Hey, people! Long time no see! This was fun to write. I think it's my longest TBR chapter yet. 1,819 words. I'd like to wish HayHaySpen101 a happy birthday, although it's quite a bit late.
Also, a big thanks to HayHaySpen101 for being so supportive of this story. I don't deserve it.
The Slytherin quarters had been relocated since the war.
Scorpius knew that they had been in the dungeons for centuries—but for a reason that seemed to be unfathomable to the rest of his House-mates, they had been moved to an airy wing on the third floor. Apparently the decorator had not understood the theory of 'House colours', as the entire dormitory had been painted an aggravating shade of lilac, and the 1st year boys' dorm was sunset orange.
Scorpius didn't mind. He didn't like the House colours at any rate—he thought that colours encouraged one's mind to group people together under one heading; in this case 'good', 'bad', 'useless' and 'smart'. Green was evil, no one doubted that anymore, not least the Slytherins themselves.
It was a House of losers and bullies, the people who started writing their will before they were born, and those who started writing other people's.
I wonder which category I fall into? Scorpius thought. No matter. I'll find out soon enough, and anyway, everyone has a little of both in them. That's why the Houses are bad. They encourage this sort of thinking.
There were only three other boys in his year. Leander Jade was a tall, pale, skinny boy with a mess of auburn hair and the worst case of acne Scorpius had ever seen on an eleven-year old. He had claimed the bed nearest the door, with an explanation consisting solely of 'corners give me nightmares' and proceeded to hang up on the wall an enormous collection of posters, all featuring something Scorpius had never heard of called Twilight.
Scorpius put his bags down on the last bed and peered out the window. The view wasn't spectacular, just forest for as far as he could see.
"Do you mind if I take this bed?" a timid voice said from behind him. He spun around. The speaker was a tiny little boy with brown skin and brown hair that seemed to consist mostly of cowlick.
"Sure," he said, shrugging. "I'm Scorpius Malfoy. What's your name?"
"Nice to meet you, Ben," Scorpius said, smiling.
Ben smiled back, nervously, it seemed to Scorpius. "All this magic stuff is really weird," he said. "Did you grow up with it?"
Don't change your expression, Scorpius told himself, Leander and that other boy, Matt possibly, are watching you. They know your name and they're waiting to see what you'll do.
"I can understand that," he said carefully. "I grew up in the wizarding world, but it must be quite odd to be dropped into it suddenly, without warning." He smiled again for good measure, and out of the corner of his eye he saw Leander and Matt turn back to their organizing. He stifled a sigh of relief.
"So… where are you from?" he asked Ben.
The boy shrugged. "I've been around a bunch. My parents are divorced, and my mum lives in Ireland, so I get tossed around the country. You?" Ben opened his trunk and started putting clothes in his bedside dresser.
"England," said Scorpius.
"Wanna be friends?"
"Sure," Scorpius said, and smiled.
Albus was thrilled. He was in Gryffindor. He was in his father's House. He wouldn't have to worry about Uncle Ron disinheriting him. He was in Gryffindor!
True, he would have to deal with being taunted by James, but, well, no pain no gain, eh?
"Are you related to Harry Potter?" asked a voice from his left. It was… Maudie? Margie? Maddie? Something like that. She had sat two seats down from him at the feast.
"He's my father," he answered her.
"That's so cool! What's he like?" A fan, then. James had told him about them, although his older brother liked the attention.
This did not appear to deter MaudMargMadd-ie. "I know," she said, very patiently, as though she were addressing a two year-old, "But how does he act when he's not around you?"
"I don't know," Albus said honestly, "I'm not there."
His interrogator sighed. "You're hopeless," she muttered, not quite under her breath. Then she brightened up. "I'm Maudie! You're Balus, right?"
"Albus," said Albus through clenched teeth.
"Cool! You need a nickname!"
"What?" Albus said reflexively, nonplussed.
"A nickname! Like how my full name is Maudellia, but people call me Maudie."
What sort of parent names their kid Maudellia?
Maudie plopped herself down on one of the overstuffed sofas in the Gryffindor common room as Hestia Jones, head of Gryffindor House, clapped her hands for silence.
"Welcome, all of you, to Gryffindor House!" The cheers were deafening. Professor Jones grinned. She was a short, pixie-like woman of around forty-five years old. "This will be your home for the next seven years, the people around you your family!"
"I've got it," hissed Maudie out of the corner of her mouth. "You'll be Baley." Albus frowned.
"The Quidditch team, captained by Teddy Lupin, will be holding tryouts on September 10th," Jones continued. "Applicants are requested not to bring their own broom, as Teddy would like to ensure a policy of entrance on skill and not wealth. Nimbus 2001s will be provided for all."
"But my name isn't Balus!" Albus hissed back to Maudie.
"Mr. Potter! Please pay attention instead of gossiping with your neighbor!" Proffessor Jones reprimanded. Albus nodded mutely, cheeks burning, and sank back into his seat.
