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All recognizable characters, events , locations and spells belong to J.K. Rowling.  The rest are all mine!

Elizabeth barely noticed the gust of wind that blew through the station as she made her way to the edge of Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. She stopped to gaze at the train that would take her to Hogwarts. The students that were rushing to secure seats with friends didn’t get a moment’s notice from her as she looked away from the train and back down to the letter that she had felt that she had read a thousand times. She remembered the day that the owl had delivered the letter that had informed her that she had been accepted by the school.

“At least,” she said to herself with relief, “I’m not going back to Beauxbatons.”

For a wild moment she considered simply stepping back into the shadows and missing the train that would take her to school. But that was a bad idea, since her parent’s would then have to take her to Hogsmeade station, and that meant apparating.

She hated apparating because it made her sick every time. Her eyes gleamed as she thought about the last time that it had happened. The whole episode had resulted from her father insisting that she accompany them to Malfoy Manor for dinner.  He always preferred to travel by apparation and Elizabeth had begged them to use the floo network, but his mind was made up. The girl knew that it was going to end badly when her stomach revolted as they appeared at their destination. She had been unable to turn away in time and had vomited down the front of her father’s very expensive new dress robes. The expression of disgust on his face had been priceless. It had cost her a week of confinement to her room, but it had been worth it.

The whistle of the train brought her out of her thoughts and she reluctantly boarded the crimson passenger car and found a seat. The compartment was empty and she quickly settled into a seat near the window. Her solitude was not long lived as several chattering students flooded into the small space. She turned away from them and looked through the window onto the platform. She stiffened as she spotted her parents. They had come to the station to make certain that she had gotten onto the train. She gave them a grim smile and then turned away and closed her eyes. The sudden lurch of the train told her that the train was leaving the platform and her parents behind.

‘It’s just like him to some to make sure that I do what I am told' she thought to herself.  ‘It’s too bad that I’m not perfect like Anne.’

Anne was a prefect this year and had taken pains to point that fact out to Elizabeth at every opportunity. She also took great pleasure in reminding Elizabeth that she was the first person in many years to be thrown out of the school for behavior. Anne was hopelessly stuck on herself and the shiny pin on the front of her robes.

Elizabeth looked down at her traveling clothes. One of the benefits of being thrown out of Beauxbatons was the fact that she no longer had to wear those ghastly blue robes with the stupid hats. The school had the wizarding world believing that every student was a perfect angel who did nothing wrong.

‘If people only knew how badly the school had them fooled,’ she thought. ‘The students aren’t the prim and proper ladies that they are made out to be. Madame Maxime is a pompous, hateful old witch who only cares about her favorites. Rita Skeeter would have a glorious time writing about what goes on there.’

The chatter around her continued as she sat quietly and took no notice of her companions. She did realize finally that some of them were regarding her with curiosity. Elizabeth looked up to see them stealing furtive glances at her. Not hateful stares, but instead just curious glances.

“Can I help you?” she finally asked.

“Are you a first year? I don’t think that I’ve ever seen you around school and I thought that I knew almost everyone.”

Elizabeth looked at the tall red-headed girl that was speaking to her. There was kindness in the eyes of the girl instead of the open distaste that had been given to her at her former school. She was taller than Elizabeth, so obviously at least a third year.

“Elizabeth Blackwell, I’m a second year. I’m coming to study at Hogwarts this year, “ she said, extending her hand.

“Rose Weasley, fourth year. This is Emily Carter, Kristen Marin and Lily Potter.” The girl said as she shook the offered hand and each of the other girls greeted Elizabeth.

“Potter? You aren’t related to the Harry Potter, are you?”

“He’s my dad, and her uncle,” Lily responded with an impish gleam in her eyes as she pointed at Rose.

The smaller girl smiled as Elizabeth’s eyes widened. Elizabeth had heard the name Harry Potter many times in her life, but not always in such a favorable manner. Draco Malfoy had often railed against Potter while visiting her home. Mr. Malfoy and his father were often rather vile when they spoke about Lily’s father. Scorpius Malfoy was his father’s son and Elizabeth regarded him as a hopeless idiot. The boy was quite proud of the fact that he, like his father and grandfather, had been sorted into Slytherin House and had a cruel streak to match theirs.

The gleeful chatter continued as the train rolled along the track on the way to Hogsmeade. She barely noticed the passage of time as she spoke to her newfound friends. It was strange that she had never really had friends at Beauxbatons during the entire year that she had been there.

