Chapter 1 : Sortings and surprises
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Special thanks to MyMymiss for the brilliant title to this story!!
They were the last ones; the last Weasley cousins to embark for the first time on the Hogwarts Express. Hugo Weasley and Lily Potter couldn’t believe it was finally their turn to start their magical education. After seeing off pretty much all of their cousins and their brothers and sister, they would finally join them at school. Lily was being her over-expressive self and jumped around her parents with a smile plastered on her face. She tugged on Hugo’s hand to bring him back to reality and the boy turned to her with an appreciative smile. He was as nervous and excited as she was to start Hogwarts but he was of a much quieter nature than her cousin. Lily left him to go tell her parents her final goodbyes and Hugo looked at her scamper away as he stood next to his father, taking in his surrounding.
Hugo’s previous visits on the platform had always been the same. Lots of people and animals, laughs and tears, and this melody he could never find the origin of. Three years ago, when they had come to see his cousin James off for the first time, Hugo had heard the melody and told his mother. The look on her face when she had told him that there was no music that could be heard was still very vivid in Hugo’s mind and so, the next year, even though the melody once again filled his ears, Hugo did not tell his parents. Oh, his mother had asked about it but he couldn’t bring himself to tell her the truth, so he had lied and said there was nothing in the air this time around.
“Are you ready to go Hugh?” his mother, Hermione Weasley, asked in with a shaky voice.
“I think so. My owl and my trunk are already on board so I only need to say good-bye to you and dad.”
“You ok son? You look distracted,” his father Ron asked.
“Nah, just a little nervous I guess,” Hugo smoothly answered. At that same moment, a hand clapped him firmly on the left shoulder. He didn’t need to turn around to know it was his godfather, George, behind him. It was one of their codes. A clap on the left shoulder meant ‘do not move, I’m slipping illegal stuff in your pockets’. When the slap was on the right, it meant that Hugo should find a way to get away from his parents because what his godfather had to tell him was not for his parents to hear.
“It’s normal to be nervous Hugh but trust me, once you are Sorted in Gryffindor, you’ll have the time of your life,” his father told him quietly.
“You’re a good boy Hugo so there is no need to worry. You’ll make friends and learn loads of new and interesting things. Just try and stay out of trouble, and far away from some of your cousins – you know which ones – and you’ll be fine,” his mother told him on a warning tone.
“Don’t worry mum, I’ll look out for your little baby boy and keep him away from the influential ones,” Rose said, coming back to say good-bye to her parents.
“You do realise that you are one of the influential ones?” her father asked, failing to hide the pride in his voice. “What was it? 15 detentions you got last year?”
“17 actually dad, but hey, you told me to have fun so I do! And it’s not like my marks are bad or anything.”
“Maybe not but your behaviour influences the choices for the Prefects and Head Girl’s position,” her mother answered. Rose simply shrugged and hugged her dad.
“I’ll miss you dad, try not to cook too much, remember how hard it was for you to lose all those pounds this summer?” the teenage girl said cheekily.
“Don’t lie, you enjoyed making me work out and get very close to death every single day this summer! Have a good year Rosie and remember, fun, quidditch, sweets, studies, letters to your parents, detentions and right at the bottom of your to-do list: boys,” Rose laughed at her father’s priorities and turned to her mother.
“Have a good year Rosie and please try to keep the number of detentions low this year? The plan still stands, for every five detentions, you get a Howler.”
“Yep and this year, we will take Harry and Ginny’s lead and the Howler will contain a humiliating fact about you,” Ron added, much to Rose’s displeasure.
The story of James’ Howler shouting in the Great Hall about him picking his nose and sticking the bogeys under chairs, beds and even on walls was now legend. Even though James had managed to turn this into a joke and keep his reputation intact, he had, nevertheless, kept a low profile for a while after that, fearing his parents would retaliate. In the following week, every Weasley relative still attending Howgarts had received a warning from their parents that they would employ the same trick if necessary. It seemed as if the tradition would go on this year too and, as Hugo put his hand in his pocket to feel what his godfather had put in there, he wondered what humiliating facts about him would resonate in the Great Hall later this year.
