Nudity, love triangles, pregnancies and death, coupled with Quidditch, deceit, injustice, adventure and mystery. Sounds like another tranquil year at Hogwarts. Join me for Hogwarts Too Exposed - A ...
Jamie couldn't believe her eyes. A young girl was hanging inverted from the passageway ceiling of the train. Her shoes, approximately three feet apart, gave the appearance of being glued there. Evidently she had given up the hopelessness of covering herself and was now simply crying uncontrollably.
"She doesn't have bad legs for an eleven year old," Tony observed.
"Cute little butt, too," added Alex.
Jamie looked at both Tony and Alex with disgust. "If you two pigs are done giving scores to her various body parts, I could use some assistance getting her down." Jamie glared at Tony. "Just what makes you so sure she's a first year?" she inquired.
"We all know Bancroft did this," Tony declared. "Dick wouldn't have the courage to attack anyone who might know a counter curse. He'd prefer a scared first year with no friends to be witnesses."
After his comment about the young girl's butt, Alex was disinclined to speak, but added, "The Powerpuff Girls knickers sort of pointed toward her being a first year, too."
"Tony, hold her shoulders so she doesn't hit her head," Jamie instructed. "Alex, be ready to catch her." As soon as the boys were in position, Jamie pointed her wand at the girl's feet and said, "Finite Incantatum."
The girl's body no sooner touched Alex's arms than she struggled free and jumped to the floor. Without a word she promptly made for a way out of the train car.
Alex bounded after her and only just prevented her from opening the exit door and stepping off the speeding train. "Take it easy sweetie!" he hollered as he held the struggling girl tightly. "We're the good guys. Where do you think you're going?"
"Any place, but Hogwarts," she blubbered. "I need to get back to my mum; to normal people."
Jamie knelt down and put her arm around the girl's shoulder. At first there was some resistance, but soon the girl calmed as Jamie caringly said, "What you need to do is compose yourself. Everything is okay now. We'll take care of you the remainder of the trip. No one will harm you."
"But I want to go back," the girl implored. "I want to stay with my mum. I don't want to be a witch."
"Do you remember Professor Granger, the nice witch that visited you and your parents?" Jamie asked sympathetically.
The girl nodded her head yes. "If you still want to return home once we reach our destination," Jamie said, "I'll tell her. She'll talk to you and make arrangements for your return home."
"I don't have to stay?" the girl questioned meekly.
"No one is forced to go to Hogwarts, but I wouldn't make a rash choice based on your encounter with that low life," Jamie encouraged. "Even muggle schools have bullies. The number of nice people you'll come across will far exceed the ones like him."
"Do you know who it was?" The girl inquired. "I never got to see him."
"We have a good idea," Jamie said disheartened. "Possibly, we could have seen that he was punished if you had obtained a good look at him."
"Don't you be sorry," Jamie declared. "You did absolutely nothing wrong. What that bastard did to you was unforgivable. It wasn't a harmless joke. It wasn't even harassment. It borders on sexual assault."
"Jamie, don't get carried away," Tony suggested. "Bancroft is scum, but I'm sure it was just one of his bad jokes. I'm certain he didn't consider it sexual assault."
"It doesn't matter what he considered it," Jamie said, her face turning red with anger. "The first comment out of your mouth when you saw her was of a sexual nature."
"Jamie, I think that's enough," Amanda said, trying to head off an argument. "You and Tony getting into a quarrel in front of our new friend is not going to help change her opinion of Hogwarts and its students. By the way, what's your name honey?"
"Kim, Kim Thatcher," the girl said shyly.
"It's nice to meet you Kim, although the circumstances could have been much better," Amanda said trying to get the girl to relax. "I'm Amanda Pierce. The boy about to have his head bitten off is Tony Marburger, my boyfriend. The lioness doing the biting is Jamie Zacherley and that's her boyfriend Alex Ward. You might want to thank him for stopping you from jumping from a moving train."
"I'm sorry," Kim said bashfully. "I wasn't very nice. Thank you for helping me."
"Under the circumstances, I'm sure everyone understands your actions," Jamie said, showing the famous Zacherley smile.
"Did she say your name was Zacherley?" Kim questioned, excitement in her eyes. "I met you sister, Emily, when we were being measured for our robes. We were going to look for each other today."
