"So the two houses are just biased against each other before they even interact?"
"Yes, it's partly due to their opposing ideals though it is said that Salazar Slytherin and Godric Gryffindor themselves killed each other in battle so it may be a result of that rivalry being passed down."
Harry had been conversing with Alexandra (she told him to call her Rosier but thinking about people by their last name seemed odd to him) for some time now; she had claimed to want to help introduce him to the wizarding world and he warily accepted her assistance. She had recommended some books for him to purchase that would give him information she couldn't explain in a timely manner, but otherwise she had been freely telling him everything she thought he should know, while answering his questions when they arose.
As time went on, Harry opened up further to her and let her know a few details about him such as his newfound knowledge of magic. She was quick to assure him that while there were obstacles for him to overcome, with dedication and practice no one would be able to tell he was unfamiliar with the wizarding world. She explained that while it was unlikely something truly horrible would happen to him, he would be a target and might get exploited into overpaying for a purchase (apparently the lady who sold him potions had hiked up the prices significantly!) or becoming indebted to someone and then used as a tool by them.
At her last claim, Harry began to become suspicious again and asked Alexandra if that was what she was doing to him.
She smirked in response and said, "If I were doing that then why would I warn you about it?"
"It could be a ploy to get me to place further trust in you." Harry countered while narrowing his eyes.
To his surprise she only laughed at that and avoided his question saying, "Careful Potter, all that paranoia will have you joining me in Slytherin."
At Harry's sigh of frustration, Alexandra only gave an even bigger smirk and then continued telling him about Hogwarts. They continued talking for a few more minutes until she mentioned she had an appointment to make and bade him farewell. After she made him promise to keep her advice in mind, he headed back home and fell asleep in a mix of worry, anxiety, and excitement, thinking about what he had learned.
The days before Hogwarts flew by and eventually Harry found himself at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters roughly an hour before its departure. Alexandra had told him to walk straight through the barrier, but Harry decided to check with observe beforehand, just in case.
Barrier to Platform 9&3/4
An illusory barrier hiding the Hogwarts Express from the muggle world.
Confirming it for himself, Harry strides through confidently, though still feeling a sense of relief when he makes it to the other side. Looking around, Harry spotted a couple of older students excitedly talking amongst themselves, though otherwise the platform was empty of people.
With nothing else to do, Harry boarded the train and began to look for a compartment. Most compartments were empty, so Harry found himself seated close to the middle of the train, leaning towards the front half. Harry passed the time by taking out a supplementary potions book explaining more of the theory behind potion making and proceeded to read it for the next half an hour. He was interrupted by a knock on the door and was greeted to the sight of two identical black haired girls.
"May we join you?" The girl on the right questions.
"Sure, go ahead." Harry responds.
The two girls put their trunks away and get settled into the compartment. After they finish, Harry introduces himself to them and to his surprise they only spare a quick glance towards his forehead but otherwise don't react to his name. The girls then introduce themselves to him, Harry trying his best to tell them apart.
"Flora Carrow." The one on the right says while curtseying.
"Hestia Carrow." The girl on the left says, mirroring her sister.
Harry and the Carrows then begin to make small talk discussing their expectations for school and what classes they're interested in. As they chat, Harry takes time to get a better look at them and takes note of their sharp features and smaller, wiry frames. The girls were extremely pale, with striking amethyst eyes. Flora seemed more interested in the wanded subjects, while Hestia was intrigued by potions and runes.
As they began to discuss the various houses of Hogwarts, another knock sounded at the door and a smaller girl entered.
"Hi I'm Sue Li, do you mind if I sit here?"
The inhabitants glanced at each other and welcomed the girl to sit with them. After brief introductions, they resumed talking about which house they were aiming for. Flora and Hestia were heavily leaning towards Slytherin, though they deemed Ravenclaw also acceptable. Sue didn't mind any house, but was hoping for Ravenclaw as that was where her parents were. As for Harry, he was averse to being in Slytherin and Gryffindor because he didn't want to deal with house rivalries. Hufflepuff didn't sound bad to him but it had a less than stellar reputation so he supposed he wanted Ravenclaw after ruling everything else out. That being said, it wasn't like he had a choice on where to go, so he just had to hope he'd be deemed worthy of Ravenclaw.
