My body was violently rejecting the idea of thirty students all turning their attention to me. As the house’s leader and most senior student, I knew that I couldn’t let it show. I pointed at a student at the front, Claire. “The other houses rejected you because your magical speciality was moving dust,” I said.
Claire shrank away, uncomfortable with being called out. “But,” I said, turning to the others in the room, “we let Claire in. And now, who creates the most powerful dust storms at the academy?”
The crowd cheered and the students around Claire nudged her in encouragement. I pointed at a girl in the back. “Zeke was rejected by three houses because her family didn’t have the money to back up her acceptance into the academy,” I said, my voice growing more confident. “And she’s one of the strongest witches that I’ve ever met.”
The crowd was building with conviction, the nervousness regarding the bathroom renovations quickly forgotten. My confidence grew, knowing they would soon support the professional bath tub conversion. Sydney was frozen beside me. I considered pointing her out but knew that the sudden attention would make her nervous. Instead, I pointed at myself.
“As a senior student, I know firsthand the cruelty of the other houses. They look down at others, and each other.” I paused, memories flooding back. “I was part of the Gryffinstore house for four years. It wasn’t until I joined this house that I felt like I had a home.”
“There is a tradition regarding bathtub modifications for seniors. Every new house has the seniors design a strange remodel: Gryffinstore made a water slide, Ravensaw constructed a singing faucet. Those were all as shallow as the houses themselves.” I stopped pacing, my voice softening. “Our remodel is nothing like theirs. We are doing ours for our friends who need it. Ours will have meaning, helping make our house, and bathroom, more accessible. That’s the best reason to do anything.”