"If that's the case, why don't we get you situated in her compartment," Jamie offered. "I should go and report what took place to the head boy and girl."
"I have no idea who did it," Kim answered shyly. "I had just gotten my trunk on board the train and was about to go into an empty compartment when suddenly it felt like someone pulled my feet out from under me, but instead of falling forward onto the floor, my body sort of flipped and I found my feet attached to the ceiling."
"It must have been Dick Bancroft," Caitlin said. "That's his favorite spell. He pulled it a couple of times last year on unsuspecting first years."
"He preferred girls over boys, of course," Randy commented.
"What's the difference?" Emily asked. "Hanging a person powerless from the ceiling like that is malicious no matter what the sex. Being magical is a wonderful gift, not a power to use over the less fortunate or inexperienced."
"I think Randy meant that Bancroft preferred girls because their bare legs and knickers showed," Matt explained.
"What's the big deal about that?" Emily asked. "I'd be infuriated that someone had taken advantage of me and put me in such a vulnerable position. Who cares if people see your legs?"
"It wasn't just my legs," Kim said almost defensively. "My knickers were totally exposed. It's easy for you to say, who cares, but I bet you've never been in a position where people could see your knickers."
Randy couldn't help but snicker. "She has you there, Emily. I bet no one has ever seen your knickers?"
"I know I never have," Matt laughed.
"You guys are dreadful," Caitlin said, trying to hold back a chuckle.
"You all think this is hilarious, don't you?" Kim asked angrily. "Maybe I should go sit in the other compartment with Jamie."
Kim made a move to get up and leave, but Emily slid over and put her hand on the girl's leg, gently pushing her back down. "Please, don't go. They're not making fun of you. It's in regards to me they're joking. What happened to you was wrong, period."
Kim paused. "But it was an appalling thing to do to anyone. Why would it be funny if someone did it to you?" she asked, confused.
"It wouldn't be. It was the comment you made about the knickers." Emily looked to Caitlin for assistance. "Can I tell her?"
"You have to, otherwise she won't understand," Caitlin answered, not entirely sure she was giving the appropriate guidance.
"Kim, we scarcely are acquainted with each other, but I'm going to confide in you," Emily said, hopeful she would not come to dread her decision. "Caitlin and I are to a certain extent different from most witches you'll meet at Hogwarts."
"Different in what way?" Kim asked nervously.
"Caitlin and I are both nudists. We detest wearing clothes and go nude whenever possible. They were all laughing because you made a comment about people seeing my knickers. I don't wear them and I never have," Emily stated.
Kim didn't move. She just sat there with a blank stare on her face.
"Emily has been a naturist her entire life, but I only became one last year around this time," Caitlin added.
Kim indicated Matt and Randy. "Are they nudists?"
"Hah!" Emily said, almost breaking into laughter. "That'll be the day. No! They aren't, but they know about us. Actually during the school year they see us naked practically every day. They don't even notice us anymore."
"That's not at all true," Matt said as he looked at Caitlin, who blushed.
Kim was aghast. "How do they see you? The school doesn't allow you to go to class starkers, does it?"
"Unfortunately no," Caitlin answered. "We both would if we could, even if everyone else was totally clothed. We work out every morning. Just recently we learned a charm that makes us look dressed even though we are nude. Typically we use the spell to exercise. Anyone that touches you can see you as you are; Matt and Randy are our holders."
Kim glanced at Emily's hand on her leg. "You're touching me right now. Does that mean that you have on real clothes?"
Kim seemed relieved when Emily said, "Yes!"
"Actually we were talking about that just before Jamie brought you here," Caitlin said. "We were going to wait until the lady with the snack cart came. After she was gone we were going to lock the door, close the curtains and get undressed for the balance of the trip."
"But now that you're here; we'll stay dressed," Emily quickly added.
"Thank you," Kim said softly, sounding extremely relieved.
As the conversation progressed, the train left London and was now speeding past fields of sheep and cows.
It was around half past twelve when a dimpled woman slid back their door and said, "Anything off the cart?"
They all decided to buy from the cart, but Kim was befuddled as she perused the assortment of goodies. "This stuff is all strange," she said. "What exactly are Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans? They look like regular jellybeans."
"I'd pass them by if I were you," Randy advised. "When they say every flavor, well they actually mean every flavor. You get the normal flavors like orange and cherry, but then you can get asparagus or liver. Never eat any that are dark brown."
