Arielle Potter: Book One

Arielle Potter is an unusual girl. Not only is she a witch, she is also the only one to thaw the heart of Severus Snape. Read how Arielle starts a family with the dour Potions Master in this, first, book of the series.

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9. The Train Ride and the Sorting

The Train Ride and the Sorting

The morning of September 1st drew quickly and Arielle could scarcely believe that she would be starting a Wizarding School today. Yes, she did get used to all the magic around her through the summer, but sometimes it was still hard to believe. But nevertheless, she loved magic. She now understood that all the strange things that she did while still living with the Dursleys and that she got severely punished for was accidental magic. While it hurt her that they hated her just because she had magical powers, she knew that she was better off without them.

Dressed in the school uniform already, Arielle packed the last piece of clothes in her trunk and dragged it behind her. She had talked to Severus a few days ago about it, and it was decided that she would travel to Hogwarts with the Hogwarts Express and loaded with a trunk like all the others. It wouldn't do to show favouritism on the very first day of the school. It was also decided that the professors would go harder on Arielle because of that very reason. She understood that and all was well. She couldn't wait for lessons to start.

Entering the kitchen, she saw Severus already making breakfast, a cup of hot cocoa waiting for her on the table. That was another habit they started a few weeks ago. In the cocoa there were nutritional potions and vitamins to keep Arielle healthy and until she got to a healthy weight, she would keep taking the nutritional potions. It was a nice idea and meant a lot to Arielle, since the Dursleys would starve her and Severus took care of her meals. He would never take food away from her; that she knew.

She sat down and took a short sip of the drink as she waited for Severus to put the breakfast on the table. It was quite a shock for her to not have to take care of everything as Severus told her after she tried to do that in the beginning of their lives together. It was a very nice change from the Dursleys, she had to admit that.

After a quiet breakfast, she went to the living room and sat down on the sofa next to her trunk. She had to wait for Severus to bring her a Portkey. He had said that it was a device that transported you from one place to another. The Portkey was a courtesy from Dumbledore and it would take her directly to the Platform Nine and Three Quarters from where she would catch the train to Hogwarts and meet people her own age and perhaps new friends. She could hardly wait!

A few minutes later, Severus stepped in the living room and presented her with the Portkey and placed his hand on her shoulder. She knew it was as much as she would get for the moment. While she did yearn for a hug or something else, she was satisfied with her shoulder being touched. She gave him a big smile and a wave and was whisked away with the Portkey.

Platform Nine and Three Quarters was only a bit different from the normal platforms that Arielle had seen. This platform was vividly coloured and had a bright red sign 'Hogwarts Express'. The train itself was an old model, with a scarlet steam locomotive and a lot of passenger cars. There seemed to be no Diner Car, and Arielle wondered how they would eat something if they were hungry. Sighing to herself, she decided to think about that later. She was still full from the breakfast she had a few minutes earlier. Pulling the trunk behind her with one hand and the other hand holding Coco's cage and with Caeryn on her shoulders, Arielle tried to find an empty compartment on the train for her to sit in. That was a difficult job, because almost all the compartments were full.

Finally seeing an empty one somewhere at the back of the train she started in that direction. Putting the cage in the train compartment first, she went back out for her trunk. While managing to pull it in the compartment, she didn't know if she would be strong enough to put it in the baggage carrier. She tried – unsuccessfully – to heave the trunk on the seat opposite to where she intended to sit, but it slipped and fell on her foot. She flinched as the pain flew throughout her foot. She sat down and massaged it until the pain reduced a bit. Then she looked at the trunk again and just started thinking about how to heave it up, when the doors to her compartment opened and two red-headed boys peaked in with grins. "We saw that-"

"You were having problems-"

"With getting your trunk up to the-"

"Carrier, and we thought that we-"

"Might be of some help," they said, adding to each other's words. Arielle watched the interaction with wide eyes and her head going left and right, like she was watching a tennis match. The two boys were obviously twins and their eyes were twinkling with mischief. She felt that she could trust them; therefore she smiled and nodded, "Yes, I really need some help. I'm just not strong enough to do it myself."

The boys grinned and heaved the trunk up to the carrier like it was a feather. "First years normally don't succeed in doing that," said the twin on the left side, and the twin on the right added, "That's why all of us upper years go around the train and help where help is needed."

The other twin nodded and bowed to Arielle, introducing himself. "I'm Fred Weasley and this is George. You can call us Gred and Forge," he said with a wink. Arielle giggled at the bow and shook hands with the two boys. "I'm Arielle Potter, but you can call me Elle," she said introducing herself. The twins' jaws fell down and they stared at her.

"You're Arielle Potter-"

"The Girl-Who-Lived?"

