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Chapter 4 : Chapter Four
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Lily never knew that Hogwarts was so beautiful. All of her life everyone told her all about the beauty of the castle walls, but their words couldn't do it justice. Those were just her thoughts as Hugo and a few others rode in a boat with her on the way. The interior of the castle alone was more of a fairytale unknown to mankind.
Professor Flitwick, the Deputy Headmaster, was inside the Great Hall after explaining the expectations at Hogwarts. The herd of first years were waiting not-so-patiently on the other side of the doors.
"I have a bad feeling about this. A very bad feeling. Very bad indeed." Some kid was mumbling behind her, manically rocking back and forward. His eyes were wide and his bottom lip was quivering in panic.
“And what, may I ask, is it that is so very bad[?” Lily asked curiously, intruding on the conversation the boy was having with himself. She shared a concerned look with Hugo.
The short boy was rubbing his plump hands together and his mop of red hair was sticking up all over the place, allowing his terrified brown eyes to look straight into her calm blue ones.
“T-the initiation t-test!” The boy stuttered. “I d-didn’t study! There’s a t-troll in there! I kn-know it!”
A few of the other kids gasped behind him and a few others smirked. Lily, however, had to keep herself from laughing on the spot. To be fair she too, had been just as terrified hours before. Hugo, however, found laughing very appropriate at the moment. So much so that tears began to roll down his face.
“W-what’s s-so funny?” The boy demanded, nearly sent into hysterics.
"Are you daft?" Hugo asked. Knowing the truth, he gained a lot of courage in teasing the other kids.
"N-no!" The boy exclaimed, terrified of the other children's laughing. How his parents even thought he'd survive away from his house was a mystery to Lily. "I'm Muggleborn!" He added, and then everyone had a right good laugh at his comment.
"Muggleborn, are you?" A girl said as she stepped up with a thin smile forming on her lips, which looked abnormal for how tall her face was. Her nose was long and had a rather large crook in it and she had chopped up brown hair and freckles spread over her porcelain looking skin. In no means was she an attractive girl, but she was brave enough to step up. Everyone was paying attention to her now. "Well, that changes things, doesn't it?"
Everyone shifted looks from one to another, trying not to make their concern obvious. The loud mouthed girl waited a moment before speaking again and then smiled a very toothy grin (much larger than her smile from before).
"Muggleborns have different kinds of initiation tests." That remark earned a few more gasps and smirks. It was becoming more and more obvious to Lily who would be in what House and she became less worried of what House she'd be sorted in. "Your lot have a go with Devil's Snare and duel some big nasties and—well. I’d better not give the surprise away, shall I?"
"Oh, come off it! All of you!" Interrupted Lily. The girl stared at her with narrow eyes. Lily ignored her and turned back to the plump boy. "There is no initiation test! They'll just place a hat on your head and it sorts you, the end. Unless you're too scared to do that?" She added with a hesitant look. He looked down at the stone floor and mumbled something that sounded like, "Thanks. No," and twiddled his thumbs.
"You've a mouth there, Potter," said the girl with the chopped up hair. Her arms were crossed, but the crowd was beginning to consume around her again and Lily could hardly see her. "Sticking up for someone like him. Afraid of the world. Have you talked to your Daddy lately?"
Lily, who was trying her best to ignore the girl’s bucket face, looked up suddenly and felt her anger rise.
"I see you know my name, but I haven't had the pleasure to learn yours," she said, holding a hand out. Her father's words before she left were running through her head, and she didn't want the Sorting Hat to have any last minute changes. The girl snarled at her outstretched hand and backed away in disgust. She turned back to face the doors and Hugo grabbed hold of Lily's shoulder and forced her to turn around quickly as Professor Flitwick returned with a friendly face.
"Well, now that we're all friends," he said, looking around the crowd, "it is time for the sorting!"
The entire crowd of first years walked in, huddled behind the tiny man. Some of the student's eyes went wide with fear at the amount of students who were going to watch them, and others’ eyes were wide by the amount of people who were going to watch their initiation test (these were the first years who didn't hear Lily's speech about there being no initiation test). Lily and Hugo looked around all of the tables and waved at everyone they knew.