Kim just stared at Randy, her face a bright red.
"Stick with things like Chocolate Frogs and Cauldron Cakes. Oh! Pumpkin Pasties are especially tasty," Caitlin suggested.
Kim took the advice of both Randy and Caitlin as she made her purchases. Emily helped her with the transaction, as Kim was confused dealing for the first time with Sickles and Knuts.
Everyone was starved, none of them having eaten since breakfast. They dove into the pasties, cakes, and candies. "These Pumpkin Pasties are good," Kim commented to Caitlin between bites.
"I got your mum," Matt said to Caitlin as he unwrapped his Chocolate Frog and picked up the card.
"I have three of her and two of Dad, but I can't get a Ron Weasley to complete the covenant," Caitlin complained.
"And you never will," Randy said quickly. When they stopped printing his card, it became a collector's item. There're worth a fortune."
"Why did they stop making his card?" Kim asked innocently.
"Because many wizards are racist," Emily proclaimed.
"That's partly true, but because he took part in the defeat of Voldemort most wizards were willing to accept him until that unpleasant incident," Randy added.
"Remember guys, I'm muggle born," Kim said with reserve. "I'm rather lacking in knowledge when it comes to wizard history."
"I'll let you borrow Harry Potter: A History," Emily offered. "But for now..."
"Oh! I read about him," Kim interrupted. "That's the baby with the lightning scar that defeated that guy Randy just mentioned, Voldie something or other."
"Voldemort," Matt said clearly. "There was a time wizards were afraid to utter his name. They referred to him as, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Even after the killing curse rebounded off baby Harry, they were still afraid; as if they knew he would return."
"They were afraid with good reason," Randy added. "Professor Potter was only eleven when he and Professors Granger and Weasley first faced Voldemort. Of course, they weren't professors then, just first year students.
"Dad claims he would have never lived to be a seventh year if it hadn't been for Mum," Caitlin said proudly. "He maintains that the love the three of them shared for each other is what ultimately caused Voldemort's defeat."
Kim looked at Caitlin with awe. "Your parents are famous?"
"Actually, I'm adopted," Caitlin said. "Although they love me and treat me as if I was their real daughter."
"They're two of the greatest people in the world," Emily agreed. "They didn't think twice about giving Jamie and me a home when our parents were killed."
"I don't understand," Kim said, obviously confused. "If all three took part in the defeat of Voldemort, why is Ron Weasley not regarded as highly as your parents?"
"Because people who don't know him judge him by what he is instead of who he is and what he's like." Caitlin answered. "Professor Weasley is kind and loving. It wasn't his choice to be a werewolf."
"Werewolf!" Kim's voice literally trembled. "I just learned that witches and wizards actually exist. Now are you going to tell me that werewolves are real, also?"
"Not only werewolves, but vampires, merpeople and many other creatures that muggles argue are myths," Randy said.
Kim momentarily sat bewildered. She truly was entering a new, strange magical world. "Was he born a werewolf?"
"No!" Matt answered. "Becoming a werewolf is not genetic. Another werewolf must bite you. Ron Weasley was bitten at the end of his sixth year."
"It had to be horrible for him." Kim said, compassion evident in her voice.
"It was and still is," Caitlin said sadly. "He was dating my mum at the time it happened. Both she and Harry were very supportive. They are both Animagi and stayed with him the nights of the full moon."
"Animagi?" Kim said, a blank expression on her face.
"They can change into an animal at will," Caitlin clarified.
"Oh!" was Kim's only comment. Her head was beginning to ache as it filled with all the things she was learning about her new world.
"For hundreds of years the wizarding world has looked down on werewolves as being only part human." Matt explained. "When the covenant defeated Voldemort it was easy for our world to place Harry Potter and Hermione Granger on a pedestal. After all he was the boy who lived, and Granger despite being muggle born had proven herself to be the smartest and bravest witch in centuries. Many in high places had trouble, however, honoring a werewolf despite the service he had rendered. It was done with great reluctance."
"That's not right!" Kim complained. "Your world is bigoted. A person should be judged on his or her own merits."
Matt gave Kim a condescending look. "You mean like the muggle world does?" Kim lowered her head realizing that Muggles were no better than wizards in that respect. "To make a long story short, Weasley became a famous Quidditch player once out of school."
