Waverly’s nails were bitten down to the quick. It was a habit that she had tried to grow out of but on days when she was nervous, she really couldn’t help it. Today was one of those days.
She pushed her breakfast away. With butterflies in her stomach and head buzzing with all the ridiculous ways she could potentially make a fool of herself, there was no way on earth she'd be able to swallow a bite, let alone a whole plateful.
It was no easy thing, starting at a new school. Especially when you’ve been homeschooled your whole life by a witch who lived a few houses down from you and the school you’re planning on attending is none other than Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Daily Prophet never seemed to have a shortage of Hogwarts related horror stories to publish. From “Chaos in the Care of Magical Creatures Class” to “Student Hexed in Hallway” the school definitely seemed to have a very full hospital wing.
Waverly might’ve sent a letter, in a moment of panic, saying that she’d decided not to come to Hogwarts after all if it weren’t for the fact that she needed to obtain her OWL’s in order to pursue a decent career, you simply can’t get those as a homeschooled student.
She had met with the headmaster, Professor McGonagall, a few weeks earlier. Normally when students were eleven they received a letter inviting them to the school and it was rather rare for someone new to enter the school in their fifth year. This scared Waverly a little bit as everyone else around her would “know the ropes” and be in established social circles. She already hated thinking about how she was going to be “the new girl” and just really didn’t want to draw any attention to herself.
McGonagall was tall and severe looking but seemed kind at heart. She had asked Waverly to perform a few charms and answer a few questions just to ensure that her homeschooling background was strong enough to get her directly into the fifth year classes. Once she was satisfied she offered a warm smile and extended a hand, “Welcome to Hogwarts, Ms. Earp.”
Waverly couldn’t express how happy she was in that moment, it meant that she would be able to get the OWL’s she wanted and hopefully follow her preferred career path. The fear of realizing she would actually have to uproot her life to attend this boarding school hadn’t really settled in yet. After all, attending Hogwarts was all Waverly really wanted, most of her fear came from the fact that she didn’t want to mess this opportunity up.
McGonagall handed Waverly a worn, brown, envelope, “The information in this envelope contains all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on 1 September. There’s just one more thing. Normally first years are all placed into their houses upon their first day of Hogwarts. There’s a sorting ceremony during the feast that evening. However we would like to find out what house to place you in ahead of time, so we can sort out living arrangements and ensure there's a seat for you in your classes as non-electives are taken by house. I assume you wouldn’t fancy being sorted amongst a group of first years anyways seems as you’re a lot older.”
McGonagall stood up and grabbed a rugged hat off the shelf above her. She placed it upon Waverly’s head and it sprung to life.
“Ahh, another Earp,” The hat declared, “You’re from a very long line of Slytherins indeed.”
That was true, Wynonna had been a Slytherin, her father had been her Slytherin, basically every member of her family dating way back even past her great-grandfather Wyatt Earp had been a Slytherin. But the hat was hesitating.
“Hmmm… Interesting. There’s courage, that’s for sure, you are certainly brave of heart.”
Waverly couldn’t help but wonder where the hat was coming from. She was perched awkwardly on her chair, muscles tense and knuckles white. She knew that whatever house the hat placed her in, would change her life entirely. She was petrified in that moment not so much brave of heart.
Although come to think of it, often in a moment of conflict, she would stand up for others. Wynonna and her might as well have been muggleborn as both of their parents were absent from their lives from a very young age. A muggle Gus had taken her and Wynonna in and they grew up knowing nothing of the wizarding world.
Close to her 9th birthday, Wynonna started making things happen. moving objects, setting things on fire she believed at the time there were demons haunting her and often the kids at school picked on her for being a freak. Waverly was always the first to stand up for Wynonna, no matter how much hate she got for being part of the freaks dysfunctional family.
Maybe that was why the hat thought she had courage.
The hat continued smoothly whispering into Waverly’s ears, “But I also see so much potential. You would be great in Ravenclaw. They would foster your talents well. You are an exceptional student for a homeschooler.”
Waverly had been so jealous when Wynonna got sent to Hogwarts, she wanted to be just as special, the day Wynonna left for her first year another witch, Helen had seen her crying in the park. It turned out that this witch had been watching the Earp sisters their entire lives and she volunteered to show Waverly some magic and teach her about the wizarding world.
Waverly would definitely have come to Hogwarts in her first year, had Gus not fallen ill causing Waverly to decide to stay back and take care of her. Helen having grown fond of Waverly decided to get a permit to teach her what she needed to know so that once Gus recovered Waverly could return to school. However, Gus was sick on and off for three years and Waverly just never really found a chance to join Hogwarts.
Waverly always worked so hard when Helen was teaching her and was determined to be the best she could be. After Gus made a full recovery just last year Helen had been the one to urge her to apply to join Hogwarts to sit OWL’s saying “Talent like yours should go wasted.” However Waverly really just couldn’t see herself sitting amongst the smartest students in Hogwarts and was a little intimidated by the thought.