She had spent the long months of the year avoiding her sister and the pack of friends that enjoyed tormenting the younger girl. Many times during meals she had stayed in her room and had gone without eating or sat as far away from them as possible at the long tables in the dining hall. Madame Maxime had noticed this, but had offered no comfort. Instead, she had called the girl to her office and berated her for being distant to other students. The rest of the teaching staff had been cold and unapproachable to the girl. She was an obvious disappointment and clearly not held in as high a state of esteem as her sister.

“What school did you go to last year?”

Elizabeth looked at Kristen with a rather sad look in her eyes.

“Beauxbatons. It was terrible.”

“I’ve always thought that Beauxbatons would be a wonderful school to go to. I love their robes and the Flying Coach and the Abraxan that pull it.”

“I hate to tell you this, but most of the students are simpering little snots who only care about how much they can talk about each other. Talk to you one minute and about you the next. The teachers and Head Mistress are cold and conniving. They like nothing more than assigning detention to whoever doesn’t meet their approval. I spent three weeks cleaning the stables with a Muggle shovel, pitchfork and bucket simply because my parchment wasn’t long enough to meet Professor Monroe’s satisfaction.”

“So, is that why you left?”

“I really don’t want to talk about it. Let’s just say that I was less than a lady and they didn't want me back.”

“You got thrown out of school?”

“It was more like released from my version of Azkaban.”

“Do you know what house you want to be sorted into? We’re all in Gryffindor,” Lily chimed in as she broke the uncomfortable subject.

Elizabeth frowned at the question as she realized the limits of her knowledge about Hogwarts. “I really don’t know anything about Hogwarts. I guess that I had never given it thought,” she answered. “Is it true that they punish you for getting bad marks on an exam?”

“Who told you that?” Rose asked, a moment before she burst out in laughter.

“Just some of the people at Beauxbatons.”

The girls continued their chatter as the train put mile after mile behind it. Only the passage of the old witch pushing the cart with treats gave them pause as they selected what they wanted. Elizabeth was happier than she had been in a long time and was beginning to feel that nothing could dampen her mood. That was until a shadow in the form of Scorpius Malfoy stepped up to the door of their compartment.

Tall, thin with a pinched expression on his face, Scorpius was the mirror of his father and he had the disposition to match. He glared at the girls in the room, especially Rose and Lily and was about to say something when he recognized Elizabeth. His mouth dropped and his eyes took on a feral glare as he looked at her.

“What are you doing here?” he demanded. “I would have expected them to stick together, but you! Just wait till your father hears that you are consorting with half-bloods and worse. Especially, Weasley, you know that her mother is a mud-blood. Your father will have you yanked from Hogwarts in a second. That would make two schools that you have been forced to leave. I heard all about how you got expelled from Beauxbatons. I hear you thought that attacking a prefect wasn’t enough to get you expelled.”

Elizabeth’s face turned crimson as her secret was revealed to her new friends and she clinched her hands into fists. Tears began their trip down her face and she was about to respond when Rose Weasley stood to face their tormentor.

“You really are a hopeless git aren’t you Malfoy? Why don’t you go on back and sit with the rest of the Slytherin trash and talk to people who care about what you have to say. Quite honestly it is none of anyone’s business why Elizabeth left Beauxbatons and it’s certainly not your job to announce it!”

“Fighting her battles now, are you? I thought that you would have enough of your own to fight, what with a mud-blood mother and blood traitor father.”

Scorpius laughed at his own joke as he stood nose to nose with the enraged girl. His laughter only fueled her anger as she shook with fury. He was about to continue the insults when Rose drew back her arm and lashed out with all of her strength.

Elizabeth never saw the flash of movement, but heard the sudden noise as Rose punched Scorpius in the nose. Blood sprayed from the injured feature and began to course down the boy’s face as he reeled from the punch and slumped against the wall. He staggered upright and turned to flee the compartment as Rose drew back to strike again.

“My father and grandfather will hear about this, you filthy half mud-blood.”

He ran from the compartment, but didn't get far before Rose’s foot connected with his backside which sent him sprawling onto the corridor carpet. Scorpius scrambled to his feet and raced towards the next car. Rose turned back to her friends with a more than satisfied look on her face.

Elizabeth looked up at her new friend with amazement on her face. She had often wanted to do what Rose had done but had never had the courage. The punishment from her parents would have been horrendous and would have made the week in her room seem like a vacation. Her sobs began to diminish as her friends comforted her and before long she was laughing to the really awful jokes that they were telling.

“Rose, you know who his father is, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I know. But I also know that his father and grandparents ran from the battle at Hogwarts when Uncle Harry defeated Voldemort. They’re cowards, all of them. The only time that they’re brave is when they are bigger than you, they’re with their friends or you won’t fight back. A quick jab to the nose and kick in the seat of the pants will usually change their minds about being vile.”

