Hugo walked back to his table and noticed Eliana was the only one still quiet. He sat in front of her and smiled, not knowing what to say. Hugo was still in shock about his Sorting and felt very tired. Seeing all his relatives together made him feel lonely and he regretted his choice; he wanted to be with them. He didn’t want to be different anymore; it felt like a huge mistake. Why did the hat let him decide? He was only eleven, for Merlin’s sake; much too young to make such a life changing decision on his own!
Hugo felt a pressure in his chest and the back of his eyes began to burn. He was about to get up to find a private place where he could let the tears run free when he saw a Prefect walk toward his group of first year.
“Hi little ones, I’m Keen O’Brien, fifth year Prefect along with Clarica Devonly. We will guide you to our house and get settled for a good night sleep in order to start the year in good shape tomorrow. Coming?” the boy asked. He was tall, slim and had a lot of pimples. His straight black hair couldn’t hide his affliction, even though it fell over his blue eyes. The other Prefect, Clarica, was a chubby girl wearing glasses over her orange eyes. Hugo stared a little; he had never seen someone with eyes like that. She smiled at him when she was him looking and explained as she led the way through the castle.
“I come from a line of gypsy. Orange eyes like mine are not so uncommon for us, it’s the sign of a blessing; means I possess a healing power.”
“Like a Healer?” Gwen asked.
“Not really; I don’t need potions or spells, I can cure small injuries or illnesses with my touch and willpower.”
“Woah, cool gift,” Liam breathed, impressed.
“It is, but I try not to show off too much,” she winked at the boy.
While they had been talking, Hugo hadn’t really noticed where they were going. They were, at the moment, climbing up a winding spiral staircase that was quite tight and it made it hard to walk more than two side by side. When they finally reached the top, Keen stopped and turned around to look at the seven first years. He smiled and showed them what should have been the entrance only, it was a wall. There were no knobs or windows or even paintings; there was only a bronze eagle that stood proudly. Hugo was a bit lost; he had been told that he would need to give a password to a painting but this house seemed to do things differently. Looking around as discreetly as possible, Hugo felt even stupider when he noticed that, apart from the muggle-born Eliana, all the others looked like they were in their element and already knew what to do. Malcolm even looked a bit bored when Keen began his speech.
“In order to get inside this house, you have to use your brains. You have not been Sorted here for nothing I suppose, so you should have little difficulty with this. See, you will be asked a question to which you must answer correctly in order for the door to open. You will have three chances and after that, if you cannot find the answer, the knocker you see here,” Keen pointed at the eagle who graciously bowed to the new students, “it’ll refuse to open the door for you. You will then have to wait for someone to get the right answer to go inside, clear?”
Hugo couldn’t believe it. A riddle. He had been told he would have to memorize a password, not risk looking like an idiot, waiting for someone to open the door for him if he couldn’t get the right answer! What was the hat playing at? This was NOT something he could do.
“I would like to come inside please,” Keen politely asked the eagle. Personally, Hugo thought he looked weird, talking to a knocker but apparently, he himself would look that weird for the seven years to come.
“What has roots that nobody sees and is taller than trees? Up, up it goes and yet it never grows.” The bronze eagle had a low, but feminine voice. Its posture clearly said it was a proud eagle and the way it looked at the Prefect stated a clear challenge. Keen smiled at the eagle and then turned to look at the students.
“Any of you know the answer?” he asked the first years. Hugo blushed although he had not been asked the question directly. He had an idea but he was way too scared of being wrong to give it a try. No, he would wait to be alone to try it the first time, that way it would be less humiliating if he got it wrong. The others seem to thing along the same lines because they all kept quiet.
“Don’t worry,” Clarica told them, walking forward. “It’s normal to be a bit anxious the first times, but you’ll see, it gets less weird every day, talking to a knocker.” There were a couple giggles and the eagle gave an angry cry.
“The answer is ‘A Mountain’,” Keen said, giving a disapproving look at her co-prefect.
“Exact Mr O’Brien, welcome back and congratulations on your nomination; you too Miss Devonly.” The eagle bowed and a door shaped hole swung open.
