Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

The Three Princesses
By Silver Sailor Ganymede

They were friends before Hogwarts, hard as it is to believe now. In fact one of Padma's earliest memories is of the three of them playing together – her, her sister and Pansy Parkinson. They are sitting in Pansy's nursery, a rather larger and even frillier room than she and Parvati had at home, playing with a set of dolls while an ancient house elf keeps a careful watch over them.

Back then it was always the three of them – Pansy, Parvati and Padma, the three Princesses (at least that's what they used to think they were). No matter that Padma sometimes felt that it was more like Pansy and Parvati were best friends and she was only there because she was Parvati's twin sister who unfortunately had to be put up with. It only felt like that sometimes, and it wasn't because they didn't like her: it was just that Pansy and Parvati were far more outgoing than she would ever be.

She remembers their long discussions about which House they would end up in when they finally got to Hogwarts. Parvati and Pansy were quite convinced that they would all end up in Slytherin together and become the queens of the House. Padma wasn't so sure; Parvati rather lacked Pansy's ability to charm adults, and Padma knew for a fact that she wouldn't be in the same House as either of them because she was just too shy. Slytherin for Pansy, yes, but maybe Gryffindor for her sister. And where for herself? Hufflepuff? She didn't know.

The first train ride to Hogwarts is probably the most nerve-wracking experience she has ever had. Her sister and Pansy don't seem at all concerned. Neither did Daphne Greengrass or Lilith Moon or Susan Bones (all old friends and purebloods, of course). They all know, just know, that they're going into Slytherin. But then Susan catches her eye and Padma realises that she's not the only one who's worked out that she lacks the confidence to get into the House where they all want to end up.

The Sorting proves her right. Susan Bones ends up in Hufflepuff, much to the shock of a number of the girls. Padma is not surprised though – if shy little Susan had been sent to Slytherin they would have eaten her alive.

The others all end up where expected – Slytherin after Slytherin after Slytherin. When Pansy is finally Sorted Parvati is one of the people clapping the loudest, as she's certain that it won't be long before she joins her friend there and all will be well again.

Then it's Padma's turn. She bites her lip and wonders whether she'll be joining Susan in Hufflepuff, but it doesn't taken long for the Hat to shout out 'Ravenclaw'. She feels her heart stop. It isn't a surprise, really, but she doesn't know any of the Ravenclaws, not one of them. She catches Pansy staring at her, annoyed, but then she turns her attention back to the Sorting, back to her sister, who is looking scared for the first time that Padma can recall.

The Sorting Hat takes longer with Parvati than it did with Padma, but soon enough the word 'Gryffindor' is shouted for the whole hall to hear. Padma is not as surprised as she might have been, as she's always wondered whether Gryffindor would fit her sister better than Slytherin. Parvati, however, looks horrified, knowing full well that the rest of her school life will be spent having to make friends with people their parents will never approve of. Pansy's face is the worst thing though. She'd looked annoyed at Padma but now, with Parvati, she looked as though she was about to burst out crying. Her closest friend had just been taken away and there was nothing she could do about it.

They were friends before Hogwarts. Now the three of them hardly speak at all.