Slytherin? No!“Not Slytherin, eh?” said the hat inside his head. “But it’s all here, in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, there’s no doubt about that.”
“I don’t want Slytherin,” Harry thought as hard as he could.
“It’s not about what you want, though, it’s where you belong. I’ve already had to say no to a Neville Longbottom today-“
“But he got Gryffindor!”
“And he wanted Hufflepuff. But enough about him; it’s you I’m Sorting. And you’ll do great in-“
“SLYTHERIN!” it announced to the hall.
The hall was silent for what felt the longest five seconds of Harry Potter’s life. And all at once the Slytherins started cheering and clapping; with the exception of Draco Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. Draco was staring at Harry and wasn’t clapping, so the other two also stared at Harry and didn’t clap.
Slowly, Harry made his way to the table on the second to the left. He didn’t particularly want to sit next to Crabbe, who was cracking his knuckles, so he sat opposite Draco instead, next to a boy Harry didn’t recognize. To avoid looking at Draco, Harry stared at Lisa Turpin (who was being Sorted) instead.
“RAVENCLAW!” the hat announced, and the table on one side of Slytherin erupted in claps and cheers. Ron became a Gryffindor. He’ll hate me now, thought Harry, as Blaise Zabini sat down next to him.
“Welcome!” Albus Dumbledore said, making Harry jump. “Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!”
And he sat down to cheers and claps. “Is he mad?” Harry said at large, forgetting he was sitting at a table with people whose parents worked for the man who killed his. Well, probably.
To his surprise, it was Draco Malfoy who answered him.
“Everyone thinks he’s odd, but he is one of the most powerful wizards alive and he wouldn’t have achieved that title if he was truly mad. He acts like he is sometimes, though, like with what he just said.”
Harry nodded, but still didn’t look at him. Instead, he stared at the mashed potato that had appeared on one of the silver plates in front of him.
“Look, Potter,” Draco said, and this time Harry lifted his head to look directly at him. “I think we should forget what happened on the train. Weasley isn’t going to want to be your friend anymore, and neither is that Granger girl. You’ll be better off with us, and I don’t think either of us will survive this year if we don’t talk to each other. We’ll be paired up in classes at least once.” And with that speech, he held out his hand in front of him.
Harry took it, grinning slightly. Malfoy was probably right. Ron had said what he thought about Slytherin house, and Hermione would probably be terrified. Everyone relaxed after that, and began to eat and talk.
Harry soon found out that Malfoy’s minions didn’t have their own opinions and copied everything that he did and said. Malfoy himself seemed to find it annoying. The boy he sat next to was called Theodore Nott, and seemed quite nice. As nice as Slytherins get, thought Harry. Blaise Zabini was the other boy, who didn’t say much but did at least seem friendlier that Crabbe and Goyle. Even after what Malfoy said, they still seemed wary of Harry and cracked their knuckles more.
EW! Harry was thinking every time they did that. It was a noise he’d always hated and he found it disgusting.
“Stop doing that!” Malfoy finally said, “It’s annoying now,”. They just grunted and carried on shovelling food into their mouth. Harry himself couldn’t eat much. He was quite hungry, but he was just so nervous about the upcoming year. Malfoy seemed alright, now at least, and so did the other boys. But what about the rest of the house? Wouldn’t they hate the Boy Who Lived, after he defeated their parent’s master?
What Harry didn’t know, was that only a few actually had Death Eater families. Most of them had deserted Voldemort eleven years ago, and most of them were under the influence of the Imperius Curse and were glad to be rid of him.
But again, he didn’t know that and he was worried sick. After he’d eaten two small chicken nuggets and a few carrot slices, the food disappeared and was replaced by dessert. This was something he’d barely ever eaten at the Dursley’s, and that was only because Dudley was full (believe it or not) and so was the bin. And even that had just been a little bit of chocolate-flavoured yogurt.
Harry suddenly found that he could eat, and cut a slice out from a treacle tart. I could eat this all year, he thought, but I’d better not. I’ll get withdrawal symptoms when I’m back with the Dursley’s.
“What are yours, Potter?” a voice interrupted his thoughts. Harry looked up; he hadn’t been listening to the conversation for a while.
