The unbelievable story of the arrival at Hogwarts which is so extensive that – according to Gretchen's calculations – it's not possible to summarize it in a decent chapter title
AN: First of all: Sorry that you haven't heard from us in literally forever (Man... it's almost been three years... Shame on us, shame on our families, shame on our cow!). But you know how it is. Life gets in the way and if you finally have time to write there is that nice little thing called writer's block paying you a visit… oh well. Finally we are back! And there is definitely more to come but it might take a while since this fic is sadly not our number 1 priority right now. However, we will continue it sooner or later! We won't abandon this story :)
And as ever: Please read and review! Let us know your guess what houses the five friends should be sorted into ;)
Now let me just quickly answer some of your reviews:
Leighanne: Thanks! The quotation marks thingy was just a typo. Since I'm from Germany my computer automatically auto-corrects them like this since bottom quotation marks followed by top quotation marks is just the German way to do it. But thanks for pointing it out. I hope it didn't bother you too much.
Kameo1 : Thanks for the review! So far it is indeed set during Harry's fourth year but since we had lots of different ideas we might also throw in some random one-shot/multi-shot chapters that are set during a different time. We'll see about that thought. The story was originally supposed to be a random collection of stories that came to mind. But we're glat you like it and we will definitely try to write more as fast as we can... Be patient with us
Archdruid89: Sorry that we're slow but here is a new chapter! Hope you'll enjoy it.
SpiritTrainer: Well we're updating it right now. Might be a while till the next chapter though... But we hope you bear with us and enjoy the chapter.
"Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end. If not always in the way we expect." – Luna Lovegood.
The train was rumbling and shaking as it arrived at the train station of Hogsmeade. The six friends, trying not to loose their balance, waited until the train finally stood still.
"We're here!", Spinelli pointed out the obvious. With shining eyes, the kids spilled out of the Hogwarts Express. That means, they were pushed outside into the cold night by a crowd of older students. When they've finally made it to the platform outside, no one really had a chance to take a look around at first. The friends were preoccupied with getting to the sidelines to somehow escape the crowd of students without losing each other in the process.
"There's Hagrid! That's where we need to go!", exclaimed Gretchen after a while and pointed to a giant man who was swinging a lantern.
"Firs'-years over 'ere!" he was just shouting and T.J. grinned. They probably would have figured that out without Gretchen's brains. With a little bit of effort the small group changed their direction and was now working against the flow of people towards Hagrid.
When they finally reached their destination, Gus seemed visibly relieved.
"You know, next time we let Mikey walk in front of us", announce Vince with a knowing look and Spinelli facepalmed while slumping down on a nearby bench.
"You couldn't have come up with this earlier, could you?"
Vince shrugged and together with Hagrid and some other scattered First-Years, the friends observed how the train station slowly emptied until only some lost-looking, new kids were left.
Next, Hagrid addressed the First-Years with some welcoming words and eventually they started walking towards the lake. While the older students, according to Gus, were transported to the castle with horseless carriages, they had to walk all the way from the train station to the black lake and would then be riding to the other shore - where the castle was located - in magical boats.
"Wer' good in time", declared Hagrid proudly as they were passing some of the carriages, "Not even all of 'em have left ye'."
"Hey, guys", said Mikey, "look over there, a foal… doesn't that look kind of weird?… I'm gonna take a closer look. Be right back." With these words, Mikey walked off towards the carriages. Unfortunately, nobody of his friends had heard him since they were all too busy keeping up with the group.
"Why do we have to walk so fast?", T.J. whispered to Vince who was jogging gracefully beside him.
"Good question", he murmured back happily. Gretchen and Spinelli laughed. When T.J. looked at them confused, they just giggled even more and Spinelli said:
"Just look at Hagrid, he is completely laid-back over there. Not in a hurry at all. If he walked any slower he would be going backwards."
"That's right", T.J. reluctantly agreed, "but why is he so tall in the first place?"
