Chapter 2 : The Sorting Ceremony
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The Sorting Ceremony
James Potter had always dreamt of Hogwarts. His father and his mother both dearly loved that place, and always smiled when it would cross their minds.
But now, seeing it for real, not just listening about it from their stories, he felt something he didn’t feel ever in his life. He could not even name that emotion, but he knew no one could either. Most of all, he felt honoured to be there in that moment.
The great castle was wearing a certain charisma – it looked strong, powerful, ancient and safe. It looked like more than a school. It was a home.
James felt something kicking his ribs and had to stifle a moan. He looked to his right; Sirius Black, with a twinkle in his eyes, was staring at him with a grin.
“Did you ever think it would be this great?”, said a voice behind them. Peter was still staring at the castle. Both Sirius and James shook their heads.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this.”, whispered Remus. He sighed, running his hand through his brown hair.
Sirius snorted. “Doubt you will ever again.”
James looked over his shoulder to a boat near from theirs. The little redhead from the train was dreamily studying the castle. James blushed and turned around again.
“Looking for someone, Potter?”, Sirius grinned with a knowing spark in his eyes.
On the other side of the lake, Severus broke his gaze from Hogwarts and saw James glancing toward Lily. He clenched his jaw and turned toward the redhead, too.
“That brat is staring at you.”, he informed Lily. It took her a few moments to realize he was speaking to her; she was busy looking at Hogwarts in awe.
“What?”, she looked disoriented. “Who?”
Severus opened his mouth to make his replay, but he felt an elbow punching his ribs. Knowing better than to act inconsiderate, he stuttered. “N – no one.”
Lily looked confused, but shrugged and looked back at Hogwarts, dreamy face replacing all the confusion written in her eyes.
Severus looked to the girl beside him. Lucy’s eyes were open wide while she shook her head. “Don’t be a jealous fool.”, she mouthed.
Before Severus could decide what to think of that, Lily turned to face them again.
“I’m scared.”, she stated. The rest of them in the boat were confused with her sudden fear.
“Of what?”, Mary asked. She and Lucy exchanged confused looks.
“I’m a muggle!”, Lily yelped. Her voice was so thin and high that it was very obvious how close to tears she was. “I don’t belong here…”
Lucy snorted and Mary glared at her, before turning around to face Lily.
“First of all – you are not a muggle. Your parents are muggles. You are a witch, and you should be very proud of yourself. Secondly; Everyone belongs here. Every single witch or wizard could find their places in here.”, Mary smiled slightly, her eyes twinkling. “Mom told me about this place. She said it’s magnificent and wonderful. She told me about the Great Hall – it’s huge, and the ceiling is bewitched so it shows the sky outside! And she says they have the best beds.”, Mary giggled. Lily, Lucy and Severus were all listening carefully to her, holding their breaths. “Apparently they are always warm and so soft you could melt into them. And you never have to clean anything, it just magically disappears during the night. And chocolate cakes! She said no one makes them better!”
“The point is,”, Severus cut off Mary’s rambling, though they were all enjoying it. “we know everything is going to be just fine. And you do belong here. We all do.”
“But… I don’t know anything…”, Lily bowed her head down.
“Lily…”, Severus said, sounding unsure, “You don’t have to worry. I – I know you will be the best.”
Lily slowly raised her head and smiled at him. No tears on sight. Severus felt like he was in the heaven from that one look.
“Thank you, Sev.”, she whispered.
“He’s right, you know.”
Everyone in the boat turned their heads toward Lucy, who was smiling mischievously. “What? I just happen to know that too… no reason.”
Just a little vision about your future, she said in her head, looking at Lily. Redhead looked very confused.
“Uh… thanks, I guess?”, she muttered.
“No problem!”, Lucy said with a cheer smile on her face. “Look, we’re almost there!”
For Lucy, everything since Hagrid’s knocking on the giant door to the moment when professor McGonnagal called her name went in a blur.
For someone else, it was a lot different, though.
Peter Pettigrew tried to stay calm. He wasn’t doing so well, though. Since professor McGonnagal left them in the room close to the Great Hall, everyone started whispering about the task that would be put in front of them. He did not have anything against a test, or a riddle, but duelling?! He did not read any of the books his mother bought him that summer. Yes, he looked through the Defence Against the Dark Arts, but didn’t bother remembering any of the spells he noticed.
He turned to Sirius. “What are they going to do with us?”, he asked in a silent voice.
Sirius shrugged. “I heard they make you fight a dragon. Along with everyone else. The last one standing is the wi – “
“Stop scaring him, Black.”, said a sharp girl voice. Terrified Peter looked hopefully toward a girl he didn’t remember the name of. It was the one sitting in the train with them and that greasy haired boy.
