It had finally come for the first day at Hogwarts to arrive. Theodore had never felt any happier. The passing months dragged on for so long that he didn't even acknowledge his own birthday. The 6th of April was quicker than the blink of an eye to Theodore, although Louise had made it quite memorable as to baking a small cake for him with Madam Geoffrey.
During this long period, Theodore had extensively gone over the majority of his books reading the various spells that he would learn at Hogwarts, and learning the significant events that shaped the wizarding world today. He had come across many names that were familiar to him; such as the legendary duel between Dumbledore and the dark wizard Grindelwald which happened around Dumbledore's prime. From eye witnesses alone, it was said that no duel, before or after, could even come close. Theodore had to admit that he was slightly impressed by this, only because he hadn't seen Dumbledore since their trip to Diagon Alley.
Another name that was familiar to him was Harry Potter. Hermione had mentioned him when she was going on about herself. According to the books, a powerful evil wizard who had terrorised the wizarding world was vanquished by this 'Harry Potter' when he was only just a baby.
'What self-proclaimed Dark Lord allows himself to be defeated by a mere baby? How pathetic.'
Harry was dubbed 'The Boy Who Lived' by everyone else, but was removed from the public to live with his Muggle relatives somewhere, as he was orphaned on that very night. Seemed sad enough, but he heard that all before.
Gretchen's oddly nice-looking car was parked in front of the orphanage with the boot wide open. All of Theodore's new school supplies were stuffed in the back as Gretchen struggled to keep it closed. Theodore was in his bedroom making sure that he had collected every single important item that he would take with him. It would infuriate him if he had forgotten just one thing. He opened his draw and picked up Louise's necklace and pocketed it carefully. Maybe she was right about it helping him remember her. He closed it shut and walked over to the door to leave. As he swung it open, Louise was standing behind the doorway with her hands behind her back, and a face full of sadness. Her green eyes stood out from her red face, and her hair was tied in a ponytail. Theodore had almost thought that she looked… pretty. Theodore was about to ask her something when she cut him off.
"You don't forget me, okay!? Because if you will, I'll… come to your stupid school and… and…"
She tiptoed as she threw her arms around Theodore's neck. He could hear her sob a little bit and held her closer as well. Even though he wasn't going to cry, his heart felt like it was ready to ache the second he would step outside the orphanage. Louise was the only person he would consider family in his life over there, and he was leaving her. This was truly a day of joy and dread. She cried some more on his chest until he 'pushed' her off in the most gentle way possible. She wiped her tears while she maintained a smile for self-reassurance.
"I'll come back on Christmas, I promise."
"It's okay, you don't have to."
"Oh please, I know you'll want me back by then," he sarcastically remarked.
Louise gave an adorable snicker to which even Theodore could not resist. "You better get down there. Gretchen looked pretty angry when she was putting your stuff in her boot."
"And what's even worse is that I have to go to King's Cross with her."
"You'll manage. It's only like, what, forty minutes away?" she retorted as she pretended to look at a watch on her wrist. They both laughed as they walked out of the room and to the front of the building.
As Theodore carried on through the door, Louise stopped at the doorway to watch her best friend leave. Gretchen had managed to close the boot and was seated on the driver's side with a look of hatred in her eyes. She really didn't want to be the person to do this. Theodore opened the backseat door on the left and sat down on the soft leather seat which was surprisingly springy. The scent of the car was the exact opposite of Gretchen's; Theodore was reminded of apples and a strong scent of pine cones. He strapped the seatbelt on and turned to Louise who looked like she was about to cry again. Theodore stuck his finger in his mouth and pretended to poke it inside Gretchen's ear who took no notice. Louise held her stomach in laughter while she waved goodbye. The car pulled away from the orphanage and soon enough, it disappeared from his sight. Suddenly, an attachment that was strong inside his heart loosened. How odd.
The journey to King's Cross Station was awkward and disgusting to Theodore. He knew that Gretchen deliberately sped up at every speed bump to try and damage any of his things. He swore that when he came back, he'd curse her for all the grief that she had caused him. The traffic was minimal, which allowed the quickest route possible to escape the uncomfortable setting.