"If my calculations are correct", explained Gretchen pulling out her note pad once again, "such a impressive height is only achievable through a genetic predisposition like it's the case with giants. However, they are even taller than Hagrid. I would say that he is probably a half-blood - half-human and half-giant."
"Well, there are surely some peculiar things in this world", declared Vince shaking his head and ran into another first-year student who had just jerked to a halt in front of him.
"Oh", he exclaimed surprised but when he noticed why the boy, who didn't even notice him, had stopped he totally forgot to apologize.
The group had just rounded a corner and was now having a clear view of the castle.
"Aaaaaah"s and "Oooooh"s could be heard from everywhere and one girl sighed: "It's like in a fairytale!" Spinelli snorted contemptuously but she couldn't quite manage to exclude herself from the girly sighing since she was just as fascinated by the tall building with the pointy towers and brightly-lit windows.
Hagrid laughed joyfully and let the children enjoy the view for another couple of minutes before he pushed them onwards towards the black lake. Again and again the children stumbled and almost fell down since nobody payed attention to the path but instead most of them kept staring enchantedly at their new home.
"According to 'Hogwarts: A History' it is unclear when the castle was actually built and when the school was founded. However, it is assumed to have taken place somewhere around the year 1000", explained Gretchen without anyone having asked. Nobody said anything and she continued: "There are 142 staircases in the castle which partially change direction. In addition, almost everything that you can find inside changes its place without any outward interference. Doors, windows, portraits, and other artefacts and so on. And because there are doors which are actually walls or passages that are hidden behind portraits or curtains it is relatively hard to find your way around."
Some of the kids who had actually been listening halfheartedly were looking quite distraught now. "No worries. Yeh'll get by with a bit o' practice!", Hagrid calmed the children. Then he announced: "So, weh' here. Always fou' people per boat an' then we'll take off."
The students who already knew someone immediately came together in groups on the dock in order to get into one boat while the others followed hesitantly.
Only when the chaos was over and T.J. was sitting in a boat securely, he got a chance to orientate himself. He was - together with Gus, Spinelli, and a pale girl with a pigtail - quite a bit ahead to the other boats. Curiously, he looked around and examined some of the new faces for the first time. He noticed Vince halfway across the lake. He was sitting in a boat together with Gretchen. They were right next to Hagrid who took up a boat on his own. In Vince's boat there was a boy with so close-cropped hair that in the faint light of the lantern it looked as if he had no hair at all, and there was a girl with dark skin and black dreadlocks. Apart from that, T.J. only noticed two boys with blond locks who looked completely identical. He frowned and turned to Gus and Spinelli.
"Where's Mikey?", he asked and continued scanning the crowd for his friend.
"No idea", Gus answered and turned around clumsily which caused the boat to shake quite a bit. Pigtail-girl latched on to the railing with wide eyes.
"But he is so big that we couldn't have overlooked him", T.J. realized and Spinelli added calmly: "He's probably somewhere behind Hagrid's boat. That man's so big, we wouldn't be able to see Mikey at all. That reminds me, do you think that Mikey could also be a half-giant?"
"Come off it!", Gus waved aside her comment, "He would have told us!" But at the same time he suddenly didn't look so sure anymore: "Or, wouldn't he?"
Just as T.J. opened his mouth to disagree with Spinelli, he noticed a boy with mousy hair on the brink of their little fleet who was leaning threateningly far over the edge of his boat. In a blink of an eye he had already slumped into the cold water.
Everyone stared with wide, fearful eyes at the spot where he had disappeared. The water in that spot was now bubbling forbiddingly.
"Don' you worry, kids!", Hagrid said in a calming voice, but he didn't elaborate. Instead, he stared steadfast at the same spot that the others were watching. Suddenly, a giant kraken appeared out of the black depth. The boy, who was flailing his arms and legs agitatedly, was wrapped in one of the animal's tentacles.
"I'm fine", the boy called and gasped for breath while the huge kraken dispatched the boy together with a big flush of water back onto his boat. The other three kids sitting in his boat screamed and lifted their feet in order to avoid getting wet.
