Birds of a Feather
Book One: First Flight

by Nethilia

Author's Notes: Yes, once again I had to look at SS to get the chapter rolling. Trust me, after this there won't be any more paralleling, just mentions. Okay?

I subscribe to the small school line of thought when it comes to the number of Hogwarts students--only about 300 students. Yes, I know that JKR said there were about a thousand, but I'm not all too sure about that.

Don't own this, don't own this, don't own this...

Thanks be to Haggridd and Madhuri for making sure I don't sound stupid as I write.


Chapter 3

Morag stood quietly, looking at Professor McGonagall as she continued speaking. He felt a bit squished and was still wobbly from being on the boat. He really hated boats.

"The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the great hall, you will be sorted into your houses. Sorted? Morag though. Sorted how? We aren’t expected to know any magic before we get here of course, else they would never invite people who were Muggles or half Muggles. But still… He quit worrying and continued to listen, noting that Miriam had said some things about this to him when they first spoke about Hogwarts. "The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin." Miriam’s in…which one is it? Hufflepuff, that’s it. "Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards."

Morag was starting to get bored by this speech and quit paying attention, until he heard her say, "The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school." Morag gulped. In front of everyone? That sounds embarrassing!

"I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting." The stern Assistant Headmistress looked over the room, her eyes lingering on some of the students. Antigone, with little flakes of mud still of the hems of her robes, blushed a second and shook them off the best she could. "I shall return when we are ready for you. Please wait quietly." She left, and Morag let out the breath he didn’t know he was holding.

"I wonder how they sort us?" Antigone made sure she held onto the now silent Shadow.

"It's probably a lot simpler than we think, you know." Morag answered. They overheard voice mumbling something that sounded like spells. "I've heard of entrance exams and the like, but none of us knew any magic before we got here, right? They can't test us on what we don't know."

"Right," Carolina nodded, "We shouldn't panic. We should all just stay calm and--"

At that moment, several people screamed. All three startled, then turned to see a score of ghosts float through the back wall. Translucent and pearly, they glided over their heads in deep conversation with each other—almost as if they were arguing about something. It sounded like another of their group, Peeves, wasn’t being allowed at the banquet. The trio whispered furiously to one another. Why would ghosts want to be at a banquet? Can ghosts even eat? Maybe they came to watch the Sorting.

Morag kept completely silent when the ghosts started speaking. A tall lanky blonde girl looked like she was going to faint. "New students!" a fat little friar said, smiling warmly (as warmly as possible for a ghost). "About to be sorted, I suppose?" Some people nodded mutely. Carolina was one of them, Morag noted out of the corner of his eye. "Hope to see you in Hufflepuff! My old house, you know."

Morag shook off his fright and was about to ask the ghost of a friar what the House was like (Miriam hadn’t talked about it much) when a sharp voice broke the silence. "Move along now," Professor McGonagall announced. "The Sorting Ceremony is about to start." As she spoke the ghosts floated off through the wall opposite the one they came in. "Now form a line, and follow me."

Morag got in line behind a girl of Indian descent, who looked exactly like the girl before her. Behind him stood Antigone, with Carolina behind her. They walked out of the chamber quietly, back across the hall and through a set of double doors into what could only be the Great Hall.



It was the first word that popped into Padma’s head. The hall was illuminated with thousands of candles that floated above all the tables to cast a soft glow. This is where the other students sat, quietly staring at them as they walked in. Padma shifted nervously. At the top of the hall in a higher place sat the teachers, and Professor McGonagall led them all to stand in front of this table in a line facing back out at the students. Ghosts hovered here and there, each with a faint silver shimmer. Padma looked at the head table to see a wizard with long silver hair wearing half moon glasses. Padma knew his face immediately, from her trading cards. Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts. She swallowed and turned back to face the front, where all the eyes stared at her.

Professor McGonagall placed a four-legged stool in front of the first years, then set a frayed and very dirty wizard’s hat on it. It had patches on its patches. As the hall became completely silent, Padma stared at it, wondering where she had seen that particular hat—until she recalled her reading of Hogwarts, A History. Just then one of the rips near the brim opened up and in a clear, bright voice, the hat started to sing. Its song was pretty basic; that nothing more complicated than putting on the Hat was how you got sorted into the houses; that the Gryffindors were brave and chivalrous, the Hufflepuffs strong steady workers, the Ravenclaws bright and clever, and the Slytherins ambitions and cunning. Everyone in the hall started clapping as the hat finished.

