Elena's P. O. V.
The only word that could be used to describe Hogwarts at this time was "majestic." Our view of the castle was absolutely breathtaking. The narrow path had opened suddenly onto the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side was a vast castle with many turrets and towers, its windows sparkling in the starry sky.
"No more'n four to a boat!" Hagrid announced, pointing to a fleet of little wooden boats sitting in the water by the shore. I followed Harry and Ron into a boat. Hermione climbed in after us.
"Everyone in?" shouted Hagrid, who had a boat to himself. "Right then - FORWARD!"
The fleet of little boats moved off all at once, gliding across the lake, which was as smooth as glass. I reached my hand down and let it skim across the water, creating small ripples. Everyone was silent as the castle before us loomed nearer and nearer.
"Heads down!" Hagrid yelled as the first boats reached the cliff. Everyone immediately ducked their heads down as the little boats carried us through a curtain of ivy that hid a wide opening in the cliff face. We were then carried along a dark tunnel, which seemed to take us underneath the castle, until we reached a kind of underground harbor, where we clambered out onto rocks and pebbles. I slipped on the wet pebbles, but before I hit the ground, someone caught me by the elbow, stopping my fall. I turned around to come face to face with Harry. I quickly pulled away and blushed, tucking a stray piece of hair behind my ear.
"Er, thanks Harry."
Then we clambered up a passageway carved into the rock, following Hagrid's lamp, and at last came out onto smooth, damp grass, right in the shadow of the castle. We climbed up a flight of stairs and crowded around a huge, oak door, where a tall, white-and-black-haired witch in emerald green robes stood. Hagrid left us with the woman, who pursed her lips, surveying all of us.
"Welcome to Hogwarts. Now, in a few moments, you will pass through these doors and join your classmates. But before you can take your seats, you must be sorted into your houses. They are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. While you're here, your house will be like your family. Your triumphs will earn you points; any rule-breaking, and you will lose points. At the end of the year, the house that is awarded the most points will win the House Cup." She paused, and a croaking sound emitted from the top of the stairs.
"Trevor!" Neville, a round-faced boy with large teeth and a high voice exclaimed, interrupting the teacher. He hurriedly ran to pick up his toad, while some students laughed and the woman glared at him.
"The Sorting Ceremony will begin momentarily. Wait here," the older witch finished. She disappeared behind the large oak door.
"So it's true then? What they're saying on the train. Harry Potter has come to Hogwarts." I turned to see Draco Malfoy talking. People started whispering and Harry shifted uncomfortably.
"This is Crabbe and Goyle. And I'm Malfoy. Draco Malfoy." He pointed to two husky goons by his side and then held out his hand to Harry for a formal handshake. Ron snickered and Malfoy turned to him.
"Think my name's funny, do you? No need to ask yours. Red hair and a hand-me-down robe? You must be a Weasley," he sneered, turning back to Harry. "Soon you'll find out that some families are better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there." Harry looked at Malfoy's hand.
No! Don't shake his hand! He's so rude! I thought we were your friends! I screamed inside my head.
"I think I can tell the wrong sort for myself, thanks," Harry replied, ignoring Malfoy's outstretched hand.
Yes! Thank you, Harry! Malfoy glared at Harry. I smirked, and Harry winked at me. I silently giggled as the woman came back. I later found out her name was Professor McGonagall and that she taught Transfiguration.
"We're ready for you now. Follow me." She led us through the door, which opened up to a large room lined with stone, where flaming torches lit up the hall. The high ceiling looked like the night sky, and floating candles were spread over the tables. We followed Professor McGonagall across the flagged stone floor. Hundreds of voices filled the room, and soon, everyone's gaze fell upon the first years, who were all (including me) nervously walking in between two of the four long tables in the room.
"This must be the Great Hall!" Ron exclaimed. Hermione caught up to me while I was staring at the ceiling.
"It's not real, you know. The ceiling. It's just bewitched to look like the night sky. I read about it in Hogwarts: A History," she leaned and whispered into my ear.
"Oh, I remember reading about something like that. It's very interesting, don't you think?" I replied.