Elizabeth smiled as she thought about what her friend had said and the look on the face of the boy as he had fled the scene. Her smile faded, however, as she thought about the secret that he had revealed. No doubt by now Scorpius was busy telling everyone in the Slytherin car about her disgraceful dismissal from Beauxbatons during last term. Before long everyone at Hogwarts would know about her past failures.

She leaned back against the cushion of the seat and allowed the gentle motion of the train to finally lull her to sleep. Dreams filled her mind but, for the first time in a long time, they were not unpleasant dreams. Visions of the faces of her friends and the look on the blood covered face of Scorpius Malfoy brought a smile to her sleeping visage.

Several hours later the Hogwart’s Express arrived at Hogsmeade Station platform and slowly began to empty as the students filed out into the night. Elizabeth looked down at the robes that she had changed into only a short time before. Rose had taken the lead and suggested that they change since they were only a short distance from their destination. Elizabeth found herself sticking close to the older girl and Rose didn’t mind her new companion. Obviously Elizabeth needed someone to cling to and it was not in Rose’s disposition to refuse her.

Elizabeth forced herself to look away from her friends when she heard a booming voice calling for first years to gather. Her eyes widened as she took in the large form of Rubeus Hagrid. Obviously, he was part-giant, for he had the size to prove it. She had heard of giants and had seen pictures of them, but had never seen one in person. The girl was suddenly aware of a voice calling her name and looked to see an older woman in emerald robes scanning the crowd. Elizabeth reluctantly left her friends and made her way to the woman.

Minerva McGonagall had a thin, kindly face as she looked down through her wire rimmed glasses at the girl who approached her. She had considered rejecting the girl as a student when she read the history of the child and the reason that she had left the school that she had attended before. Still, Professor McGonagall believed that every child deserved a chance to be educated regardless of their past. The fact that the girl had received very good marks in some of her classes helped. As Acting Headmistress of Hogwarts she had decided to accept the child, but was prepared to deal with any misbehavior.

“I’m Elizabeth Blackwell, ma’am.”

“Miss Blackwell, I’m Professor McGonagall, Acting Headmistress of Hogwarts,” she said as she regarded the blonde girl who stood before her. “I will tell you that have spoken to Madame Maxime and I am aware of what occurred at Beauxbatons last year. We will discuss the issue later in my office. Until then, welcome to Hogwarts, you will arrive at the school with the first years, it’s rather a traditional entrance. You will be going through the sorting ceremony as though you were a first year even though you are a second year student. You need to run along now, you don’t want to be left behind.”

Elizabeth watched as the woman simply vanished and then turned to run after the departing first year students. She was nearly half-way to the group when something tripped her and she fell to the ground to make a rather inglorious landing. She began to gather herself and rise when she was shoved back to the ground roughly. The feet of the person standing next to her were visible at the edge of her vision.

“Having trouble walking are you, Blackwell? Weasley isn’t here to fight your battle for you this time. All I have to do is hold you here long enough for you to miss the boats and out of Hogwarts you go.”

The girl rolled over to look up at the boy standing over her. Her leg hurt horribly and she could feel the blood trickling from the wound. She was about to respond when the same booming voice that she had heard before interrupted the confrontation.

“Oy, what do yeh think yer doing. Be gone with yeh.”

Scorpius turned and raced away, leaving the girl behind as she rose to her feet. She looked up at the kindly, hair covered face of Hagrid. His warm, dark eyes looked down at the child as he put his massive hand down onto her shoulder.

“That was a right nasty fall yeh took. He’s just like his father , that one is. Come along then, don’t want ter be late fer teh boats.” He said as they walked towards the area where the first years were waiting for them. He glanced down at her bleeding leg and then back at the face of the girl. “Yeh’ll want to have someone look at yer leg, can’t have yeh bleeding all over the place.”

The girl looked down at the blood that was still running down her leg. Her hand was scraped up as well and she wasn’t sure which hurt worse. She turned to look over her shoulder, but saw no sign of Malfoy. She stopped as she began hearing the excited voices of the first years ahead of her. When she looked ahead she saw a small fleet of boats waiting for the new students and, across the lake, Hogwarts Castle.

Elizabeth watched as Hagrid helped students into the boats and finally climbed into one when her turn came. She had never been in a boat before and was startled when it began moving silently towards the opposite shore without the students having to propel it with oars. She glanced over and saw Hagrid in a boat by himself. He was large enough that he needed his own. She and the students in the boat with her stared in awe at the castle on the cliffs above the lake. Excited whispers filled her ears as she gazed up at the castle which would be her new home for a while.

