The Almost Chosen Ones

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

At the brink of dawn I immediately opened my eyes and an unconscious grin split across my face. Now don’t get me wrong-I am definitely not a morning person, but today was not just any morning. Today would be better than Christmas. Today I was going to Hogwarts.

I pulled back the comforter and got out of bed. I silently tiptoed out of my room, down the hall and into my brothers room. I ran a mini sprint before I jumped onto his bed. “Nev! Nev! Wake up! WAKE UP!” He mumbled for me to “shut the bloody hell up” and pushed me off the bed. I didn’t feel a thing so I just got right back on and kept jumping on the bed. It was time to pull out all the stops. “Wake up, wake up, you sleepy head! Wake up, wake up, get out of bed! It’s time to start the day hurray! Hurray!” I sang in an obnoxious tone.

“I’m up! I’m up! You know I hate that stupid song Callie.” he grumbled as he was rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. “I know, Nev” I said mischievously, “That was the point, but it’s September 1.” His eyes widened. “Why didn’t you say so!” I tried to blow away a strand of hair from in front of my face, but then tucked it behind my ear when it fell right back where it was. “I just did.” I turned my head towards the door and took a whiff before looking back at my brother, who was mirroring my smile. “Waffles!” We yelled simultaneously before we tried pushing each other to the side to get through the door first, down the stairs and into the kitchen where Gran and Mimsy, our house elf, were making breakfast.

“What would Mr. And Missus like with they’re waffles?” Mimsy asked. “Strawberries, please.” I said licking my lips. “I want blueberries, thanks Mimsy.” Neville replied.

“Please tell me that you two have already finished packing your things into your trunks last night.” I nodded with a mouthful of waffles and saw Neville, out of the corner of my eye, trying to avoid Gran’s knowing gaze. “Neville...” she arched her eyebrow. “I started it...” he mumbled before stuffing another forkful of waffles into his mouth. I snorted a little. Of course Nev didn’t finish packing. I bet he already lost some of his supplies in his room even though we went to Diagon Alley three days ago.

Neville jumped a little in his chair when my new kneazle Tiger Lily, Ty for short, sneaked in between his legs from out of no where before settling at my feet. His eyes widened as he looked back up as if he just remembered something, “Has anyone seen Trevor?” We all looked around for the sneaky and elusive toad that Great Uncle Algie gave him for getting accepted into Hogwarts. I got my lovely little orange bundle of fur that is my kneazle. All of a sudden Trevor hopped off of the top of one of the counters and onto his head before letting out a loud ribbit. I couldn’t help it and burst out laughing at the look of shock on his face. “Then off you go. Finish packing and get ready we have to leave for the platform in a few hours.” Gran ordered.


Next thing I knew we were at Kings Cross Station in London heading towards the Platform 9 3/4. In front of the wall separating platforms 9 and 10, that served as a portal to platform 9 ¾, were a crowd of red heads, which must be the Weasley's, showing a dark haired boy how to get onto the platform. I wonder why he’s all alone. They were gone by the time we got to the barrier.

As he was saying goodbye to Gran on the platform, Neville lost Trevor. Again. He ran off in the direction that Trevor hopped. I heard a few exclamations as I was hugging Gran, probably from Neville running into them on his crazy search for Trevor. She squeezed me again before letting me go. “Now Callalily, I want you to watch out for your brother. Make sure he doesn’t stumble into too much trouble and don’t stumble too much yourself, you hear? I know your parents would be so proud of the two of you and I wish that they would have been able to be here to see you off as well. Send me letters every week and I’ll read it when I go to visit them. Tell your brother to write as well.” I wiped away a single tear that managed to escape as she gave me another quick hug. I wish that they could be here too. “Now go find your brother. The train is almost ready to leave.” After I took a few steps in the other direction, I turned back around and gave one last wave.


Once I was on the train I looked for a compartment to leave my things. It took a while to find Neville, but I eventually found him by the end of the train still looking for Trevor with a girl who had extremely frizzy, curly brown hair and slightly large front teeth, who I later knew was named Hermione Granger.

