In attempts to create better, more well-trained employees for several departments, the MaCUSA office of California developed a new program with Hogwarts High School. The school and congress worked closely together on the creation and execution of the Continued Education Program. Students graduating from Hogwarts High looking to pursue careers related to upholding the law, Muggle relations, and several other fields would apply for summer internships in their desired department. Those granted internships would work themselves to exhaustion over the summer, proving themselves and their dedication. From those that interned, the elite would go through further vetting processes and a select few would be granted teaching assistant positions at Hogwarts, where they would teach underclassmen while pursuing their own further studies, often continuing their intern work on nights and weekends. The process was grueling, but those that made it through were highly qualified and ascended ranks faster than those that went through traditional channels. The Continued Education Program was incredibly successful, and other specialized fields, such as health care, created their own tracks to integrate into the Program.

Johnson, Provenza, Flynn, Sanchez, and Tao had all interned with the Auror department over the summer and worked as teaching assistants at Hogwarts High for two years each. Johnson studied interrogation extensively. Provenza had chosen an emphasis, to everyone's surprise, in interdepartmental communications. He had originally planned on taking the traditional route to being employed by the Aurors, but when a TA position opened, he took it so he could advance faster. Flynn studied a bit of everything and had become a jack-of-all-trades, not necessarily excelling at anything, but his wide variety of experiences made him incredibly valuable. Like Provenza, he had come to the Continued Education Program late. Sanchez specialized in gangs. Tao had chosen an emphasis in forensics. The five had been thrown together as a team during their most recent summer internship. Having already been friends through their jobs as T.A.s at Hogwarts, the team worked together incredibly well and wild rumors spread about the positions they might be offered upon completing their education.

Halfway through the summer, however, Johnson stepped over the line in an interview. She, her supervisor, and her team were investigated by Internal Affairs, and a deal was finally struck in which Johnson agreed to resign from her internship and her position as a T.A. two weeks before school began. She managed to save her reputation and was able to get into another school. She and her fiancée moved, and
Provenza, Flynn, Sanchez, and Tao finished their jobs while down a teammate.

It came as an incredible shock to the four remaining teammates when, at the Welcoming Feast for the new school year, they spotted a familiar, infuriating face among the crowd of freshmen waiting to be Sorted.

"What the hell's this?" asked Flynn. "She was part of the investigation into Johnson! What's she doing here?"

"Damned if I know," said Provenza, glaring openly at the woman. "What was her name?"

"Raydor," said Tao.

"You forgot her title, Tao," said Sanchez. "Darth. Darth Raydor."

Tao sighed and decided against replying to his partner's sour tone. "Maybe she's looking into a new career. Internal Affairs is tough, and I think she's been there close to a year."

"Talking about Raydor?" said a blonde girl, dropping into a seat next to Tao. Hobbs, a high-achieving law student, had worked with the team on several different occasions throughout her time in the Continued Education Program. Despite her chosen profession, she managed to get along fairly well with the future Aurors. "She's looking into a career, alright, but not a new one."

"But she works with I.A.," Flynn objected. "She was one of the ones prying into us and tearing Johnson apart this summer."

"Intern," said Hobbs. "She was in line to get a full time job the old way, doing all her training on site, but then she got a new offer."

While Provenza and Flynn exchanged incredulous facial expressions, Sanchez continued trying to extract information out of Hobbs. "Are you saying she's – "

"A new T.A.?" asked Hobbs. "Yes. You guys had better get used to her real quick. Her internship was just transferred to the Auror department a few days ago."

"What?" Flynn snapped.

Hobbs nodded. "You all were so preoccupied with trying to dig Johnson out of her own grave that you failed to keep up with office gossip. Raydor was the first person admitted as an intern for Internal Affairs and she impressed a lot of people while there. She's a smart cookie."

"Who the hell wants to intern for Internal Affairs?" Provenza queried.

"Pretty smart, actually, when you think of it," said Tao. "She's been learning to investigate people that know how to get away with crimes. Imagine how she might do when looking into the average citizen."

"She spent her summer trying to undermine Johnson!" Flynn objected.

"Johnson was out of line, Flynn," said Hobbs. "Everyone except you guys is on the same page as far as that goes. Honestly, she did you a favor when she left. Sharon didn't do anything except her job. It's time you get over it."

"So you're on first name terms?" asked Sanchez lowly.

"Yes," said Hobbs with a slight roll of her eyes. "Sharon and I worked together a few times over the summer. We got along just fine."

The group was stopped from arguing further as Professor McGonagall announced the beginning of the Sorting Ceremony.

