Ron POV ~~~~
"So it's true then, what they're saying on the train." I hear a voice call from over my shoulder, turning to see slicked back, platinum blond hair and tailor-made robes accompanying an aristocratic smirk, "Harry Potter has come to Hogwarts."
As soon as I heard the voice, my mind jumps back to the Ministry Christmas party Dad took us to and the nasty comments we received from him and his father Lucius. Go figure Draco Malfoy starts Hogwarts in our year. Bastard should have gone to Durmstrang, the git.
"This is Crabbe and Goyle," he says nodding over each of his shoulders at the lumbering brutes standing behind and to either side of him. "And I'm Malfoy, Draco Malfoy." I choked down a laugh, recalling a Muggle movie character Dad enjoyed impersonating sometimes when he thought no one was looking called James Bond. That apparently caught his attention however because his face soured almost instantly, a hard glared aimed at me.
"Think my name's funny, do you? No need to ask yours; red hair and a hand-me-down robe. You must be a Weasley."
And so what if I am you pompous little twit?
"We'll soon find that some wizarding families are better than others, Potter. Don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there." With that Malfoy reached his hand out towards Harry who looked down with a bored expression before aiming it upwards towards the blond's own expectant one.
"I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks."
And that's the kicker; well-done mate!
Before Malfoy could say a word, Professor McGonagall walked up and led us into the Great Hall. And as we're waiting, I zone out, thinking about the events of the past few hours. Harry and I became fast friends on the train ride over and I could already imagine the things people might say about it.
"You're just friends with him because he's famous"
"Bet you're only in it for the money he's got lying around"
"He must take pity on the second to last child of disgraceful blood"
They can all go hang!
It was obvious that Harry is rather meek, hasn't experienced much of the Wizarding World, and isn't used to as much money as he flashed on the train, so all of those accusations are dust in the wind at this point. And regardless, he's become the one person I feel immediately comfortable around; it takes me a long time to warm up to anyone so for me to be ready to fight and die for Harry is extraordinary to me. Right before a huge set of double doors that nearly reach to the ceiling, she turns to us, smiles then pushes open the two large doors and leads us into the Great Hall, where there are four long tables with many kids, as well as floating candles. The roof appears to be the sky. As Harry looks up at it with the most awestruck look I've ever been graced to see in my life, I hear a voice pipe out like a true pureblood and glance over to see a girl with the biggest mass of curly dark hair I'd ever seen in my life saying,
"It's not real, the ceiling. It's just bewitched to look like the night sky. I read about it in Hogwarts: A History." I only rolled my eyes a little since she seemed like she would be an amazing person to study with if she's already that well informed about the school's history.
"All right, will you wait along here, please? Now, before we begin, Professor Dumbledore would like to say a few words." The female Professor says, getting our attention as she walks up the steps to stand by the side of an old wizard with the longest white beard a person's ever seen. I recognized him quickly as Professor Dumbledore: Headmaster of Hogwarts, as he rises from the main table and without the use of a Sonorus charm (a vocal amplification charm) let's out a booming, attention-getting voice that silences the room without hesitation.
"I have a few start-of-term notices I wish to announce. The first years please note that the dark forest is strictly forbidden to all students. Also, our caretaker, Mr. Filch," the headmaster signals to a haggard looking man; thin with stringy-long hair and a long-haired cat beside him with red eyes, "has asked me to remind you that the 3rd floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a most painful death. Thank you."
My heart dropped slightly as I turned to Harry, both our eyebrows well into our hairline, seeing the bushy-haired girl on his other side looking quite flushed at the announcement as well. Leaning forward to catch her attention, I whispered,
"Don't sweat it, Professor Dumbledore has quite the flair for dramatics."
She nods, looking only a minor bit better at the news. As Professor Dumbledore moved to sit once again, Professor McGonagall stood with a large scroll in her left hand and a stool with a hat on its seat in the right.
