Dan finally arrives at Hogwarts...
Chapter 12: Coming to Hogwarts
Dan suddenly awoke on the first of September before he suddenly remembered with delight. He would be going to Hogwarts today!
He already packed away all his school things the previous night, but checked them all again just to be sure. Cloudy was already back in his cage from last night's hunt, and was ready to go as well.
Harry knocked on the door and softly opened it. It looked as though he hadn't slept well... that is, if he had slept at all. "You ready to go?"
After a quick breakfast, Harry took his entire family over to King's Cross station in England. After coming out from behind a corner, they made their way to the area between platforms nine and ten.
"Look, it's simple," Harry quietly explained to his son another time. "You see that barrier in between the platforms nine and ten? It's an illusion. On the other side is Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Here... how about I do it with you?"
Dan accepted the offer. Together, both father and son disappeared through the barrier without anyone noticing, causing Amanda and Sarah to blink repeatedly.
Harry came back out some time later and walked up to them. "I helped Dan get set up and said good-bye to him one last time. Anyway, I think now it's time to get back home; there's really nothing else to do here."
Dan was all set up on the train, which was leaving in a few minutes. His father hugged him closely, almost as though fearing that if he were to let go, Dan would be lost to him forever.
Eventually, the train started to move, then it picked up some more speed, and it was off.
Dan slowly let out the breath he was holding. This was it. He was finally going to Hogwarts.
The door opened into the compartment which only he occupied at that moment. It was a lanky girl with fiery red hair and freckles.
"Hi," she said with a smile. "Can I sit in here? Everywhere else is crowded."
Dan said, "I don't see why not."
"Thanks," the girl said, dragging her trunk in and closing the door behind her. Under her arm was a basket that made sounds from inside. She set the basket down, and as soon as she opened it, a small ginger-furred cat leapt out of it and into her arms.
"Nice cat," Dan commented.
"Nice owl," the girl said, looking at Cloudy, who hooted proudly. "By the way, I don't think we've been introduced. My name is Jessica Weasley. What's your name?" Here she extended her hand.
Dan sat there shocked for a moment, realizing that this was the eldest child of his father's former best friends, not to mention one of his own distant cousins. However, he quickly recovered.
"Dan Potter," he replied, accepting it. "In case you're wondering, the owl's name is Cloudy."
"Well, this here is Bookplanks," she said, holding her cat, who purred contently.
Dan stifled a snigger. "Sorry," he gasped. "What kind of name is that?"
"Yes, well, Bookplanks here is one of several cats from her litter. Her father was a cat which once belonged to my mother; his name was Crookshanks. Anyway, my little cat here had this habit of sleeping in my family's library on the wooden floor, so somehow the name stuck."
"I named my owl after the colors he is. Enough said."
Jessica laughed at that. "Yes, that is simpler, isn't it?"
They talked some more until the boy from Diagon Alley walked in. "Well, looks like we meet again," he drawled, looking at Dan. "By the way, my name is Adrian Malfoy."
"Jessica Weasley," Jessica said, with some dislike evident in her voice.
"Daniel Potter," Dan said neutrally.
Malfoy raised an eyebrow. "Funny that, huh? We were talking about Harry Potter that first time we met, and now we have a different Potter." Turning to face Jessica, he muttered, "Speaking of which, we also have a Weasley with us, how ironic..."
Jessica instantly went red, although from what emotion, Dan couldn't tell. Still, he wasn't about to let this happen. "I can see where you're going with this, Malfoy, and I'm telling you right now to stop it."
Malfoy sneered at him. "Trust me, Potter, you don't want to get involved with the Weasleys."
"You know, Malfoy, I don't think this is the way people make friends," Dan said as though talking to a young child. He didn't mean to sound that way, but it was how it just came out.
Malfoy scowled at Dan a little, but said no more. "Just trying to give you a little advice on the sort of people you should hang around, Potter." With that, he walked back out.
There was an awkward moment of silence while Jessica looked a little embarrassed, while Dan waved it aside as he turned to the window and then said, "You don't need to explain yourself, Jessica, because quite frankly, there's nothing to explain."
The train ride continued until a girl their own age with dirty blonde hair and bright eyes came in. "Oh hello, Michelle," Jessica said smiling.
"Hi, Jessica," the girl said in a rather airy voice. Turning to Dan, she said, "My name is Michelle Longbottom. It's a pleasure to meet you, Dan Potter."
Dan looked a little surprised. "How did you know my name?"
Michelle rolled her eyes and shrugged innocently. "Lucky guess, I guess."
"In which case, Michelle, I guess you guess luckily a lot," Jessica said in good humor.
The rest of the train ride went by as the three of them socialized. Soon enough, the train began to slow down, and they all got ready to enter the castle.
"First years over here! First years this way!"
Hagrid led the first years over to where the boats were waiting for them. The three of them were all packed into a boat together, and all crossed the lake's waters for the next several minutes.
Soon enough, they were all out of the boats and at a door. After Hagrid knocked on it a few times, it opened to show a pale man with slick black hair and a hawk-like visage.
"The first years, Professor Snape," Hagrid said dutifully.
"Thank you, Hagrid," Snape said in a cold voice that made a few people shudder. Hagrid nodded and walked off.
"Well, come in before I have to invite you in," Snape said in an oily tone. There was some rush as the nervous first-year students followed him inside.
Snape led them to a small room near the Great Hall where the voices of the rest of the students could be heard.
"Welcome to Hogwarts," Snape said, even though his voice sounded a little unwelcoming. "The Welcoming Feast will begin shortly, but before that, you will all be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a highly important ceremony here because, while you come to this school, your house will be something like a family here. You will attend the same classes as the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory, and spend free time in your house dormitory.