It seemed to take forever for the train to get to Hogwarts. When we finally reached Hogsmeade station there was this giant of a man named Hagrid, who had found Trevor and guided us to these boats that would carry us across the Black Lake. For a second I thought I saw a giant tentacle flop into the air before descending back into the dark waters, almost as if it was waving to us. My first glimpse of the castle was absolutely breathtaking and to think that I’m going to be living here for ten months for the next seven years. I couldn’t wait.

Once we got out of the boats, we trudged up a passageway that eventually led up to a huge oak front door. Hagrid raised a giant fist and knocked three times. At once the doors opened to reveal a tall, black-haired witch in emerald-green robes. She had a very stern expression and I knew that if I happened to stumble into trouble, literally or figuratively, that I should not do so around her. She meant business. “The firs’ years, Professor McGonagall,” said Hagrid. “Thank you, Hagrid. I will take it from here.” She pulled open the door and led us down a hallway and past a huge door that didn’t do a good job of containing the noise from inside, where the rest of the hundreds of students were already seated and catching up on their summers with their friends, in into a small empty chamber off the hall.

“Welcome to Hogwarts,” said Professor McGonagall. “The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be like something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory, and spend free time in your house common room.

“The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points, while any rule-breaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most house points is awarded the house cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever houses becomes yours.

“The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting.” Her eyes lingered for a minute on a black smudge that was on the Weasley’s nose and on Neville’s cloak, which was for some reason fastened under his left ear. I gave him a nudge and motioned for him to fix it, blushing as he did so.

“I shall return when we are ready for you,” said Professor McGonagall. “Please wait quietly.” She left the chamber.

The rest of the first years broke out in whispers wondering how exactly they sorted us into houses. The Weasley boy was saying how it would be some sort of test. I think someone said we might have to fight a troll. I tried to contain a small smile, they must have an older sibling. Hermione was rambling about all the spells that she learned and which ones she might need. Does that girl know when to take a breath?

I reached down to grab Nev’s hand and give it a small squeeze. Even though Gran told us about the Sorting Hat, I knew that Nev was nervous about which house he would belong to and if we would be sorted into the same house. To be honest, I was nervous about that too. He’s my twin, we’ve never really been apart. What would happen if they sorted us into different houses? I unconsciously gripped his hand a bit harder and he winced. “Sorry.” I loosened my grip again. No, we will be sorted into the same house, we have to. Gran was right, even though he’s the older twin, I have to look after him and he has to help me keep my secret. We have to stick together.

Several people around me suddenly screamed, causing Nev to jump. About twenty ghosts streamed through the back wall. White and slightly transparent, they glided across the room not even noticing the group of first years staring at them, most of them incredulously having never seen a ghost before. Well, I’ve never seen a ghost before either, but I still knew about the Hogwarts ghosts unlike the muggle borns who were still getting used to the magical world.

Neville gave my shoulder a nudge. I must have zoned out for a second because I didn’t notice when Professor McGonagall came back. “Now, form a line and follow me.” She said before turning around and leading us into the Great Hall.

Neville and I fell in line in between a boy with platinum blond hair that must belong to a Malfoy (a theory further proven by his mumbled complaints about something or other, I didn’t really care enough to pay attention) and a sandy-haired Scottish boy.

Once we got into the Great Hall I forgot my nerves and my doubts, and most of my thoughts as well, for at least a few seconds. Hovering above four long tables were thousands of candles that illuminated the ceiling, that was bewitched to look like the night sky. It was absolutely stunning.

“Watch where you’re going!” By looking up too long, I accidentally ran into the person in front of me. Yeah, sounds like a Malfoy to me.

I ignored him as Professor McGonagall placed the Sorting Hat on top of a four-legged stool in front of the first years. For a few seconds, it was completely silent. Then the hat twitched and a rip near the brim opened wide like a mouth and the hat began to sing:

“Oh, you may think I’m pretty,

But don’t judge on what you see,

I’ll eat myself if you can find

A hat smarter than me.

You can keep your bowlers black,

Your top hats sleek and tall,

For I am the Hogwarts Sorting Hat

And I can cap them all.

There’s nothing hidden in your head

The Sorting Hat can’t see,

So try me on and I will tell you

Where you ought to be.

