As Professor McGonagall cleared away the Sorting Hat and the stool, Teddie looked down at her empty plate. She marvelled at her reflection in the surface and placed a hand on her stomach as it grumbled. She hadn't realised how hungry she was. She could remember sharing sweets on the train with Theo, but they seemed hours ago.
"Hey," Theo whispered, nudging her gently.
Teddie looked up and Theo nodded towards the front of the hall. An older man, with a long white beard which was tucked into the front of his robes, and half-moon spectacles was standing behind the teacher's table. He smiled around at them all in a grandfatherly fashion.
"Welcome!" the man called, his voice booming in the silence. "Welcome to another year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!"
He sat back down. Everybody clapped and cheered.
Teddie exchanged an odd look with Theo.
"That was Professor Dumbledore," said a voice behind. Teddie turned to see Marcus Flint had swapped seats with the student that Teddie had originally been sitting next too. "Headmaster of Hogwarts."
"Is he always this… eccentric?" Teddie asked. She didn't want to say the Headmaster was 'mad', even though he came across a such.
Marcus chuckled. "In a way, yes," he said.
Teddie nodded slowly and looked back at her plate. Her eyes widened as, right before her eyes, mountains of food seemed to appear out of nowhere in the middle of the table. And not just anything type of food, but all types of food.
"Bacon!" Teddie squealed, diving for a golden plate. She blushed as those around her chuckled, and she ducked her head to avoid their gaze.
Marcus spooned a healthy helping of potatoes onto his plate and then handed the spoon to Teddie. "Why do I get the impression you aren't used to so much food?" he asked.
"There are some foods that I grow weary of, after eating them so often," Teddie explained. "But then there are some, like bacon, for example, that I could eat for the rest of my life. I'm sure, by the end of the year, I'll grow bored of it. But back home we can't afford bacon for everyday cooking. My brother and I usually only eat it on special occasions."
From across the table, Teddie noticed a pug-faced girl watching her. Her eyes narrowed as Teddie met her gaze. "How can you not afford something as ordinary as bacon?" the girl asked.
"I don't see how my personal life is any business of yours," Teddie snapped back.
If possible, the girl glared harder.
"No arguing at dinner," an authoritative voice cut through the tension. Teddie looked to the left of the girl and saw another, this time older, female, staring at them both. "Parkinson, stop probing, and Green, there is no need to be defensive."
Teddie wanted to argue, but one look from Marcus told her otherwise. Instead, she clamped her mouth shut and went back to her food.
"That's Sierra Waterstone," Marcus said, leaning closer to Teddie. "She's house prefect. The boy sitting next to her, Grayson Farley is also a house prefect. They'll show you to the Slytherin Common room once dinner is over."
Teddie nodded and went back to eating.
Once everyone had eaten their fill, the remains of the food disappeared, leaving them as sparkling clean as they had been before the food appeared. A moment later, they were filled once again, only this time with puddings and cakes.
"Please tell you've at least had pudding before," the girl, Parkinson, asked from across the table again.
Deciding to ignore her this time, Teddie reached for the nearest plate and plucked a jam doughnut from the mix. Beside her, Theo opted for a bowl of strawberry jelly and chocolate ice cream.
"My brother loves chocolate ice cream," Teddie said, breaking into the doughnut and relishing the sweet gooyness as it spread over her tongue.
"You don't?" Theo asked.
Teddie shrugged. "It's not my favourite," she said. "I prefer vanilla. My mother used to say that vanilla lovers are risk-takers. Which fit in perfectly with me given I never back down when challenged." She threw a look across to Parkinson.
The girl sniffed and turned back to talk to the blond haired boy Teddie remembered from the Sorting as Draco Malfoy. He looked up and met her gaze as Parkinson whispered in his ear. He smirked, and Teddie threw him a hard glare from across the apple pies.
"Got something to say, Green?" Malfoy asked.
"Several, actually," Teddie replied. "But I won't say them here."
Draco glared and Blaise snorted into his dessert.
"Do I need to repeat myself," Sierra Waterstone interrupted, eyeing the first years with a look of distaste.
Teddie looked away and reached for the ice cream. She scooped a spoonful of vanilla into a bowl and added a couple of strawberries, jelly, raspberries, bananas, and wafer biscuits.
"So, Green," said Malfoy, peering at Teddie. "Rumour has it you aren't of Pureblood status."
"Seriously, you want to do that now?" Teddie asked, swallowing a mouthful of ice cream. She shivered as it slid down her throat.
Malfoy shrugged. "I'm just curious if you aren't a Pureblood, how did you end up in Slytherin? Only those of noble families are sorted here," he said.
"Clearly, I'm not the only mistake that was made during tonight's Sorting," Teddie answered. "I mean, what could've possessed the Hat to even consider someone like you for such a noble house?"
Malfoy glared, a tinge of pink colouring his otherwise pale face.
"How dare you!" Parkinson shrieked. "My Drakey belongs to the noblest of houses. The Malfoy's."
"Something funny, Green?" Malfoy asked.
"Obviously," said Teddie. "One, that she actually calls you 'Drakey', and two, the fact that you have no idea what constitutes a noble name."
