when she was sorted into gryffindor, she was excited and nervous, because she was a muggleborn and wasn’t quite sure what that meant. but everyone was smiling and clapping, and she grinned at the sea of smiling faces dressed in red.
she was given a place in the boys dorm, and that seemed right to her at the time. but in her fourth year, she began to wonder if the out-of-place feeling she had wasn’t just her anxiety and awkwardness, but something else. when she realised she was a girl, it felt like she had blossomed into the world, to face it as a finished person. she told people that summer - texts to her muggle friends, owls to the wizards, and everyone was happy for her. for days she couldn’t do anything without the beep of her phone, or the peck of an owl at the window.
when she came back to hogwarts, and went to her dorm, she turned the other way. towards the girls dorm, where she had a place ready for her, picked out by her friends. she felt that same tight nervousness she felt when she was sorted, the pounding in her chest, the shaky hands. but she told herself to be calm. she was going to do this.
she put her foot on the bottom step. and then the next. and then the next.
the voice inside her head that had been telling her that hogwarts wouldn’t realise who she was shut up. she whispered a thank you to the steps, a small word that only the castle heard. then she ran up the rest of the stairs, a grin emblazoned on her face, new robes swirling behind her, ready to start the next year at school.
he was fifteen when it happened. he had been questioning for a while, but he wasn’t sure. he didn’t want to call himself a boy, not yet. a part of him was urging himself to just go for it, because he knew who he was, if he really thought about it. but he was hesitant, and didn’t define himself.
then it happened. one night, when he was alone, he was going back upstairs, when he slipped. his hand steadied himself on the rough stone wall, and he looked down to see what had happened. one of the steps was slanted, just enough to make him trip. it wiggled a bit, then made itself into a step, as if nothing had happened. he frowned at it at the time, and went up to bed, but the memory of the incident lingered days after. and weeks.
he remembered it later, when he sat up all night thinking of how he didn’t belong here, in the girls dorms. he didn’t want to label himself, but he’d been more and more out of place, and he knew who he was, really. when he stopped telling himself that he wasn’t.
it wasn’t too long before he told everyone. he felt like shouting it from the rooftops, flying over the castle with his new name on a banner. he didn’t, though. he just settled for casual chats with the people he knew and an awkward owl to his professors.
and one night, after he’d settled in to the boys dorms, he put a foot on the bottom step of the girls staircase. instantly, the bricks flattened themselves into a slide. he grinned, and carried on up to his new room in the boys dorms.
they always knew they didn’t quite fit into any of the genders they knew. they weren’t quite a boy, weren’t quite a girl, but they didn’t have the words to express what they felt. it was only after a few years at hogwarts (and a lengthy google search one night at home) that they learned the word ‘nonbinary’, and realised that there was a word for it, after all.
they decided to be casual about it at school. the people that they trusted knew, and some of the teachers. but it wasn’t as though they had a separate dorm just for them, so
one day, when they were heading up to sleep, they saw a door. it was on the stairs to the dorms - girls went one way, boys went the other, with a blank wall in the middle. except it wasn’t blank, not then. there was a door. they asked their friends about it, but just got strange looks in return. but every time they climbed those stairs, the third door was there.
the next year brought a new wave of first-years, and they joined a group helping the kids out with navigating hogwarts. they were showing a group the way to the dungeons when one asked them what the third door was for. you know, the one between the girls and boys dorms. they froze, and looked down at a nervous first-year who was, even then, getting odd looks from their classmates.
they opened it together, the first-year and them. turned out it was another dorm. the beds were made, light shone through the windows, and the whole room seemed to beckon, invitingly. the first-year was ecstatic, and they found themself smiling too. the pair of them moved in the next day, and began to set up their own little space.
after they moved in, everyone could see the door. and slowly, the dorm began to fill up. kids from all years claimed beds there, older kids who had been too nervous to try the door, younger kids who were thrilled that it existed. they were the first, so they were looked up to, and they were happy they had.
help will always be given by hogwarts, you see. even for those who don’t know they need it.