The first thing that flashed Hugo was how blue everything was. The tapestry, the chairs, the drapes, even the carpet. But the ensemble of different shades, going from clear to midnight blue, was very nice and it appeased Hugo’s worries a bit. The room was spacious and airy and even though there were at least 30 students in the room at the moment, the level of noise was very low and it was easy to walk around the place. As he looked up, Hugo gasped. The ceiling was high and in the shape of a dome. Stars of all sizes gleamed and created the only ambiance light the room needed. Since he had only heard and not seen the Gryffindor common room, Hugo couldn’t compare, but he could definitely say that he liked this room and would be happy to spend time here.
Seeing the sleepy looks on the first years’ face, Clarica showed them the way to their respective dormitory. Hugo followed the two other boys into yet, another swirly staircase. The three boys finally reached the seventh floor, panting from the number of stairs they had to climb and a bit dizzy from walking around the tower. Liam was the first one to walk into the room and the two others ran forward when they heard him gasp loudly.
The circular room looked unnaturally large. A fire roared in the center, surrounded by three four-poster beds with deep blue hangings. Each bed was positioned under a large window where the boys could sit because a small staircase went from the side of the bed to the cushioned mantle of the window. Under the stairs, an empty bookcase awaited for the boys to fill them with books of all sorts. Finally, each boy had a desk to work at.
“Woah, this is so much better than my sister told me!” Liam said, jumping on the middle bed where his things had been brought up.
“It’s bloody brilliant!” Malcolm shouted as he sat down at the left-sided desk. He turned to Hugo – who was climbing up to the windowsill of his own bed and asked; “Is that what the Gryffindor’s dormitory look like too?”
“I haven’t seen it myself but from what I heard, no, this is way more extravagant.”
“Well that’s at least one positive thing for you to have been sorted here right?” Liam asked. He went very red in the face and stuttered, “not that I think a room can replace a family but, you know?”
“Yeah, I guess,” Hugo simply answered. From his window, he had a good view of the forest but as it was dark, he could only see a small light he believed to be Hagrid’s hut. Hugo thought that yes, his dormitory was great but it would have been better if Oliver shared it with him. And if it was in the Gryffindor tower. He felt tears burning his eyelids but he didn’t want to cry in front of the two others; he would be good for seven years of teasing for sure! Breathing deeply to control himself, Hugo got down to fetch his pyjamas in his trunk. He found his Chudley Cannon pyjamas nicely folded on top of the trunk. As he grabbed them, he noticed a letter and his favourite plush puffskein. He glanced over at the two other boys who were doing the same thing as him and he quickly shoved the letter and the plush under the clear blue blanket before getting dressed. He wished the others goodnight and closed the hangings around his bed to read his letter alone, holding his puffskein tightly.
My dear Hugo,
Our sweet, quiet little man; how strange it will be not to have you around all the time anymore. Even though we know that you will be happy and have a good time at Hogwarts, we find it hard to let you go. The first days will be though Hugh, they always are, but you will make friends and settle in you classes and, eventually, forget you miss your home.
Be yourself Hugo and stick to your opinions and values. Choose your friends wisely and they will last a lifetime. You are a good person and I know you will do well in life; believe in yourself my son. Your dad and I love you and are so proud of you. It’s time for you to spread your wings and try yourself at life. You will make mistakes just like everyone else but don’t let that get you down. Pick yourself up and try again; it’s the only way to go forward and enjoy all the wonderful things life has in store for you.
We await impatiently your owl, telling us what house you are in and to let the worries out.
With love, Mum and Dad
The next morning, the three boys dressed up in their newly Ravenclawed uniforms, talking very little amongst themselves. When they got in the common room, they found the four girls already there and Keen, the Prefect, waiting on them.
“Ah boys, had a nice sleep I hope?” the Prefect asked them joyously when they joined the group. “Well, what do you say I walk you to the Great Hall for breakfast?”
The Great Hall was already bussing with voices when they got the Ravenclaw table. Hugo looked over at the Gryffindor table but he didn’t see any redheads so he picked a toast and began eating with the others.
“Is it just me or the food just won’t go down this morning?” Gwen asked them. Looking at her a little closer, Hugo noticed her face was slightly green.
“Not just you,” a very white Jade answered, putting down her barely touched toast. “I think I might be a tad nervous about starting classes this morning.”