Both Malfoy and Parkinson looked furious. But before they could retort, Sienna Waterstone leaned forward again.
"This is my third warning," Sierra said, shooting the three of them steely glares. "If I have to break you three up, one more time, the consequences will be dire. Do you understand me?"
Teddie, Malfoy, and Parkinson remained silent.
"Good, now finish up," Sienna said, leaning back in her seat. "Dinner ends soon."
With one final glare at one another, Teddie returned to her dessert.
From their seats, Theo, Blaise, and Daphne exchanged nerved looks.
At last, the pudding too disappeared and Professor Dumbledore got to his feet again.
The Hall fell silent.
"Ahem - just a few more words now we're all fed and watered. I have a few start-of-term announcements. First-years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. I have also been asked by Mr Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors. Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch, And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death."
Teddie looked to Theo as very few students around the hall laughed.
"He's joking, right?" Teddie asked Marcus.
Marcus shrugged. "Can't be," he said. "There's never been a place in this castle, other than the forbidden forest, that a student can't go. But what he's got up there, I don't know."
Teddie turned back to Dumbledore.
"And now, bedtime! Off you trot!"
Sierra Waterstone and Grayson Farley stood.
"First years," Sierra called, her steely grey gaze sweeping over Teddie and friends, as well as Malfoy, Parkinson, and another Slytherin girl, Millicent Bulstrode. "You will follow Grayson and me out of the hall. We'll take you to our common room." She strode away from the table.
The others followed and Teddie turned to Marcus. "Aren't you coming too?" she asked.
"Older students usually hang back to give first years the chance to reach the common room first," Marcus explained. "Go ahead. I'll see you downstairs."
Teddie nodded and left with Theo.
For the first five minutes, the Slytherin and Hufflepuff first years walked in silence along corridors, and downstairs, leading themselves further and further away from the interactions of the upper castle. Soon they parted, and the Hufflepuff's went on their own way down a right-hand corridor as the Slytherins continued on.
"Is it me, is it getting colder?" Teddie asked, wrapping her arms around herself. She shivered but trudged on.
"Didn't your brother tell you that the Slytherin dorms were in the dungeons?" Theo asked. "It's supposed to be cold down here. Plus, we're under the black lake."
Teddie's eyes widened at the revelation of information. "So you mean, if we look outside, we'll see creatures of the deep?" she asked.
"Supposedly, yes," Theo nodded.
Theo smiled and followed Daphne and Blaise, both of whom were ahead of himself and Teddie, down another flight of stairs. Suddenly they came to a halt, and over the heads of the other first years, Theo could see they'd stopped in front of a giant portrait.
"Miss Waterstone, Mr Farlay," the portrait said.
"Hello, Headmaster," Sierra replied. "First years," she turned to the eleven-year-olds, "this is Headmaster Slytherin. One of the founders of Hogwarts, and the protector of our dormitories. Every time you wish to enter, he will ask you for a password, this changes every two weeks so keep an eye on the common room noticeboard. For the next two weeks, the password will be Dasypeltis scabra."
Teddie smirked as she recognised the term, although she seemed to be the only first-year who did. "It's another word for snake," she whispered to Theo, Daphne, and Blaise.
Upon hearing the password, Salazar Slytherin swung open and the group filed inside.
The room beyond was lit by an emerald green glow. For a place that was located beneath a huge body of water, and deep within the remnants of the castle, a fire flickered to life in the grate and a warm glow bathed the room. Teddie felt warmer, and better as she followed Theo further inside.
"Everyone find a place to sit," Grayson called. "The other Slytherins and Professor Snape shall be joining us soon."
The first years all scrambled to sit on the black leather sofas. Daphne and Blaise claimed one as their own, saving two seats for Theo and Teddie, and shushing Parkinson and Malfoy away as they tried to sit down,
"Excuse me!" Parkinson shrieked as Teddie folded her legs beneath her, and settled comfortably into the corner of the sofa.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Teddie said, looking up. "How rude of me. Of course, you're excused."
Daphne, Blaise, and Theo scoffed with amusement as Parkinson looked ready to explode.
"What is the problem now?" Sierra asked, approaching. She did not look pleased that it was Parkinson and Teddie arguing again.
"She does not belong in that chair!" Parkinson said, pointing a slender finger in Teddie's face. "She barely belongs in this house. If she's going to insist staying here, the least she could do is show respect to those of us who do belong, and move."
Teddie's hands curled into fists. "Excuse you!" she snapped before Sierra could intervene. "Who is 'she' when she's at home? My name is Teddie, alright? If you can't have the decency to call me by my name, then please don't talk to me at all. Fact of the matter remains, is that I was chosen for this house, just like yourself, if you have a problem with that then take it up with the headmaster, or the Sorting Hat, but don't think, for one second, that just because I'm a Muggleborn that you can push me around."
The common room was silent. The first years were staring at both Parkinson and Teddie, Grayson looked unsure of how to proceed, and Sierra looked furious beyond belief. The portrait had opened for the second time, and the older students had started to file in, they too fell silent as they sensed the tension inside the common room.
"Not even here a day, Miss Green, and already picking fights," said a smooth, calculating voice.
