Chapter One: New Witches on the Block
Whispers filled the castle grounds as the first-years entered the great hall for the first time. The cloaked eleven-year-olds were not the oddity in this picture, however. Two girls towered over the little ones in the swarm of newcomers, gathering both laughs and questions. Even the teachers chuckled to themselves at the newcomers.
"Quiet down," commanded a stern woman clothed in dark green robes. "It's time to sort the new students at Hogwarts into their houses. As you can see, we have two exchange students this year; both sixth years. They're from America, so everything might be a bit strange from them. Please be kind to them and welcome them with open arms. It's not everyday Hogwarts gets two prodigies from a muggle school."
The blond girl squeezed her friends hand with a grimace, her heart fluttering.
"So, considering they're our two special cases, we're going to sort them into houses first," said the professor. "Miss Bakewell, will you come to the front, please?"
"Omigoshomigoshomigosh," she breathed, tearfully pulling away from her friend. She had travelled all the way from America with her friend, now only to possibly be separated from her for her entire school career.
The black sorting hat scowled as he was wedged onto her thick blond hair. She squeezed her eyes shut and thought good thoughts, just like her friend had said.
"Ah," whispered a voice in her mind. "So you're an intellectual. You like to please others but you also like to solve problems. That can be very noble... like a Gryffindor. But you prefer writing to danger; even the slightest threat like a stranger... that's not very brave at all. Maybe you're Hufflepuff quality. But no, you're a bit too assertive for Hufflepuff, so..."
The words were nonsense to the girl, but the hat suddenly erupted, "RAVENCLAW!!"
A table with blue flags hanging over head started to whoop excitedly, and Catherine raced to the table in escape. As nameless children clapped her on the back and talked to her in fake American accents, she turned back to her best friend, crossing her fingers for another Ravenclaw.