Disclaimer: As per usual, only Astra, Drake, Leo and the plot belong to moi ;)
As soon as we docked by the castle, the woman escorted me and Drake towards, what seemed to be, a side entrance. I looked back once again to see Lily giving me a thumbs up and not so subtly pointing towards a giant hall that all the students were flooding into.
I turned back to face forward, then glanced sideways at Drake. He was nervously chewing on the inside of his cheek by the looks of things. I had no idea who the hell this woman was but she carried herself with an air of dignity and pride.
Minutes passed as we were literally herded through numerous corridors in this labyrinth of a place, the odd group of students already lounging against the walls.
“In here please.” The woman finally said, opening up an arched wooden door that lead to a rather spacious office.
I followed Drake into the pristine office. Not a paper was out of place, not a spot of dust marred the desk.
She gestured to two cushioned chairs that sat on the other side of her desk. She took her seat, never taking her piercing gaze off me and Drake, as if we would escape if she even wavered for a second. I’m not that fast woman, stop being so paranoid.
“So, Mr Kingsley; Miss De Angelis,” she began, “do you know who I am?”
Ok, I’ve only been at this school for, what, about half an hour tops, and she already expects me to know who she is. This is one weird school. Maybe they think we’re psychic or something.
“Yes, Professor.” Drake said, dropping his head to stare at his sopping wet shoes guiltily.
“And you Miss De Angelis, do you know who I am?” she queried, fixing her glare on me. It took all of my willpower not to squirm and shrink down into my chair.
“Ummm...no?” was that the right answer, was this some kind of test? Please don’t kill me lady, I’m too young to die!
“Really?” she was scaring me now, “Well, I think you should know, so I’m going to tell you. I am Professor McGonagall, Head of Gryffindor House at Hogwarts.”
I sat there in silence, a sea of questions coming in tidal waves in my head, looking at the professor, thinking of ways to find out the answers to my questions without giving away my situation in any way.
I came up with nothing. The way she had said those words with such confidence clearly showed that a Gryffindor was a commonplace thing in the halls of Hogwarts.
We sat that in an awkward silence for several minutes, Professor McGonagall’s icy stare seeming to glare right into the depths of my soul. And you think I’m joking. Well, I’m not actually, it feels like she just saw everything she needed to know by the look on her face...but what that something was, I had no idea.
“Mr Kingsley, you are free to go and be sorted in the Great Hall. I expect you to arrive there promptly and behave.” Drake simultaneously left his seat and dashed out the door without as much as a backward glance. Well, I thought I’d made a friend here in this wacky school but clearly I was wrong.
“As for you, Miss De Angelis, I will personally escort you to the Great Hall to the Sorting Ceremony and meal.”
What?! Why did Drake get off easy whilst I have to be almost literally put on flaming probation or something?
“Follow me, please.” The Professor said primly, rising gracefully from her chair and sweeping towards the door to the corridor.
We returned to the maze of corridors, meandering towards our destination. I stared down at my feet as I trailed after Professor McGonagall, her midnight robes fluttering behind her in the slight breeze that blew through the ancient hallways.
“Here we are.” She announced, as she entered the hall with an elegance that could only be obtained from doing that exact entry thousands of times.
Ok, here we go Astra.
I personally didn’t know what to expect. Well, with it being called the Great Hall I expected it to be quite grand and fancy but what lay before my eyes and what resided in my imagination were two completely different visuals.
Where I envisioned marble floors, I saw antique, grey stone. Where I pictured large round tables with lacy table cloths, I saw four, long aisles of wood, each bordered by two squat benches on either side.
Oh, and also, my weirdest thing of the day list now has a new number one. Floating candles. Yes, I repeat, floating candles, that bobbed up and down in their millions like a weight on the end of a fishing rod. I bet you think I’m kidding. Well, I’m not.
As I stood there, right in the middle of the entry way, all the students sat there gawking at me, looking at me like I was the newest exhibit in the zoo. Speaking of zoos, I’m sure they had one here. There were so many cats and owls around this place, it was ridiculous. And don’t bother to ask me ‘why the frickin’ chicken are there that many cats and owls around this place?’ because I have no bloody idea. Maybe Professor McGonagall will know or one of the starers. There are plenty of them, just take your pick of who to ask.