Kim once again seemed lost. "Quidditch is an extremely popular wizard sport." Matt added when he saw the expression on Kim's face. "Anyway, the manufacturers of Chocolate Frogs had timed the release of the trading cards with Potter, Granger and Weasley to coincide with the Quidditch World Cup. The cards had only been on the market a few days when it happened. They issued a recall and destroyed all the cards with his picture. At the time no one wanted to be associated with Weasley. I guess they didn't consider how valuable they would make the cards that survived."
Kim looked frustrated. "What happened that made them decide to recall all the Weasley cards?"
"That part of the story I know," Emily said sadly. "The World Cup game lasted a great extent longer than was anticipated. There was a full moon and Weasley changed into a werewolf. He attacked a young girl on the opposing team, nearly severing her leg. It was a miracle the Hyperempaths could save her limb, but even they couldn't prevent her from being turned into a werewolf. Weasley was sent to Azkaban and most of the magical world since has tried to ignore that there was a third member of the covenant."
Kim's brain was spinning. She felt like she was Alice and had just stepped through the looking glass. Surely the Rabbit would appear any minute now. After a few minutes Kim began giggling to herself.
"What are you laughing at?" Emily inquired.
"Nothing really," Kim answered, shaking her head in bewilderment. "It's just that when you and Caitlin said you were nudists, I found it rather out of the ordinary. Now after hearing about Quidditch, werewolves, vampires and a sundry of other things; being a nudist sounds quite normal by comparison."
"That's great!" Emily said excitedly. "I was hoping you'd change your mind. We'll be stuck not only in these shirts and skirts once we reach Hogsmeade, but also our heavy robes. I was truly looking forward to a few hours of comfort. Matt, will you and Randy lock the door and close the curtains while Caitlin and I get out of these horrible clothes?"
It all happened so quickly that Kim didn't have time to tell Emily that she had misunderstood her. Saying that something seemed normal by comparison didn't mean she found it any less bizarre or tolerable, but before Kim could correct the misunderstanding, Emily's skirt had dropped to the floor and she found herself for the first time in her life looking at another girl's vagina. When she realized she was staring she lifted her head only to find herself now looking at Emily's perky little breasts. She turned quickly away, now to have her eyes fall on Caitlin's butt as she bent over to pick up her skirt off the floor.
Somehow as locks got locked, curtains got closed and clothes got discarded, the seating arrangement also got changed. Before the strip down, the girls had been sitting on one side of the compartment and the boys on the other. Now Kim found herself seated between two boys facing two totally nude girls. She didn't know quite where to look.
Emily and Caitlin had promptly taken advantage of having a seat to themselves. Caitlin was sitting on her crossed legs Indian style while Emily was leaning with her back against the corner of the seat, one leg and foot propped on the seat, the other hanging over the side.
Kim noticed that although Matt and Randy were allegedly accustomed to seeing the girls nude, they still seemed captivated by the sight.
"Caitlin, you've changed during the last two months," Matt said in trepidation. "You've gotten even more attractive and your breasts are..." Matt blushed. "They're starting to develop. You're beautiful."
Caitlin jumped from her seat and gave Matt a peck on the cheek; then returned a flushed smile on her face.
Emily waited for Randy to make a comment, but he remained silent; his eyes glued between her legs. Finally Emily couldn't take it any longer. "Randy, you've seen it a hundred times before. I don't mind you looking intently there, but you could at least glance at my face once in awhile and talk to me."
Randy seemed startled as if awoken from a trance. "I'm sorry, but..." He hesitated. "You even have a great tan down there. Did you ever wear clothes this summer?"
Kim too had noticed both Emily and Caitlin's rather complete tans and waited to hear the response. "We used the concealment charm all summer," Emily said proudly. "Except for Disneyland and shopping in Diagon Alley we've been naked since you left on the Hogwarts Express."
"You really look good," said Randy, his voice sounding quite emphatic.
"Thanks," Emily responded, giving Randy a smile.
Kim imagined that she'd have every inch of the compartment ceiling etched forever in her mind by the time they reached Hogsmeade because that was the only place she felt she could look without running the chance of gawking at a naked body part.
