Author’s Note: This came
about as the result of a stray
inspiration particle and a suggestion by some of my friends, including
Sweeney Agonistes, combined with being bored with schoolwork the month
before my final exams.
My heartiest thanks go to the ladies of The Sugar Quill Writer’s
Workshop Chapter 2, especially Kellie, Kaitie, Kizmet, Madeline, Ara,
and anyone I may have forgotten, for your excellent feedback. Special
thanks to Kizmet and Calliope for their wonderful beta skills, as
always, to Elanor Gamgee and TQ for polish and inspiration.
For further background of Antony and Shakespeare, please refer to this,
written for The
Sugar Quill’s Canon or Fanon Character College
Application Essay Challenge.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the people, places, or
situations of the Harry Potter universe. They belong to J. K. Rowling,
AOL Time Warner, and the publishers of Harry Potter world-wide,
included but not limited to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc and Scholastic
Books. I am not affiliated with any of the aforementioned, nor do I
have their permission to do this. It’s simply a piece of fun, no harm
The epigraph is from Shakespeare’s Othello,
I, i, 65.
fans everywhere ...
especially those who put up with his invasions of chat.
“I am not what I am.”
“Excuse me. Um. Is anyone sitting here?”
Raylene looked up from The History of European Wizardry, and
with vague surprise noted the boy standing in the doorway of the
“Oh, sure,” she said. She quickly ran the conversation over in her mind
and shook her head. “I mean, no, no-one’s sitting here. Would you like
“Thanks.” As he entered, Raylene got her first good look at him. He was
fairly tall, with auburn hair cut close to his head. Freckles were
smattered across his nose and his eyes were wide, brown, and
intelligent. He already wore his Hogwarts robes, and Raylene suddenly
felt awkward in her Muggle jeans and short-sleeved blouse.
“I’m Raylene,” she said, standing up to help him with his trunk.
“Raylene Faulkner.” She pulled her reading glasses off her nose, folded
them into her shirt pocket, and offered a hand.
“Vincent. Vincent Edwards. Nice to meet you.” His voice had a slightly
odd cadence to it, as though he’d spent time overseas, somewhere on the
Continent, most likely.
“Are you just starting at Hogwarts?” Raylene asked, sitting back down.
Having safely stowed his trunk, Vincent sat opposite her.
“Yes. This is my first year.”
Raylene grinned. “Mine too. I’m so glad to meet you. I thought I’d have
a really hard time finding anyone. My brother – Drew – just finished
Hogwarts and he made loads of friends, but he’s a lot more outgoing
than me.” She realised that she was beginning to babble and fell silent
with an awkward blush.
“You don’t seem too shy as far as I can tell.” Vincent’s voice was
expressionless, and Raylene paused, wondering what he meant by that.
Then his face broke into a brilliant grin, flashing white teeth, and he
began to laugh. She coloured again.
“Sorry.” She turned a brighter red and, searching for an excuse to look
away, fiddled with her bookmark.
“Don’t be,” he said, serious again. “I shouldn’t be laughing.”
She slid the bookmark between the pages and shut the book. “Do you have
any brothers or sisters at Hogwarts?”
He shook his head. “My sister Sophia’s only six.”
“So’s my little sister Alyssa!” They agreed that this was an odd
coincidence and lapsed into silence.
There was a period of uncertain quiet. Scenes from any number of
children’s stories flashed past the window as the train streaked
northwards. They left the suburbia of London and the scenes changed.
Paintings of stereotypical farmhouses, cattle grazing beside them, shot
past the glass and were gone. Fences demarcated farmlands, and an
occasional village would whiz past on one side or the other, offering
Raylene a snapshot glimpse into the life of the place for just a few
moments before it was gone.
There was a strong, unhesitant knock on the compartment door. Vincent
stood up and opened it. Raylene glanced over with interest, abandoning
Vincent admitted a boy around their own age. He, like Vincent, was
dressed in black robes. They were crisp and wrinkleless, looking as if
they’d had an extremely skilful Ironing Charm placed on them. One arm
was wrapped around the fluffiest kitten Raylene had ever seen. The cat
was mewing softly and pawing at its master’s chest. He bent and let the
cat jump onto the seat Vincent had occupied. It stretched, seemed to
change its mind, leapt in a graceful movement onto the floor, and
wandered over to Raylene, fixing blue eyes on her. She reached out to
pat its head, and it purred.
“Like me?” she asked, scratching harder.
The boy looked over at her and smiled slightly, then turned back to
“May I sit with you?” he asked in a soft Oxfordshire accent.
“I don’t see why not,” Vincent replied. He offered his hand to the boy.
