Little Rose Weasley
I have to admit, I have been tinkering with the idea of Scorpius and Rose for a while - for some reason I love the idea of the two of them becoming friends - and three days in bed with the flu have finally given me the time to put this on paper. The idea would be writing a chapter for every year that the new Trio spends at Hogwarts after this - what do you think? :D
Disclaimer: I do NOT own any of the characters or the places that you recognise, but I DO own the Sorting Hat's song...proudly. ;D
1. How Everything Began
He felt the stares of the dozens of parents and kids crowding Platform 9 and 3⁄4 burning on his back, and he cringed instinctively, struggling to keep himself from looking down at his feet to avoid the hostile eyes.
He hated it – the whispers, the glares that followed him everywhere he went, the way people stepped away from him like he was some kind of leper. And all that just because of his name.
That his father had started a new life after the War, that he had become a respectable, hard-working man thanks to his wife, a Half-Blood former Ravenclaw he had fallen head over heels in love with when he was nineteen, didn't matter – he would always be a Death Eater to the eyes of the rest of the wizarding world, no matter what. All Malfoys would be. Included him.
If they only stopped to take a closer look, to listen for once – but they never did, and even if he had grown used to it, sometimes it still hurt.
It was ten to eleven, and the Hogwarts Express was about to leave; the steam was now so thick on the platform that everything around him was a blurry haze, except for the few clusters of kids and parents that were closer to where he was standing. One of them, in particular, caught his attention, first because it was probably the largest family he had ever seen, with what seemed like over twenty people all laughing and chatting together, and secondly because most of them seemed to have bright red hair, with only a few exceptions.
It took a moment for him to realize who they were, and he almost immediately looked away – for it was quite obvious that the loud, happy family was the Potter- Weasley clan, and everyone knew of the silent feud between Weasleys and Malfoys that had been going on for generations.
Yet, he couldn't resist taking a peek at them out of the corner of his eye – for, after all, the tales of their heroism were known to every child in the wizarding world, him included. He had lost count of the times he had read about them in Hogwarts: A Revised History and The Great War: Tales of Heroes.
They didn't look like heroes, he thought. Instead, they seemed...people. Just people, like his parents, come to see their children off to school. And, for some reason, this fact fascinated him.
Two of the men looked their way then – Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, it was impossible not to recognize them immediately – and Scorpius watched, wide- eyed, as his father nodded towards them in what could only be defined as respect.
And, in spite of the well-known rivalry between them, the other two responded to the gesture in kind, briskly, yet politely.
Scorpius felt slightly relieved at that, for even if he would have never admitted it to anyone, he half-expected hexes to start flying at any second, and he let out the breath that he hadn't even noticed he was holding.
"Oh, don't be so nervous," his mother told him with a smile, gently smoothing his fine silvery-blonde hair down with a light caress. "Everything will be fine, you will love Hogwarts. And once your classmates see how brilliant and kind you are, everyone will want to be your friend."
He nodded without much conviction and let her hug him tightly; he returned the embrace for a moment, squeezing his eyes tight and inhaling deeply the sweet, familiar smell of his mother's perfume, but he let go of her soon, running a hand through his hair and messing it up all over again.
He had never been particularly fond of goodbyes.
His father crouched down and looked him in the eye, placing both his hands on his shoulders; he was serious, his grey eyes – the steel-grey eyes every Malfoy seemed to inherit, without any exception – intense and worried.
"Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy," he said in a hushed voice, so that only he could hear. "Do not ever think you are worth less than any other young wizard just because of your name, got it? If they are too blind and prejudiced to see who you really are, just ignore them and leave them be – your friends, the true ones, won't care about what your last name is. And everyone else can go drown themselves in the Black Lake."
Scorpius smiled a little at those words, and he nodded, tightening his grip on the cage his tawny owl Agamemnon was half-asleep in.
A smile mirroring his own lit his father's face up, and Draco squeezed his shoulders comfortingly for a moment before he nodded his head towards the spot where the Potters and Weasleys were still saying their goodbyes.
"And remember that no matter what happened between me and them –the past has to stay in the past, for dwelling on old feuds will only fuel more conflict. When I was your age, I was foolish and blinded by prejudice, and I desperately wanted to live up to the name of Malfoys. I thought it would make me great, but it only made my ruin. Don't let your last name dictate who you are, ever – just be yourself, even if it means breaking traditions, or going against people's expectations."
