The Almost Chosen Ones

The End (Just Kidding)

The next thing I knew I was in the hospital wing. The semi-familiar white walls felt unsettling in the darkness. Nev was asleep in the chair next to me, his chin at his chest. He’s gonna have a horrible crick in the neck for falling asleep like that. Harry was sleeping in the cot next to me. He had more get well cards than I did. What I was surprised to see was my locket. How? I quickly re-clasped the locket around my neck and started playing with it. You never know how much you miss something until it’s gone. I checked to see if anyone was awake, particularly Madam Pomfrey, but all was quiet. I wanted to find Ty and sleep in my own bed. I checked to make sure Harry was still sleeping before I quietly shook Nev awake. He jumped in his chair, shaking off the remnants of his dream. He immediately wrapped his arms around me once he realized it was me who woke him up. “Cal, I was worried when you wouldn’t wake up.” He whispered into my ear. I tightened my hold on him a bit and stepped back after a moment. “Don’t worry, I’m okay. Come on, we’ll check on Harry in the morning.”

It was quiet walking through the empty castle. “I have to tell them...about me.” Nev turned to look at me. “You know you’d have to at some point. I don’t think they’ll look at you differently because of it.” I cast my eyes downward, knowing that he was right. Hoping he was right. “I hope so.” Luckily, we didn’t run into Filch, or anyone else on our way to the dormitories.

Ty was curled up into a little ball of fur by my pillow. She looked so precious I almost didn’t want to move her. Almost. I didn’t need to move her that much, just enough to make room for myself. I lifted a corner of the sheets and crawled inside. I curled up on my side bringing Ty to my chest. She meowed her frustration for waking her before curling herself to my chest, her tail flicking my nose in the process. I laid my cheek against her fur, feeling the slight rise and fall of her breathing and fell into the darkness again.

I woke up to someone yelling in my ear and throwing their arms around me. “Callie! You’re okay!” I slowly put my hands on her back, returning her embrace. “When did Madam Pomfrey let you go?” She asked as she leaned back and sat on the edge of my bed. “Well, not exactly,” I sat up and leaned against my headboard. “I woke up in the middle of the night and wanted to sleep in my own bed so I just...walked out. I figure if I have any potions to take I’ll take them when I check on Harry after breakfast.” Hermione looked like she wanted to scold me for escaping from Madam Pomfrey, but held her tongue when she heard I would go back.

After a moment of silence she brought it up. “Callie, about what you said on the chessboard...” I had hoped that there would be food before questioning. “Look, Herms, I’ll explain. I promise, but I only want to do it once so could it wait for Ron and Harry?” She pursed her lips, obviously wanting answers, but nodded. I gave a sigh of relief. “Okay then, I’m going to go take a shower before breakfast.”

The Great Hall broke out in whispers when Ron, Hermione, Nev and I came through the doors. Guess that answers that question. I’d been unconscious for about a day, of course all of Hogwarts would know what happened under the trap door, or at least fifty versions of it. I tried to eat my breakfast quickly just wanting to get out of the Great Hall and its whispers. No one had gained the courage to outright asked me what happened yet, but I knew that the longer I stayed the more likely that would change.

After breakfast we went to the hospital wing to check on Harry. When we got there Harry was awake and talking to Professor Dumbledore. “Ah! Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. I was most unfortunate, in my youth, to have come across a vomit flavored one. Since then I’m afraid, I have lost my liking for them, but I think it could be safe with a nice toffee.” He grabbed one out of the box and ate it. “Mmhmm. Alas, earwax.” Professor Dumbledore turned to us as we entered the wing. “Ah and here are your friends now Harry. I’m sure you all have a few things to talk about. I’ll see you all at the feast.” He said smiling before he left the hospital wing.

We all crowded around his bed, Ron picking up the box of Bertie Bott’s that Dumbledore put down. “How’re you feeling, Harry?” He scoot back in the cot to lean against the back wall. “Better. Madam Pomfrey force fed me potions when I woke up. I’d prepare myself Callie, she was very upset that you left in the middle of the night, muttering about it all morning. How are you?” I sat on the other end of the bed since there aren’t enough chairs. “A little tired, but otherwise all right. What happened after I got knocked out? Did you catch Snape?” Harry shook his head. “It wasn’t Snape.”