Padma grinned as she clapped, glad she remembered her reading. Beside her Terry sighed in relief. "My older brother David wouldn’t tell me what it was. He’s so mean." He motioned to a boy who was sitting at the table second to the left, with hair like his but much taller. Padma remembered how he liked to zip around them with some of the older children at parties, playing pick up Quidditch with a children’s set.

"When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted." Professor McGonagall looked at the list. "Abbott, Hannah!"

Hannah stumbled out of line, blushing and moving her pigtails. Padma relaxed a bit. Alphabetical order was a great thing—she was always in the middle, right before Parvati. The hat fell right over Hannah’s head, sat on there a moment, then screamed out, "HUFFLEPUFF!" She sat the hat down and shuffled off to the table on the right as its members cheered brightly.

"Bones, Susan!"

A decent pause. "HUFFLEPUFF!"

"Boot, Terry!"

Some consideration, as Terry shifted nervously under the hat. He seemed to shake his head a moment, then relaxed as the hat shrieked out, "RAVENCLAW!" This time the table that was second from the left burst into cheers and some of the Ravenclaws shook his hand. David, mussed his hair, grinning. Padma relaxed a bit as names were called. Her turn wouldn't be for a while.


Carolina watched as one by one, people were sorted. Some only took moments—one girl, Atlantia Huckle, barely had the hat on before it shouted "SLYTHERIN!" Others took a very long time—one tall, thin boy with blonde hair named Andrew Dickson sat on the stool trembling for almost a minute before the hat sent him to the Ravenclaw table.

"Hutchins, Oliver!"

The little brown haired boy that had ridden in her boat across the lake shuffled forward, picked up the hat and sat on the stool. Hs head was almost swallowed by the hat, and his little legs dangled down as he sat there quietly. A moment, and then—"RAVENCLAW!" Oliver grinned as he removed the hat and placed it back on the stool before heading to the Ravenclaw table amid cheers.

"Jemsin, Adrian!"


"Kamain, Alph!"

Carolina saw a mean looking boy with evil looking green eyes step forward. He dropped the hat on his head, and almost immediately the hat screamed out, "SLYTHERIN!"

"Kipley, Carolina!"

Carolina blinked, then made her way forward. She reached over and dropped the hat over her head, closing her eyes as it fell over them. There was a moment of silence, then a little voice whispered, "Hmm…My goodness, you’re a super smart one. It stands out like a flash. There’s almost no choice here, looks like you’re gonna be a RAVENCLAW!" The hat shrieked out the last word to everyone, and Carolina lifted off the hat. She walked over to the Ravenclaw table, hearing all the cheers and claps for her, and grabbed a spare seat to sit down.

Oliver grinned at her—he was sitting by her. "You’re the one who helped me into the boat, yes?" he asked. Carolina nodded. "I was hoping that we'd be in the same House." He flashed her a grin that lit up the Great Hall.

"Thank you." Carolina turned back to watch as "Lakely, Rita" was placed neatly in the Hufflepuff house.


"Longbottom, Neville!"

A round faced boy stumbled forward and promptly fell over. His toad was almost squashed under him, but he threw out his hands and the toad only slid a bit. He climbed to his feet sheepishly and picked up his toad before sitting down on the stool and dropping the hat on. It was very long time before the hat made its choice: "GRYFFINDOR!"

Neville hopped off as Professor McGonagall called out, "MacDougal, Morag!" He heard a few whispers from the head table and some of the older students, but thought little of it.

Morag stepped forward, then saw the hat was not on the stool. He looked over at Neville as he scrambled for the Gryffindor table—he was still wearing the Hat. He bit his lip so he wouldn't laugh-- that would make the situation even more embarrassing.

"Mr. Longbottom," Professor McGonagall called out, looking at him sharply.

Neville stopped in his tracks, then looked around. "Oh—oh my," he whispered, then lifted the Sorting Hat off his head and jogged back as people giggled and laughed around him. He was blushing all the way to his ears as he set the hat in Morag’s hands. "I’m sorry," he sniffled.

