After finding an empty compartment, he stowed his luggage in the rack above the seats and opened Hedwig’s cage, so she could comfortably sit on his shoulder. Hedwig was nibbling on his ear while Harry read a spell book he had purchased in a rundown shop called ‘Borgin and Burkes’ in Knockturn Alley. Unfortunately, the quiet didn’t last long. Soon a pale blonde boy opened the door, he sneered: “Move out if you know what’s good for you, my name is Draco Malfoy and I am claiming these seats.” Harry, no stranger to threats, replied: “I sit rather comfortably and I am sure there is enough room for me, you and your friends. If you try to force my out of this compartment I will be happy to try one of the spells I just read about, the ‘Depulsor Lingua Curse’ sounds interesting.”
Malfoy looked shocked while his two friends, who resembled gorillas quite strongly, glanced at Malfoy seemingly awaiting orders. After a moment, Malfoy nodded and sat down. He asked: “What is your name and are you aware with what curse you just threatened me?”
Harry grinned: “My name is Harry Potter, according to this book it’s a spell to deal with inconvenient people.”
Malfoy started smiling: “So it`s true, the famous boy-who-lived is on this train?” He offered his hand, “I am Draco Malfoy, heir to the noble house of Malfoy, these are Crabbe and Goyle.” he said motioning to the gorillas.
Harry thought: “What an unpleasant, prat” Nevertheless, he decided to play a long, if he wanted to learn as much as possible about the wizarding world, he had to deal with this annoyance. Living around Dudley for eleven years helped immensely.
Harry replied grinning: “The famous one is my brother, I am the smart one”
Malfoy asked: “Where have you been all the years after the downfall of the Dark Lord?”
“We’ve been living with our muggle relatives.” Harry replied.
The pale boy sneered “Bah, stupid muggles just don’t know what’s good for them. My father always says they should be put in their rightful place as slaves to all wizards!”
“Getting him on my side by telling him how awful the Dursleys are and how becoming a wizard is the best thing that happened to me should be easy” Harry figured, “sheltered children like him are the easiest to use.”
He then proceeded to talk at great length about how he was abused by his relatives, but also how he managed to trick his cousin regularly. Malfoy listened closely, giving the occasional comment like “Stupid muggles” “Don’t know their place” and “If father knew how they treated magic, he would punish them all.”
After about an hour Harry said deemed he had entertained the boy enough: “You know so much about the wizarding world, please tell me everything there is to know!”
Malfoy, who seemed pleased with the compliment, launched into an explanation about the Ministry of Magic, the different noble houses of Britain and the four Hogwarts houses. He made clear that Slytherin is by far the best house, as according to him, only the most powerful witches and wizards could enter.
Harry asked: “What do you mean by “only the most powerful”? Does not every wizard have to same chance to become strong?”
“No, unfortunately not.” He said in faked sorrow. “You see, there are the pure blood wizards and the Mudbloods. Those born by muggles can never be as strong as someone who comes from an old magical family. That`s why Slytherin doesn`t take Mudbloods.”
Soon, the train slowed down and everybody got ready to depart. Making their way towards Hagrid, who was shouting for the first years, Harry spotted Daniel and Ron.
He joined his brother, Ron and a bushy brown haired girl with teeth which would made any rabbit jealous on the boat towards Hogwarts. Malfoy took a boat with his two friends, who haven’t said a word on the entire ride to Hogwarts. Harry briefly wondered if they were either speechless or simply too dumb to talk.
On the boat Daniel asked: “Hey Harry, made any friends yet?” The redhead looked also expectedly at him.
“Ginny Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle… well maybe not so much the last two, they don’t seem to talk much.” Harry replied.
Ron coughed and said: “First my sister and now Malfoy, you really have to worst sense in finding friends. Malfoy is an asshole!”
