Peculiar-er

The mocking. The jeering. The taunting. Her mother had always tried to steer her away from all of that at her Muggle school, hoping that she wouldn't be a Squib and could go to Hogwarts. Maybe she could fit in there. Maybe they wouldn't see her disability as a drawback, maybe as a strength. Maybe she would make some friends. Maybe Willow Huckabye wouldn't be considered different.

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2. Chapter 1

 I drag my trunk through the hall of the train. People had been running and hugging their friends as they saw them, but I don't know anyone. I see an empty compartment and grab it before someone else could take it, throwing my trunk onto the seat across from where I sit down.

 If you didn't read the Prologue, you should know that I am deaf. So far I know Muggle sign language and can write. When I got my Hogwarts letter, there was a note from Dumbledore to meet up, and it turned out that he knew Muggle sign language, too. Dumbledore gave me a special quill and pad of parchment that would transcribe all of the lessons the professors said.

  I pull out my robes, along with two notepads with two pencils. I just know that someone would probably come and ask to sit with me, and I know that when they will, they wouldn't know sign language, and on top of that they won't understand it, so the notepads will come in handy. 

 Just on cue, there was a knock on the compartment door. I look out the window to see a girl with dark skin and even darker hair. She had a trunk and was talking to another girl down the hall. Then she stopped talking and knocked on the door again. Upon seeing me, she knocked a bit harder. I motion for her to come in, still not speaking, though ('cuz I can't. yea.). 

 The girl came in and said words that I obviously can't hear. I'm looking at her, so I probably look like I'm paying attention, but I still can't hear. I sign to her that I can't hear her, then she gives me the look, like the look of the fact that they're really sorry for not knowing and try to apologize repeatedly about it though I still can't hear them. I sign to her that she should grab the notepad, then realize that she still doesn't understand sign language, so I grab it and a pencil and give it to her.

  I've gotten pretty good at reading lips over the year, and I see her 'say', "Oh! A notepad. I guess I can talk to her now."

 I scribble on my notepad: Hi! I'm Willow. I'm deaf, so I can't talk either. I can't hear you if you talk, so don't bother if you're "talking" directly to me. What's up?

She started to scribble after going "Oh!" Hi! I'm Angelina. Sorry if I'm blunt, but the deaf thing makes since. I'll try to carry a notepad around at school so I can "talk" to you. Anyways, not much is up...just waiting to get to Hogwarts. I've made a couple friends already, so I'll have to introduce them to you later. We should probably get into our robes. There was just a voice over the loudspeaker for us to get dressed, so...

 I nodded and started to grab my robes. It's good to have someone to tell you stuff that you couldn't hear, otherwise I'd be really behind. Angelina started to write on the notepad again: There was another voice on the speaker. We're supposed to leave our trunks on the train, but you should probably take a notepad with you so you can "speak" to other people. I'll try to help you.

 I nodded again as she stood up. I grabbed my wand, notepad, and pencil, and put the wand and pencil into my robe pockets, and held my notepad under my arm. Angelina motioned me to the door and I walked out. Sometimes in really loud situations, I'm kinda glad that I'm deaf (because I can't hear all the noise), but then again...I'm deaf, so, that's bad.

  Though I don't really know Angelina that well, I scribbled down on my notepad asking her if I could hang onto her, just for the sake of not getting lost. She agreed, so I held onto her shoulder, ya know, just to...hold on without it being really weird/awkward. Angelina waved to some friends, calling for them to come over (that's just what I picked up on, seeing that she waved and yelled). Twin redheaded boys jogged over. 

 They were talking to Angelina vividly. I studied them for a moment as they talked. They had fiery red hair, matted over, spilling onto their foreheads, chocolatey brown eyes that sparkled with mischief, ready to do something to get themselves in trouble, faces splashed with freckles like sprinkled stars across the night sky, and identical smirks creeping up upon their faces, but by the creases against their cheeks and at the corners of their eyes, the smirks were there normally and naturally. They were also in their Hogwarts robes, but the robes were already wrinkled.

   One of them came over to me and started talking, but as always, I couldn't hear him. I decided quickly to mess with him. He was as vivid as his brother, so I thought to be very vivid too. I quickly signed: Hello, do you know how to sign?

 To my immediate surprise, he signed backYes, one of my great aunts is deaf. My name is Fred Weasley. I don't really want to make this awkward as Angelina talks to George. But then something happened as the crowd started to move again. Angelina grabbed my arm and pulled me away from the boys, pulling me with the crowd. 

   She grabbed the notepad I'd given her and wrote as she pulled me: We're supposed to get in the boats.

 The small crowd of first years were going towards a lake, with a very large man (by large I mean gigantic) leading all of us. Angelina pulled me into a boat, but as I stepped in, my foot caught the side of the boat and I tripped. I landed in the arms of Fred (or George; I wasn't sure which), but probably Fred because I read George's lips, who had shouted 'Fred' and was laughing very hard. And then I passed out.