"I know!" Maudie whispered. "But Baley is better than Albie!"
"Can't you just call me Albus?"
"Yes, Professor?" That was James, leaning on the wall over by the bulletin board, surroundedby his friends.
Jones pursed her lips as the assembled Gryffindors giggled. "Not you."
"Not me what, Professor?" The giggling continued, and Teddy Lupin snorted explosively.
"You're not the Mr. Potter I was referring to," said the professor acerbically, although Albus got the impression she was acting more annoyed than she was.
"Oh." James feigned a look of puzzlement. "Sorry, my dad isn't here."
"Nor him. I was referring, in fact, to your little brother, who is whispering with his friend over there instead of listening."
"My little brother?" James looked completely bewildered. "Oh, you mean Albus." He grinned. "Oh, no, he's not my little brother. We disinherited him when he was two."
The crowd laughed even harder, as James grinned crookedly and winked. Albus glared at the floor.
Jones sighed, but smiled tolerantly and waited for the chuckles to die down. "As I was saying, there is a choice on Wednesday and Friday afternoons of Art, Theatre, Music or Electronics, all areas in which Hogwarts has been informed it lacks education. Signups are on the board which Mr. Potter Sr. has kindly furnished in pictures of Llamas in Hats."
She paused again as everyone turned to peer curiously at the board. James took a bow.
"I believe that's it for tonight. I wish you all a good night, and would encourage you to get some rest, however I know that no one goes to bed before midnight on the first night. I will turn a blind eye to any students sneaking down to the kitchens." She grinned again and left the room.
"I like her!" Maudie announced. "What about you, Baley?"
"Don't call me Baley," said Albus, with a pained expression. "Albie I can deal with. But please, for the love of Merlin and all his various undergarments and facial hair, not Baley."
Maudie shrugged. "Suit yourself, Albie. See ya!" She jumped up from the couch and wandered away.
"Helloooooo, dear disinherited bro!" James said dramatically, stretching himself out like a cat on the sofa. His girlfriend, Marie, sat down next to him and waved at Albus. The rest of his posse gathered around like spectators at a Quidditch match.
"Hi, James," mumbled Albus.
"That's no way to greet your brother! Just you wait 'til I tell mother!"
"Why are you rhyming, James?" Albus asked cautiously. You never quite knew where these sorts of questions would get you.
"Rhyming is life's quintessential beauty! Ummm… ummm…. Marie, you're a cutey!"
Marie rolled her eyes and gave him an indulgent smile. To Albus, she said:
"Just ignore him. He's been looking forward to you coming to school for the past half a year."
Albus had a hard time believing that. "He has?"
"Oh, yes. So he can make fun of you, of course."
"Marie, you're a spoil-sport," James pouted. "Maybe you… I shouldn't be court?''
"—ing," added Marie. "Come on, James, let's leave your poor brother alone."
James winked at Albus as he left, and gave him a half-salute.
Well. It seemed Marie would help him when it came to being teased by James. And it looked like they were happy together… maybe she would be a good influence on him. Maybe.
He grinned suddenly, caught up in the exhilaration of becoming part of a family, and cast his gaze around the room. Suddenly, he noticed a figure in the corner. It was that Lestrange girl, and she seemed to be crying.
Albus sighed, and although he really did dislike her, he was basically a good person, so he got up from the couch and went over to her. No one else seemed to be comforting her, and Merlin knew she looked like she needed some comforting.
She looked up as he sat down next to her and glared at him.
"Go away," she mumbled.
"Are you all right?" It was a bit of a lame question, Albus had to admit, but it was better than nothing.
"What do you think? I got Sorted into a House where everyone hates me. No, I'm not all right." All of the anger seemed to drain out of her. "Why couldn't I have been in Slytherin and Scorpius in Gryffindor?" she asked plaintively.
Albus didn't know what to say. He… well, as much as he could empathize with someone who thought muggleborns were beneath her, he understood a bit of how she felt. He had been terrified of being Sorted into Slytherin, and he could imagine only too well how he would have felt if he had been.
"Well," he tried, being careful not to insult Scorpius Malfoy. They were cousins, after all. "I guess Scorpius is really smart, so he got into Slytherin. And you're really brave, so you got into Gryffindor."
Dell smiled a smile that looked even more hopeless than her scowl. "You know what the Sorting Hat told me?" she asked.
"It told me that it put me in Gryffindor because I needed to have my opinions about mud—about muggleborns changed." She inspected a rather shabby tapestry on the wall as though it contained ancient and miraculous knowledge. "So there you go. I'm not smart enough for Ravenclaw or Slytherin, and I'm not nice enough for Hufflepuff. That's why I'm in Gryffindor."
Aaaaand.. CUT! There you go, people. I hope you liked it. It was... well, it was actually kind of a filler chapter, but it's my favorite so far.
~Kero out. : )