Around fifteen minutes later, the car pulled over to King's Cross Station where it was even more crowded than Diagon Alley. They both opened their respective car doors and walked around to the back of the car. As the boot door was lifted, Theodore checked thoroughly to see if any type of damage was inflicted onto his belongings. Luckily for Gretchen, there wasn't a single one in sight.
The woman had went off to get a luggage trolley while Theodore stood silently. He tapped his thigh in boredom as he counted the passing cars that were painted red. A grunt from Gretchen caught his attention as she transferred his things to the trolley. Obviously, he would have to push it himself. They walked themselves into the building and up to the platforms. Theodore had never seen a train before in his life; the feeling of the locomotives' weight rumbling throughout the ground gave him a slight tingle in his spine. He had never been so far out from the orphanage in his life. It was all so surreal for him.
"So, I suppose you know where to go," Gretchen spoke.
"Yeah, Platform 9¾."
"Are you trying to get smart with me after I drove you over here? There's no such thing as Platform 9¾!"
"But that's what it said on my acceptance letter…" Theodore muttered despairingly as he gripped the handlebar tightly.
Gretchen squealed as she laughed. Theodore cringed.
"Then perhaps that old man was pulling your leg after all! That is hilarious!"
"You can leave now."
Gretchen sneered and mumbled underneath her breath as she turned to leave the boy alone. Theodore was now alone in King's Cross Station with no idea as to how to get to Platform 9¾. It seemed like a stupid idea, but checking out Platforms 9 and 10 could be a start.
He wheeled his trolley over to the platforms and halted. Nothing odd happened. No magic train had burst from the ground; no sudden change of his surroundings. He was beginning to wonder if he was really in the right place. 'Maybe it's downstairs… No, that's stupid.'
He looked around for anyone else who was seemingly looking for the same platform, but nobody batted an eye. He looked up at the two signs with '9' and '10', and looked down on the pillar between the two. The platform was apparently between them, so it had to be around this area. A guard discreetly glanced at the boy's clueless nature. He stood right next to the pillar that Theodore was looking at and turned his head slowly to face the boy. Theodore caught him staring and narrowed his eyes. There was something off about this man. The guard then tilted his head at the pillar as if he wanted Theodore to go… through it? The idea was absurd! Just as absurd as the idea of magic… which was real.
He was going to do it. He was going to ram straight through that wall, and there could only be two certain outcomes. He gripped the handlebar of the trolley tight and readied his legs to gain a good running start. He slowly counted down from three, two, one, and he was off! He charged towards the wall with all the strength that his legs could muster. The wall was getting closer and closer. He wanted to stop out of fear of crashing and embarrassing himself, but his legs wouldn't allow it. Theodore approached the wall quicker and quicker until there was but an inch between the pillar and the front of his trolley.
What he expected to be slamming his face straight into the wall was replaced by total blackness, followed by a completely different area. It was a train platform sure enough, but it wasn't any train platform that he'd seen before. The platform was full of children and parents shouting amongst each other as the magnificent red train that was present shook and whistled loudly.
Theodore slowly moved his trolley to the further end parts of the platform where most of the other people were. From the looks of it, it seemed as if he was the only parentless child there. One of the train guards saw him alone and rushed to his side to help him. The man was kind enough as to load his luggage into the train and to take his trolley away. Theodore was glad that he wasn't going to push around his stuff for the whole journey. He looked up at the sign above his head to verify his location and sure enough, 9¾ was hung high up.
He sighed in relief that he was not lost and had finally made it. He scoured around the platform to see if Hermione had made it here before him. Theodore couldn't see her, but many other people stood out from the crowds. A boy, probably his age, with neat blonde hair was speaking with his father who had the same coloured hair, and his mother, also blonde. They were all dressed in expensive black clothes which could only mean that they were from a high class family. Probably pure-bloods. Another set of a larger family caught his attention too. They all had fiery-red hair and rough clothes compared to the blonde family. They all looked the same except for one boy. His hair was messy and jet-black. He had circular-rimmed glasses and wore a shirt and trousers that looked too baggy on him.
Theodore turned away and found an opening for students to enter the train. A large queue formed around it and Theodore was, unfortunately, at the very back. Surprisingly, it was not long until he made it on the train and into the compacted hallways. Many children of different ages ran into different compartments and slammed the doors shut. The lonely boy passed each door that was closed with nobody willing to invite him in; although a compartment full of girls almost closed the door as Theodore passed them, but kept it open for just a bit to gawk at him. The passing boy was very handsome indeed. The girls all gave him flirtatious waves as he hurried off, flustered. He heard them giggle behind him before they shut their compartment door. He slipped into an open compartment and sat down quickly. Open attention from girls was very new to him.
