Hogwarts-Crest“Crumb, Gideon,” Professor McGonagall called out as she stood in front of the faculty table next to the familiar stool holding the sorting hat. A portly brown headed boy walked nervously toward the stool and sat down. Professor McGonagall placed the tattered old hat on the boys head. The the entire room watched silently as the hat contorted as if thinking until it finally yelled out…


The Hufflepuff table exploded into applause and cheers as Gideon joined them.

“Just place the little kids already, I’m starving.” Belle glanced at the first year seated next to her. “No offense Gideon, but I’m wasting away here.”

“Belle, the sorting’s important,” chided Forster.

“So is sustenance. I haven’t had anything to eat today other than a couple of doughnuts.”

“Your dad bought breakfast again?” asked Sam.

“No matter what I try, I can’t convince him that fried pastry isn’t a food group.”

“Ach, com’ on Belle, e’s important to leuk ower the new victim sortin’.”

Sam winked.”New student you mean.”

“Whit’d I say, new victims?” he joked with a big grin on his face, as Gideon seemed to swallow a big lump down his throat, with a somewhat stricken look on his face.

“So there I was,” Aeryn giggled at the Gryffindor Table, “sat up to my middle in icy cold water fully dressed, freezing!! And Nic’s just standing there on the riverbank laughing at me,” the whole section of Gryffindors around her burst into laughter.

“Oh my God, Aeryn,” Bill Weasley said as he wiped the laughter induced tears out of his eyes, “That is hillarious! Who would have thought Nicolette had it in her?” As Bill and Aeryn continued to laugh, Céilidh jolted upright in her seat at the Gryffindor table. Céilidh looked about to get her bearings.

“Hey Red,” Tom called from the other side of the table, “You okay? You look like someone just walked over your grave.”

“Aye, Ah’m okay, Tommy,” she replied. Tom thought he saw her eyes cross over towards Cassidy’s at the Ravenclaw table for a moment, but dismissed it.

“Ravenclaw!!!!” Danny gave a cheer as Ricardo Gomes joined the rest of the members of his new house at their table.

A cold voice chimed out from the Ravenclaw table. “Danny,” Nicolette looked at him warningly. “You leave those first years alone. We don’t want a repeat of last year…”

“Don’ listen ta her, lad,” he said, throwing an arm around the new arrival. “She’s jus’ jealous she dinnae discover it herself.” He grinned at the first year. “O’course, i cannae say too much now, but, I’ll be sure to tip ye off b’fore my esteemed colleague MacFoozle an’ I go public with our astonishing discovery.”

“Speaking of astonishing discoveries…” Ambrosia’s green eyes sparkled with mischief as she leaned across the table to grin at Danny, allowing Helena the opportunity to rescue her brother. “I do hope you took advantage of bonding time I so thoughtfully set up for you.”

She giggled with delight to see his grin turn into an adorable blush. “It’s ok; you can thank me later,”she laughed, looking past him to wave at the many people she had somehow missed catching up with on the train. Her own smile grew somewhat wistful as she curled her fingers at Bobby. “Don’t leave,” she mouthed. “I haven’t hugged you yet.”

“Higgs, Terrance,” A blond headed boy smiled as he moved away from the crowd and walked toward the Sorting Hat.

“Okay I’m calling it.” Damien Marspeck whispered to his friend Laun over at the Slytherin table, “He’s gonna be a Slytherin.”

“I can see that.” Laun nodded. Meanwhile the boy waited patiently as as the professor laid the hat on his head.

“Slytherin!!!!” Laun and Damien high fived at their correct guess.

“He’ll be like us you know.” Laun said proudly.

“Oh yes, another good apple in the compost heap.” Damien smiled.

“Caring more about honest ambition and skill, with a healthy dose of fondness for but not obsession with positions of authority.” Laun beamed.

“I can see it now my friend, we are not a dying breed.” Damien agreed. They watched as the boy walked to their table, and their faces fell as he purposefully pushed a slightly lost looking first year girl out of his way.

“And we’re back to two…” Damien said disappointed as he shook his head.

“So Aeryn,” Charlie said as he leaned across the table, “Got any plans for the team this year?”

“We’ve got a lot of new plays to learn before November. Just as soon as I run them by Tom here first,”She winked at him.

Tom rolled his eyes, “Just what I needed on top of the ultimatum from mum, Quidditch homework.”

Aeryn gave a slightly over exuberant laugh as she leaned into Tom. “Is your mother still giving you trouble over History of Magic?”

The smile faded, “Yup. If I don’t make an O.W.L. I can kiss Quidditch good bye.”

“I wouldn’t worry too much about that. This years going to be different. I can feel it,” she smiled into his eyes. “Trust me,” she added with a wink.

The smile returned, “That’s what I like about you Ryn, always seein’ the glass half full.”

Aeryn wrapped her arms around Tom’s shoulders. “Aww, You can be so sweet!” she placed a delicate peck on his cheek.

Bobby made sure he slipped further down by Cheryl and Beryl.The red that encompassed his face may have been a give away about feelings he had towards another student and he didn’t want that out yet. He was still by his fellow Gryffindors, but the last thing he needed today was someone like Nicolette seeing this. So like any other timid student he scurried towards his friends whom, like always, went on about Quidditch. He was still on the fence about playing and now was far from the time he wanted to talk about it. Besides the color that embodied his cheeks the boy’s stomach growled and groaned from the agony of waiting to feast. This years train ride to Hogwarts felt longer than the others. If only he hadn’t forgotten breakfast.

