Alexis was speechless. She didn’t understand what the older Potter boy was talking about. Dark magic, in her blood? She didn’t believe it, her face stiffened as she thought of her grandfather’s house. Zack had mentioned something about the family that lived there… her family. Could it be true?
With a wave from the Headmaster’s hands, food appeared on all the tables. Everyone dug in, filling their plates up with traditional British foods. She dug in with the others, her stomach grumbling the moment the food appeared. Everyone around her was deep in some personal conversation. Some asked her a few questions, but there was a growing number of students who turned their backs. Wasn’t her House supposed to be welcoming? Inclusive? It sure didn’t feel that way.
Once everyone finished stuffing themselves with food, the Headmaster stood and made his opening remarks. There were rules about the Forbidden Forest, and particular joke merchandise that weren’t allowed in the hallways. Such rules seemed to remain the same no matter which country you live in. The Headmaster finished his speech and the entire school was dismissed. It was a mad rush to the door as hundreds of students all jamming their way through the double wide doorway to split off into different directions.
Half proceeded downstairs while the other headed up the staircase. Alexis realize she should have stuck closer to Lilly. Amelia seemed eager to pull her friend away as soon as they could. Alexis had seen Lilly’s worried look before a group of sixth years passed between them, causing her to lost sight of the red haired girl.
Worried that she would get lost, Alexis tried to catch up to the first years who were being lead by one of the older students. She was about to race up to them when someone tapped her on the shoulder. She turned to see the blue eyes of Zack Rowle, a smile spread across Alexis’s lips at seeing a familiar face.
“Wow, Griffindor.” Zack said with an amused smile. “You’re full of surprises… really, Griffindor of all places!”
“Is it really that big of a deal?” Alexis asked, catching the last of the first years turn a corner. Now she really will get lost. “I mean, I really don’t like snakes.”
“What? They are the cutest, cuddliest creatures in the whole world.” Zack grinned. There was a small pause before the two laughed.
“Well, I can’t blame you. It’s a surprised to everyone… but you didn’t seem like a Slytherin type when we first met.” Zack said with a shrug of his shoulders.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Alexis asked in a sarcastic voice, mocking the fake pain she felt.
“Absolutely nothing. It’s a compliment… but, I think you’ll learn about the competition between the houses soon enough. Just try not to let it rule your life.” He said, a warning in his tone. A group of guys called to Zack, the two waved to each other as they parted ways. Alexis upstairs, Zack down.
The corridors quieted down as the students seemed to disappear. It didn’t take long for Alexis to find herself spun around. Usually, she wouldn’t have cared. Alexis wanted to exploring this castle, however, there was a curfew in effect. She didn’t want to be known as the girl who lost her house points the very first night. The portraits along the castle walls saved her from being caught. A portrait of a knight in particular was keen to guide Alexis to her dormitory. She wished him well in his hunt for a dragon as she approached a much larger portrait over the stone wall.
“Password?” The plump woman asked in the portrait asked.
“Ah, password?” Alexis repeated, feeling the dread build up again. She should have known something like this would happen. She had seen such guardians before. There was a stone statue of a fox spirit outside of the girls change rooms back at Kitsune Academy, the password kept by the teachers or coaches. Alexis looked around, knowing her luck wasn’t that good for a professor to walk by at that second.
“No password, no entrance.” The woman said, raising her nose at Alexis.
“I’m sorry… I’m new here.”
“Excuses, excuses. You should have asked a Prefect, or better yet arrived with the other First Years.”
“Oh, take it easy. Signum”
“Accepted.” The Fat Lady said as her portrait swung open to reveal a hole into the common room.
“Thanks.” Alexis said with a sigh. She turned around to see Lilly’s other brother, the one with dark ruffled hair and glasses. He gave her a smile as they stepped over the threshold.
“Your welcome. I was just patrolling the corridors, good thing I found you instead of one of the other prefects. They would have taken points off. I’m Albus.”
“Right, I remember.” Alexis said, Al stopped and take another look at her.
“You’re from the bookstore.” Al said, recalling their past encounter. “We don’t get transfers often and being from Japan… I’m sure you’ll be popular.”