A loud whistle echoed in the air, and Scorpius straightened up, his eyes wide as he noticed that there were only a few people left on the platform. Quickly, without talking, father and son hoisted the trunk and the large wrought-iron cage onto the train, and Scorpius immediately followed his luggage, jumping into the carriage, his heart beating so hard he could literally feel it pounding against his ribs.
"I am proud of you, son. Do not ever forget that."
The heavy door slid closed, and he opened the window, sticking his head out to say his last goodbyes to his parents as the train started to move, its gentle swaying motion slowly bringing the carriage forward.
"Promise you'll write!" his mother called to him with a wave and a slightly teary smile. "Every week, to tell us all about the school, your friends and your classes! Follow the rules, and study hard – and don't get into trouble!"
"And don't always listen to what your mother says – or you'll never have any fun!" his father added with a grin as his mother playfully pushed him away. "Playing some pranks and exploring the castle and the grounds is much better than spending all your time with your nose stuck in a library book – no offense meant, Astoria darling."
Scorpius rolled his eyes at them – he hadn't even left yet, and already they had started acting like teens again. Parents, he sighed internally, They never grow up.
"I will!" he promised, waving and grinning, his usual confidence coming back as excitement flooded through him. Maybe they were right – maybe at Hogwarts people would be able to look at him differently. "Bye! I'll see you at Christmas! Hug Grandma Cissy and Nana Sophia for me!"
His father kept waving, at first walking and then breaking into a jog to follow the train until he reached the end of the platform, and Scorpius watched as he slowly became smaller and smaller, until he disappeared in the distance.
Only then he closed the window, still smiling as a strange sense of elation coursed through him: that was it. He wasn't a little kid anymore – he was going to Hogwarts, after all those years of waiting. His chest puffed out at the thought, pride and excitement making him feel so light he thought he might actually be hovering a good five inches above the ground.
He was going to learn magic, and have fun, and make friends. He was going to show everyone that him being a Malfoy didn't mean anything, that he wasn't like the rest of his family. And the next seven years would be awesome.
With renewed bravery he grabbed the handle of his trunk with a hand and Agamemnon's cage with the other and he started walking along the corridor, peeking into each compartment as he looked for a place where to sit.
He avoided the first three carriages, which seemed to be full of older students, and he finally stopped when he found a compartment where a bunch of those who were obviously first-years were sitting. Taking a deep breath, he put on his face his best smile before he poked his head inside, trying his best to look friendly and totally non-Death Eater.
"Um, hi," he said with a small grin as silence fell in the compartment and every single head turned towards him. "Do you mind if I sit in here with you?" As he spoke he gestured with his head towards the only unoccupied seat, putting his best effort into trying to sound casual and light-hearted instead of shy and unsure. He thought he was doing quite a good job of it, too.
For a moment the kids just looked at him in silence; then one of them, a boy with sandy-blonde hair and an impressively upturned nose, stood up and walked towards him.
It didn't take a genius to notice that he was all but friendly towards him.
He grabbed one of the other kids' bags from the luggage rack above his head and placed it onto the empty seat before advancing belligerently towards Scorpius, pointing at him menacingly.
"I know who you are - you are a Malfoy!" he spat as though it was an insult, his hazel eyes glinting with a hint of triumph as Scorpius backed up slightly in front of the larger boy's anger. "Who do you want to fool? We don't like Death Eaters - sod off, before we hex your sorry ass off the train as you'd deserve!"
Rationally, Scorpius knew that it was highly unlikely that any of those kids could cast even a decent levitating charm, let alone hex anything or anyone, but their glares spoke volumes on what they thought of him, so he decided that it wasn't worth it.
Your friends, the true ones, won't care about what your last name is, he reminded himself.
So he stepped back out of the compartment as the boy literally slammed the door in his face, the cold glass almost brushing the tip of his nose as it whirred past.
He sighed softly as he gathered his stuff and walked down the carriage, again looking for a place where to sit, though he had a bad feeling about it.
He tried again and again, but he always got similar reactions from everyone; he never said his name once, but his platinum blonde hair and steel-grey eyes always gave him away, causing every other kid to refuse him immediately with glares and insults.
Feeling down and angry with everyone after being rejected for six times, he slid in the last compartment of the carriage – the only empty one. Fighting against
tears, he hoisted his luggage on the rack above his head, placed Agamemnon down and slumped in the farthest seat, leaning his forehead against the cool glass of the window; hills and fields filed past his eyes, but he didn't even see them, his eyes unfocused and blurry with hot, unshed angry tears.
Why did everyone always have to hate him without even speaking to him once?