Any who, back to the hall of staring people...
If you didn’t know already, I hate being the centre of attention. It makes me want to go hide in a corner and shove my jacket in front of my face. At this moment, none of this was possible as; a) I didn’t have a jacket on (just the stupid lime polo shirt) and b) Professor McGonagall was watching me like a hawk, so I couldn’t exactly run away. So, I tried to make myself normal by giving a half-hearted wave to the population. In return, I gained a few warm smiles and waves and a wink from James Potter, who was sitting at one of the tables, now in what I assumed was the school uniform with his red and gold tie wearing friends.
“Ok, Miss De Angelis, I want you to stand here and listen to Professor Longbottom, who is going to explain and lead the Sorting Ceremony tonight. I believe you’ll be quite close to the front so try and make your way forward.” Professor McGonagall instructed, pushing me forward into the crowd of eleven year-olds.
I snaked my way through the gaps as I spotted a head of long, red hair in the distance. I eventually reached it, tapping Lily on the shoulder to get her attention.
I flicked my head around to see if Professor McGonagall had seen who I was standing with, but she was too busy gossiping with another teacher. Hallelujah.
“Astra!” Lily cried hugging me a little too tightly.
“It’s ok, Lil, it’s ok. I just had to sit in Professor McGonagall’s office for a bit with Drake and then she told me to come here.” I said
“Ok.” Lily said, then ducked towards my ear to whisper, “It was weird.” Oh, as if I could do with any more of that, “My brothers went to char... sneak your name onto the list but it was already on there. Strange, huh?”
“Yeah...” I mumbled going off into my head to wonder how the hell that’d happened. I hadn’t even enrolled at this school! How did they know I would come here? I couldn’t take any more strange, weird or any other variation of the words.
“Ok, first-years.” Professor Longbottom called, “Today is your first time in Hogwarts and therefore we must sort you into a house. You could be a Ravenclaw; witty, individual and full of wisdom. Or maybe a Hufflepuff; hard working, loyal and patient. Possibly Slytherin;” An echo of boos came from James’ table, followed by Professor Longbottom clearing his throat to silence the rowdy lot, “cunning, resourceful and ambitious. Or maybe” the professor continued, a smile creeping onto his face, “a Gryffindor, courageous, daring and chivalrous, braver than the rest and willing to risk everything.”
“Bias.” A kid coughed from a table filled with students that wore green and silver ties.
Professor McGonagall sent a scorching glare towards the student, causing all of James’ friends to burst out laughing.
Professor Longbottom raised his voice as he said “Let the sorting begin!”
The whole hall fell into silence as a hat was taken from a box at the front. Professor Longbottom took a list from his pocket and unrolled the scroll to full length.
A rickety old stool was placed at the front in the centre, so all could see the poor person that had to sit there.
“First up, Harriet Anderson.” A slim girl walked forward from the back and primly sat on the unstable chair. The hat was placed upon her head. The hall filled with expectation, the different tables staring at that one girl.
“Hmmmm...” a voice said, clearly deep in thought. I looked around, trying to find who had spoken. Lily stood next to me, tense and seemingly nervous about the ‘sorting’ or whatever the professor had called it.
“Harriet Anderson...” there it was again, that voice, “you seem to be a clever young one...hmmm...”
I stared at the front and realization hit me. IT WAS THE MOTHERFUCKING HAT!!!! WHAT THE HELL???!!! SINCE WHEN DO HATS TALK!!!
This couldn’t get any weirder. If it does, I’m afraid I might die. Tell my Mother I don’t really love her and my Father that I wished I knew who he was.
“But,” the hat continued, “you seem to use that intelligence of yours for self-preservation. So for that reason, I feel obliged to say this. SLYTHERIN!”
Cheers erupted from the green table, whilst boos echoed over from the red table (I decided to give them colour names as the different tables wore different coloured ties. It made sense to me instead of giving a lengthy explanation each time).
The sorting continued through the A’s, B’s and C’s. I stood there with Lily in the little cluster of eleven year-olds, crossing my fingers that my name would be on the list. If it wasn’t, God knows what would happen. Would they chuck me out? Oh God, this was the worst thing ever to happen to me.
