|HP fic: A Product of Circumstances (PG, gen)
||[Oct. 2nd, 2011|07:40 pm]
Title: A Product of Circumstances
Characters: OC, Antonin, Regulus, Evan, Avery, Severus
Summary: Some people know exactly what House they belong in. But some of their housemates may be the products of circumstances.
Notes: Written for the hogwarts_houses fest.
A blond boy of eleven sat atop his trunk on platform 9 3/4, swinging his legs and gaping around at the other children and their parents as everyone hurried to board the Hogwarts Express. The boy's owl hooted softly in her cage, cocking her head to the side, inquisitive large eyes watching her owner carefully. The blond boy sighed as he looking over at his familiar. "I don't want to go to Hogwarts, Snowflake," he complained softly in French. "I want to go to Bauxbatons with Pierre. But I suppose it's better than Durmstrang. Ella says it's better. I wouldn't want to go there either." The boy's father, coincidently, had walked off to greet a British colleague, leaving his uncertain and slightly scared son to contemplate his fate in solitude with only the owl for company. "I don't know anything about British society," the boy continued sullenly. The owl cooed in consolation.
"Hey, kid are you alright? You look lost." The boy jumped on hearing the voice behind him. He looked up into a pair of grey-blue eyes and a slightly concerned expression.
"Ah, no, I mean, yes, I'm alright," he said, his accent painfully apparent even in that one not-really-a-sentence. He winced and looked away.
"Aren't you…you're not Anatole Bonfante are you?" the young man standing over him pried.
The boy jerked at the sound of his name. "Yes. I am." Anatole bit his lip and looked back up. He felt like he had seen this man some time before. "Are we acquainted?"
"Not really. I know your family in passing. You may have seen me before. So is this your first year going to Hogwarts then?"
Anatole nodded. "Oui. I didn't really want to go but I didn't have a choice."
The young man smiled softly at him. "Why not, it's a good school. I went to Hogwarts."
Anatole shrugged. He looked the young man over and thought that he couldn't be much older than his sister. He had a very handsome face and he was looking at Anatole without that patronizing edge that his older brother always had. "I do not know anything about English society. I do not know anyone here. My English is not very good. I am… I am a little scared."
The young man continued to smile gently at him. "Your English isn't bad. Everyone is nervous their first year. Mostly about the sorting. After all, the House you are in will determine, most likely, who your friends will be. But I'm certain you will make new friends here."
"I only know there are four Houses."
Anatole fidgeted and shifted on his trunk. "What House would you say is the best?"
His companion got a slightly wistful expression on his face. "Slytherin. But I'm biased."
Anatole was about to ask why he was biased and if he had been in Slytherin, but just then his father's voice boomed across the platform, calling his name. From the other side another shout came, "Tony, hurry up, we'll be late! What are you doing over there anyways?" The man standing by Anatole looked over at a couple of his agemates and waved, making gestures of agreement. "I have to go," he said then, putting a hand on Anatole's shoulder. "Good luck."
"Wait!" Anatole called, surprising even himself. "Can I know your name?"
"Antonin," the young man said, looking over his shoulder as he walked away. "Dolohov."
The search for a compartment made Anatole's already tense nerves stretch to the limit. He thought he might become neurotic. Everywhere seemed either full or occupied by people obviously older than him. Most people seemed to know each other and the boy didn't want to interfere. Finally, when he had crossed almost the entire train, Anatole decided that enough was enough. He poked his head into the first compartment that seemed to seat boys about his age and asked politely, "May I join you?"
Three of the boys had green and silver school scarves on and one had the neutral black tie of a first year. "We're kind of full," said the redhead boy, eyeing Anatole cautiously. The dark haired boy next to him just stared out the window.
"We can probably fit one more if everywhere else is full…" the honeysuckly blonde ventured.
"I'm sorry, I don't want to intrude…" Anatole began. His stomach sank as he started to withdraw from the compartment.
"Wait." It was the first year. "You can sit with us."
"Oh be nice, Jack."
The redhead boy muttered something under his breath but didn't protest further.
"I'm Regulus," the first year continued. "Black, obviously."
Anatole turned back into the compartment. He found a spot for his suitcase and owl and sat next to Regulus. "I'm Evan Rosier," the honesuckle blond introduced himself.
"I've heard of the Blacks and the Rosiers," Anatole put in, happy that he knew at least something.
The redhead snorted. "Who hasn't?" Evan glared at him. "I mean, hi. Jack Avery. And he's Severus," Avery pointed over his shoulder to the dark haired boy who was still staring out of the window.
"Snape. Severus Snape," the gloomy boy corrected. He turned and fixed Anatole with a gauging stare. "And who are you?"