“The train is about to leave, be good Rose,” Hermione said, kissing her daughter on the head. She turned to her son with a tear in her eye. “Have fun Hugh and don’t forget to write to us tonight before going to bed, I love you baby,” she said giving him a bone breaking hug.
“You’ll do great Hugo, don’t you worry. You just have to, you know, not follow my example. Go for the one your mother set, even your sister is a good enough example to follow,” Ron said, winking to his daughter. He crouched low to get to his son’s height and whispered in his ears, “Whatever happens, I’ll be proud of you and I will love you. Be careful with the Fuming Chews, they haven’t been tested yet.”
Hugo looked at his father with a disbelieving smile. So he knew what his godfather had put in his pockets earlier and he encouraged him to use it! Hugo gave his father a hug that was so strong and so loving that Ron felt a tear roll down on his cheek as he hugged his son back. His boy was so quiet and he could be a bit strange at times, but Hugo sure had a surprising control of himself and rarely showed his emotions. Right now though, Ron could tell his son had lost his control. Hugo shook in his father’s arms, letting the fear and nervousness go. He took a deep breath and got away from his parents and into the train that would lead him to his new life.
Hugo got into the train and, standing next to his sister, cousins Lily, Albus and Lucy, he waved to his parents until he could no longer see them. Lucy left to find her friends and as Hugo turned around to ask Lily if they should find a compartment for themselves, Al grabbed him by the arm.
“Hey Hugh,” he said, holding him behind, “wanna stay here a minute? I’d like to talk to you about something.”
Hugo looked at Lily who just shrugged, turning to her brother, “Can I stay too?”
“Nah, he can tell you later if he wants to but that will be up to him after he’s heard me out, okay?”
“Whatever,” Lily said, walking away sulkily.
“What’s up?” Hugo asked Al, a bit frightened.
“I just, well, there’s something I feel I should really…,” Al trailed off, hesitating. He was looking for the appropriate yet manly word to express himself but, blushing furiously, he had to go with “share with you.”
“Err…,” Hugo tried to say after a moment of heavy silence.
“Okay, I’ll just say it and I think you’ll understand, no matter how girly this might sound.”
“Go ahead, you’ve already said too much anyway,” Hugo retorted, flashing Al a quick grin, earning himself a rude hand gesture from his cousin.
“Hugh, I feel I’ve got to let you in to something because I know you; you’re like me. You’re different.” Hugo gave his cousin a confuse look but kept quiet, letting him finish and see where he was going with this. Al wouldn’t usually say random things like this just for the sake of being mean or just to get a reaction. James would. Not Al. “What I mean is that, compared to the lot of them, you and I are very quiet. We’re not as athletic either.”
“Are you saying we’re like Uncle Percy?” Hugo asked, unable to hold himself. That was not exactly a compliment; Uncle Percy wasn’t a favourite amongst his nephews and nieces, usually being the one to discipline them at family reunions. Therefore, he was a first choice victim for every joke or prank that the children – and most of the adults – pulled during those same reunions.
“I said we are quiet and not super into quidditch compared to them,” Al started on a neutral tone, “not pompous, bossy, bookworms that have never broken a sweat! Anyway, I just think I should give you head’s up and something to think about while we get to the school. When you get to school, you’ll get Sorted, you remember that?”
“It’s only like the most important moment in a wizard’s life. Are you going to tell me how it happens?” Hugo asked eagerly.
“No but I will tell you this. When it happened to me, I got to chose between Gryffindor and another house. I had to make a choice between being with all my cousins, in the house where both my parents went and made history, or being alone and different from everyone. I made the easy choice and I don’t regret it because I’m having a great time but sometimes, I wish I had had the courage to make the other choice. Being in a house with no family member to outshine me, not being known as ‘another Weasley’ or ‘James’ little brother’ or even ‘Harry Potter’s other son’. I wish I could have had the chance to just be Al Potter. I’m sure you will have to make a choice too – maybe not the same as me – but you will.”