“Vincent Edwards. And this is Raylene Faulkner.”
The newcomer paused, his mind obviously working at something. “Is your
mother Juanita Edwards?”
Vincent shook his hand and met his eye with curiousity. “Yes, she is.
Are you familiar with Spanish aristocracy?”
Aristocracy? Spanish? That at least explained his voice.
The boy wrinkled his nose in a self-deprecating manner. “Only a
little. Mother made sure I knew about any notable families likely to be
represented in first year.”
“Read up on it, have we?” Vincent’s mouth twitched with barely hidden
amusement and he rolled his eyes. “Know all about my family, I
suppose?” The other boy flushed, a hint of rose rising in his
bone-china face. There was some unspoken joke between the two of them,
something Raylene didn’t understand.
“Can’t go associating with the wrong sort, can we?” he finally
said. “One has to know who’s who.”
Oh, Lord. Raylene’s eyes widened involuntarily.
She had found it difficult to believe her parents’ warnings that there
would be wizards at Hogwarts who would judge her based on her family,
her name, her breeding,
as though she were a pedigree Hippogriff. She knew such people existed;
she knew they had formed You-Know-Who’s power base ... she even knew
that they still remained. She had heard her parents discussing them at
the breakfast table, heard Drew complain about them after work.
She had never thought she’d meet someone from one of those
families. This boy looked so ... normal. Well, not normal. His looks
were certainly striking, with almost white skin contrasting sharply
with a head of slightly messy black curls. But she wouldn’t have known
him to be any different from her if she’d passed him in Diagon Alley.
She was beginning to suspect that he was, in fact, very different.
Was he one of those pure-bloods she had been so constantly warned
about? Did her father, as a member of the Department of Magical Law
Enforcement, count this boy’s parents among his sworn enemies? Even
Vincent, an aristocrat by birth, seemed to have less pure-blood pride
than this boy, if their conversation reflected their attitudes. Vincent
had joked and teased, but the black-haired boy had seemed to mean what
Vincent gestured towards the seat next to him. As the newcomer gave a
small smile and took it, she found it hard to reconcile the way his
face brightened with the image she was building of him in her mind.
She had never been able to understand the logic behind prejudices, but
she could recognise them in these boys. In the new one, at least. She
felt awkward, for despite her disbelief in the validity of prejudices,
she had wanted to make a good impression. Some of her parents’ best
friends had been met on train journeys to Hogwarts. She was out of
place in this compartment, though. She, whose grandmother was
Muggle-born. She, whose parents worked long hours at the Ministry of
Magic. Even her brother had a desk job, at St. Mungo’s. She could never
have, let alone afford to support, pure-blood snobbery.
“And you are?” she asked, trying not to let her discomfort reveal
itself. The cat curled up in her lap.
Her feelings must have shown, because there was a glint in his eyes,
and his fixed expression wavered around the mouth.
“My apologies,” he said.
He turned, offering his hand. Was that condescension in his expression?
She looked resolutely into his eyes – which were an odd shade of blue,
like glacier ice – and raised her chin slightly. She would NOT
be looked down upon by this boy, no matter how important he thought he
“I’m Antony Bond,” he said.
The name meant nothing to her. Vincent paused for a moment, then a
half-smile grew on his face. “Not quite as aristocratic, alas, as
Edwards here, but both my parents have quite distinguished lineages.”
“You know, Bond,” Raylene snapped, unable to prevent herself from
speaking the truth, “I don’t really care.” She wasn’t sure what she
expected or hoped his reaction to be, but the brief guffaw she received
was not it.
“Makalu!” The cat looked up at its master from Raylene’s lap and
reluctantly got to its feet. It leapt lightly to the floor and, when
its master took a seat, jumped into his lap.
“Neat cat,” Vincent said. “What breed is it?”
“Colourpoint longhair,” Bond replied, stroking the kitten’s ears. “My
cousin Lucius gave her to me as a going-to-Hogwarts present.”
Great. This is just how I want to spend my first trip to Hogwarts.
With an aristocrat and a pure-blood brat.
Raylene sighed, picked up the discarded history book, and tried to
read. She wound up only pretending. How should she behave in this
situation? Make conversation and try to appraise her companions? Ignore
the boys and just hope she didn’t run into them often?
The compartment door slid open without so much as a knock. Raylene,
beginning to tire of the constant interruptions – couldn’t she just
read a book in peace? – looked up and saw a pretty blonde witch with a
nondescript brunette at her side.
“Oh, Antony,” the blonde sighed. “I’ve been looking for you
everywhere! Would you like to come and sit with us?” The brunette
simpered with her friend.
