, who said, “Follow the rules. Don’t be stupid. Listen to the professors. Don’t get into any trouble; it’s for the best.” And then, finally, she was in her father’s arms.
“You’ll write to me?” Lily asked, staring into her father’s bright green eyes. Lily had always wanted those eyes. She had seen a picture of her Grandmum on Harry’s nightstand, and Lily thought she looked a great deal like her Grandmum. Lily thought that there was certain sadness when her father looked at that picture, and always wanted to have those green eyes so Daddy could look at her and see his Mum every day.
“Of course.” Her father said. “Every day, if you’d like.” As Lily drank in every detail of her father’s face, she voiced the worry that was still eating away at her.
“You’ll still…you’ll still love me if I’m in Slytherin. Right, Daddy?” Her father’s face turned serious. He knelt down and placed his warm, calloused hands on Lily’s delicate shoulders.
“Of course I’ll still love you, sweetie. I’ll always love you.”
Lily smiled weakly at the girl she had met on the train, Arianna, as she walked up to the stool on trembling legs. She put the hat on and after a couple of seconds; the rip in the hat opened and announced, “GRYFFINDOR!”
The table clad in red and gold cheered loudly for their newest addition, and Lily glanced at Hugo, who was standing next to her.
“We’ll make it,” Hugo whispered encouragingly to her.
“I hope so.” Lily whispered back. She felt nauseous.
“Lewis, Parker!” A pale boy with a mop of brown hair walked up to the stool. Lily was getting increasingly more nervous as McGonagall grew closer to reading out her name. She found James and Albus in the crowd, in the sea of red and gold. Albus smiled, and James gave her the thumbs up. Lily felt a little braver.
“O’ Malley, Bridget!” Lily felt sick again. She was next. She grasped Hugo's hand nervously. Thinking back on it, Lily supposed that it must have been painful to have one’s hand squeezed that tightly.
After O’ Malley, Bridget, was sorted into Hufflepuff, McGonagall read off the list, “Potter, Lily!”
Lily released Hugo’s hand and walked up to the stool in slow motion. It seemed as if she would never make it there, but then, all too soon, there she was, sitting on the rickety old stool. Lily found her brother’s eyes before the hat slipped over her head, and she could see that they were waiting with baited breaths for the three syllables that were to come out of the hat’s mouth.
Another Potter, eh? Well, you’re certainly different from your brothers. And your father as well. You’re smarter…more cunning, cleverer. I think you’d do well in Slytherin.
Not Slytherin. Please not Slytherin.
Not Slytherin, eh? Well, I’ve heard many a future Slytherin say that before. But Slytherins aren’t that bad, really. They’re just misunderstood.
Now, little girl. Do you think that if I listened to every boy and girl who told me that they didn’t want to be in Slytherin that Slytherin would even have any members? No. You belong in Slytherin!
Lily heard the hat shout the last word to the hall, and the hall seemed to freeze. A Potter in Slytherin? It was unheard of. Lily felt like she wanted to cry.
And then McGonagall was there. “Go, child. Your house table is just there.” Lily turned to stare at McGonagall, and she looked very grave. “Go.” Lily glanced back at Slytherin table, then to her brothers.
Albus looked stunned. Like he couldn’t believe it. James, on the other hand, was looking at Lily with something like contempt on his face. Lily nearly burst into tears. Her brother was supposed to love her no matter what. That’s what he had promised.
She glanced at Hugo. He looked similar to James. Not surprising, as Uncle Ron had pounded it into he and Rose’s heads that Slytherins were bad.
“Go, Lily.” McGonagall urged. Lily, as if in a dream, stumbled to the Slytherin table and sat down next to a thin blonde girl.
The rest of the sorting was finished up. Hugo and Lily’s other cousin, Louis, who was also Lily’s age, got sorted into Gryffindor. And Lily was left all alone on the other side of the hall. It was only fifty yards, but it felt to Lily as though she was a million miles away from her siblings and cousins. And it hurt.
“Food?” The thin blonde girl asked. Lily saw that food had appeared on the sliver platters, and she took a small amount of mashed potatoes.
“Come on,” The girl said. “You have to eat something more than that!”
Lily glared at her. “I’m not hungry.” She said.
The girl rolled her eyes. “Yeah right. Stop wallowing in self-pity. Sure, your family hates you. Who cares? I’m personally glad that I got sorted into Slytherin.”
Lily gaped at the girl. “Who would be glad to be sorted into this place?” She asked. The blonde girl snorted. “You’d be surprised. I’m Ivy, by the way. Ivy Longbottom.”
Lily gasped. “I know you! Neville’s a friend of the family!” Ivy nodded. “Yep. See, I’m an outcast too! I know my dad wanted me to be in Gryffindor. See how he looks?” Lily looked toward Professor Longbottom, and saw that he did look a great deal depressed.
“We’re outcasts together, at least.” Ivy said.
Lily frowned. “I’m not an outcast.” She said.
Ivy snorted disbelievingly. “Sweetheart, did you see the way your cousin was looking at you? You’re an outcast.”
Lily was close to tears. “My family still loves me! They’re my family!” Right?
“Oh, I’m sure they still love you,” Ivy said. “But nothing will ever be the same, Lily. It’s better to face that fact now rather than later.”
Lily didn’t want to believe Ivy, but she was right. Lily had seen the way James and Hugo had stared at her.
Nothing would ever be the same.
Next up on Outcast
Ivy was right; nothing was ever the same.
Albus owled my parents and told them that I was in Slytherin that very night. They were shocked. They eventually got over it, but . . . it took them longer than I thought it would.
Uncle Ron, on the other hand, was a completely different story. He sent me a Howler, saying that I was a disgrace to the family and that I should stay away from Hugo and Rose or else.
That there started a family feud, it did.
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