"When I call your name, you will come forth, I shall place the sorting hat on your head, and you will be sorted into your houses." She places the stool down, adjusting the hat before moving the scroll in front of her and opening it, viewing the first name on the list. More than likely organized by who received their letters first.
"Oh, no. Okay, relax."
She takes a brief breath of air before glancing at Harry and I, both of us shooting her a thumbs up before she turns and walks up to the stool. The professor picks up the hat on the seat and motions for Hermione to sit down, placing the raggedy hat on her head. A heartbeat went by before the hat shaped into a face; hollowed folds moving in ways that a set of eyes and a mouth do, speaking up from atop the young girl's head.
"Ah, right then...hmm...right. Okay...Gryffindor!!!"
The room erupts into cheers, the loudest from the Gryffindor table with people on their feet in glee as Hermione jumps off with a smile, relieved at the turn out as she passes us by on her way to the table.
"Draco Malfoy." the professor calls above all of the noise, the blond git immediately saunters up proudly. As the Malfoy air sits, McGonagall goes to place the hat on his greased back head but stops short as the hat pipes out,
Once again the room is cheering with the Slytherin table leading the noise. Leaning over as Malfoy runs towards the table, I whispered to Harry something I remembered my dad saying over the summer before I left for school,
"There isn't a witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin."
Harry just nodded, his focus on the front of the room as McGonagall called another name,
A small, redheaded girl goes up, and as she turns to sit down, I realized that I recognized her from the ministry Christmas party as well. I nodded at her in support and in greeting, wondering if she saw me.
I heard Harry cry out in pain, catching my attention. When I turned towards him he was grimacing, holding his forehead like he got hit.
"Harry, what is it?" My heart dropped thinking someone was already willing to target the Savior of the Wizarding World.
"Nothing...it's nothing, I'm fine."
I see him glance up at the head table, his eyes trained on a tall man with shoulder-length, greasy, black hair and robes of a matching black, staring back at us with a confused look on his face.
"Let's see...I know...Hufflepuff!"
The room cheers for a third time as she runs to her table, waving back at me as she does with an enormous smile.
"Harry Potter!" McGonagall calls out.
Thought I'd have been up before Harry but alright.
"Go on Harry," I tell him, "I'll see you at Gryffindor yeah?"
And he nods, mouth a nervous, thin line across his face as he turns and walks to the sit on the stool. As the hat is placed on his head, I see them talking quietly to one another for a moment, but can't hear anything with the silencing bubble charm around the stool; a standard feature that the hat implements when the student may not want others to hear what's being said. The hat tilts itself back to bypass the charm and yell out,
And the Great Hall is as silent as a crypt. The Professors and staff have gone ashen, Harry looked like he's ready to cry or throw up, maybe both. Concerned murmuring has broken out at the House tables, even from Slytherin. He stands shakily and walks towards the tables with tears welling up in his eyes. Everyone was flabbergasted but I was determined to be the one to save my best friend and make sure that he started this unexpected journey with a familiar face. So without having my name been called, I walked up to the stool and turned to face the hall.
I said out loud before I picked up the hat and sat it on my own head, feeling the silencing charm secure into place around me, I crossed my arms in determination and spoke to the hat, my gaze on Harry the whole time.
"Alright, Mr. Sorting Hat here's the deal. Put me in Slytherin."
"That's not how this works boy."
"Too bad, put me into Slytherin. I can't let Harry go in this alone, he'll get eaten alive."
"What was that you said to Harry earlier, 'There isn't a witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin?' "
My heart dropped remembering I said that, knowing that Harry was probably feeling horrible now, thinking of me saying that and maybe even thinking that I hate him...
"I don't give two shits about what I said, I was just mouthing off cause I'm pissed at Malfoy now just do it."
The hat was silent before tilting itself up, breaking the charm and yelling out,
There were a few cheers, some groans from the Gryffindor and Slytherin tables, as well as some very heated curses being yelled from Percy, George, and Fred as they leaped to their feet in anger. I didn't give any of it a second thought as I jumped up and ran to sit next to Harry halfway down the table on the right-side bench from the front. The whole way, I felt like all of my muscles were loose and relaxed, without the tension of resisting running straight to his side when the hat sorted him. I looked to see his jaw dropped and his eyes just a little red and puffy like he'd been wiping away tears before they could escape.