A lump the size of a golf ball had wedged itself in my throat; a sick feeling had harboured in my stomach.
The hat continued to scream three different words: Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. All made no sense to me but clearly meant a great deal to all the tables. Except the red table that is. They all sat there; looking rather miffed that no one had joined them on their table.
Professor Longbottom glanced at his scroll, and announced that we were to start on the D’s. Here we go moment of truth. I warily glanced over to James and Al at the red table to see them both running their hands through their hair in identical nervous habit. It would have been funny if I hadn’t been so God damn scared!
“Harry Den...” Professor Longbottom began. He stopped. Shit my life was over.
“Minerva, you’d better take a look at this.” The professor said, looking shocked at something on his scroll. He pointed to the list and began whispering frantically, his eyes wide with disbelief.
“Astra De Angelis.” Professor McGonagall called, searching the crowd for me.
I stepped out and walked slowly to where they were standing.
“Yes, Professor?” I asked.
“Please sit on the stool.” She ordered her eyes like steel, razor sharp and strong.
I followed her command and sat on the stool. The worn, old hat was perched on my head. It was the moment of truth. Possibly the time when everyone would find out about my intrusion.
Here we go, I thought, bracing myself for what the hat would say.
“Another lot of Malfoy blood...how interesting...I never knew Draco had another.” What was this hat on? Who was Draco? Argh! Too many questions created a tidal wave of confusion that swept through my head.
The teachers stood there shocked, their jaws almost touching the floor. James and Al seemed to have similar expressions plastered on their faces as well.
“However,” the hat continued, “you, my girl, seem to have a lot of courage in there. Well, what you’ve been through today can definitely consolidate my decision. GRYFFINDOR!”
A cheer erupted from the red table for the first time that night. The screams of students echoed around the hall as I walked over to the red table and sat at the end of the bench.
The hat continued to put people in one of the four categories, shouting the names for all to hear. Several names I didn’t know passed by, each being sent to one of the tables.
I still sat alone, waiting for another ‘Gryffindor’ to be yelled but still sat there awkwardly with all the older ones.
I sat there picking my nails (yeah, old habits die hard), only hearing a name, a house and a cheer.
Well, this should be good. In a way, I was hoping that Drake was in my house but in others, I was praying he would be placed elsewhere. He seemed to be a bit of an idiot (to put it nicely) but I’m sure that we could be friends of some kind.
The hat spoke for a bit, taking about how bold Drake was and how he loved to take risks. It then went on to blabber on about his cunning and ambition. I swear the hat went on for about twenty minutes, saying one thing, and then contradicting it with another.
“Ok, after much contemplation, I believe I have come to a conclusion.” The hat announced, “Drake Kingsley, you are now a...” bloody hell this hat loved to create tension and keep us on our toes, “GRYFFINDOR!”
I cheered along with the rest of the table, high fiving Drake as he came to the table. I finally had a first year friend that I could talk to, hallelujah.
“Leonardo McCormack” was the next name I recognised. Drake sat on the edge of his seat, clearly hoping that Leo would be put with the two of us in Gryffindor.
“Come on, Leo.” Drake muttered under his breath, his fingers crossed tightly.
“GRYFFINDOR!” the hat cried for the third time that night.
“Yeah!” Drake yelled as he went up to Leo and tackled him in some kind of weird boy greeting thing.
Boys are strange and have no brains; that is the conclusion I have come to.
“Woooooo!” her brothers cheered from down the table standing up and beaming at their little sister. Lily’s face bloomed a brilliant, fire engine red and ducked her head, obviously embarrassed by the plebs at the Gryffindor table.
“That’s enough Potters.” McGonagall scolded them, giving them each one of her death glares.
The rest of the sorting was pretty boring, the final twenty or so people were scattered about the remaining places on the tables.
Our table was joined by, Lily’s cousin, Hugo Weasley, a short boy with blazing ginger hair. Two other girls also joined our table: Sabrina Vane and Lena Rockingham.
The two girls were polar opposites. Sabrina had long, blonde locks that flew in perfect ringlets down her back and sapphire blue eyes that seemed to look right through you. She was the kind of girl that all the girls hated but all the boys loved.