"That's my sister!" Somebody yelled out from the crowded tables that were somehow supposed to make room for the oncoming first years. Lily turned as soon as she recognised the voice as her brother James. He was standing and applauding and others were laughing as they tried to tug him down. Lily's face went slightly red but Hugo nudged her and winked. They were going to fit in fine, he thought. However, Lily wasn't so sure.
Above, in front of everyone, sat the staff of Hogwarts, and Lily was glad to see familiar faces in nearly every chair. Professor Longbottom was sitting in between Professor Hagrid and Professor McGonagall. Professor Firenze was sitting near the end of the table, or standing really, in order to save room for everyone else. He noticed Hugo and Lily and waved. Hugo—who was entirely too focused on the empty gold plates around him, knowing that they would be filled with food soon—didn't notice. Lily smiled and waved at everyone.
The group came to a sudden halt and the Great Hall whispered until everyone reached the preferred silence. Professor McGonagall rose from her seat and looked down upon them all.
"Students," she announced, "I recommend you all stay quiet until the Hat's speech is done, and then we shall begin the sorting!" She pulled the Sorting Hat from the other side Lily was paying no attention to and walked around the table to set it upon a three-legged stool already set out before them.
As soon as the hat touched the stool it came to life and the seam of its mouth opened up.
Here at Hogwarts we take the tall,
And even the small
It's what we're all about, you know?
Together we are a Family,
But apart it does not show
For here we are
Still four houses strong!
Not yet as one
Which we all belong
Those four have made our past
Our present and our future
To do so differently now
Would break this enormous adventure
To where this all started
And see what has caused
The students to be parted
And as smart as she may seem,
She will take you here under her wing
Yes smart you may be, but don't be fooled
By your once sallow dream,
Here is where you belong,
And that's the end of her song.
The bravest yet among the other three!
Though now determined,
And almost predicted,
Your noble thoughts are addicted.
Your hearts lead one way
And noble that may be,
One's foolishness will lead to another's dying day.
She takes you in
And helps you with your problems through!
A warning heads to you
To keep watch out on your friends!
They see you not as one of them
To help them with a journey's end
Who takes only those who are strong,
Be watchful of the words you speak,
Or you’ll lose sight of what you seek.
Allow those in,
And start a new beginning,
Or lose a spot so spacious!
Think once and you've made
Your very first mistake!
Think twice and you'll see that
No longer will I sing in dread
As you place me upon your head
And the sorting will begin!
One student tried clapping at the hat's song, but no one followed. No one had ever heard the Sorting Hat sing out a warning. Not in several years, at least. Most of the first years’ mouths had dropped, and the fat boy who was trembling behind Lily before had now fainted onto the floor. Nobody laughed, fortunately, but no one noticed either.
At last, the Headmistress surveyed the students and staff and then said, "With that delightful welcoming," she cleared her throat, "let’s move on to the sorting! Arndale, Chloe!" Professor McGonagall called out. The entire hall remained quiet, waiting to see what the first first year’s House would be.
A girl about the same height as Lily strolled past, with her robes looking freshly ironed, and her black hair was just as straight and smooth. She had a lopsided grin on her face as she sat on top of the stool. Lily was almost certain the hat would have sorted her right away, because she recognised her as one of the girls hanging with Freckle Face, but Chloe's smirk slipped away after she was still sitting there longer than fifteen seconds. Finally, the hat came up with a decision.
"SLYTHERIN!" the Sorting Hat announced and Chloe's face showed a lifetime's worth of relief as she stepped down from the stool and over to the roaring crowd of Slytherins waiting for her to have a seat at their table (which looked to be charmed to fit more people since Lily last looked when she came in).
"Just think," Hugo whispered by her side as some of the kids behind them revived the now pale and sweaty kid from the floor. "Being so young and being deemed evil!"
"Slytherin does not mean evil!" Lily hissed. "Albus! Remember? My brother?"