A pudgy blonde boy sat opposite from him as he watched Theodore with an awkward smile. He was round-faced and buck toothed, and Theodore could easily tell that this boy did not posses any self-esteem, through mere eye contact.
"Hi! My name is Neville Longbottom! Pleased to meet you!" At least he was polite.
"Cool. Are you a first year?"
Theodore nodded his head.
"Me too. I can't wait to get there! My grandmother had told me all about it! They said that house-elves actually make the food for us. Isn't that wicked?"
"What House do you think you might be in? My family's hoping that I get into Gryffindor, but I know that Hufflepuff is calling for me."
"Slytherin, maybe," Theodore replied without hesitation. From what he heard about the House, he was sure that he belonged there, disregarding its fairly bad reputation.
Neville grimaced at the word. "Ooh, I've heard about that House. A lot of dark wizards and witches were in Slytherin. Even You-Know-Who."
"Voldemort went to Hogwarts?" asked Theodore with curiosity.
Neville jumped as if he had been poked with an iron fork. "You said his name!"
"So? Nothing is going to happen."
"But still. You said it! Aren't you scared of him?"
Theodore gave his iconic scoff, replying with, "I don't see why anybody should be scared of a wizard who was defeated by a baby. If I were him, I'd stay hidden forever."
"Grandma said he did really bad things when he was strong. Of course, he's probably gone right now, but he might still be out there. At least that's what my grandma says." Neville looked pale from speaking about the subject and looked out the window. Another whistle blew and the train shuddered before slowly moving forward.
Theodore also looked out the window to see the station slowly moving away further and further. The train began to pick up more speed as it hurried along the tracks, increasing in acceleration. Boredom had gotten the better of Theodore as he had wished that something or someone would happen to appear right about-
"Excuse me? Can I stay in here? The other compartments are- Oh hiya, Theodore!" Hermione stood at the sliding door with her hair still bushy as ever. She was already wearing her school uniform under her robes which was neat from her socks to the position of her purely black tie. She sat herself next to Neville who was shy to see her.
"The last time I saw you was ages ago! What have you been up to?" she asked.
"Nothing really. All I did was read my books over and over again."
"So did I. I practiced a few spells myself at home. Of course, I wasn't allowed to, but I wasn't really a Hogwarts student back then, was I? How about you?"
"Somebody would've heard me in my orphanage, so I didn't bother trying," Theodore said casually as he leaned back comfortably. The only words that she heard was 'my orphanage'.
"You're an orphan?" Hermione asked quietly. Neville looked invested in the conversation as he looked at Theodore with a mixture of slight shock and sympathy. Or was it empathy; Theodore could barely tell.
"Yeah. Everything I remember was in my orphanage. I have no clue as to how my parents died. Well, except for my dad, and I barely have an idea about that as well."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"Not your fault."
An old woman with a trolley of treats passed by their compartment, chanting in a sing-song manner. Neville reached inside his pockets and pulled out a few Galleons. Hermione followed suit.
"Excuse me, miss!" Hermione called out.
The lady backed up and smiled to the children. "Anything off the trolleys, dears?"
The two picked handfuls of sweets and chocolates from the trolleys until they had enough to fill a school bag. Neville opened up Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans and chewed on one before spitting it back out. Hermione had purchased some Liquorice Wands and Pumpkin Pasties, to which she thoroughly enjoyed. Theodore was feeling a bit jealous that they had money to spend while he had nothing.
"Anything for you, dear?" the old witch asked Theodore. He shook his head and turned to the window. He kept his head like that until he felt a tap on his thigh. Hermione had Jelly Slugs in her hand and passed them over to Theodore with a smile. He happily accepted and joined the feast of confectionery with his newest wizard and witch friend.
"I can't find him!"
Neville was panicking. He had just lost his pet toad, Trevor, and could not see him anywhere. Neither Hermione or Theodore had seen the creature anywhere and would've left earlier if they were aware about it.
"This is the second time this week! Grandma is going to do a number on me, I know it!"
