Chapter 6 : A Girl And A Castle
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I don't own anything of the Harry Potter world, as it came from the mind of J.K. Rowling.
“How are you feeling?”
“A bit of everything, really,” I reply. We are standing in front of a huge red train and I'm about to leave for a new school.
I'm feeling nervous, excited, sad. Nervous because I'll be a new girl that at this new school that will be having to make new friends as a freaking Seven, my last year. Excited for being able to be in a new environment, a clean slate, no one knowing who I am; excited for change. Sad because I left all my freinds from Ilvermorny. It finally hit me last night and became a bit less surreal; I remember Dad bringing me a bowl of ice cream and watching a movie on his and Mom’s bed together after I had bawled my eyes out about how much I will miss my friends.
“That’s normal,” Mom puts a hand on my shoulder before turning me around to look at her, giving me a hug. Dad has a half day of work, I said goodbye to him this morning. “Let me know if you need anything.”
“Will do.” I give her a smile of apprehension and she gives me a smile of encouragement in return.
I'm about to head up the steps to board the train when she calls back at me and I turn, “You’ll be fine! Expect the unexpectable, okay?” I nod and wave as the train heaves forward.
If that’s not cryptic, I don't know what is. I assume she means this is a new school, so I shouldn't make assumptions about anything here.
I walk along the hallway, trying to find an empty compartment, noticing how tiny eleven year olds are. I also notice the looks that some young teens - like Fours and Fives - give me, seeing that I'm obviously older and obviously haven't been going to their school before.
“Who are you?” a female voice asks, she’s coming out of a compartment while I’m about to pass by it. I turn and see a strikingly beautiful strawberry blonde with strong angled features.
“I’m Nicolette, who are you?”
“My name’s Dom, short for Dominique. Ah, you're an American transfer, huh? What year are you?”
I tell her I'm a Seven and she can call me Nic if she wants and she asks if I need somewhere to sit for the ride. I say yes because I didn't really know where else to go. Once seated, I notice there’s one other person with her.
“This is Nic, she's from America,” Dom says to the girl with deep reddish-brown hair and freckles, “This is Rose, she's one of my many cousins.”
“Yes, but one of the least annoying ones,” Rose says to Dom before smiling to me. I notice not only does her white grin look nice against her slightly tanned skin, but her auburn curly locks do too - any other skin tone could've made it totally clash. “There's nine of us at this school.”
I raise my eyebrows and think, damn, that's a big family. I don't have that many cousins, and they didn't even live in the area that I did - much less even go to the same school I did (albeit half of them are No-Majs, but still).
After conversing in small talk, I quickly find out that Dom is in the Slytherin House and Rose is in Gryffindor, and yet they are still friendly despite the “rivalry” the two Houses face. They tell me that most of the Weasley are in Gryffindor. When I tell them I've been Sorted into Ravenclaw, Rose asks if I like to read, to which I say yes, even though that's kind of stereotypical. She seems to ignore my comment and we talk about a few books we both have been enjoying.
A tiny, but unmistakably gorgeous blonde girl opens the door and tells Rose with a small voice that the Prefects are having a meeting and were looking for her. Rose gets up, saying it was nice to meet me and I say the same.
The blonde girl then comes in and sits down next to Dom. “Ellery, this is Nic, she's new.”
“Hi, nice to meet you,” she smiles slightly and nods at me. “You guys better change into school robes before the Prefect meeting gets done, they'll start patrolling soon.”
Dom starts to get up, “She's right, let's get our clothes - Elle, you okay if you watch our spots for us?”
She nods and I only now just realize that she's already in her uniform with her robes folded next to her (they are Slytherin ones).
Since I don't know where the bathroom is, Dom leads the way down the hallway and I quickly look into all the other compartments we pass by. I notice most of them are full, with lots of people chatting amongst themselves or playing games. Some look at me with passing eyes, and some are so immersed in whatever they're doing, they don't have time to look out in the hallway.
While going past one compartment in the middle of the train, I see a big group of boys all talking and joking. They all look to be my age and are quite good friends, sitting all haphazardly. The split second that I pass by their window, a boy with dark brown hair, hazel eyes, and a crooked grin turns from his friend, next to the window looking outside, directly to me. His lazy expression goes to a wide-eyed one when he catches my eye. I've already walked past by now, and I know none of the other boys have noticed his reaction.
I swear it was the boy I met at that bookstore coffeeshop, or the one in Diagon Alley. I quickly change into my uniform, my robe hanging off my arm, Dom already far ahead of me as I walk back out to the hallway. I was planning on just walking past, not getting caught up in whatever encounter I just had, when the boy in question is waiting outside his compartment.