“Plus we ate like Hippogriffs yesterday night,” Malcolm added. The seven first years kept talking lightly until the very short professor Flitwick joined them.
“Hello to you all and welcome. I’m your Head of House and these are your schedules,” he said, passing them around. He had a high-pitched voice and white fluffy hair. He also had an air of great calm and a sweetness that made Hugo very comfortable. The redheaded boy felt this was a man he was going to like.
Hugo walked with the other first year through the castle, trying to find the Defence against the dark arts’ class. Back in the Great Hall, the Weasley relatives had come to the Ravenclaw table to inquire about Hugo’s night and wish him a good day. They had told the first years where the DA classroom was and Hugo had learned that his third class of the day, herbology, was going to be with the Gryffindors and so, he would be with Lily. His cousin had made him promise they would sit together and Hugo did not hesitate one second to accept.
They found the DA class and the Hufflepuff were already sitting in silence, two by two except for one boy who sat alone. Hugo waved at Oliver and Alana, who were sitting together, before looking back at the boy. He was sure he had seen him before and he suddenly recognised him to be the Macmillan boy. He couldn’t remember his first name though so he decided not to go and see him, thinking that it would make a lousy introduction. Their parents had gone to school together and fought side by side during the war so they had met on a couple occasions when the war veterans reunited. Hugo was pulled out of his thoughts by Liam who touched his arm.
“Wanna share a table?” the boy asked shyly with a slight blush growing on his neck.
“Yeah, ok,” Hugo stuttered, surprised. He was considering going to sit by the lonely Hufflepuff because he did not expect anyone asking him. The boy couldn’t believe how the simple fact of having someone wanting to be with him, made him happy. He sat next to Liam and smiled at him, looking in his dark brown eyes. Hugo was surprised to see that the boy seemed to share the same feeling of happiness he felt. Looking back at the Macmillan boy, Hugo saw him smiling broadly as Eliana sat next to him. Just then, the teacher walked in front of the class and gave a happy smile to the first years.
“Hello and welcome all of you to your first class at Hogwarts. I am professor Stebens and I am here to teach you techniques of defence against the dark arts.”
Truth be told, Hugo found professor Stebens’ class a bit boring. It was mostly talking and reading in the manual. The next class, Charms, was much more interesting in a lot of ways. First, professor Flitwick gave them a short welcoming speech and quickly gave them a colour changing charm to perform. Sitting between Gwen and Mal, Hugo couldn’t concentrate. Both kids were able to perform the spell after just a couple tries. As he looked around the classroom, Hugo noticed that only Eliana, the muggleborn, and himself couldn’t perform the charm. Hugo took a deep breath and looked intensely at the red sock Professor Flitwick had given him before. He tried to imagine it being blue and just as he was ready to cast the charm, a loud but very musical note rang in his ears, followed closely by a number of similar notes, although they seemed to shake a little. Hugo turned around but once again, he didn’t see anything that could have produced that sound. Professor Flitwick stood up on a chair next to Neela, showing her a better way to perform the charm, which she was trying. When the bell rang, Hugo hadn’t been able to perform the charm once. He gathered his books and followed his classmates to the Great Hall, where he founds the usual amount of noise; voices, laughter and random musical notes filing the air.
Hugo ate quietly, his head beginning to hurt a little. He was surrounded by his classmates and they were talking quite loudly. Mal, Gwen and Jade were complaining about the morning classes and how easy it had been. Neela and Liam were explaining to Eliana their previous education. Apparently, the five other Ravenclaw had all been at the same school; Rowena Elementary. This school prepared the young wizards and witches for Hogwarts, teaching them the theory of magic, the basic of potions and herbology and going through the theory of the first year classes at Hogwarts. Upon hearing that, Hugo felt worst. He had gone to a muggle school and so, had no preparation like the others. In his mind, there was no way to catch up to them or be up to their level; these five had been studying magic for the last 6 years when he, and Eliana too, had been studying maths and geography. Not for the first time today, Hugo wondered what he was doing in this House.
“Hugo!” Lily shouted when he arrived at the green house’s door. “About time you arrived, did you get lost?”