"Wicked!" they said in unison. And that was it. There was no goggling at her scar like when she was in Diagon Alley. They just took it as granted and soon they were in a fierce debate about muggle and wizard sweets and jokes. She learnt that they wanted to open a joke shop when they graduated from Hogwarts, that they were third years and that they had a younger sister, two brothers that had already graduated and a brother who was a Prefect, while the other brother was starting the same year as Arielle. All in all, she counted in her hear, they were one big family with seven children. She also learned that Bill, the eldest, was a Curse Breaker for Gringotts in Egypt; Charlie was a Dragon-Keeper in Romania; Percy was a fifth-year Prefect who apparently had a big head and wanted to become the next Minister of Magic, Ron was the boy who would be in the same year as her and she was told that he was really stupid at times and had arachnophobia. The twins grinned as they told her the story about the time when Fred transfigured Ron's teddy bear in to a giant spider and from then on Ron was afraid of spiders, and about Ginny, who would start at Hogwarts next year. They also told her that their whole family was in Gryffindor. They were just about to start talking about Quidditch, when they heard a woman's voice calling out their names (Fred and George's). The twins stood up and after telling Arielle that it was their mother, who called them, waved at her and left the compartment. She was left alone... but not for long.

Someone knocked on the compartment doors and after opening them, there was a boy of her age, a little on the chubby side, with light brown hair and dark-coloured eyes of an undefined colour. He was holding a toad that was trying to escape and was watching her with astonishment. Apparently he just realized who she was. Smiling at him with a friendly expression, Arielle decided to break the ice. "Hello. How can I help you?"

The boy flinched and blushed, then started stammering something about all compartments being full. Arielle nodded, and waved her hand over the empty seats all around her. "There's plenty of space here, you can sit with me if you want, I don't mind. I'd really like some company. It's not fun sitting in the compartment by myself," she said. She had grown to be quite a chatterbox after being in Snape's company for the summer. She wasn't allowed to talk much with the Dursleys and this made a nice change. The boy gave her a small, but grateful smile and sat down opposite her. Shyly, he introduced himself. "I'm Neville Longbottom. Nice to meet you," he said watching his fingers.

The rest of the train ride went by quickly. Neville had relaxed somewhat and they talked about Herbology most of the time. It seemed that Neville loved it, and Arielle had some knowledge about gardening too, so they could exchange their thoughts about it. Neville's magical versus Arielle's muggle experiences differed slightly, but all in all, they were similar up to a point.

Fred and George entered the compartment sometime in the afternoon and helped Arielle to pick up some sweets for the snack – she hadn't eaten many sweets in her time with professor Snape, so she didn't know the many kinds there were. She was shocked to realise how many kinds there were: Droobles Best Blowing Gum, Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans, Liquorice Wands, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Chocolate Frogs, Sugar Quills, Acid Pops, Blood-Flavoured Lollipops. Chocoballs, Cockroach Clusters, Exploding Bon-Bons, Fudge Flies, Ice Mice, Jelly Slugs, Pepper Imps, Peppermint Toads, Toothflossing Stringmints, Squeaking Sugar Mice, Fizzing Whizzbees, and many others.

Someone else also came to see her. It was a boy called Draco Malfoy, who reminded Arielle of Dudley, her snobbish cousin. While Draco Malfoy had platinum hair, and Dudley had blonde hair, Draco Malfoy was almost as bad as Dudley if not more so. He had insulted Neville and Arielle, but disappeared the moment a third-year Hufflepuff with grey eyes and dark brown hair neared them as he was returning from the toilets.

All in all, Arielle's journey to Hogwarts was very fun and she was happy to have found three friends already. She didn't really care about Draco Malfoy, whom she was sure was going to be a Slytherin. She wasn't prejudiced like some of the people she had met in the Wizarding World were. She also knew that both her parents were Gryffindors and that many people… scratch that… the whole Wizarding World expected her to be in Gryffindor, but she didn't want to end up in that House. While she did like Fred and George, she wasn't that impulsive, plus Severus wouldn't like her anymore if she was sorted into the House of the Lions.

It was sometime in the late afternoon that the train stopped at the station and they disembarked it. Hagrid called the first years to follow him and off they were. They walked through some woods and came out at a lake where dozens of little boats waited for them. Arielle pulled Neville's hand and they sat in a boat together.

While watching the other first years, she saw a red-headed boy with blue eyes. That must have been Ron Weasley, the brother of the Weasley twins she had met on the train. While she liked the twins, that boy didn't catch her attention at all. She didn't have a good feeling about him; therefore she decided to stay away from him. She didn't know why she felt that way, but she hoped that she was wrong.

Then there was a girl with bushy brown hair and brown eyes, who was whispering to herself about something she had 'read in Hogwarts: A History'. A Ravenclaw, no doubt, Arielle thought to herself.