When they reached the other shore each student was helped out of their boat and then Hagrid led them up the winding path towards the castle. Her leg was still painful and the distance to the castle seemed to grow with every step that she took, but her spirits were rising as they approached the entrance. When they finally reached the doors of the entrance hall, Hagrid opened the portals and they stepped into the castle for the first time.

They had barely gone a yard when an elderly woman was next to Elizabeth tending to her wounds. She sat on a step quietly as the nurse soothed the injured limbs and then a scrape on her cheek that she had not even noticed. The first years stood and watched silently as the girl was tended to. Finally, the nurse stood and helped the girl to her feet. Madame Pomfrey left the group and preceded them into the Great Hall as Professor McGonagall greeted the group before her. Elizabeth reached the group in time to hear the names of the houses and the admonition about misbehavior. Then the woman turned and led them into the Great Hall and their new adventures.

Elizabeth gazed in awe as she entered the Great Hall, it was just enormous. The ceiling arched above far them and large windows covered the wall. Hundreds of candles floated above four long tables where older students who were already seated watched as the new arrivals passed between them.

Her leg and hand felt much better, but now her stomach was troubling Elizabeth. It seemed like every eye was upon her. Did everybody know about her already? She spied Scorpius sitting at a table where he was talking to a group of students seated around him and pointing at her. She quickly faced directly ahead and tried to ignore him.

Ahead of the group a large table crossed the room and was occupied by the teachers and staff of the school. She noticed that the students did not rise to stand at attention as the Headmistress walked past. Students at Beauxbatons who did not rise when Madame Maxime walked into the room were given a good dressing down. Finally, they reached the front of the hall and stood facing the teachers. An old four legged stool sat in the center of the floor with an ancient looking wizard’s cap sitting on it.

The hat sat silent on the stool for a moment and then opened its’ mouth and began to sing a most odd song.

You may think you’re barking mad, when you see the likes of me.
I’m the Hogwarts Sorting Hat, no smarter hat you’ll see.
Now it’s time for me to think, and choose which house for you,
You may not think you know outside, but I’m sure inside you do.
I will look inside your thoughts, and see the things inside,
While you might try your hardest, from me nothing can hide.
If inside a Gryffindor, your heart is brave and true,
You’ll earn the trust of all around, with each fine deed you do.
If you are a Hufflepuff, hard work you do not fear,
Your extra toil will ease your way, each and every year.
Perhaps you are a Ravenclaw, who gives all things much thought.
Your thinking power will lead the way, to each treasured spot.
And let’s not forget the Slytherin, who work with cunning and guile,
They never stop til they get what they want, they’ll go the extra mile.
It’s time to sit upon the stool, and put your faith in me.
For with your thoughts I will decide, where happiest you’ll be.

Everyone at the tables gave a thunderous applause while the new students at the front of the room stood astounded by the performance of the hat. When clapping finally ended Professor McGonagall pulled a large scroll from her robes and stood before those waiting to be sorted. Clearly, they were to wear the hat for it to decide which house they would go to. The students at the table watched in rapt anticipation.

Elizabeth stood and watched as the first student whose name was called stepped forward nervously and then sat down upon the stool. The hat was placed on his head and she watched as it began to move and scowl.

“RAVENCLAW!” it yelled to make itself heard.

The boy got down from the stool and made his way to the waiting table where he was greeted by his new housemates. The next two students went to Hufflepuff and then another to Ravenclaw. Then Professor McGonagall announced the next name.

“Elizabeth Blackwell.”

Elizabeth stepped forward and sat down carefully on the stool. Only a moment later the hat was on her head and she waited with a trembling heart as the hat began to consider her thoughts.

'Where should I put you?' she heard the hat's voice say in her mind.

“Please,” she said quietly. “Gryffindor, I want to go to Gryffindor.”

Obviously the hat took her desires into account because a moment later she was pleased to hear the hat say “GRYFFINDOR.”

She hurried to the table that awaited her and was greeted by the waiting students. She looked up to see Rose and Lily smiling with pleasure as she joined the table. The students that were waiting were soon sorted into their respective houses and all looked up as Professor McGonagall said a few short words.

“Now that we're all settled in our places and you've had a chance to greet your Housemates you may begin eating!”

The tables before them were suddenly full of more food than she had ever seen. As she ate Elizabeth realized that she was truly among friends. The rest of the night was passed eating, being led to the dormitory by a prefect and blissful sleep with Tiger lying on the covers at the foot of her bed.

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