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Chapter 2 : Part II
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"I said, sit. Are you deaf or in shock?" Shaking my head slightly, I took the spare seat, staring at the crease in the worn fabric that had just opened. And talked.
"Let's see who we have here...a Rookes. You have a twin brother who was just in here. Pure-blooded family, no recent squibs or House-less, all Ravenclaws. At least as far as we can date back. But you...you don't quite fit. Trusting as you just walked through a completely solid looking wall with no questions asked. Proud because you didn't let those people see you nerves. You're distant, preferring your own space than the company of those you don't appreciate. No matter how much you love your brother you can't stand your parents or cousins and their beliefs. My, my, I don't think I've ever had to deal with such a tricky case. Most Ravenclaws are simple. Most people are simple. Your brother was easy; it just took him a while to stop retching from the transportation. Mmm, what do you think? Where do you belong?"
I sighed, running my hand through my now loose hair. Only a few tendrils were still curled in the battered bun.
"I don't belong in Ravenclaw, nor Slytherin, and I can't say that yellow is really my colour. Clashes with my eyes. The only place I've ever wanted to belong in is Gryffindor, but I'm not brave, and I'm obviously not loyal if I'm willing to give up everything for my own sake! I'm selfish and stupid-"
"Qualities of most Gryffindors." The Hat butted in. "Gryffindor isn't all about loyalty to blood. It's about loyalty to colour. If you're red, you stay red. As for not being brave, I think you're looking too hard. You were always the one willing to dance around the rules, whether to protect or entertain those you care for."
There was a pause as I digested this, trying to comprehend the conclusion.
"Gryffindor, Miss Rookes. Though like I said before, you're more peculiar than most, making you a lot harder. Very honest and trusting as you just told me you were willing to sacrifice your entire family for freedom, an act that suits Slytherin perfectly. You're puzzling. I haven't seen someone like you for a while. You have choices, ones I'd suggest you keep hidden. Choices aren't taken lightly here- everything is pre-planned, from your diet to your home to your family. But yes, I'd suggest Gryffindor. If you choose it- Ravenclaw is still a more open and believable option than green or yellow. Now hurry up- I do have to see nineteen more people!"
Stunned, I rose from my seat, walking towards a door I was almost certain hadn't been there before. Now it had been said, finalised, now it was crystal clear, it was harder to get my head round it.
Loyalty. Bravery. Honesty. Protect. Selfish. Selfless. Puzzling. Planned. Choices.
"So? How was it?"
I'd barely registered walking or arriving home, so Benjamin's inquisitive voice startled me.
"Mmm? Oh, it was alright. Gave me one hell of a migraine though. Something about transportation or something." I muttered, rubbing my head.
"Same here. Mother left some pills on the kitchen table, two each. I think she knows it hasn't changed since her Sorting."
I nodded in agreement, grabbing the tablets and water he handed me.
"Well?" He asked after a pause. Glancing up at his face, I could see the fire dancing behind his eyes, begging for more information. Unfortunately I wanted to be alone in my room to think over things rather than quenching his thirst for knowledge.
"Curiosity killed the cat."
"Three things. First, cats have nine lives so it wouldn't have really mattered. Second, I'm not a cat anyway. And third, I bet that cat still found out what he wanted before meeting his untimely doom."
"Who said the cat was a he?"
Benjamin just gave me a look, making me sigh. He wasn't giving up without some form of an answer.
"How about a trade? You confirm the obvious and I'll tell you the unpredictable." I smirked, whirling around with a new light in my eyes. I could see where the Hat was coming from- I did have a knack for Slytherin.
"Fine. I am completely and utterly, one hundred percent, no doubt about it, boringly obviously Ravenclaw." I could tell that he'd been waiting for me to ask by the way his face broke out into a large grin not unlike my own, his arms opened wide to catch my jumping figure.
"I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT!" I shouted, my arms wrapped so tightly around his neck I was surprised he wasn't choking to death.
"Okay, okay, I get it! The whole 'I told you so, I'm awesome and epic' speech. Wouldn't be surprised if you were put in Slytherin!" He grinned again, a knowing and expecting smirk. "A deal's a deal little sis."
"I know." I sighed in defeat. "And I'm only younger by nine minutes, so don't you 'little sis' me! Right, well, I'm a Gryffin-"
The door banged open, breaking me off, but Benjamin had heard enough to know what I was saying.
"Benjamin, Cassia, I didn't think you'd be back so soon! I was expecting one of you to be retching your guts out halfway through No Man's Land."
"Hello mother. I actually just arrived five minutes ago. Thank you for the tablets, they put an end to any sort of retching feeling." I answered, tapping Benjamin on the arm to break him out of his trance. Luckily mother didn't seem to notice anything, bustling around, checking that all of the cushions were at an exact angle of 50 degrees or something.