"It’s okay," Morag said gently before lifting the hat and placing it on his head. He saw Miriam wave at him from the Hufflepuff table and cross her fingers as the hat slipped over his eyes.

"Decent thing there, not laughing at Neville," the Hat said softly.

No trouble. I wouldn't want to be laughed at if I were in his situation.

"Let’s see…you’re a brave one…but also bright, in equal proportions. Something like your father—I remember his sorting."

My father? What about him?

"Morag, I don’t tell about other people. Only you."

Ah. What about Miriam’s house? Would I do well there?

"No, you’re not Hufflepuff material. Another house would be better for your learning. They aren’t the brightest kids I put in there."

Thought so.

"Hmm...where should I put you? You could make great friends in Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, and expand yourself in either. What do you think?"

Oh, let me be with Carolina, she’s such a nice person. I know, I can make new friends in Gryffindor, but we’ve just met, and we do get along so well. Plus, I would rather be known for being smart.

"Hmm…smartness over bravery. Not a bad choice. Well, if that’s what you want—you would like Gryffindor, you know, but as you asked—to RAVENCLAW!"

Morag ran over to the table (first making sure that he left the hat) and smiling, plopped down beside Carolina. Morag introduced himself to Oliver, the boy sitting next to her, bouncing up and down in his excitement. "Hey, what took you so long?" Carolina smiled.

Morag shook Oliver’s hand and then looked at Carolina. "It was between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. So I asked to be with my friend."


Antigone continued to hold Shadow in her arms as she watched Morag sit by Carolina. I hope I’m bright enough to get into Ravenclaw too—I don’t want to be in another house, I’d be lonely. Beside her now the same pale boy who had passed them on Platform Nine and Three-Quarters stood, looking bored as "Macmillian, Ernie" sat on the stool. She smiled at him and whispered, "Hello."

If looks could kill, Antigone would have been the only first year in the history of Hogwarts to miss being Sorted because of sudden death. With a drawling, very cold voice, he replied, "I don’t associate with mudbloods." Antigone was hurt. She didn't even know what a mudblood was, but it obviously wasn’t a compliment. She bit her lip and held Shadow closer.

"Malfoy, Draco!" The boy beside her swaggered forward and dropped the hat on his head. It barely got a chance to fall over his eyes before screaming, "SLYTHERIN!" He went to sit by the two hulking boys that had been near him earlier, smirking like a satisfied cat.

"Moon, Antigone!"

Antigone made her way forward, still holding onto Shadow. She managed to drop the hat on her head while holding on to Shadow, who looked at her quizzically just before the hat covered her eyes in darkness.

The same voice that had sang loudly now whispered to her. "First, I see a fair amount of bravery. Dear me…you have been through a lot to get here." There was a clucking sound, as if the hat felt a bit sorry for her. "That’s a considerable thing to do, and very brave as well. You also seem like a loyal, honest person—a bit shy—there is the potential to be a wise little witch one day."

Antigone’s shoulders slumped. I’m not smart enough to be in Ravenclaw, she sniffled silently.

"Hold on, miss, I didn’t say you were stupid. I said you have potential. As a matter of fact, you would do well in any of the houses—excepting Slytherin. They wouldn’t want you there, trust me."

But potential is not the same as brilliance. If my mind is the same as my heart, and heart is both bravery and loyalty, then that combined is more that what my mind alone is.

"Potential is a lot better. You will expand and become a very brilliant person, once I put you in Ravenclaw. Listen to yourself—you’re analyzing right now, and I haven’t even placed you. Always ask before you’re sure, that way you’ll know. Remember that."


"You might be brave, but your bravery won’t get a challenge in Gryffindor. You may be loyal but, contrary to your thoughts, your mind can become stronger than your heart. So, Antigone, I am Sorting you into-- RAVENCLAW!"

Antigone gasped, pulling the hat off her head. She had actually made it into Ravenclaw. The Ravenclaw table was cheering, welcoming her in, and Carolina was jumping up and down with Morag. As soon as Antigone was by them Carolina swept her up in a tight hug.

Shadow, squished between them, meowed in protest.


"Patil, Padma!"