If that was how his life at the school was going to be, he doubted he could endure it for seven years – would his parents agree to take him back home to be schooled privately? That seemed like a good idea to him - he was smart, he could learn on his own...
He was so lost in his sulking thoughts that he didn't even hear the door of his compartment slide open until a soft, friendly voice rang in the air, making his head jerk up.
"Hi! Sorry for barging in, but everywhere else is full - do you mind if we sit in here with you?"
Scorpius looked up incredulously, his eyes wide as he took in the appearance of the girl who had just spoken to him.
She was incredibly small, and she looked really young – like she was eight instead of eleven, although she had to be a first-year like him; she had dark auburn hair that fell down her back in a tangled, messy bush of curls, and large black-rimmed square glasses behind which her eyes, of the same bright, deep blue of the sea in summer, looked even bigger than they already were.
Behind her stood a nervous, thin boy with emerald green eyes and jet-black hair sticking in every direction like he had just been spat out of a whirlwind, or hit by a combing charm gone terribly wrong.
He recognised them from the platform – they were being hugged and kissed goodbye by Harry Potter and the rest of the Weasleys as he boarded the train not half an hour before.
Which meant that they were...
For Merlin's striped underpants...
Still too surprised to find his voice, he simply nodded, and the girl beamed at him before she walked inside, dragging her huge trunk behind her. The two newcomers struggled a bit to heave their luggage on the rack before they sat down across from him; they had cages in their arms too - the boy's held a magnificent snowy owl, while the girl's contained a minuscule ball of shaggy orange fur that he guessed was a kitten, for it was so tiny it could have easily been a large mouse.
"I'm sorry, I haven't even introduced myself – I'm Rose," the girl said kindly, placing the cage on the empty seat beside her; the movement elicited a small mewl of protest from the creature inside, confirming that he had guessed right - it was the tiniest kitten he had ever seen, but it was definitely a kitten. Either that, or a mewling rat, which didn't really seem likely.
"And he's my cousin Albus, but you can call him Al, like everyone else," she added, gesturing at the boy to her left, who grinned and waved quite happily.
Rose Weasley and Albus Potter, sitting with him?
They surely didn't know who he was – or they would have acted just like all the other kids.
He swallowed thickly before he ruffled his already messy hair and spoke, his voice almost a whisper as his eyes went from the girl to the boy, and then back to the girl, who was patiently waiting for him to introduce himself.
"I'm Scorpius," he uttered eventually, a faint pink shade darkening his pale skin as he pulled the sleeves of his red hoodie down over his hands, just to have something else to look at that wasn't the two people sitting in front of him. "Scorpius Malfoy."
He regretted saying his name right away, for the two kids seemed really nice – and they had been the only two people who had been friendly with him since he set foot in Kings' Cross. And now, they probably would have gathered their stuff and left, or kicked him out of the compartment, or laughed or sneered or insulted him – like most people usually did. Expecting something else would have been absolutely foolish, because there was no way that those two – the children of the Golden Trio – would ever be friends with a Malfoy. They were famous, adored by everyone, and he – he was just the infamous offspring of the former Death Eater who had caused Dumbledore's death twenty years before, and people hated him, all the other kids had already made that perfectly clear to him.
So he just sat there, expecting glares and mean comments and harsh words – but he sure wasn't expecting what happened next.
For the girl, Rose, smiled – she smiled at him, a warm, kind smile that lit her whole face up – and it was as though sunlight had just flooded the compartment. For a moment he was dazzled by her – by her eyes that were so full of sweet kindness they seemed to touch and wake something deep inside him – and he thought that she was the most radiant, blinding creature he had ever seen, even though she was just a little girl.
"Just Scorpius is fine with me," she said softly; Scorpius noticed that she had a sprinkle of pale freckles on her nose, and that her eyelashes were incredibly dark and thick behind the glasses. "I think last names are overrated – and people usually judge you only by hearing them, which is utterly ridiculous, because, what's in a name? As far as I know, it is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face..."
He knew those words – his mother had read them to him so many times he knew them by heart.
"...nor any other part belonging to a man," Scorpius finished for her, amazed. "You have read Romeo and Juliet." Since his Nana was a Muggleborn, his mother had grown up knowing all about Muggle culture and literature, and she had passed on her love for classics to Scorpius by reading to him every night – Dickens, Austen, Twain, and especially Shakespeare, her favourite.
For some reason, he had always been particularly fond of Romeo and Juliet, ever since he first listened to the story when he was nine.
"It's one of my favourites," Rose replied with a small grin. "My Mom used to read Shakespeare and other Muggle authors to me every night when I was little."