“I’m not looking for popularity.” Alexis said, crestfallen. “But some friends would be nice.”
“You’ll make them, it’s a big school. Anyways, welcome to Griffindor.” He said holding out a hand. Alexis took it with a smile and a nod then watched Albus Potter walk away towards a group of other sixth year students.
The common room was large and circular with wide glass windows against the far side and decorated in the scarlet and gold colours of their sigil. Soft chairs and couches surrounded the fireplaces and other corners of the spacious room. There were also tables and desks where students had gathered to played games before bed. Two staircases lead up in different directions to the actual dormitories. After a few moments of observation she learned which one was the girls.
Alexis wanted to wait for the party to settle down before she headed upstairs. But, it sounded like they would continue all night. She was tired, and felt like an outsider to everyone’s joyful reunion. Pulling herself away from the shadows Alexis stepped across the room. She felt every eye focus on her, the noise died down as people whispered behind her back. Alexis swore she heard the name ‘Rune’ and ‘Dark Arts’ a dozen times before she reached the staircase.
The looks, the whispers, it was all starting to get to Alexis. She wanted to yell at them the truth, that she was raised in Japan and have no connections to any of these family rumours of dark arts. Instead she kept her mouth shut and climbed the stairs to search for her room.
There were several doors, all displaying a year on it. Second Years, Fifth Years, First Years, Bathroom/Shower. Around a curved wall, the dark haired teenager finally found the door she was looking for. Printed in large golden letters was ‘Fourth Year’. With a deep breath, Alexis turned the handle and walked in.
It was larger than she expected. A half circle room with four beds arranged around the curve, a window between each one with three more to Alexis’s left. All had scarlet drapes hanging off their poster bed frames, some were closed, while others were open with girls in her year busy talking to each other. Lilly was among them, so was Amelia who had cut off her words the moment she saw Alexis.
“Hey! I was worried about you.” Lilly shouted bouncing off her bed. “I was trying to persuade Amy to go out to see if you were lost or needed the password. She said you would be fine.”
“I was right, wasn’t I?” Amelia said.
“Actually your brother Al helped me through,” Alexis said. “Before that the portraits helped me out.”
“That’s good.” Lilly said with a sigh. “Oh, let me introduce the others. That’s Zoe McMillian, and Carrie McKinnon, Evelyne and Sarah must still be downstairs, but I’ll introduce them to you later. We’re pretty excited that the sorting hat put you into Griffindor. I mean a Rune! It must be a shock to all the Slytherin’s.” Lilly said with a satisfied grin on her face.
To Alexis’s surprised she found her trunk already brought up and at the foot of her bed, right next to Lilly’s.
“Anyways, if you have questions, or need anything don’t be afraid to ask, the prefects will help too. You already met Al, there’s also Rose, she’s very helpful.”
“Yeah if you don’t get on her bad side.” Amelia added. Lilly sighed but held her tongue.
“I’ll be fine. I can look after myself.” Alexis said with a half smile, unpacking a few things to put into her small bedside cabinet.
“Is that a broom? Do you play Quidditch” Carrie asked. She had shoulder length black hair with bright pink streaks. Alexis looked in the direction she was gazing at. In the corner between two beds stood her bow wrapped in the fine cloth case.
“No, that’s just my bow.”
“Bow?” Zoe asked. “You mean you’re an archer?”
“Well… yes. I’m not a professional yet.”
“Where did you learn?” Lilly asked. The other girls crowded around Alexis with two new faces added to the mix.
“Well, from school really. I started a few years ago. I’ve since practiced at my uncle’s shrine during holidays.” Alexis explained.
“Shrine?” The girls asked in unison.
Alexis mouth opened as her brain frantically tried to figure out how best to explain Shinto Shrines and the services offered to a bunch of teenager girls.
“Lights out!” A call shouted from the hallway. “Bedtime.”
“That’s Rose Weasley.” Evelyne said as everyone moved to their own beds.
“She’s not bad, just don’t break any rules in front of her. She can be nasty at taking points off even if you are in her House.” Carrie explained.
“Told you, Bitch Prefect.” Amelia grumbled.