Bond looked up. “Oh, hi, Vanitra. No, I don’t think I will, thanks.
I figure I should get to know some other people before we get to
Hogwarts, considering the two of us will be in the same house and
“Humph.” Vanitra tossed her hair over her shoulder. “Well, I suppose
I’ll see you at the Slytherin table, then.” She and the nameless
brunette made a haughty exit.
What a shameless display of flirting. Honestly.
* * *
“Hey, Bond, what was that she said about houses?” Edwards asked.
Antony, with Vanitra’s high-pitched whine still overwhelming his mind,
slowly dragged his eyes from the compartment door through which she had
“Oh –“ he said, replaying the conversation in his mind. “Oh, nothing.
She just thinks we’ll both be in Slytherin because of our families, and
I don’t see any harm in encouraging her.”
“Do you know how they sort you?” The girl, Faulkner, looked up from her
book to ask the question, her eyes eager for news. Apparently, whatever
was causing her to hold back from the conversation, she could not
resist the urge of finding out the answer to the question Antony also
pondered. He shook his head.
“No. It seems to be some sort of Hogwarts secret that no-one will tell.
I asked my mother and Lucius.”
Whatever it was, it had better put him in Slytherin. He couldn’t imagine
the look on his cousin Lucius’s face if he were put in Ravenclaw – or
worse, Hufflepuff or Gryffindor! Was it really possible he’d only known
Lucius a couple of years? And now, now that he finally had a chance to
get away from the man, he was wasting it exchanging pleasantries with
Vanitra Ridley and taking the snob act to the extreme? Was this the
person he wanted to be at Hogwarts? Hadn’t he promised himself that
once away from his family he would be himself?
And there was the little matter of the illicit tome, the Muggle
literature, hidden at the bottom of his trunk, which he wanted so
desperately to read. That didn’t fit too well with the pure-blood
snobbery he had exhibited. It was tempting, very tempting, to change
into the Muggle clothes (for his mother realised that at times one
needed to pass unnoticed through Muggle areas) he had smuggled from
home, curl up, and read his book – Shakespeare, that was the name of
the author. No-one knew Antony here except Vanitra, and she would
(hopefully) leave him alone for the rest of the journey.
It was tempting. Too tempting. Antony smiled and dug into his trunk,
feeling for three specific things. The first, a large, leather-bound
book, he extracted with great care. He placed it on the seat next to
him and saw Edwards give it a cursory look. Antony loved his
grandmother at that moment, for she had charmed the tome so when anyone
but Antony looked on it they saw A Guide to Theoretical Arithmancy (which
Antony had an actual copy of buried in his trunk). Antony, however, saw
a gold-stamped signature and the title The Complete Works of
William Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, Tragedies, Poems. Antony
shivered with anticipation and withdrew the other two things he needed:
a green shirt and a pair of Muggle trousers – jeans, the shop sign had
With a mumbled excuse to Faulkner and Edwards, Antony exited the
compartment and went in search of somewhere to change. He returned with
his clothes swapped: Muggle on, robe in hand. He was going to enjoy
this, crazy as it was. You know, you really are just a little bit
crazy. Most people would wear Muggle clothes then change INTO their
Hogwarts robes, judging by Faulkner. He snickered to
himself, re-entered the compartment, and received somewhat startled
glances from Faulkner and Edwards.
The words on Edwards’s lips faltered. He looked unsure whether to be
amused or perturbed, and the result was a sort of strangled guffaw and
a politely puzzled frown. Faulkner did not moderate her surprise, but
blinked several times, her mouth half-open. She seemed to remember
herself and opened the book which she had been carefully not reading
since Antony had entered the compartment.
He smiled at them, flung the robe onto the seat next to him, and sat,
legs curled beside him, book in his hands. Makalu snuggled into the
crook of his knees, and Antony opened the tome at last, skipping the
introduction and finally, after years of waiting to read this great
author, began to consume The Tempest.
* * *
When Antony alighted from the train, he stood on the platform and
snatched the book up from the top of his stacked luggage, trying to
catch a last few of the amazing words, the words which had held him
entranced for hours. He had surfaced only for a brief dose of sugar and
some words, less heated this time, with Faulkner and Edwards and,
towards the end of the journey to change back into his robe and slip
Makalu into the cat-carrier which had sat, empty, on top of his trunk
all day. What magic this Shakespeare had woven; his words could ensnare
the imagination and soul with a magic just as powerful as any which
came from a wand, Antony was sure. What beauty, what eloquence … what …
flow. He had to get some of the second play read.
“Firs’ years! FIRS’ years!”
