Akala and the other first years filed into the hall, all of them buzzing with excitement, and the name Harry Potter. Akala had heard of the Potters before, they had worked with her parents, and from what she knew, they had suffered the same fate as her parents. 'He’d be a good friend to make,' Akala thought to herself. 'He’d understand.' Suddenly a voice interrupted her thoughts, a voice that was kind and friendly. The girl she had met on the train. What was her name?
“Hey. You okay?” The girl asked, her hazel eyes glowing with concern. Akala took in her features, making sure never to forget them, as she had a feeling this girl would be important. She was kind of short, with dark brown hair that went a little past her shoulders, and pale skin. She had beautiful hazel eyes and wore a kind expression, though it was evident she was incredibly nervous for what lied ahead.
“Yes, I’m fine. What about you...um…” Akala’s voice trailed off as she failed to address the girl.
“Alfie. Alfie Vareste. And you?” She said warmly, holding out her hand for Akala to take and shake.
“Akala Whistare. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Akala said, shaking Alfie’s hand.
Suddenly Professor McGonagall’s voice filled the hallway, silencing everyone in it. "Welcome to Hogwarts," she said, glancing over every student. "The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory, and spend free time in your house common room. The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points, while any rulebreaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours. The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting."
Akala shivered, uncomfortable. How she wished her mum had been alive long enough to explain the sorting. She turned to Alfie, who looked absolutely terrified, and deduced immediately that she was Muggleborn.
“So,” Akala began, clearing her throat. “You’re Muggleborn?”
“Yes, but my aunt’s a witch and my uncle’s a wizard, so it isn’t like there’s no wizarding blood in my family.” Alfie responded.
“Oh, I don’t care. I’m not prejudiced.” Akala said, her voice friendly.
“What are you?” Alfie asked.
“I-I’m a Pureblood. But it doesn’t really matter to me, I think Muggleborns can be great at magic too.”
“Are there people who disagree?” Alfie asked cautiously.
“Yeah, but they’re just stupid. Don’t pay them any mind.”
"Move along now," said a sharp voice. "The Sorting Ceremony's about to start."
Akala saw Professor McGonagall ushering the head of the group into the Great Hall, when Akala past her, she could’ve sworn she saw recognition in her gaze. When Akala entered the Great Hall, she gasped in wonder, as did Alfie. It was huge. The room was filled with people of many different ages, all sitting at one of four giant tables. There were four tapestries above these tables, with either a Badger, Snake, Lion, or Eagle on it. Above them, candles floated and shimmered, and the ceiling was bewitched to look like a clear night sky. At the front of the room sat the professors and a stool, on which an old, raggedy hat was placed. That’s odd. Akala thought to herself. Then to her surprise, the hat came to life, and bursted into song.
“Oh, you may not think I'm pretty, But don't judge on what you see, I'll eat myself if you can find A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black, Your top hats sleek and tall, For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat And I can cap them all.
There's nothing hidden in your head The Sorting Hat can't see, So try me on and I will tell you Where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor, Where dwell the brave at heart, Their daring, nerve, and chivalry Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff, Where they are just and loyal, Those patient Hufflepuffs are true And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw, if you've a ready mind Where those of wit and learning, Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin You'll make your real friends, Those cunning folk use any means To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don't be afraid! And don't get in a flap! You're in safe hands (though I have none) For I'm a Thinking Cap!"
When the song finished, the hat bowed, and everyone applauded, at ease.
Then Professor McGonagall pulled out a long list of names.
There were many Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, even an assortment of Gryffindors and Slytherins. There was lots of chatter, at least until Professor McGonagall read off the name of Harry Potter. Everyone grew silent, and their attention turned to him, who was now sitting nervously on the stool with The Sorting Hat on his head.
“Difficult,” It began, “Very difficult. Not Slytherin, eh? Alright then, better be GRYFFINDOR!”
Harry smiled and ran to sit with his house. Then another name was called.
Alfie walked nervously up to the stool and sat down, and waited patiently for the hat to make its decision.