The boys looked at each other and instantly seemed to relax. "A French Pureblood?" Regulus ventured. "You're going to school really far away from home."
"Genius observation, Reg," Evan snickered.
Anatole shrugged. "I suppose. Are you all in…Slytherin?"
The three boys with the scarves nodded. "Reg isn't yet, but he will be. All the Blacks are Slytherins," Evan informed him with something akin to pride.
"Except for my brother," Regulus muttered under his breath.
"Yea. Except for his brother," Evan corrected. "But we don't talk about that."
Anatole nodded thoughtfully. "I want to be in Slytherin," he decided out loud.
Jack snorted. "No really? You'd have to find yourself a new compartment otherwise. Slytherin is the best House anyways. I mean, Ravenclaw's alright but they're all so…brainy."
"What's wrong with brainy?" Severus bristled but everyone ignore him.
"Hufflepuff's the worst," Jack continued.
"No. Gryffindor!" Severus protested again. "But mostly because they have Potter and Black," he added after a pause. "A person or two are alright."
Evan and Jack snickered. "Lily Evans!" they chorused, earning them a burning glare from Snape.
Anatole smiled with amusement. "Who's Lily Evans?"
"Oh Merlin! She's this one mudblood—I mean muggleborn! Snape put your wand away! – this one muggleborn who…." They all began to tell him one over the other who Lily Evans was and Anatole suddenly, for the first time all day, felt a flicker of hope.
The lights of the Great Hall seemed extremely bright to Anatole and the Sorting extremely long. He was trying to stand still, like his father and mother and tutors had taught him to, but it was nearly impossible. He was extremely nervous. According to the Sorting Hat Slytherins were clever and cunning and ambitious. Anatole didn't feel very clever or cunning or ambitious at the moment. But he did know that he wanted to be in Slytherin.
Regulus calmly walked out of the queue and sat on the stool, placing the Hat on his head. It deliberated for a moment, then shouted, "Slytherin!" Anatole followed Regulus with his eyes as the boy made his way to the Slytherin table where he was welcomed by a cheering Evan, a grinning Avery and a slightly-less-sullen-than-usual Snape.
A person or two later, Anatole's own name echoed across the hall. He walked out to the stool, trying to seem calm and untouched. The Sorting Hat fell over his eyes and a soft voice in his ear said, "Interesting, very interesting." Anatole swallowed and the Hat continued. "You want to be in Slytherin, do you?"
Yes, Anatole though frantically. It's the best House!
"Is that what you were told?" chuckled the Hat. "But do you have what it takes to be a Slytherin. I see…I see a Hufflepuff with the valor of a Gryffindor..."
No, you stupid hat, Anatole thought, his heart racing. I want to be in Slytherin. Slytherinslytherinslytherinslytherin! Slytherin or I will go home!
At the Hog's Head, Dolohov, Mulciber and Rosier sat drinking butter bear and watching the Hogwarts sorting through an enchanted mirror. Mulciber was complaining that there were too many Gryffindors this year but Antonin wasn't listening. He seemed fixated on the small blond boy with the French name currently being sorted. The Hat was taking its sweet time with this one but finally, almost reluctantly, Antonin thought, it shouted, "Slytherin!" The Slytherin table clapped and cheered as Anatole practically threw off the old hat and bounced off the stool. All the tension was gone from his body. The boy lit up in a warm, happy smile that radiated relief more than anything else. He looked in the direction of the the charmed mirror in the Hall and it was almost like he was looking straight at Antonin. Dolohov felt a shiver go through him in that moment and the thought, He doesn't belong in Slytherin, not with that smile, ingrained itself permanently into his subconscious.
The next morning, Anatole received an owl at breakfast. The note attached to its foot read:
Congratulations on your Sorting. Slytherins are not always the most straightforward people but I am sure that you will find your place among them. If you have any questions or would like advice, or perhaps a sympathetic ear, please do not hesitate to send me an owl.
Anatole was both puzzled and pleased by the note. However, for the time being he did not think there was any reason to bother a stranger with his problems.
But soon, once the war began and the Blood Politics became all his housemates could talk about and Evan came back for his fourth year with exciting tales of the Dark Lord's Academy of Magic, Anatole wrote to Antonin. Even after two years at school he still felt like an outsider sometimes. Even basic things like the concept of a Blood Traitor, which wasn't thrown around much in France, were not very familiar to Anatole. He desperately needed an insider's guide for Slytherin was the House most tied to tradition, that valued loyalty to Blood Purity, honor, family and knowledge of the wizarding society most of all. Luckily for Anatole, he had such a guide in one man who would become his idol, his mentor, and his one-way ticket into the ranks of the Dark Lord.