The Almost Chosen Ones

Worst First Day Ever

At first I didn’t want to get out of bed. In those first few moments, when I wasn’t quite asleep, yet I wasn’t quite awake either, I forgot where I was. Then something clicked in my caffeine-deprived mind, I was at Hogwarts. Today would my first day of lessons. While I wasn’t looking forward to the eventual never-ending task of homework, I was looking forward to learning new things, using my new wand (Holly, thirteen inches with a twined thestral and unicorn hair core), and discovering what I would excel at.

I looked around the new dormitory that I would call home for the next seven years. It was very spacious with a lot of red and gold, giving it a warm, homey feeling. Luckily the hangings surrounding my bed were red instead of gold. I was also happy it was by the window. It was just a personal preference.

The rest of the girls were still sleeping, but I figured since I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep, I might as well take a shower and get ready. There were four shower stalls, four toilet stalls, and four vanities. Thank Merlin! I did not look forward to fighting over the bathrooms. I took a shower with my vanilla scented shampoo and body wash and took my time while I had it all to myself; I had a feeling that it wouldn’t always be this easy. I dried myself off before I brushed my teeth and did my hair with a charm I read about in Witch Weekly. When I came out the other girls were just waking up.

“Good morning.” I said as I walked over to my trunk for my uniform. “Good morning Callalily!” Hermione chirped back. How does she look like she’s been awake for hours instead of minutes? The other girls mumbled a similar response. “Call me Callie or Lily. My Gran calls me Callalily, a bit of a mouthful really.” I smiled at her before I grabbed my uniform to change into in the bathroom. I know we’re all girls here, but I didn’t feel comfortable enough with them to change there.

When I came back out of the bathroom, the two other girls were out of bed and seemed more awake, kind of. “Hi, I’m Callie,” I gave a little awkward wave. “Sorry I was too tired last night for introductions.” I recognized one of the girls as one of the Patil twins that got separated and the other girl had brown eyes and was sporting dirty-blonde bedhead.

“It’s ok, we were pretty tired too. I’m Parvati Patil and that’s Lavender Brown.” She said with a tired smile. “I’m sorry you got separated from your twin. I couldn’t imagine being separated from Nev and we’re not identical.”

“Thanks. It might be weird at first, not being around each other all the time, but I’m sure we’ll still have some classes together and stuff. Besides we really are quite different, so I understand why the hat put us in different houses. Oh! I have to get ready if I don’t want to be late for breakfast.” She said before she started raiding her trunk for her things.

Hermione looked almost ready so I asked her if she wanted to try to find our way back to the Great Hall for breakfast together. For a second she looked surprised before she lit up with a brilliant smile. “Sure!” She replied excitedly. I think that she wasn’t used to people wanting to be friends with her unless she was helping them with their homework, but I could tell, by how she was with Neville on the train, that behind her slightly annoying, know-it-all attitude was a nice girl who could turn out to be a really good friend.

“Great, I’ll wait for you in the common room. I’m going to see if Neville’s ready yet.” I grabbed my backpack with my books and things and went down stairs where I found him already down there with Harry. Apparently, they were waiting for Ron, who sleeps like the dead; so they dumped a cup of water on him and ran downstairs.

Ron eventually came down around the same time as Hermione. As a group we tried to find the Great Hall. Try being the key word. The peanut gallery known as Ron’s stomach wasn’t helping either. Luckily, after getting lost twice, we found a group of Ravenclaws and just followed them.

Sitting down at the Gryffindor table, I helped myself to some scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon and a slice of toast. Thank Merlin, they had coffee; I can get a bit grouchy if I don’t get my morning fix. By the looks of it, it seemed like I was going to need it since Professor McGonagall was making her way down the table with our timetables. “Granger, Longbottom's, Potter, Weasley.” she called as she gave us our schedules before continuing down the table. We immediately grabbed each others schedules to see who had what. I guess since we were a small enough class, we all had the same schedule: Potions first thing Mondays and Wednesdays and a double on Fridays, Charms first period on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Defense Against the Dark Arts second period on Mondays and Wednesdays, Transfiguration second period on Tuesdays and Thursdays, History of Magic on Monday afternoons, Herbology on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, and Astronomy on Wednesdays at midnight.

“We better get going. We don’t want to be late for Potions.” Hermione said. “Yeah,” I agreed. “Professor Snape doesn’t look like the type to allow tardiness.” We finished our last few bites of breakfast before heading towards the dungeons.

We grabbed a table in the middle. Hermione wanted to sit up front, while the boys wanted to sit in the back, so I compromised with the middle. As Professor Snape wasn’t here yet the class was whispering, wondering what it would be like or what we would learn. However once Professor Snape swept into the room the class fell silent in an instant.

“You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion making,” he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but we still caught every word. “As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses... I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even put a stopper in death-if you aren’t as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.”

Well, then. I thought, tell us how you really feel. While all of that sounds really awesome, which I assume was the point, I couldn’t help but feel like he was describing potions like those dramatic naughty books of Gran’s that I found hidden in the attic last year, and he’s right, I don’t understand that kind of beauty. I was trying to keep a straight face to hide the strange route my mind had taken, but I don’t know if I accomplished it. For a second it seemed like Professor Snape could read my mind. It felt really unsettling. I mentally shook it off when I saw his glare move a bit to my right.

