House unity has never really been a thing at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. My uncle used to tell me about how, in the dark times especially, the sorting hat would sing a song of how the four houses of Hogwarts must stand together in order to reach a common goal that is best for the wizarding world as a whole. But, the school seemed to constantly be pitting the four groups against one another. Not only do we all fight for the house cup each year, but also for the Quidditch cup. We all sit at different tables in the great hall, classes are set up for two houses to be together at once, and we have separate dormitories, where only members of the same house can enter.
Under Headmaster McGonagall, however, the rules of the school could and would be changed. This year, we received letters that she has decided to implement a lottery system, in which three third years from each house would be forced to spend a whole month in a different house in order to realize that no one house is better than another, despite constantly acting otherwise. Of course, this is because of the hatred that Albus Potter had received in his time at Hogwarts for being sorted into Slytherin instead of Gryffindor as everyone had expected to happen. Also, this happens to be my third year.
Surely, I know who Albus Potter is, seeing as his brother is the Head Boy (from my house of Gryffindor), his sister is one of my bunkmates, and he is the son of famous Harry Potter and famous Ginny Weasley. Every half-blood and pureblood grows up learning about the life of Harry Potter, especially in Defense Against the Dark Arts, where apparently Harry had excelled under the supervision of werewolf Remus Lupin. I read all about it in Hogwarts, A History. However, I hold much more interest in his mother, who had previously played Quidditch for my favorite team, the Holyhead Harpies and is a writer for the Daily Prophet. I read all of her articles.
Lily finds my fascination with her mother to be quite strange. This is the reason that, despite being close friends with her, I believe she has never invited me to her house. I imagine she may also have a hard time making true friends because of who her family is. Albus is really the only one who can say that his friends (or, friend, really) are true to him. The backlash that he had experienced never swayed Scorpious Malfoy to ditch Albus, despite who both of their parents are. This much, I had not read in any book. Rather I had heard most of it from Lily, and glimpses of it from James.
Today, September 1st, is a day that all of us third years find ourselves getting nervous over. At the sorting ceremony, after all of the first years have been sorted, the third years will learn our fate. McGonagall had transformed the old Goblet of Fire, which had previously been used in the infamous TriWizard Tournament, into a new sort of goblet, where every third years name gets placed in, and the goblet determines who will be placed into which house.
I have to admit that I am nervous. I’m a ruthless, brave heart. I’m useless with riddles, so being placed into Ravenclaw would make it extremely hard to get into their common room. I’m fair, but not someone who is patient. I would likely be unable to hold my temper in with the Hufflepuffs. I’m ambitious for sure, but not so much cunning. From what Lily has told me, Slytherins sort of have a strict set of rules of their own that they all follow. However, most of us Gryffindors have a lack of courtesy for the rules. I would not fare well in any other house. I suppose that’s the entire point of the lottery, though, isn’t it?
“Are you thinking about today?” Lily asks me, noticing that I am staring out the window and be uncharacteristically quiet.
I nod. “I’m just not sure that I would fare too well in the other houses, you know?”
She nods. “No one does think so. But the others aren’t so bad. Albus has had Scorpious over this past summer. After everything that had happened last year, mum and dad finally let him have him over. Draco even came over for dinner a few times. That was weird.” She shakes her head, to bring herself back to her point. “Anyways, he’s plenty lovely. You’d really enjoy him. He’s probably the only other student here who has read Hogwarts, A History. And he read it before his first year even started, like you!”
“Slytherins are about our natural enemy, Lily. Did I tell you that Scorious Malfoy asked me on a date?” Rose Granger-Weasley is the owner of this smug voice. I’ve never been particularly fond of her, though I have had to spend a lot of time with her over the last year, seeing as during my second year, I became the new Gryffindor seeker. Thankfully, the lottery rule does not count with Quidditch, something that no one seems to take lightly at the school. In response to Rose and Lily, I just shake my head, and laugh a little. I think to myself, wondering why Lily’s never bothered to come stay with me when I invited her, or why she’s never asked me over. I suppose it’s no big deal.
“We’re almost there,” Lily states. “We’d better change into our robes.”
When we exit the train, we see Hagrid, who Lily has made a point of visiting various times in the past three years. Often we will see Albus and Scorpious with him. Very rarely we will see James and a few of his friends visiting the Care for Magical Creatures professor. Lily has said that time and time again Rubeus Hagrid had been the only person at various points that had been there for her dad in his childhood. She trusts him a lot.
“Oh, hello Hagrid!” she calls to him, as we make our way to where he’s standing on the platform, trying to guide the first years to the correct place.
“Hello to yeh, Lily. And Hannah!”
I smile. “Hello Hagrid. I’m really excited to take your class this year. My uncle assured me that you’re the best professor here.”
“We all know that your uncle is the best professor here. Never met a man kinder than Neville Longbottom.”
“He’s exceptional,” I say, looking for the carriages that are to bring us to the school. Albus and Scorpious begin to walk our way as well.
“Hagrid!” Scorpious calls out, much louder than I believe necessary. “How great to see you! We’ve got loads to tell you about the summer. Can we have tea at your place later?”
“Oi! Malfoy and Potter, of course yer welcome at my house. Why don’t the two of you come as well?” Hagrid extends the invitation to myself and Lily, who is delighted at the offer, assuring him that we will be there.
“I hope you’re put with us, Lily,” Albus says, while we’re all sitting in the carriage. “That way, I won’t be the only Potter in Slytherin.”
“How does it decide?” Lily asks us all, confused.
“All I know is that when it was used for the tournament, the goblet deemed whoever it felt worthy enough,” I say.
“How’d you know that? All that I know is that it was used when my dad competed.”
Albus and Scorpious stay quiet. Of course, nothing at Hogwarts ever stays a secret for long, so after they had travelled in time multiple times, everyone knew all about it.
“God, don’t you read?” I ask her. “It’s in-”
“Hogwarts, A History, of course.” This was Scorpious. “Version II, the one your aunt happened to pen, Lily.”
“Well I didn’t read the first one, I’m surely not reading the second one. Even if Aunt 'Mione wrote it.”
As we enter the castle, my stomach knots up. I have the genuine feeling that I’ll be picked today. Of course, I’m sure that everyone has this feeling. I watch as the first years are sorted, and wait for McGonagall to take her place. “Good evening students. As you know, before we start the feast, we must pull from the goblet to see who will be joining a new house for the first month of school.” Some clapping, and various groans are heard.
“Firstly, to Gryffindor.” We watch as the blue flame burning bright in the goblet turns to red, shooting out three pieces of parchment in rapid succession. “From Slytherin, Apus Parkinson. From Ravenclaw, Lyra Belby. From Hufflepuff, Louis Weasley.”
“Next, to Ravenclaw. From Gryffindor, Lily Potter.”
I look over at Lily with my mouth agape. She stands up, and moves herself to the Ravenclaw table. She’s never been remotely interested in any other house, always stating that she was destined for Gryffindor. Now, she’ll be off in Ravenclaw. I had not heard anything else, as I was watching Lily, until Rose taps me on the shoulder, hard.
“What?” I ask.
“You’re in Slytherin now. Better get moving.” I think at first that she surely must be joking, but as I look around at my fellow housemates, I know that she is not. I look to Lily for support. But I get nothing back.
“Come sit with us, Hannah!” Scorpious Malfoy nearly shouts, in his ever so upbeat voice. I have no other choice, really, so I seat myself beside Albus Potter.
“Welcome to Slytherin.”