'Hurry up mum! I don't want to miss the train!' A young girl of eleven years old stood with her arms crossed in the middle of their living room. She was a pretty little thing if you were to excuse her ruffled golden shoulder length hair that had been pulled back into a scruffy bun, and her attire that included ripped, worn in blue jeans that had seen better days. It was caked in mud that trailed up to her ankles and a mahogany jumper that looked almost double her size. She was considered underweight for a child of her age, nothing that a good few meals couldn't fix. If the living room had been anything to go by, it would have been clear that this girl and her mother were living below their means. The floor was carpeted an emerald green colour, which was tired and stained in numerous places, patches were clean which gave the impression that the stains were unremovable. The walls were once a cream colour when it had been freshly painted, however now the plaster had been cracked in numerous places, and the walls were so damaged the colour would be considered more grey than anything else. The room was thirteen by twelve foot, which managed to hold a double sofa and two bookcases with the fireplace in between. The windows were covered by fabric that looked unmistakably like a duvet sheet and there was a faint smell of damp. This had been the girls home for as long as she had known.

'I'll be there in a moment, Hazel!' Cried a rushed female voice from upstairs. The young girl named Hazel scrunched up her face in frustration but didn't respond. Hazel were the colour of her eyes and the meaning behind her name.

After what felt like ages, Hazel heard her mother's feet hit their wooden stairs as it groaned under her body weight. Their stairs once had a carpet fitted on as far as Hazel could remember However the carpet had started to fall apart and become a health hazard so her mother had ripped it up. As far as she could recall, she had never once seen her mother use any magic to fix anything in their home. They were the closest to being muggles any wizarding family could be. However, she would occasionally see her mothers wand stick out in her apron whilst cooking or in a pocket on her person, as her mother was increasingly cautious about keeping her wand on her incase they were scouted by any dark wizards; which was absolutely bizarre in Hazel's eyes. She wondered if her mother would even remember how to use her want, she supposed that learning magic wasn't something you'd simply forget. She had always known her mother had been a wizard, though she hadn't witnessed any magic until last week when they had taken a trip to Diagon Alley to get her wand and school equipment.

'Have you got everything, honey?' Her mother, Rose Clarke, walked into the room. Rose had almost been a older body double to Hazel. Hazel had inherited her mother's golden hair. Like Hazel, Rose was unweight and seemingly more so than her daughter. What stood out as a clear differentiation between both mother and daughter however, were Rose's striking sapphire eyes.

'Yes, mum! Can we go now, please?' Rose sighed exasperatedly at her daughter. Hazel had always been an impatient child, a trait that easily reminded her of her daughter's father.

'Yes, yes.' Rose replied, grabbing her car keys from one of the high shelves on the bookcase. It was a bizarre place to have them, however not having a coffee table meant Rose found other means of placing her items down elsewhere. Her keys were frequently found on the second to the top shelf, in a handmade clay pot made by her daughters hands, which said in bold red colours, 'MUM'. 'You're trunk is already in the car, where is your cat; Guinevere?'

Hazel uncrossed her arms and became increasingly excited. She ran to the side of the sofa, closest to the window and grabbed a cat basket which held a young blue fur coated, Scottish Fold. Hazel coo'd at the kitten and put her finger between the bars of the front of the basket to stroke the kitten's nose.

'I've already got her mum.' Rose smiled and beckoned Hazel out of the room. She grabbed their coats from the stairs banister and they headed out of the door to go to Charing Cross station.

X

'Now, remember dear. If anyone asks your surname, tell them it's Daniels.' Rose reminded Hazel as they walked onto platform nine. Their pace had quickened due to the London traffic which meant they were ten minutes behind schedule.

'Yes, I remember. I'm Hazel Daniels instead of Clarke. Why are we changing our surname anyway?' Rose sighed as she pushed her daughter's trolley closer to the barrier that reached Platform Nine and Three Quarters.

'We've already been through this, because of the war with the dark wizards its safer to keep our identities unknown. I want you to stay safe. I've already spoken to Albus about it and he's changed your name on the school registry.' Hazel frowned and maintained the speed that they were walking. They had fifteen minutes until the train left.

'It'll be weird seeing Albus everyday. I'm used to us seeing him on our birthdays and Christmas.' Rose stopped them both at a brick wall that was between Platform nine and ten by holding out her arm in Hazel's direction.