~*~*~*~

I jumped up as the cold water splashed on my face. Then there was feeling of a warm blast of air. I still hadn't opened my eyes, thinking of what I would think. I'm confused; what happened that I passed out. Probably either an over-embarrassment, panic attack, or something mildly to unreasonably scary. Then I remembered: I tripped and fell into the arms of Fred Weasley. Dang. That must've been awkward.

  I opened my eyes. There was Dumbledore and an older woman kneeling on either side of me. Dumbledore signed to me: Willow, are you okay? I slowly nodded. He signed: What happened?

 I signed: I passed out from over-embarrassment.

   He talked to the older woman, and he signed: Someone is over here that will help you up. We have to go.

 Someone held out their hand to me, and I grabbed it. They helped me up, and I saw that it was Fred. I could feel my face reddening. He let go of my hand and signed: Sorry about that. Did my hotness affect you too much?

He was smirking, and I realized he was just teasing. I rolled my eyes, looking around at where I was. It was a very large hall, with a flight of stairs up to large double doors. I spotted Angelina, talking to a few other girls. I quickly went over, Fred following. I signed to them, but nobody understood. Fred talked to them for a second, and they smiled. I signed stuff to Fred, who relayed it to the girls.

   I asked Angelina what had happened to my notepad, but she said it fell out of the boat. Before I could answer, a small, dwarfish wizard came through the doors and talked for a moment (nothing of which I could hear, obviously), then everyone started to follow him, so I followed as well.

  The hall in there was huge. Actually huge. There were four long tables along the side, a few steps up at the front leading to a large platform type floor that had another table, all professors sitting along it. The little dwarfish wizard lead us through two tables, towards the front, where a three-legged stool held a ragged wizard's hat.

 We stopped at the front, and the hat opened a seam that looked now like a mouth. It seemed to be talking or singing, not that I would know, but when it closed the seam, everyone around me started to clap. The dwarfish wizard pulled out a piece of parchment and said something, then a girl walked up and sat on the stool.

   The hat opened its seam and yelled something. The wizard said something else, and a boy went up. The hat shouted something else, and the pattern carried on for a while until the wizard said something, and nobody went up. The wizard called the name again, but still no one went up. Angelina tapped me on the shoulder and gestured that I should to up. 

 I stepped up, sitting on the stool. The wizard put the hat on my head, and the first time ever, I heard a voice!

Willow Huckabye. I have heard of you. First deaf witch in centuries. I am here to sort you into one of four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin. Now, where to put you...

 Literally, my jaw is open. Some of the people in the crowd look at me weirdly, but I don't pay attention to that. I start to talk to the hat: Hello...hat? I would rather not go into Gryffindor; it seems to be too much to live up to. Or Hufflepuff; not that I won't like to be there, but I just can't see myself as happy enough.

   The hat continued: Yes, you don't seem to be as confident as most, but if you can't see yourself in Hufflepuff, that is your wish. Back to the other two. You are cunning, resourceful, and ambitious, but you are also very clever, witty, and intelligent. This is more of your choice than mine, seeing that you are equally able. Please choose.

I pondered the thought for a moment. In Slytherin, I would find friends to help with any of my ambitions, but if I was in Ravenclaw, I could be able to learn better how to cope with my disabilities and people could learn how to talk to me. I said: I would choose Ravenclaw...it seems like the better of my two choices. Thank you!

  The hat said nothing for a moment, then shouted something out to the crowd. I looked over to see the group of people who I assumed to be Ravenclaws (their robes had blue on them) clapping, gesturing me to come over to sit by them. I walked over, and seeing that they were trying to talk to me, I signed that I couldn't hear them. 

 One of the girls grabbed a pen and paper (for some reason she had them) and wrote: Hi! My name's Melody. What's your name?"

I grabbed my wand and tried something that my mother had taught me. I thought of a certain spell and wrote in the air. The air around it glowed for a moment, then sparkly blue words appeared: My name's Willow. How are you?

  She did a thumbs up and pointed towards the teacher's table. I saw Dumbledore stand up and start talking. He looked like he realized something, then started signing what he was saying. To all new students, welcome! To all old students, welcome back! I would drone on, but I am also hungry, so let's tuck in!

 Food magically appeared on the table, and I started eating a bit before I looked around. I noticed Fred over at the Gryffindor table, looking over at me. He signed: Only took you a few minutes to find me!

  I blushed a bit before I laughed. I turned back to my food, ready to get done with this feast. I was tired and had a growing headache, ready to get to bed. After a bit of me eating some ham and potatoes, the other food disappeared and was replaced with pudding (desserts for you Americans). I grabbed some jello (big fan of jello) and started snarfing it down.

 Right when I finished eating, all of the food disappeared, and Dumbledore stood up to give his final speech, talking and signing: Well, it is time to begin another year at Hogwarts. I will remind the older students and warn the younger students, the Forbidden Forrest is forbidden for a reason. I have warned you. Now off to bed. Pip pip!

People started getting up, and Melody gestured for me to follow her. I quickly followed, keeping up with her. They were following a few "prefects", as Melody had called them. We walked up several spiral staircases until we got to a door with an eagle knocker. The knocker seemed to say something, and the prefect said something, then they talked for a while until they came to an apparent consensus. 

  The door swung open, revealing the common room. I gasped.

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