Same Difference

"Oh Par, we've got to end up in Gryffindor together, we've just got to," said Padma, taking her twin pleadingly by the hand. Parvati didn't reply, and the identical, dark-haired twins fell silent, listening to the muffled, indistinct bumping of the Hogwarts Express as it rolled over the train tracks below. After a few awkward seconds, Padma tried again. "Par, I promise you, it's genetic. People from the same families always end up in the same House, so we'll be together, don't you worry."

Only a month ago, they had gotten their Hogwarts letters, and though Parvati and Padma had both been expecting them, it didn't mean they weren't immensely excited for what was to come. They had already gotten identical supplies at Diagon Alley, and Padma had even used the little pocket money she had left to buy both of them Gryffindor ties and scarves, proceeding to stuff one of each into Parvati's robes. Parvati protested that there was no need to waste money on Gryffindor things when they hadn't even been Sorted yet, but Padma stopped her with a noncommittal wave and a confident air about her. "Honestly," she told her in a firm tone, "you're always going on about not counting your owls before they arrive, but I'm sure of it, Par. We'll end up in Gryffindor, you'll see."

Despite the fact that Parvati was older than her sister (albeit only by a few minutes), she had always been the quieter one. Perhaps it was because they were always together, and Padma constantly overshadowed her with her intelligence. They had gone to a Muggle primary school, as most magical children did before attending a wizarding one such as Hogwarts, and Padma had always done better than Parvati in any task they were put to. Parvati had stopped complaining long ago about the never-ending attention and praise her sister got, and simply learnt to treat it as a consequence for having an intelligent sister. But sometimes, when Parvati was alone or lying awake at night, she would wonder what it would have been like if she didn't have a twin by her side.

Parvati emerged from her reverie and watched Padma's head loll on her shoulder as she slept. Parvati smiled and looked away, proceeding to stare out of the window and watch the hills roll past, wondering just what was going to happen next. She really did want to get into Gryffindor, just like her sister, but it wasn't like she was ever going to have the opportunity to tell her. Padma didn't care much for Parvati's thoughts, being the younger sister who always got what she wanted, and never let her twin fully voice her opinions.

Time passed quickly after the train stopped. They disembarked and joined the other first-years, who were then escorted by Hagrid to the Lake, where they oohed and aahed in wonder as the magnificent castle of Hogwarts came into view. A small pudgy boy called Neville found his pet toad as they entered the castle, and Parvati caught his eye, giving him a friendly smile. The boy started slightly, but after a moment of thought, decided to return it, looking rather timid as he did so.

Standing outside the Great Hall, they waited as the severe-looking woman called McGoogles (or something of the sort, anyway) swept out of the corridor. After a few tense moments of waiting in anticipation, the large oak doors to the Great Hall opened, and Parvati gasped at the sight. Padma grabbed her hand and pointed with the other. "Look!" Parvati looked up and gazed at the twinkling stars on the ceiling, then turned her head and took in the long tables with coloured banners hanging over them. "It's bewitched to look like the sky outside. I read about it in Hogwarts, A History," she saw a girl with exceedingly ugly teeth and very bushy hair say to the girl next to her. Padma was about to make another comment, but just then, the rest of the first-years began to walk forward, and the two obliged and followed suit.

They lined up next to the long teacher's table, all anxiously fidgeting as the rest of the school swiveled round to stare at them. Parvati had the distinct impression that the Slytherins didn't look like a friendly lot, but decided it was merely her own imagination. Professor McGonagall (as Parvati later discovered her real name to be) placed a small stool onto the platform, then a very old, pointed brown hat on top of it. Parvati knew that this was the Sorting Hat, but she hadn't expected it to be quite this old and frayed. She looked around and noticed that all eyes were on the hat, almost like everyone was expecting it to do something. She raised an eyebrow and watched.

For a moment, the hat was still, until Parvati noticed an almost imperceptible twitch. Her eyes widened. The Hat could move! Then it suddenly burst into song, and Parvati could only stare in astonishment as it sang through what she had assumed to be a rip in the Hat's brim.

The hall burst into claps and cheers when it was finished, and as they did, Parvati turned to her twin to find her grinning back. This is it, she saw Padma mouth. She tried to look excited and confident, hoping it looked as convincing as she wanted it to be. Meanwhile, Professor McGonagall quickly and efficiently progressed down the list, as student after student tried on the Sorting Hat and went to their respective tables. Parvati didn't like how loud the Sorting Hat was when it proclaimed the chosen House of the student, but she supposed it was all for show.

As Professor McGonagall reached 'MacDougal, Morag', Parvati began to rub the cloth of her robes between her thumb and forefinger, as she always did when she was nervous. She saw that Padma had a confident smile, however tight it seemed. She was obviously trying to hide her own anxiety. Feeling slightly abashed, Parvati attempted to do the same.