He grinned back, still slightly awe-struck by the little girl sitting right in front of him.
"My Mom used to do that, too. She made sure I knew all Muggle classics before I went off to Hogwarts."
"You know," Rose said then, her eyes lighting up at that new discovery, "I think you have just become one of my favourite people."
And he could do nothing but smile, for no one had ever said such a thing to him before, and those simple words warmed his heart in the most wonderful way, melting away all the worries and depressing thoughts.
Scorpius had never thought that he would end up having so much fun during his first train ride to Hogwarts; before the moment Rose and Albus walked into his compartment, though, he had never thought lots of things were possible – like the fact that a Weasley and a Potter would become friends with a Malfoy, for example. And yet there they were, acting like the three of them had been best friends their whole lives.
When an old lady knocked on the door of their compartment pushing a huge trolley full of sweets, they almost toppled over each other as they hastily ran in the corridor, taking out every coin they had in their pockets to the last Knut and pooling them together to buy lunch. They spent all their money, and after a few minutes they walked back into their compartment with their arms full of Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Liquorice Wands, Drooble's Best Blowing Gums, Chocolate Frogs and several packs of Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans.
That. Was. Heaven.
They slowly ate through the pile of food, exchanging Famous Witches and Wizards Cards, daring each other to try the ugliest, most disgusting-looking Every-Flavour Beans they found in the packs (which included, but were not limited to: bogeys, earwax, liver, tripe, broccoli, black pepper) and playing several rounds of Exploding Snap, all the while talking non-stop.
So Scorpius discovered that Albus was good at Quidditch and chess, that he loved helping out at the family joke shop with his cousins and that he was afraid to be sorted in Slytherin; he was really talkative and friendly and fun, and he knew some amazing jokes that his Uncle – George, was it? Had he gotten the name right? – had taught him that literally left him laughing till he had tears in his eyes.
Rose, instead, wasn't at all a chatterbox like his cousin, but they talked quite a lot anyways, mostly when Albus, probably having a sore throat after talking non-stop for hours, retired in a corner to quietly shuffle through his impressive collection of Famous Witches and Wizards Cards.
She told him that she loved books and learning and flying and Christmas, that she always stayed up late to watch thunderstorms at night, that she didn't really care what House she would have been put in, but that she hoped Gryffindor, and that she hated her glasses, because whenever she took them off everything became so blurry and foggy she couldn't see where she was going. She said she had 'clumsy eyes', and Scorpius found that he liked the way she said it – it was a fun way of defining her myopia.
And before they could realize it, it was dusk and it was time to change into their brand-new school robes. Soon the train slowed down gently until, with a whistle and a hiss, it came to a stop.
"Nervous?" Rose chuckled, smiling at Scorpius as she pulled her hair free from the collar of her shirt and adjusted her robes.
He swallowed thickly, shifting nervously from one foot to the other; he suddenly felt shaky and unsure. What if he wasn't sorted in the same House as Albus and Rose? What if they ended up in Gryffindor like the rest of their family and he was placed in Slytherin instead – or if, even worse, no House wanted him and he was sent back?
"A bit," he admitted with a small sigh, thinking that it was the hugest euphemism in the history of all time.
For a moment he thought she would have laughed at him; instead she smiled reassuringly and took his hand in her small one, leading him off the train and onto the crowded platform with her.
Scorpius couldn't help noticing that her touch was warm and comforting, and even though he would have never thought it possible, he actually felt...better. Lighter. Like she had just absorbed his anxiety through that simple gesture.
"Firs' years! Firs' years, this way!" a deep voice boomed behind them; Scorpius almost jumped in surprise, but Rose turned around with a huge smile on her face.
"Hagrid!" she called enthusiastically, waving at the huge man standing out among the students like a polar bear in a dollhouse.
He was tall as two men and large as three, with wild hair and beard that had probably once been jet black, but that was now streaked with grey; his eyes were black and shiny as beetles as he waved back at the girl, causing the large lantern he was holding up to dangle dangerously over the heads of the kids around him – who seemed to sense the danger, because they got out of the way as quick as they could.
"Rosie! Look at ye, ye have grown up so much! How are yer Mom and Dad?" he boomed, walking towards them.
"They are fine, Hagrid, thank you!" Rose told him, standing on her tiptoes to pat his huge arm – and never letting go of Scorpius' hand. "I'm glad to see you – last time you came to visit was, what, Christmas?"
