Chapter 2 : Chapter Two: Rose
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Rose took a deep breath and pushed her way through the crowd towards the burly figure of Hagrid, easily visible over the throng of students milling around him. She kept an eye out for Albus, but he seemed to have vanished without a trace. Rose knew that he’d followed Victoire into the compartment too, but at some point, he must have walked out again without her noticing.
Rose felt sort of bad about that. She and Al had talked about Hogwarts for years, excited at the idea of getting to go together, and she’d meant for them to stick together the whole time. Seventh year Ravenclaws were just so distracting, especially when they were all paying attention to you.
Rose wasn’t exactly shy, but she was far from outgoing, at least for a Weasley. She wasn’t as bad as Hugo, who would duck behind her, or their parents, or the nearest book to try and avoid conversation with strangers, but she wasn’t like James or Dominique or Fred, either; wasn’t like any of the rest of them except for Albus. She’d been flustered by the Ravenclaws fussing over her, flustered and embarrassed and, all right, a little flattered, too.
And she’d forgotten Albus. Rose had to find him and apologize for that—not that he shouldn’t apologize, too, for running off without saying goodbye. The jerk. They were supposed to walk into Hogwarts together, and she could hardly do that if she couldn’t find him, now could she?
Rose huffed in irritation and tried to squirm through the crowd. The first years in front of her were clustering tightly together, though, seemingly intimidated by Hagrid (which was silly, because he didn’t have anything dangerous with him) and thus pressed too close to one another to let Rose easily slip through. She thought she caught sight of Albus’s untidy black hair near the front of the pack as they trooped down towards the lake, but just then Hagrid spotted her and bellowed a hello, and by the time Rose finished greeting their half-giant almost-uncle, she had quite lost sight of her cousin.
She spotted him again at the boats, but his already had its full compliment of four: a short girl with thick braids and glasses, another with a mop of curls who looked seasick already, and a small, pale boy with blond hair who was huddling at Albus’s side like he was afraid of the water. Rose frowned. Why hadn’t Albus saved her a seat? Surely he must have expected that she’d catch up with him eventually.
Rose huffed in further irritation and climbed into a boat of her own. She was too busy scowling at Albus to pay much attention to her own companions, offering only a perfunctory greeting in response to the scrawny boy who caught her hand and shook it excitedly. She didn’t catch his name, but thought she could hardly be blamed for that, because Hogwarts had suddenly come into sight.
Everyone was reduced to breathless silence, staring at the towering castle that had loomed, suddenly, up over the dark lake. Rose felt a grin spreading over her face that she couldn’t possibly have stopped.
She didn’t bother to try.
Rose practically bounced up the long steps and longer corridors, skipping to the Great Hall. She still hadn’t worked her way over to Albus, but she hardly cared anymore. This was Hogwarts! She was grinning all over and felt positively fit to burst. She’d never been this excited before in her life, except maybe on the first day dad had let her ride his broom all by herself. Maybe that.
But maybe not.
Then Professor Vector swept in, looking tall and imperious and imposing. Rose shrank back a little, her smile faltering—just a little bit. Vector was intimidating. Rose gulped, suddenly glad that Arithmancy was one of the elective classes that one couldn’t take until third year. At first that had seemed the height of unfairness but now, staring Professor Vector in the eye, Rose had to admit that she was a little bit relieved that she wouldn’t have to face the Deputy Headmistress in the classroom quite yet.
Rose shuffled her feet, which had suddenly become very interesting, and avoided making eye-contact with anyone. Her stomach felt funny and empty, despite the veritable feast of junkfood that she had consumed on the train, and her hands hung like heavy lumps of ice at her side. She crossed her arms tightly over her chest and swallowed hard. She wouldn’t be afraid. She couldn’t be, not if she wanted to be a Gryffindor...
Not that being a Ravenclaw would be bad, of course. And then she’d be with Vicky and Dom...that would be fun...and Albus was really clever, too, so maybe he’d be with her, even if she ended up there, and not in Gryffindor where he would probably be.
Weasleys were always in Gryffindor, all evidence of Victoire and Dominique to the contrary. They were exceptional, and so they were exceptions. But Gryffindor was still the family house and Rose had to admit, deep down inside, that she’d rather go there than anywhere else, even Ravenclaw, where the people were bookish and brilliant and, truth be told, probably more like her than the Gryffindors were.
But she was a Weasley, darn it!
Rose shook her head furiously then combed her hair back out of her eyes. That was silly nonsense, thinking like that. It wasn’t like she’d have a choice, anyway. The Hat decided, and the Hat’s word was law. Rose knew, because she’d done her research. She would be in the house it picked for her, and it didn’t matter which one she’d decided to prefer. It wasn’t like the hat took input from the students, after all.
Not that it mattered. Ravenclaw would be fine. Sure, dad would be a little bit disappointed—she knew he would be—and maybe mom, too, even, but not much. Not as much as dad had pretended he would be, to tease her.
And they’d get over it quickly, just like Uncle Bill had when Victoire was first sorted. He’d been startled and wounded for all of one-half-of-ten-minutes before he was prancing about, crowing with pride over how clever and smart and brilliant his daughter was, to be sorted into Ravenclaw. Not even Rose’s mum had been a Ravenclaw, Bill had preened, and she was the smartest person anyone knew. Rose’s mum had been amused by that, but Rose’s dad had tried to work out whether or not it was an insult before his wife had sighed, smiled, and told him to stop being ridiculous.
And Uncle Bill had done the same thing when Dominique had been sorted—baffled and hurt, then proud and baffled—and, odds were good, would soon end up doing the same thing when Louis got to Hogwarts.
So Rose wasn’t worried, not about the sorting. Vaguely it occurred to her to wonder what her parents’ reactions would be to Hufflepuff or Slytherin, but only vaguely. She was going to be in Gryffindor, or in Ravenclaw; everyone knew that. She’d never even entertained the idea of the other two houses. It would have been a waste of time.
And Rose Weasley was far too sensible to let herself waste time.
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