After a time, Emily observed Kim staring at the ceiling and said, "Kim if you're embarrassed by our nudity, Caitlin and I will get dressed. You'll get a neck cramp if you spend the balance of the journey studying the fly dung on the ceiling."
Kim remained focused on the ceiling as she diffidently answered Emily. "It's not so much that I'm embarrassed now as much as I'm afraid I will embarrass myself and make you both angry. I've never seen anyone naked; I'm afraid keeping eye contact as we speak might be impossible."
"You've never seen anyone naked?" Caitlin said in disbelief. "Not even a younger sibling or baby?"
"No one," Kim answered warily. "I don't want you to think badly of me, but it's extremely difficult not to stare under the circumstances. I just can't comprehend how you can both do what you're doing. I could never be naked in front of another girl, yet alone in front of them." She indicated Randy and Matt. "But it doesn't seem to phase either of you in the least."
"That's because we think of nudity in a dissimilar way than you," Emily said, and then tried to explain. "Your parents more than likely raised you to think that being naked was shocking. That exposing your body was a dreadful thing to do. Most people are raised to think that nudity is dirty. Being nude isn't dirty; it's the things that people associate with it that are sometimes crude."
"But people aren't suppose to see your breasts, or butt," Kim argued. "And most certainly it's wrong to expose your private area."
"Why?" Caitlin asked.
"Because certain areas of your body shouldn't be shown in public," Kim argued tensely.
"Only because somebody decided it was wrong. Who determined it was okay to show arms and legs, but not breasts and butts?" Emily argued. "I grew up nude, seeing my sister and parents naked, and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I always knew that there was a difference between boys and girls and I knew exactly what it was. You're eleven and have never seen anyone naked therefore you are curious and want to stare. I've seen people naked my entire life and now don't even give them a second glance."
"I understand what you're saying," Kim said, "but I could never do it."
"A lot of people can't because they have a lifetime of being told it was wrong," Caitlin said. "You notice Matt and Randy aren't nude. Neither Emily nor I have ever even asked them to try it. Nudists don't push their lifestyle on others."
Kim looked worriedly from Caitlin to Emily, "So I don't have to take off my clothes for us to be friends?"
"Not hardly," Emily laughed. "I wouldn't have many friends if I required them to all be nudists. Caitlin and I also understand the urge that non-nudists have to stare. We won't think you're weird."
Kim seemed to relax slightly and actually stopped studying the ceiling before saying, "I think I'm going to have another pumpkin pastie; they are extremely good."
You guys better hurry up and put yours robes on!" Jamie shouted as she rapped on the door to their compartment. "We're nearly there. Matt, Kim and Randy, took out their robes, as Caitlin and Emily got dressed.
"That trip went much faster than I expected," Emily said as she tucked her shirt in her skirt and peered out the window. "It's getting dark already."
Kim hurried to the window for a look-see. There wasn't much to observe other than mountains and forests under a deep purple sky. "The train seems to be slowing down," Kim said apprehensively, as Caitlin and Emily donned their black robes.
"We will be reaching Hogwarts in five minutes' time," a voiced said, echoing through out the train. "Please leave your luggage on the train; it will be taken to the school separately for you."
"You both look a little nervous," Caitlin said to Emily and Kim. "Don't be. There is nothing to be frightened of, although this is where we have to leave you guys. Once we get off the train Matt, Randy and I will be taking carriages to the castle. It's traditional for first years to go by boat across the lake."
"There's that word tradition again," Emily said distastefully. "I'm really starting to dislike it."
The train slowed down and as soon as it stopped, people began to push their way toward the door. Caitlin heard the feminine voice first and then noticed the pretty witch carrying a lamp. "First years! First years over here please!" The voice said in a firm but pleasant tone.
"This is where we have to separate," Caitlin said. You guys hold hands and stay together.
"We'll see you both at the Gryffindor table tonight," Matt said encouraging.
As they walked to the carriage Randy asked, "Do you think they'll actually both make Gryffindor house?"
"Jamie is Gryffindor," Matt noted. "Brothers and sisters usually enter the same house, so Emily should be a done deal. But Kim doesn't have a chance. She's got Hufflepuff written all over her."
"Unless she relatively smart, then she might be put into Ravenclaw," Caitlin said. "But my first guess is also Hufflepuff."