Padma ran forward and dropped the hat on her head, staring at the darkness. "Ah," the hat whispered. "A twin, yes? I hope you’re not like those Weasley brothers—they’re a wild set."

Padma nodded. She had heard about the Weasleys—the whole family had flaming red hair. There was even one to be Sorted in her year—she’d seen the whole family at the station. It was known that they were not one of the more affluent families, and once or twice they had been to a Patil party with their brood. But Mrs. Weasley almost never held dinner parties—probably because they could barely afford to feed themselves sometimes. The Patils understood this and didn’t hold it against them when they came over.

"Your mind’s rambling." The Sorting Hat sounded a bit lecturing. "You know, the idea is to think about where you want to go, not about other people."


"Hmm…a right little bookworm here. You seem to love learning and thought, yes?"

Very much so, I want to learn about everything that’s possible. Please let me go to Ravenclaw.

"Well, then the choice is clear. Nowhere else but-- RAVENCLAW!"

Padma replaced the hat, ran over to the Ravenclaw table, and sat by Mandy Brocklehurst, who still seemed awed by it all. She looked as if she felt much better having someone she knew from the Hogwarts express with her. Padma gently placed her hand on Mandy's, then watched as Parvati put on the hat. Please, put her in Ravenclaw too.

There was a moment of silence, then the rip opened as the hat announced, "GRYFFINDOR!"

Padma gasped. Surely—surely her sister wanted to be with her. Why’d the Hat separate us? Parvati took off the hat and went to the Gryffindor table, passing by her sister with an apologetic look and whispered, "Sorry—but I want to be a Gryffindor." Padma wanted to demand the hat reconsider—or at least, her sister reconsider—as her eyes filled with tears. But she knew that it was useless. Sighing, she looked at the table as "Perks, Sally-Ann" was called forward.

One girl who sat across from her—with caramel skin and plaited black hair—tapped Padma’s hand. "She's your sister?" she asked softly.

Padma nodded. "My twin. We’ve never been separated before this—she’s never voluntarily wanted to be away from me."

The girl looked as if she was going to say something else, but settled with just squeezing Padma’s hand with a small smile of friendship on her face.

"Potter, Harry!"

Padma's eyes widened at the name, and she climbed up on the bench on her knees to get a better look at the boy as he walked up to the stool. He appeared much as she had remembered from the few pictures in her copy of Modern Magical History-- of course, he was much older than the one year old boy in the pictures. He was small and skinny, with wild black hair that was all over the place. Bright green eyes peered out from behind round glasses held together with a lot of scotch tape. He’s actually very cute. Padma strained to find it-- the lightning bolt scar that was on his forehead. She didn’t see it before he placed the hat on his head and it sank over his eyes.

"What’s so special about him, Morag?" an auburn haired girl whispered to the boy beside her.

"I looked in one of Aunt Opaline’s history books—apparently that’s the person who defeated Voldemort when he was one year old," Morag shivered, "And the book said Voldemort was a horrible dark wizard."

Padma startled, and the boy beside the two shoved Morag. "Don't say that! Don't name him!" both of them hissed in fright.

"Hmm?" Mandy asked, noticing the conversation from her spot.

Their conversation was cut off just as the hat shouted out to the hall. "GRYFFINDOR!"

Padma snapped her fingers disappointedly as the Gryffindor table burst into the loudest cheers that anyone had gotten. One of the older Weasleys—there was no mistaking that red hair—shook his hand tightly and excitedly, and the two Weasley twins practically shouted to the enchanted ceiling. Padma took a quick glance at Parvati, who was shouting as loud as anyone at the Gryffindor table. Guess she's definitely over the separation already, she sulked silently. McGonagall waited until the cheers died down some, then called out, "Ranston, Robin!"

Morag and his friend turned back to Padma and the other little boy. "What was that you said, Oliver?"

"Don’t say You-Know-Who’s name!"

"Who?" The girl blinked confusedly. "Are you saying don’t say Volde—mmph!" For just then Padma had reached across the table and forcibly placed her hands over the girl’s mouth. She struggled, as "Rogers, Joseph" joined their table and sat down, overlooking the struggle with mixed amusement and shock. He was a skinny boy, like Harry, but his skin was pale honey brown and his eyes were a dark hazel-green.