“I said,” Draco said,” What are your favourite subjects?”.
“I don’t know, really. I’ve been looking at my textbooks and I think I’ll hate History of Magic”-everyone nodded- “and I think I might like Potions and Defence Against the Dark Arts,”.
“Me too,” said Theodore Nott, “But I think I’ll like Charms as well,”. Malfoy snorted at that.
“And how,” he said, “Is bewitching objects to fly and birds to appear going to be useful in life?”.
“Maybe I’ll become a broom designer,” said Nott, grinning, “Then that first one will come in useful,”.
“Your father,” Malfoy looked at Nott with a deadpan expression, “Works at Borgin and Burkes bewitching Dark objects to become even Darker and you are going to follow his example and make Twigger brooms?”
Everyone laughed at that, and though Harry didn’t understand the joke, he still smiled.
“Maybe you can help Chudley Cannons win the league?” Blaise Zabini choked out, and that was the first time he’d spoken, other than to give his name.
The conversation turned to Quidditch after that, and Harry tried to join in, but as he’d learned how to play only a few hours ago, it was hard to keep up.
“Which team do you support, Harry?” said Malfoy.
“I don’t really know, Draco,” he replied, “I’ve never played Quidditch before –or even flown- and I don’t know the names of any teams. Apart from the Chudley Cannons. And I don’t support them; definitely not,”.
And after that Malfoy became Draco in his thoughts. But he wasn’t thinking of that now; everyone was staring at him.
“You’ve never flown before?” Nott (who would soon become Theodore) said.
“I grew up with Muggles,” Harry answered.
“How could you stand it?” said Zabini, wrinkling his nose.
Harry shrugged. “My family were worse than most Muggles. They kept me locked in a cupboard for half my life,”.
All eyes were on him again.
“They locked the famous Boy Who Lived in a cupboard?” exclaimed Draco.
“I’m assuming Dumbledore doesn’t know or he would have killed them.
“Actually,” said Harry (the theory only just came to him), “I think he did know. He just didn’t care. After all, he knew my aunt hated magic,”.
Suddenly, the food disappeared, and Harry was grateful for the distraction. Dumbledore stood up again and everyone fell silent. He started to speak, but Harry was only half listening.
“Hogwarts, Hogwarts, hoggy warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something please.
Whether we be old and bald,
Or young with scabby knees.
Our heads could do with filling,
With some interesting stuff.
For now they’re bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff.
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we’ve forgot.
Just do your best; we’ll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot.
Harry stood, transfixed, as everyone finished at different times. Two boys, Ron’s brothers, finished last at a slow pace, with Dumbledore conducting the last two lines.
“Ah, magic,” Dumbledore said as they finished, “A magic beyond all we do here! Ah, now, bedtime! Off you trot!”.
“What are we, horses?” Harry muttered, as everyone started to leave. Draco, who was suddenly beside him, laughed.
Everyone in green was following a tall girl with ginger hair. A prefect, Harry assumed. They arrived at a wall. Just a wall; no doorway or anything. The girl muttered something and the wall opened. It was like at Diagon Alley, the bricks slid aside to reveal a hidden place.
This hidden place was a large room, with staircases leading off in different directions. Everyone went up all the different staircases, and Harry wondered if he should follow, until he saw the other first year boys and five girls he guessed were also in their year. The prefect girl was standing in front of them, along with a boy with dark hair. The door suddenly opened again, to reveal a man with shoulder-length black hair. He walked inside, looking at every single first year. Harry couldn’t be sure, but he thought his gaze stayed on him a little longer than the rest.
“I am Professor Snape,” the man announced, “I am the head of Slytherin house, and I am also the Potions master. Normally, I would write and give a speech, but this year, I have asked our prefects to do this,”. And he sat down in a green armchair and lifted an arm to the prefects.
“I am Gemma Farley,” the girl began, and I am a sixth-year prefect.”
“And I’m Marcus Flint,” said the boy, “Also in sixth year,”.
“As the supposedly-evil house,” Gemma Farley continued, “We have a reputation to uphold. We have had many Dark wizards in our house, but just as many have come from the other houses. Not Hufflepuff, as much though… Anyway, what the other houses seem to forget, is that Merlin was also a Slytherin. He was one of the most famous wizards of all time; even Muggles have heard of him. So although we have turned out many Dark wizards, we are not a Dark house as a whole; despite popular belief.”