The hat continued its long whispers “Hmm but It always seems to come back to one thing with you. Yes, you’re hard-working, loyal and honest. Always putting others before you. You stayed behind because of Gus and always stood up for Wynonna. You’re caring, strong. I think I’d better place you into Hufflepuff.” the hat declared.
McGonagall stood up smiling and removed the hat from Waverly’s head, “Well that’s settled then. I will see you on the first of September.”
It was almost 9:00 meaning she would be leaving for Kings Cross soon to ensure she caught the train at eleven. She was braiding her hair to pass the time, a rather loose side french braid. She found it was helping to keep herself busy.
Gus yelled from in the kitchen, “Hey Waves, when are we leaving?” she had volunteered to drive Waverly to Kings Cross that way they would be able to bring the car back.
“Uhh, Just a few minutes.” she replied snapping a hair tie around the bottom of the braid and then hurrying over to her room to check that she definitely had everything packed.
She was going to miss this place. Her walls, normally blanketed with a collage of photos and posters, were now bare. It was strange for a place that had been so truly her for the past decade of her life to be so empty. She picked up her trunk and began dragging it out of the room, pausing and running her finger over the pencil height markings on the doorframe. This was it, the next big chapter in her life. Nothing was going to be the same but it definitely was a step in the right direction. A Hufflepuff, she thought. I’m going to make them proud.
The train ride was long, to say the least. Waverly had been lucky enough to secure a seat in an empty carriage. The aged wood lining the window had many messages scrawled into it. From a love heart with the initials LW and CG to a message saying I just really love pumpkin tarts. It was a diary left by previous school students.
Waverly was staring out the window but her mind had long since drifted from the scenery. The persistent taping off her nails on the wood was almost louder than the sound of the rain on the glass.
She’d been on the train for a few hours now and was starting to regret telling the lady with the trolley that she didn’t want food. Especially after she had skipped breakfast. She almost wanted to arrive at the castle sooner, simply so she could eat but at the same time, she was terrified to arrive.
She must’ve been the first person to join Hogwarts halfway through their education in at least a decade and hearing the rumbling chatter and laughter coming from all the other carriages was slightly intimidating given that she was taking the train ride alone.
She’d work it out she always did.
She leaned over to her trunk and pulled out a small, worn leather diary. It was a parting gift from Gus and Gus had told her to write down all of her adventures in it to look back upon later.
Dear Future Self,
Waverly began writing everything that came to mind.
Today is September first or my first day at Hogwarts. I’m on the Hogwarts Express now ready to begin this “new adventure”. I secured a carriage to myself which is nice, It means I don’t get to embarrass myself just yet.
I don’t really know what to say except that I am terrified of what's to come when the train stops. It’s crazy to think that I’m really doing it. Going to Hogwarts I mean. When Wynonna got her letter it was all I ever dreamed of doing. Now 11 years later, I’m finally doing it.
You know what else is crazy to think? It’s crazy that If I had stayed I’d be taking Calculus. Here I’m taking Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, History of Magic, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy, Herbology, Study of Ancient Runes and uuuhhhh Care of Magical Creatures.
I don’t really know what else to say besides wish my future self good luck. I’ll write again later. Maybe with a quill and not a pencil.
When the train stopped so did Waverly’s heart. This was it. She hurried to the front of the train planning to be one of the first people off. She figured if she was one of the first people to clamber into a Thestrals Carriage other people would join her and then she wouldn’t have the awkward “can I sit here” conversation.
The trains hallways were packed. Students draped in robes were all pushing towards the front desperate to escape the bottleneck. A few of the older students simply apparated off the train as they were far enough from Hogwarts to be able to do so. Owls were screeching and students were yelling as the suffocating crowd pushed onwards towards the door.
Waverly took a deep breath of fresh air when she got out the door. The smell of pine trees instantly filling her nostrils. She hurried over to sit in one of the horseless carts before they all filled up.
Unfortunately, four second-year Slytherin students clambered into the carriage. Waverly sighed. She guessed she wouldn’t be making any friends here. The politer of the four, a young boy with jet black hair asked her who she was. All the Slytherin boys eyes lit up when she said she was an Earp.
“How come we didn’t see you around last year? All of the Earps have been Slytherins for the past… well since forever!”
The boys were definitely curious. Apparently, tales of Wynonna were still shared in the Slytherin common rooms even though she had long since graduated. She definitely had made a name for herself during her stay. She’d occasionally send Waverly an OWL detailing exactly what she had done to the bathrooms to get Filch this mad at her. While some of the stuff was hilarious other things like slipping a love potion into her teacher's drink made Waverly wonder if she would even be able to take potions without needing to hide from the teacher at all costs. In fact given the amount of trouble Wynonna seemed to be in she may have single-handedly lost Slytherin the house cup.
“It’s actually my first year,” Waverly explained, “and I’m kinda in Hufflepuff.”
The three other boys instantly fell into hysterics. While the boy with jet hair offered her a weak smile. He may have been a Slytherin but that doesn’t mean he had to be an asshole.