And then the ride was over and they got out of the boats as Hagrid guided them to a big oak door and knocked on them. Well, not knocked, more like thundered, he was just that strong. The doors opened slowly and Auntie Minerva – Professor McGonagall – invited them in. As she was closing the door, she gave Arielle a small wink and Arielle relaxed a little. She was nervous about the sorting.

Professor McGonagall then proceeded to tell them about the four Hogwarts Houses and what was expected of them. Arielle knew that already, so she zoned out a bit, using the time to check her other classmates. Professor McGonagall left them alone in the hall for a few minutes to get ready for their sorting and a few minutes later she came for them.

Arielle saw that the Great Hall was full with students. It seemed as it was bigger than in the summer, but Arielle told herself that it only seemed like that because she was there with the professors only. As they neared the Head Table, she saw professor McGonagall putting a three-legged chair in front of them and putting an old ragged hat on it. The Great Hall went quiet as the hat's rim opened and it started to sing a song.

Oh you may not think me pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm 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 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 folks use any means
o 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'm a Thinking Cap!

And the Sorting begun. Professor McGonagall unrolled a roll of parchment and started reading out the names of Arielle's future classmates. "Abbott, Hannah!"

A girl with pigtails and rosy cheeks stepped up and sat down on the stool. Professor McGonagall put the Sorting Hat on her head and waited for a few seconds. The rim of the Hat opened again and the Hat shouted out, "HUFFLEPUFF!"

Hannah Abbott joined her new House with a big grin on her face. Professor McGonagall continued to call the roll with, "Bones, Susan!"

"HUFFLEPUFF"

"Boot, Terry!"

"RAVENCLAW!"

"Brocklehurst, Mandy!"

"RAVENCLAW!"

"Brown, Lavender!"

"GRYFFINDOR!"

"Bulstrode, Millicent!"

"SLYTHERIN!"

"Finch-Fletchley, Justin!"

"HUFFLEPUFF!"

"Finnigan, Seamus!" The sandy-haired boy in front of Arielle stepped up to the Hat and sat down on the stool to await the jurisdiction of the Sorting Hat. "GRYFFINDOR!"

"Granger, Hermione!"

The bushy-haired girl stepped up, muttering to herself all the time, and sat down on the stool. Arielle could hardly believe her ears when she heart the Hat shout out, "GRYFFINDOR!"

"Longbottom, Neville!" It was Neville's turn now. Arielle smiled to the scared boy and held her fingers crossed that he would get in the house he wanted the most. When the Hat yelled out, "HUFFLEPUFF!" she smiled at the relief on Neville's face. She had to laugh though, when Neville made his way to the Hufflepuff House Table, only to turn back halfway there and return the Sorting Hat on the stool. "McDougal, Morag!"

"RAVENCLAW!"

"Malfoy, Draco!" The platinum-haired boy that she really didn't like from when they met on the train, stepped forward and after a moment of sitting, if it was a moment, the Hat shouted out, "SLYTHERIN!"

"Nott, Theodore!"

"SLYTHERIN!"

"Parkinson, Pansy!"

"SLYTHERIN!"

"Patil, Padma!"

"RAVENCLAW!"

"Patil, Parvati!"

"GRYFFINDOR!"

And now it was Arielle's turn.

"Potter, Arielle!"

Everyone started whispering and lengthening their necks to see her. Arielle blushed from embarrassment and after taking a peak at professor Snape, who nodded at her – after making sure no one was watching him of course – she stepped forward and sat down on the stool to wait what the Hat had in mind for her.

"Ah, you're the Potter girl I hear so much about these days. I see you didn't have a nice childhood, but now it's going to be better, no doubt about that. Severus is the right choice for your Guardian; that I admit. But now, let's get to the Sorting; I'm sure you're very nervous about what House I'll decide to put you in. So, let's see… Courage, Intelligence, Wit and Loyalty. Everything is there, but let's see what prevails. Hmm… I'd have to say that Intelligence and Wit are a bit more on the open, so I'll have to say that although you would do well in all four Houses that you belong more in RAVENCLAW!"

Arielle grinned at the Great Hall as she put the Hat down on the stool and made her way to the Ravenclaw Table. She sat down on the first empty place and looked up at the High Table with a big grin. She was happy she was sorted in that house. She was frightened that she would be sorted into Gryffindor and that Severus would abandon her. She knew how deep his hatred for the Gryffindors ran. Therefore she was happy when she saw him applauding with the rest of the Great Hall. It seemed she got the largest applause yet and she saw Fred and George grinning at her from the other end of the Hall.

The Sorting continued until there were only four students left. A black boy called "Thomas, Dean!" was sorted into "GRYFFINDOR!" "Turpin, Lisa!" became a Ravenclaw, and then it was Ron Weasley's turn to be Sorted. Professor McGonagall called out his name and Arielle watched as the boy shook from fear or something like that as he went to put the Hat on his head. When the Hat shouted out "GRYFFINDOR!" she saw him sigh in relief and take a seat next to Seamus Finnigan. And then the last new student, "Zabini, Blaise!" was sorted into "SLYTHERIN!"