"Oh. Right. But still? She has to worry about who she talks to, or something like that, according to that hat," Hugo added, his voice hoarse.
Lily was sure her face looked a lot like Sir Faint-A-Lot’s, who was behind her.
"Something tells me that Chloe Arndale isn't worried about not making friends, Hugo," she whimpered.
"Something the matter, Lils?" Hugo asked, placing a hand on her shoulder. Lily had the feeling that Hugo didn't get the full meaning of the Sorting Hat's message.
"I'm sort of afraid of my sorting now," Lily told him honestly. "It seems like no matter where we get sorted, it's not exactly better than the other."
Hugo looked thoughtful for a moment and then said something Lily didn't expect for him to say, at least not five minutes after the hat's song was over.
"What?" Lily asked, whipping her head toward him.
"Well, if we all have something to worry about, no matter which House we go in, we're equals aren't we? And seeing as how that entire song pretty much said if we don't work together with the other Houses, then all of those bad things will happen, won't they?"
Lily didn't think of it like that, but in many ways it made sense. Her nerves were calmed. Somewhat.
When nobody stepped up, Lily looked around along with everyone else. The fat boy that fainted earlier was looking at the floor and trembling violently. Hugo grinned and then pushed him forward.
Caleb stood in his spot for a moment with his eyes clenched shut.
"How did his parents expect him to survive away from their house?" Hugo whispered to Lily, and she giggled.
Caleb was trembling so much and he wasn’t opening his eyes. Professor McGonagall stepped forwards and placed a hand behind his back, lightly pushing him forward.
"Poor kid," Hugo said, still laughing to himself. "I wonder if he realises he can let go of the stool now?" Caleb, who could have still saved himself from years of terrible teasing if no one heard him apart from the front row of first years still waiting for sorting, would no longer be saved now that he was still clinging onto the stool with students everywhere laughing at him.
Professor Flitwick grabbed hold of his hand and led him away. He never opened his eyes, but Lily was sure that if he did he would have been terrified of of the little man and cut his hand off later in fear of liver spots sprouting all over his body.
That was it. There was cheering for her before she made it to the stool, but she was sure that was helped out by being related to half of Hogwarts. She took a deep breath, a last look at who remained in the small group of first years, and then everyone vanished as the Sorting Hat was placed over her red hair and covered her eyes. All of the sudden, she knew just how Chloe and a few other students before her felt.
"The last Potter? Hmm, this should be fun. Your parents were both Gryffindors, along with your brother James. I remember sorting them all, you know? But where to put you?" The hat jeered in her ear.
"Albus was a Slytherin!" Lily reminded it.
"I've not forgotten. Is that your wish as well? Another Potter headed to Slytherin? You know, it is not as bad as you may think. I offered to put your father in Slytherin, but he refused. Your brother took his sorting and the world thinks no differently of him."
"I do not think Slytherin is bad! My brother is good!"
"Your brother and I understand this, but do you?"
"And after my warning?"
Lily found herself speechless.
"GRYFFINDOR!" The Sorting Hat roared and Professor McGonagall removed the hat from Lily's head. The young girl ran straight for the Gryffindor table. James was waiting for her and cheering and calling her. When she joined them, her face was flushed. The cheering died down as she took her seat and the next victim walked up.
"Way to go, Lils! You're a Gryffindor now! Wait ‘til Mum and Dad hear about this! Took a while though. What did that old hat have to say?" James asked while he pointed out to everyone that Lily Luna Potter was in fact his little sister.
"Just thought about putting me in Ravenclaw," she lied as she glared up at him for embarrassing her.
"Really?" James wondered out loud. "You're smart and all, but has anyone who’s blood related to us been in Ravenclaw? That would have been weird!"
"Yeah. Who would have thought? Dad did say I should spend less time with Aunt Hermione," she said thoughtfully.
Rose, who was sitting three seats away, was smiling as she congratulated Lily. Even though the two girls were only cousins, they looked more like siblings than James and Lily did. He was more afraid of when Lily and Albus grew up, because they would always be mistaken for their own parents rather than siblings.