Once he sees me, he walks towards me, and since I don't have anywhere else to go, I have to walk towards him as well.
Without thinking, I blurt out, “What are you doing here?” the same time he does. His tone has more of a lightheartedness to it, whereas mine was a bit more sharp than I meant it to be.
“I - uh - I'm going to Hogwarts this year,” I say lamely, since I don't know what other answer to give.
He puts one hand behind his neck and tilts his head a bit. “Well shit, me too,” he says lazily, an easy grin plastered on his face.
“No way, I thought you, like, followed me here or something,” I joke. To that he breathily chuckles and drops his hand to his side and leans against the wall of the train.
“Um, it was . . . Nicole, right? Oh wait - no. . .” he says, drawing out every couple words, “Nicolette,” he says as if it's his final answer.
“Yeah, it is,” I smile, somewhat glad he remembered my name from weeks ago. “James, right?” I shift a little and put my hand in my hair, tousling it a bit - a habit I picked up from my dad.
He doesn't seem to notice it much and just says, “Good memory - fitting for a Ravenclaw,” with his eyes crinkling the tiniest amount trailing down to the emblem on my grey cardigan.
“I guess so,” I laugh. After a pause I say, “shouldn't you change into robes too?” noticing his slim shorts and short-sleeved button down that he filled in quite nicely. Not that I was staring - cause you know what my mother says: staring is rude.
Picking up my hint that we should not be loitering in the hall and are also currently blocking a bit of traffic, he says, “Yeah, probably. Well, I guess I'll see you around now then, Nicolette.”
I say I guess so too, and he goes back into his compartment after side-stepping out of a small boy’s way.
Back inside, Dom asked where I was because she thought I was following her, but I wasn't. I told her I talked to James for a bit, and I guess she knew who he was with only his first name because she said, “Huh, I would've thought Al would have been the one to catch you first.”
After seeing my furrowed brow, she explained that James and Al (short for Albus) are brothers - and her cousins - and that Al is a huge ladies’ man around the school. Never was able to keep a steady girlfriend because he was constantly changing up who he was seeing.
I asked her what Al looks like and she said he's got raven-black hair, bright green eyes, and is more lean than lanky.
“Oh so he must be the one I saw in Diagon Alley the other day,” I say quietly, more to myself than to her. “I thought it was James.”
Ellery put her MagiBuds in to play music and hasn't really been listening to the conversation ever since Dom mentioned Al, deciding to instead gaze out the window.
Dom quickly told me that Ellery doesn't like him that much because of his misogynistic tendencies and turned him down when he asked her out last year. Many a times.
“How did you know James already if you thought that was him in Diagon Alley?” she asks me now.
“Oh, I had met him at a coffeeshop inside this bookstore a couple weeks back. He asked to sit with me and we ended up talking for a while. I thought he was a No-Maj since there were no hints of magic talk,” I tell her, her face turning into a smirk the more and more I explain. “What?”
“James hasn't shut up about the ‘mystery girl’ at that café, saying he's never met someone so smart or relaxed in his presence before,” Dom crosses her arms against her chest, obviously knowing more than me.
“He hardly remembered my name when we spoke just a few minutes ago, that can't be true,” I say, slightly indignant, trying to suppress the little giddy feeling of what she had spilled to me.
Just when the strawberry blonde is about to open her mouth in reply, the door slides open yet again, revealing a very handsome blonde boy with a loose Gryffindor tie around his neck.
“Well, well, well, who is this?” he asks, his eyes on me. I don't even know this boy and yet I catch myself staring at his good looking nature; chiseled facial features, toned arms from his rolled up sleeves, hair hanging down in front of his light blue eyes-
“This is Nic, she's a transfer from America,” Dom says lazily. “This is Louis, he's my twin brother.” Ah, so that's why she was less enthusiastic than I thought she would have been. It's not everyday when a really cute boy comes into your compartment to meet you and even shakes your hand - well I guess she's less of a threat to me. “We’re a quarter Veela, so whatever you're thinking right now, it's most likely because of that.”
I peel my eyes away from his crooked smile to see her smirk at me. I shrug, as if in surrender. “Damn, Dom, didn't need to be so blunt,” his deep voice says. My attention goes back to him, he raises one sculpted arm to mess with the back of his hair.
She turns back to her brother, “Yeah, well, she's gotta find out sometime - oh and Lou loves attention, so don't give it to him - like you are. Right now. Nic!”
