The Harry Potter Universe belongs to J.K. Rowling.
"Um, does he strike anyone else as a bit — mad?" asked Rose as the Headmaster sat down on his golden throne.
"Mad?" asked an older red-head a few seats down. By the Prefect's badge and his resemblance to Ron, she guessed it was his older brother Percy. "He's a bloody genius is what he is. Best Wizard in the world."
"They say the line between genius and insanity is fairly thin," commented Hermione.
Percy chuckled, "Well, he might be a bit mad." Percy held his finger about a centimeter from his thumb. Behind him one of the Weasley Twins spread his arms wide, while the other made circles around his ear, the common hand signal for 'crazy'.
Rose chuckled, and when percy turned to look at his troublemaking brothers, then quickly turned back to the table as if nothing had happened, though their dark skinned friend was snickering.
"Potatoes Dor?" asked Ron.
"What?" Rose asked, before realizing that during her conversation with the eldest Weasley at Hogwarts the empty table had been filled with food. "Oh," she exclaimed softly.
"I do hope they have healthier fare during the rest of the year," commented Hermione as she spooned some roast vegetables onto her own golden plate.
"Healthier?" asked Ron through a mouthful of gravy covered roast pork.
Rose looked down at the dollop of mashed potatoes Ron had left on her plate, shrugged, and added a piece of chicken and some vegetables as well. Across the table Neville was eating conservatively as well, not nearly as voraciously as Ron next to her.
"I mean, at least it's not fried, but where are the fresh vegetables? It's September, we should have something better than tubers and sweet corn. Where's the salad? Tomatoes? Beans?"
Rose shrugged and took a bite of her meal. It was good, not quite the best roast chicken she'd ever had, since while the meat was tender and juicy it, well, tasted like chicken. To a girl that had grown up with Indian take away at least once a week, traditional British flavors were bland.
"Where'd they get it fresh? Mum always said that tomatoes were only good for a few weeks, and I don't think that extends into September," commented Ron. He looked to Neville, "Nev, you're into herbology, what's your take?"
"With a good greenhouse you can probably get them earlier or later," noted Neville, a look of contemplation on his pudgy face.
Hermione looked confused, "But, you can just import them."
"Import? From where? Even Spain isn't that much better of a growing season," noted Neville.
"I think mum gets her winter tomatoes from South America," said Hermione.
"South America?" asked Ron, "You can't take a portkey that far, and it'd take forever on a broom."
"It's called a boat Ronald," lectured Hermione.
As her new friends discussed the differences between muggle and magical international trade, with neither party being really educated in the specifics, Rose instead distracted herself by looking around the wondrous Great Hall. Along the wall that held the main doors into the Entrance Hall were four gigantic hour glasses, the tops of which held colored gems, and were decorated with emblems of each of the four houses. The one decorated with the Gryffindor Lion held red gems, Rose didn't want to hazard a guess on how valuable the gems were, and therefore what type they were. The Hufflepuff Badger decorated hour glass held yellow gems, the Ravenclaw Eagle festooned the one holding the blue gems, and the Snake of Slytherin adorned the vessel of green gems. Rose surmised that that was how the House Points that Professor McGonagall had mentioned were tallied, though Rose could only guess the broad option of "magic" for how it all worked.
her gaze then travelled down the length of the four House Tables, where it appeared that generally, as expected, the students sat separated by age, though similar clustering like the three groups of Gryffindor first years was evident. She noticed that Draco Malfoy and his two dim witted friends were sitting with a pair of girls, while the other first year Slytherins, another pair of girls and a pair of boys, were clustered a few seats down. She guessed that if she wanted to have friends in Slytherin, the four that didn't sit with Draco would be her best bet.
Her visual tour of the Great Hall culminated on her examination of the Staff Table. Thirteen people sat at the table, with the Headmaster in the center, the half-giant Hagrid at one end, and Professor Snape at the other.
"Ow!" exclaimed Rose, reaching up to sooth the sudden sharp pain that seared from the scar on her forehead.
"What's wrong?" asked Ron, his increasingly vocal argument with Hermione forgotten.
Rose shook her head, "It's nothing, I just had a sudden pain as I was looking up at the Professors."
Ron turned to look at the Staff Table, and saw Professor Snape staring intently towards him in return, "Must have been Snape."
"It's Professor Snape," corrected Hermione.
Rose shook her head, "No, I don't think so. He's the one who came to the Dursleys and told me about magic and how to get to Diagon Alley. He was friends with my mum when they came to Hogwarts, why'd he do anything to hurt me?"
"Professor Quirrel then?" asked Hermione. "He seems pretty harmless though. I heard his stuttering when we were waiting to be Sorted."
"Could be," mused Rose, rubbing her forehead. The scar didn't hurt, not anymore, but it had, and it never had before.
"What did you mean Professor Snape told you about magic?" asked Ron.
"Well, I was raised by my aunt and uncle, like I told you earlier. Although my mum was a witch, my aunt's a muggle through and through. Uncle Vernon works for a drill company," explained Rose.