"Right, Cassia, go try your dress and shoes on. Call for me when you're ready- it needs to fit perfectly for tomorrow. Benjamin, set the table and start preparing the potatoes." She ordered, her eyes lit like a lumos charm. I could already see her perfect plan- both of her children Sorted into Ravenclaw, living happy and successful lives, coming over every other Sunday with a bundle of grandchildren for her. Only I and Benjamin knew that the chances of that were small.
"Sure thing mother." I smiled sweetly, taking the steps two at a time. She sighed in dismay behind me, but didn't have the heart to tell me off. She was in too much of a good mood for that.
Lying on my bed was a blue and silver gown, the colour matching my eyes perfectly. There were no straps, leaving my pale skin on show. The skirt was covered in a shimmering layer of silver netting, going from my waist to a little above my knees. There was a thin line of silver bordering the top of the dress and the indent above the skirt, matching the colour of the glass-like heels that were perched at the bottom of my bed. They looked like something I'd seen out of one of the old Muggle fairytales, Cinderella.
Set across my pillow was a simple locket, but I recognised it immediately. An heirloom from my mother's side. The cover was silver, decorated with carved out flowers, showing the azure velvet that covered the inside. There were notches in the sides meant to hold a picture, but it was left empty, waiting for me to fill it.
It was beautiful. Perfect.
It made me want to curl up in a ball and cry.
Instead, I slipped the outfit on, arranging my hair so it sat in curling ringlets on my shoulders. Looking in the mirror, there was no denying it- it was spot on. The colours brought out my bright eyes, the locket setting off my unusually pale skin. No matter how long I sat in the sun I never tanned.
"Cassia? Can I come in?" For the second time in less than an hour, I jumped at the voice, cursing myself mentally.
"Of course mother." I croaked, quickly clearing the lump in my throat which had grown since I saw the outfit. The door creaked open, my mother's tiny figure slipping through.
In appearances we were very alike. The same hair, the same eyes, the same build. The only difference was that I'd inherited my father's sharp jaw and prominent cheekbones, while my mother had a softened and slender face.
"Merlin, you look so...grown-up." She whispered, looking me up and down. Her expression was so delicate I didn't even try to joke, reminding her I was Cassia not Merlin, or that I didn't know Merlin was into cross-dressing. Her hands covered her heart, almost as though she was checking it was still beating, while her eyes were glazed over with tears.
"Thank you." was all I was able to muster. Tears burnt the back of my own eyes, prickling the skin even after I'd blinked them away. My mother sniffed, forcing a weak smile onto her face.
"Change into your normal clothes quickly now. I want the dress to be a surprise for your father." As silently as she slipped in, she disappeared through the door, shutting it behind her gently. Wiping any remains of tears away impatiently, I hung the dress on the door of my wardrobe, grabbing some of my other clothes. A faded blue vest with the bronze Aztec-style symbol of an eagle on it, tucked under a fitting black skirt that reached the tops of my knees.
Holding my head high and plastering a smile on my face, I jogged downstairs, greeting my father with a hug.
"Come on Cassia, we seriously cannot be late for this!" My mother called again, finally dragging me from the mirror. With a final glance at my reflection, I smudged a final streak of silver eye shadow and slipped out the door, hopping downstairs.
"You look stunning." My father said, taking my hand in his. One look at his empathetic face told me he knew. He knew I was still sitting on the fence for my choice. He knew I had a choice.
Glancing over my shoulder, I saw Benjamin looking at me with a similar expression. Pity. He'd been trying to catch my eye throughout the whole of dinner, breakfast and lunch, trying to discuss my final choice, but I wasn't having it. It was a decision I had to do alone.
Before I knew it, we arrived at the Great Hall, my feet aching from the walk. Under normal circumstances my feet would barely be starting to notice the hike, but wearing a pair of killer heels that embedded themselves into my foot with every step had its downside. It was a relief when I took my seat in the circle.
It was a horseshoes shape surrounding the centre of the room where the Hat sat on the same style stool as yesterday, except it was made out of glass instead of wood. The Gryffindors were on the upper left, Hufflepuffs to their right, followed by the Ravenclaws and ending with the Slytherins. Red, yellow, blue, green. All those participating in the Sorting was on the front row, with parents or guardians behind them and any other relatives, friends or by-standers filling the final few lines. Each House was divided by the open space waiting to hold those newly Sorted while the remainders of the House stayed in the front seats.
Gradually the rest of the seats were filled, everyone hushed into silence. I was grateful when Benjamin took my hand in his, squeezing it in reassurance. I could hear mother babbling on to another set of parents who I faintly recognised, laughing at the prospect of either of us ending up in a separate House. On the other hand, my father stayed silent throughout the discussion, looking around the room anxiously.
Listen to her. You'll break her heart, her dreams, if you choose any other House. Can you really be that selfish?
