Chapter 8: To Hogwarts!
"Are you nervous?"
"A bit. I mean, we've been preparing for this for almost two years, but still... I spent all the time hiding from the wizarding world and now I'll be around tons of people who will be interested in me because of what happened ten years ago. I don't really know how I should handle it."
"I'm sure it'll be alright. It's not like you never left Grimmauld."
"Yeah, but at the muggle school nobody knew who I was, except for you. We were just the two nerdy kids."
"We also went to Diagon Alley dozens of times. It won't be much different at Hogwarts."
"I'm not going to use a disguise at Hogwarts. It's different."
"Alright, it's a bit different. But I'm sure that after the first week or so everyone will find out that you're just another student."
"Hermione, you're literally the only person apart from me who knows that I am not another normal student."
"Calm down, it'll be fine."
I sure hope so. I spent most of my time at the muggle school trying to learn to behave like a young kid again, but I'm really not sure how the other students are going to react. Although my main concern is that I'll be in the same castle as Voldemort - and I still have no idea how I'm going to tell Dumbledore.
"Excuse me, have you seen my toad?"
Oh, Neville Longbottom is making his first appearance.
"We haven't seen a toad, but we can help finding it. What's its name?"
"Uh, he's called Trevor."
"Point me Trevor. Looks like he's in the front of the train."
"How do you know the Point Me Spell? Isn't that a third year one?"
"We studied ahead a bit."
"Okay, thanks for the help. I'm Neville Longbottom, by the way. I totally forgot to introduce myself."
"The Harry Potter?"
"Yes. Before this turns awkward, could we go and find Trevor?"
"So, which house do you think you'll get sorted into?"
"We had a private tutor and studied ahead for almost two years. There's absolutely no chance we won't end up in Ravenclaw."
"I originally thought Gryffindor was the best," Hermione interjected. "Because Dumbledore was a Gryffindor. But then I heard that Ravenclaw has its own small library, and we'd both prefer to avoid that stupid Gryffindor/Slytherin rivalry. What about you?"
"My parents were Gryffindors, so my grandmother wants me there, but I don't know if I'm good enough. I'm probably going to end up in Hufflepuff."
"Don't worry. It'll be alright. Even if you become a Hufflepuff, I've heard it's the best house for Herbology."
"How did you know I always liked plants?"
"Just a guess. And if you really want Gryffindor, just ask for it. The sorting process takes wishes into account."
"Is it true? They're saying all down the train that Harry Potter's in this compartment. So it's you, is it?"
Oh great. Malfoy's appearance.
Hermione must have noticed my reaction to Malfoy, because she blinked three times. I took the signal and cast a quick Legilimens at her. In front of her Occlumency barrier was her question:
"Do you know them? Any information from the future?"
I pushed my answer in front of my own Occlumency barrier as I felt her legilimency.
"Yes. Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle. Their fathers were Death Eaters who claimed Imperius. They mostly got away with it because Malfoy's father is rich and bribed half the Ministry. All three will definitely be in Slytherin and would support Voldemort if I don't stop his return."
Meanwhile, Draco Malfoy continued his speech almost copied from Philosopher's Stone.
"You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there."
"You mean the sort that turned the house of the cunning into the house of the muggle-haters?"
"Pureblood traditionally Slytherin families like yours that supported Voldemort and bribed their way out?"
"What? My father was under the Imperius! He will hear about this!"
"I'm sure he will. Tell him that if he ever needs his master vanquished again, he can just send me an owl."
"You'll regret that, Potter!"
Well, the sooner Lucius Malfoy plants the diary the sooner I can get that behind me, so I don't think antagonizing the Malfoys is going to be something I will regret. Unless I end up in his house.
"That was awesome," Neville exclaimed after Malfoy and his goons left. "Grandma always complains about how Malfoy bribes everyone in the Wizengamot, she'll love hearing how you called him out like that!"
The rest of the train ride was relatively uneventful. I didn't meet Ron or any of the other Weasleys, but Neville turned out to be very friendly after he got over his constant fear of failure.
"Yeh'll get yer firs' sigh o' Hogwarts in a sec", Hagrid called over his shoulder exactly like in Philosopher's Stone, "jus' round this bend here."
Woah. It's at least twice as impressive than the Warner Brothers movie version.
The Great Hall was truly awe-inspiring when I entered it the first time. The moment was only ruined by me noticing Quirrel. The bad guy. Sitting right there. But I couldn't do anything yet, so I had to pretend not to notice anything.
Oh look, a canon divergence. Guess that happens when studying ahead for years.
The other students got sorted, I didn't really pay attention to most of them. Neville ended up in Gryffindor after spending almost a minute under the hat.
Oh great, everyone stared at me. I seriously hope that they'll calm down after a while, because I can't stand attention like that. Oh well, time to talk with the hat. I was interested in what it had to say about me.
"Oh my. You're from the future? And not even this universe, but a universe where I am a piece of fiction? I must say, your mind is the most interesting I've seen in quite some time!"
"Feel free to examine it, I know you can't reveal any secrets anyway. Just put me in Ravenclaw in the end, ok?"
"Why Ravenclaw? You're studious and eager to learn, sure, but according to your own knowledge aren't you supposed to be in Gryffindor? And how you dealt with Pettigrew... quite Slytherin! And I see quite some ambition!"
"First, you already put Hermione in Ravenclaw and not in Gryffindor, so you already messed up the timeline, might as well put us in the same house like you're supposed to. Second, I'm just not the run-into-danger Gryffindor type like canon Harry. Third, Slytherin would be a very bad choice since half the house has some family in prison because of me vanquishing their lord. Fourth, I don't want to be involved in the Gryffindor/Slytherin rivalry, that's just a waste of time. Fifth, I certainly do have ambitions but one of these ambitions is to recover the lost diadem of Ravenclaw, and I need to see the statue in the Ravenclaw common room to find out how it looks like. Sixth, I studied ahead for years, and studying ahead is what Ravenclaws are known for the most. Seventh, I just gave you a prepared list of reasons why I should be in Ravenclaw. A Gryffindor would've put you on without a plan and a Slytherin would've tried to trick you."
"Alright, alright, I get it... RAVENCLAW!"
As I made my way to the cheering Ravenclaw table, Hermione blinked at me again.
"Why did he take so long? He put me into Ravenclaw pretty much immediately."
"He tried to put me into Slytherin, so I had to talk him out of that. Me in Slytherin, could you believe it?"
"Just after you antagonized Malfoy? I can see how that would cause trouble. Good to see you convinced him otherwise."
Oh my, I love the ability to hold conversations with eye-contact. Took us forever to figure that out, but it was so worth it, even if Hermione will probably refuse to use it to cheat in exams.
"Hey! I heard that!"
Well, that's one issue of constantly using mental connections.