Scorpius watched the exchange with wide eyes; apparently the man was an old friend of Rose's parents, and she had known him her whole life. While she seemed to be perfectly at ease, though, he felt small and insignificant in front of the huge, intimidating man.
"Now, c'mon, c'mon– ye don't want to be late fer the sorting, don't ye?" the man asked, taking a step back and straightening his back, towering even more on the crowd of students.
"Firs' years, this way! Follow me, come on! Don't stay back, and mind where ye put yer feet – it's dark, ye could fall if ye are not careful!"
"Come on, Scorpius," Rose told him softly, a happy smile on her face. "It's tradition that first-years reach the school on boats – it's written in Hogwarts: A Revised History. I've read it, like, ten times – oh, it must be wonderful!"
He didn't tell her that he knew, for he had already read that book a dozen times over to the point he knew it back to front and upside-down. He just smiled, letting her excitement infect him, and he let her drag him forward by the hand as they followed Hagrid down a narrow path that led to the lake; a dozen or so of small wooden boats were waiting for them on both sides of a long dock, sloshing quietly on the ink-black water.
"Alright, now; on the boats! There's room for four of ye on each one – c'mon, c'mon!"
Scorpius sat down in the closest one with Rose, Albus and a tall girl with mocha-coloured skin, deep brown eyes and crazy-curly charcoal black hair who introduced herself as Shaunee Jordan; she was nice, Scorpius decided, and she actually smiled at him even after he had introduced himself.
They all talked in hushed tones for a while as the magic boats gently glided across the smooth surface of the lake, but when they came around a tall cliff Rose suddenly stopped in mid-sentence, her eyes wide as she pointed at the view in front of them.
"Oh, it's so beautiful!" she breathed, pushing her glasses back up her nose with her index finger; Scorpius just nodded, feeling at a loss of words as he followed her gaze.
His parents had always told him that Hogwarts was the most incredible place they had ever seen, but he had never really understood what they meant until that moment.
The castle was huge, each small window lit up with a soft yellow glow; it stood on top of a hill, its dozens of towers proudly stretched towards the night sky, so tall it actually looked like they were touching the stars. There was something about it that made his heart fill with wonder; he could feel magic everywhere around him in that place, almost like it was sunlight on his skin – and, for the first time, he felt at home. For he just knew that no matter how much he looked, he would never find another place like that in a million years.
He kept his eyes fixed on the castle the whole time, until, with a soft thud, the boats bumped against another dock, identical to the one they had left only minutes before.
"Now, follow me, follow me! There's still a nice amount of walk to do to the castle, ye are gonna be late if ye don't hurry!" Hagrid's voice boomed as the huge man stepped out of the boat he had been sitting in – alone, because no kids would have fit in there with him.
They walked for maybe ten minutes or so, climbing up an incredibly steep, and seemingly endless, staircase that twisted from the dock up the cliff to the castle grounds; it was dark, and several people tripped on their way, especially when they finally reached the top of the staircase and had to walk along the winding path that snaked across the hill, which was littered with rocks and thick roots that seemed to be there with the only purpose of catching someone's feet.
Among all of them, a small kid with mousy brown hair and big brown eyes seemed particularly interested in watching the ground closely, judging on how often he fell face-first in the dirt – again and again and again, practically every three steps he took.
When he fell for the fifth time in the span of two minutes, Rose stopped and leaned down to help him up; he gave her a big, grateful smile that showed off his impressively large front teeth as he brushed dirt from his robes and hands. Scorpius fell into step with him and Rose, and Albus and Shaunee as well, both of them watching the boy curiously.
"Oh, thank you, thank you – you see, I'm very, very distracted, and I always fall... but you can always find interesting things on the ground – one would never imagine how cute ants are at a close look, really! Pity now it's too dark to see them..." the little boy rambled on in a high-pitched, overly excited voice.
He then extended a small hand to Rose.
"Oh, sorry, I haven't introduced myself – my name is Colin Creevey."
"Hey, my dad once told me about a Colin Creevey!" Albus piped up as they all started to walk once again at a quicker pace, trying to keep up with the rest of the kids who were by now several yards in front of them.
"He was my uncle," little Colin said, puffing up his thin chest in pride. "He died in the Battle of Hogwarts to defend the school from Voldemort – my dad named me after him. He was a Gryffindor – and I will be one, too!"
"Cool," Scorpius said with a half-smile, grabbing the smaller kid by the collar of his shirt right before he fell – again. "But focus on walking now, Colin – or you will end up in the Hospital Wing before you have time to be sorted into any House."