“Why aren’t you saying this to Lily?”
“Because my sister is a sure Gryffindor. Come on, there is no mystery for her!” Al laughed. “You’re like me; a Gryffindor at heart, but with another side to him. Well, that’s it really, I just wanted to say that whatever choice you make, it’ll be the right one because, like my dad once told me ‘it is our choices that define who we really are’.”
“Why is it that I think having to make a choice is even scarier?” Hugo asked, feeling a bit shocked by what his cousin had just told him.
“It is, that’s why I’m giving you a head’s up little cousin!” Al finished, giving a hard slap on the younger boy’s back.
They walked back to find their friends’ compartments and soon, Al found Rose and some other friends of theirs and left Hugo continue on his own. Hugo kept on walking and suddenly realised that the melody was still present. He looked around for radios or devices to display music but didn’t see any. When he finally reached Lily’s compartment, he had seen all of his cousins, except for Lucy. Lily sat with two friends of theirs, Oliver Creevey and Alana Oot. The four kids went to the same primary school and wished to be in the same house at Hogwarts but Hugo was being realistic; there was no way it would happen, they were too different. When Lily saw Hugo join them, she gave him an exasperated look.
“Finally! I thought Al would keep you for the entire train ride. What did he want?” Lily said without giving him time to acknowledge the two others. He waved to Oliver and Alana as he sat next to Lily.
“He wanted to tell me something about the school but I’d rather not tell you just yet.”
“He told you about the Sorting right? You know how it’s done right? Tell me Hugh! I’m your best friend!”
“That’s not what he had to tell me and anyway, don’t even try Lil, I’m not going to tell you because it doesn’t concern you.”
“Everything concerns me Hugo Weasley, I thought you already knew that.” She was getting a bit frustrated at those stupid boys who kept secrets from her but decided to change the subject; she didn’t want to see her first ever train ride ruined by that. She turned to Oliver and asked if he saw the last Wasp match, his favourite team. As the conversation heated up between Lily, Oliver and Alana, Hugo closed his eyes; his head was starting to hurt and he couldn’t concentrate on the conversation because of the humming sound. His thoughts followed the rhythm of the melody and Hugo realised he had heard it before but was unable to remember where. Every once in a while, a different note or a short string of notes popped up but it was much weaker and Hugo barely noticed it.
Hugo wondered if Al was right and if so, where else would he belong more than Gryffindor. He wasn’t as smart as his sister Rose and even she was a Gryffindor so definitely not Ravenclaw. He considered himself nice and kind-hearted enough to NOT end up in Slytherin. That left Huffelpuff; not a bad house in itself but still the house where those who aren’t ‘special’ enough are Sorted. Hugo wasn’t trying to fool himself; he knew he didn’t have any particular characteristics like charisma, quidditch talent, mischief… So was it better to be a Gryffindor but be invisible, coming in behind all of his great cousins or to be a regularly gifted wizard in a less interesting house but where he would be the first to set the score as a Weasley?
“Hugh?” Lily and Alana were shouting. The boy opened his eyes to find the two girls watching him closely.
“About time mate, we’re almost there!” Oliver said, throwing Hugo his robes so he could put them on. Hugo looked at his robes with a certain fondness. He remembered the day he went to buy them. His father had taken him aside and told him about his own childhood and the fact that he had to wear the stuff his own brothers had already used. He wanted to impress on Hugo that, although they are wealthy now, doesn’t mean they have to take it for granted and he should never act like a pampered git. Words of wisdom from his father.
“I’m so excited! Can you believe it guys? We’re finally here!” Lily was jumping around, looking at everything and everyone gathered on the platform. She pointed to a large form and tugged on Hugo’s sleeve, “Look, there’s Hagrid. Hey, Hagrid!”