"What’s going on here?" he asked, sitting beside Padma.

Padma turned and the girl managed to pry off Padma’s hand. "She almost said You-Know-Who's name!"


Antigone looked at Padma blankly. "Um, Padma?" She mumbled, a bit unsure of the girl’s name. Was she Parvati or Padma?

The girl turned to her now. "Yes—um, what’s your name? You didn’t tell me." Good, it’s Padma.

"Antigone Moon." Shadow meowed, as if confirming what his mistress said. "Um--why’d you cover Carolina’s mouth when she said that name?" She felt stupid asking, but if you didn’t ask when you didn’t know, then you'd never know—that's what the Hat had said. "You see, Morag’s been raised by his Muggle mum, and Carolina and I are Muggle-born. So we don’t know why not to say his name."

"Well, you just don’t. Many families lost people in the first era when he came to power. One of the girls Sorted into Hufflepuff—Susan Bones—lost both her grandparents and all of her big brothers and sisters. The only reason she’s alive is because she was a baby and her mother and father had to keep her at home that night." She pointed out a girl with mousy brown hair.

Carolina blinked. "Oh—okay, then. I won’t say it." They all turned to see that only four people had to be Sorted. "Thomas, Dean," was quickly placed in Gryffindor. Lisa Turpin, a tall, lanky blond girl was placed at their table, and she grinned as she sat down by Mandy.

"Weasley, Ronald!"

Antigone watched the tall, red headed boy step forward, pale green as he put on the Hat. She noticed that there were three other redheaded freckled boys at the Gryffindor table. Those must be his brothers. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be with his family. Like Padma. "GRYFFINDOR!" The boy that they had said was the famous Harry Potter clapped loud as he could as the boy sat down. After the last person was made a Slytherin, Professor McGonagall rolled her scroll up neatly and put the Hat and stool away before taking her place at the head table.

A man with long silver hair and half moon glasses rose to his feet, his arms held open as if he was hugging them all. "Welcome! Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words." He paused. "And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!" He smiled. "Thank you!" He sat back down, and Antigone giggled while others clapped and cheered.

"He’s silly," she said softly.

"Silly? He’s the best damn wizard in the world!" Padma looked indignant.

"Even so, he’s got a sense of humor." Antigone grinned just before the just before the large platters in front of her filled with all sorts of food.


Carolina grabbed a lamb chop, several scoops of green beans, a spoonful of broccoli and rice, and a wheat roll before setting her plate in front of her and starting to eat. Padma got everything but the meat. She announced, "I don't eat meat." When Carolina looked at her plate confusedly.

"Can you eat proper that way?" Lisa mumbled through a mouthful of roast chicken.

"I’ve done it for years. No one in my family eats meat, other than fish. There’s none on the table though…" Just then a platter of hot smoked salmon appeared. Padma blinked.

"There is now." Morag grabbed one of the fish and started to cut it up on his plate.

"Enjoying yourselves, dears?" a soft voice said. Carolina looked up, seeing a tall witch with long, neatly braided hair hover near them. She looked like she came from the middle ages—under her robes Carolina noticed very simple slippers and a simple homespun dress. Carolina nodded, not being afraid of the ghosts much now. "I’m the Grey Lady—Ravenclaw’s resident ghost. My full name was Felicity Elizabeth Angelica Greyfourde when I was alive, but that’s a bit long, so I’m just called the Grey Lady now. Not quite as exciting a sobriquet as 'the Bloody Baron'," she pointed out an evil-looking ghost wearing robes stained all over with silver blood, sitting at the Slytherin table—"or as embarrassing an epithet as 'Nearly Headless Nick'." She nodded her head towards a ghost who, just as Carolina looked, grabbed his left ear and pulled his head off his shoulders so that it fell on his shoulder. "When they beheaded him, they didn’t do it right."

Carolina nodded, pushing her plate away and picking up her roll to finish it. She wasn’t quite full, but was always a dessert course at a banquet, and dessert was her favorite part. "Well, how’d you die?"

"Dragon. It came through my fields, long ago. This was before the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy so I and the others in the village that were witches and wizards ran out with our wands at the ready to subdue it and get it to go away. I almost had it, but then it turned and roasted me like a turkey." The Grey Lady shrugged. "Anyway, here's dessert. Go on."