You might belong in Gryffindor,

Where dwell the brave at heart,

Their daring, nerve, and chivalry

Set the Gryffindors apart;

You might belong in Hufflepuff,

Where they are just and loyal,

Those patient Hufflepuffs are true

And unafraid of toil;

Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,

If you’ve a ready mind,

Where those of wit and learning,

Will always find their kind;

Or perhaps in Slytherin

You’ll make your real friends,

Those cunning folk use any means

To achieve their ends.

So put me on! Don’t be afraid!

And don’t get in a flap!

You’re in safe hands (though I have none)

For I am the Thinking Cap!”

The whole hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song. It bowed to each of the four tables and then became quite still again. Professor McGonagall now stepped forward holding a long roll of parchment. “When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted,” she said. “Abbott, Hannah!”

A pink faced girl with blonde hair stepped out of line, put on the hat, which fell over her eyes, and sat down. After a few seconds-

“HUFFLEPUFF!” the hat shouted. The table on the left cheered and clapped as Hannah went to sit down at the Hufflepuff table.

“Bones, Susan!”

“HUFFLEPUFF!” the hat shouted again, and Susan scuttled off to sit next to Hannah.

“Boot, Terry!”

“RAVENCLAW!”

The table second from the left clapped this time and several Ravenclaws stood to shake Terry’s hand and clap him on the shoulder as he joined them.

“Brocklehurst, Mandy!”

“RAVENCLAW!” They cheered again as Mandy joined Terry.

“Brown, Lavender!”

“GRYFFINDOR!”

The table second from the right burst into louder cheers and catcalls than from the first two at their first new comer.

“Bulstrode, Millicent!”

“SLYTHERIN!” The table on the right clapped, but did not cheer. They all looked pretty miserable to me.

I started zoning out a little since they still had a while to go until Professor McGonagall reached the L’s. The hat took longer with some than with others.

“Finnigan, Seamus!” He sat on the stool for about a minute before the hat declared him, “GRYFFINDOR!”

“Granger, Hermione!”

Hermione ran to the stool and eagerly jammed the hat on her head, her left leg shaking a little until the hat shouted-

“GRYFFINDOR!”

More names were called. Wayne Hopkins and Megan Jones joined Hufflepuff, Gregory Goyle and Daphne Greengrass went to Slytherin, and Sue Li to Ravenclaw, amongst others.

“Longbottom, Callalily!”

Neville nudged my shoulder and I realized it was my turn to be sorted. I turned to him and bit my lip out of nervousness. This was it. Knowing Nev, he would probably be in Hufflepuff, but where did I belong? I may have been daring, but Gran calls it stupid. I didn’t think I was brave enough for Gryffindor, or cunning like Slytherin, not that I wanted to be there anyway. I was smart, but not studious enough for Ravenclaw; I was loyal but not very hard working or patient like Hufflepuff. Nev gave my hand a squeeze for good luck. Even though I tried not to show it, I know that he knew that I was nervous. I sat on the stool and looked at Nev’s nervously smiling face before I put the on the Sorting Hat.

Hmmm, what do we have here? A voice sounded in my head. Well, that’s weird. Very loyal, forthright, and opinionated. Stubborn and fearless. There’s a lot of potential and high expectations for yourself with a feeling that you have a lot to prove, to live up to. I want to be in Hufflepuff. Why? You definitely aren’t very patient and while you may have good intentions, you don’t always follow through in a kind manner. I need to be with my brother, I have to look after him. I see, I see, I know just where to put you...

“GRYFFINDOR!”

I opened my eyes that I didn’t notice I had been squeezing shut and looked at Neville. I didn’t know it was possible, but now he looked even more nervous than before. If I thought I was nervous for me, now I was more nervous for him. I tried to give him a small smile of encouragement before joining the table full of cheers.

“Longbottom, Neville!”

He fell on his way to the stool. A few people laughed at him, mostly the Slytherins, but I just threw them my death stare. I don’t know how long I took when the hat was sorting me, but it seemed like it was taking Neville a long time. Finally it shouted, “GRYFFINDOR!” He was so excited that he ran off still wearing the Sorting Hat and had to double back to hand it to “MacDougal, Morag.” This time I joined the laughter as Neville finally sat next to me.