“ ‘Lo you two, finally here hey Lily?”
“Yes, finally! Hugo slept most of the train ride, I couldn’t believe it, I was way too excited to sleep,” the girl was saying. Hagrid chuckled at her spunkiness, winked at Hugo, than bellowed: “First year! First year this way!”
A bunch of scared looking children made their way around Hugo, Lily, Oliver and Alana, most of them watching Hagrid with terror in their eyes. When they were all there, Hagrid shouted: “Are ya ready? Four a boat!” Hugo followed his three friends an embarked in one of the boat. With a start, the boat floated toward the mountains and a soft waltz reached Hugo’s ears; as if the castle itself was playing a welcoming waltz.
“Ya’ll get yer first look at Hogwarts in just a momen’!”
This statement was followed by a general ‘OH’ of surprise. It was simply brilliant. A magical castle, like the ones you only see in fairy tales, with towers and an impossible to count number of floors. Even if Hugo had heard all about this place since he was a child, he couldn’t believe his eyes; this was way more impressive than anything he had imagined.
The boats stopped and Hagrid lead them toward the immense doors and knocked three times before the door opened to show a round face man Hugo recognised to be Neville - Professor Longbottom – Hugo corrected himself, a friend of his parents. Hagrid left them to the care of Neville and he led them in front of the entrance to what seemed like a giant room with hundreds of people talking in it. The inside was beyond everything he had imagined. Hugo started to feel a bit sick and looking around, he noticed he wasn’t the only one as pretty much everyone was a lot paler than before. He noticed it was the same even for Lily because she walked next to him in an unnatural silence. Looking at her, Hugo couldn’t believe it when he saw fear in her eyes. Lily, the strong, fearless Lily was nervous! Hugo reached for her hand and gave her a reassuring squeeze. She smiled at him and her nervousness seemed to diminish a bit.
“Welcome to you all. We are about to enter the great hall where your fellow student await for you to join them. Before doing so though, you will be Sorted into your house. There are four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. While you are here, your house will be your family and I hope each of you will make them proud. Now if you’ll follow me in a straight line.”
Hugo settled himself behind Lily and, as the group of first year made their way into the Great Hall, Hugo kept his eyes locked on Lily’s bright red hair. Professor Longbottom lead them between two long tables where older students sat, looking at the first years with curiosity. Hugo was too concentrated on Lily’s hair and trying not to vomit to even care about the people staring. When they stopped, Hugo looked around him a little and his eyes fell on the Gryffindor table where he could see a bunch of red-heads. That made him feel a bit better but just then, Professor Longbottom started calling up students, and Hugo once again turned his eyes to only look at Lily because it calmed him to know she was in it with him. Oliver Creevey was the third one to get called up to the stool and he gave Hugo a small greenish smile before the hat hid his entire head. By then, the new students had relaxed a bit; the Sorting didn’t seem so painful after all and practically every student looked happy with where the hat was sending them.
“Hufflepuff!” the hat shouted after a short moment. Hugo was surprised; everyone in Oliver’s family had been Gryffindors and he wanted to be a Gryffindor too and yet, he wasn’t. Hugo watched Oliver walk happily to the cheering table and wondered if they would be together after all only, in a different house than the one they had planned. When Alana was called forward, Hugo realised he had lost track of what was going on. He was so immerse in his thoughts that he was surprised to see the group had diminished a lot around him. After having the hat on her head for about ten seconds, Alana joined Oliver in Hufflepuff. Lily looked at Hugo nervously and, keeping her voice low she asked “Please tell me I’ll have you with me Hugh!” Hugo opened his mouth to answer but he was saved the trouble of finding the correct answer because at that same moment, Lily was called forward. She walked up there, nervousness shadowing her usual spring and gave Hugo a last look before the hat dropped over her eyes. Not a second later, the hat shouted ‘Gryffindor!’ and the table full of red-heads erupted in cheers. Hugo could see James and Al give each other high fives and hug their little sister proudly.
