The Hummingbird and the Flower
The welcoming feast that proceeded after my sorting felt like the scenery I passed on my way to Hogwarts: blurred and nondescript. Yes, I talked to a few upper years as well as other newly-sorted Slytherins, yet I couldn't tell you what I said as I forgot. I recalled faces but no names. The food was chewed and swallowed, but I couldn't remember what it tasted like. Yet there was one thing I did remember.
I was almost sorted into Hufflepuff. And I was aghast. Appalled. Angry. Ashamed.
I begged the Sorting Hat to put me in Slytherin–even Ravenclaw or, I must have been crazy, Gryffindor–so long as I wasn't forced to wear yellow and act like someone without a backbone or an independent thought. Or be surrounded by people like that.
Eventually, painstakingly, it put me in Slytherin.
And, even though not a single soul would ever know I was almost put in the lowliest house of Hogwarts, it made me think. Why would I be considered for Hufflepuff? The Hat droned on about loyalty and friendship, but who was I loyal to? Who was I truly a good friend to?
I thought, but there wasn't anyone I could think of that I would put myself out there for. Hufflepuffs prided themselves in acquiring large numbers of supposed friends and protecting each other, much like Gryffindors, and I didn't fit that definition at all.
Pansy was one of my few friends–arguably my only friend–but she certainly wasn't one I would sacrifice my own happiness for.
The only person who I ever felt intensely for was the man from last summer–Harry.
And that was only one. He wasn't my friend, even, just a man I felt for. Harry, though, had power and a beauty like I had never seen. I believed I would do anything for him.
And that was a shallow thought. And I didn't care. Just because someone was attractive didn't mean they deserved loyalty, but, in my mind, that was what mattered to me. I didn't sympathize with people for just existing. I used them as a means to my ends. I certainly used Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. I only paid attention to them when adults were around, and that was barely.
It was all an act.
If anything, my fierce ties to Harry should have made the Hat immediately put me in Slytherin.
Maybe, though, it wanted to put me in Hufflepuff for that very reason. Because it made me weak; a coward. Wanting Harry, even though he wasn't human, made me weak.
But weren't all eleven year old children dependent on someone? Weren't they all submissive to a parent or authority head?
I knew Harry was bigger in greatness than I could ever hope for, with his glowing skin, bright eyes, breezy hair. . .
And I would stay that way, I knew. Harry was a magical creature and he knew about me. I would see him in a few years, like he promised. At least, it felt like a promise. He had looked at me a moment before he mentioned his plan to return.
The area right beneath my sternum always felt strained when I thought about him, and I had the crazy urge to laugh for no apparent reason.
I wished to talk to him, but I knew I would have to wait. Unless. . .
After I heard my new dorm mates, whose names I had already forgotten, fall asleep, I got up and sat down at my desk, a quill and parchment in hand.
It took me a while to just get words down on the paper. I wasn't quite sure what to write. Instead, much of my parchment was adorned with semi-accurate drawings of Harry. I stashed those away in my trunk to ponder later and continued on.
After rereading the letter I had written, I decided that perhaps I really was a petty rodent hiding in a serpent's lair.
It was a bit desperate, but I didn't toss it. Instead, by the end of the week, I found out where the Owlery was located from an older Slytherin called Montague, and sent my letter out by tying it to my brawny eagle owl, Ornith.
I whispered to Ornith who to take it to before I lost my nerve and snatched back the letter.
But that would just prove how Hufflepuff I could be, and I wouldn't take back the letter I intended to send to Harry.
On the other hand, putting myself out there could be the biggest mistake of my life and rather foolish and Gryffindor.
In the end, though, I ultimately didn't get the chance to decide whether I'd rather be an idiot or a weak but smarter idiot, as Ornith had flown off and was a speck in the sky.
And life at school went on as I tried to forget about my identity crisis.
I picked up the wrapped gift. It was a box that had some weight to it, and it was about the size of my Transfiguration textbook, which was a few thousand pages thick.
I glanced up at my parents, who sat, dressed and groomed, on two of the stiff chairs by the enormous fireplace that was adorned with green flames. The flickering fire was the only light source in the room, as there were no windows or candles lit. They each had a glass of champagne in their hands, despite the early hour, and they didn't notice me.
It was Christmas morning. My parents thought I was still asleep. There was no need to alert them of my presence, for it would warrant unwanted queries as to the gift in my arms. I didn't breathe as I left the room, my pale hands clenching the present safely to my breast. When I was sure they wouldn't hear my footsteps, I sprinted the rest of the way to my room, light on my feet just in case.
I pressed on my bedroom door until I heard it click, then locked it. There was no way I was risking a rogue House Elf to witness this gift.
Because it was from Harry.
I wasn't sure exactly how I knew, but I knew. It was wrapped in plain, brown cardboard-like paper, and there was no bow. No card. No name.
But, although an onlooker could call it plain, it breathed with power. Not power in the sense that what was wrapped inside was powerful, but power in who touched it–who created it. For surely Harry created this gift. A delicious glow seemed to pour out of it in big gulps, and it was all I could to stop myself from burying my face in the brown wrappings and holding on forever–or at least until my parents found and stopped me.
Harry was my mate, whatever that meant exactly; he declared it to my father and to Pansy and to me. I had no idea what creature he was, but it didn't matter because I accepted him for whatever he was. Just knowing he was mine was enough for now. And this was the first contact he made with me since I sent my letter back in September.
I was ecstatic. I couldn't wipe the grin off my face. I sat on the edge of my silk sheets laying the present in my lap.
I carefully peeled the wrapping paper back at the seams, careful not to rip any of it. After I finished with the paper, I carefully folded it and lay it aside. Within the paper was a box that I was just as careful opening.
I glanced inside to find a piece of parchment covering a strange device. It was small and had a bell of some sort sticking out from it while a circular disc lay beneath it. I picked up the parchment to read Harry's messy scrawl. I smiled even wider when I realized I now knew what his handwriting looked like. The note read:
Tap phonograph with wand.
Concerto in G. Vivaldi.
A piece of me for you.
I glanced back at the device, realizing this must be the phonograph. Glancing around me, I finally located my wand on my bedside table. I replaced my wand with the phonograph. I tapped the phonograph, still in the box.
I jumped as it grew bigger, my wand pointed out. The box disappeared as unassumingly as Harry had last summer. A needle dropped to scrape against the black disc. I jumped again as it started playing music.
I leaned forward leaning my ear towards the device. I realized the music was coming out of the bell. I set my wand down, feeling foolish and a bit ashamed. My mate would never send me a dangerous gift.
I glanced down at the paper. Concerto in G must be the song that played. It was fast and joyful and made me feel content.
A piece of me for you. I grinned and lay back on my bed, closing my eyes. I was sure he also meant: Here's a clue as to who I am.
My mate was sly and liked music. Fast music. With lots of dancing. What creatures were sly and liked to dance?
A vampire, for sure, was sly. They needed to be to lure humans in to feed. But a dancer? That was laughable. Vampires were dark creatures, and generally creatures of light liked music.
So what creatures liked music?
Veela did. Veela loved music and parties. But Veela also wore their hearts on their sleeves. They would declare themselves Veela before thinking to hide it as a game. My mate liked to play. He was mischievous.
What was my mate?
I sighed, deciding to think on it later; perhaps when Harry sent me one more clue, perhaps as a birthday present.
I groaned a little when I realized my birthday was a whole six months away, before letting the music blanket over me, blocking out my thoughts like water in my ears.
You can YouTube "Concerto in G Marie" and the first few results should provide you with the song in case you're curious. It's from Marie Antoinette.
As always, I'd love some feedback!