"Look, they are already walking through the doors – we have to run, or we are going to be left out!" Rose exclaimed then, pointing at the rest of their group, who was gladly disappearing inside after Hagrid. So, half-running, half- stumbling, the five of them shot up the path, across the courtyard and in the Entrance Hall, where they joined the other first-years. They got a few funny looks from them – after all, they were all red in the face and short of breath, and laughing like mad, so it wasn't that surprising.
"Now, now, silence down there!" a stern woman said with a reproachful glance directed towards them. She was tall and thin, and she looked really old; her grey hair was pulled back in a tight bun, and she had piercing blue eyes that seemed to be shooting daggers at the misbehaving students from behind her square spectacles.
Scorpius swallowed thickly and shut up, looking down at his feet; he didn't like to stand out, especially when he had done something wrong.
"She's Professor McGonagall," Rose whispered in his ear as they stepped through
the doors in a neat queue. "She is the Headmistress, Head of Gryffindor, and she teaches Transfiguration. You have to be careful with her, she's really stern – my dad told me she can come up with very nasty detentions, even with students belonging to her own House."
He nodded; it was good to know. Trouble was the last thing he needed in that moment – in any moment, to be honest, considering the opinion that people already had of him.
They walked through the Great Hall in silence, under the interested gazes of the other students already sitting at the tables; Scorpius took a deep breath, feeling the nervousness come back all of a sudden – he would have never admitted it, but he was downright frightened of the sorting ceremony. What if he was put in Slytherin? Or if, even worse, they sent him back home because they didn't want a Malfoy in the school? Could it happen? Had anyone ever been sent back saying that it was a mistake? Or was he going to be the first student in the history of the school to be kicked out even before being sorted?
He watched as Professor McGonagall placed a three-legged stool and an old, patched-up, dusty hat in front of them.
"A hat? Seriously?" he heard someone ask from behind him, though whoever had talked was immediately shushed by his peers.
Scorpius watched, fascinated, as a rip opened just above the rim of the hat, and it actually...talked. Or, to be more precise, sang, in a deep, rich baritone that sounded incredibly melodic – especially for a hat.
Like many others before you
You've come to stand by me,
Your eager minds so curious to
Know where I'll now place thee.
Your place might be in Gryffindor,
Where daring minds reside,
Where those who are brave and chivalrous
Will find a home for life.
Your place might be in Hufflepuff,
Where dwell the kind at heart,
Their earnest ways and loyal souls
Set Hufflepuffs apart.
Or perhaps you might be a Ravenclaw,
If you are of the wise kind,
If you wish to learn and use your wits
To gain knowledge for your minds.
Or you could find that cunning Slytherin
Is the perfect place to be,
If your wish is that to achieve great things
By using any means.
So now come on! Don't just stand there!
And don't be scared of me!
For I'm the Sorting Hat and I'll
Decide where to place thee.
Once the Hat became quiet again, Professor McGonagall stepped forward and took a long piece of parchment out of her green robes, carefully unrolling it before she looked up at the first-years, all standing there in a neat row in silent waiting.
"I'm going to call your names now," she said, her eyes lingering on each and every of them. "When it's your turn, you are going to come over here, sit on the stool and place the hat on your head. Once you are sorted, you are going to walk to the table of your assigned House, where your fellow students and Prefects will welcome you."
A murmur of approval ran across all the four tables as people smiled and nodded encouragingly – though the Slytherins seemed a bit colder than the rest of them.
Shaunee squared her shoulders and smiled bravely at the rest of their small group before she walked to where the Professor was standing, sat down on the stool and carefully placed the hat on her head. They all waited in silence for a few seconds, catching their breath, before the hat announced, in its – his? – booming voice:
The girl smiled brightly, standing up and passing the hat to the Professor before she skipped to the red and gold table, which had exploded in a roar of cheer and applause.
Several other kids were called; a few of them went to Ravenclaw, two to Hufflepuff, and two to Slytherin – the twins was Damien and Fedora Nott, whom Scorpius had once seen in Diagon Alley while shopping with his mother.
As his name was called Colin literally jumped up in excitement before he ran to the stool, obviously stumbling as he went, and eagerly placed the hat on his head; it was so big it would have covered his eyes and nose if his slightly sticking out ears hadn't been there to stop it.
Just as he had said before, he was sorted into Gryffindor as well. "I told you so!" he exclaimed happily, flashing his friends an enthusiastic grin before he ran to the Gryffindor table to join Shaunee, who patted him on the shoulder with a grin just as wide as his on her face.