"How great is that?", it sounded from T.J. at the same time, "say, Gretchen, did you know that they had such a cool kraken in the lake?"
Gretchen looked at him a bit bemused. "Uh, of course T.J., I mean it is mentioned several time in 'Hogwarts: A History' as well as in some other sources that lead to the same conclusion."
As T.J. started to feel stupid, he heard Vince's voice across the lake: "Hey, T.J.! They have a kraken here! Super cool, huh?" Given that, T.J. had to smile and replied: "Yeah, totally!"
"Thanks", Hagrid called towards the kraken as he steered his boat past T.J. in the direction of the soaking wet child. When he made it to the kid's boat, he struggled a bit to get out of his huge coat but eventually he passed it to the boy who was completely smothered with it.
"Thank you", he squeaked and engulfed himself in the coat.
The rest of the journey the kids spent with observing and speculating about the giant kraken that kept swimming around them in circles cheerfully.
Ultimately, most of them were quite disappointed when they suddenly had reached the other shore. Hagrid directed them through a boathouse towards a subterrestrail corridor. There, it was cold and gloomy. The friends shivered but, nevertheless, bravely kept following the keeper of the keys through the intertwined corridor. Technically speaking, you couldn't quite call it a 'corridor'. The whole thing rather looked like a stalactite cave than a real corridor.
"Careful", Gretchen piped up, "we have to keep up with Hagrid now. The caves below the castle are namely built like a labyrinth. If we get lost here we might never get out. In fact, according to 'Hogwarts – Secrets Unveiled', there are at least three known cases where someone disappeared." The rest of the friends nodded and quickly turned up their pace a bit.
"Now, we jus' need to go through here then we're there", he explained to the First-Years, "you, can yeh' do it?", he asked the boy with the mousy hair who looked as if he would collapse under the weight of Hagrid's coat any second now. Regardless of that, he courageously nodded anyways and, as proof of it, he trudged onwards. The group hadn't even walked for two minutes, when T.J. suddenly stopped abruptly. His friends turned to him and looked at him with questioning eyes while the rest of the First-Years just kept walking ahead.
"What's up?", Spinelli asked and T.J. stared at her with a concerned look.
"Mikey! I haven't seen him!", he proclaimed and grabbed Spinelli's shoulder in a dramatic gesture.
"Okay, we'll look for him!", she replied and shook off T.J.'s hand.
"Did you even listen to me at all?! We can't fall behind or we'll get lost!", Gretchen gave cause for concern.
"Gretchen, this is Mikey we're talking about! What do you think how he feels all by himself?", T.J. responded quite irritated by her comment.
"Very well then, who has seen Mikey last and where?", Gretchen asked with a grave voice, but the friends looked at each other clueless. They had been too distracted to pay attention. "He probably got lost in one of these corridors and wasn't able to find us", Gus proposed, "he can't have gotten very far."
"And why should he just leave the group?", Vince asked sceptical. Spinelly rolled her eyes.
"He must've seen a particularly beautiful stone and stopped to take a closer look or something. You know Mikey! Maybe his shoelaces came undone and he had to re-establish his complicated knotting style before he could go on. He can't have been gone for long, someone would have noticed. After all, Mikey is definitely not the smallest of us."
"Sounds logical", T.J. noticed, "Let's go back the way where we came from, he has to be somewhere around."
And so the friends began their search for Mikey. After a short walk, Gretchen stopped looking confused and started flipping through her note pad in an irritated way.
"Something's wrong, normally the boathouse should be right here." Now the others also looked around clueless.
"Oh well, you must be wrong. After all, everything looks just the same here", Vince suggested unconvincingly, but Gretchen shook her head and insisted on her estimation.
Since they couldn't come up with a better solution, they continued their search for Mikey more or less systematically. However, nothing within the tunnels differentiated one from the next. Everything just looked the same as Vince had correctly pointed out.
"Which house do you think you'll be sorted into?" Gus continued their conversation that they had started sometime during the train ride.
