the boat ride and sorting
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Chapter 4: New Beginnings
Harry's eyes widened as the boat he was in gave him his first sight of Hogwarts. It was beautiful set against such a bright star filled night sky. This would be his home for the next seven years and he wasn't planning on complaining about that. He heard a gasp behind him and turned to see Daphne staring with awe at the castle. He learned on the train that she grew up in the magical world, but her home was more along the lines of modern muggle housing. An ancient magical castle would be as amazing a sight to her as it would a muggleborn.
He sighed in annoyance as the redheaded boy who'd joined their boat complained about being hungry, again. He could see Hermione roll her eyes as the redhead grumbled. He smirked and Hermione caught his look and gave him a questioning look. His grin widened and he slid his foot past hers and twisted his foot around quickly, sliding a foot out from under the complaining boy. With a yelp and flailing arms the boy fell into the lake, splashing Daphne who quickly kicked Harry in the shin.
“Ah! What was that for?” Harry asked with a frown as he rubbed his shin.
“For getting me wet you prat” Daphne stated bluntly while looking disdainfully at the flailing and splashing redhead in the water.
“He got you wet not me,” Harry said with a grin.
Daphne just sent him a knowing look before her eyes widened in surprise.
A large tentacle had suddenly risen out of the water holding a now screaming red headed boy. It lifted him clear of the water while he flailed his arms, beating at the tentacle, and kicked his legs.
“Get it off me! It's gonna eat me! Get it off I don't wana die!” The redhead screamed as he continued to fight against the tentacle.
Harry was laughing loudly and Hermione was trying to hold back a smirk as she knew he was safe and making a fool of himself. Harry just thought it was funny. Daphne was looking a little wary of the tentacle, but enjoying the show.
“It's 'kay mistah weasley! It's jus' tha Gian' Squid! He's har'less , jus' puttin ya back in tha boat,” Hagrid boomed from his boat.
True to Hagrid's claim, the squid quickly placed the now identified Mister Weasley into the boat he'd fallen out of. Harry was still laughing and Hermione had let loose a few giggles. Daphne had scooted forward in the boat, as far away from the soaked boy as she could get.
Harry laughed until the boats docked near Hogwarts. He stuck with Hermione and Daphne, but to their dismay the redheaded boy seemed to follow close to them. They walked up the steps where Hagrid banged on a large door. A black haired middle aged woman opened it and stepped out. She had a stern look about her that made Harry wish his Uncle would have an encounter with her. She could probably cow the fat bastard and that would be a glorious sight.
“Here they are Professa McGonnagal. A bit wet, but fine.” Hagrid said with a chuckle.
She 'hmmmed' before waving her wand at a few first years, including the redheaded boy, and they were all suddenly dry. She looked around and nodded.
“I am Professor McGonnagal. The Transfiguration teacher and head of Gryffindor house. You'll follow me to a room where you will wait to be sorted in front of the student body in the Great Hall. Once sorted you will go to the table of the house you were placed in and wait for the sorting to be finished. When it is finished the Welcoming Feast will begin. Now come along.” McGonnagal stated as she turned and began walking.
The intimidated first years quickly followed the woman. They were led to a small room off the side of the Great Hall and told to wait as she'd walked through the door and into the great hall.
Whispers broke out immediately among the first years. They were whispering about what houses they thought they'd get into and how they would get sorted. The redhead who Harry had knocked into the water gave his opinion quite loudly.
“We have to fight a troll. My brothers told me so.” He said loudly with a look that said he liked having what he thought was knowledge over others.
Many of the first years quickly paled at that, but Hermione rolled her eyes and Harry laughed loudly.
“What are you laughing at?” Weasley asked with a glare.
“You ya idiot.” Harry said with a grin.
Hermione and Daphne both smacked his arms causing him to frown at both. He looked back at Weasley and grinned at his flushed cheeks and angry glare.
“Do you really think parents would send their untrained children to this school if we had to fight something like a troll to get sorted? Fully trained witches and wizards have been killed by trolls before you idiot, what chance would we have? I can't believe you'd be that gullible.” Harry said with a chuckle.
Weasley flushed redder and turned away muttering how Harry would be put in Slytherin where he belonged, though he had no idea who the Harry actually was. Harry laughed softly at that, he'd never go into that house, he'd end up killing Malfoy if he did and that would just be hard to get out of.
Hermione leaned close to him and whispered “Harry you're making a bad first impression with the other first years. Remember how ours was, do you want that with everyone in our year?”
Harry frowned looking uncomfortable with his suddenly tensed shoulders and shrugged while muttering “Whatever.”
Before Hermione could reply again Professor McGonnagal returned and ushered the first years out the door to stand in a corner. She then walked around them to in front of the Staff table and pulled a stool with an old hat forward. She then stood back and to the surprise of the first years it began to sing.
