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    Chapter 4 – All Over Again

    Payton gulped, gazing up at the largest castle she had ever seen in her entire life. In her shaking hands, she held one large bag, stuffed with magically shrunken objects that she had just recently bought in Diagon Alley with her uncle. It had been a brief trip; brief, yet satisfying. While there, the young girl got a new wardrobe, polish for her wand and her broom, and a new owl. Clara was hooting noisily with excitement in her cage in Stephan’s arms, occasionally pecking at the bars of it, dying to be let out.

    “So this is Hogwarts,” whispered the girl to herself, amazement written all over her delicate features. She looked up into the sky and noticed tall towers gleaming back at her in the afternoon sunlight. Everything was happening so quickly. Not even a few hours ago, Payton felt as if everything around her was flying by, leaving her in an empty space in her own little world. When she had awoken, the air was thick and dull. Now, however, it was brightly lit by the noon sun, perfect air settling against thick green grass. Morning dew still hung lightly to each and every blade that she stepped on, making the ground seem softer.

    Stephan nudged his niece ever so slightly, signaling for her to move towards the giant school. Clara was still hooting with fondness to her new home. Payton gave a skeptical look towards her soft grey owl. ‘At least someone around here likes this place.’ Sure, it was beautiful, and big, and so inviting looking, but Payton Leyla Dove simply couldn’t put her finger on just what her worries about this place was. ‘Maybe I’m just freaked out about all of this…newness.’

    Taking each step carefully, Payton finally found herself before great wooden doors, shadowed by an even greater arch above it. She swallowed hard, her stomach was knotting up with something…was it nerves? Still gripping Clara’s cage, Stephan moved before his niece and pushed the giant doors in. As if they were quite old, the doors squeaked as the moved inward, exposing both Payton and her uncle to the vastness that was Hogwarts. Payton’s eyes grew wider; the hallway that the doors opened up to was absolutely magnificent! Arched all the way down the corridor, the hallway was welcoming and brightly lit by glorious candles, floating underneath the ceiling. Stephan took two large steps inside and ushered his niece in as well. Before he could say anything, an old man with a long white beard approached them. His sparkling blue eyes held pure happiness, something that Payton hadn’t seen for a while.

    “Ah, Stephan, it’s so good to see you,’ recited the old man, shaking her uncle’s hand vigorously.

    “Likewise, Albus. It’s been years…”

    “So it has, old friend. So it has.” Turning from her uncle towards her once more, the man smiled at Payton. “Miss Dove, I presume.” He lightly nodded his head to her, acknowledging her presence. Payton gave a little smile, unsure as to how she should feel about some old person greeting her in this manner. Something about this man gave her a warm feeling, covering the anxiousness inside of her as if it were a warm blanket. Just the look of his frail body against his pure joy-filled face made Payton think that his looks most certainly underestimated him. “I’m so glad you’ve come. If you would, follow me, and we’ll meet the rest of the school in the Great Hall.”

    Payton looked up to her Uncle for some sort of supporting glance, but as it turned out, her uncle was too busy with exchanging a silent statement with the old man. The elderly person grinned at Stephan again before turning his back to them and leading them down the enchanted hallway. Soon, they came to a set of more powerful looking oak doors then the one’s that had led her into this place. They were tall and commanding, yet at the same time, comforting almost. The old man smiled as he looked upon the doors and set his wrinkled fingers upon the handle, “Miss Dove, with all of my pleasure, I introduce you to the heart of Hogwarts, the Great Hall.” He opened the doors and soon laughter and loads of mixed conversation floated to her ears. As he stepped through, the old man’s robes swished behind him. He walked to the front of the Great Hall and stood atop a few steps leading to very front of the room, obviously where the adults of the school sat.

    Payton looked beyond the old man, towards the table behind him where other elders sat, their golden plates stacked with assorted foods. Dumbledore simply smiled upon his students and locked his hands together before him. The entire Hall went silent, ‘This guy really has power around here,’ Payton found herself thinking.

    “Good afternoon to all.” He began, smiling greatly. “I have asked you all to dine with us this lunch hour for a special reason.” His long white hair fell past his shoulders as he moved his head back and forth, locking eyes with each student in turn, respecting them as they respected him.

    “Dumbledore always was so proud of his students,” whispered Stephan, quiet enough so that only his niece could hear him. Payton smiled slightly, gaining a new respect for the old teacher.

    “Today, we have accepted a new student into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I ask you all to treat her with kindness and befriend her as you would each other.” Albus Dumbledore stood graciously before his students, so thrilled to gain a new student. His aged face was smiling as if there couldn’t possibly be any wrong in the whole world. As the Headmaster of the school spoke to his students about where she came from, what her name was, and how to treat her, Payton looked around the room, scanning all of the faces she would soon meet. There were four tables sitting vertically towards the front of the room, and all heads belonging to students were turned facing Dumbledore.