Dominique was too far away for him to get her attention and congratulate Lily, but James was sure her interest was lost as soon as the next student was sorted.
"Congrats, Lils." Fred winked and nudged Roxanne, who was missing out on the sorting completely to talk with her friends.
"Oh! Hi, Lily!" She said and then went straight back to talking again.
Addie was sitting right next to James and he felt that she might have been a bit too close, but she was too deep into conversation with Noah, who seemed to be smiling and nodding in all of the right places.
"Shhh!" Rose and Lily said at the same time. James looked at her with a sense of pride, but instead of looking right at Hugo afterwards, he shared a quick glimpse around the room at his brother. Albus was smiling and nudged his head towards Hugo, who still hadn't been sorted.
"Great!" Lily squealed, and she stood up, clapping. James patted him on the back once he came to sit down next to Lily at the Gryffindor table. "Hugo, what did that hat say to you?" Lily asked him. James thought it was an odd question. Lily took the longest to sort, but most of the time he figured it was because the hat was indecisive, or the student. James had the feeling that the hat said a lot more than Lily led on.
"Um, nothing really," said Hugo, looking around at the plates, seeing if any of them and produced any food yet. When none of them did, he looked disappointed and finished telling Lily. "Just that I was a cheeky lad, probably could do with a bit of Ravenclaw if I didn't want to go into Gryffindor. I told it, 'Mr. Hat, sir, I don't mind that Ravenclaw lot, but I don't much fancy being sorted there,' and he sorted me into Gryffindor. What about you? Your sorting went on for ages!"
"The same," Lily said quickly.
A girl, who was no bigger than Lily, stepped up to the Sorting Hat and sat down. As soon as the hat touched her head it shouted out, "RAVENCLAW!"
"What?" Lily and Hugo exclaimed at the same time.
"I was sure she would have been sorted into Slytherin as soon as the hat touched her head!" Lily exclaimed. "Didn't you, Hugo?" She turned on him quickly, catching him off guard from the shock he was momentarily put in.
"Yea!" He managed to spit out.
"Winters?" James asked, watching as Professor McGonagall called the last student up and there were only a few seconds of waiting before they were placed into Hufflepuff. "That might be Jackson Winter's little bro—er, I mean, sister? I'd be surprised too; he's a sixth year this year. He’s part of some Slytherin lot who think being snarky in the back of classes is really cool. Not much to them, but their family has a pretty bad rep."
"Aren't they the ones whose mum went crazy a few years back? Killed off their father and was shipped off to Azkaban afterwards?"
James looked at her in disbelief for a moment. As far as he knew, Lily was far too young to remember that ever happening. Maybe around two or three.
"Dad told me," Lily reassured him without his asking and smiled up at him. "That is the Winters family, isn't it?"
"Yeah," he said. "Now they live with their grandmother, last I heard. I wonder what Jackson's thinking, now that his little sister is in Ravenclaw."
"Is it really all that [i]good[/i] to be in Ravenclaw this year? You heard what the hat said," Lily pointed out. "Smart you may be, but don't be fooled by your once sallow dream. It sounds like we've all been fooled by what Ravenclaw really is. At least, by these new members we have been."
"I'd hope not since the hat considered putting you in there, didn't it?" James pointed out. Lily blushed and nodded weakly. "Anyway," he continued, "the Sorting Hat doesn't really just sing a song all about the first years. It's more of a warning to them. To everyone really. It seems like something weird is going on this year; if the hat’s going to be singing that sort of song, anyway. I wouldn't worry too much about it, though. If it were too bad it would’ve started warning us years ago. If there is any trouble, it's only just beginning."
He could see that Lily wanted to make a remark on this, but she hesitated.
"What is it?" he asked her.
"Well wouldn't it seem that if the hat is warning us this year, something has been building up to this point and it's not beginning but has been—"
"Welcome, to those of you new here at Hogwarts. And, of course, welcome back to those of you returning here at Hogwarts!" Professor McGonagall was standing from her seat at the table and looking out towards all of the students. James' attention went from his sister and right to the Headmistress.