Professor Snape had arrived.
"Of course not, Professor," said Teddie, her gaze remained locked in a glare with Parkinson. "Just refusing to let myself be pushed around by some privileged brat who thinks she owns the world."
A slight murmur broke the silence.
"Professor, I'm terribly sorry," Sierra said. "These two have been fighting since the feast. I have warned them several times. I -"
"I do not blame you, Miss Waterstone," Professor Snape said, cutting her off. "But if Miss Green and Miss Parkinson do not wish to find themselves in detention before even starting the school year, I must insist that they both sit down!"
One glare from Snape was all it took for Teddie to back down. She tore her gaze away from Parkinson and glared into the flickering flames of the fireplace.
"Now," said Professor Snape. He glided over to an empty armchair and sat down. The rest of the Slytherins pulled up chairs, tables, and some even took up vacant spots on the floor. "First and foremost, welcome first years to the Slytherin house. No matter how strange you believe the selection process to have been, the fact remains you were all chosen for a reason, be it determination, cunning, ambition, or even resourcefulness."
Teddie felt a glare burning into the side of her skull. She knew it was Parkinson, but she refused to look. She wasn't sure if she could keep herself quiet if she did meet the other girl's gaze again.
Feeling a hand on her wrist, Teddie looked at Theo and smiled weakly. His comfort was a welcomed force, especially since most of the first years hated her already. She just hoped that she would be able to keep his friendship, and not scare him off with her strong personality traits.
"It is true that the reputation of a Slytherin is hardly encouraging," Snape continued. "You will find that the other houses will try to steer clear of you, even take advantage. Trust in your housemates will prevent this. I do not care what problems you have whilst in the common rooms and dormitories, but once you step outside that door, you subjected to defending one another, am I clear?"
His gaze swept between Parkinson and Teddie.
"Yes, Professor Snape," the Slytherin's chorused.
Teddie finally met Parkinson's gaze, her eyes hardening into a steely glare. There was no way she was defending the pug-faced brat against outsiders, she didn't care how much trouble she got into, especially since it was clear that Parkinson had no intention of defending her.
"And finally, there is a curfew set at Hogwarts," Professor Snape said. "No student is to be outside of their common room after hours, no exceptions. However, inside this house, I have my own curfews. First-years are to be in bed by ten thirty, every evening. Second-Fourth years, by eleven, and Fifth-Sixth years eleven thirty, and Seventh-years midnight, at the latest. You will do well to respect and adhere to these rules. Punishment for breaking these rules can be quite severe, do I make myself clear?"
"Yes, Professor Snape," the students chorused again.
"Good. Miss Waterstone, Mr Farlay, I shall leave it to you."
As Snape swept from the room, Sierra turned back to the students. "It's now ten twenty-five," she said, checking her wristwatch. "First Years, if you'll follow me, I'll show you where you're sleeping. As for the rest of you, it's the first day of term tomorrow, it will do you all well to get some sleep."
Sierra filed out of the room, taking the first years with her. She led them through a door on the left and stopped at the foot of a staircase. "Boys dormitories on the first floor on the right," she said, pointing up. "Girls', same on your left. You'll find all your belongings have already been brought down."
"Can we pick and choose who we share a room with?" Parkinson asked.
"No, you cannot," Sierra said. "Whatever problems you have with any of your housemates, Miss Parkinson, will be dealt with now. After tonight, we're all part of the same family. We treat each other with the respect deserved."
"Bed, now, all of you!" Sierra said, interrupting Parkinson. She swept past the small group and returned to the common room. She'd given her information and instructions, if they got lost in their own dormitories then it would be their own fault, not hers.
With a huff, Parkinson climbed the stairs with Millicent in tow. Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle also headed up to their room leaving Daphne, Theo, Blaise, and Teddie behind.
"You never told us you had a temper," Blaise said to Teddie.
"I was hoping to keep it hidden for as long as possible," Teddie admitted. "My temper often gets me in trouble, as you saw with Professor Snape. His threat of detention won't stay a threat for long, at least not with me."
"I don't think I've ever seen someone stand up to Pansy before," Daphne said. "I've definitely not seen anyone call her a privileged brat."
Blaise grinned. "You've got balls, Green, that's for sure," he agreed. "With personality traits like that, it's a wonder the Sorting Hat didn't stall between Slytherin and Gryffindor. Bravery is a Gryffindor trait, after all."
Teddie shrugged. "If given the choice, I'd probably have chosen Slytherin anyway," she said. "I didn't like the sound of Gryffindor's reputation when Mason told me about it. They seem like a bunch of heroes, and I don't believe in heroes."
Blaise chortled. "You're definitely in the right place," he grinned. "It's going to be an interesting year. On that note, I'm going to bed. Theo?"
"I'll be right up," Theo said.
Blaise nodded and headed up to his dorm room.
Daphne smiled at Teddie.
"I'm right behind you," Teddie said.
Daphne nodded and started upstairs.
Teddie turned to Theo. "Thanks," she said.
"For being my friend."
Theo smiled and shrugged. "Thanks for being mine," he said.
The two parted ways and headed up their separate stairways to bed.