The snapping fingers in front of me pull me out of my small daze. “Yeah, totally. I agree completely,” not really knowing what she said, but faking an answer can't hurt.
She laughs at me. Wrong answer. I smile sheepishly at her.
A kid, who I assume to be a Prefect, reprimands him for keeping the door open and not sitting down. Louis turns to us, “Well it was nice to meet you, I better head back to my seat,” he smiles at me, glancing at Ellery (who's still looking out the window as if none of this is happening), and then gives Dom a look only siblings can do to each other.
Dom nudges Ellery’s leg with her foot and once she removes her MagiBud says, “He was totally looking at you,” with a wiggle of her eyebrows.
Ellery rolls her eyes and puts the device back in her ear, resuming her position from before.
Dom turns back to me, “So tell me about Ilvermorny, I heard it's so cool!”
By the time the train ride slows down to a halt, I've met countless of people on this train. Most of them are Sevenths, but some are Sixths. Interestingly enough, I haven't seen Al at all or James since we talked in the corridor.
“So, we wear our robes during classes, breakfast, lunch, and formal meetings, such as the Welcome Back Feast and the End of the Year Feast. Other than that, we just wear our uniforms underneath. On weekends and dinner onwards we can wear whatever,” Dom explains to me as we are walking down the hallway and off the train. Everyone's in their robes now, since the feast is soon, plus it's somewhat cool outside.
“First Years, over ‘ere, First Years!” Booms a loud voice in the distance, to which I locate a very large man with a head of burly hair and beard holding a lantern with garbage can-sized hands five feet over the heads of everyone on the street. “First Years, get over ‘ere! Aye, I won’ hurt yeh, just folluh me!”
“That's Hagrid, he's the gamekeeper on Hogwarts grounds,” Dom says when she notes where my eyes are.
“Why is he so . . .”
I follow her through the throng of people, who are all heading through the village and into carriages. “Beautiful,” I say under my breath at the Thestrals that are carrying them.
“You can see them?” Dom asks me.
“My grandmother’s neighbor,” I respond.
“My great-aunt,” she says quietly next to me.
I nod, leaving the short conversation there, as if we have a silent mutual understanding.
Once in the carriage, there are two others already inside.
“Hi, I'm Glenna, and this is Freya - you must be the new girl everyone's mentioned,” the girl, Glenna, shakes my hand lightly and gives me a wide smile.
She's kind of blasé, but I like it. Similar to that girl Rose Weasley. “Yeah, I'm Nic,” I say.
Dom is on my left, and Ellery is on her other side. We're all chatting lightly about classes and professors, since I don't know who teaches what.
I notice Glenna is louder than Freya, who is a curvy wheat-blonde Gryffindor. They seem close, even though Glenna is in Hufflepuff. Her yellow tie compliments her dark hair and fair skin, and the first thing I noticed about her when I got into the carriage was her bold eyebrows.
“Seriously, even though Sinatra can be a hardass when she wants, I heard she's a real softy and social outside of Transfig,” Dom says to Freya, who claimed that Slughorn, the Potions teacher, is one of the biggest pushovers in the school.
“Who's your favorite professor?” I ask to no one in particular.
“Neville - I mean, Longbottom, but that's only because our family is close to him, and I guess Ted too, but that's a given,” Dom says to me, “Ted Lupin, he's Slughorn’s teaching assistant, but he does more than the old wiz does if I'm going to be honest.”
Glenna and Freya sigh dreamily, to which Dom says, ew gross guys, he's practically my brother-in-law ‘cause of my sister Victoire. They both blush and look away.
Ellery briefly says, well he is good looking, even if we're not going to date him and that shuts Dom up (only a little). I notice that Ellery’s not a huge talker, but when she does, it's usually funny or witty.
We all file into the Great Hall and Dom points out which table is which to me. She says that it's not required to sit at your House table throughout the year except for formalities, like tonight's feast.
Everyone is filing into the Hall so she waves goodbye to me and heads towards the Slytherin table with Ellery. I smile back and go to sit down at the Ravenclaw one, next to a girl that I remember briefly meeting on the train.
“Hi - Charlotte, right?” I say when I sit next to her, and she gives me a kind nod, her black side bangs bobbing.
“How are holding up? I bet it's new, experiencing everything in one day,” she asks.
“Actually, I had a tour a couple days ago, that's when I got Sorted into Ravenclaw, although it took a while for the Hat to place me,” I tell her. Some of the people around me are not-so-subtly listening to our conversation. I assumed this would happen before I even set foot in King's Cross, being new and all.
