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Chapter 1 : 1
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Going into my seventh year at Hogwarts, I had a lot of expectations. I had heard amazing things from my family, most of whom had graduated, and my parents kept assuring me that I would have an incredible year, and that it would be one of the best years of my life. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to have a great seventh year, but my parents didn't exactly have the best track record when it came to †telling me what to expect from life.
If you need proof just look at what happened on the first day of my first year. Mum and Dad promised me that I would have a great time, and that getting sorted would be absolutely wonderful. Well when the first years had to take a boat ride across the Black Lake to get to the Hogwarts, †it was raining so hard that I could barely even see the castle. So we got soaking wet and then slipped in the puddles that were dripping from our robes. And to top it all off, I was terrified about which house I was going to be sorted into.
My parents weren't pressuring me to be in any particular house, which was lovely, but the rest of my family was a completely different story. Almost every single member of my mum's family had been in Gryffindor. Coming from a long line of Weasleys, it was expected that Mum would end up in Gryffindor, just like both of her parents and grandparents. My grandparents, Ron and Hermione Weasley, had told me that any house would be lucky to have me, but I wasn't so sure. There was still Dad's side of the family to worry about.†
Unlike the Weasley family, the Malfoys had a long history of being sorted into Slytherin. My dad had told me that he had been worried about his sorting too, but just like his parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and all the Malfoys before him, he had ended up in Slytherin.
So as I stood in the Great Hall with all the other first years, water dripping from my blonde braids and pooling around my feet, I knew that my entire family would be waiting to hear where the Sorting Hat placed me. Finally, after what felt like ages, I heard my name.
I made my way up the steps, almost slipping in a wet spot on the tile, and sat down as the Sorting Hat was placed over my head. I healed my breath as it deliberated where to put me. And then I heard its voice ringing out to the rest of the hall.
I breathed a sigh, which I wasn't quite sure was because of relief, and went and sat down at the Slytherin table. Dad was happy for me, and Mum too, but I think she was secretly hoping that I'd end up a Gryffindor.†And even though my sorting hadn't been the best day of my life, and I caught a cold from standing in my wet robes for so long, I made friends with some of the other Slytherins, and was happy. But I had learned not to put too much stock in Mum and Dad's advice for what I should expect out of my days at Hogwarts.
So as I entered platform 9 3/4 with my parents and younger brother, Fabian, so I could board the Hogwarts Express for the last time, I let Mum chatter away happily and caught snippets of what she and Dad said, making sure to nod and look like I was paying attention.
"Stori, I hope you'll write soon. I'd like to know how your first few days go," Mum said, giving me a hug.†
"Oh, relax, Rosie, she'll be fine," Dad said. "Just go have fun, kiddo."
"Don't I always? And I promise to write, Mum," I said, and my mum let out a sigh of relief as she caught my brother's arm before he could sneak off to see his friends without saying goodbye.
"Are you sure you've got everything?" my Nana, Hermione, asked, smoothing my blonde curls.
"Yes, Nana. I check and double-checked, just for you," I teased.
"Well then go on so you don't miss the train," Mum said, hugging me again.
"I'll write soon, and I'll see you at Christmas," I said, holding her tightly.
I let go to hug my dad, who kissed my forehead before letting me say goodbye to my grandparents, who had just finished saying their goodbyes to Fabian before he got one last hug from Mum and ran off to his friends.
"Goodbye, Nana. Bye, Granpa. I'll see you at Christmas," I said.
"Try not to get in too much trouble," Grandpa said.
"Bye, Mum. Bye, Dad. I'll write soon. I love you."
"Goodbye, sweetheart. I love you, too," Dad said, as I climbed onto the train.†
I smiled and gave them all one last wave before looking for my friends. I found †two of them in a compartment not far down, and slipped inside, shutting the door behind me.
I was immediately smothered, and laughed as my best friend, †Vienna Nott, almost picked me up off the ground with her huge hug, even though she was shorter than I was.
"Hello to you, too!" I said, grinning at her. "Hey, Andrew!"
Another one of my friends, Andrew Croft, shot me a dimpled grin.
"Hey, Stori. Have a good summer?"
"I guess so. It wasn't very different from all my other summers. I just hope that this year will be as good as everyone's telling me it's going to be."
"And why wouldn't be amazing? I'm here aren't I?" I heard a snort of laughter turned to see Christopher Flint, who had spoken, and Aspen Monroe who was laughing at him, her mischievous blue eyes twinkling.
"Oh, of course!" I teased as he sat next to me and slung an arm around my shoulders.†"Did you grow over the summer, Chris? You seem taller."
"Yep!" he said proudly, puffing out his chest. "You're looking at six feet and four inches of awesome."
"Clearly it's all gone to your head," Andrew snickered.
I ducked under Chris's arm as he went to smack Andrew's arm, and laughed as they teased each other. I hadn't seen my friends in weeks, and loved being around them again. As we caught up and told stories of our summer during the ride to Hogwarts, I couldn't keep from grinning and thinking that maybe this year would be different from the rest of my time at school. The thing was, I didn't know just how different.
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