Harry tuned it out after the first few lines. He stared around the Hall surprised at the small number. According to what he read almost every magical child from the United Kingdom went to this school, but the total number was below what most muggle Secondary Schools had. There were less than a thousand people in the school as a whole from what he could see. His eyes were wide as he realized how vastly outnumbered the magical world was by the muggle world. He was so caught up with his thoughts about the magical population that he missed the end of the song and the first few names called by Professor McGonnagal. He snapped back to attention when he heard Hermione called.
“Hermione Granger” McGonnagal called out.
Hermione wandered over to the stool and threw the hat on. She frowned as the hat simply hummed.
Your mind has too many years for your body
Hermione's eyes widened and she let out a soft gasp as she heard the hat. She didn't even think about someone being able to get into her mind. She'd created a spell to completely protect her mind from all forms of attack. The hat shouldn't be able to get in.
I can't get in my dear, at least not all the way in. That is amazingly crafty spell work. I can simply tell your mind has too many years for the body it's housed in. The spell work of that spell alone shows you are very much a daughter of Ravenclaw.
NO! I have to go to Gryffindor.
Why so my dear?
It's where Harry is going to go.
Harry Potter? Isn't it a bit presumptuous to think he'll go there?
NO! I know he will. Now put me there or so help me I'll feed you to that three headed dog of Hagrid's!
How the bloody hell do you know about that?
It doesn't matter, now sort me.
Not much of a job for me when you sort yourself. The hat sounded distinctly annoyed as it said this.
Whatever now get it on with it.
To those who had been watching it had been a surprising ten minutes until the Hat finally sighed and shouted “Gryffindor!”
Hermione smiled and went to the clapping table. She sat down so that there was a spare seat next to her. Daphne was up next and she was curious if she'd end up in Slytherin.
Daphne sighed and walked up to the stool and put the hat on while sitting down. Hermione noticed many of the Slytherins and a few older students in the other houses watched her with great intensity. She was surprised that even the staff seemed to be watching the girl's sorting carefully.
'What's up with Daphne? I never noticed any of this the time before.' Hermione thought to herself, but then frowned, 'I didn't even know she existed for most of the last time. I wonder what the big deal about her is.'
“Slytherin!” the Hat shouted.
The entire Slytherin table seemed to swallow as one and the students in the other houses who'd been watching her intensely all seemed to sigh in relief.
'What the hell?' Harry thought to himself, as he too had noticed the reactions. Not many others noticed it, but it was an odd reaction to have to a first year.
Harry watched as the student continued to be sorted. When Malfoy was called he heard Weasley spit out “Dirty Slytherin” just before the Hat yelled Slytherin. He chuckled and watched the arrogant blond stride to the Slytherin table, but sit as far away from Daphne as he could.
When his name was called it caused more of a reaction than Daphne's. Ignoring the whispers and the craning necks he sat on the stool and put the hat on his head.
Another one with too many years I see.
Harry's eyes widened at the voice, but recognizing it as the hat he relaxed.
What do you mean too many years?
Ah I see now. Never mind my boy. Now, you're much easier to read than the other so lets get you sorted right.
Anywhere but Slytherin.
What is it with the first years wanting to control their sorting this year? It's my job not yours!
That's fine, but I'm not going to Slytherin. I wont be able to deal with their attitudes.
You know they aren't all blood purists.
Of course I know that, but the ones who aren't are in the minority.
True my boy. You have an intelligent but underused mind. You'll do well in Ravenclaw.
“Ravenclaw!” The Hat shouted.
Harry removed the hat and looked around at the oddly silent Great Hall. Suddenly the Ravenclaw table started cheering and clapping. He grinned and walked over, sitting next to a pretty Indian girl that had been sorted just before him. They introduced themselves and watched the rest of the sorting, then the feast started.
Hermione was in a state of mild shock. Harry hadn't gone to Gryffindor. It changed his house. If she had listened to the hat she'd be in the same house as Harry. 'Damnit why do I have to always think I know everything!' She shouted in her mind while tightly gripping the fork in her hand.
'First year was hell for me in Gryffindor. Why didn't I listen to the hat? Damnit!'
Hermione turned and looked towards the Ravenclaw table. She stared at Harry smiling and talking with Padma. 'Damnit, bitch he's mine!' She thought and then shook her head. 'Gotta stop that.'
She turned back to her food and then looked up and gasped. Daphne was staring right at her with that same strange intense stare. Her blue eyes seemed to stare into her soul and it was a creepy feeling. The brunette blushed as the stare made her feel exposed, which she couldn't explain. She looked back down and started eating.