'I know, but your godfather told me he'll look after you. You'll enjoy Hogwarts. I want you to make the most of it. We're here.' Hazel blinked and pulled her mother's arm down. She looked confused.

'All I see are bricks. There's no train here..?' Rose smiled at her daughters confusion.

'It's a secret entrance to the platform. Run towards it, we're running late so please hurry up.' Hazel gave her a bewildered look as if her mother had gone crazy.

'I'm not going to run into a wall no matter how much you ask me.' Rose placed a hand between her daughters shoulder blades and gave her a small push.

'Trust me, sweetheart.' Hazel gave her a scrutinizing look and took a breath in before doing a full sprint. As the wall got increasingly closer, Hazel closed her eyes and braced for impact…but it never came. She opened her eyes to find herself on a completely new platform and a bright red train which said "The Hogwarts Express". She was on the platform.

Hazel's eyes sparkled with glee as she ran towards the train, taking everything in. There were hundreds of witches and wizards on the platform. Many parents were last minute fussing over their children before they hopped on the train and others already tearfully waving at specific windows which must have been where their children were waving goodbye from.

'Right, I've got your trunk here with Guinevere. I'll be back in a moment, I'll just drop the trunk over to the luggage compartment.' She handed her daughter her cat and ran off with the trunk to the end of the train. Hazel gave her barely any notice as she spotted a boy and girl of similar age to her. The girl wore a sundress that was bright yellow and it horribly clashed with her red hair. She had a broad smile on her face as she walked onto the train alongside the boy. He had dark hair that looked almost as though it shined in the light. The boy had a hooked nose and he already wore his robes for school. He had an impassive face as he walked onto the train after the girl. From their body language it looked as though they already knew each other.

'Now that, that's sorted. Are you ready Hazel?' Hazel blinked and broke out of her gaze, she turned to her mum and gave her a smile.

'Ready! It's now or never.' Rose gave her a smile and pulled her into her embrace. It wasn't often she hugged her daughter due to Hazel's aversion. She had reached the age where she felt being hugged by her mum was embarrassing.

'Stay safe and remember, you're Hazel Daniels now.' Hazel nodded and gave her mum a reassuring look.

'I'll be careful and if I have any problems I'll tell Albus or Hagrid. I'll come back for Christmas too.' Rose gave her daughter a quick peck on the forehead. They both bid their goodbyes to one another and it wasn't long before Hazel was on the Hogwarts Express with Rose waving her on.

The train whistled and Rose looked back at the train door, looking out the window and waving back at her mother. It was then she noticed her mother had started to cry whilst she waved. She'd never seen her mother cry before, Rose had always been a mentally strong person and never liked to show her distress. It was the first time they were to be separated, it must have been harder for her mum than she had realized. She had never known her father, for as long as she could remember, it had always been the two of them together.

Hazel kept waving back to her mother as much as she could until the train had started to move. It wasn't long until the train exited the station and then it turned round the bend.

Hazel lowered her hand and looked down at Guinevere's cage in her hands. Gwen was fast asleep, clearly bored from being in there. She decided to do the next best thing for time to pass by. Not even able to have the company of her cat, Hazel decided to walk down the train to find herself a compartment. She hadn't often met many children her age growing up due to her mum's paranoia of dark wizards. Hazel couldn't understand it herself, after observing the people at the station and the carefree attitudes of the students - it seemed as though it had just been her mother that was so worried about it.

Walking down the compartments, Hazel soon realized that almost all of the compartments were full. She had to walk down at least three carriages towards the front until she finally managed to spot one compartment with two people in it. Ironically it was the ginger haired girl in the sundress and the boy that was already in his robes. She opened the door, deciding that she had enough trying to find one compartment to herself and alerted them of her presence.

'Hi, I'm Hazel. Would you mind if I stayed in here with my cat?' Hazel lifted up her basket to show them her feline. The girl's eyes brightened when seeing the cat and gave her a warming smile.

'Yes of course! My name is Lily, it's nice to meet you Hazel!' She motioned over to the boy, which Hazel then registered that the boys hair was only shiny because it looked a little greasy. Perhaps he just rolled out of bed and didn't have time to wash it this morning. "And this is Severus! Sev is a little quiet though so please don't mind him." The boy Sev, nodded over to Hazel in a greeting, he didn't look particularly happy that they had been interrupted.