Emily's eyes nervously followed Caitlin as she disappeared into the dark night. For the life of her, Emily couldn't understand why she was so panicky. She knew where she was going. Hogwarts had been her home since her parents died last spring, but still for some reason she was uneasy. "Kim, hold my hand so we get the same boat."
"First years follow me please," Professor Katie Bell called. "Any more first years? Be careful, watch your step."
Professor Bell had no more than said be careful, when Kim stumbled going down the steep, narrow path. Had she not been holding Emily's hand, she in all probability would have fallen.
The path was extremely dark with thick trees on either side. No one spoke, but Emily did hear a few sniffles, some emanating from her companion.
"Once we round the bend, just ahead of us, you'll get your first view of Hogwarts," Professor Bell announced.
Emily almost laughed when the narrow path opened onto the edge of the great black lake and the first years left out a loud "Oooooh!" The vast castle with its many turrets and towers was impressive, perched high atop the mountain on the other side of the lake, its windows sparkling in the starry sky.
"It's huge," was all Kim managed to say as she clutched Emily's hand tighter.
Professor Bell indicated a fleet of little boats sitting in the water by the shore. "No less than three and no more than four to a boat," she said.
Emily and Kim scampered into the nearest boat, where two boys quickly joined them. "Are you two going steady?" The one boy questioned smugly.
Both girls ignored him as they stared at the enormous castle.
"Is everyone situated?" Professor Bell asked before commanding the boats. "Forward."
Seemingly on their own power, the small boats moved off, gliding across the, smooth as glass, lake. The air was silent as not a one student spoke, but rather stared in silence at the great castle. It towered over them as the boats sailed closed and closer to the cliff on which it was built.
As the first boats reached the cliff, Professor Bell advised them to bend forward. Emily heard a few screams as the ivy curtain that hid a wide opening in the cliff's face brushed some students' bodies as they went through. The boats continued along a dark tunnel, underneath the castle, until finally they reached a kind of underground marina.
"Climb out of your boats, but remain together," Katie said as the first years clambered from their boats and on to the pebble covered ground. They followed Professor Bell as she led them up a passage cut into the rock until finally they came out at last onto smooth, damp grass.
They swiftly walked up a flight of stone steps and jammed around the great, oak front door as the Professor knocked three times. At once the door swung open.
Kim and Emily nudged each other when a familiar face answered the door. Emily had never seen Hermione looking as regal as she did in the emerald -green robes she was wearing. The beautiful witch had a stern expression on her face, but Emily knew first hand the warmth of her heart.
"I'd like to present the first years, Professor Granger." Katie said with a smile.
"Thank you Professor Bell. How did your first crossing go?" Hermione inquired.
"The water was as flat as glass and no sign of the Giant Squid," she answered professionally.
"I'm glad everything went smoothly," Hermione said with a smile. "I'll take them from here."
"Giant Squid?" Kim asked nervously.
"I'll tell you later," Emily whispered.
The students stood in awe as Professor Granger pulled the door wide open, displaying the entrance hall that was as big as a small house. The walls were lit with torches and a glorious marble staircase facing them led to the upper floors.
As they followed Hermione across the flagged stone floor to a small, empty chamber, Emily nudged Kim and pointed to a pair of double doors. "That's the Great Hall," she whispered. "The rest of the school is in there waiting for us."
Kim did not answer, but timidly reached once more for Emily's hand.
"Welcome to Hogwarts," Professor Granger said after all the first years had crowded into a small empty chamber off the hall. "We will be entering the Great Hall as soon as they are ready for us. The first order of business will be the Sorting Ceremony. You will become a member of one of the four houses; each has produced outstanding witches and wizards and has a noble history. Your house whether it be Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin will be something like your family for the next seven years."
Kim squeezed Emily's hand tightly at the mention of seven years. Emily could feel the other girl literally trembling.
"You will earn your house points through your accomplishments and lose your house points with any rule breaking. The house with the most points at the end of the year is awarded the house cup, a great honor. Which ever house becomes yours; be a credit to it."
"Now if you will all wait quietly, I'll go check to see if they are ready for us."
As Professor Granger left the chamber, Kim asked. "How exactly do they sort us into houses?"
"I heard it's some sort of test," the boy from the boat answered. "My brother claims it hurts a lot."
"Your brother is a liar," Emily said. "We each put on a magical hat and it decides what house to sort us into."