“Hmm, let’s see. You have an eager head, ready to learn. You’re brave, and would do anything for those you care about. Trusting, hardworking, quiet, and loyal… how obvious! You, tried and true, are in HUFFLEPUFF!” Alfie beamed and skipped to her house’s table. Akala smiled for her, happy that her only friend was where she needed to be. Lost in her thoughts, her heart nearly skipped a beat when McGonagall shouted, “Akala Whistare.” At the mention of her name, the Professors stared at her, some with grief and pity, and some with excitement. Some even had coins in their hands, as they did with Harry. The only one that stood out to her was the professor in all black. He had cold eyes, and an aged expression, as if he knew all the pain on the Earth, and had experienced it firsthand. He wasn’t staring at her with pity, but with intrigue and a hint of grief. I wonder if he knew my parents. She thought. Shaking her head slightly to clear it, Akala walked slowly up to the stool, until a voice in her head made her freeze.
'Well, well. Akala Whistare has finally arrived. But where to put her?' The voice said.
She glanced around the room rapidly, searching for the person who spoke. But, the Great Hall was still, and absolutely silent, until Akala spoke.
“Did someone just? I swear someone just…” Her voice trailed off as she realized how crazy she must’ve sounded.
Akala answered, but not before catching the eye of the professor in black, whose black eyes were filled with shock.
“N-nothing. I’m sorry.” She sat on the stool and allowed the hat to be placed on her head.
“What was all that about? You heard something? A little odd, even for a witch of your- nevermind. This is the sorting, not social hour. Let’s see… incredibly brave, brilliant mind, loyal… but with burning ambition. A strong desire to learn and prove yourself worthy of your name, and a desire to leave the hurt you have known behind, and avenge your mother’s death. Hmm, this is difficult. Well, I’ve never been wrong before, so… you’d better be in…. SLYTHERIN!”
The room erupted into cheers, but the only thing Akala could hear was her mother’s voice. She held her head in her hands, knowing what was coming next, and that it would not be wise to move. Suddenly, a memory bursted through the haze that was her senses, and Akala blacked out.
“Akala, my dear girl! You’re going to be so bright! You’re going to shine, my star!” Her mother cooed, carrying a newborn Akala wrapped in a blanket. Akala giggled, making her mother smile and sing, swaying baby Akala.
“Twinkle twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are Up above the world so high Like a diamond in the sky Twinkle little star How I wonder what you are.”
Akala smiled and giggled, reaching her hands up to touch the sparkles her mother had created with her wand.
“Isn’t music beautiful, Akala? Now, pay close attention to this song, for it is very important.” Her mother began to sing again, her voice soft and beautiful.
Mezame sasou uta o Hito wa kokoro de kurikaesu Hikari kie ta sora ni Ai o tomosu yo ni
Inori sasage te mo Hito wa ayamachi kurikaesu Da kara yurushiaeru Nan do mo umare te yume o mi te
Owari naki tabi no naka de Dare mo mina sagashi teru Kono inochi no imi o
Sekai wa yasashi fune Yura te yurare nagara Subete tsutsumikon de Dakishimeru arinomama o Sekai wa kibo no fune Yure te yurare nagara Hito no kanashimi o Nose te itsu ka Asa o yobu…”
Akala’s face was now filled with wonder as her mother smiled down at her. “Isn’t it beautiful Akala? One day you’ll perform it, and you’ll see what it can do. Just promise me something, my Akala. Promise to never forget…”
Her voice became distorted and fuzzy as Akala was pulled back to the present. She kept her eyes closed, listening intently.
“Is she okay, Severus?” A women asked, frantic.
“Yes, she’ll be fine, Poppy.” The man called Severus said dismissively.
“If she’s anything like her mother, this certainly won’t be her last visit.” She said, brushing a piece of hair out of Akala’s face.
Suddenly, footsteps filled the room, and Akala felt another person loom over her.
“So, how is she, Professor Snape, Madam Pomfrey?” The man asked, his voice aged and raspy, yet kind.
“She’s out cold now, but she’ll be awake soon.” Madam Pomfrey responded smoothly.
Snape was silent, well, silent to everyone but Akala.
'I know you’re not unconscious, Ms. Whistare. Do get up, your wasting time.'
Akala, scared out of her wits, sat straight up, making eye contact with Snape.
“Well, Ms. Whistare,” Said he, with the same voice she had heard in her head. “Welcome to Hogwarts.”