Chapter 1 : For the First Time
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I stood there in awe. The gleaming scarlet train was sitting in the station, its gold lettering glimmering in the sunlight. My trunk and owl cage sat next to me as I took in the scene. Kids were running all over: some hoisting bags into compartments, some hugging their families goodbye, and some greeting their friends that they hadn’t seen all summer. It was September 1st, 1971, my first day at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
I ran through all of the facts about myself that I could think of in my head. It calms me down when I get extremely nervous. My name is Christine Olivia Horan. I am eleven years old and my birthday is on New Year’s Eve – December 31. I’m from Mullingar, Ireland, I’m an only child, and I’m a witch. I have light brown hair with natural blond highlights and red undertones that make my hair look very Irish. My eyes are blue, but sometimes they can look either green or gray. I have the palest skin of anyone I have ever met, even though I spend all the time I can outside. My mother is a half-blood witch who works for the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad and my father is a Muggleborn wizard who used to play Beater for Puddlemere United and now helps manage the team. My mum was a Ravenclaw and my dad was a Hufflepuff when they were at Hogwarts about twenty years ago.
I live next door to my best friend, Emilia Jennifer Corbett. Our parents knew each other from Hogwarts and work, and our mothers pretty much shoved us together when we were babies and they wanted to chat. We’ve been inseparable ever since. We went to the same Muggle primary schools, we slept over each others’ houses, and we even got our Hogwarts letters on the same day. We went shopping in Diagon Alley together two weeks ago to get all our school supplies.
Speak of the devil and the devil shall appear, I thought to myself as I spied Emilia coming through the barrier with her parents and older brother, Andrew. Andrew was going into his third year at Hogwarts. He had been Sorted into Ravenclaw, because he was absolutely brilliant. He excelled at Herbology, Charms, and Astronomy, and was one of the top students in his class. I beckoned them over, and gave Emilia a hug.
“This is it! We’re finally going to Hogwarts!” She smiled at the excitement in my voice. “I know, Christine. It’s going to be amazing!” She high-fived me and turned to her parents. I heard Andrew say behind me, “I am not going to be your personal tour guide. That’s for the prefects.” I shook my head in laughter. I never understood sibling relationships.
I gave both of my parents a huge hug. My mum kissed the top of my head and bent down to look me in the eyes. “Now Christine, don’t get into too much trouble. Work hard and stay loyal to whatever house you are put in. It doesn’t matter to us where you are placed, just so you know.” She hugged me again. “We’re proud of you, no matter what.”
My dad swept me up into his arms and tapped my nose. “All right pumpkin, do your best and make me proud. We love you.” I squeezed him tight upon hearing that. He set me down gently and poked my shoulders. “Now run along. It’s almost eleven and you don’t want to be late.” I picked up my trunk and my owl cage that held my brand-new owl, Anastasia, and motioned to Emilia. We waved at our families and gave our trunks to the porters to help us lift them into our chosen compartment. There were three other girls in there already, and they all looked like first-years too. All of a sudden, the train started up. The floor was rumbling, the conductors were calling out for the last passengers, and the porters were shutting all the doors leading onto the train. The bell whistled, and Emilia and I ran over to the window.
I saw my dad with his arm around my mum. There were tears rolling down her face, and he was rubbing her back. I waved and smiled at them, but my eyes were getting a little wet too. The train started to move, and I watched them out of the window until we turned a corner and they were out of sight.
I turned back to my compartment. Two girls who looked reasonably alike were giggling with each other, and another one was playing with her hair, looking a little nervous. Emilia was looking at me, and when I glanced at her, she patted the seat next to her. I sat down and decided to break the ice between all of us. “So what year are you guys in?” I asked. The girl fiddling with her hair looked up.
“This is my first year here. You too?” She asked quietly. Emilia and I nodded, and we looked at the other two.
“Yeah, we’re first-years too,” the one with dark hair said. “I’m Laura Pritchett, and this is my sister Marie.” “We’re fraternal twins,” the lighter-haired one – Marie – added. “You can tell us apart by our hair color. Laura’s got super-dark hair and mine is lighter.” I giggled because that was the main difference that I could see. Hair Girl laughed too, and said, “I’m Mary Macdonald.” All of us shook hands. Emilia introduced herself, and then all eyes turned expectantly to me.