"Who told you that silly story," the boy scoffed. "Being situated into the proper house is much too important to be left up to some old hat."
"I trust my sources," Emily said confidently.
"We'll know one way or the other shortly," Kim said fearfully.
Professor Granger had returned. "Please form a single line and follow me. No need to push or shove. Once we reach the Great Hall you will be sorted alphabetically."
"Last again," Emily reflected to herself.
Emily thought Kim was going to rip her arm off when she saw the misty silver images of about twenty ghosts gliding about the room and glancing at the first years as they entered. "I don't belong here. I definitely don't belong here," Kim moaned.
Although Emily had been in the Great Hall before, it was never on the occasion of a great banquet and she was dazzled. She noticed that many of her fellow first years also seemed in awe. Some were staring at the ceiling. Whether it was to avoid the staring eyes of the seated students or because the ceiling looked more like the actual sky than a ceiling; she wasn't sure.
As Professor Granger placed a patched, frayed and extremely dirty pointed wizard's hat on the stool Emily looked around hoping to spot the boy who was expecting a test, but she didn't see him.
For a few seconds, the Great Hall was completely silent. Then the hat began to sing; a rip near the brim opened wide like a mouth. Emily paid little attention to the song; her interest was more on the Gryffindor table where she saw Jamie and Caitlin beaming in her direction.
"This is the largest class I've seen since I've been here," Jamie remarked. "The sorting will take forever."
"I imagine Emily will be last," Caitlin said, depressed.
"That's life when your last name begins with a Z," Jamie shrugged. "You get accustomed to waiting."
Kim paid little attention to the song the hat was singing, as she looked apprehensively around the hall at all the faces gawking at the group of first years. She squeezed Emily hand and received a reassuring squeeze back.
"That hat is going to place us in the various houses?" Kim whispered questioningly to Emily. "I hope it knows what it's doing."
Professor Granger stepped forward; she was holding a long roll of parchment.
"When your name is called, please come forward; put the hat on and sit on the stool to be sorted," she said. "Alexander, Ruth!"
A red-haired girl with freckles nervously left the line and headed to the stool. Her body visibly shook as she placed the hat on her head. There was a brief pause-
"HUFFLEPUFF!" shouted the hat.
The students at the Hufflepuff table cheered and applauded as Ruth went to join them.
This time the second table from the left clapped as several Ravenclaws stood to greet Albert.
"Both those houses seem genuinely friendly," Kim said quietly.
It was the boy that had ridden in the boat with Emily and Kim, the one expecting some sort of test.
"Did she say Bancroft?" Jamie questioned Alex. "Please tell me he's not related to Dick?"
"From the expression on Dick's face, I'd guess he's a younger brother," Alex answered.
As expected, Tyler Bancroft joined his brother in Slytherin.
"They seem like an unpleasant lot," Kim said. "Not nearly as friendly as the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws."
"Tony, Amanda's boy friend, is a Slytherin. He's nice, but on the whole my sister would agree with you."
The sorting stretched on and on until the unsorted group was down to ten.
"Sanders, Ian" went to Gryffindor as the table on the far left once again exploded with cheers.
Emily gave Kim's hand one final squeeze. "Think Gryffindor," Emily said as Kim left her side.
Kim put the hat on and nervously perched herself on the stool. The hat hesitated longer than it had for any other student, waiting almost a minute before finally shouting, "SLYTHERIN!"
Emily couldn't believe her ears. Anywhere but Slytherin, she'll be eaten alive. Emily watched as the Slytherins coldly greeted Kim with the exception of Tony, who gave her a hug and offered her a seat,
Jamie had a tear in her eye as she turned to Amanda. "The hat just made a horrible mistake," she said sadly.
"Tony will look out for her," Amanda said reassuringly.
The announcement even caught Hermione by surprise as she momentarily neglected to announce the next name.
"Thompson, Craig" amid robust cheers then became a Gryffindor.
Emily agonized through the sorting of six more students until finally she stood alone at the front of the now rather noisy hall. Everyone it seemed had their fill of sorting and was anxious for the feast to begin.
"That must be Jamie's sister." Emily heard a voice say as she plopped the hat on her head and sat on the stool.
Nothing happened. She sat there for two minutes although it seemed like two hours. Everyone in the Great Hall was now looking at her wondering what could be taking so long.