“Eliana Rowan-Pritchard,” professor Longbottom called. A girl seemed to appear at Hugo’s right side and he jumped a little. Was he so preoccupied that he hadn’t notice there was someone there? She gave Hugo a apoplectic smile before walking to the stool. Hugo didn’t remember seeing her before, neither on the train or the boats or even in the room where they received the speech earlier. The girl was sorted in Ravenclaw and, as Hugo watched her walk up to the table, he realised there were only five other kids left. He looked at the tables and counted. 8 Slytherin. 11 Hufflepuff. 6 Ravenclaw. 10 Gryffindor. “Looks like my year in more brawny than brainy”, Hugo thought as Esteban Sanchez was sorted into Slytherin. 9 Slytherin. 10 Slytherin. 11 Gryffindor, he counted nervously. “Will there still be space for me there?” Hugo thought. The last girl to be called forward went to Gryffindor. 12 Gryffindor, Hugo counted before walking up to the stool. He was the last one and did not even wait to be called before walking forward. Neville put the hat on his head and silence fell around him. This silence made Hugo realise that the waltz was still playing, even inside the castle only, he had been too nervous to notice it.
“Ah, a Weasley! I Sorted many strange phenomenon with that same last name you know? And even though you are all special individuals, you all share one thing.”
“Oh yeah, what is it?”
“The fear to not belong. But you shouldn’t worry young man, you belong pretty much anywhere.”
“Really?” He thought, almost pleadingly.
“Yes really; it all depends on what you want to be. Now tell me, are you Hugo or are you Mr. Weasley?”
“What do you mean I’m Hugo Weasley and no matter what, I will still be, no?”
“True, true but I see many sides to you Hugo Weasley; some things you have no idea you have. Abilities and powers you can decide to investigate or you could let them be and not explore. After all, no one misses what they do not know they have, right?”
“Right but now that you have told me, it would be difficult to ignore the fact that I don’t know myself.”
“You know a part of yourself but there is a hidden side. It’s up to you to decide if you want to figure it out or forget it. Either way, you will be a good and happy person. So who are you my boy : Hugo or Mr. Weasley?”
“Well, I guess I’m Mr. Weasley but I do want to discover who Hugo is.”
“A courageous decision, but I expected no less from a Ravenclaw!”
The hat shouted that last word and Hugo stayed frozen on the spot. Professor Longbottom tried to pull the hat off Hugo’s head but it wouldn’t budge.
“Have fun Hugo and remember, the path to discovering one’s self is tortuous at times but what you will find will be worth it in the end.”
“Thanks hat, I’ll keep that in mind,” Hugo thought before taking the hat off his head. He walked toward the cheering Ravenclaw table but looked over at the Gryffindors. His eyes found Lily’s and they were full of tears. Rose, his big sister looked like she had been hit by the knight bus and Al gave him the thumbs up, a crooked smile on his face. Hugo sat down next to a thin boy with short brown hair. He gave Hugo a shy smile before turning his attention to the Headmistress who had gotten up at the front table.
A tall and slim woman got up on the professors table and the entire great hall went silent. She had dark grey hair up in a tight bun and her brilliant eyes surveyed the hall. The shadow of a smile could be seen on her face before she addressed the students. “Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts. Let’s start it with a feast!”
When the food materialised in front of him, Hugo’s eyes went wide open and he had a thought for his father as he dug through the plates hungrily. Hugo wondered what he was doing at that table. He wasn’t stupid but Ravenclaw seemed a bit too much for him. He felt he could never fit in, whatever the hat thought. After a short while, the chatter around him took Hugo out of his reverie and he forced himself to listen to the others’ shy introductions. There were four girls and three boys in first year; a very small group as far as Hogwarts’ standards go.
“I’m Liam Dorn,” the brown haired boy said, breaking the ice. “My sister is in sixth and my brother in third year; both in Ravenclaw so I was a bit afraid I wouldn’t make the cut.”