“They put you under an intelligence test, I assume. And that should not be hard at all.”
Peter preferred her answer, and calmed down almost instantly.
“Thanks…”, he remembered her name. “Lily.”
She smiled and turned toward the greasy haired boy.
“A dragon?”, Peter shook his head with a smile, looking at Sirius. “Are you serious?”
“In fact, I am.”, Sirius snickered. “I am Sirius.”
“Hilarious.”, muttered another girl, pushing past them, stepping in front of Remus.
“Remus, you little, hairy, monster.”, she stated calmly. “You promised me something, dumb head.”
Remus looked guilty, Sirius noticed, and a little scared.
“Ah… I um, I’m sorry?”
The girl groaned. “Never mind, you… argh!”
She ran back to where she came from.
“If it was me, I’d ran to her.”, James said, looking bored. He knew the test they were going to be put through, but he did not want to tell anyone. Sirius also claimed he knew it, but James had a feeling he didn’t. He decided to find out why as soon as he could. The same night if he could. “She’s either going to forgive you, or kill you in your sleep. I think it would be the last one.”
Remus rolled his eyes. “She’ll be angry until we’re all sorted. Then she’ll be as happy as a… well, nothing can ever get compared to her happiness.”, he admitted.
Sirius snickered. “She looks like a lunatic to me.”
Remus glared at him. “She’s actually the smartest person I know.”
“Whatever.”, Sirius shrugged. Remus looked like he was about to give him a cold reply when professor McGonnagal marched in again.
“They’re staring.”, whispered a voice bellow James’ ear.
James ran his fingers through his hair, casually looking all around. The Great Hall was magnificent, and James loved it at the first sight. The only part he didn’t like about it were the signs of Slytherin house, who had won the House Cup last year.
Indeed, almost every single head in the Hall was turned towards them.
“Yeah, Peter, this is kind of important for everyone.”, James winked. “Enjoy while you can.”
Peter made a weird chocking noise. “I just hope I won’t trip over something.” He mumbled, suggesting to the walk to the chair with Sorting Hat.
Lucy felt her heart race. She almost couldn’t hear anything, except when she heard Peter’s whisper. “They’re staring.”
Sirius’ eyes widened as the children around him moved to sides, allowing him to slowly walk through. He did it the best way he could; his steps proud and body prepared for anything – except of the surprise waiting when the Sorting Hat touched his thoughts.
The feeling was slicing – cutting through Sirius’ bones and cooling the blood in his veins. He flinched slightly, and hoped that no one noticed.
Oh boy, aren’t you a trouble… I see you are different, my child.
The voice speaking to him was very kind, but it sounded a bit tired.
I don’t want to be like them, Sirius thought. He had never wanted to be anything like his family. It was probably because he used to talk with his aunt Andromeda so much when he was younger. Her view of the world was much different and better than his parents’ view.
You don’t have to. Starting with now.
The Hat sounded pleased when Sirius mutely agreed with it. He did want to be different.
But we shouldn’t just make you different because you want to, let’s do it because it’s who you truly are. So tell me, Sirius, what do you wish to be?
The thought came to Sirius’ mind and he spoke it silently, with no hesitation.
He could feel the Sorting Hat smile. Very well, then. I trust you to be happy with your new family.
Hat’s roar was met with silence, and Sirius carefully stepped out of the way when professor McGonnaggal pulled the Hat off of his head.
Gryffindors sat in silence, almost every single one of them gaping at Sirius’ direction.
Then the young boy heard first pair of hands clapping, and turned around to see – Dumbledore.
One by one, everyone in the Great Hall (except Slytherins) joined in and Sirius had to smile, finally sitting down with his fellow housemates.
“Great to have you here!”
“Bet yeh didn’t expect that, did you?”
“Welcome to Gryffindor!”
There were definitely many comments on his sorting, but Sirius didn’t regret it in that or any other future moment.
Lily walked straight to the chair as fast as she could, and when the Hat covered her eyes, she heard an excited voice whisper to her ear:
Huh! A smart one, are you? Hmm, let’s see – Ravenclaw of Gryffindor…
And that was all she could remember about her sorting. The voice that kept arguing with itself for an era before it finally made its decision.
Make them proud, Lily.
Remus let go of his little friends’ hand, turning around to look apologetically at her. She smiled at him reassuringly but he couldn’t help but notice how small and alone she looked.
Mary, Peter and James were all sorted into Gryffindor, when Lucy and Severus were left alone.
They ignored each other, but when Severus’ name was called, Lucy whispered a little ‘good luck’ which she knew he had heard from the way he tilted his head towards her, like he was thanking her.