"Hat, are you awake?" Emily finally whispered. "Everyone is gawking at me."
"Difficult. Extremely difficult," a small voice said in her ear. "You could succeed in any of the houses. You're not afraid of work and extremely loyal. Your mind is sharp and you are brave at heart: extremely cunning, too. Where to place you?"
"You put my sister in Gryffindor?
"Yes, but your sister leaned strongly. You are equally divided. Perhaps a shade more Gryffindor and Slytherin."
"If it's so equal and you feel I could succeed anywhere, perhaps you'd allow me to choose."
"Very well, but I will narrow the choice to Gryffindor or Slytherin."
Emily looked toward the Gryffindor table where Caitlin and Jamie were both watching her apprehensively. "That's easy then. Place me in Gryf...."
Gryffindor was practically out of her mouth when her eye caught the Slytherin table. What she saw would change her life. Kim was sitting with her hands folded. She was not watching the sorting, but instead her eyes were trained on the ceiling. The girl seemed to be praying.
"She needs me," Emily said her eyes moist. Please, sort me into..." The name caught in her throat. She couldn't believe she was about to say it. "Slytherin."
"I will not forget you Miss Zacherley; you were and will remain a mystery," the hat said. "Even when you make a decision to be in one house it is using the logic of another. Very well, let it be SLYTHERIN!"
Hermione practically dropped her roll of parchment in shock as she looked to Harry for some sort of support.
Jamie burst into tears as Amanda and Caitlin consoled her.
The Great Hall was in shock. To most, the name Jamie Zacherley personified the Gryffindor qualities. Now her sister was being placed in Slytherin, certainly the flip side of the coin.
Dick Bancroft and many of the other Slytherins ignored Emily as she approached their table. They saw her as a spy from the enemy side, infiltrating their house. Gaining their acceptance would not be an easy task. Others, including Tony and even Dick's brother welcomed her opening. But no one was as thrilled as Kim Thatcher that Emily Zacherley was a Slytherin. One would have thought they were lifelong friends the way Kim hugged Emily.
Once Emily was seated, she worked up the nerve to sneak a glance at the Gryffindor table. Caitlin and Jamie were looking her direction trying to catch her eye. It was obvious that they were both extremely disappointed, but neither looked angry instead they mouthed words of support.
Hermione dejectedly took her seat next to Harry. "Poor Emily," she said. "The girl must be heart broken not to be in Gryffindor with Caitlin and Jamie."
"I'm sure," Harry agreed. "But I have the strangest feeling it was her choice to make. Whether it was or not; we now have a Slytherin among us."
"That will at times be a sticky state of affairs," Hermione said after some deliberation. "As much as we care for Emily and it's essential that she have our love and support, we are Gryffindors."
"Emily is a bright, clever girl. She knows we're not about to stop caring for her, but she also must realize that you are head of Gryffindor house and I'm a direct descendant of Godric Gryffindor. We'll always be there to encourage her, but she must understand that when it comes to house battles we will be supporting Gryffindor. Speaking of houses.... where is the head of Slytherin house this evening?"
"I asked Severus the same question," Hermione answered. "Draco didn't give him a large amount of information when he owled that he would fail to make the sorting. He only told him that he had to meet with his lawyer, but would be here for breakfast and classes in the morning."
"You don't think it has anything to do with Timmy do you?" Harry asked, concern evident in his voice.
"Oh! I doubt it. "Not even Draco would be low enough to try to take Timmy away from Sam. Besides, he wouldn't have a chance in the world. Sam is a fantastic mother."
"I won't lie to you Professor Malfoy. Taking a child away from its natural mother is not easily accomplished, but I've succeeded on numerous occasions and I feel you have a first-rate case," Legal representative Bullchip said as he rubbed his chin, an evil smile covering his face. "It's a simple matter of adjusting a few facts and calling in some favors I'm owed. Having that youngster live in the same dwelling as a werewolf is, in my mind, clearly a case of child endangerment. If everything goes according to plan, he should be a ward of the ministry within two weeks. At that point we'll go to court and illustrate that you're the more suitable parent to have custody."
End of Chapter 5
Thank you for reading. I'd like to thank those of you that review on a regular basis. And, of course, I want to thank Amber, Nicole and Rebecca for doing the beta work on this chapter.
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