“What?” we asked incredulously. “Snape was trying to save me. It was Quirrell. Or really it was Voldemort who was hiding under Quirrell’s turban like a parasite.” My eyebrows rose even higher at that. “He didn’t get the Stone, did he?” Harry shook his head again. “The last obstacle was Dumbledore’s. It was the mirror. Only someone who wanted the Stone, but not use it could get it.” I don’t care how mad people think he is; Dumbledore’s a genius. “So it’s over? He can’t come back without the Stone, right?” Harry started picking at a loose thread in the sheets. “No, Dumbledore said that there are other ways that he could come back.” There were a few moments of silence as we took in what that meant. “So Callie, we’re all together now,” Hermione pointed out. I knew it was coming I just wished that I could put it off a bit somehow. “What did you mean on the chessboard? That you couldn’t get hurt?”

I took a deep breath. This was gonna happen sometime. “It’s not that I can’t get hurt. I’m not immortal. As proven, I can still get knocked out, my bones can break and I bleed like everybody else. It’s that when I do get hurt, I can’t feel it. Say I get cut, if it’s deep, I may feel lightheaded from blood loss, but I wouldn’t feel the sting of the cut. It would be more of a problem if I got hit it in the back. Gran sent Nev and I to muggle primary school to learn standard grammar and maths. She also wanted time to herself to play with her Senior Gobstones Club. When a kid gets really hurt falling out of a tree and doesn’t cry or notice that the back her head’s bleeding until one of the teachers saw it; well that’s strange to muggles and people in general. And people, muggles especially, don’t like strange things that they don’t understand. Or at least, so I’ve learned in my experience. I know I should have told you guys earlier about my...condition and I’m sorry, but I finally made great friends that I wasn’t related to, and I...I don’t know, I guess I didn’t want you guys to treat me differently.”

Good thing I was sitting down, because Hermione jumped on me once I stopped talking and almost hugged me to death. “Of course we wouldn’t treat you differently.” I got to breathe again once she put me at arms length. “You’re our friend and nothing could change that or make us look at you any differently.” I smiled at her. “Thanks, you always know what to say, Hermione.”

“She’s always right too.” Harry said. I know what he was saying by what he wasn’t saying and I was grateful for it. Anymore declarations of friendly love and there may be tears and I hate tears. Nev was looking at me and even though it wasn’t a specific look, he was my twin and I knew what his eyes were saying. That I was silly to think that this would turn out any other way. Ron was looking through what was left of Harry’s candy. Can’t say that surprises me.

Madam Pomfrey stepped out of her office to check on Harry, her eyes glaring when she saw me. “Miss Longbottom! How nice of you to visit considering that I did not allow you to leave, young lady.” I bit my lip. “I’m sorry, Madam Pomfrey. I woke up in the middle of the night and just wanted to sleep in my own bed. I felt fine, so I figured that any potions could wait until morning.” I could see Madam Pomfrey starting to calm down a bit. She humphed as she went to the potions cabinet. The potions were disgusting. No surprise there. How come there hasn’t been one potion maker who discovered a way to make basic healing potions taste better? After we took all of our potions Madam Pomfrey said that now we were free to go.

We then went to Hagrid’s hut for tea and cookies. I found out that if you dunk Hagrid’s rock cookies into the tea, it softens it enough to be edible. Hagrid was beside himself when he saw us knocking on his door. He burst into tears the second he opened the door and saw Harry. “It’s-all-my-ruddy-fault!” he sobbed. “I told the evil git how ta get past Fluffy! I told him! It was the only thing he didn’t know, an’ I told him! Yeh could’ve died! All for a dragon egg! I’ll never drink again! I should be chucked out an’ made ta live as a Muggle!”

“Hagrid, he’d have found out somehow, this is Voldemort we’re talking about, he’d have found out even if you hadn’t told him.” Harry said trying to console him. “Don’ say his name!” Hagrid chided as he wiped away his tears. “Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort! I’ve met him and I’m calling him by his name. Dumbledore says fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself. Please cheer up, Hagrid, we saved the Stone, it’s gone, he can’t use it. Have a chocolate Frog, I have loads...” Hagrid wiped his nose on the back of his hand.

“That reminds me. I’ve got yeh a present.” He grabbed a leather photo album and handed it to Harry. “Sent owls off ta all yer parents old school friends, askin’ for photos...knew yeh didn’ have yeh like it?” Harry was speechless, which was understandable.

