So sorry it's taken me so long, I never meant it to. Was busy with revision and exams and starting another story, but still.
So, this is the last chapter; thanks a lot for all your reviews, and for reading it all, of course.
Chapter 16 – Roxy
I shouldn't be so nervous. I know this. I didn't need Lucy to point it out as we entered the castle. There is no reason to be nervous. If we look at this logically, I'm simply awaiting my turn to try on a hat, which will assess my qualities, and place me in the house that best fits those qualities. This is not a bad thing. It doesn't matter, after all, which house I end up, as long as it's the house that best fits me, that will cater to my needs.
So why am I so nervous I'm practically shaking? I swear, if Fred could tell how scared I am, he'd never let it go. As if I don't give him enough reasons to make fun of me as it is. (As if he wouldn't make up reasons if I didn't provide them.)
I can't help it. It's even more annoying that Lucy doesn't seem all that bothered – this is not how we work. She is the impulsive one; I'm the sensible one. She's the irrational one; I'm the logical one. This whole thing should be reversed; she should be impossibly nervous, and I should be rolling my eyes and saying it isn't a big deal.
I hate it when life flips everything around like this.
OK. It's not that bad. Soon, I'll be sorted, and all my stupid nerves won't matter.
But what if I'm in Slytherin? Everyone said it doesn't matter, but, well, Voldemort was in Slytherin. And my uncle was the one who saved everyone from Voldemort. I can't be in Slytherin. My dad's twin died in the war!
But I don't want to talk about that.
So. I can't possibly be in Slytherin. I just can't be. It would be so wrong. Next. Ravenclaw. Well. That wouldn't be bad, I suppose, but I don't think I'm smart enough for that. And, um, well, Lucy won't be in Ravenclaw. Not that she's stupid, but she isn't a Ravenclaw. And I don't want to be in a house alone. I don't care if mum said I'd be surprised at how well I'd survive without the family, I need them, especially Lucy. She's my best friend, how am I supposed to manage Hogwarts without her?
And Hufflepuff. Well, I'm loyal. And I guess it wouldn't be bad. But...Lucy won't be a Hufflepuff. Lucy'll be a Gryffindor. Like the rest of the family.
I can't be away from them. It's not just because I'm too weak to manage on my own, it's because we've always stuck together. When your family's famous, and you've got people always staring and whispering and trying to talk to you and take pictures, you end up sticking together. When the Daily Prophet has pictures of you covered in cake at your cousin's birthday party, or when Witch Weekly gets some picture analyser person to look at pictures of you and your extended family and tell the world all the personality traits they can guess you have, you stick together. (The analyser was pretty good, actually, there were only a few things wrong.)
Although I think some it is because of Grandma. She's determined to make us all stick together, determined never to lose one of us. Maybe it's because of Uncle Fred, maybe it's just how she is. But she's definitely the centre; without her, the whole family may fall apart.
Ahem. Enough with the depressing thoughts now. I don't want to think about my Grandma not being around. Not just because I'll miss her, because it'll hurt me, but because I really do think the family'll fall apart – and I think it might destroy my dad.
But hey, maybe he's stronger than I think.
I think Lucy keeps looking at me, and for a moment it's as if she's silently telling me not to worry, but I looked away. I can't stand here, knowing she's not at all scared, and wonder what's wrong with me. So I looked back at the boy being sorted now. He's really, really tall. How do people get that tall at eleven? That's not normal. Poor guy's gonna feel like a freak till everyone else catches up.
He's sorted – Hufflepuff – and the next boy is called out. Oh – oh, his last name was Timmons. T. That's close to W – very close –
Without thinking, I took hold of Lucy's hand. I don't know if I was trying to seek comfort, or hoping we could just run away. Whatever my motivation, I gripped her hand, and then, kind of stupidly I'll admit, stepped backwards. Lucy smirked at me, but her eyes are sympathetic. I smiled back, but I feel a little sick now, and I don't release her hand.
The boy is sorted into Ravenclaw, and we both wait for Lucy's name.
"Weasley, Lucy." There it is. I dropped her hand as she took a step forward. For the briefest moment, she looked nervous. Maybe it's mean of me, but that's a comfort.