"The four houses are called Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Gryffindor. Each house has its own unique history and has produced in its own share of powerful witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, each of your successes will earn points for your house, while rule breaking will take them away. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the honor of the house cup, an event which I am sure you will all look forward to.
"The Sorting Ceremony will take place before the rest of the school in a few minutes... in the meantime, some of you may want to freshen yourselves up."
With that, Snape left the chamber.
There was nervous muttering among them, while Dan battled his feelings of excitement and nervousness.
A few minutes later, Snape returned for them. "Follow me."
The doors opened up to show a magnificent hall with several candles floating above the tables and the ceiling imitating the starry sky outside in a magnificent feat of trompe l'oeil which no Muggle artist could ever hope to accomplish.
Everyone fell silent as a stool was set up between the first-years and older students, with a patched old hat sitting on top of it.
After a few moments of silence, the brim of the hat opened like a mouth and began to sing.
"Another year has come and gone,
And again this stool I sit upon.
All the students, some new and most who return,
Once again study and toil as they learn.
For the newcomers, this I say:
I will sort you into your houses today.
Just to make sure no one will not complain,
Those different houses I will now explain.
There is Gryffindor, in red and gold,
House for the brave and the bold.
There is Hufflepuff, in yellow and black,
House where patience and hard work no one lacks.
There is Ravenclaw, in blue and bronze,
House in which wisdom and learning knows no bonds.
There is Slytherin, in green and silver,
House for those cunning and clever folk to endeavor.
May you all be well and do your houses proud,
For no one knows what troubles tomorrow may bring.
You see, sometimes peril comes, not quiet but loud,
And if worse comes to worst, I may no longer be there to sing.
Instead of applause, an eerie silence descended on the hall as everyone tried to understand those last four lines of the song.
"Well, wasn't that pleasant," Snape said icily. Turning to the nervous first-years, he said, "When I call your name, you will go to the stool on try on the Sorting Hat. When it announces your House, you will go to it." Unrolling his scroll, he read of the first name, and the Sorting began.
It was about halfway through when someone Dan knew was announced. "Longbottom, Michelle!"
Michelle calmly walked over to the stool and sat down as she put on the hat. Nearly a minute later, it announced its decision. "RAVENCLAW!"
Not too long later, it was finally Dan's turn. "Potter, Daniel!"
There were some whispers, but they stopped just as quickly as they started when people realized how this couldn't possibly be the son of the great Harry Potter, who was long dead.
Well hello there/, said an old kind of voice as soon as the hat came down over Dan's eyes. /It's certainly been a while since I last Sorted a Potter... and not just any Potter, it seems. Oh don't worry, your secret's safe with me, and I certainly don't get out much to blab gossip around.
So, let's see, shall we... Well, plenty of bravery, that's for sure. Certainly not as difficult as when I Sorted your father all those years ago. Yes indeed, you're definitely a -"
Dan put down the Hat back on the stool and walked over to the cheering Gryffindor House, feeling a strange kind of relief.
Looking up at the High Table, he could see Professor McGonagall at the center, with other professors scattered around, such as Professors Longbottom, Granger and Lupin. If he didn't know any better, Professor Longbottom gave him a wink before turning his attention back to the Sorting.
Soon enough, it was Jessica's turn. After a moment, it announced her a Gryffindor, and she walked over to their table, looking relieved.
As the Sorting finished, Headmistress McGonagall got up from her seat at the high table and addressed the hall. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts. Announcements will be made later after the Welcoming Feast, which is starting right now."
No sooner than she had finished those words than the food appeared and everyone happily ate. Dan socialized with Jessica and their other fellow Gryffindor first-years, but while all this was going on, he was feeling guilty about having to hide the truth about himself from them.
'It's probably better this way, actually,' he thought to himself sometime later. 'Can you imagine the chaos that would happen if everyone knew you were Harry Potter's son?'
This was true.
Finally, as the last of the desserts faded away, Professor McGonagall got up and made her announcements. It was the usual: No going into the Forbidden Forest, no going anywhere after hours, the obscene number of forbidden items (now somewhere beyond a thousand)... plus one that perked everyone's interest.
"This year, there will be a new rule in place, regarding first-years owning their own brooms. First-years may try out for their House Quidditch teams, and if they make it onto their teams with special permission from their Head of House, they may participate as a team member and have their own brooms here."
There was excitement in the air as everyone talked about the bending of the century-old rule of first-years not allowed their own brooms. After that, everyone was dismissed to their dormitories.
Dan followed the other Gryffindors up to their tower. He made special note of where all the staircases, halls and doors were, so he wouldn't get lost later on.
Finally, they arrived at the portrait of the Fat Lady.
"Usque omnis unus," a prefect said proudly, causing the portrait hole to open. A few Muggle-borns rolled their eyes at that.
"Come on, man, don't tell me you're using the Latin translation of a motto from some animated show more than thirty years old," one of the prefects' friends said.
"I happen to like that cartoon," the prefect said defensively. "Or at least the original series. The anime spin-offs weren't so good."
After Dan figured it out, he was laughing so hard he nearly collapsed.
"Well, he gets it," the prefect said. Turning to Dan, he said, "How did you know what it was?"
"Simple," Dan said with a grin. "My dad's a Latin teacher."
"That must have its perks," the prefect said, grinning himself as they climbed inside. "What's your name?"
"Aaron Smithson, nice to meet you."
They both went their ways, each to their own dorm room. Full of food, Dan's head soon hit the pillow and he himself entered the realm of sleep.
(End of Chapter 12.)
A/N: And there you have it, Dan arrives at Hogwarts...
EXTRA CREDIT! Do you know what the Latin translation means, let alone which cartoon they're talking about? Can you figure it out? WINK WINK!
Next chapter is a view at how other people are doing ... -Quillian