"Calm down, Neville, and we will find you your toad!" Hermione sternly stated. Neville nodded obediently. "Now, you boys check inside here. I'll go see if Trevor is in any of the other compartments." Hermione walked out the door and to the left without hearing any objections that the boys had. Not that they had any. They looked above and below for the toad but couldn't see him.
Theodore was tired of searching hopelessly for Trevor and sat back down. "Neville, we might as well wait until the train stops at Hogwarts. Maybe he'll appear then."
Neville was instantly disheartened. "But… He… Alright." He sat down in the opposite seat and slumped like he was defeated. This was the reason why Theodore did not get a pet. It would only cause nothing but trouble. They continued to lay about until the door slid open once more. Hermione came in looking excited.
"Did you know that Harry Potter is on the train? And sorry Neville, Trevor didn't turn up anywhere." The boy couldn't catch a break. "I've spoken to the driver and he said that we're almost there, so I would suggest you'd put your uniforms on soon."
"Why did you wear your uniform anyways?" Neville asked.
"So that nobody would see me change. Now get a move on!"
The boys looked up at the shelves above them and recognised their own bags. How they found their way inside would remain unanswered. It took them a few minutes to change (obviously somewhere away from Hermione) into their uniforms. Theodore was busy finding a place to tuck his wand in while Hermione helped Neville to fix his tie. The uniform was so much better than his old one, which had several holes and stains. The trio chatted some more about which House was the best until the train began to slow down steadily. The evening had rolled through as the sky had darkened to a beautiful shade of a rich purple. The train had finally stopped, and Neville and Hermione walked out of the compartment door along with the other excitable children.
"Where are you going, your stuff are still…" Theodore looked up to see vacant shelves. He facepalmed at his foolishness and ran after the two to catch up. As they walked along the platform adjacent to the train, Theodore was surrounded by other students who huddled all together. He wanted to spread his arms to create more space for himself, but it would be no use; there were too many of them. He carried on walking with the crowd till he found himself unable to move any further. A towering hairy man with a rough coat that looked like a deer was slung over him, barricaded everyone to force them to stop.
"'Ello everybody! Welcome to 'Ogwarts! My name is Rubeus Hagrid, an' I'm the gamekeeper o' the castle, so yeh migh' see me all over the place."
Theodore looked over to the blonde boy he saw from before snickering and pointing at Hagrid. Two bigger boys, who were quite monstrous, copied like monkeys.
"Now, since yeh're all firs' years, we're gonna take the boats across the lake, so find yerselves in groups o' three and come along!"
Theodore tiptoed above the crowd to see if Hermione and Neville were anywhere to be found, but he had no luck. He didn't want to seem insistent on being with them all the time, so he instead found somebody else. He sat on one boat and noticed that it didn't have any oars or anything to propel it forward. The boat shook a bit as the same blond boy sat behind him, followed by one of his burly friends. The other looked angry that he was left behind, but went to find another boat to join. Theodore saw Hagrid scrambling onto a larger boat which was in front of everybody else's. Once everybody had gotten on, the fleet of the wooden boats moved forward without any apparent source of power. Theodore sat silently in front of the boat, gazing upon the gargantuan castle that was lit up at variant places by torches and the moon above. It was a splendid sight. Truly splendid.
Theodore turned around. The blonde boy had his hand stuck out to him. "I've seen you before. The name's Draco Malfoy. This one here is Crabbe."
Theodore shook the hand without hesitation. "My name is Theodore Riddle."
"Riddle? Haven't heard that name before. You a Muggle-born?"
Theodore heard some disdain in Draco's voice when he said Muggle-born. "Half-blood, actually."
"Hmph. Suppose that's better. With a name like that, I thought you were a Mudblood."
Crabbe cackled, earning some turning heads.
"What's a... Mudblood?" Theodore probably had an idea as to what it meant.
"Muggle-borns. They're not really magic. They're just some Muggles who managed to get lucky. Personally, it's insulting that I have to go school with them. My father was going to send me somewhere else where Mudbloods aren't allowed, but my mother said no."
Theodore twitched. Was he suggesting that they were 'superior' to Muggles and Muggle-borns alike? He couldn't see himself above Louise or Hermione. This boy seemed like bad news.
"So, do you have any siblings in the school?"
"I'm the only child."