Carolina turned to see the plates were all clean, and in the center sat every type of dessert she could think of. Carolina filled a bowl with vanilla pudding and dug in while the others conversed. Shadow was asleep in Antigone’s lap while she delicately ate strawberries dunked in cream. Carolina took a drink of the iced pumpkin juice and listened to the conversations around her. Padma was explaining some of the things about the wizard world, with help from Terry, Lisa, and Oliver. Right now, she was explaining moving pictures. "I’d show you, but I left all my things on the train—before we go to bed, I’ll show you a few of my trading cards and things." Padma finished off a doughnut. "I’ve got a lot of them—some doubles, if you want to start collecting or trade with me."

Morag reached in his jeans pocket. "I think I have Merlin with me. I got it in a Chocolate Frog." He pulled out the card and held it up, and Carolina recognized the picture that had looked at them seriously, though not at all fiercely. Merlin was leaning on the frame of the picture, looking quite disturbed by being shown off like an oddment. "Yes, that’s it!" Padma pointed at the card and Merlin shot her a look as she did so. "See?"

Mandy nodded, nibbling on grapes. "How do they move like that?"

"They’re developed in a special potion, which makes the pictures move. If any of you have a Muggle camera or something and you like developing pictures, then I’m sure that you can make them move."

"I do," Carolina said.

A pretty Asian girl with shoulder length dark hair looked up from her ice cream. "Muggle-born?" Carolina nodded. "My name’s Cho Chang. I’m a second year. I have some of that solution to develop pictures—tell you what, I’ll show you how to develop them. I find Muggle photography interesting; it’s my favorite thing other than Quidditch."

"Quidditch? What’s that?"

"Oh, that’s right, you’ve never heard of Quidditch. It’s a sport—do you like sports?"

"I like to watch them."

"Oh, it’s a delight to watch—there’s four balls and seven players, all on broomsticks, and three goal posts. I can explain it better when we have the tryouts. First years aren’t allowed to play, because you can’t bring your own brooms to school and some of you don’t know how to fly at all. I’m going to try out this year. Maybe I’ll make Chaser."

A boy next to Cho with violet eyes and reddish-gold hair stepped in. "You talking to the first years?" he asked.

"Yes, Lawrence." She tapped Carolina. "This is Carolina Kipley—she’s Muggle-born."

"Ah, cool!" Lawrence took her hand. "Name’s Lawrence Hillbourgh—wizard-born, myself, but fascinated with Muggles and their things. Do you guys really have lights that don’t work on fire? Electricity, I was told it’s called. And batteries too—ooo! You have a Muggle watch!" He took Carolina’s hand and looked at her watch. "It won’t work here on the Hogwarts grounds, of course. See, it stopped long ago. I'm sure I can find you another watch, one that runs on magic--they make them. We third years are allowed to go into Hogsmeade on trips—if you have some spare money, I’ll buy you one."

"Thanks." Carolina smiled. Lawrence leaned and asked about the others at the table—he raised an eyebrow when he heard Morag’s last name but said nothing. Carolina found him very friendly and intelligent. He even tickled Shadow under the chin and made him purr, which made Antigone smile. "You’ll like the Ravenclaw house. We stay up at night, discussing things and being creative—you should see our common room, it’s covered in projects and things. Of course, it’s not right now because we haven’t started on this year’s designs. All the members of that year get together and make their area look however they want. We decorate for the holidays too, and the year that gets the highest vote gets a special gift from the others. You’ll love the room once you see it."

"They’ll see it in a few minutes," a girl with long curly hair said, placing down her spoon. "The Headmaster’s about to speak to us."

"Who’s that?" Morag asked Lawrence as the girl turned back around.

"Penelope Clearwater, a fourth year. She’s very smart." Lawrence leaned over to whisper. "She’s a bit of a wet blanket at times—doesn’t like to rock things much."

"Shh!" Penelope hissed. "Professor Dumbledore’s about to talk."

"Oh, don’t get your knickers all knotted up," Lawrence teased. "I’m not a first year."

"You’re only a third."

"You’re only a fourth."