"Before we begin this lovely feast, there are a few things in order. Though we are not joined with their presence this evening, this year at Hogwarts we will have occasional visitors to check up on the magical creatures of Hogwarts to be sure that we, as staff, and you, as students, are taking excellent care of our creatures and friends. This occurs once every two hundred years, so be sure to be very hospitable to our guests from the Care of Magical Creatures Centre and Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Anyone seen being uncaring towards any creature, including those outside of our grounds, will be expelled.
"Also," Professor McGonagall continued, "on a lighter note, please be sure to recognise your fellow classmates Dominique Weasley," she paused and motioned towards the Gryffindor table and Dominique stood up with a slight bow, "and Brandon Nelso." She continued as she motioned towards the Hufflepuff table, where Brandon stood up reluctantly and looked at all the students. "These students are your Head Boy and Head Girl. Please get to know them in the course of this year if you have any troubles, and if not, please try and stay away from them when it comes to mischief. I am sure all of you would like to win the House Cup, so try you best to win as many points as possible for your House. With that, let the feast begin!"
The golden plates on the tables sprouted food from nowhere, and Hugo began attacking all of the dishes nearest him.
"You can sit down now, Dominique," James shouted across the table to snap his cousin out of her Head Girl world. She looked around for who yelled at her and locked eyes with James as she took her seat.
"Sod’you fink Mum’ll be ‘ere? A’sool?" Hugo asked James (with his mouth stuffed with a roll James was sure he never took a first bite of). "Sorry," he said somewhat unapologetically after a huge swallow. "So do you think Mum will be here at school?"
"Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Aunt Hermione might be here, once in a while at least," James answered honestly. She was head of that department, so he didn't think they'd see much of her, but she would try as often as she could with her children and family there.
"I've never heard of a check up on the creatures here at Hogwarts!" Addie added.
"Well, I don't think you've been around two hundred years either," James mocked. She wasn't annoyed, but it looked like she was racking through her brain and trying to remember.
"I've never read about it either, though," she said. "Well, with what I have read," she added.
"There's your answer," James grinned.
The feast continued on and James grabbed onto what he could without his hands being torn off by Hugo, who eventually stuffed himself so much that by the time desserts popped up, he was groaning with delight and pain. Lily seemed to have forgotten all about what may have possibly been bothering her from earlier, and James checked on his brother at the Slytherin table. He was talking and drinking something frothy from his goblet and James didn't know what it was.
It wasn't until Professor McGonagall stood up again and everyone's food disappeared on their plates that the Great Hall became quiet.
"Come on, Lils, Hugo. I know a shortcut that will come in handy for all of you in the long run!" James winked at Lily, who smiled mischievously at him. Hugo, on the other hand, looked confused and tried asking Lily what was going on.
"Oh, nothing," she answered. "Nothing a little mischief won't solve on the first day at Hogwarts at least!" And with that, James, Addie, Dominique, and all of the first years filed in behind them and rushed to keep up so they wouldn't get lost.
Remember my warning!
The voice echoed back in Lily's head over and over again. The sight of the castle and the shortcut James showed her, along with the common room was enough to subdue the voice, but once she made it to the girl's dormitory and managed to slink into bed after meeting everyone else, the thought swam through her mind.
When she told James the hat was considering putting her in Ravenclaw, she had lied. The hat had never stopped trying to coax in her into Slytherin, but it had sang the words of Godric Gryffindor again to her as she sat there on the stool.
Onto noble Godric Gryffindor,
The bravest yet among the other three!
Though now determined,
And almost predicted,
Your noble thoughts are addicted.
Your hearts lead one way
And noble that may be,
Yet she still insisted on being in Gryffindor. She could only hope that what James said about it being a warning to all, and not just her, was true.
A.N: I'm finally done with edits as far as I'm concerned! :) Again, I'm absolute rubbish at poems, but I think I did alright. :) Please let me know what you think about it and the story in a review!
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