'Nice to meet you both. Is it your first year here as well?' Hazel asked whilst deciding to sit next to the more talkative and friendly one, Lily. The said person beamed at the question.

'Yes! I'm muggle born so I don't know too much about the wizarding world. However, I've known Sev for some time now and he's been trying to fill me in as much as he can. Are you muggle born as well?' Hazel shook her head.

'Definitely not, my mum is a witch. I don't know about my father though.' Hazel looked over to Severus. 'How about you?' Severus gave her a squared look and had grabbed a book out of his bag, clearly deciding that now someone else had joined them, he didn't feel the need to talk.

'Half. My mother's a witch.' Before Hazel could respond, he had lifted his book and had begun to read. Lily gave him a pointed look and sighed.

'Again, sorry about Sev. He's my best friend but he hasn't got very good social skills…' Hazel shrugged. She understood. Heck, there would probably be areas she'd lack with social skills, given her lack of meeting people because of her overbearing mother.

'It's fine, don't worry about it.' Lily smiled at her and then looked over at the basket. Her attention drifting on Gwen.

'What's her name?' Hazel gave her a smile and opened up the basket. Cooing Gwen into her arms. Gwen, more than happy to escape the confines of her basket, allowed herself to be Hazels arms and purred.

'This is Guinevere, I call her Gwen for short. She's a Scottish Fold. See her folded ears? Thats part of her breed.' Lily beamed and opened her arms, as if to silently ask if she could hold her. Hazel smiled and placed Gwen on her lap.

'Aww, she's adorable! I've heard the name Guinevere before. Is that from the legend of King Arthur?' Hazel's smile turned wide. Finally, someone had clocked where the name had come from. It had taken her mother ages to clock on.

'Yes! It's one of my favourite stories to read about! Have you read up on it?' Lily shrugged.

'I know of it but I've never read about it.' Hazel was on the verge of jumping out of her seat in excitement. Sure, Merlin was probably known about in the wizarding world but when it came to Arthur, he was a muggle and so was his wife Guinevere, so Hazel could only imagine that not many people would have been interested in that aspect of the history.

'Here's something to surprise you with then, Merlin was in Slytherin and he was taught by the founders himself!' Lily looked amazed.

'You mean he was actually real?!' Hazel laughed and nodded. Lily looked in absolute awe. 'I can't believe it. And in Slytherin house too… who would have thought? After Sev telling me about all the houses, I would have thought Merlin would have been in Ravenclaw.' Hazel shrugged.

'He was a really ambitious person. He's the most famous wizard but back then maybe the house values were different.' Lily was about to respond when all of a sudden, the compartment door opened. The three turned to face the new visitors. There were two boys. One, with messy black hair and round glasses, he was already wearing his school robes. The other, was a curly haired boy with brown hair that reached to his shoulders. Like the boy next to him, he wore his school robes as well. The boy with the glasses spoke, his attention on Lily.

'Hey, can we join your compartment? Everywhere else is full.' Lily gave him a smile and nodded.

'Of course! The more the merrier! I'm Lily, this is Hazel.' She indicated to Hazel and then nodded over to Severus. 'And this is Severus. Sev, say hi.' The said boy lifted his eyes from his book and murmured a quiet 'hello'. The boy with the glasses beamed and sat down next to Severus' bag which he failed to move. The only space which was then available was next to Hazel, so the remaining boy sat down next to her.

'I'm Sirius Black. Nice to meet you all.' The boy next to Hazel spoke, his attention on her. 'The boy with the glasses is called James.' Hazel glanced over to James, to see his still had his attention on Lily. Hazel turned and smiled at Sirius.

'It's nice to meet you Sirius. I'm Hazel Daniels. Is it your first year too?' Sirius nodded enthusiastically. 'Great! What house would you like to be in? Or do you not know about the houses?' Sirius looked like be wanted to laugh at the question. He gave her a grin.

'All my family are magic folk so of course I know about the houses. I want to be in Gryffindor, it's the best house in the school. Ravenclaw isn't so bad but theres more to life than learning. Hufflepuff are the friendly folk that are rejects for other houses and Slytherin are full of pureblooded evil scum.' Hazel blinked at how casually he spoke offensively about the other houses excluding Gryffindor. She had never heard anyone speak offensively so offhandedly before. 'What about you?' Sirius asked. James butted in to the conversation.