At last, Professor McGonagall looked up and said in a clear voice, "Patil, Padma." Padma looked behind and glanced at Parvati, who gave her an encouraging smile. She nodded stiffly and stepped up onto the platform, taking the hat and stuffing it onto her head. Parvati watched with bated breath, although she didn't know why, because the hat would obviously put her twin in the house she wanted…

Padma's Sorting took a lot longer than Parvati had expected. A few minutes passed. Parvati wanted to look around to see if there was a clock, just to see exactly how much time had gone by, but she couldn't tear her eyes away from her twin, who was becoming increasingly restless, mumbling under her breath, her chest rising and falling rapidly as she grew more agitated. She watched as Padma's fingers clenched at the edge of the chair, and Parvati could make out her words, as she and her twin shared a dash of twin telepathy like most did, "Gryffindor… Gryffindor… Gryffindor…"

The Hat bellowed its final decision.

Parvati gasped so loudly, the students around her stopped cheering for a moment to look at her. She hadn't noticed that her hands had been clapped over her mouth, eyes wide and staring at her twin, who had taken the hat off her head with an unreadable expression. The Ravenclaws clapped and cheered, applauding the new addition to their House, but Padma's stony features were subdued as she sat at the edge of the table, refusing to show any emotion.

"Patil, Parvati."

She tried to catch Padma's eye, hoping she would give a hint of how she currently felt, but could glean nothing from the lack of facial expression her twin was currently displaying. She tried mouthing her name, hoping she would take the hint and look at her, even if it was just a fleeting glance, but Padma stonily ignored her silent cries.

"Patil, Parvati," said McGonagall severely, her voice raised a notch higher. Parvati snapped her head towards her. In her turmoil, she had forgotten that she was the next person to be Sorted. She took a deep breath and stepped onto the platform, suddenly aware of the multitude of eyes focused upon her as her shoes clicked softly on the wooden floorboards. She took a deep breath and sat down, taking the hat and placing it gingerly on her head, as if she were afraid of tearing it; it was a very old hat, after all. It slid over her eyes, but her nose managed to keep it from falling over her face entirely.

"Ah. I assume that was your twin just a moment ago?" said a low voice in her ear. Parvati jumped; the Hat's voice was rather unnerving.

Yes, she thought. Even in her head, she sounded terrified.

"Very… interesting," the Hat drawled. Parvati could tell that he was speaking slowly on purpose, just to unsettle her further. "You have quite a mind, I can see, oh yes, I can see everything in here…" Parvati bit her lip, flustered.

"Well," continued the Hat, "you're not quite cunning or ambitious enough to be a Slytherin… and I can see you're relieved by that," he added, as Parvati gave a long sigh, "and you're not quite Hufflepuff, either…now that it's narrowed down to two Houses – "

Put me in Ravenclaw with my sister, thought Parvati desperately. Please.

"But you want to be a Gryffindor, do you now?"

Parvati remained silent, attempting to clear all the thoughts from her head as she did so. She didn't know how she was supposed to answer such a question. Was the Hat testing her?

"Oh yes. You might not know it, but you're a Gryffindor at heart, you are…"

No –

"You definitely have the courage, oh yes, there's a great deal of that in this head of yours – "

Please, I beg you –

"Then I suppose I must put you in – "

She'll kill me –

"GRYFFINDOR!"

Parvati gulped and took the Hat off, looking towards the Gryffindor table, where people were already cheering for her and beckoning her to come to their table.

Parvati didn't know what to think. Her senses seemed to have gone numb. McGonagall was already calling out the next name, but she couldn't hear her; Parvati glanced over at her sister, but as soon as their eyes met, Padma looked away. The Gryffindors were standing up now, some were even calling her name, the noise slowly rising to a hearty chant.

Parvati watched in stunned silence as Padma took out the Gryffindor scarf she had bought for herself. She saw Padma's mouth twist, her eyes narrow, and in one quick, fluid motion, her twin had thrown the scarf under the table, stamping on it with both feet until it had been torn to shreds, the red and gold now reduced to unrecognizable scraps of tattered wool. Lifting her head high, Padma looked at her twin once more. As she stared into those dark, defiant eyes, which were almost identical to hers, yet different all at once, Parvati knew she wasn't going to forget this for a long time.

Author's Note:

I know I haven't posted in quite a while, but I got this idea today in Geography. (As you can see, I'm very attentive when I'm at school. Aren't I the perfect student?)

After hours of copious research on Harry Potter Wiki and perusing of the books (because I insist on sticking to canon), I managed to draw up a plan and begin the story. This is going to be chaptered, but I don't plan for it to be extremely long. Hope you enjoyed it, please R&R if you did!