Lena, on the other hand, had a nest of bushy hair that frizzed out around her face, which was covered by a pair of round, lilac glasses. Her chocolate brown eyes could barely be seen through her out of control full fringe and her nose was already buried in a book.
Chatter buzzed around the hall as students talked amongst their friends; both new and old.
“Hogwarts,” a male voice boomed through the hall, and silence sank through the room “Welcome back.” Everyone’s stares were directed at the plump man that stood in front of us all. His hair was unruly and black and a beard covered his chin. The only way I could do this man justice would be to call him Santa’s black-haired twin. He just had that kind of look going on, if you know what I mean.
He continued with a speech that I zoned out of after the first few seconds. I sat there staring into space, waiting to be told what to do or where to go to start lessons or whatever; this was a school after all.
“Let the feast begin!” He shouted, which I guess was the end of his little speech.
I looked around and couldn’t see any food anywhere.
“Hey, where’s the...” I trailed off my whisper to Lily as mounds of food just...appeared in front of us.
I whipped around back to the front to see if the teachers had noticed the magical appearance of the banquet, but they all just sat there smiling and tucking into a meal of their own.
“You ok, Astra?” Lily whispered, nudging me in the arm.
“Where the hell did all this food come from?!” I exclaimed, gaining a few weird looks off other students.
Lily sighed “I’ll tell you later when we get to the dorms. I promise.”
She rolled her eyes “Pinky promise.” And with that we linked pinkies.
Now that I know I’m going to find out what’s going the hell on in this bizarre place, I could tuck into the feast. What? I couldn’t let all this food go to waste now, could I?
“Could someone pass me a roll, please?” I asked down the table, making an extra effort to be polite.
“Why don’t you just accio it?” Leo asked.
“Erm...” I glanced at Lily, begging for help, hoping she knew what the hell he meant.
Bum. She was looking in the other direction, chatting to Drake.
Why was my life so...eurgh!?
“Just get out your wand,” he said in a patronising tone as he took out his stick thing.
Just for future reference, no one, and I mean no one, talks to me like I’m a little kid. So, being the immature little madam I am, I stepped up to the metaphorical plate and promised myself that whatever Leo told me to do, I’d do it ten times better.
I pulled out my stick thing that James had given me earlier and held it just like he did.
“Move it like so,” he continued, wafting the stick around a bit, “and say ‘accio, roll’” Just then one of the rolls literally flew out of the basket and into Leo’s waiting hand.
Hmmm...special effects...two could play at that game.
I stared at the air for a bit, trying to spot any strings or wires dangling from the ceiling. Nothing.
“Ok then.” I said. It’s not as if I could look any more stupid, I’d already fallen into a lake today in front of the whole of my year, what could be worse?
“Accio roll.” I swished my stick in an identical pattern to his and waited.
“No, no, no, a bit more flick on the end.” Leo began to smirk, thinking he had won. Don’t speak to soon.
“Accio roll.” I said again flicking my stick just that little bit more on the end.
I swear my eyes must’ve looked like saucers at that moment in time as, sure enough, the roll came flying down the table and straight into my hand.
What. The. Hell. Just. Happened.
The roll fell to the floor as I stared in shock, wonder and utter confusion at the bread.
“Well done!” Leo praised sarcastically, “Do you want a gold star?”
“Piss off.” I mumbled, still recovering from the shock.
News flash; I was wrong, dead wrong; things had just gotten a hell of a lot weirder. In that moment, I was sure; things were just going to get stranger and stranger each day I spent in this place.
“Astra,” Lily hissed from next to me, “what the hell did you just do?!”
“I don’t know!” I whisper-shouted, seeing her hazel eyes widen, just as mine had before.
Oh shizzle, what had I done?
“I’m going to talk to James and Al. Stay here and don’t do anything with that wand.”
“What wand?” I pleaded with her, confusion taking over.
“The stick.” Lily pointed at the twig that still stayed in my white-knuckled fist.
Oh, so that’s how I did that.
A/N Thanks to everyone who has stuck with me this far :D Especially DracoLove4 who is reviewer numero dos, you made my day :D and you could too (cue quiz show style voice) all you need to do is type a little bit in that little box down there and submit it, it's easy peazy lemon squeazy. For all you non-Brits out there who might not understand a word I just said, please review, it's easy and will make me a happy person :D