I notice that the tables are decked out with plates and silverware, but there's no food on the surfaces yet. I didn't realize how hungry I was, as chocolate frogs and chili mango ropes don't really stick with you.
“Ah, well that's cool, and probably nice, since now you don't need to be Sorted with all the First Years, now that I think about it,” she says to me.
“What do you mea-”
“Welcome everyone!” McGonagall cuts me off mid-sentence with a clear voice, standing behind a podium on the raised platform. She has this power to silence the din, and all eyes are on her.
“Welcome back to a new year and a new feast! We have a few announcements, but will get to that after our annual First Year Sorting,” she says to the mass of students.
With that, she sits down and a pointed professor (Charlotte tells me that's Professor Sinatra) comes in from the Entrance Hall with a crowd of short kids. They all file in next to the raised platform and she brings a stool and the Sorting Hat to the platform. After another beautiful song sung by the old hat, everyone applauds. Pulling out a scroll, Sinatra calls off the names of students.
After six or seven students, I notice that they all take two minutes or less in their Sorting. By the end, the longest First only took three minutes to decide before the hat is bellowing that the little boy belongs to Hufflepuff. He goes to sit down at the cheering table of yellow.
There's a lot of House pride I ascertain, something not as huge at Ilvremorny. We are of course prideful of our Houses, but our biggest unity is the school itself, not inter-House rivalries.
Once every First has been seated at their respective tables, McGonagall rises again and Sinatra goes to put the Hat and stool away. “Congratulations to everyone on being Sorted. We have a few announcements before we can all tuck in, and I will try to be swift about it.
“Firstly, all boundaries are still in tact as previous years, the Forbidden Forest: still remaining forbidden, the Astronomy tower only used for classes, and teacher areas such as lounges and dormitories are off limits - please go to their office during class hours instead of the Professor Dorms,” I notice her gaze stops at the Gryffindor table a little longer when talking about all the boundaries.
“This year, Prefect meetings will be held in room 211 of the Collin Creevy Wing on Thursday evenings. There will be no Head Common Room, as we want everyone included in their House,” there were a few murmurs about this. I don't know what anything means so I keep quiet.
“And lastly, we have a new addition to our student body,” oh shit - say what? She could be talking about a different transfer student, yeah that's it.
She's definitely talking about me, I know it, especially from the few heads that turn towards me and some other students are looking around for who McGonagall is talking about.
“We haven't had a transfer student in a few years, but this year we do,” the headmistress finds my face and there's a small twinkle in her eye and her lips turn ever so slightly up at me. “Miss Moretti, please stand.”
Wait, what? I have to stand in front of everyone? Good lord.
I rise tentatively from the bench and now everyone is looking at me, so I give a wave and a smile, then sit down. There are whispers. Of course there are whispers. It's a boarding school for crying out loud.
“Nicolette Moretti is a Seventh Year from Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in America. For Hogwarts, she has been Sorted into Ravenclaw this year-” everyone at my table applauds and cheers, to which I smile a little at the beaming faces around me, “-which was quite a feat, as she was a very long hatstall-” more whispers. Ugh. “-and she's already has her schedule filled out. So please do make Miss Moretti feel as home here at Hogwarts.”
Now people are looking at me and my stomach is growling, and I hope to God she's about done with these announcements.
“Lastly, I want to announce the situation of Madame Pomfrey, our school nurse of the last sixty-seven years,” even more murmurs, for Sayre's sake, everyone has something to say about everything, don't they?
“She has decided to work a bit less this year, to help when she fades out for her retirement in a few years. Madame Pomfrey asked us if she could spend some time off here and there, so we have brought in an Aid Healer to work alongside her and help whenever it's needed.” At this there's a pause, and McGonagall gestures to someone off to the side in a room I didn't notice before. A lady walks out and there are more mumbles throughout the hall.
Wait a second.
I recognize that dark hair, carefree saunter, olive skin.
“Our school aid will be Mrs. Moretti, Nicolette's mother.”
What the actual fuck, Mom?
A/N: SO SORRY for the awaited update, as I tried to upload yesterday but my server kept crashing and had to wait until today to post it.
ANYWAY. There you have it! Now we know what the surprise is! Did any of you guess it?? Please tell me your thoughts about this chapter and also who your fave character is!!! I love all the reviews I get and try to respond to each one! If you do, here's a high-five from me, or a hug! OH ALSO how do you like the new banner????
UP NEXT: Roommates, classes, and a late-night tour - from a boy, of course.
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