Rose stared longingly at the empty plates on the table, imagining them laden with food. She tapped her fingers impatiently on the table and looked for the hundredth time at the big oak doors to the Great Hall.
‘What is taking so long? Have they fallen into the Lake or something?’ Rose whispered to Tabitha, who laughed quietly.
‘You know Hagrid. Always running late.’ Rose nodded in agreement and sighed; much as she loved Hagrid, his poor timekeeping was the reason her stomach was grumbling more than a goblin.
Finally, the doors burst open and a stream of first years hurried into the hall, fear and confusion on many of their faces. Rose could see Hugo among them, but was proud to see that he seemed to be calmer than those around him. Lily was standing beside him, and seemed to be holding tightly onto his hand.
The group halted at the staff table as Professor Phipps pulled out a scroll from the inside of his robes. He stood beside an old three-legged stool, with a tattered, unassuming hat on top of it.
‘Pip looks the same as he did last year, I swear that man never ages.’ Rose was so distracted by what was happening at the front of the hall that she almost forgot how hungry she was. Professor Phipps was a 50-year-old wizard, with practically non-existent grey hair and dark brown eyes. His face was considerably wrinkled, but he did not look haggard or worn. It added to the kindliness that emanated off him, and was one of the reasons he had been affectionately nicknamed ‘Pip’.
Professor Phipps stood to the side, to allow all of the attention to focus on the old hat. A fold just above the brim lifted, causing many of the first years to gasp.
‘I was just a normal hat,
Plucked from a wizard’s head,
When the founders of Hogwarts decided that,
I should sort students instead.
‘The best wizards were wanted by the four,
Who valued different traits,
So I sorted witches and wizards to ensure
They were in the right place.
‘If you are constant and kind,
Maybe Hufflepuff’s your home,
If what is lost, you can find,
There is nowhere else you should go.
‘Wisdom and wit are valued most,
In a house that induces awe,
If you have intellectual talent to boast,
Then consider Ravenclaw.
‘The house of silver and green,
Values cunning and ambition,
Slytherins never waver or wean,
Or falter in their mission.
‘The fourth founder is Gryffindor,
Who valued the strong and brave,
If you always strive to offer more,
Then you’ll survive every close shave.
‘So without delay you’re invited,
To put me on your head,
And I’ll decide with which house you’ll be united,
Until the very end.’
The Great Hall was completely silent as the Sorting Hat finished its song. Awkward applause broke out among the students, which stopped immediately after Professor Phipps cleared his throat.
He pulled down the scroll and began to call the names in alphabetical order. The first child stumbled up the steps and climbed onto the stool, as Phipps dropped the hat on her head. Rose looked at the back of Hugo’s head and sighed as she rested her head against her hand.
W is far down the alphabet. This might take a while…
Scorpius grabbed a chicken drumstick, and put it onto his plate. He tore strips off it with his fork. However, he soon realised that he couldn’t get enough chicken in his mouth in time to satisfy his hunger. He picked up the drumstick and bit into it. The Sorting had finished five minutes ago, and as soon as the last child hopped off the stool, food appeared in the middle of the four tables. Scorpius and Albus had immediately dived into the plate directly in front of them. They had a system at the Feasts where they worked outwards from the food in front of them. This worked most of the time, but if they were unlucky, the spinach would appear facing them and the arrangement would collapse.
Albus waved at his little sister at the Gryffindor table, who smiled back with a relieved look on her face. Hugo was sitting beside her devouring a lamb chop, but he smiled at Albus when he saw him. Albus was the only one who had been sorted into Slytherin in his family. The Sorting Hat had considered where he should go for seven minutes before it had settled on Slytherin, considering both Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. He and Scorpius had wound up sitting next to each other when they had been sorted, and had immediately become best friends. Although Scorpius’ family hated Albus, Scorpius often came to the Potters’ house over Christmas or during the summer. Although Albus never told his parents, it was one of the reasons that he was proud to be a Potter.
Scorpius smiled at Lily and went back to his chicken drumstick with fervour. When he had finished, he set it on his plate, where it disappeared. The house elves always seemed to know when he was finished with something, but they always left his plate bare. Scorpius felt obliged to fill up the empty plate, and as a result started down a very slippery slope.
He looked around the hall in an effort to distract him from the food, half-heartedly gazing at the starry ceiling. Eventually his eyes began to hurt and he dropped his gaze to the students around him. Unfortunately, his eyes fell on the one person he didn’t want to look at.
Rose was eating her lamp stew impeccably, which irritated Scorpius even more. She turned to her gawping friend, Tabitha, and began to talk about a probably very insignificant topic. Rose spooned another helping of the stew, and Scorpius could’ve sworn that she met his eyes for a second. However, in the next second her eyes returned to Tabitha. She didn’t look back at him the entire evening.