“I’m Jade Olivanders and yes, I come from the wand-maker’s family. You guys all probably met my father when you went to Diagon Alley,” The girl was a tall blond with eyes just as blue and misty as the man Hugo had met a couple weeks before to get his wand.
“I’m Malcolm Smith,” a boy with dark blond hair and brown eyes said pompously. He looked at ease in this crowd and seemed to be sizing the people surrounding him, including the older students that were listening to their conversation. Hugo noticed him giving a strange conspirative look at Jade and Liam but his features darkened as he looked at Hugo. “You sat there an awfully long time; was the hat telling you why you wouldn’t be with the rest of your family?”
“What king of a question is that Mal? Don’t answer him, he’s not very gifted when it comes to social interactions.” The brown haired girl shook her head as she looked at Hugo in an apologizing way. “I’m Gwendoline Davies; you should call me Gwen though, everyone does. I went to primary school with this git. He’ll grow on you, eventually.”
“I’m Hugo Weasley and I’m the first Ravenclaw my family has ever had. They’re all Gryffies; see the red-heads?” He pointed at the Gryffindor table.
“Must be weird,” an Indian girl piped up. “I’m Neela Raffi and I always knew I’d be Ravenclaw. My entire family has been and I knew I had what it takes.”
“I’m Eliana Rowan-Pritchard and, being a muggle-born, I can’t believe I can be smart enough to be here. Two months ago I didn’t even know magic was real!” The last girl piped up, she had two long dirty blonde French braids and eyes of a blue so dark, they were almost black.
The rest of them laughed, except for Malcolm Smith who gave Eliana the same sort of look he had given Hugo. They all went on to talk among themselves and it became clear that Jade, Malcolm, Gwen and Neela knew each other pretty well. Apparently, they all went to the same primary school where it appeared, they formed little Ravenclaws. They had already gone through their school books and learned most of the theory they would see this year at Hogwarts.
Hugo already felt inferior and alone. He looked over at the Gryffindor table and saw Lily laughing with their cousin Roxanne. Rose was talking with animation to Al and Scorpius and James, Louis and Fred talked quietly together like they were planning something, which they probably were. Hugo’s heart gave a squeeze so he looked over at his classmates to find a diversion. Neela and Liam talked shyly, getting to know each other; Malcolm, Jade and Gwen were laughing and Eliana was nowhere to be seen; probably went to the bathroom, Hugo thought. Even though the pudding appeared on the tables, Hugo couldn’t take it and walked over to see his relatives.
“Hugo!” Lily shouted when she saw him. She hugged his so hard he thought he heard his ribs crack. “What happened Hugh?”
“The hat said I had things to discover in Ravenclaw and since I already knew how to be a Gryffindor, he sent me there,” Hugo answered his cousins, silently surrounding him. Lily held his hand, seeking comfort in her best friend.
“Well good for you,” Al said, clapping him on the back.
“Yeah, it’s quite the surprise though,” Fred started.
“We thought you might have ended up in Hufflepuff but you impressed us.”
“Kept your card hidden well young Hugo. Behind your quiet persona and dry comments, you hid a big brain; even bigger than Rose’s apparently!” James said with a wide grin; making the others roar with laughter.
“My brother is more than that you should know,” Rose declared, pushing James playfully. “I’m proud of you Hugo, a bit surprised because I expected you to be with us but very proud. Merlin, mum will lose her head when she learns it!”
“Hugo?” Lily asked with a small voice, tugging on his arm, “will you still be my friend even if you’re a Ravenclaw?”
“Of course Lils, you’re my best friend and you will always be, that’s a promise. We’ll have classes together and we’ll make time to see each other as often as we can.”
“Good,” Lily said, giving him a hug.
“I should get back; we’ll go to our houses soon. I’ll see you guys tomorrow?” Hugo asked his cousins hopefully.
“Of course Hugh,” Rose answered, hugging him. “Good night little bro.”
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