Malfoy strutted up to the stool when his name was called. The hat barely touched his head when it screamed, “SLYTHERIN!” Malfoy continued to strut his way over to join his goons Crabbe and Goyle at the Slytherin table looking mighty pleased with himself. It looked more like he had a stick up his arse to me, but I had a feeling that that was a normal look for him. Luckily there weren’t that many people left, I was starting to get hungry.

“Moon”...,“Nott”...,“Parkinson”..., then a pair of twin girls, (good to know that we weren’t the only set of twins, even though we weren’t identical) “Patil” and “Patil.” Unfortunately they were separated, which just made me happier that Nev and I were in the same house. Next was “Perks, Sally-Anne,” and then, “Potter, Harry!”

The Great Hall burst out in loud whispers, which is pretty weird when you think about it. I heard people saying that Harry Potter was on the train, but I didn’t really believe them. I guess they were right because there he was. Then I realized that he was the boy that the Weasley’s were helping on the Platform. “I can’t believe that’s Harry Potter!” Nev whispered to me in disbelief. “I know. For some reason I thought he’d be taller.” I whispered back. He took a while, although not as much as Neville. It seemed as if the Great Hall was collectively holding its breath before-

“-Better be GRYFFINDOR!” Everyone around me suddenly jumped up and starting cheering like never before. A redheaded Prefect, that must another Weasley, got up and shook his hand vigorously, looking rather star-struck. I hope he doesn’t stop washing that hand. The Weasley twins started chanting loudly, “We got Potter! We got Potter!” It was cool noticing another pair of twins. I wonder if there are anymore hiding in this enormous castle. Is there a Twins Club?

Luckily there were only four more people left to be sorted. “Thomas, Dean” was a tall black boy who joined us at the Gryffindor table. “Turpin, Lisa,” became a Ravenclaw. Now it was the Weasley boy whose brothers told him we have to fight trolls. Is it just me or is he looking a little green? I hope he doesn’t get sick. That would be gross and embarrassing. “Weasley, Ronald!” Well, at least I can stop mentally calling him That Weasley Boy. It was only a moment before the hat shouted, “GRYFFINDOR!” Everyone cheered again as he sat down next to Harry Potter, who was a couple seats down diagonally from us. “Well, done, Ron, excellent,” said his brother pompously, who I now mentally dubbed Pompous Prefect instead of The Older Weasley Boy.

Finally, “Zabini, Baise” was sorted into Slytherin. Professor McGonagall rolled up her scroll and took the Sorting Hat away.

Albus Dumbledore rose from his seat, beaming at us with his arms outstretched, as if he wanted to hug everyone, to welcome us home.

“Welcome!” he said. “Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin out banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!”

He sat back down. I clapped and cheered with everyone else, although I couldn’t help but let out a little giggle as well. Finally, the empty dishes were now filled to with food. Good, because I’m starving! As I was reaching for the mashed potatoes, I heard Harry ask Pompous Prefect if Dumbledore was a bit mad. “Mad?” he said. “He’s genius! Best wizard in the world! But he is a bit mad, yes. Potatoes, Harry?” I couldn’t help but agree with Pompous Prefect, even though I think I liked that he was a bit mad. I think it creates a special type of genius.

Neville nudged me out of my random train of thought. “So which of the reading curriculum have you read already?” Thanks Nev, I wonder how long Hermione has been talking to me? “Um, I read part of the Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts textbooks. I just sort of skimmed through the others.” I answered.

“What about you Neville?” I smirked as Nev blushed. I don’t think he got much reading done since I had to help him find them an hour before we left for the train. “No-not really.” He mumbled. I gave him a look, “But he does have quite the green thumb, so he’ll probably be fantastic at Herbology.”

Suddenly all the food disappeared and was replaced with different kinds of desserts. Hermione might have noticed I was more interested in food then talking about studies, so she was now talking to Pompous Prefect about Transfiguration. Mhmm...Chocolate cake. As I was savoring by first bite of chocolatey goodness, the talk of the rest of the table turned to their families.