"Oh, Professor McGonagall came out and told my parents about magic when I got my letter," offered Hermione.
"You mean you didn't know about magic?" asked Ron.
"Well, I knew about magic, but only the stories my Aunt told me. She and mum didn't exactly get along, but she tried to do better with me. She told me that she pushed away my mum because she was jealous. That's why she made sure that Dudley and me grew up as friends, and that he knew that I was born magical, that it wasn't something that either of us could change," answered Rose. "I was lucky that I had an explanation for my accidental magic," she nodded to Hermione, "unlike you I'm sure."
Hermione nodded, "Yeah, mum and dad were relieved when Professor McGonagall offered and say explanation for why odd things kept happening around me."
"But, since Aunt Petunia didn't go to Hogwarts, and she wasn't raised in the magical world, she couldn't give me much more of an explanation that 'It's magic'. That's why I asked for someone to come out to explain it to me, and how to get to Diagon Alley, when I got my acceptance letter, that's when I met Professor Snape, though Aunt Petunia called him Severus, I think that's his first name."
"Wow, you know Snape's first name?" asked Ron in amazement.
"Professor Snape," corrected Rose.
"It must be nice to be famous enough to have a Professor come out and explain things to you," said Ron jealously.
"Ron, Professor McGonagall came out and explained magic to me," Hermione pointed out.
"Yeah, but you're a muggleborn, you couldn't know about magic," countered Ron. "She's the Girl-Who-Lived. She's the last of the Potters. Famous and Rich." He turned to Rose, "You're so lucky."
"Ron, I'd give up both for the chance to have my parents back," countered Rose softly. "I love my Aunt Petunia, and Dudley. Uncle Vernon's nice enough, but to have my parents back? I'd give up everything, all the galleons in my vault, all the fame and fortune in the world to have just a day with my parents." She sniffed back a tear, "You're the lucky one Ron. You've got a huge family, and you grew up loved by both your parents. In my opinion, you're the lucky one."
At that Ron got quiet, as did Hermione. Neville hadn't said much of anything since Ron and Hermione had started their discussion about tomatoes.
"You are lucky, Ron," said Neville softly, breaking his silence. "I'm with Rose on this one. I'd give up anything for just one day with my mum and dad."
The rest of dinner was a subdued affair among the four friends, and even the pronouncement of "a very painful death" to those that examined the third floor corridor did not break their solemnity. It was only on the trip from the Great Hall to Gryffindor Tower that their spirits were raised. Between the wonder of the moving, and speaking, paintings for the muggle-raised Rose and Hermione, to the hijinks of Peeves the Polterguist, by the time the first years, lead by Ron's older brother, and fifth year prefect, Percy, arrived at the Fat Lady's portrait outside of Gryffindor Tower, the four friends were almost as excited as the other six first years.
"Password?" asked the Fat Lady from inside her frame.
"Caput Draconis," answered Percy.
The portrait of the Fat Lady swung aside, revealing a round hole. After climbing through the hole — Ron helping Neville over the threshold to the barely restrained giggling of Hermione and Rose — Percy lead them into the Gryffindor Common Room.
The Common Room was round, with lots of comfortable armchairs and sofas, study tables with chairs, and a small library (though Rose guessed that not only did the Ravenclaws have a larger library, but it was probably used more often). The room was decorated in subdued hues of scarlet and gold, with accents of shades of grey and darkly stained wood.
"Girls, we're up here," said Rebekka Long, Percy's female counterpart, leading the girls to a stairway on the left.
"Guys, over here," instructed Percy, leading Ron, Neville, Dean, and Seamus up to their dormitory.
"Now, we don't have to be as careful about the guys as you'd think, since they're not allowed up these stairs. If they tried, they'd just slide right down," explained Rebekka as they climbed the stairs. They passed six landings before arriving at the top of spiral stairs, "This is your room, ladies. And yes, it is at the top of the tower. Seventh years have the level right above the common room, while us fifth years, are two floors above them. As you get older and advance through your time here at Hogwarts your dorm room will move slowly down the tower."
She then pushed open the door, revealing a curved room with six four-posted beds decorated with deep red, velvet curtains with gold trim, "Your trunks have already been moved up. If you don't like who you're next to, try to switch, but do it quietly. Most of the older girls are already asleep, or at least in their beds, and you've got an early start in the morning. Lucky sods, you get a Saturday as your first full day at Hogwarts," Rebekka said with a chuckle. She then left the half-dozen girls to sort themselves out and headed down to her own dorm room.
"We're first," said the pair of Lavender and Parvati, pushing past the other girls and into the room. They quickly found their trunks, and just as quickly moved them from where they were to the pair of beds at the far end of the room. Rose noticed that it was her and Hermione's trunks that had been moved out of the way.
"You want near the door or near them?" asked Rose of the two other first year girls.
"I'm fine next to them," said Sally-Anne, slipping past the other three girls and pulling her trunk one bed over to be next to Parvati's bed.
"I'm fine either way," offered Georgina. "Oh, and it's Georgina, Georgina Smith." She offered her hand in introduction to Rose.