“No, I stopped by the library after lunch,” Hugo shrugged, taking a place next to his excited cousin. They didn’t have time to talk much after that because the teacher’s arrival caught their attention. Neville Longbottom was a good family friend. So good, he was actually the godfather of Al, Lily’s older brother.
Professor Longbottom welcomed them inside the greenhouse and asked them to settle around a big table where many weird plants were disposed. Hugo was very intrigued by a big purple flower that seemed to sniff around and squealed once in a while. After the formal welcoming speech and roll call, Professor Longbottom looked around the class with a big smile and apologised to them.
“I must start with a confession today; I am a bit too passionate about plants and I know it. I only wish to transfer some of that passion to you. I might get a bit intense sometimes but don’t you worry, it’s not about you, it’s my passion I cannot control!” All the students were laughing at the admission and Professor Longbottom waited for them to quiet down before going on.
“Before we start, I will ask you if anyone can name me this plant,” he said showing what looked like a long green tube that moved around. Hugo and Lily’s hands rose in the air as well as all of the Ravenclaws, minus Eliana. “Yes, Jade.”
“This is Devil Snare, Professor,” she answered, blushing, as Professor Longbottom nodded with a smile. “Excellent, 5 points to Ravenclaw. Ok, what about this one?”
This went on for about ten minutes before the table was clear. Hugo was surprised to find that he knew almost every single answer and answered more than half of the questions himself, earning 40 points to Ravenclaw. He was a bit pink but quite proud of himself. He had to admit thought that Neville had given him more than his share of herbology books over the years and the boy had read them thoroughly with great interest.
“These are the plants we are going to study this year. As you might have noticed, there were nineteen plants on the table, one for each of you, although it won’t really be this one. Actually, as a yearlong project, each of you will have to choose a different plant and grow it through the year. All of these plants have different needs and it will be your job to make sure the plant you choose is still alive at the end of the year. So, today, you will make you choice, prepare your pot as needed for the chosen plant and you will plant it. It will be your responsibility to make sure you provide the proper care for your plant and make a schedule if necessary. The plants will stay in a greenhouse where you can go whenever you want. So, since Hugo gave us such an amazing show earlier, I think he should be the first to choose his plant.” The rest of the students’ names were drawn from a hat and Hugo used this time to look through his book and learn more about the purple flower he had chosen and now knew to be an African Sniffling Violet.
By Thursday September 5th though, Hugo was in shock. Just days earlier the boy had been Sorted in this house where he didn’t feel he belonged but he accepted it. He wasn’t the kind of boy who had lots of social abilities; he’d always left that to Lily, but today, the situation he was in really hit him. It was now six o’clock at night and as he sat down in the common room to do his homework, Hugo realized he hadn’t said a word all day. His dorm mates had only given him a look that morning and so had the girls of their year. The little Rowena Elementary clique was tight together and they weren’t interested in including Hugo or Eliana. It had not bothered him yet because Hugo did not want to get closer to Malcolm, Gwen or even Jade but Liam and Neela looked nice enough. He suddenly wondered how Eliana was taking this; was she saddened by their attitude or did she accept it without question?
Hugo looked around the common room, searching for the dirty blond braids but Eliana, nor her braids, seemed to be there. The whole clique was playing cards in the corner but Eliana wasn’t with them. He was disappointed because for the first time in his life, Hugo would have willingly approached her, had she been there. As much as he hated getting sweaty hands at the simple thought of starting a conversation with her, he figured it would be better than not ushering a word until he went to bed. But things kept going that way and on Thursday September 5th, Hugo Weasley went to bed without wishing anyone good night; his first ever wordless day. The first year boy closed his eyes, wondering if this had only been the first day of seven long years of silence.
On Friday morning, a great barn owl stopped before Hugo’s pumpkin juice, holding out its leg so he could take the letter attached to it. Frowning, Hugo took it all the while trying to understand who was writing to him since he didn’t recognize this owl. As soon as he got the letter off, the owl flew off, leaving the boy to his questioning.
You are summoned to a family meeting on Friday the 6th at 8 o’clock.
Please be present in front of the library so you can be brought up to the
Secret meeting place.