“Hey, Bond,” Edwards tugged on his sleeve. “Think we should go over
It was no use; there was not enough light to read by, there were too
many things to manoeuvre and the jostling crowd had a too eager,
excited air. The atmosphere was charged with anxiety and anticipation
as old friends reunited and gabbled about their summer and new students
gazed around, feeling nervous but unable to suppress an expectant
“Hm? Oh, yes,” Antony replied, closing the book, returning it to its
place on top of the cat carrier, and moving with Edwards towards the
gigantic man who loomed in the darkness, holding a lantern easily above
their heads. They gazed up into the light, vaguely aware of a mass of
black hair and an enormous figure attached to it.
What followed remained a blur to Antony, a series of disconnected
images intertwined with the vividly green island in his mind on which
Prospero and Ariel dwelt. He remembered a long black path, twisting
along the edge of a woody mass that some of the students backed
nervously away from. A brilliant mass of light as suddenly the final
corner was rounded and the silhouette appeared of a mighty castle, its
hundreds of windows glowing like warmer, brighter stars, each offering
a thousand opportunities as to what lay beyond. Antony saw learning,
friendship, and seven long years of his life, until he was seventeen
(imagine!) laid out in the twinkling pattern of eyes with which the
castle seemed to watch him. It was beautiful, peaceful - a scene that
caused the groups of first-years to pause, awed by the majestic promise
of it all, as the large man stood, beaming.
“Tha’s Hogwarts,” he proclaimed proudly.
“It’s gorgeous,” a blonde girl standing next to Faulkner breathed.
“It is such stuff as dreams are made on,” Antony murmured, unaware of
even speaking the words.
There was silence. Then, somehow, the groups began to move again. WE
are such stuff as dreams are made on, Bond, Antony
told himself as he moved forward, trancelike, to take a seat in a boat
beside Edwards, Faulkner, and the blonde. She introduced herself, he
vaguely knew, but his heart and mind were on the castle, waiting before
them with its promises and dreams.
* * *
When they arrived inside the castle, they stood in a long reception
hall of a magnificence that befitted the castle’s exterior. As Antony
stared around, observing his surroundings in the bright light of the
hall, and still feeling the dreamy detachment of the ethereal, starlit
passage to the school, a woman with a deep green cloak and severely
pinned-back black hair appeared.
“Come this way, please.”
Another room, much smaller this time, its walls covered in portraits. A
nervous wait. A great deal of muttering amongst students. The blonde
engaging in earnest conversation with Faulkner. Edwards closely
examining the portraits. Then the door opening, the woman re-entering
(Antony had a vague perception of her introducing herself as Professor
McGonagall), the students forming a long line, falling in between
Edwards and a pair of boys with hair so red it burned into his memory.
Then it was a long, awkward walk through the middle of four tables at
which sat hundreds of people, their eyes all on the first-years. Antony
glanced upwards, remembering there was something special about the
Hogwarts Great Hall ceiling and taking a gasping breath of awe. There
shone thousands of stars, their beauty drawing him back to the magic of
the initial approach to Hogwarts; he could see constellations and a
thin sliver of moon.
Then they were crowded at the foot of the staff table. There in the
middle was the headmaster, Dumbledore. And then a stool appeared, a hat
placed on it in a position of honour. But what a hat! It was tattered
and patched, covered in rips, scuffs, and dust. What was this hat? A
rip opened and the hat seemed almost to be about to speak.
A speaking hat? No, he realised. A singing hat.
Once there was a time in which
I was a hat of youth,
A millennium ago
You’d say, with only truth
Hogwarts castle built, I saw
And heard the first new plans
That the Founders they did draw
For wizarding England.
There was Godric Gryffindor,
A wizard brave and strong
And dear Rowena Ravenclaw,
Whose mind was never wrong
Helga Hufflepuff was in,
Hardworking witch and loyal
And Salazar Slytherin,
His wit sharp as a foil.
Each of them had their ideas
Of whom they were to teach
And soon it became quite clear
This was unique to each:
Gryffindor the bold and brave,
Who chivalrous did act.
Ravenclaw the wise and grave,
The valuers of facts.
Hufflepuff’s were loyal, true,
Hard workers one and all.
Slytherin’s ambition used
And strived to reach their goal.
Gryffindor, he took me off
Taught me what must be done,
And so it is, that though you scoff,
I’ll Sort you every one!
Applause erupted from around the hall. Antony joined in the
clapping. His trance was broken; careful attention was required to
understand what was happening. So … we have to put the hat on,
right? And it decides where we belong? Oh, please be Slytherin.
The black-haired witch (who had introduced herself as Professor
McGonagall) stepped forward. In her hands she held a long scroll of
“When I read out your name, come forward, sit on the stool, and put the
hat on your head,” she said, scrutinising the first-years critically
through her glasses.
