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Jade watched apprehensively, as Eliza Crossley stepped upto the sorting hat. She looked around the Hall nervously, hoping against hope to be in Hufflepuff, and with people who used to know her brother.

please, let me be in Hufflepuf, please, let me be in Hufflepuff

She was surprised such a tense formality in the atmosphere of the Great Hall. After the long descriptions Cedric had given her of his school, she had been expecting warth, friendliness. But the air was buzzing with rumours and whispers about the goings on at the ministry that summer, the attack on the chamber of prophecies. The long tables stretched into the distance, and Jade's head began to swim. All eyes were on the Sorting Hat.

"HUFFLEPUFF!" Eliza gratefully pulled the hat from her head and scurried to the Hufflepuff tables. Lucky you Jade thought, Hope I'm with you !

"God, imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?" asked a small rat-faced boy next to her. Jade just gave him an icy glare. A Slytherin, probably, another of the Malfoy-kind. Cedric had never liked the Malfoys, and Jade trusted his judgement.

"Diggory, Jade!" Whispers broke out across the Hall, stronger now. Diggory? She's related to Cedric? Poor girl, she must be distraught! Jade walked unevenly to the old wooden stool and took a few deep breaths. Suddenly, she was plunged into darkness as the hat came over her head.

"Well, then," spoke a voice in the dark, "I know you. There's talent, lots of talent, and an urge for revenge..." Please, Hufflepuff, please Hufflepuff , Jade thought. "Hufflepuff? Like your brother, eh? Well, better be RAVENCLAW!"

Disappointment swept over her like a flood. Not Hufflepuff then, not like her brother. She tottered over to the table, applause scattering her thoughts. She half-fell into her seat, where - horror of horrors - Flynn Baxter sat.

"Well done. For a moment there I thought you were disappointed!" He joked, then, seeing her face, said, "You are, aren't you? You're actually disappointed!"

"Shut up for a bit, Flynn. You wouldn't get it... wait! I'm... sorry?" Flynn turned his back on her, anger written in the lines of his face. She had been cold again, isolated. She'd hoped to make some friends at this new school, learn what it was like to have a best mate. But here, history was repeating itself. She suddenly couldn't bear this hall, this school, these people. The tables groaned with the weight of a million dishes, and she sat, clutching her opal, and dreamed.

"Cath it Jade, catch it!" laughed Cedric, as Jade dived for the quaffle.
"I can't do it, Cedric, show me again!"
"Look, I throw it up, and you catch it in your hands! Okay, one, two, three - "
Jade threw herself at the ball and hugged it into herself.
"I did it, Cedric! I did it!"
"Well done Jade, you'll be a great chaser someday. Well done Jade, Jade, Jade, Jade..."


"Jade, Jade!" Flynn was shaking her awake.
"Wha- what happened?"
"You fell asleep.... it was kind of weird..."
"Thanks, Flynn," she said sarcastically, "I'll make sure to compliment you too sometime!"
"Lighten up, Jade! Come on, I'll show you the common room. We'll have to run, the others have gone!"

Jade took a final look around the Great Hall. Nothing was how she'd expected.

~~*~~

Sunlight streamed through the window as Jade awoke. She'd always woken with the sun, since she was a little girl. Dawn was her favourite time, when it felt like she was the only person awake.

She swung out of bed, and gasped as her feet hit the cold stone floor. She pulled on the dressing gown hanging on her peg, and scuttled down the tower steps to the common room. Strangely, the fire was still burning - she supposed that there was some kind of charm on it.

She pulled out a dusty book - the Enchantment Lexicon - from the bookshelf beside her, and settled down in the armchair by the fire."...Portus (POR-tus) -turns the target object into a Portkey. Possession - no incantation given - Dark Magical effect of one person's spirit inhabiting or taking over the body of another or object..." Jade sighed, and gave up. The book was too densely written for her to enjoy, and didn't focus on the dark spells, the ones she was sure to meet in these dark times.

She could hear the birds singing outside. It was time to get ready, to go outside and face the world again, and go on with her life as she knew it...

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