Cordially, the Weasleys
Looking up to the Gryffindor table, Hugo noticed Lily had most likely received the same message. The small girl was reading a piece of parchment, looking slightly confused. When she was done, she looked up and found Hugo’s eyes. They both shrugged in confusion but all the while accepting their strange family ways.
At quarter to eight that night, Hugo left the common room to make his way to the library, still unsure what to expect. He’d try to get more information from his relatives but none of them was willing to cooperate. He had to admit that it was kind of exciting to not know what to expect; it was probably the happiest moment of his entire week.
“Hey Hugo!” Lily called out, running to reach him in the empty corridor.
“Hey Lil; why are you alone?”
“No one wanted to tell me what’s going on all they said was to follow the instruction,” she shrugged in exasperation. “Did you find anything out?”
“Nothing, I got the same answers as you did,” he answered as they reached the library. “It’s almost 8, someone should be here.”
“Freddy’s coming,” Lily pointed at the end of the corridor where an unusually serious Fred was indeed coming.
“Lily, Hugo,” the teenager said, keeping his serious expression, “I will ask you to follow me without asking any question; you will not get answers anyway.”
The two first years looked at each other but agreed to follow Fred in silence. The dark skinned boy led them through the castle, up to the seventh floor where they suddenly stopped, facing a painting of trolls dancing the ballet.
“Behind us is one of Hogwarts’ many secrets. It is called the Room of Requirement; a room that will equip itself to your needs and desire,” Fred said in a monotone voice. “I will ask you to think about getting to the family meeting while pacing in front of this wall.”
“You’re serious?” Lily asked him, suspicious that he might be playing some joke on them. Fred simply nodded and so, Hugo and Lily began their pacing. After walking past the wall three times, a door materialized itself in the previously blank wall.
“Told you,” Fred said, letting his mischievous personality come back up, “I can be serious too sometimes you know. Come on, get in.”
Walking in the room, Hugo and Lily saw that all of their cousins were already there, slumped around a nicely proportioned room filled with squishy armchairs arranged in a large circle. Three empty seats awaited the new comers; Fred took the one between James and Molly, while Lily and Hugo made their way to the two empty seats between Lucy and Dominique. In one look, Hugo noticed his cousins were sitting in order of their age.
“Congratulation to you both,” Dominique said, when they both sit down. “First to Lily for joining the family, and second to Hugo, for successfully hiding his true brilliantness from us for eleven years!” She added, making the room explode into laughter.
“Congrats also to Dominique for earning the Head Girl badge,” Louis said, smiling proudly at his older sister, “and to Molly and Fred for getting the Captains badges for the quidditch and duelling teams!”
“Congrats!” everyone shouted, applauding the many accomplishments that this new year brought to the Weasley family.
“Now, the real reason we brought you here today, Hugo and Lily is to induct you as true Weasleys. No matter what house you’re in, no matter who your parents are or any different we might have outside of these walls, here, we are all Weasleys; we are a family,” Molly said, looking around the room as she spoke. “That means we stand up for each other, we help out when one of us is in need and we protect one another.”
“These aren’t just words,” James continued, holding out a notebook, “this is our Code. Created by the eldest and improved over the years; we present you the Weasley Code of Conduct.”
“This Code stands true within these walls,” Molly added as she passed two notebooks to the silent first years. “We stick to it and we live by it.”
“Rule number one,” Roxanne began loudly, “if you have strength, allow the others to beneficiate them.”
“I’m pretty good at defence,” Fred said giving himself an exaggerate pompous attitude, “I’ve been tutoring Al and Lucy and offer you the same help, shall you need it.”
“Rule number two, a person’s problem is the family’s problem; it is our duty to intervene,” Roxanne continued in a very serious voice. “Rule number three, one’s enemy is everyone’s enemy.”
“Last year, a bunch of Slytherins kept picking on Rose and Al, they had to face the lot of us and have left Rose and Al alone since,” James said with a smile, thinking back on their prank.
“Rule number four and probably the most important rule of all,” Roxanne said, “What happens in Hogwarts stays in Hogwarts.”
“You will discover example of this pretty much every day for the next month,” Dominique shrugs while the rest of the older Gryffindor nod knowingly.