"Ron, why'd you do that?!"
I just shrugged, happy that he wasn't crying and was too shocked to be upset.
"Couldn't leave you to fend for yourself now could I?"
The rest of the Sorting Ceremony went beautifully, the rest of the table had been ignoring us for the most part and had subtly slid away from us to give us the respect they felt we deserved.
Which is apparently none since they seem to be shunning us.
Regardless, I kept talking while we ate in order to distract Harry from any bad or upsetting thoughts and succeeded until the plates were sent to the kitchens with a pop and Professor Dumbledore stood to make final announcements.
"Now that we've been acquainted with our houses and filled from our feast. Your Head of House will now leave to sort out sleeping arrangements while your Head Boys and Girls lead you to your dorms."
With that said, two seventh years stood from the end of the table nearest the entrance; a tall boy with his pin-straight black hair tied at the nape of his neck and an equally tall red-headed girl with her hair in a ballerina bun. Our Head Boy pointed his wand at his throat, performing a wordless Sonorus charm before addressing the mostly silent table.
"In order to leave courteously, we ask that you please remain seated until we ask you to stand. We will have the seven and second years leave first, followed by the first years, third and fourth years next, while the fifth and sixth years bring up the rear. All prefects are asked to please monitor your assigned group and keep a head count as we go along."
With that he turned to speak to the group of ten students -prefects most likely- leaving the rest of the house to talk amongst ourselves while the other houses filtered out of the hall in a mass of people. Turning to Harry, I ask,
"Why do you think that Slytherin is the only house to remain this organized and stay behind like this." Harry just shrugs.
"If you must know," I hear from the girl sitting on Harry's other side. Leaning forward, I see another girl I recognized from the Ministry Christmas party, Millicent Bulstrode. "It's because we've had people from other houses attack us the first day back before. My sister told me about it in her third year where a couple of Gryffindors set some nasty splinchers down in the hall leading to the dorms. She lost her leg and had to start wearing a muggle prosthetic."
Onward Slytherins, please wait for your assigned prefects to call your year and make your way to them."
"Seventh and second meet us by the back of the table."
"First years, to me for headcount!"
A booming voice just down the table called, causing a wave of 10 and 11-year-olds to stand up and make their way to them. I nudged Harry.
"Come on mate, I'm ready to get some sleep, I'm knackered!"
"I don't blame you, Ron, so am I. I kinda just want to forget that today ever happened." How do you think I feel, the twins probably got an owl to mom about this and she's gonna have an absolute fit by morning.
"Well let's get going then; sooner we get to sleep then the sooner we can forget."
And with that we started walking towards these two prefect girls; one girl short with a strawberry-blonde bob and green eyes, the other girl average and athletically built with a long brunette braid and dark brown eyes.
"First years will walk behind me at all times," says the blonde, "and in front of Alexandra at all times until we are all inside the Slytherin common room. Should anything happen on the way there, huddle together and drop to the ground as quickly as you can. My name is Christine, does anyone have any questions before we leave?" No one said a word or looked at all confused so she proceeded. "Alright then, we need to get a head count to match the student roster, you will check in walking into your dorms on the wand check placed by your door. You will check in nightly so we know that you've made it back, anyone out late studying or in detention will be collected no later than 10 pm so that everyone can be awake for breakfast by 7 am. Classes don't start until 9 am and your schedules will be passed around by our Head of House Professor Snape during breakfast tomorrow so don't be late."
Christine finished her speech and motioned to Alexandra to start lining us up in pairs as everyone else had by then. Once the long table was empty of people and the seventh and second years began to walk out the entrance to the Great Hall and we followed suit, turning left and walking down the corridor towards the stairway that led down towards the dungeons.