After him came "McLaggen, Oliver!" the blonde boy who had insulted him when he first got on the train; after a long minute of silence from the hat, he was sorted into Hufflepuff.
"He's the son of two of my parents' old classmates," Rose told him in a whisper. "My dad told me his father was a real prat."
"He is, too," he murmured darkly in return, glaring at the boy as he arrogantly strolled to the Hufflepuff table like he was the king of the school. He didn't like him the littlest bit.
"Davies, Rebecca!" was sorted into Ravenclaw, along with "Scamander, Lorcan!" and "Scamander, Lysander!", two twins that, he understood, were good friends with Rose and Albus. After them came "Finnegan, Elizabeth!" and "Bones, William!", who respectively went to Slytherin and Hufflepuff.
Fewer and fewer of them remained, and the tension started to grow among those who were still waiting. Scorpius felt Rose's hand seek his and grasp it tightly, and he tried to reassure her just like she had reassured him before they got off the train.
"It will be alright," he promised her under his breath, even though he was practically shaking with nerves himself.
Murmurs filled the Hall, and Albus froze at Rose's side, his eyes wide and scared.
"Come on, Al!" Rose hissed at him when he didn't give any sign of life, pushing him forward and shaking him out of his statue-like state.
He unsteadily walked to the stool and placed the hat on his head; Scorpius noticed that his hands were trembling slightly, just like his and Rose's were.
It took the hat less than ten seconds, and when it bellowed: "GRYFFINDOR!" a huge roar erupted from the red and gold table; Albus grinned, relieved, and ran to his new housemates, sitting among a number of those who were obviously all his cousins as a boy who looked his older photocopy eagerly patted him on the back and cheered along with the rest of the crowd.
"WE – GOT – POTTER! WE – GOT – POTTER!" the Gryffindors chanted, and for the tiniest moment Scorpius wished that, wherever he ended up to be, his fellow housemates would welcome him with such enthusiasm once he was sorted, too.
Hm. Not going to happen, Malfoy, he told himself, bitterly.
The line of students became thinner and thinner as names got called out quite quickly; "Patil, Rachida," was sorted in Ravenclaw, along with "Thomas, Samuel," and a few others, and then came a long line of Slytherins – all names which Scorpius knew well.
And for a moment Scorpius' breath caught, because he already knew that Rose, just like Albus, Shaunee and Colin, would be sorted into Gryffindor, and he would be left alone, without any of the friends he had managed to make.
Rose looked up at him, smiling a nervous smile.
"We'll be friend anyways, right?" she murmured. "Even if we are not placed in the same House?"
"Of course we will," he replied immediately, without even thinking about it. She smiled again, an easier, brighter smile that time, and she let go of his hand to walk to the stool.
It took only a handful of seconds for the hat to announce: "GRYFFINDOR!".
And even though he was happy for her, Scorpius felt his hope deflate like a balloon that had been left in the sun for too long – for she had been sorted in the very house that was the most unreachable to him.
And yet Rose caught his eyes and smiled at him encouragingly before she started to walk towards the Gryffindor table; after the first few steps she seemed to suddenly remember something, though, and she quickly scurried back to the stool, stooping down slightly to whisper something to the hat. As he watched her skip to the rest of her family, where everyone took turns to hug her, pat her back and ruffle her hair affectionately, Scorpius found himself wondering what she could have possibly said to it.
He was so intent in watching her, he almost didn't notice his own name being called out.
Suddenly, everything went quiet, and several hundred eyes went to him, the last child standing in front of the stool – and he could tell that not many of those stares were friendly. Actually, they were filled with what closely resembled hate and disgust. And he couldn't really blame them.
The Slytherins hated him because his father had turned his back on Voldemort.
The Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws and Gryffindors hated him because, before turning his back on Voldemort, his father had been a Death Eater, and had played a part in Dumbledore's death.
And everyone generally disliked him by principle because he was a Malfoy, and with his silvery-blonde hair and steel-grey eyes he looked just like his father and grandfather.
But he wasn't like them. He wasn't. And he would show them.
Mustering up every ounce of courage that he had, he squared his shoulders and walked to the stool, keeping his head held high; a few students whistled as he passed, but Professor McGonagall promptly shut them up with a murderous glare that, Scorpius was sure, would have made a Devil's Snare wither in the blink of an eye.
He placed the hat on his head and sat down, waiting for something to happen; he started – though just slightly – as he heard a voice in his head, because he surely wasn't expecting that. At all.