"I hear that."
Theodore turned away from Draco and looked over the black horizon. He really didn't want to carry on the conversation. Not that he needed to. Draco was scolding Crabbe about something, finally leaving Theodore alone.
The boats pulled up to a dock of some sorts, and the masses of children clumped together once again. They all followed Hagrid to the massive arched doors that would lead into the castle. They walked through it and entered the front hall which seemed too big for Theodore to comprehend. The nonexistent ceiling; the grand torches that burned brightly on the walls, all of it made the place look like a palace. The main stairway was polished marble, and ascended to the higher floors of the castle. Theodore traced it from the bottom step and upwards till he saw somebody. An older witch dressed in emerald green, and a face that seemed to not allow any type of tolerance walked down the steps gracefully. She had a pointed hat that was tilted to the side, and her greyish-black hair was tied into a bun.
"Welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! I am Professor McGonagall, the Deputy Headmistress and Transfiguration teacher. You will be shortly sorted into your Houses that will remain throughout your time at Hogwarts. Please remain quiet and follow me to the Great Hall." McGonagall spun on her heels and walked forward, prompting everyone else to follow her in an orderly fashion.
The Great Hall was in itself, self explanatory. Wide and high with torches on the sides, and levitating candles that nearly touched the ceiling. The ceiling itself looked like it was enchanted to look like the starry night, dotted with small white flashes. The first years walked along the Hall beside the extensive tables to which the older students occupied. Everyone was silent. Only the pounding of feet hitting the stone floor could be heard.
Theodore lifted his head above to see what was in front of them and saw the table of teachers with Dumbledore right in the middle. He was now wearing a long purple robe similar to McGonagall's and a purple pointed hat to match. Even the other teachers were dressed like that.
McGonagall stepped up to a lifted platform and held out her hand to stop everyone from invading the front area. As she talked about the typical introductory process, Theodore craned his head around to look for a familiar face. He couldn't see Neville, but a bush of brown hair could be seen in front of him. He tapped the shoulder and Hermione swivelled around. She gave him a smile before turning back to McGonagall. In front of Hermione was a red headed boy and another with messy black hair. They were whispering about something to do with the red head's family.
"And now, we proceed with the Sorting! When I call out your name, you sit here and put on the Hat. Abbot, Hannah!"
A girl from the side walked around the crowd and stood up upon the stage. She then sat down on a wooden stool and was placed an old tattered hat on her head. Theodore could've sworn that he saw it move on its own…
A few seconds passed and suddenly the hat cried "Hufflepuff!", and the table on the middle-right erupted in a cheer. Hannah skipped over as her uniform suddenly gained some yellow and black trails.
"Hufflepuff!" Susan accompanied Hannah as her uniform did the same thing. McGonagall waited for the cheers to die down before calling another.
"Ravenclaw!" He walked to the table on the middle-left while being congratulated by others.
Mandy Brocklehurst went to Ravenclaw; Lavender Brown went to Gryffindor, and Millicent Bulstrode was the first Slytherin. Theodore glanced over to the lot as he saw their faces. Sharp, dark-haired and pale skin. If he didn't know any better then he would think that that was his destined house.
More of them passed until Hermione was called up. She was obviously excited as she nearly galloped over. She stuck the hat on her mane quite brashly, and was sorted into Gryffindor. Underneath the wild applause, he could hear the red headed boy groan. What was his problem? Theodore was not interested by the others until he heard Neville's name.
"I'm coming! I'm coming!" Neville tripped on his way to the stool, but regained his balance. He plopped himself on the chair and placed the hat on his head. It had taken a while for the hat to decide as Neville winced at the outcome.
The Gryffindor table clapped and chuckled as Neville ran towards them with the hat. Theodore smirked at his absent-mindedness. He really didn't care which House he was placed in as long as it wasn't Hufflepuff… or Ravenclaw. Okay, he really did care. They did not suit him in the slightest. Even Gryffindor seemed far-fetched. At Slytherin, maybe he'd feel like home. He once read that the Founder of Slytherin House, Salazar Slytherin, could speak to snakes as well. It couldn't be a coincidence if he was sorted there.
"Malfoy, Draco!" Draco strutted to the seat and was instantly sorted into Slytherin the second the hat touched his head. He smugly walked over to the table with his friends patting him on the back. No name of interest came by until the one he had heard for so long.