I remember when I first found pictures of my parents time at Hogwarts in the attic. A lot of their things are up there. It was surreal to see them so young, happy and full of life. When time was approaching for Nev and I to get our Hogwarts letters, I took some from the attic and stashed them in my mom’s old music box.

Later we trudged up to the castle for the end-of-year feast. We weren’t really looking forward to it, except for the food of course, since Gryffindor was still last for the House Cup because of us. What made it worse was that we were losing to Slytherin. When we entered the Great Hall there was a sudden hush before everyone started talking at once, like at breakfast but louder because of Harry. We took our seats at the Gryffindor table and ignored the stares and the whispers. Luckily, it wasn’t long until Dumbledore arrived and everyone quieted down.

“Another year gone! And I must trouble you with an old man’s wheezing waffle before we sink our teeth into our delicious feast. What a year it has been! Hopefully your heads are all a little fuller than they have the whole summer to get them nice and empty before the next year starts. ...

Now, as I understand it, the House Cup here needs awarding, and the points stand thus: In fourth place, Gryffindor, with three hundred and twelve points; in third, Hufflepuff, with three hundred and fifty-two; Ravenclaw has four hundred and seventy-six and Slytherin, five hundred and forty-two.” A storm of cheering and stamping broke out from the Slytherin table. Malfoy had that stupid smirk on his face. It was a sickening sight. “Yes, yes, well done, Slytherin,” said Dumbledore. “However, recent events must be taken into account.”

The room went still and the Slytherin’s smiles faded a little. “Ahem. I have a few last-minute points to award. Let me see. First, to Miss Hermione Granger...for the cool use of intellect when others were in grave peril, I award Gryffindor House fifty points.” Hermione buried her face in her arms. “Second, to Mr. Ronald Weasley...” Ron’s face started getting as red as his hair. “...for the best-played game of chess that Hogwarts has seen these many years, I award Gryffindor House fifty points.” Gryffindor cheered, Percy could be heard telling the other prefects that that was his brother. “Third, to Miss Longbottom...for knowing that things aren’t always what they seem and having the courage to save a friend, even at the expense of a secret. I award Gryffindor House sixty points.” I was shocked. I won Gryffindor sixty points? Gryffindors up and down the table were beside themselves. I could barely believe it and it didn’t look like Dumbledore was done. “Next to Mr. Harry Potter,” The room went deadly quiet. “...for pure nerve and outstanding courage, I award Gryffindor House sixty points.” The cheers were deafening. This meant that we were tied with Slytherin for the House Cup. If only Dumbledore had given Harry one more point.

Dumbledore raised his hand and the room gradually fell silent. “There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr. Neville Longbottom.” Nev’s jaw dropped and his face turned a little white with shock. I threw my arms around him and felt other people piling on top of us trying to do the same thing.

“Which means we need a little change of decoration.” Dumbledore said over the storm of applause. Even Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff were celebrating the downfall of Slytherin. Dumbledore clapped his hands and the green hangings became scarlet, the silver became gold, and the Gryffindor lion replaced Slytherin’s serpent. Snape was shaking Professor McGonagall’s hand with a horrible, forced smile on his face. I hope it doesn’t get stuck like that. Another person who had a miserable looking mug at the moment was Malfoy. Who’s gonna tell his father about that pout?

With the help of the Weasley twins, the party in the Gryffindor common room outdid all the parties we had after the Quidditch matches. With all of the Sorcerer’s Stone business, I had almost forgotten that the results of our exam were still to come. Almost. As if Hermione would let me forget. She had the best grades of the first years, of course. I did a bit better than I thought I would. So did Nev, excluding potions of course, but his mark in Herbology helped make up for that. Soon enough everything was packed and ready to go. Trevor was found lurking a corner of the toilets, Ty was chasing Scabbers around the tower again. Professor Mcgonagall passed out notes warning us not to use magic over the holidays. Fred said that he always hopes that they forget to give them out. I think he’ll be hoping for a while. Hagrid led us down to the fleet of boats that sailed us across the lake. Time to board the Hogwarts Express once again. I was really going to miss this place, but I knew it wouldn’t be long before we would be back. As I looked out the window, faintly listening to Ron, Harry, and Nev’s game of Exploding Snap, watching the countryside become greener and tidier, I wondered what next year would bring. All I knew was that I couldn’t wait to find out.

The Almost Chosen Ones (Year Two) Coming Soon...

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