We were guided to the front of the Hall, and I started trembling a bit.
"Nervous, are you?" Ron asked.
"And you aren't?"
In front of us was a large table, higher up than the other four. All of the teachers sat here. In front of that table was a dirty, frayed, patched-up hat sitting atop a wooden stool. I stared at the hat along with the rest of the students. After a few seconds, it began to twitch. A rip near the brim opened wide like a mouth, and the hat began to sing:
"Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
a smarter hat them 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
is where you'll find your true 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'm a thinking cap!"
The hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song. It bowed to each of the four tables, then became still again.
"Great! So all we have to do is put on the hat!" Ron whispered.
"You mean, a hat decides our fate? I guess I shouldn't be surprised; wizards and witches have strange solutions to everything!" I gasped. Ron just rolled his eyes at me. Harry didn't calm down like Ron did, though. He was still as rigid with nerves as I was.
Harry smiled weakly. I could tell he didn't want to go up there in front of everyone. I squeezed his shoulder and he smiled at me. I bleakly smiled back.
"When I call your name, you will sit on the stool and I will put the hat on you to be sorted. Abbott, Hannah!" Professor McGonagall picked up the hat as a pink-faced girl with blond pigtails stumbled out of line and was sorted into Hufflepuff. The table on the right cheered and clapped as Hannah went to sit down with them.
"Bones, Susan!" She scuttled to sit down with Hannah at the Hufflepuff table once the Hat shouted "HUFFLEPUFF!" Terry Boot and Mandy Brocklehurst were both sorted into Ravenclaw, but Lavender Brown was the first one to be sorted into Gryffindor. The table on the left exploded with cheers as Lavender went to sit with them. Two identical boys with hair just like Ron's were cat-calling. I assumed those are two of his brothers. Millicent Bulstrode became Slytherin, Justin Finch-Fletchley became Hufflepuff.
McGonagall called, "Hermione Granger!" Hermione sighed and stepped up to the stool. It sounded like she was talking to herself. "Mental, that one," Ron said. I slapped his arm and rolled my eyes, a smile playing on my lips. Hermione jammed the hat on her head, and the hat shouted, "GRYFFINDOR!" Ron groaned.
Lisa Turpin became a Ravenclaw, Dean Thomas a Gryffindor, Blaise Zabini a Sytherin. Neville Longbottom was a Gryffindor. He ran off still wearing the Hat after it called a House, and he had to jog back to give it to the next kid. I was shaking with anxiety.
"Elena Callen!" I walked to the stool at a normal pace, trying to get my hands to stay still. McGonagall placed the hat gently on my head, and I smiled weakly at her.
"Nervous, are you?" The Hat talked in my mind. A bit. I replied through thought.
"Happens to the best of us. Now which house do you want to be in? I take your thought into account, you know."
Really? I don't really know. Slytherins don't really seem nice, no offense to them. I don't think I'd live up to Hufflepuff's niceness standards. I might belong in Ravenclaw, but I'm worried I'm not smart enough. Gryffindors seem okay. They are a bit noisy, and they seem like troublemakers, though. I don't really know which house to be in. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
"Very well. You'd do extraordinarily well in each House. But where to put you? Hmmm..." The Hat thought and though for a long time, until finally it shouted, "GRYFFINDOR!"
I skipped to the Gryffindor table and sat down next to Hermione. One of Ron's brothers gave me a high-five. They introduced themselves.
"I'm Elena," I said.
"We know." I laughed at their comment. Next, Draco Malfoy was called. The Hat barely even touched his head before shouting, "SLYTHERIN!" He smirked and swaggered off to join the Slytherin Table.
"Harry Potter!" Harry was as pale as a ghost, and Ron had to push him forwards. Murmurs filled the Great Hall:
"Harry Potter, did she say?"
"The Harry Potter?" I heard people say.
The hat drooped over Harry's eyes as the whole hall crammed their necks to get a better look. The Hat took a few minutes before proudly screaming, "GRYFFINDOR!"
Harry looked extremely relieved as he took the Hat off and shakily walked to the table I was sitting at. I patted a seat next to me and he sat down. Hermione beamed on the other side of me. He got the loudest cheer of all as people got up to shake his hand vigorously.