Lily’s heart stopped. She was smiling, beaming at Severus, waiting for him to come and sit next to her, when the Hat dropped on his head and shouted almost right away:
Severus gave her a sad look and walked over to his cheering housemates.
“No…”, she whispered, turning around in her seat, putting her elbows on the table and her head in her hands, her palms covering her face.
“Lily?”, she felt a hand touch her shoulder. “Lily, are you okay?”
She looked up from her hands. It was Peter, the little boy from the train.
At first, she felt it was nice from him to ask that, but then she remembered – he was friends with those brats: Potter and Black.
She shook his hand away, looking down at the flour, muttering: “I’m fine.”
She didn’t look, but she could feel his insulted gaze on her. She closed her eyes, feeling embarrassed. It was not his fault…
But she could still not make herself apologize to him.
“Lily?”, redhead turned herself toward the little girl across the table. Her light eyes were widened with worry. “Are you alright?”
Lily sadly looked at her and sighed, just when the tables started filling with food. “I just want Sev here.”
Mary bit her lip. “I’m sorry. But I think he also wants to be with you. And besides, you can stick with me. I’d love that!”
“Really?”, Lily rose up her gaze in doubt.
She sat on the chair, feeling like all the eyes staring at her were burning a hole in her head. And then, McGonnagal placed the Hat on her head, and she was surrounded by blackness.
Just a second before the Hat covered her eyes, he realized. It was the colour of them. The colour of hers, commonly dark eyes, was now completely black. And it scared the guts out of him. He frantically looked around him, looking for a sign that someone had seen the change in those eyes, too.
No. James was focusing on Dumbledore, examining his white beard and calm face, Peter was looking at the flour, taking deep, calm breaths, Lily was staring at the Hat on Lucy’s hat, but Remus…
Their gazes met. Sirius gaped at him. ‘You saw’, he mouthed.
Remus’ eyes widened and he quickly shook his head, mouthing back: ‘I’ll explain later!’
The both of them broke their gazes just in time to hear the loud cheer:
“Remus, what was that with the freak’s eyes?”, Sirius frantically hissed to the boy next to him. James gave him a weird look, but didn’t bother that much, he just continued swallowing his mashed potato.
“I…”, Remus hastily started. He sighed. “Listen, I’m not sure if I should tell you…”
“No, that’s not what I meant!”, Remus rolled his eyes. “I mean, it’s her thing, I think she should tell you. Ask her tonight, or tomorrow. Then you’ll know.”
Lucy walked through the white, glowing snow she could not even feel as such. It was not cold, yet she was wearing only a thin blouse. Her surrounding was all white, like there was some kind of a very strange fog all around her. But even though she could not see anything, she felt like she knew the place.
“You are destined to be here, and you know that very well. I hope that you will live up to expectations, though they are massive.”
Lucy flinched hearing the Sorting’s Hat voice. Then she realized when she had heard him – not so long ago, just a few hours ago actually…
She started waking up, as the fog was clearing, but also melting into darkness. She felt her heart pound faster and she frantically looked all around herself – she was waiting for something.
Then she, out of nowhere, screamed something and the white place disappeared.
Lucy woke up covered in sweat.
“What happened?”, Lucy flinched. There was no moon that night, but she could still see a dark shadow on the edge of her bed.
“I had a b – bad dream.”, Lucy stiffened when a hand touched her own. She let out a shaky breath and pulled up her covers.
“Lucy?”, Mary whispered. “Do you want to talk?”
Lucy remained silent, and Mary soon left her side, assuming the young girl had fallen asleep.
But she didn’t. And she couldn’t fall asleep at all that night. In the morning, when the rest of the girls woke up, she marched to the Great Hall along with them, but decided to stay out of their chats as she was tired as hell. Remus noticed the dark bags under her eyes and furrowed his brows.
Their gazes met and he rose up his eyebrows, and she just sighed. It was enough for him. He sat beside her on the table that morning and she, in a hushed voice, told him all about her dream last night.
“I though you never knew your father…”, his face was once again very puzzled.
“Except for the dreams, Rem. He was always in them. In some way.”, she sighed again. “Bloody hell, I am so tired!”
“You could sleep in the lunch time. I’ll bring you some food. Or better yet, take it now, that’s easier. And someone will wake you up in time for the next class.”
“Remus, did I ever tell you – you are my hero?”
“No, but I still know it.”
Both of them grinned before Remus spoke again, with grin fading on his face.
“Someone will want to talk to you today.”
Remus hastily looked at her. "Uh, Black. He saw you eyes changing last night."
Lucy's eyes widened. "Black saw me transforming?!"
"So that's what you were doing!"
Lucy stiffened before slowly turning around to face a very angry Sirius Black.