Harry just raised an eyebrow, not bothering with a reply. The, until now silent, girl interrupted with “Shh, watch your language. You don’t want to leave a bad impression on the teachers before we even wrote our first test.” She then launched into a one sided conversation without catching a breath: “I am Hermione Granger, what are your names? I hope I will get into Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, what do you think will we learn first? Do you think the exams will be hard? I am a muggle born, I hope I won`t be too far behind my peers. But nevertheless I will work very hard, I hope I will become prefect and then Headgirl one day. What do you think your favourite subject will be? I think Potions sound amazing, it`s like chemistry. And in two years we can take Arithmancy, it’s like math with magic. I am so excited.”
The three boys looked shocked at each other, until Daniel broke the ice: “Hey, I am Daniel Potter, that`s my brother Harry and this is Ron. I am not sure in what house I will be sorted. I only heard bad things about Slytherin so far, the Ravenclaws are all great bores and…” He looked at Ron as if silently asking for assistance. Ron immediately said: “and the Hufflepuffs are all just nothing special. I will become a Gryffindor, like my whole family and I am sure Daniel will be a Gryffindor too. He has to be, all my friends are Gryffindors.”
“Oh, so you have many friends?” Harry asked with a raised eyebrow.
Ron just glared at him, this was properly answer enough.
The rest of the short boat trip went uneventful.
A stern looking witch escorted them from the lake shore towards the castle. There, they entered a great hall which was, according to the old witch who introduced herself as Professor McGonagall, called “Great Hall”. “How creative” Harry mused, but was amazed by the beauty of the halls ceiling.
All first years lined up after the hat performed a song. Every time the hat shouted out a house name, that particular house would cheer and clap excitedly, but always stopped after a couple of seconds, so the sorting could continue.
The sorting went smoothly so far. Until McGonagall called “Potter, Daniel!”
The whole hall went silent, some whispers along the lines of “Are the legends true?” “Does he have the scar” and “Did he kill You-know-who?” went around.
Daniel walked up shyly, but as soon as the hat touched his head it shouted out: “Gryffindor!”
The Gryffindor table exploded in applause and started chanting “We got Potter!”
Harry looked a bit sourly, while he had no desire to be greeted this enthusiastically, he thought: “Hey, he is not the only Potter you know?”
But before he could fret too much about it, he was called up to the hat.
The hat sat down and a tiny voice in his ear peeped: “Mhm you are a lot more difficult than your brother. I sense a lot of bravery, yes. But you have a cunning mind, a very perceptive one you are.”
Harry thought: “Slytherin sounds good, but the whole hall seemed to expect the Potters to be sorted into Gryffindor. I am worried about how the other Slytherins are going to treat me. I suffered through enough abuse in my childhood, I won’t let this happen to me again!”
“A sound concern. But let me tell you, I would never put a student where he doesn’t belong. I know you are a Parseltongue, use the gift and greet your new friends. They will surely accept you.” The hat said.
“I am sorry what does Parseltongue mean and what do you mean by gift?” Harry asked.
“Your gift, the ability to speak to snakes of course, now go to your new home and greet them, like you would greet a snake.” While ending his sentence, the hat already shouted out “Slytherin”
Again the whole hall grew silent, Harry looked into the many shocked faces of the students, turning around he saw many equally shocked faces on the teacher’s desk.
Except for one, a man with long black hair looked like Christmas came early.
Taking a deep breath, Harry turned towards the Slytherin table and following the hats advice, he looked at the serpent banner and said a loud: “Hello, my name is Harry Potter. I am happy to meet you all!”
Out came a loud hissing that send the entire school flinching.
Harry went over to Malfoy and sat down next to him. Malfoy said: “Wow Potter, I didn’t know you are a Parselmouth. I hope this house can expect great things from you.”
The remaining pupils were sorted into their houses without any other occurrences.
The headmaster greeted all pupils and opened the feast.
Harry never ate this much in his live. None of his fellow Slytherins tried to engage him a conversation with him. This suited Harry just fine, as he wanted to keep a low profile after the shocked faces his greeting in Parseltongue had caused.