“Barz, Lachlan.” A nondescript, brown-haired boy shuffled forward and
sat. The hat was on his head for a moment, then –
“GRYFFINDOR!” it cried. The students at one of the tables jumped to
their feet, whooping. Lachlan Barz shuffled away towards them. As the
next student came to be Sorted, Antony watched Lachlan move towards the
Gryffindor table, where students moved aside to let him sit and began
clapping and shaking his hand.
I hope my housemates are that nice to me, Antony thought. And
I hope not many students have names that begin with ‘B’.
That was him! Antony looked nervously to either side and saw Edwards
wink at him. In that moment, he envied Edwards almost more than he
could bear. How could the boy be so calm with all that was happening?
Antony stepped forward to the stool. He sat and felt the eyes of the
entire school, even the first-years and staff, focused on him. The hat
landed gently on his curls then slipped over his eyes and he found his
vision filled with blackness which rustled against his eyelashes. He
shut his eyes tightly.
There was a voice somewhere inside his head, and Antony recognised it
as the one he had just heard singing.
“Hmm, what have we here, Antony Bond? An interesting mind you’ve got.
Yes. I see a certain level of intelligence. My, a great level of
intelligence. Hmm. But there’s hard work and loyalty there too. And
courage. Lots of courage. A thirst to prove yourself, too. And I
mustn’t forget the cunning and ambition, either. Definitely a
challenge. I enjoy challenges.”
Antony found himself trembling. He tried to steady himself, but he was
just too nervous. What if he wasn’t in Slytherin? Ravenclaw would be
all right, he supposed, but Lucius would be displeased .... Please
just tell me!
“Just tell you? In that sort of a rush? No, the decision must be made
right, Antony Bond. Must decide. Very intelligent, I will say. A very
wise young man you’ll become if you take the right attitude to
learning, Antony Bond. But such bravery. Exceptional bravery, really.”
If you put me in Gryffindor, Antony thought at the Hat, I’ll
“Well! There’s only one thing I can say to that!
Antony tore the hat from his head, relief filling his mind. Lucius
would be proud. And his mother would be, too. He would be a member of
the Bond family, just like his father before him. His father who had
died years before. I wonder if he can see me now, Antony
thought as he walked, only half-aware of what he was doing, to the
table at one end of the hall, at which students had clapped and cheered
him as he was Sorted.
“Bond,” one boy said, standing up to shake his hand. “Excellent work.
I’m Gaius Pitchford, Slytherin prefect. Wonderful to meet you.”
A flurry of handshakes followed, and by the time Antony turned his
attention back to the Sorting, it was Edwards’s turn. Antony watched as
the hat landed on the auburn hair. He waited, anxious again, but the
hat said nothing. He wondered what it was saying to Edwards. Had his
Sorting taken this long? It had seemed so quick to him –
Antony jumped to his feet and clapped as Edwards hurried down towards
them and he moved over a seat to give his acquaintance somewhere to sit.
The Sorting seemed less torturous and drawn-out from that point.
Faulkner and her blonde companion (Melissa Farrell) became Ravenclaws.
The redheads who had stood in line behind Antony were Gryffindors. And
the ranks of Slytherin were swelled by Vanitra Ridley (no real
surprise), a brief acquaintance of Edwards’s by the name of Alexander
von Senff, and a handful of others whom Antony had never met
“You hungry, Bond?” Vincent whispered as the Headmaster got up to speak.
“Now that you mention it.”
The Headmaster’s words were brief. Antony studied the man commonly
called the greatest wizard of the age. He could believe it, in one way,
for Dumbledore was a majestic figure in deep purple robes, his silver
hair and beard seeming to shine. Yet he joked, was flippant even, as he
talked. Antony had expected a graver man. The notices were simple
enough: the forest on the grounds was forbidden (Antony shuddered as
Dumbledore mentioned its possible dangers; after the moonlit walk he
would believe the peril), a list of prohibited items was posted outside
the caretaker’s door, Quidditch trials would occur soon, and there was
a new Astronomy professor, the youthful Professor Vellian who sat on
the left side of the staff table, smiling politely, his brown hair
pulled back from his face.
“Now,” Dumbledore said, smiling benevolently over the student body,
The tables were suddenly laden with food and drink and it hit Antony
that he was here, finally. He reached for a platter of chicken,
grinning. A new act in his life was beginning, the old drawing to a
close. The stage was set, the actors waited in the wings, all it needed
was the word of the director. Antony glanced up at the ceiling and
sighed happily. Act Two, Scene One, he thought to the stars.
* * *