"You mean, if we get out of here in time for the sorting ceremony?" Spinelli asked sarcastically and then continued: "Well, I think I'm gonna be in Slytherin. But Ravenclaw wouldn't be bad either. At least then I would be in the same house as Gretchen."
"You can not just assume that I am going to be a Ravenclaw," Gretchen ranted, "Although, to be honest, I would quite like it … " The others had stopped to throw a "stop-kidding-around-you-can't-really-believe-what-you're-saying"-look at Gretchen.
"We could make a bet," T.J. suggested, "I bet that Gretchen gets into Ravenclaw. Looser has to… Well, he has to… something. Any proposals what we could establish as a dare?"
"How about the looser has to spend a night in the toilet of Moaning Myrtle?", Spinelli suggested. "Moaning Myrtle? Who is that supposed to be?", asked T.J. confused. Gretchen, who took to this like a duck to water, quickly piped up: "Moaning Myrtle is the ghost who haunts the first floor girl's bathroom at Hogwarts. About fifty years ago she was a student who met a gruesome end in that very same bathroom. But that does not really matter as of right now since I am definitely against it. I do not plan to get detention for breaking the rules when we literally just arrived at this school. The risk of getting caught is just too high!"
"Don't be such a killjoy, Gretchen! The risk of it is what makes it fun," Spinelli explained and rolled her eyes, "but ok. How about this: the looser has to go to Hermione Granger, introduce him- or herself to her and out themselves as her biggest fan!"
The friends looked at each other, tilted their heads and eventually nodded whereupon Spinelli raised her fist triumphantly into the air.
"… so here we go", said T. J., "I bet that Gretchen will get into Ravenclaw!"
"Agreed", declared Spinelli.
"Yup", Vince casually replied.
"I guess so", Gus added.
"Gee guys", said T.J., "It doesn't work when nobody has a counter opinion."
"Alright", Gretchen announced, "I counter! I am of the opinion that I also hold qualities other than my intelect. I bet I get into Hufflepuff."
"Just like Mikey!", assured Vince. This declaration also received only approval.
"Oh, I probably get into Gryffindor just like my dad", gushed Gus and T.J. laid an arm around his shoulder smiling.
"I think you're more of a Hufflepuff-type, Gus", he said and Spinelli added:
"You're too good to be a Gryffindor, you're not such a headless go-getter."
"What's that supposed to mean?", Vince wanted to know, but Spinelli was able to dodge the answer to that question because Gretchen exclaimed:
"Look, there is a door over there!" Fast as lightning, the kids reached the end of the path and listened if they could hear something on the other side of the portal. But everything was silent. T. J. nodded his head to his friends and Vince slowly pushed down the door handle. Together, the friends entered the huge room.
"Hey, there you are!", a voice called from the other end of the hall.
"Mikey!", exclaimed Spinelli and ran with the others towards her friend who stood there with the rest of the First-Years.
"Where have you been?", asked Gus and Mikey clapped his hands together excitedly before he began: "I lost sight of the group because I was taking a look at the weird horses that pulled the carriages. When I noticed that you were gone, I first thought that I would have to stay forever at the train station, but then one of the carriages stopped and the students told me that I could ride with them up to the castle. And now guess who was in that carriage!" Mikey didn't wait for their answer but immediately blurted out: "Harry Potter and Hermione Granger! And the other two boys were called Ron and Neville!"
"WHAT?!", Gus shouted aghast and raised his hands to the ceiling, "Why? Why ever? Why didn't I get lost?"
"Did you get him to sign anything for you?", asked Spinelli eagerly, but Mikey shook his head and was just about to say something when a strict-looking lady audibly cleared her throat.
"Whenever you're done with your gossiping, I would like to lead you into the Great Hall now, we don't want to make the others wait unnecessarily, do we?" They blushed, paired up and joined the queue of other First-Years.
The woman pushed open the great double wing door and the group followed her quickly.
No one heard Spinelli mumble: "But the carriages weren't drawn by anything…"