The thoughts cut through my mind like a knife, causing my teeth to sink deep into my lip so I didn't start crying.
"Welcome to this year's Sorting ceremony. I hope everyone has made their decisions judging on yesterday's results, and are ready to begin the start of your lives." A white-haired man sporting a tie of every House colour stood in the middle of the semi-circle, just in front of the Hat. Removing a roll of parchment from his cloak, he stepped back into the shadows, casting a charm that carried out his voice.
This is it. This is happening. This is the end.
I shut my eyes, controlling my breath. My knees and hands were shaking madly. Every time I inhaled the now sickly sweet air the lump in my throat grew ten sizes bigger.
Don't throw up, don't throw up, don't throw up.
My eyes snapped open again. The girl from yesterday, Rose Alchetley, was skipping to her place in amidst the Hufflepuffs. Looks like she chose to stay. As it rattled on, I noticed that very few people changed Houses. Two Hufflepuffs went into Gryffindor, a cluster of Gryffindors and Slytherins swapped to the other two Houses, but no Ravenclaw moved.
It was getting closer. Only one letter away. He was a Slytherin, pausing to give his mother a quick kiss on the cheek and his father a rough handshake. This happened with everyone.
"You know I love you Cassia, right? No matter what happens. You're my awesome, daring, blunt, bitchy, snotty sister, and I will always love you." Benjamin whispered to me, squeezing my hand tighter. I smiled weakly, forcing tears back. Our mirrored eyes met, both of them misty, full of goodbyes that neither of us had enough time nor strength to voice.
"I love you too Benji. No matter what, you're still my other half, Ravenclaw or not."
We looked up to see the familiar figure bounding up to the Hat, his face full of glee. Could I really let that go? Other than Benjamin, Christopher was my best friend. We told each other everything, helped each other out, and taught each other things we didn't know. I now knew how to do muggle Algebra and he now knew how to climb trees without breaking his arm, leg, nose or any other body part.
"Ravenclaw!" Both me and Benjamin clapped loudly, throwing in a few whistles. Christopher's face turned bright red as he took his place with the other Ravenclaw's, waiting for us to join him.
My heart stopped. Again. Two times in two days; this can't be good for my health. I saw him lean over the chairs, giving our mother a hug and father a slap on the shoulder. He then turned to me.
I could feel the tears threatening to fall. My body shook as he engulfed me in a big hug, his cheek pressed to mine. It was probably the most affection anyone had put in any of their goodbyes that day, but he knew that there was a chance this wasn't just goodbye. It could be farewell. Forever.
"Bye Benji. Love you." I whispered, pulling back. After a quick ruffle of my hair, he walked to the centre of the room. Mother and father tapped my shoulder, pulling me back down into my seat. I received many unusual looks, but I smiled them off, barely able to breathe for the lump in my throat.
Could I do it? Really? Leave everything I had ever known and loved for something I'd only learnt about in stories?
My hand reached up to touch the locket. It felt heavy in my hand; a dead weight. But it was still beautiful. It was still perfect, pure Ravenclaw.
I smiled and cheered as loud as anyone else, even louder than mother. Benjamin laughed from his stance next to Christopher, smiling just like me. Fake. A mask to hide the pit of guilt and questions.
Taking a deep breath, I stood up. After giving my mother a quick hug, I turned to my father, ready to just accept a simple handshake or kiss on the cheek. We'd never been that close, not as close as him and Benji. Instead, much to my surprise, I was wrapped in a gigantic bear hug, his words tickling my ear.
Turning, I strode to the centre of the room.
"Have you made your decision?" The Hat asked, staring at me intently. Well, as intently as a Hat with no proper eyes can. The locket threatened to suffocate me, but father's words rushed through my mind.
Follow your heart Cassia. Be selfish, don't be selfless. You're not a Rooke.
I nodded, straightening my back. Everyone's eyes burnt into the back of my head. They were so expectant.
"So much pain for one so young..." The Hat whispered, sensing the tyranny in my mind. I was almost certain the crease in the fabric smirked.
Mother will hate me if I choose Gryffindor, along with the rest of the House.
I'll hate myself, hate my entire life if I choose Ravenclaw.
I'd be alone. No blood or name to support me, no safety net.
My life was already planned out in Ravenclaw. A good job, a happy family, a nice home. It was simple.
But the simple path isn't always the right one.
So do you like it? Any sneaky little feelings? Any comments or anything on the story, the plot, the characters, anything? I'm slightly disappointed that this story has got zilch reviews so far, so please comment, whether it's praise or constructive criticism or something inbetween. Doesn't have to be a novel guys! Just please review on what you think, it seriously means the world, and I swear that I will reply ASAP!
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter, Divergent, Cinderella or anything else you recognise. Harry Potter is from the mind of Joanna Rowling, our Queen, Divergent from Veronica Roth and Cinderella from the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
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