    “I ask you to be respectfully quiet as we sort Miss Dove into her House. Of course, cheering if she in sorted into your house is acceptable. Without further ado, please, Payton Dove, if you would step up to the stool.” Instantly, a shuffling sound was heard and all eyes turned the opposite direction to the girl with the long black hair and the violet eyes. Payton froze. Once again, she was stuck wide eyed.

    “Go on, Leyla,” whispered her uncle, pushing her ahead of him. Payton looked around her and slowly began moving forward. The entire time, her breath was locked in her chest and her voice seemed to have disappeared. Usually, the girl wasn’t affected with stage fright of any kind, but in this case, it was different. She slowly walked up the few steps and reached Dumbledore and another woman with a tight expression and dark grey hair who she had not seen walk onto the steps. In between the two adults was a rather old, worn stool with a weathered hat sitting atop it. The woman with the grey hair in the tight bun on the tip of her head lifted the hat and offered the stool to the newest student. Payton sat, her nerves shooting through her body. Her violet eyes searched for some reassurance in her uncle, standing in the back…. He obviously didn’t hear her silent plea, because he was busy admiring his niece.

    When the hat was placed upon Payton’s head, she nearly jumped! The very moment the rag touched her scalp, it began speaking to her. “Ah, yes. Very interesting, indeed. You’ve got the strength and bravery for Gryffindor. Yes, you’d do well there. But, oh, what is this? The knowledge and security for Ravenclaw… and the kindness of heart for Hufflepuff. Yesss, very tricky, you shall be to place.”

    ‘I knew I could read minds, but I didn’t know that included the minds of hats,’
    she thought nervously.

    “Oh, no no no, my dear. I speak to all of the students I am placed upon. I can hear your thoughts and feel your feelings. It is how I place you into the correct House.”

    Payton’s eyes grew wide, ‘Well, then….Continue, please. I’d really rather not be the attention of all of these people any longer.’ She thought these things as loud as possible, not quite sure how much it took for the hat to understand her completely.. She figured it did when he hummed to himself.

    “My, my my, dear. You also have the attitude and the slyness of a Slytherin. You would most definitely do well in that house. The Slytherins could feed your powerful state of mind well. But…there is something else here; something that has made my decision. Yes, it will have to be…”

    “GRYFFINDOR!” A loud cheer blew across the entire hall. Whoops and clapping escaladed and bound through her ears. When Payton looked towards Dumbledore, he motioned her to sit with the cheering group. Obviously, it was the Gryffindor table, since a thick banner with a lion and a cursive ‘G’ decorated the ceiling above it; and the hat had only mentioned four houses, only this one started with a G.

    Payton found her footing and descended down the steps to the cheering table. She found an empty seat around the middle of the table and sat down quietly, eyeing the great oak of it. Dumbledore once again took the attention of the students. “And now, if you all will, continue in your feast.” He stepped down from the stairs and took a seat behind a large wooden bench like thing with a few other adults, one of them being the woman with the tight expression from before. Turning into her still cheering new “House”, Payton lightly bit her lip. She reached into her pocket and grasped the little bag it held. Instantly, her mind was free of thickening emotions, allowing her to process everything with content. The light of the object grew brighter with each second that she held it, its power engaging and feeding off of Payton’s emotions.

    “Congratulations, Leyla.” The gruff voice of her uncle startled her, her hand slipping out of her pocket and breaking the grip on the glowing object as she jumped in surprise.

    “Uhh, thanks Uncle Stephan.” She mustered a grin and took a deep breath in before turning around in her seat to face her only living relative. He stood tall before her, setting a slight shadow upon her face. His big grin hidden by a mass of dark hair around his chin made her smile just a bit. He loved her so much…and she knew it well. “Well, I’ve got some business to attend to with Headmaster Dumbledore, so why don’t you just jump right in a get acquainted with your housemates?” With that, he walked off towards the staff table, practically deserting her.

    ‘Great,’ she thought. She sighed deeply and turned back around to the table, the aromas of fresh biscuits and roast beef filling her nostrils. Roast beef was her absolute favorite, but she just couldn’t convince herself that she was hungry at all. Her nerves were just too great.

    “Hullo, there,” someone called out to her, “I’m Hermione Granger.” Payton matched a voice with a smiling face as the girl sat down next to her. Her wavy hair bounced when she sat and her dark brown eyes were full of….happy.

    “Hi,” Payton answered. “I’m Payton.” She mustered up a smile, trying to return at least half of the kindness that this girl was giving off.

    “I’m Head Girl of Hogwarts, and Professor Dumbledore asked me to show you around if you’d like a tour of the castle. I understand that you transferred here from being home schooled, right?”