Each of the T.A.s reacted appropriately when a freshman was assigned to their House. Flynn pounded the table appreciatively for every new Gryffindor. Provenza hooted and hollered with the rest of Slytherin. Sanchez stood and clapped until each new Hufflepuff took their seat. Tao and Hobbs applauded politely and looked their new Ravenclaws over keenly, taking in every bit of information they could.

When "Raydor, Sharon!" was called forward, the team of Auror interns all held their breath, wondering who was going to get stuck with the person they had come to dislike and distrust so much.

"What's going on?" asked Sanchez after nearly two minutes of staring at Raydor with the oversized Sorting Hat obscuring her eyes.

Flynn shrugged. "Maybe the Hat's on our side and refusing to Sort her."

Another minute passed and Tao started to become more and more excited.

"What's with you, Tao?" Provenza asked irritably after his teammate had glanced at his watch for the dozenth time.

"It's been three and a half minutes," Tao whispered excitedly. "She might end up being a Hatstall!"

"Hatstall?" asked Sanchez.

"Someone that takes five minutes or more to be Sorted," Hobbs answered, chewing the inside of her cheek slightly. "They're rare. I don't think we've had one in at least thirty years."

"The average Sorting takes forty-eight seconds," said Tao. "She's been there for – "

"More than that, yeah, we get it," said Provenza.

After even more time passed, in which Raydor's cheeks had become progressively more and more red, the Hat declared her to be a Hufflepuff. Sanchez stood and clapped with the rest of his House, though he had a slightly crestfallen look on his face.

"She's your problem now, Julio," said Flynn smugly, slapping Sanchez on the shoulder.

Instead of joining the rest of the T.A.s, Raydor sat with several Senior Hufflepuffs that beckoned her over.

Tao whistled lowly. "Six minutes and twenty-two seconds," he breathed. "That's a long time."

Conversation ceased as Sorting continued. When food finally appeared on the tables, the T.A.s dug in with fervor.

"You know," Tao started, "to have taken that long to be Sorted, Raydor's got to be incredibly complex."

"Don't tell me you're on the verge of forgiving her, Tao," Provenza growled.

"Hey, how about you leave my housemate alone?" Sanchez forcefully suggested.

"So she's sorted into Hufflepuff and suddenly deemed untouchable?" Provenza asked irritably.

"In Hufflepuff, we look after our own," said Sanchez. "I'm not saying I'm happy with what she's done, but I'm not going to start tearing my House apart."

Hobbs tactfully changed the subject and the rest of the meal passed pleasantly.

"Flynn, Provenza, Sanchez, Tao," said McGonagall's crisp voice as the Hall began to clear.

"Professor," said Flynn with a polite nod. "Have a good summer?"

"Considering you were chiefly someone else's responsibility, Mr. Flynn, yes," said McGonagall.

"Harsh, but fair," Flynn admitted, earning the shadow of a smile from his Head of House.

"Mr. Moody would like to see the lot of you," said McGonagall. "Follow me."

"Catch you later, Hobbs," said Tao with a wave as he followed his team out.

"Mr. Moody," said Provenza smoothly upon entering McGonagall's office. "What can we do for you?"

Moody's magical eye twirled madly about while his normal one narrowed. "Quit your yapping, Provenza. You'll be getting nothing from me."

"Did I ask for anything?" Provenza asked, sounding almost innocent.

"You've always got an angle," said Moody. His protégées plugged their ears as he filled his lungs. "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!"

"Alastor, we've talked about you shouting in my office!" McGonagall said exasperatedly. "You four sit. We're waiting on Professor Sprout."

The four interns sat down, each beginning to ponder what on earth might have called their team supervisor to Hogwarts on the school's first night. Perhaps they were being given a new assignment on which to work during their limited down time.

Professor Sprout entered with none other than Sharon Raydor behind her. "Ah, gentlemen!" she said kindly while gesturing for Raydor to sit. "I'd like for you to meet – "

"We've met," said Flynn shortly, narrowing his eyes at Raydor, who looked incredibly uncomfortable.

"I just want to say that I was only – " Raydor began.

"I haven't got much time, so I need the lot of you to shut it," said Moody shortly.

"Yes, sir," responded the four young men immediately. Raydor showed signs of surprise behind her large glasses.

"With Johnson gone, my intern team could use another member," said Moody. "Raydor's it."

"Sir!" Flynn immediately objected. "We're two years in and she's only just – "

"Did I make that sound like a question, Flynn?" Moody asked dangerously.

"No, sir," said Flynn tightly.

Moody nodded curtly. "While we try to get Raydor caught up and the five of you figure out your new team dynamics, I've requested you not be assigned anything for at least a month. On Saturdays, you'll report to me down by the black lake for training at 7:00am, sharp."