Marcus Flint took over. “As Slytherins, we have to stick together. Even if we don’t particularly like someone in our house, we don’t curse or hex or argue with them in front of the other houses. You’ll just have to learn to ignore them or learn to be with them for the next seven years. Another rule we have is at the table in the Great Hall, we have to sit up straight and show manners. We don’t stick by this rule on the first and last days of term, but otherwise you have to. And we know how much it kills your back, but it wasn’t us who created this rule,”.
Now Professor Snape stood up.
“You are expected to keep up with all your classes, and any homework handed in late, not done or inadequately written will be done again. Your homework in my class shall be marked as it would in the OWL’s (the tests you take in fifth year) and I don’t expect anything less than a P, which means Poor. You should study as well, because you earn points in every class for correct answers,”.
Professor Snape sat down and Farley started talking again.
“The House Cup is awarded to the house at the end of the year to the house with the most points. Points can be earned through homework, correct answers in class and Quidditch results along with other miscellaneous things. Quidditch tryouts are this Saturday, but first years aren’t often in the house team. Don’t bother attending if you can’t fly properly. And get a good broom first,”.
“And that’s pretty much it,” said Marcus, “The girls dormitories are on the left; look for the one that says “First Years” on it, and boys, the same on your right,”.
Everyone started going up to their respective dormitories, talking and laughing. Harry was silent though; he walked staring at the floor. Blaise slowed down and walked next to him.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing,” said Harry, “It’s just- well- I didn’t want to be in Slytherin. I wanted Gryffindor,”. Next to him Blaise raised his eyebrows.
“Yes. And I don’t know what I think now. Slytherin is awesome, better than I thought it would be. But I can’t help wondering if I’d have been better in Gryffindor,”.
“Face it,” said Blaise laughing. “If you’d been in Gryffindor, you would have had to share a room with Weasley. And you think you like him- well, before you did- but you would have seriously been annoyed with him after day two. I’ve met him before at the Ministry of Magic when I went with my father and he doesn’t shut up about Quidditch. And anyway, if you’d have been better in Gryffindor, the Hat would have put you there. And he didn’t,”.
“I guess,” said Harry, “Thanks,”. Blaise just laughed and ran off.
When Harry entered the dormitory five seconds later, the other five boys were running around and moving their stuff next to different beds. He noticed Crabbe sat on one and Draco pushed him off and sat on it instead. On one side of Draco Theodore and Blaise were wrestling over who got the bed by the window. Blaise was winning; he had a few pounds on Theodore and he used that to his advantage. Theodore eventually fell on the floor, where Blaise laughed at him and made the Loser! sign to him.
Harry took the bed on the end where no one was sitting. Theodore ended up on the other side of him. In his thoughts, they’d suddenly switched from last name to first name and he didn’t exactly know when or why it happened. Malfoy became Draco while they were still eating, but he wasn’t sure about the others. Oh well, he thought. He didn’t even know why he was thinking about it.
“Uh, Potter?” said Goyle, which was the first time Harry’d heard him speak. “You’re stuff’s here,”. Harry walked over to get it. “Thanks,” he muttered.
He walked back over to his bed and started to unpack. For some reason, he liked unpacking. He found it satisfying, just putting everything away neatly. He reached up to start ordering his books on the shelves when he wacked his head on them. Harry swore loudly, then stepped backwards and tripped. Everyone looked over when they heard the bang, and Crabbe and Goyle smirked nervously at the swearing.
“You okay?” said Blaise.
“Yeah, I’m okay,” Harry said, using the bed to push himself up. Actually, it hurt like mad, and, raising his hand to touch his head, he could already feel a lump. Hopefully the pain would subside soon. It did, and after ten minutes he’d forgotten about it.
Finally, Harry finished unpacking and got undressed into his pyjamas. As he slid into bed, he shivered, noticing how cold the sheets and duvet were. He could see a radiator between his and Theodore’s bed, though, so he hoped it would warm up soon. Another ten minutes, though, and Harry was asleep.