It sounded like they were going to bicker more, but the desserts disappeared and Professor Dumbledore rose to his feet. The hall went silent.

"Ahem—just a few more words now that we are all fed and watered." Carolina tuned most of it out—she had held a few cookies and was munching on them.

"Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch." Cho’s eyes danced at the announcement.

"And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death."

"Hmm," Lawrence said. "Well, we’ll do as he says. No use mussing the pond water when the mud’s settled."

"What do you think the reason is?" Terry asked.

"Whatever it is, it’s none of our business," Penelope cut in. Lawrence made a face at her.

"And now," Professor Dumbledore finished up, "before we go to bed, let us sing the school song!" Lawrence and Cho groaned, and Carolina noticed even the teachers looked chagrined behind their smiles.

"What’s so bad about this?" Lisa asked.

"Now, everyone pick their favorite tune, and off we go!" Dumbledore started to sing.

"Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts…"

"That’s what’s so bad," Lawrence hissed as the school broke out in a bellowing song.

Carolina winced, slamming her hands over her ears in the cacophony as everyone sang in different pitches, tunes, speeds, and howls. She noticed that one section of the Ravenclaw table was in perfect pitch with each other as they sang the same tune. They were tuned out considerably by the others, but still very nice. Finally, the only ones left were the redheaded twins at the Gryffindor table who sang as if the School Song were a funeral march. Once they finished, everyone clapped (with Professor Dumbledore clapping the loudest). Carolina uncovered her ears just in time to hear, "And now, bedtime. Off you trot!"

The Ravenclaws all rose to their feet in groups, and a tall boy with neat glasses and a bronze and blue badge pinned to his chest with a P on it rose and motioned. There were seven people who all had these badges, and they motioned for all the Ravenclaws to follow them. As they headed up and down stairs and under different tapestries, whispering and chatting, Carolina saw Antigone tap Lawrence on the shoulder. “Lawrence?” she asked meekly.

What is it, Antigone?" He turned to face her as they walked through a sliding panel.

"I’ve been meaning to ask you older kids since I sat down, but it just came back to my mind."


"Well, when I was standing waiting to get sorted, one boy named Draco Malfoy was rather nasty to me. When I tried to say hello, he told me that he didn’t associate with mudbloods."

The older students stopped dead in their tracks, and the prefect next to them had to call sharply to make them continue walking forward. "He called you what?" Cho said furiously. "Why that swotty little brat—stupid Malfoys, I knew he was one the second I saw him."

"A mudblood," Carolina repeated. "Is that the same one who was at the platform when we got on the express?" Antigone nodded, looking like she wanted to cry. Carolina looked a bit frightened. "Did—did Antigone say something nasty? Is it like You-Know-Who?"

"I’m sorry, I only wanted to know the meaning." Antigone looked at her feet.

"No, it’s not as bad as You-Know-Who, but still fairly nasty. Don’t feel bad, you didn’t know." She placed a hand on Antigone’s shoulder. " ‘Mudblood’ is a really degrading term for people born that have two Muggle parents, like you two. The Malfoys and a lot like them look down on anyone who’s not a pure-blood—in other words, only wizard blood."

Lawrence sighed. "In Ravenclaw, that problem’s not really here. We try to achieve to be better than that. Slytherin, on the other hand—well, You-Know-Who was in there. But enough said about that, we’re almost to Ravenclaw Corners."

"Raven-what?" Terry asked.

"Ravenclaw Corners. It’s what we call our place."

The prefect beside them—a girl with short blonde hair—leaned over. "Now, the password’s a bit long this time, but it’s only till we change it later. It’s ‘'Si Hoc Legere Posses, Nimium Eruditionis Habes.’ Latin for ‘if you can read this, you’re overeducated.’ " She kept leading them forward, until they made it to a large tapestry with various letters, symbols, and colors woven into it, as well as picture of the Greek goddess Athena. The prefect tapped on the tapestry twice, and Athena turned and whispered, "Password?"

"'Si Hoc Legere Posses, Nimium Eruditionis Habes," she answered calmly.

The letters shifted back into place, then the tapestry slid over to one side to reveal a rather nice wooden door. Everyone walked in and they got a first look at Ravenclaw Corners.

Chapter 4

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