"Um, sir, Mr. Moody," said Raydor somewhat shyly while her new teammates hung their heads. "Is it possible to change that time at all? You see, I'll be commuting and – "

"Raydor, you are the one that requested this job," said Moody. "You are the one that requested to be on a team, and I took you. Are you telling me that you would like to resign?"

"No, sir," said Raydor with a touch of resentment.

"7:00, this Saturday," said Moody. "If you're late, that tells me you need training more than once a week. Do I make myself clear?"

At hearing the resounding chorus of "Yes, sir!" Moody nodded, then left without another word.

"Professor Sprout and I decided during the Feast that it would be in your best interest to take some time tonight to get to know each other a little better before classes officially start," said McGonagall.

"Madame Rosemerta has a table set aside for you," said Sprout. "Your supervisory duties for the night have been seen to, so there's no need to rush back."

The men stood and left without a word, and Raydor hurried to catch up.

"I get that you're angry at me," said Raydor after a stretch of uncomfortable silence on the way to Hogsmeade. "I hope you can come to understand that I was just doing my job when it came to investigating Brenda Johnson."

"Sure, your job," said Flynn in a would-be casual tone.

"Have to admit it worked out really well for you, though," said Provenza. "You investigate Johnson, she leaves with hardly any dignity, and you swoop in to take her position."

"My goal was not to take your teammate's job," Raydor insisted. "I won't deny that it ended up being convenient for me, but I had no thoughts of transferring departments until after the investigation was over."

"Let's not argue about the past," suggested Tao loudly. "None of us had the final say on anything, and all of us were just acting as ordered.

"Sharon, I'd like to know what Houses the Sorting Hat considered you for," said Tao before any of his teammates could say anything more.

Raydor smiled appreciatively at Tao. "Hufflepuff was a consistent option," she said, "but the Hat considered every house for a bit. It seemed like that took forever!"

While Tao gushed on about Hatstalls, Flynn and Provenza rolled their eyes and exchanged a multitude of skeptical looks.

The group finally made it to The Three Broomsticks and was shooed over to a table in the corner of the bar.

"So did all of you go to Hogwarts for high school?" Raydor asked. She seemed to have relaxed significantly since leaving McGonagall's office. "I only moved here a year ago, so I'm still figuring out how influential the school really is."

"Yeah, we did," said Sanchez. "Tao and I did pretty well. We still haven't figured out how Flynn and Provenza slipped through the cracks and made it into the T.A. program."

"Don't quit your day job, Sanchez," suggested Provenza. "You're not that great of a comedian."

As the evening wore on, Provenza seemed to relax a bit more and even laughed at a joke or two of Raydor's. His easy-going façade was betrayed, however, by suspicious glances at Raydor whenever she was not paying attention. Flynn made no effort to hide his unhappiness.

"Hey, Tao, you got a ring for Cathy yet?" Sanchez asked after observing an attractive woman in the bar. "I won't be around forever to be your best man, you know."

"Cathy's still in Japan until February, and I'm not rushing into anything just because you want to make an embarrassing speech about me, Julio," said Tao. "Also, I refuse to turn into Provenza."

"Hey, now," said Provenza defensively, "I have only had three fiancées. I hardly think – "

"You've been engaged three times?" Raydor asked, aghast.

"Listen," Provenza began, ready to explain himself.

"Three fiancées, four engagements," said Tao. "None of them ended well."

"Provenza's kind of like the chicken-and-egg problem," said Sanchez with a mischievous gleam in his eyes. "We're not sure if the relationships failed because he's a cynical grouch or if he's a cynical grouch because the relationships failed."

Raydor quickly grabbed her cup and hid her face behind it as Provenza started verbally ripping into Sanchez.

"I see you've got a rock on your finger," said Tao loudly after smacking his partner in the shoulder. "Engaged?"

"Married, actually," said Raydor, her smile suddenly looking fixed. "Separated now, but – "

"There's a surprise," Flynn muttered sarcastically, none too quietly.

"Hey," Sanchez said harshly.

"What do you mean by that, Mr. Flynn?" Raydor asked coolly.

"Nothing," said Flynn unconvincingly.

Raydor simply sat and blinked at Flynn for a moment, as if the gears in her head had jammed. "Julio, would you mind letting me out, please?" she asked finally.

Sanchez scooted out of the booth seat to allow Raydor out, who quickly slung her bag over her shoulder. She forced a smile, wished her teammates a goodnight, and left with her hair hiding her face.

"You're an ass," said Sanchez to Flynn.

Author's Note

An idea came into my head and it wouldn't leave. I've been writing this story in bursts since the summer, and am eager to find out what someone other than myself thinks of it. Let me know, and feel free to share any ideas with me!