The seconds tick by. I can just see Lucy's mouth under the brim of the hat. It's relaxed at first, then it tightens as though she's tense. Then she smiles, and the smile widens to the point of dopiness.
The smile turns normal again, then she bites her lip. Next thing, the hat yells Gryffidor, and Flitwick takes the hat off of her head. She looks a little dazed, shoots me a smile, and goes off to sit by Molly.
Oh, damn. My turn. I sort of want to run, you know? Run away, and never come back.
"Weasley, Roxanne." Oh boy. I don't run. I actually consciously make the decision to turn, to run out of the doors, and get someone to get in touch with my parents, to make them pick me up. But my legs won't agree with that decision, and instead carry me forwards. I wonder if the floor here is slightly lower, because of all the students that have walked along it and worn it down. Probably not.
Flitwick smiles at me as I sit on the stool. Maybe that should help, but it doesn't. I think I'm going to throw up.
Then, darkness. I thought, for a moment, that I'd passed out, but then I realised it was the hat.
Try to relax, Roxy. I promise I won't hurt you.
"I...I know. I'm sorry. I shouldn't be. I can't help it."
Just breathe deeply a few times.
"What if I pass out? I think I might pass out..."
It will not matter, Roxy. You wouldn't be the first.
"Really? Wow. When?"
A good few years ago, I believe. And once more, and century or two before that. But we're not here to discuss other students or their sortings, Roxy. We're here to talk about you.
"Right. Yeah. That's why I might pass out."
Tell me, Roxy, are you worried about where you'll end up?
"Yes. I know where I need to be, I know where I should be, and I'm afraid I won't end up there."
You believe I'll make a mistake, put you in the wrong house?
"I'm afraid I'll belong in the wrong house. That I won't be like the rest of them."
If you were to end up in a different house, Roxy, rest assured you would cope. I see that. And I've never had anyone fail to find their place at Hogwarts.
"I – I guess. But, what if you do put me in the wrong place? I'm only eleven – I won't have developed any of those qualities yet, will I?"
Don't worry about that, please, Roxy. Most eleven year olds haven't developed the qualities. I see the potential to do so.
"Oh." And then something occurs to me. "I...Can I ask you something?"
"If you see the potential – why didn't you – couldn't you – couldn't you see what Voldemort had to potential to be, to do? If you'd've seen, you could've put him somewhere else, or had him expelled, or locked away. You could've stopped the whole thing, and all those people would've lived..."
I remembered at the moment, though I tried not to, the anniversary (of the end of the war, that is) a few years back. When I saw my dad in the kitchen – not laughing or talking, but not crying either. He'd been staring into space, hadn't noticed me. And he'd looked so lost, so broken, it scared me.
Of course I'd known he must miss his twin. I'd known it must hurt, still. But I'd never considered the possibility that he might not be completely whole.
I bit my lip at the hat's silence, worried I'd offended it. But when it spoke again, the voice was gentle, and full of sorrow.
Some things, Roxy, are impossible to predict, to see, to understand. If I'd been able to, of course I would have stopped him. I'm very sorry I could not, Roxy. I'm sorry for the way it hurt you and your family.
"Didn't hurt me. I wasn't around."
Still. No one could have predicted what he would do. And it is no one's fault except his own.
"I know, I know. You have to take responsibility for your own actions, they're no one else's fault. My Grandma tells me all the time." I nodded, then stopped, realising I was still being watched.
And I take responsibility for not seeing his potential. Now, Roxy, would you like to know what I see in you?
"Ah, sure. Go ahead."
A strong sense of honour, and justice. Integrity, and yes, bravery.
"I'm not brave."
No one else, Roxy, has ever tried to blame me for missing something so vital. Most wouldn't dare. So I know where you belong. GRYFFINDOR!
I lift the hat off slowly, and I think my hands shook a little. As I walked towards the Gryffindor table, Lucy clapped and cheered – the whole table did – and she waved at an empty seat in front of her. I manage to smile as I sit.
"I told you!" She hissed, as the clapping slowed and stopped. I nodded. I feel a little weird, a little shaky, as though I've just broken some important rule. But still – I had to ask.
We turned back to watch the last few people get sorted. And here I am; here, at Hogwarts.