"Potter, Harry!" Everyone turned their heads. Silence was imminent. Nobody moved except the spectacled black-haired boy.
'So that's Harry Potter? Looks normal to me.'
Harry looked nervous, but was trying not to show it. He slowly lowered himself on the stool and the hat was placed on his head. His eyes were shut as he was contemplating about something. Something that he didn't want to happen. Theodore could almost see that perfectly. The hat moved some more until it bellowed its final decision.
The table exploded with noise as everyone there cheered as loudly as they could. Harry was given a standing ovation as he awkwardly took off the hat and walked over to the table. The red headed twins chanted as they slapped him on the back. Harry really was famous; no doubt about that.
The applause carried on for some time until it died down. Theodore's stomach was turning. He was starting to feel sick. Could they not just give them a letter to tell them which House they were in instead? The surnames of 'Q' were all finished, and McGonagall looked down the scroll in her hands.
Dumbledore leaned in as did another teacher clad in black. Theodore swallowed and slowly walked to the stool. Everyone traced his every movement from his feet to his twisted fingers. He reached the stool and sat down gently while McGonagall placed the hat on his head. It was too wide and covered most of his vision, leaving him to see almost nothing. But the hat was quick in its decision and shouted the House that Theodore would be placed in for the whole of his time at Hogwarts.
The Slytherin table started to applaud loudly, but stopped when they realised that the hat hesitated. McGonagall was shocked to see this happen. The teachers behind him whispered and hissed with each other while the students were drowned in confusion. Theodore was confused as well.
'Why won't you choose, dammit?! Just say Slytherin!'
'It's not that easy, child.'
Theodore's heart thudded. The hat just spoke to him. In his mind. 'W-Why is it not that easy?'
'I see the very traits of Salazar Slytherin himself within. I can see that clearly, but… there is something underneath. Something… odd. Something that the founder lacked.'
Theodore lifted the hat slightly to see everyone else. He wished he hadn't. He glanced over to the Gryffindor table and saw Hermione. Her face had anxiety all over it. If one could look closely, her fingers were crossed tightly.
'I've never seen something like you. You're too… different from the others. From 'him'. You won't fit in there. As much cunning and ambition that you possess… Yes. You'd better be in-'
Whistles and claps were made from Gryffindor as Theodore took the hat off rather disappointedly. What in fresh hell was the hat talking about; he absolutely deserved to be in Slytherin! It was a mistake, it had to be! He looked down on his jumper to see scarlet and golden trails appear with his tie turning into a striped design of the same colours. He handed the hat back to McGonagall and walked over to his table. The Slytherins peered over to him, clearly interested as to why this boy was denied entry for Slytherin. He sat down next to Harry, and was opposite Hermione who was joyful to see him there.
"For a second there, I thought you were going to Slytherin! Guess the hat made the right decision in the nick of time, huh?"
He gave her a half-assed smile and turned to the remaining students. The red headed boy, who was called Ronald Weasley, was sorted into Gryffindor and sat among them with his older brothers. They all seemed glad that he was there. The rest of the students were sorted into their Houses and the hat was taken away.
Dumbledore stood up with a large smile across his face. He seemed to enjoy this ceremony very much. "Welcome," he called. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words."
Theodore widened his eyes as the old man babbled absolute nonsense.
"He's the Headmaster of the school, but does not act like it. How was he even considered?"
"Oh, stop complaining, Theodore. Have some sausage," Hermione replied.
"Sausage? What sausage?" He looked down. Plates of food were stretched all across the table. Plates of roasted chicken, beef and potatoes, bacon, sweetcorn, sausages and pork chops, mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, sliced potatoes with gravy on the side, carrots, peas, Yorkshire pudding and a bowl of mint humbugs that were left untouched in the middle. Theodore didn't question how the food appeared and started at the sweetcorn. He piled his plate up with food as did Harry and Ron. The three boys ate like starved wolves. Theodore didn't say anything until Ron spoke up, with a mouthful of food.
"'Eodore, is it? 'Ow do you do, I'm Ron."
Theodore swallowed before responding. "Hi," he said in a monotone.
"'At was qui' the sow over there en the Sortin' 'At paused-"
Hermione elbowed him. "Don't you have any manners? Close your mouth when you eat." Ron shrugged and carried on eating.