He wondered: “I hope the hat was not wrong. The students looked like being able to talk to snakes is the most hideous thing they have ever witnesses.”
His musings were interrupted when the Professor with the long, greasy black hair came over. He had a mischievous smile on his face, he said: “Ahh Potter, I am glad that you seem to take after your mother. Unlike your brother, who seems to be just as idiotic as your father.”
Momentarily shocked about this statement, he didn’t know what to say. The man proceeded: “My name is Severus Snape, your mother and I were good friends. The sorting hat thought about placing her in Slytherin, despite being a Mud… Muggleborn. Sadly he thought she would be safer with those Gryffindors”
Harry, finally regaining his voice, said: “Could you please tell me more about my mother? I lived with my aunt and uncle and they never talked about her.”
Snape smiled: “Of course, as your head of house and Potions teacher I will have many opportunities to share stories about her. I have you know, that your mother was a great potions master, I expect you to honour your mother by excelling in class.”
The rest of the feast proceeded without interruption. Afterwards he followed a prefect to their dormitories. The password was “Magic is might”. Harry asked the prefect named: Gemma Farley: “Excuse me, could you tell me where the Owlery is? I need to send a letter.”
She gave him an odd look for a moment before saying: “You go to the Great Hall, then turn right into a long corridor with a painting of a witch fighting a mountain troll, there you take the stairs up to the highest level. But it’s already past curfew, so you shouldn’t be out of bed.” She stopped for a moment, then said with a wink. “Well, you shouldn`t be caught out of bed.” Farley then turned around and walked towards the girl’s dormitories.
Harry dashed into his room, grabbed some parchment, feather and ink and began writing his letter to Ginny.
< em>As promised, my first letter to you. Someone told me I don’t have to add your address for magical letters, I hope this letter will reach you!
Anyway, Hogwarts really is an amazing castle. When we left the train all, the first years had to take a boat trip across the lake. The Great Hall, were all the meals are eaten is stunningly beautiful, I can’t wait to show you the enchanted ceiling.
The sorting was fine, there is no fighting or question answering involved. There is this old talking hat, it will sit on your head and then it’s going to figure out what house fits you best.
It wasn’t sure at first if I should be a Gryffindor or a Slytherin. In the end he put me in the ladder. I was a bit scared at first, because everybody seemed to expect me to go with my brother in Gryffindor. The hat said I shouldn’t worry and greet my table in Parseltongue.
Well I did, I didn’t know that speaking to snakes was so rare in the wizarding world.
The shocked expressions of the students were a bit unsettling, later everything went fine. My head of house, Professor Snape, seems pretty nice and he knew my mother. He agreed on telling me a lot about her! I can’t wait.
I know your whole family was in Gryffindor, so I hope you don’t think any less of me for being a Slytherin.
I have to end this letter now, I still have to sneak out and search the owlery, so you get the letter as soon as possible. I wonder how long an owl takes to deliver a letter.
I am hoping to be hearing from you soon.
Harry looked around briefly, to check if anybody was still in the common room and then made his way towards the exit.
He sprinted along the corridors and up the stairs to the owlery. Luckily nobody seemed to think the halls had to be patrolled on the first day of school.
In the owlery Harry was baffled by the amount of owls sitting there.
Harry was glad that Hedwig had such a bright white colour, otherwise he might have had problems finding her. He softly called out: “Hedwig”, to not startle the other owls, when standing beneath her. She immediately flew down and extended her left leg. Harry stroked her head a little before tying the parchment to her leg.
He then said: “Could you please send this letter to Ginny Weasley? I don’t know where she lives, but her whole family has red hair, if that’s any help.”
If owls could look bemused, Harry would swear that Hedwig was laughing about him.
Hedwig nibbled Harry ear before launching herself out of the window, leaving a slightly bewildered Harry behind.
Shaking his head, Harry made his way back to the Slytherin dormitories.