“I’m Christine. Christine Horan. Nice to meet all of you,” I proclaimed. The entire group burst into giggles, and then we all started chatting. I learned that Laura and Marie knew a lot about the Muggle world, and that Mary was from Scotland. We were laughing and talking about how we couldn’t wait to meet our professors and get Sorted when the compartment door opened.
“Anything from the trolley, dears?” A somewhat-old woman asked. Our eyes went wide with the sight of the candy-laden cart in front of us. I pulled out my money pouch and stood up to get a better look at what was there. I saw Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum, Licorice Wands, Cauldron Cakes, and a few cases of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans. Behind the front display were Chocolate Frogs, Sugar Quills, and Hard Candy Hippogriffs. I got two of everything, as my parents rarely let me have candy, and paid her three Galleons for my stash. Emilia got at least five Chocolate Frogs – chocolate has always been her weakness. The twins got more Cauldron Cakes, and Mary just had a pack of Drooble’s. The lady smiled at all of us when we had finished with our purchases, and she wheeled her cart down the corridor.
I took a bite of my black Licorice Wand, and immediately spit it out. It was the nastiest thing I had ever tasted – besides the earwax flavor of Bertie Bott’s. “Anyone want the rest of this?” I asked, waving it in the air. “I’ll take it,” Marie answered. I tossed it over to her and she bit into it. “How do you like that?” I demanded, repulsed. She shrugged, her mouth full. More tentatively, I tried the red one. That one tasted like a mix of strawberry and cherry. It was much better than the black, so I quickly finished it.
Another couple of hours passed, with us eating our candy and comparing Chocolate Frog cards, so it was no surprise that I needed to use the restroom. I pulled my trunk down from the rack, because I figured that I might as well change into my new school uniform while I was in there. Thankfully, I had laid it on top of the rest of my clothes, so it was easy to retrieve. After I put my trunk away, I got up and walked over to the door.
“I’ll be right back, girls. Just going to the bathroom.” Emilia and Marie waved at me, then continued their conversation about different accents from separate parts of the country. Mary and Laura both smiled and turned back to their game of Exploding Snap.
I slid the door closed and started walking down the corridor. The conductor was at the end of our train car, reading last week’s Daily Prophet. I decided to ask him where the bathrooms were, seeing as he was the most likely person who would know. I walked over to stand in front of where he was sitting. “Excuse me, sir, can you tell me where the bathrooms are?” I asked timidly. He lowered his newspaper and smiled at me. “Sure can, little missus. Go straight through the next car, loos are at the far end on the left.”
“Thank you, sir!” I grinned and stepped into the next car before I lost my nerve. Setting off down this hallway, I looked side to side into the compartments out of curiosity. One of the first ones I passed had a small boy sitting alone inside. He had dark hair that looked a little greasy. He glanced up when I went by, but quickly returned his gaze to the book in his lap. Dismissing him from my mind, I started thinking about what the school would look like. Lost in my daydream, I didn’t notice someone was walking towards me until I had crashed into them. “Oh Merlin I am so sorry!” I exclaimed. The girl I had bumped had dark red hair and bright green eyes. She smiled, embarrassed, and said, “Oh no, it’s quite alright. I wasn’t watching where I was going either.” I shook my head ruefully.
“I was daydreaming about seeing Hogwarts for the first time. You?” She blushed and replied, “Me too. So you’re a first-year?” I nodded. “I’m Lily Evans,” she continued. “Christine Horan,” I told her. We shook hands. “Well, I’ve got to get back to my compartment. My friend Severus is waiting for me. See you around, Christine!” She smiled and walked back down the corridor. She entered the compartment that had held the boy with greasy hair. After watching her go in, I continued down to the end of the car. Sure enough, there was the bathroom on my left. I quickly did my business and changed. After I washed my hands, I looked up into the mirror.
My eyes were sparkling, and the black robes created a huge contrast with my skin. I smiled at my reflection and skipped out, holding my Muggle clothes in a bundle. As I was crossing back into the car where my compartment is, my shoulder accidentally bumped someone else. The person whipped around. “Watch it, firstie,” the boy snarled. He was quite tall, had shoulder-length blond hair, and wore a green and silver tie. A badge with a large P on it sat on the left breast of his robes. He shoved past me, muttering under his breath.