Ah, a Malfoy, I see. I've seen many of your family sitting here, on this very stool; I've read their minds, seen their innermost desires – all very cunning, yes; they wished to be great, to have power...Brilliant wizards, they were, but dark thoughts crowded their minds...
"I'm not like them," he thought, his heart hammering in his chest with such force it was almost painful.
Oh, but I can see that, my boy, I can see...It is just as little Rose Weasley said to me just a minute ago – you are unlike any other Malfoy that I have seen, and believe me, I have seen many, since Orion Malfoy, the first of them, was brought here by Salazar Slytherin himself.
"Rose talked to you about me?" he thought, surprised, and the hat laughed softly.
Indeed, she did, my boy...and she asked me to please consider putting you in Gryffindor with the rest of her family, because she said that she saw light in you. Very observant girl, really...Now I see what she meant by that.
"She saw light...in me?" In him, Scorpius Malfoy, who was seen by most as the offspring of the devil himself? How could he, of all people, be put in Gryffindor?
Now, now, boy – hush your thoughts a bit and let me make that choice, will you? I can't concentrate with all this noise in your head – and if I can't concentrate, this is going to take forever...Hmm...Brilliant mind, really; you would do great in any House...there are determination and bravery here, and a wish to learn, to prove yourself...To be different. Aah, and there is strength that awaits to be freed here, so much potential...Oh, yes, now I know! My boy, you will make a splendid...
An astounded silence fell on the Great Hall as people stared at him with wide eyes, probably thinking that they had heard the wrong thing, or that the hat was just cracking a joke. Scorpius himself could hardly believe what he had just heard, for how could a Malfoy be in Gryffindor? It would mean breaking all traditions, going against what everyone expected, being a walking oxymoron, an...
An exception. It would mean being something different.
And suddenly applause resounded in the hall, from just one single pair of clapping hands – Rose. She was looking at him, beaming with pride and joy, and a moment later more hands joined in – Albus', Colin's, Shaunee's, and, slowly, those of more first-years, and of some of the Weasleys, who followed the lead of the youngest, though bewilderedly. It took a full minute, but eventually the whole of the Gryffindor table was clapping, though not very loudly, and a few cheers, even, rose up in the air, warming Scorpius to the very tips of his toes.
So he grinned and stood, carefully placing the hat back onto the stool with a barely audible "Thank you," before he walked to the red and gold table, where he was immediately pulled in by his new friends to sit in between Albus and Rose. Though tentatively, many Gryffindors waved at him from all along the table, congratulating him, lightly patting his shoulders.
"Hi, I'm Dominique, Rose and Albus' cousin, and one of Gryffindor Prefects – but you can call me Dom. Welcome in our House," a tall girl with sleek red hair and blue eyes told him with a smile, leaning across the table and holding her hand out for him to shake; after her, all the Weasleys introduced themselves with varying levels of enthusiasm – and not little humour in some cases, even.
"Hey there, Scorpy – cause we can call you Scorpy, can't we? I'm James Potter, Alby's brother," said a tall boy who looked incredibly like Albus, from his round glasses to his completely messed-up hair, with the exception of his eyes, which were hazel instead of green. He had a huge grin on his face as he extended his hand for Scorpius to shake, and he seemed to find the horrified face that Albus made hearing the nicknames incredibly entertaining.
"Welcome in the house, mate; I'm Fred."
"I'm Victoire, Head Girl – hello there, newbie. You'll like it here, you'll see – if you can stand my cousins, that is."
"I'm Molly – nice to meet you!"
"My name's Lucy – how's it going?"
"Hullo there – name's Louis. Welcome in the madhouse!"
He had the impression that he had been thrown in the middle of a chatty, friendly tornado of red hair and freckles, and he felt almost dizzy as the endless relatives of Al and Rose took turns in talking to him, some more sullenly than others. And yet, he had never felt happier, sitting there in the middle of the huge family; Albus patted his back, his eyes sporting a Sorry you're stuck with us and our obnoxiously loud and flamboyant family, mate, look, Shaunee grinned at him, and Colin kept bouncing up and down like he was so hyper he couldn't stay still – which he probably was.
Then he looked at Rose, who was sitting to his left, and she smiled her warm, beautiful smile at him, squeezing his hand for a brief moment with pure, unmasked joy dancing in her eyes.
She had told the hat that she had seen light in him, and asked it to put him in Gryffindor. She had given him a chance when no one else would have done it.
She, and Al, and Colin, Shaunee and the Weasleys in front of him had somehow managed to look beyond his name. And that was more than enough to him.
As far as he was concerned, everyone else could go drown themselves in the Black Lake.ro