“No way is an Earp in Hufflepuff. That house is for the soft cry babies, your family must be ashamed.” the blonde one taunted.
Waverly just shrugged it off but she didn’t speak to the boys for the rest of the ride. True it had been a few years since Hufflepuff had won the house cup, or the Quidditch cup or really anything that did not make Hufflepuff a weak house. Hufflepuffs were perfectly successful they just didn’t tend to boast about it like the others. Besides honey badgers are seriously dangerous they’ve been known to fend off animals as big as lions before. There's always more to a Hufflepuff then there seems.
After a few minutes, the castle came into view.
It was breathtaking and daunting at the same time, seven stories of stone bricks and her home for the next year to come. The carriages were close now and before she knew it Waverly was being shepherded through the large oak doors and into the great hall. Grateful to be distancing herself from the Slytherin boys.
The great hall was a sight. Thousands of candles were floating midair over four long tables. Wynonna had told her about how the hall's roof looked like the night sky but she’d never really believed how realistic it was until now. It was amazing.
Waverly noted the sorting hat sitting on a stool at the front of the room as was momentarily grateful that no one saw her sorting. Based on the reactions on the Slytherin boys earlier she wasn’t entirely sure about how the other students would react to a Hufflepuff Earp. This way was definitely easier.
She hurried over towards the Hufflepuff table, she figured most of the people over here would be friendly. Upon seeing someone that looked her age she gestured to the seat saying, “Do you mind I sit here? I’m kinda new to Hogwarts and don’t know anyone but I’ve already been sorted and all that,” she was rambling it was a nervous habit.
“Of course!” the girl replied “and if you're new here you have to try the treacle tart. Nobody makes it like Hogwarts.”
By the time the feast had finished Waverly had talked to a fair few Hufflepuffs. They all seemed friendly and bright-eyed and made her feel welcome. She hadn’t found a steady fast friend yet, but there were plenty of people she felt safe talking to and she’d most likely be able to find someone to sit next to in classes tomorrow.
McGonagall had delivered her timetable. Tomorrow she was starting with Potions then she had Defense Against the Dark Arts and Study of Ancient Runes before lunch. Then she had History of Magic, Herbology, and Transfiguration.
Period 1- Potions
Period 2- Defense Against The Dark Arts
Period 3- Study of Ancient Runes
Period 4- History of Magic
Period 5- Herbology
Period 6- Transfiguration
Period 1- Care of Magical Creatures
Period 2- Study of Ancient Runes
Period 3- Study of Ancient Runes
Period 4- Charms
Period 5- Free Period
Period 6- Astronomy
Period 1- Free Period
Period 2- Herbology
Period 3- Defense Against the Dark Arts
Period 4- History of Magic
Period 5- Potions
Period 6- Astronomy
Period 1- Herbology
Period 2- History of Magic
Period 3- Charms
Period 4- Care of Magical Creatures (with Gryffindor)
Period 5- Care of Magical Creatures (with Gryffindor)
Period 6- Astronomy
Period 1- Transfiguration
Period 2- Transfiguration
Period 3- Potions
Period 4- Defense Against the Dark Arts
Period 5- Charms (with Gryffindor)
Period 6- Free Period
The prefects were leading all of the Hufflepuffs to the common room and Waverly was trying to mentally note all of the classes and hallways they walked through. They walked down the kitchen corridor. When the prefects suddenly stopped.
“Okay everybody listen up, To enter the common room you have to tap this barrel to the rhythm of Helga Hufflepuff. That’s tap tap tap-tap-tap alright? If you get it wrong you’ll be doused in vinegar and that stuff doesn’t smell very good ok? Let's go in. Everyone watch your heads.”
They were all crawling through the barrels on their hands and knees. It took quite a while to get all of the students through as only one person could fit at a time. Waverly heard some of the prefects telling the students about the time someone tried to use an Engorgement Charm on the barrel. It didn’t go very well. Before she knew it Waverly was on her hands and knees crawling through the barrel.
The Hufflepuff Basement was beautiful It had a round and earthy low-ceiling and it’s circular windows had a view of rippling grass and dandelions, Waverly couldn’t quite tell if the view was real or enchanted. There were so many fascinating plants sitting on windowsills and hanging from the ceiling. Some of which appeared to be talking and singing. A prefect yelled, “Don’t touch the purple plant, you may break out in hives.”
Waverly went and sat on a large overstuffed yellow and black chair by the fire and continued listening to the prefects rambling.
“There’s a girls dormitory through this door and boys through the other. Most of the other houses have the doors enchanted to stop people of the opposite gender from entering but we have removed these charms to accommodate for certain students identities. So please just don’t be caught in the wrong one.”
She could get used to this, sitting by the fire in such a lovely room. The earthly smell swept all of her worries away, Hogwarts was starting to feel like home.
Dear Future Self,
Maybe I was worried for nothing, everyone here is so nice and accepting. I could definitely get used to this.