The great hall was true to its namesake, it was truly magnificent. The candles hanging from the lifelike ceiling illuminated the faces of all the first years parading down the center. Many, obviously having never seen magic of this caliber before, looked close to tears. Ines and Oberon Avery had seen magic of the sort before and stayed calm as they walked through the hall with their hands together. They were able to spot familiar faces as they walked, and gave polite smiles. Their family was well acquainted with the Blacks and the Malfoys, as well as most other pureblood families. They gave polite, identical, smiles to Lucius Malfoy and Narcissa Black, both of whom were in their last year at school. They returned their smiles and continued to watch them down the hall. But they were not the only ones. Most of Slytherin house was aware of who they were and where they would most likely be sitting moments from now.
The tables were laid with glittering golden plates and goblets. At the top of the hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting. Professor McGonagall led the first years up so that they came to a halt in a line facing the other students, with the teachers behind them. The hundreds of faces staring at them looked like pale lanterns in the flickering candlelight. Dotted here and there among the students, the ghosts shone misty silver. Before anyone had a second longer to think their attention turned to the hat sat upon the stool, as it began to belt out a song. It sang of the houses, the student's occupying them, and the mystery of the school.
Ines, not having much interest as she knew a great deal about Hogwarts, looked around the crowd surrounding her. She saw a few people she recognized, many she did not. She spotted a girl with bright red hair standing beside a boy with shoulder length black hair, a quite odd looking pair. A tall boy with scars adorning his face and neck, standing beside a shorter pudgier boy. She spotted a boy with hair sticking in all directions with a grin on his face, whispering to the boy next to him. But it seemed as though this boy didn't have much interest in the song either as he was looking around too. When the two of them locked eyes, Ines' recognized him immediately. Sirius Black, son of Walburga and Orion, and cousin to Bellatrix, Andromeda, and Narcissa. They had met a few times in the past, in brief passing in Nocturn Alley and at 'pureblood' events. Before another moment passed, clapping filled the hall, the hat had finished its song.
Professor McGonagall now stepped forward holding a long roll of parchment. "When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted,". She paused to look down at her scroll and looked up and yelled "Avery, Oberon."
Ines' grip tightened around her brother's hand, and he gave her a reassuring look before she was able to let go. She, among the rest of the school, watched as he made his way to the front of the crowd, up the steps, and sat on the stool. The hat was dropped on his head and fell past his face. Though Ines expected murmurs of laughter she heard none, everyone was intent on listening to where the next generation of the Avery line would end up. With only a moment passing the hat bellowed "SLYTHERIN!" and cheers erupted from the far right of the hall. Many stood up and clapped, their smiles following him all the way to his seat at the start of the table. She smiled for her brother, thrilled to see him so happy. Almost forgetting that she was bound to be next.
"Avery, Ines" Professor McGonagall called. Ines made her way through the crowd, passing the people she had seen before. She made her way to the stool and sat. She got a fleeting glimpse of the students staring up before her before the hat fell beyond her eyes, covering her whole face just as it had done to her brother.
The voice of the hat seemed to reverberate in her head. "Ah, another Avery. Yet. Difficult. Very difficult. You're quite similar to that twin of yours. But. Hmmn. Plenty of courage, I see and a nice thirst to prove yourself but that's to be expected of course." It seemed to laugh at his words, but it was followed by moments of suspenseful silence. The quiet chatter in the hall seemed to quiet down now. Nobody was expecting this to take as long as it had, considering her brothers sorting previous, including Ines. Now the hat was talking quieter, only to Ines. "As much as you want to believe you know where you belong, deep down inside you know the truth." Ines froze. Before she could think of anything the hat yelled "GRYFFINDOR!".
Ines wishes that McGonagall never took the hat off her head, so she wouldn't have to see the people in front of her. The cheers she received were nothing like her brothers. Not a single person from Slytherin clapped, yelled, or even smiled. She could barely look Oberon in the eyes as she got off the stool and down the steps, she couldn't read his expression. The Gryffindor table was cheering the most, but she noticed some hesitation within some. She was their first Gryffindor of the year, so she got the first open seat. Others turned to her to cheer and introduce themselves but she couldn't look at any of them. She stared blankly in front of her, trying to take in what had just happened. She struggled to comprehend what had happened but also tried to ignore the thoughts about the reaction of her family.
"Black, Sirius" then echoed through the hall. Sirius was looking spooked as well, after having just witnessed Ines' sorting. Mere seconds passed before the hat bellowed out "GRYFFINDOR". He received the same attention from the Slytherins, none. But Gryffindor was happy to have him, cheering as they did for Ines. He was much more receptive of his applause, high-fiving and smiling at all. He then sat across from Ines as the cheering subsided and the next student was called up. He seemed a bit taken aback, but happy all the same.
"Hello," he whispered. "Not expecting Gryffindor I suppose". He said, with a slight chuckle. She nodded, a small smile reaching her face, "I expect you weren't either?". He smiled as well, "Not really, I'm not at all that surprised, just in shock I guess. My parents won't be happy." Ines looked down at the table, her parents was another hurdle besides her brother. She knew without a doubt they would be unhappy, even furious. "Mine as well," she finally answered, her hesitation not going unnoticed. "But, weirdly enough, I don't feel as though there's been a mistake". At these words Sirius smiled brightly, causing Ines to as well.
The sorting had continued around them, three students going to Hufflepuff, four to Ravenclaw, and one to Slytherin. The next to be sorted was the redhead girl that Ines had spotted before, who gladly made her way to Gryffindor, sparing a glance towards the boy she had been standing next to previous. She sat next to Ines, introducing herself as Lily. After a few more had been sorted, Gryffindor had gained their next student. The boy with the scars, Remus Lupin. Then a small pudgy boy, who took as long as 5 minutes to be sorted until the hat finally decided on Gryffindor.
The next name was called, "Potter, James". At these words Sirius stood up taller to get a better view, he had been standing next to him earlier. The hat had barely even touched his head before it bellowed "GRYFFINDOR". James smiled brightly, and walked over to the table and sat next to Sirius, greeting him as if they'd known each other for years. He gave a small nod to Ines and a wink to Lily.
More students had joined their respective houses, and all the while Ines had struggled to even look at her brother. She risked it once another Slytherin boy had been sorted, Severus Snape. Severus sat solemnly next to Oberon who gave him a small nod and smile. He briefly caught Ines' eye before she looked the other way. Ines feared the day in which she would have to face him and hoped it wasn't any time soon. She knew, that as her twin he should be happy for her, but Oberon sometimes felt like an extension of her parents. They had talked about being in Slytherin together, upholding the family tradition, one that's been held for many generations. Sirius had noticed her change in demeanor, but before he could say anything Albus Dumbledore had gotten to his feet. He was beaming at the students, his arms opened wide as if nothing could have pleased him more than to see them all there. "Welcome," he said. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts!"