'I know I'm going to be in Gryffindor. Both my parents were sorted in the house. I think if I were ever sorted into Slytherin I would drown myself in the lake!' Sirius barked in laughter followed by James. Severus had lowered his book and glowered at the boys whilst both Hazel and Lily frowned at their attitude towards the Slytherin house.

'Slytherin is a house that students enter if they wish to pursue their ambition and use their resourcefulness, unlike those morons in Gryffindor that do stupid actions and are considered brave for it.' Severus scoffed. Hazel noticed both Sirius and James' backs stiffened. Clearly they hadn't expected someone to offend the house they had both decided they wanted to join. Hazel spoke up to try and defuse the situation.

'Well, we all can't decide which houses we like or dislike yet. You never know, we may all end up in houses we never expected and love it.' Lily gave her a smile and nodded in agreement whilst both Sirius, James and Severus gave her an odd look. Clearly the young boys were all stubborn and didn't realize her intentions.

'Only dark wizards go into Slytherin. If you're supporting the house, you're one of them.' Severus scoffed at Sirius' response and gave him a filthy look.

'If you think that way, then you're just a pompous ass.' Lily gave Severus a sharp kick on his shin before turning to both James and Sirius, giving them an equally harsh look.

'I know we've all just met but Hazel is right. It doesn't matter right now because we are not in any house. For all we know we could end up in a house we would have never considered.' Lily gave Hazel a smile, thankful for someone else in the carriage other than her having some sense and all three boys grumbled an apology. James' ears had gone a shade of pink from the telling off.

X

The rest of the journey to Hogwarts had flown by for Hazel and it wasn't long until both her and Lily had to get changed into their robes since they had been the only ones in the compartment that wore their own clothes. Lily had been smart to keep her robes close to her person whilst Hazel had packed them into her trunk. She procrastinated as long as she could but eventually she left Gwen with Lily whilst she had to travel back to the end of the train to find her trunk in the luggage carriage.

Once she walked into the carriage, she had realized then just how terrible her mistake was. There were over a hundred almost identical trunks packed and piled on top of each other and barely any gaps to manoeuvre around. She was relieved she hadn't of brought Guinevere into the carriage with her, or she would have lost her cat in less than a minute.

Groaning in agitation, she twisted and turned around numerous trunks towards the end of the carriage. She'd decided to start from the end and work back towards the exit.

Hazel had almost reached the end of the carriage when unbeknownst to her, a leg was stretched out across the only gap that Hazel could move through and she had not been expecting it. She yelped and fell face first into three trunks stacked on top of each other directly in front with a loud thud.

CRUNCH

'What the bloody hell?!' Hazel struggled but lifted herself up as carefully and quickly as she could and grabbed her nose. It was broken.

'Oh my goodness! I'm so sorry!' Hazel had her eyes scrunched closed in pain and she was yelping, barely able to hear the cries of apology from a startled boy.

'It hurts!' She heard the boy in front of her shuffle and then had her hands be pushed away from her nose and then pressure was placed in their absence. Opening her eyes, she realized a handkerchief had been pressed used to try and stop the blood flow and he had tilted her head.

Taking in the person in front of her, Hazel noticed that judging by their similar height, the boy must of been around her age. He had light brown hair that had just started to cover his eyes, (which were a pale light green colour) and he had some faint scars on his face, the most prominent being on his left eyebrow and cheek. The scars were angled as though someone had ran a long nailed hand across his face.

'I'm so sorry! I didn't expect anyone to come in here. Keep this on your nose, it'll help.' The boy frantically looked around for a window, but there wasn't any. 'I think we're almost at Hogwarts, I'll tell Headmaster Dumbledore and he'll heal you as soon as we get there. I have some chocolate actually.' The boy hastily rummaged through his pockets once Hazel had placed her hand over the handkerchief to keep it in place and he pulled out a chocolate frog. 'Please eat it. It'll help.'

'Who…are you?' Hazel had paused mid sentence to wince. She had never had a broken bone before and hadn't expected it hurt as much as it did, she didn't particularly have a high pain threshold.