"The Sorting Hat was probably bewitched to sort me into Gryffindor," Theodore said coldly.
"Don't say that, I'm sure it knew what it was doing. It's usually never wrong."
"Yeah! I mean, look! My whole family was in Gryffindor, so it would make sense as to why you're here."
"As far as I know, none of my parents were in Gryffindor."
"Who were your parents?"
Hermione elbowed Ron again, this time much harder.
Theodore picked at his food. Any mention of his parents and he'd suddenly go silent. He wasn't like that in the orphanage. He didn't really want to know about them yet now that he knew their names, he craved for more. Tom Riddle and Valerie Potter… Potter. He turned his head to Harry. Harry was talking to one of Ron's brothers. Theodore thought stupidly of himself as he didn't make the connection before. His mother's surname and Harry's were the same! That meant that they were connected somehow! Suddenly, being in Gryffindor almost didn't seem that bad. Almost.
"So, you're the famous Harry Potter?"
Harry turned his head and scratched his unkept hair. "I guess so. You're Theodore, right? I'm Harry, but you already knew that," Harry said shyly as he rubbed his elbow.
"I heard that you lived with Muggles for your entire life."
"Yeah," replied Harry in an almost sullen tone.
"Same here. I didn't know about any of this until a few months ago."
"I didn't know a thing until my birthday. Hagrid came to me when I was away with my family."
"Better late than never. I couldn't wait to leave for Hogwarts. I hated it over there." This wasn't the whole truth however.
Harry leaned in to whisper something in his ear. "You think you've got it bad? My bedroom is inside a cupboard underneath the staircase!"
"Okay, you have me beat. But nothing compares to the food at my orphanage. We'd have pea soup every Saturday night, and it was horrible!"
"Oh. You're an orphan too…"
Theodore shrugged and went back to his food. His objective was already in motion. Befriending Harry would allow him to find out more about his parentage on his mother's side, and just what the Sorting Hat meant when it said that he wouldn't fit into Slytherin. He carried on eating as the ghosts floated around the hall, conversing with the children. One particular ghost called Nearly-Headless Nick was Gryffindor's respective one who rambled on about how the executioner did not do a great job at cutting his head off. The sight of it was gruesome enough to almost put Theodore and Hermione off their food. Nevertheless, the children still held their conversations strong and talked about their various backgrounds and magical mishaps. Neville's was quite amusing.
The food was replaced by the desserts and they tucked into them as well. Theodore was enjoying a scrumptious strawberry tart when he heard Harry slap his forehead and grunt in pain.
"Are you alright, Harry," Ron's older brother, Percy asked. Harry nodded and the two carried on talking. The desserts vanished and Dumbledore gave some first-term notices, most which seemed like severe warnings, and excused them all to bed. Percy waved at the first-years to follow him, and guided them outside the Great Hall. Full could not describe how Theodore felt. He was scared that he would fall over and pass out on the cold floor at any second. He, along with the other first-years, approached a staircase and hurried up on it, eager to go to bed. They passed the moving paintings on the walls, the poltergeist Peeves who was threatened by Percy, and reached a painting of a fat woman dressed eloquently.
"Password," she asked in a posh manner.
The painting swung open. A hole in the wall led to the Gryffindor common room, which was warm and soothing. The heat from the burning fire made the children even more tired. They were led to their dorms with the boys on the left and the girls on the right. A spiral staircase connected the main room with the dorms as all the boys found their beds. Theodore's was in between Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas. He changed into his pyjamas and flopped into his large four-poster bed, sinking inside its plushness. He didn't bother to go under the sheets; this bed was far more comfortable than the one at home. He half-expected somebody to prod his face or pull his feet, but no such thing happened. He momentarily opened his eyes as the realisation of Louise being miles and miles away had hit him. And in a long, long time, Theodore was restless and could not sleep at all.
Some stuff were skipped over due to how dragging it felt for me and I did another long chapter so yay me. Also a little heads up for the upcoming chapters: Theodore is going to gain a lot of connections with other people, not necessarily relationships. Just keep watch :)
PS: Some chapters will be shortened, chopped and fused with others to save time. I'm not planning on making an entire book series that's parallel to the original, just the major events. But it'll be long enough, don't worry.