    Payton nodded her head. My, this girl had such a bright attitude. Unfortunately for her, Payton was in a quiet, shy sort of mood.

    “We’re really glad that you’re in our House. Gryffindor is by far the best House to be in.” Hermione smiled at her with a toothy white grin.

    “Um…we?” Payton asked, trying to take in one thing at a time.

    Hermione looked around her quizzically before standing up, walking a few paces the opposite way, and grabbing a red headed boy with food stuffed in his mouth out of his chair. She walked back, dragging the boy alongside her. “This is Ronald Weasley, Head Boy of Hogwarts, and my boyfriend.” She smiled again, this time with adoration towards her boyfriend. The boy swallowed and nodded his head towards her in acknowledgment. “Oh, don’t mind him, Payton. He’s just a bit shy when it comes to new people…”

    “I am not,” the red head protested.

    Hermione nodded her head in a sort of belittling manner, “Of course not, love.” She then gently turned him around and set him back on his way to where he was before, filling his golden plate with adorned food and stuffing his face. “He’s really not that bad once you warm up to him.”

    “I’m sure,” chuckled Payton, blind as to how a girl with such intellect could possibly be dating a guy like….him!

    From three tables away, Draco Malfoy sat with his back to his House table, eyeing the new girl with the thick black hair. “Already, that mudblood has gotten to her,” he mused to the big warts of boys sitting on either side of him. “I suppose we’ll just have to fix that, how won’t we?” He sneered his famous sneer and turned back to his table, processing just how easily this girl would be to fix and mold into the person he wanted her to be. Just the look of her made him get the impression that she was gullible.

    “Oh, Dracy,” cooed a girl with a pudgy face and thin black hair falling against her cheeks. “She’s not worth your time. She’s a stupid Gryffindor. Wouldn’t you rather spend your energy on someone much worth your while?” She flaunted her stubby eyelashes at him, trying her hardest to look appealing.

    “You mean someone like you?” He chuckled, “I highly doubt that, Pansy.” Pansy just stuck her bottom lip out and pouted. Draco ignored her.

    “I can show you the way to the Gryffindor Common Room after lunch, if you’d like. Then afterwards, maybe a tour of the grounds would be nice?” Payton nodded her head slightly. “Oh,” Hermione continued. “And don’t worry about dragging your belongings up there; it’s already been taken care of.” Payton blinked heavily, hadn’t she just been holding her bags? She assumed that her Uncle must’ve slipped them out of her hands when she took the long walk to the talking hat. Shrugging, the new girl took a long lasting look around the Great Hall. It certainly was massive. Next to her, Hermione giggled and droned on about something to do with a hidden room on the 7th floor of the school, but Payton couldn’t quite hear her, she was too busy admiring the room.

    The ceiling above her was the mirror image of the fantastic weather outside and long, beautifully decorated columns held the roof above her at each corner. She looked back to the giant oak doors that she had walked in through when she saw out of the corner of her eye someone walking swiftly inside of them. Payton gasped at the sight of him. She swore to herself that she recognized that messy black hair and those crooked wire rimmed glasses…It was like this boy was from a distant memory.

    Two little children danced and giggled around together, holding hands in a small room as they twirled. A little girl with dark black hair twirled in her pink flowery dress happily, grinning at the little boy dancing alongside her. The boy had small wire rimmed glasses and jet black hair which was pushed around atop his head, sticking strait up in several places. The little girl didn’t seem to mind, though, she thought it was cute, really. A quiet sound of tinkling music filled the air, growing louder and softer as violins and drums grew angry and then died down a bit, always in a soothing pattern. The children danced to the music, grinning as they repeated the moves that they remembered seeing older kids doing. The song died down to a quiet hum and the little girl gigged again. She pulled apart from the boy and closed a little star shaped locket around her neck, ending the chiming sound of the quieting music. “Yay, that was fun,” she announced. “Thanks for dancing with me!” Her violet eyes twinkled with happiness. The boy just smiled back at her, grinning toothily.

    A voice sounded from behind a closed door, “Payton, Harry, why don’t you both come in her to wash up before dinner?”

    Payton broke out of her trance, confused beyond all reason. What had she just witnessed, a memory? Perhaps a dream? The boy entered the Great Hall and headed strait for her. Payton could only look at him with big eyes. Strangely, he looked just like the little boy from her memory…if it even was a memory.

    “Oh!” Cried Hermione, ending her ranting shortly. “Payton, I’d like to introduce you to someone.” The Head Girl beamed at her. “This is Harry.”

    Hope you all enjoyed! I made this one juust a bit longer because I felt like I had to get a while bunch out…I know I’ve been draining you all with the first few chapters, heh. Review and tell me what you think! I looove criticism and ideas, so throw em at me!


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