Brushing the incident out of my thoughts, I reached my compartment and went back to my seat by the window. The rest of the girls had changed while I was gone, and were now talking about potential Houses. I jumped right into the conversation, not knowing what House I would get put into at all. Since Emilia was smart like her brother, we figured she’d get put in Ravenclaw too. Mary was shy at first but then became more talkative and adventurous once we had all opened up, so I thought she would either be in Hufflepuff or Gryffindor. The twins had this cunning sort of intelligence, especially Marie. Laura was a little quieter, but whenever she said something it sounded like she knew what she was talking about. For them, I was thinking Ravenclaw and/or Slytherin. As for me, no one knew. It seemed like the four of them were each trying to out-argue the others. Emilia was arguing for Ravenclaw and making points for both Slytherin and Gryffindor. Mary seemed to think I could be in Hufflepuff, but she kept mentioning Ravenclaw and Gryffindor too. Laura seemed to be going for opposites – she was mainly saying Gryffindor, but continually brought up Slytherin. Marie agreed with her twin about Slytherin, but mostly talked about Hufflepuff with Mary.
I tuned them out after a little bit, and watched the scenery out of my window. The trees flew by, and I rested my head back on my seat. It had been a tiring day, and as I watched the clouds roll by, I slowly dozed off.
I awoke to someone gently shaking my shoulder. “Christine, we’re almost there. Wake up.” I opened my eyes to see Emilia by my side. She smiled, giggling at the expression on my face. “Don’t worry. I wanted you to be awake for the Sorting. And the huge feast that comes after it that Andrew told me about.” I sat up at that. “What? Lots of food? I’m up, I’m up,” I giggled, and got out of my seat. Looking out the window, I saw that the afternoon sun had disappeared, transforming the view. The dark was completely unbroken, except for the faint light I saw coming up ahead. Just then, the train began to slow.
“We’re here!” The twins shrieked. Emilia and I exchanged smiles, and I gave Mary an excited look. It was finally time to begin our magical education. The wheels screeched to a stop, and I heard the rumble of compartment doors opening. Laura stuck her head out to see if we needed to take our trunks. She pulled back in and gestured to the luggage rack. “Looks like we take them, girls,” she commented. After a couple minutes of struggling to get everyone’s down, we headed off the train to the platform. We looked around, wondering where we were supposed to go, when I heard a gruff voice calling out, “Firs’ years! Firs’ years this way!” It seemed to be coming from a giant of a man, swinging a lantern. I motioned to my new group of friends, and we dashed over there as quickly as we could. The huge man smiled down at us through his bushy beard.
“All right, luggage into that carriage over there, and you girls come with me.” We all nodded and put our things into the pile of trunks and cages already stationed inside said carriage. We followed him over to a group of nervous-looking kids, all around our age. The man called for us to follow him, and we all trooped down to the edge of what looked like a lake. There was a fleet of little boats waiting for us there. We all gathered around to find out what we were doing next.
“Lis’n up, all you firs’ years. My name’s Hagrid, and I’m the groundskeeper at Hogwarts. You young’uns are going to ride up t’ th’ castle in these here boats. Four to a boat, please. Everyone in!” He waved us forward. Emilia, Laura, Marie, and I quickly snagged one. Mary got in with that redhead I had met on the train, Lily, and her greasy-haired friend. Once everyone was settled in, Hagrid clambered into the largest boat. “Onward ho!” he boomed, and the boats started moving. The water was still as glass, and we were chatting quietly. A bend in the lake appeared ahead, and Hagrid shushed us.
We all fell silent, waiting for something to happen. The boats curved with the lake as we reached the bend. We floated around the corner, and as soon as I saw what lay in front of us, I gasped in amazement. Looming above the lake on top of a huge hill was the most beautiful castle I had ever seen. The sight of it was absolutely breathtaking. There were towers and turrets, huge oak doors, and windows that were all lit up like a church on Christmas. The entire group of first-years was quiet, taking in the view. We were all seeing, for the first time, the place where we would spend the majority of the next seven years of our lives – and it was totally awesome. “This,” said Hagrid, with a touch of wonder, “this is Hogwarts.”
A/N: First chapter up and running! I will try to update once a week, usually on the weekends. However, the second chapter will be up soon! Let me know how you like it so far by leaving a review :)
Lots of love,