All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The Serpent With Wings
“Hmm, you’re an interesting one… Unique, very strong… Headstrong, yet thoughtful… A surprise or two up those sleeves of yours…” the Sorting Hat muttered, clearly deep in thought as it tried to decide in which House I belonged. “Most certainly not a Hufflepuff, but too bold and daring to be a Ravenclaw… To Slytherin or Gryffindor, where do you belong?” The hat paused. The entire Great Hall was staring. I was having a “hatstall”, in which the Sorting Hat is unable to place a student within five minutes, the first in fifty years. Of course the Sorting Hat would be unable to place me. I was a special case, after all.
Whispers flooded through the Hall like a swiftly flowing brook, meandering from table to table, student to student, even professor to professor. Only Headmaster Dumbledore was unsurprised; he knew who I was, what I was. In fact, he not only seemed unsurprised, but slightly amused. The Sorting Hat shifted slightly, and began to speak once more.
“… Such a peculiar personality as yours belongs… to SLYTHERIN!” it shouted. The Slytherin table cheered and bellowed, clapping furiously. I grinned, walking tall and proud towards my newfound family for the next few years. A boy about my age was sitting right up front. He smiled and moved over a little, as if I should sit there. So, naturally, I did. The boy was skinny and pale, with just-as-pale blonde hair that flopped down just to the side of his eyes, revealing their sharp, icy color.
“Hi, I’m Draco, Draco Malfoy,” he stated with pride. Draco smiled softly. His warm smile contradicted the harshness of his eyes, and it melted their ice like a fire on an iceberg.
“I’m Bella. It’s lovely to meet you,” I responded, returning his smile.
“You seem a little, um, old to be a first year, aren’t you? I mean, you know, just…” he trailed off. Well, I was a bit old to be a first year. That’s why I wasn’t one.
“Well, I’m, erm, not a first year. I… transferred from another magic school. It’s a small one; you’ve probably never heard of it.”
“I’ve never heard of a transfer before, but I guess that’s one of the surprises the Sorting Hat was talking about, huh?” Draco elbowed me playfully. “And welcome to Hogwarts, by the way. So, what year are you, then?”
“I’m going into my fourth year. What year are you?” Draco smiled as I said “fourth year”.
“It’s my fourth, as well.”
I smiled. For the moment, I forgot that I was different. I forgot that I had a secret. I forgot that that secret was going to be driving me insane while I was here. All I could think was that these next four years were going to be great.
Draco and I had discussion after discussion, learning more about each other with every sentence, for the rest of dinner. When it came time to go to our common rooms, the Slytherin prefects rounded all of the first year Slytherins up, herding them the way a sheepdog does cattle. I was given a quizzical look from Draco; he was anticipating that I would leave with the first years. The sorting, however, was really the only thing that I was going to have in common with them tonight. Now, I was technically a fourth year.
After the first years left, the rest of us shuffled down to the common room, which was in the dungeons. I was fascinated by the Slytherin common room. The walls were made of cool gray concrete bricks, as was the floor. In the wall to the right was a softly glowing fire. There were several windows on the back wall looking out from the bottom of the hill that Hogwarts was perched atop, peering over the shadowy lake just outside. Between the windows hung tapestries displaying the Slytherin crest and covering the floor was a forest green and silvery gray carpet. Cozy-looking black sofas made a semicircle around the fire, with a stone coffee table in the center. On the left side wall there were two entrances, side by side. One led to the girls’ dormitories, the other to the boys’. The soft lapping of waves off the lake and the sharp crackle of the fire were the most soothing sounds one could possibly dream of.
Soon, everyone was in bed; everyone except for me, of course. I sat perched atop one of the sofas, legs crossed. I was perfectly relaxed, knowing that everyone was in bed and I could truly be myself for a little bit. Soft, translucent wings roughly the length of my arm span sprouted gently from my back. As thin as a sheet of paper but stronger than a dragon, my shimmering gold wings revealed my true identity. I was no more a wizard than I was a Muggle; I was something strange, different, new, and unique to the castle.
Headmaster Dumbledore had known about the existence of my people, faeries that could pass for human easier than some humans could, for quite a time. He chose to invite me, as I knew my magic well enough to pass as a wizard of my age, to become a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the first of my kind to ever be admitted. I was somewhat of a “guinea pig”, a test to see if we faeries could possibly integrate with wizards and get along.