“You got Professor Binns’s tests stuffed somewhere?” Tom asked, hoping she would pull Binns’s test out. At this point he wouldn’t have asked questions.

“No. I kinda wish I did though. Then I wouldn’t have to study so hard for it either.”

“Knowing Dan and Foozle they probably have um, I swear my little brothers can’t get enough of Bill’s stories about those two, except Perce of course.”

*a little further down the same table*

“Can you believe that tramp Cheryl?”

“I know Beryl, Tommy-Tom should be with one of us.”

“Exactly Cheryl. That bleach blond skank needs to stay away from our Tom.”

“Uh Cheryl, Beryl,” Bobby said as he leaned across the table toward the twins, “You might not want to say that quite so loudly.” he commented nodding ever so slightly down the table to show Aeryn glaring at the twins.

“Shut up Bobby!!!”

Bobby rolled his eyes. Did they want him to talk or to be quiet? One second someone wanted him to speak and another wished he would just stop.

As Stan Shunpike, the final first year to be sorted, joined his fellow Gryffindors Professor McGonagall rolled up the scroll of names, picked up the sorting hat and stool, and took them away. The whole room went silent as Professor Dumbledore came to his feet. His smile seemed to have brightened the whole room. “Hello one and all! To our newest friends, and to those returning, welcome! I would love to say more right now, but all I’ve had to eat today is some pumpkin pasties so I am famished. Tuck in!” The great hall exploded in applause as Dumbledore sat back down. The five tables of the great hall groaned, as piles of roast beef, roast chicken, lamb, sausages, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and vegetables. As soon as the food arrived, the ghosts flew the walls and flew around the room.

“Woo hoo!” exclaimed Belle, loudly enough that a number of heads turned her way. Saying nothing she dished as much food on to her plate as she could fit, devouring it like a threshing machine, and was almost onto her second helping by the time most students had finished just putting their food onto their plates.

“Better than doughnuts?” asked Sam, but Belle’s only reply was impeded by a mouthful of scallopped potatoes.

“Hello Michael, Aeryn.”

Tom swallowed down the roast beef in his mouth,”Hello Sir Nicholas.”

“Good evening Sir Nicholas. How have you been this summer?”

“Dreadful, absolutely dreadful.”

“Still didn’t get into the headless hunt?”

Sir Nicholas’s head shook above his ruffled collar. “I’m terribly sorry Sir Nicholas. But there’s always next year,” she smiled her usual enthusiastic smile.

Once everyone had stuffed themselves, all the uneaten food and dishes disappeared, and Professor Dumbledore got to his feet once more. The hall fell silent as he began to speak, “Just a few more words now that our bellies are all full. First of all I would like to introduce our new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Professor Mathias Sloan. Welcome Professor.” The hall filled with polite applause, as Professor Sloan- a dark, pale, gaunt sort of fellow– stood gracefully and gave a polite wave of hello before sitting down again.

“I’ve always loved Defence Against the Dark Arts,” Rose sighed as she nudged Nicolette.

Nicolette looked up from playing quietly with Casimir to the man being introduced and her jaw dropped.”Oh man, I may need tutoring or something this year.”

“And extra credit. Oh I want to do extra credit.”

“I wonder what kind of ‘extra credit’ Professor Sloan will accept.” Nicolette grins suggestively at her friend.

“I don’t care what it is… as long as I can look at him while I do it,” Rose giggled.

“I wonder if he will be suspicious that two Ravenclaw girls are doing poorly in DADA and need so much tutoring.”

“First years would do well to note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all students. Mr. Filch, the caretaker, has also requested that I remind you all that there is to be no magic used between classes in the corridors. Finally Quidditch trials will be held on the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their house should contact Madam Hooch or the Head of their house. Oh and one more thing,”Dumbledore smiled absentmindedly, “To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the defeat of Vol…” the students started to cringe as the the name started to pass Dumbledore’s lips. He stopped in mid word and smiled, “You Know Who’s defeat, we will have a masquerade ball on Halloween night!” The room burst into cheers and applause. Aeryn immediately turned her head toward Tom and smiled. Dumbledore held up his had calling for silence, “This will be what I like to call a Friendship Ball. What that means is, that you have to go with someone outside your house ,” there was an audible gasp. Aeryn’s jaw went slack,”Your heads of house shall disperse the details soon. And now before we leave each other for our door rooms and our warm beds, let us sing the school song,” Dumbledore pulled his wand out of his robes and gave it a flick. A long golden ribbon flew out and rose into the air, and twisted into words.

David Sullivan, who’d had his guitar with him on the train, grinned and took it out of its case as his classmates started to sing, the Hufflepunks coming in in practiced four-part harmony.

All the Gryffindor fifth years, with exception of Beryl and Cheryl, sang to the tune of the same Hobgoblins song that they had sung to since their first year.

Once everyone finally finished the words and David finished a brilliant guitar solo followed by a huge round of applause, “Music, one of the greatest magics there is. Now bed time, off you go.”

“Oi, short ones!” Sam called to the new faces at her table. “Make like the yellow brick road and follow me.”

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