“Mr. Potter!” said Snape suddenly. “Our new-celebrity. Tell me, what would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?” Everyone was looking at Harry. How embarrassing. Well, everyone but Hermione who was sitting at the edge of her chair with her hand trying to touch the ceiling, eager to prove that she is not a dunderhead. She obviously knew the answer. It looked like she was the only one who did and yet he still didn’t call on her.

“I don’t know, sir,” said Harry. Snape’s lips curled into a sneer. “Tut, tut-fame clearly isn’t everything.” Who said it was?

“Let’s try again. Potter, where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?” Hermione straightened her back so that her hand was an inch higher in the air, as if that extra inch would catch his attention. Surprisingly I did know this one (I’d like to say the store room because not everyone has a goat’s stomach on hand, but I don’t think that’s the answer he’s looking for), but seeing how great that’s going for Hermione I didn’t dare raise my hand.

“I don’t know, sir.” Well, this is starting to get a little awkward. Harry and Snape were glaring at each other something fierce and it was contaminating the air with tension. The only ones enjoying the show were the Slytherins, namely Malfoy and his goons.

“Thought you wouldn’t open a book before coming, eh, Potter?” I had to give Harry credit, his eyes never faltered from his.

“What is the difference, Potter, between monkshood and wolfsbane?” Oh Merlin, Hermione! Sit down. She was now standing up, waving her hand in the air and Snape still hasn’t even glanced in her direction. What’s next? Will she throw a ball of parchment to get his attention? “I don’t know,” said Harry quietly. “I think Hermione does, though, why don’t you try her?” ...Or Harry could do it.

The class laughed, but Snape was obviously not amused. “Silence.” He strode over, took a stool and sat in front of Harry. “Sit down, you silly girl.”

“For your information, Potter, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of the Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of aconite. Well, why aren’t you all copying that down?” Suddenly everyone was scrambling to find their quill and parchment. “Gryffindors, note that five points will be taken for your classmates cheek.” Great.

I’d be lying if I said that that was the worst part of potions class. Why does he hate Harry so much, anyway? Afterwards Snape put us into pairs to make a simple potion to cure boils. He swept around the classroom, his cloak dramatically fanning out after him like a cape.

Unfortunately Snape’s overbearing presence and criticism was making Neville nervous and before I could tell him to stop, he added the porcupine quills before taking the cauldron off the fire, which caused the cauldron to melt into a twisted blob and the potion to spill, seeping across the stone floor, burning holes in peoples shoes. Immediately everyone else was standing on their stools. I had tried to step back, but wasn’t fast enough so some spilled on my left arm and maybe a bit on my leg. I twisted my face into a grimace and bit my lip. Unfortunately Nev had been drenched in the potion when the cauldron collapsed. He groaned in pain as angry, red boils sprang up all over his arms and legs.

“Idiot boy!” Snape snarled as he cleared the spilled potion with a wave of his wand. “I suppose you added the porcupine quills before taking the cauldron off the fire?”

Neville whimpered as boils started to pop up all over his nose. I glared at him and bit my lip even harder to stop myself from saying something to Snape for talking to Nev like that. “Well, go to the hospital wing,” he snapped at us. I put my hand that wasn’t covered in boils lightly on his back and guided him towards the door. On the way out I heard him chastise Harry as if he could have stopped it from happening. “You-Potter-why didn’t you tell him not to add the quills? Thought he’d make you look good if he got it wrong, did you? That’s another five points from Gryffindor.”

“What a git!” I exclaimed once we were out of the potions classroom. No wonder he was Head of Slytherin. Head Git was more like it. Nev groaned and nodded in agreement. “Oh, come on Nev,” I said softly. “We’ll be as good as new once we get to the hospital wing.” Luckily the hospital wing wasn’t very far from the dungeons.

There was one other student in the hospital wing with a broken nose. The matron, Madam Pomfrey, looked up and shook her head. “Potions or a scuffle in the corridors?” she asked. We looked at each other, “Potions.” We answered simultaneously. “All right then, take a seat on a bed over there. I’m almost done with this one.” She said pointing to the other side of the room.

“Why do I get the feeling that coming here will be a regular occurrence?” I asked Nev in exasperation. He gave a small humorless smile, “Because you’re probably right.”

By now Madam Pomfrey was finished healing the Hufflepuff boy’s nose. She got a cream from her stores and applied it to the affected areas; we were as good as new, but now we were also late for Defense Against the Dark Arts. Great.

The one class I was really looking forward to was Defense Against the Dark Arts, which is a shame because Professor Quirrell turned out to be a joke. Apparently he used to be the Muggle Studies professor and took a year sabbatical to get first hand experience. Yeah, right. The classroom reeked of garlic. Disgusting. He said it was to ward off a vampire he met in Romania that he was afraid would be coming back for him one of these days. I highly doubted it though. Even outside of the classroom we noticed that a weird stench hung around his turban; the Weasley twins insisted that it was stuffed with garlic so that he was protected everywhere he went. I bet he would come across at least a thousand more appetizing people on his way here than Professor Quirrell. He also said that his turban had been given to him by an African Prince as a thank-you for getting rid of a troublesome zombie. I doubt that. Did they quiver in fear of his st-st-stutter? When Seamus eagerly asked him how he defeated the zombie, he went pink and started talking about the weather. Yeah, I thought so.

At least we had lunch afterwards, because so far today sucked.

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