Harry sighed as he followed the Ravenclaw Prefect to the Ravenclaw tower. They approached the entrance and the Prefects turned to the group.
“This is the portrait entrance to our common room. It's different than the other houses in that we don't use a password. The portrait will ask you to solve a logic riddle or puzzle to get in. If you can't solve it you'll have to wait for another Ravenclaw. Now we'll let the first years answer this first one of the year. It's tradition and Professor Flitwick will give twenty points to whoever first answers it.” The prefect stated as she stood aside so the portrait could give it's riddle or puzzle.
The portrait smiled at the first years before giving it's puzzle.
“Ten gnomes are about to be executed. Although they don't like the idea, they are each selfless and want to do anything (even by sacrificing themselves) in order to help their fellow gnomes. They are told what will happen to them: They will each be lined up single file, so that they are each facing the gnome in front of them. Each of them will be given a red or a white hat on their head, and from the back of the line (the gnome who can see everyone else) they will ask him to state his hat color, 'red' or 'white.' If he can state it correctly (he cannot see his own hat, only those in front of him), he is allowed to live. Knowing what is going to happen to them, they are allowed to devise a strategy beforehand. How many people can they guarantee to save, and what strategy will ensure this?
There are NOT necessarily five reds and five whites!”
The first years all began thinking over it and frowning with concentration. Harry went through it in his head, figuring it out. His eyes widened as he figured out the answer and chuckled as he realized the hat was right, he had underused intelligence and was good at solving puzzles. 'Damn Dursleys.'
“I've got it.” He said, surprising many of the older students who were still working on it themselves.
“Well give your answer.” The prefect said with a grin.
“They can guarantee all except one to be saved. The first gnome has no information, and must definitely guess his color, so cannot be guaranteed his life. But, if he states 'red' if there are an odd number of red hatted gnomes in front of him, and 'white' if there are an even number of red hatted gnomes in front of him, then everyone else can be saved. For example, if he says 'red,' then that means there are 1,3,5,7 or 9 red gnomes in front of him. The gnome directly in front of him sees either that same number of reds, or one less (an even number). If he sees one less then that means he is a red, and if the number is the same then he is white. Everyone else can listen to this going on and count the number (odd or even) of reds in front of him, and compare it to the data the gnome behind him gives.” Harry finished feeling oddly smug.
Eyes widened all around, but the portrait grinned and said “Correct” before swinging open.
The group of Ravenclaws congratulated Harry and they all entered the common room. Harry looked around at the large circular room. There were blue hangings all around and fat arm chairs that looked very comfortable filled the room. The ceiling was domed and painted with beautiful stars and a statue of Rowena herself graced the room.
“Now first years Follow us.” The female Prefect said motioning to herself and her male counterpart.
“Guys with me.” The male prefect said and went towards the left side of the room while the girls went to the right.
Harry followed the prefect to a door made to look like the rest of the circular wall of the common room. He pressed into the right side of the door and it slid left revealing two spiral stairways, one leading up and one leading down.
“Now there's only so much room so to make more for the way the Ravenclaws are dormed we have two sets. Downstairs is the first to third years. The first years are at the lowest rooms and the third years at the highest. Same for the upstairs. Fourth years are at the top and seventh years are just around the corner of the turn. Now you'll be dormed with only one person. I hear that the other houses just group the whole year together, but it is easier for us to study and much roomier if we simply have one roommate. You'll find your names outside one of the doors at the bottom along with that of your roommate. Get some rest, classes start tomorrow.” The prefect finished before walking up the spiral staircase and to his room.
Harry followed the other three first year boys, Terry boot, Anthony Goldstein, and Michael Corner. They got to the bottom two doors and Harry found his and Anthony's names on the very last door. They stared at each other for a moment before Harry shrugged and opened the door. He smiled at the sight.
It was fairly roomy. It was split into three sections. The one they were in was about fifteen feet across and square. It held a few of the same large arm chairs the common room did and had two desks, one against the left wall and one against the right wall, both with cushioned arm chairs. There was a window right across from the door facing out towards something he couldn't make out at night. On the left and right sides of the room there were archways that were three feet wide and the top of the arch was six inches below ceiling. Past these Archways were small rooms. A comfy looking twin sized four poster bed, A decently sized set of book shelves, and a small wardrobe next to his trunk. The small rooms were about five feet wide and seven feet long.
“This is bloody awesome.” Anthony said with a laugh.
“No kidding.” Harry replied with a true sense of happiness, so far everything had been a great deal better than life with the Dursleys.
“Well I'm setting up my room, Goodnight.” Anthony said as he rushed into his room on the right.
“Yeah, Goodnight.” Harry replied as he entered the one on the left.
“Well lets get things sorted” Harry said to himself as he opened his trunk and began to pull out the books.