"We got Potter! We got Potter!" the table chanted. Then it was Ron's turn. He was pale green by now. The Hat needed only a few seconds before placing him in Gryffindor. He beamed as people clapped and collapsed into the seat next to Harry.
I stared longingly at the golden plate and goblet that sat in front of me. My stomach grumbled, and only then did I realize how hungry I was. McGonagall rolled up the parchment that had all of our names on it as an old wizard stood up from his chair. I recognized him from the Chocolate Frog card I got earlier on the train.
"Welcome! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. First, I'd like to mention to first years that the Forest is strictly forbidden! Also, our caretaker, Mr. Filch, has asked me to remind you that the third floor corridor is off-limits to those of you who do not wish to die a most painful death. Now, enjoy!" I looked down to find the tables filled with platters of roast beef, chicken, pork chops, lamb chops, sausages, bacon, steak, potatoes, fries, pudding, peas, carrots, gravy, ketchup, and so many other delicious foods. Harry's mouth fell open, and Ron and I laughed. I piled my plate high with an assortment of delicacies and shoved food into my mouth. I did eat a lot, but certainly not as much as Ron did. He had the stomach of a whale! Just as he went to grab his ninth or tenth chicken leg, he quickly pulled back as a silver, misty, transparent head popped through the platter.
"Hello! Welcome to Gryffindor! I'm the Gryffindor Ghost!" he cried.
"Hey, I know you! You're Nearly Headless Nick!" Ron realized. The ghost looked taken aback.
"I prefer Sir Nicolas, if you don't mind." The ghost floated upwards, revealing a ruffled suit obviously from times long ago.
"Nearly Headless? How can you be Nearly Headless?" Hermione asked. I was wondering the same thing, to be honest. It seemed like the ghost's head was still attached.
"Like this," he said irritably. He seized his left ear and pulled. His head fell limply onto his shoulder and looked like it was attached with a hinge. Someone obviously tried to behead him but hadn't done it properly. Satisfied with the disgusted look on all of our faces, he flipped his head back. I almost gagged.
Once everyone had eaten as much as they could possibly cram into their stomachs, the remains of the food faded from the plates, leaving them as sparkling clean as before. A moment later, dessert appeared. Blocks of ice cream in every flavor imaginable: apple pies, treacle tarts, jam doughnuts, rice pudding, Jell-O, strawberries, trifles...
I helped myself to some ice cream and doughnuts and Jell-O. They were amazingly delicious!
Everyone talked and laughed some more. I was beginning to feel warm and sleepy. Harry suddenly gasped as he clutched his forehead, right where this scar was.
"Harry! Are you alright?" I cried.
"I'm fine," he reassured me. I gave a sigh of relief and went back to my food.
A few minutes later, dessert disappeared. Dumbledore rose to his feet and announced bedtime. Percy Weasley, a Prefect, led Gryffindor House up a set of marble staircases. Pictures lined the walls, and the people in them moved and talked, greeting and welcoming everyone back to Hogwarts.
"Be careful. The staircases can move at any time," Percy warned us. I dragged my feet up and up as we walked through many corridors before Percy slowed down to a stop in front of a portrait of a fat lady in a pink silk dress.
"Password?" she asked.
"Caput Draconis," Percy replied. The portrait swung open to reveal a round hole in the wall. We all scrambled through it and found ourselves in the Gryffindor common room, which was a cozy, round room with a fireplace at one end and squishy red armchairs all around the room. Percy directed us to the boys' and girls' dormitories.
After climbing a spiral staircase of the tower, I walked into another round room where I found my bed, one of four four-posters draped with deep red, velvet curtains. I shared this room with Hermione, Lavender Brown, and Parvati, one half of the Patil twins. Without talking much, I put on my pajamas I grabbed from my trunk that had already been brought up, and I climbed under the covers of my bed. I fell asleep immediately.
I decided to do a double update for you guys. I really hope you like it. Please give me feedback on this story - I really appreciate it. And could you possibly, maybe heart it or follow me, only if you have time, of course (no pressure) Goodbye!