"Rose Potter," she said, shaking Georgina's hand.
"Of course," the other girl said with a smile. "I prefer Sally, my middle name, but since we've already got another Sally, I guess I can go by Georgina."
"How about just Gina?" offered Hermione.
With a nod the girl agreed, "Nice, not what I'm used to, but it's much better than my full name. Dad promised to name his first born after granddad, but he wasn't expected a girl, nor for the promise to be magically binding, so I'm stuck with it. But I guess I can live with Gina. It'll cut down on the confusion at least."
"Nice to meet you Gina," Rose smiled. She then looked to Hermione, "You want right next to the door, or to separate the Sallys?"
Hermione bit her lower lip in thought, then glanced over and noticed that Gina's trunk was already at the base of the bed next to the door, "Well, since her trunk's already here, might as well leave it."
Gina nodded to Hermione and Rose, and then set to readying herself for bed.
Rose, since her trunk had been moderately closer to the bed next to Sally-Anne, and Hermione's slightly closer to the bed next to Gina, made her way to her home for the next ten months. It didn't look all that bad, certainly at least as comfortable as the one she had back at the Dursleys, and probably better.
Just before she wondered where she could get the rest of the way ready for bed, she noticed that Lavender had not just taken the bed farthest from the door, but also the closest to the bathroom. After divesting herself of most of her uniform, and grabbing her bathrobe, pajamas, and toiletry kit, Rose got ready for bed.
After brushing both her hair and her teeth (though Gina had mentioned that there was a charm for both, the girl didn't know either), Rose, clad in just her bathrobe and pajamas, returned to her new bed, tossing her backpack and uniform into the top of her trunk, "I'll leave it for the morning to sort out," she told herself.
As she settled in, leaving her bathrobe on the top of her trunk, the murmurs of sleepy conversation filled the room.
"What's it like to be famous?" asked Sally-Anne of Rose, leaning on her elbow to talk across the space between them.
Rose shrugged, but it was hard to tell in the darkness, "It really hasn't hit me yet, just the one day in Diagon Alley and since getting on the Express."
"You mean you didn't grow up knowing you were famous?" the brunette asked.
Rose shook her head, not that the other girl could see, "No, though I did know that my mum and dad had been killed saving my life, i didn't know I was famous until stepping into the Alley. Didn't know I was rich either," she added with a chuckle.
"Wow," Sally-Anne sighed in amazement. "That must be pretty wonderful, well, aside from the whole losing your parents part. Sort of like Cinderella, only without the ugly step-sisters. You don't have ugly step-sisters, do you?"
Rose chuckled, "No, just a cousin, and he's not ugly, at least, I don't think so. He's my cousin, what do I care what he looks like?" The pair of them giggled before Rose continued, "So, are your muggle born or just muggle raised?"
"Muggle born," answered Sally-Anne. "Mum's a secretary, and Dad's a cellist for the BBC. I was actually going to go to the Royal Ballet School, but when Professor McGonagall said that Hogwarts was the best school of witchcraft in Europe, mum sort of insisted. She knew I always dreamed of being a prima ballerina, but she said that an opportunity like this doesn't come but once in your life. I might have made an excellent dancer with training and hard work, but who didn't grow up wishing to be able to do magic?"
Rose chuckled, "Well, Aunt Petunia always told me I was going to be a witch. Oh," she paused in surprise.
"What?" asked Sally-Anne.
"I need to remember to send my Aunt a letter about my Sorting," Rose replied. "I was going to do it tonight, but it's so late…"
"Yeah, best to do it in the morning," Sally-Anne said with a yawn. "'Night Rose.
"'Night Sally-Anne," said Rose.
"'Night Rose," said Hermione, who had been talking to Gina while Rose had talked with Sally-Anne.
"'Night Hermione," Rose reciprocated. "Good Night Gina, you too Parvati and Lavender."
"Go to sleep," came the half-asleep response from the end of the room, sending the four girls who were awake into a fit of giggles.
Eventually sleep took Rose. Evening came, and morning followed, Rose's first day at Hogwarts.
Author's Note: Okay, so, another short chapter, but, I can finally start the actual schooling. Quirrel is going to be suspected early, and Snape is going to be trusted, at least by Rose (it'll take more time for Ron and Neville to trust Snape, and Hermione already respects him for being a Professor, so she's halfway there). I'll be working in Snape's dilemma: Rose has to die for Tom Riddle to be destroyed (since she's a horcrux), but he not only owes a life debt to Rose (through James), but he betrayed the woman he loved (by telling half of the prophesy to Voldemort), and now he has to live with her near double (which should be a bit easier than he dealt with James' doppleganger of Harry in canon).
Recommendation: "The Best Revenge" (ID# 4912291) and "Time of the Basilisk" (ID# 5843959) from Arsinoe de Blassenville, inspiration for this portrayal of Sally-Anne Perks (who most authors put into Hufflepuff, even though there's more empty spots in Gryffindor), as well as some of the future portrayal of Snape (though I'll also be borrowing from many of the other "nicer Snape" stories out there).