For the half hour that followed, they read out the Code to the two first years, explaining the rules, where they come from and why the Weasleys have seen fit to keep them alive. Hugo felt overwhelmed with these informations. He felt so happy to still be a part of the Weasley relatives. He hadn’t expected to be pushed aside completely but this at least made him feel more secure; he could count on his cousins in case things got out of hand.
“We usually try and meet once a month, except when there are special things that need discussing,” Fred told the two first year. Right on cue, the nine older members of the group took out their planners and quills to take notes. Lily and Hugo followed quickly.
“The quidditch practices haven’t been scheduled yet,” Molly, the Gryffindor captain, said.
“Neither have the duelling practices,” Fred, one of the teams’ captain added, “but they rarely take place on Friday nights.”
“Yeah but Friday nights are kind of reserved for something else, if you know what I mean,” Roxanne winked at her brother.
“All the more reason to make it on Friday,” he fiercely nodded.
“You’re an ass Freddy,” Roxanne answered in a very conversational manner, “I propose Thursday nights for the moment. The captains can work around that, right? Remember that it’s only once a month and for about an hour, just to catch up with everyone.”
“Yeah, I can work around that but it would have to be around eight still,” Molly shrugs, “meaning that everyone under third year will be out after their curfew.”
“We can deal with this,” Dominique waves her hand dismissively; “I am Head Girl after all.”
“All right, Thursday nights it is, on the second week of every month,” Fred concluded and they all noted the meetings.
“If you feel the need for a meeting when there isn’t one planned, owl Fred, he’s the organizer,” James told the two younger cousins.
“Before we leave, does anyone have anything they want to discuss or add?” Molly asked, looking around the room.
“I do,” Rose raised her hand. Molly nodded for her to continue and, blushing slightly, Rose went on, “I would like to propose for rule number four to be amended.”
“In what way?” Molly frowned.
“I propose a simple modification so that it is closer to the truth,” Rose declared, her voice shaking a bit. “We should change it to ‘What goes on at Hogwarts stays as Hogwarts but will be shared amongst Weasleys attending school’.”
“Why do you feel this change is necessary?” Louis asked, looking over the Code.
“It would help the other rules be applied correctly as well. I mean, how can we help each other if we don’t share our problems with the others?”
“That’s true,” Fred nodded, “most of the time, by the time the group finds out what is going on, it’s a bit late to intervene.”
“I think this motion should pass,” Al said, raising his hand.
“Seconded,” Lucy raised her hand as well.
“Motion passed,” Dominique declared, making a note on a pad, “I’ll make the official change to the Code for next meeting.”
It was past ten o’clock when the meeting ended which meant it was well past curfew for the young Ravenclaw. Before leaving his relatives, Hugo refused Dom’s offer to accompany him back to his tower; he knew his way around the castle enough to get back without any problem and was pretty confident he could avoid the Prefect without his cousin’s protection. Everything went perfectly until he reached the small corridor leading to his House tower and heard two older students coming down the stairs. Hidden in the shadow of the staircase, Hugo decided to wait for them to pass.
“No one’s seen him since after diner,” a boy was saying.
“I still don’t think we need to worry though,” another boy answered, “the Weasley boy must be with the rest of his Gryffindor family, where he belongs anyway.”
“From what I heard, he wouldn’t belong there either.”
“What do you mean?” the second boy asked, curious.
“Apparently, he hasn’t shown a single ounce of magic since he arrived here.”
“You mean he’s a squib? Then why was he even accepted here?”
“Probably because his parents are famous,” the first boy said, knowingly, “paid for him to get a place.”
“They could have saved him, and us, the shame though. A Ravenclaw squib; what a disgrace for our house,” the second boy muttered.
“Guess we’ll know for sure soon enough; either he’ll show some amazing powers soon or he’ll get away from the school all together.”
“Right, but until then, it’s still our responsibility to get him back to bed,” the boy sighed when he reached the end of the staircase.
Long after the sound of the two boys’ footsteps had died away, Hugo still sat in the dark; his body as numb as his mind. It was one thing to feel insecure about your abilities but another to find out the rest of the world has noticed and agrees with you.
Those boys were right; he had nothing to do in Ravenclaw or Hogwarts for that matter.
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