The four soon lost themselves in their discussion and before they knew it the train left the station. A few minutes afterwards, Harry was utterly focused on a form of wizarding culture: exploding snap. Unfortunately for him, he was stopped from learning more by the compartment door being opened and a blond boy entering, flanked on either side by two larger children with menacing expressions. The blond boy's gray eyes flick towards Harry and a look of triumph appears on his face.
"So it's true then. They said that Harry Potter was on the train this year." The blond affirmed to himself.
"Who's they?" Harry joked.
The blond boy ignored this and after taking a look at the other inhabitants of the compartment he nodded in approval.
"It seems you've chosen well for the most part, though you would do well to remember that some families are better than others." He says after glancing at Sue.
He then introduces himself as Draco Malfoy and sticks out a hand towards Harry to shake "I can help you find the right sort of people to stick with Potter."
Harry is about to reject him with an angry retort but at the last second restrains himself and accepts his hand. "Thank you, I will keep your offer in mind but for now I wish to remain here."
Draco looks confused for a moment but then smirks and calls out to his goons to follow him out.
"Well that was rude, he didn't even introduce his companions and only called their names while leaving." Harry said with an exasperated sigh.
Sue looks over at Harry and the Carrow twins nervously but Harry notices her apprehension and is quick to assuage her of any worries.
"Don't worry, I don't think your family is worse than others, he just seemed like the kind of arrogant brat that wouldn't leave unless we nodded along with him."
Giving him a relieved look, the four slowly start talking again and get into the flow of conversation once more. The rest of the trip is more uneventful, though Harry does discover the joys and horrors of Bertie Botts' Every Flavour beans. From that experience, along with a chocolate frog card of Morgan le Fay glaring at him, Harry decided that wizarding world sweets were a lot more interesting than muggle ones.
Soon enough the train slowed to a stop and all the first years found themselves riding on boats to get to the castle. Harry noticed the giant who had come to his house months ago was the one in charge of them and so he tried to be discreet and blend in with the crowd of students.
Everyone was in awe of the view of the castle as they approached, as the greatness of their school started to really solidify in the minds of the children. As the giant delivered the students to a stern looking woman with graying hair in the castle, Harry was surprised to finally learn that the giant's name was Hagrid, or at least that was what the woman called him. The woman herself was apparently Professor McGonagall, and she ushered them into an entryway of an enormous hall and told them to prepare to be sorted. She explained that each house had its own noble history that they would soon be a part of.
All the first years were experiencing a mixture of fear, awe, and hesitance at the prospect of being sorted, especially in front of so many people. As Harry glanced around he noticed Alexandra giving him an expectant look, which he answered with a shaky smile. Eventually the students were each called up one by one alphabetically, starting with a small mousy blonde haired girl named Hannah Abbott.
Students were sorted into each of the four houses by a bizarre talking hat, which would rest on each person's head for a few seconds before shouting out one of the houses. Hannah Abbott was sent to Hufflepuff, followed by Thomas Armsworth to Ravenclaw. The line gradually shrank as each first year was nervously sorted. One boy, Neville Longbottom, was shaking the entire time and ended up leaving the stool with the hat still on him after being sorted into Gryffindor at the end of a very long wait. After seeing how pathetic that sorting was, Harry was able to steady himself and managed to hide most of his nervousness out of worry of looking even worse than Longbottom.
Eventually it was Harry's turn to go forth, and he strided forward trying his best to display a calm and confident demeanor. As the hat was lowered onto his head, Harry mentally prepared himself for whatever the hat would do to him. He was surprised however, to hear the hat start chuckling in his head.
"Oh you're an interesting one for sure; plenty of courage, a dedicated worker, one of the sharpest minds I've ever seen, and a whole lot of cunning…"
"Do I get a choice in the matter?" Harry whispered, ensuring no one else could hear.
"Ha of course not, what use would I be if you could just sort yourself? Anyway, you could certainly fit into any of the four houses, but one shines above the others in your case."
Aloud, the hat shouted out: "BETTER BE…"
Haha, fast updates right? No excuses, I've been lazy and didn't feel like writing anything but here's the next chapter! I actually have most of the next chapter done so hopefully it won't be yet another massive wait.
I've been reading Fair Born Adventures by Mori99 and have really been enjoying it, go check it out! Game wise I've been playing Vampire Survivors which is a fun time sink if you want something to play during zoom meetings, though you should watch gameplay first to see if it's your thing.