As the clapping from the Slytherin Table stopped, Arielle turned her attention to the Headmaster, whom had just stood up and said, "Welcome, welcome, to another year at Hogwarts! I just want to say these four words: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!"

And as suddenly as he stopped talking, the tables filled themselves with all kinds of food. Arielle never saw so much food in her life and filled her plate with spaghetti and some sort of a mushroom cream which smelled divine. Taking a bite, she turned her attention to her classmates and saw that some of them were watching her curiously, some adoringly and some were just eating.

She turned her attention back to her plate and ate in peace until she heard someone shrieking from the Gryffindor Table. Looking over, she saw that the Gryffindor Ghost, called Nearly Headless Nick, although he preferred Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, had apparently just shown just what it was meant by Nearly Headless, and Ronald Weasley apparently lost his appetite as the ghost showed his almost detached head.

His twin brothers were choking from laughter and Hermione Granger, the bushy-haired girl, was glaring at the poor boy with a sense of disgust. From what she saw and heard about that girl, it seemed that Hermione Granger was a bookworm and a nerd that wouldn't accept less than a perfect grade. It was strange that she got sorted into Gryffindor. A determination swelled inside Arielle at the thought and she decided to give everything she had to get perfect grades as well. She wanted Severus to be proud of her.

Taking another peak at him, she was surprised to see him watching her. She smiled at him and was surprised to see a small smile sent her way as well. That was the first time she saw him smile. He never smiled. He would scowl, glare or simply watch her emotionlessly. But she knew that mask by now. If he watched her like that, he was hiding his feelings and emotions. She accepted that for now, because she knew that he wasn't accustomed to show his feelings.

She turned her head to the left and suddenly her head exploded in pain. The pain was centred on her scar. And then it went away. When Arielle was able to see properly again, she noticed that on the left side of Severus, there was a young man she never saw again. She knew that it was Professor Quirinius Quirrell, who was going to teach them Defence Against the Dark Arts. He was a pale young man who wore a turban. Another glance at the turban made Arielle aware that apparently the headache came from watching the back of the turban.

After Arielle felt completely full, the plates were emptied and shined as new again. Professor McGonagall tapped her goblet with a fork and the Great Hall quietened once again to listen to professor Dumbledore speak, "I would like to make a few announcements please! Firstly, Mr Filch, our caretaker, has asked me to remind you that using magic on the corridors is strictly forbidden. Secondly, I'd like to warn you that the third floor corridor is out of bounds this year. Anyone not heeding this warning will find themselves in grave danger. And lastly, have a good night! Off you trot!"

Everyone in the Great Hall stood up, the Prefects called for the first years and they were off to their respective Common Rooms. The Ravenclaw Common Room was located on the west side of the castle and was hidden behind a portrait of a person who was reading something and writing down the information he got in the book. Arielle secretly called it the Scriber. The Prefect turned around and cleared his throat. He pointed to the Scriber's portrait and said, "This is the Portrait of Michel de Nostredame, commonly known as Nostradamus. The password to open the portrait's door to the Ravenclaw Common Room is Leonardo Da Vinci. I'm sure you all know who that was, so there will be no trouble remembering that name."

At the mention of the password (who coincidentally was the biggest Wizarding genius the world has ever seen), the portrait of Nostradamus flung open and the freshly sorted Ravenclaws went inside. The Ravenclaw Common Room's walls were of light and dark blues, and the furniture was of cherry wood, which made a very nice and comfortable room. The colours even matched the Ravenclaw colours – blue and bronze. Arielle smiled. She was sure to like it here. While it wasn't as homely as her room in Severus's quarters, it was still home for most of the school terms. It was arranged that she would spend the weekends and holidays in Severus's and hers quarters to get to know each other better. Of course, Grandpa Albus was the one to arrange it, although Severus didn't complain very strongly if at all. He just glared at the old man and sneered. Everyone took it that he really liked that fact. And he did.

Soon after the first impressions calmed, the Prefects guided the first years to their dormitories (girls to the left and boys to the right). Arielle made her way up to the first years' dormitory and took the bed that had her trunk beside it. It was by the window and had a wonderful view of the lake.

After changing in her pyjamas and making herself comfortable on the bed, she looked around herself and watched the other girls prepare themselves for bedtime. There was an Indian girl called Padma if Arielle remembered correctly, a Chinese looking girl called Su or something similar and two brunette girls.

After settling themselves under the blankets, the girls all introduced themselves again, knowing that in the confusion of the Sorting sometimes names get confused as well. Arielle learned that the other two girls' names were Morag and Lisa. After chatting for a while everyone said goodnight and went to sleep.

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