“I’m half-and-half,” said Seamus. “Me dad’s a muggle. Mam’s a witch. Bit of a nasty shock for him when he found out.” Everyone laughed. “What about you guys?”

“Well,” Neville started, since I had a mouthful of cake. “Our gran brought us up and she’s a witch, but the family thought I was all-Muggle for ages. My Great Uncle Algie kept trying to catch me off me guard and force some magic out of me. He pushed me off the end of Blackpool pier once, I nearly drowned, but Callie saved me.” He gave a small smile my way at the memory. “Nothing happened until I was eight. Great Uncle Algie came round for dinner, and he was hanging me out an upstairs window by the ankles when my Great Auntie Enid offered him a meringue and he accidentally let go. But I bounced-all the way down the garden and into the road. They were all really pleased, Gran was crying, she was so happy. And you should have seen their faces when I got in here-they thought I might not be magic enough to come you see. Great Uncle Algie was so pleased he bought me my toad.”

“You were just a late bloomer, Nev.” I told him quietly, as I have a thousand times in our childhood.

“Ouch,” Suddenly Harry clapped a hand to his head.

“What is it?” asked Pompous Prefect.

“N-nothing.”

Okay, that was weird. I finished my awesome chocolate cake before that disappeared as well. Those house elves really know their stuff. Not even a few moments later the desserts disappeared and the hall fell silent as Professor Dumbledore got to his feet again.

“Ahem-just a few more words mow that we’re all fed and watered. I have a few start-of-term notices to give you. First years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. And a few of our older students would do well to remember that as well.” It seemed like that last comment was more directed at the Weasley twins. Interesting.

“I have also been asked by Mr. Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors. Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch. And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death.” I bet a few people will wonder in there anyway. Just because it’s off limits. It’s that Big Red Button that you’re not supposed to touch, because it will create your doom, but you just have to touch it because someone told you not to.

“And now, before we go to bed, let us sing the school song!” cried Dumbledore. The other teacher’s smiles had become rather forced. I guess they don’t like Song Time. “Everyone pick their favorite tune and off we go!” Everyone finished at different times.

“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here! And now, bedtime. Off you trot!”

The group of us followed Pompous Prefect through the crowd, out of the Great Hall, and up the marble staircase, through doorways hidden behind sliding panels and hanging tapestries, and even more stairs. Just how many stairs are there? I don’t know how we are expected to find our way back tomorrow. I tried to remember but lost track at the second hidden passageway. I don’t even want to think about how we’re supposed to navigate this maze of a school from class to class tomorrow, just might give me nightmares tonight. Suddenly we came to a halt.

A bundle of walking sticks were floating in the air in front of us, and as soon as Pompous Prefect took a step towards them they started throwing themselves at him. “Peeves,” he whispered to us. “A poltergeist.” He raised his voice, “Peeves-show yourself.” A loud, rude sound, like the air being let out of a balloon, answered. “Do you want me to get the Bloody Baron?” he threatened.

With a loud pop, a little man with wicked, dark eyes and a wide mouth appeared, floating cross-legged in the air, clutching the walking sticks. “Ooooooh!” he said with an evil cackle. “Ickle Firsties! What fun!” He swooped down, but we all ducked.

He tried to threaten the poltergeist again but still didn’t seem that intimidating. Peeves stuck out his tongue and vanished, probably to bother another group, dropping the sticks on me and Neville’s head. That’s great. Not that I felt it, but I hope it’s not a sign of the year to come.

“You want to watch out for Peeves, the Bloody Baron’s the only one who can control him, he won’t even listen to us prefects. Here we are.”

At the end of the corridor hung a portrait of a very fat woman in a pink dress. “Password?” she asked.

“Caput Draconis,” he replied and the portrait swung forward to reveal a round hole in the wall. I helped Nev through and we found ourselves in the Gryffindor common room, a cozy red and gold round room full of pillows and armchairs. “Girls dormitories are on the left, boys on the right. Now off to bed.”

I was so tired that I didn’t think I’d even have the energy to unpack a little or talk with my new dorm mates. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow. After I said goodnight to Nev, I climbed the spiral staircase to my dormitory and flopped onto the bed with my trunk in front of it and passed out.

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