'I-I'm Remus Lupin.' The boy named Remus stammered, it seemed as though he was still in shock, himself. His hair was ruffled along with his clothes crinkled. He must of been having a nap in the luggage carriage in preparation of arriving to school.

Remus unwrapped the chocolate for her and offered her the chocolate. She took it tenderly and placed it in her mouth. Remus went back to the handkerchief and pulled it away to inspect her nose.

'Why were you in here alone? That's a bit weird isn't it?' Remus paused and looked a little embarrassed. Deciding that there wasn't much that could be done for her and her nose, he placed the handkerchief back in place and tilted her head up again to calm the blood flow.

'It's my first year and I don't know anyone… I thought it would be better for me to be out of the way.' She rolled her eyes at his answer.

'Clearly not, because now I have a broken nose.' She noticed Remus winced at her tone and she sighed, feeling a little guilty. 'Look, we can go back to the compartment I'm in. I'll introduce you to my new friends. It's my first year too. I'm Hazel Clarke…-Daniels!' Hazel wanted to slap herself, in her pained state she had already gave her real name out before she could stop herself. Remus didn't seem to notice her mistake or that there had been a problem. He responded with a smile on his face and his free hand outstretched.

'Nice to meet you Hazel Clarke Daniels.' With slight hesitation, Hazel reached out and shook his hand. Remus' smile non faltering.

'Eh, just Hazel is fine, Remus.' They both pulled away from the handshake and Remus nodded. There was a pause between them and remembering the reason as to why she was in the carriage in the first place, she turned and started to search for her trunk. Remus, now knowing her name, decided to silently help her. It was the least he could do after accidentally tripping her and it hadn't taken him long until he found her name amongst a pile of trunks all clustered together.

'Is this your trunk?' Hazel blinked and silently walked up to Remus' side of the carriage. A smile fell on her face and she nodded. Remus took it upon himself to pull the trunk out of the cluster and then placed it in a free space on the floor for her so that it made it easier to rummage through.

Giving Remus a grateful look, Hazel bent down and started going through her luggage, she was thankful that her mum had helped her pack and had made sure that her uniform hadn't been packed at the bottom. Remus took a step back and pointed to the door out of the carriage.

'I'll let you go get changed in here. I'll wait for you outside and make sure no one comes in whilst you're changing.' Hazel smiled and gave him a thankful look.

'Thank you, I'll see you in a moment.' Remus nodded and he left the carriage. Out of politeness he didn't look back in fear that she had already started changing. Hazel however, waited until she heard him leave and heard the door clasp shut and then got changed into her set of brand new robes.

X

Whilst Hazel was halfway through changing, she felt the train jerk and she quickly clutched a nearby trunk to steady herself. The horn blew and she realized they must have reached their destination. Quickly throwing her robes on, Hazel rolled up her jumper and jeans and threw them into her trunk before locking it. She stood up and flattened down her pleated skirt so that it rested on her knees. Making sure she looked presentable, Hazel maneuvered her way past the trunks and opened up the carriage door to find Remus awkwardly leaning on the wall on guard. He looked positively awkward and out of place.

'I think we're here Remus. Lets go. I'm sure Lily will look after Gwen.' Remus looked confused as he lifted himself off the wall.

'Gwen?' He questioned, Hazel nodded and they both fell into place together as they walked towards the exit of the train carriage.

'She's my cat.' Realization dawned on Remus' face.

'Oh I see!' He exclaimed.. 'Is it short for Guinevere?' Hazel turned to him in amazement, she beamed at him.

'Ah yes! You're the second person that I've met which has noticed this! My friend on this train, Lily, had figured it out.' Remus' face broke into a broad smile, seemingly pleased that he was able to pick up on it and see the delight on Hazel's face. It was the first most genuine smile he had seen from her.

'I've read a lot of books, my mother is a muggle- I-I'm a half blood though!' Remus suddenly looked panicked as though he had slipped up and was half expecting Hazel to pull a face. He didn't know what Hazel's perceptions were on half bloods or muggle borns. Hazel shrugged as a response.

'You know more about the magical world than me probably. I don't know if I'm half blood or pureblood. I know my mother is a witch but I have no idea about my father. My mum doesn't use her wand though, she's paranoid about using it because of the war that, that Voldemort guy has started with his followers.' Remus have a pained expression at the name and unconsciously touched the thin scarred line that rested on his left cheek.