Soon, I fell asleep on that wonderfully plush sofa, much to my surprise. Well, the surprise was really when Draco nudged me awake just before breakfast the next morning. I had nearly unfurled my wings, which fold in automatically if I fall sleep, I was so startled.
“Good morning to you, too, Bella,” Draco laughed as I almost fell off the couch.
“I’m sorry! It’s just that I’m in a new place and all. I’m not used to having somebody wake me up before breakfast, nor am I accustomed to sleeping on a sofa. However, I must say I do prefer it over the beds, even though they are quite nice,” I rambled on.
“Shh, relax. It’s fine. Let’s go eat breakfast now, alright?” That smile killed me. I just nodded slowly in agreement, realizing as I looked down I had slept in my robes. Too lazy to change them, I just trailed along behind Draco to the Great Hall, thankful I had him so I wouldn’t get lost.
“Humph. Malfoy,” a red-haired boy appearing to be my and Draco’s age snorted as he walked to our side. I glanced at Draco. He stiffened. “Hey, you’re one of the girls that got sorted last night, aren’t you? I remember making new friends my first year. Although why you’ve chosen this idiot, I don’t know.”
“Ronald Weasley! You leave that poor first year alone!” A curly haired brunette stormed up beside Ronald. She turned to me. “Hello, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Hermione.”
“Hi, I’m Bella. And, I’m not a first year. I’ll be a fourth year, actually; I’m a, um, transfer. It’s nice to meet you both, as well. So, you’re both Gryffindors? That’s neat. I was almost a Gryffindor, but Slytherin’s okay, too, I guess.” Hermione smiled. Ron just stared at me, seemingly confused, like I had done something out of the ordinary. I worried for a moment that I might have given something away without knowing. I needn’t have worried, though, because the upcoming conversation cleared it up for me.
“Come, Bella, let’s go. These rotten Gryffindors are going to make us miss our breakfast. We’ve got Herbology with them first, anyways. If you really want to talk, you can do it then.” Draco really seemed to want to avoid them, but I wasn’t sure as to why. They appeared to be very nice.
“Aw, Malfoy, don’t poison the new girl with your Slytherin disgustingness. She’s not a stuck-up pureblood like you, so maybe she still has a chance at a soul.” The bitterness between Ronald and Draco shocked me. Draco seemed so sweet, so how could he be so rude? And Ronald, he seemed nice, too. There was an obvious rivalry, but what could have caused this much of a problem?
“Let’s go, Ron. Leave them alone. You’re obviously overwhelming Bella.” So my confusion must have been apparent. Hermione grabbed Ron and continued on her way to the Hall. Draco took my hand and continued to lead me toward the Great Hall, as well. Suddenly, he seemed a little more protective, as if there was something he didn’t really want me to know.
“Draco, I’m confused. What was all that?” He tensed, and sighed. I looked at him, and saw that he seemed as confused as I. The bitterness had turned to almost what looked like longing. He looked into my eyes and hesitated before he spoke.
“I’ve never told anyone this, but I feel like I can trust you. I may have only known you a little over twelve hours, but there’s just something about you that seems like you can keep a secret.” I smiled, and chuckled softly at the irony of his statement that only I would have understood. “I can’t be friends with them… I can’t even like them. They’re Gryffindors. I’m a Slytherin. I’m a pureblood. What would my parents or the others say? And that Harry Potter they’re friends with, he thinks he’s so great. Being all ‘look at me, I’m famous and can do whatever I want’. Who would ever like him? But they do. And for some reason, they make me sort of want friendship. I’ve never really had friends; just those two buffoons Crabbe and Goyle. I wish I could have a friendship like theirs.” I just stared at him in silence. He became quiet. We arrived at breakfast and ate without a word. We didn’t really know what to say. Neither of us spoke until Herbology.
“I understand. Sometimes it’s hard to be different, hard to break a preconception or a stereotype. But I’m doing it right now, not that you’d quite understand.” Draco looked up from his bubotuber in surprise.
“What do you mean?”
“Well… if you ever want to, you can tell me anything, you know.”
“Oh. Well, alright, then.”
Things became quiet again. I wanted to tell Draco why I was really at Hogwarts. Maybe that would make him feel a little more confident. But I couldn’t, and, besides, how would he react? I didn’t know humans very well, but I knew they didn’t always take differences well.