'Ah, yeah they seem pretty powerful and dangerous.' Hazel hadn't noticed his discomfort and nodded as they reached an exit of the train.

'My mum has a reason to be scared of him, so he must be strong. Even with Albus as headmaster, my mum was worried about me coming to school…' There was a pause as they both jumped off of the train and took in their surroundings.

'Wow…' Both Hazel and Remus paused as they gawked at the Hogwarts castle together in amazement. They both tried to take in the beauty of the castle that was lit up like a Christmas tree in the darkness of the night. The only way either could have described it, was that it was simply magical.

'First years, Over 'ere you brats!' A loud bellow that interrupted their conversation. It had come from a old man that was hunched over and stood by the station exit. There were two pathways. One, that seemed to head to the school by land and the other took the path that headed towards the lake.

The man indicated for the first years to take the path towards the lake. He looked to be frail for his age and in his late sixties and he held a look of disgust at the passing students and used his candle in a small birdcage to hit them from behind if he felt they were moving too slowly for his liking. His grey hair was thinning and fading to white, and he wore a tatty, worn brown suede coat that travelled down to what Hazel believed were his knobbly knees.

'C'mon Remus, let's avoid getting hit by him.' Remus nodded and they hastily walked past the man and headed down the trail towards the lake.

As they headed to the bank of the lake, Hazel noticed a couple of figures that stood in the clearing by a boat. Looking ahead, Hazel noticed that numerous others had already dispatched and were on their way towards the castle.

'Ah! There you are!' Bellowed a familiar voice. As both Hazel and Remus approached, the moonlight illuminated the figures and Hazel recognized them to be the two rowdy boys she met in the compartment along with a smaller, wider boy that was huddled in the boat by himself, staring longingly at the castle.

'Hey James! Sirius! Where's Lily and Severus?' She asked, as both her and Remus stopped in front of the boys. Sirius, the one that had noticed them, responded whilst James' attention was elsewhere.

'Lily went with Severus up ahead. Gwen's in her basket, we were told to leave everything in the compartment. Who's that- and what happened to your nose?!' His eyed had widened and had a look of shock. Sirius walked over and leaned in to take a closer look. Hazel could only imagine the state of how she looked.

'I tripped and fell.' She took a step back in discomfort and indicated to the boy next to her. 'Sirius, this is Remus. He's cool, you'll like him.' Sirius noticed her discomfort and he swiftly directed his attention to Remus, who in turn appeared nervous from the attention.

'N-Nice to meet you.' He bowed his head.

'Nice to meet you too, Remus. Like Hazel said, I'm Sirius. This is James.' Sirius indicated to James, whose attention was focused on the lake in front of him. He was watching the boats that had already left. 'Ignore him though, he's annoyed that our friend Lily left with a Slytherin fan. They had an argument before she left.' Hazel frowned at him.

'What kind of argument Sirius? What happened?' Sirius spoke in a hushed whisper. 'I'll tell you later.' Hazel nodded. 'By the way, this is Peter. We met him on the train just after you left. He's pretty quiet though so don't be upset if he doesn't talk to you.'

Peter flinched when he heard his name and timidly turned to face them. He gave them a meek nod and turned back to face the castle. Both Remus and Hazel frowned at Sirius, confused by this strange behavior. Sirius shrugged in response.

X

The group had finally caught up with the rest of the waiting first years and Hazel noticed that her Godmother Minerva McGonagall had stood in front of the group and gasped at her appearance. This caught Lily's attention and it had made her turn. Her face was full of horror and it mirrored McGonagall's.

McGonagall rushed over to inspect Hazel's face and she realized that she must have looked worse than what she had imagined.

'Goodness gracious me, Miss Daniels. What happened do your nose?!' Hazel noticed all the attention was on her from the group and she suddenly felt more nervous.

'I tripped on the train.' She could hear a number of students snigger, whilst McGonagall tutted.

'Well, you'll most certainly have to be more careful where you walk. You've been in school for almost five minutes and you already have caused injury to yourself. What will I tell your mother?!' McGonagall lectured, her voice was tinged with concern.

'Sorry Auntie M.' Hazel answered apologetically.

'It's Professor McGonagall here.' McGonagall pulled her wand out from her cloak. She gave Hazel a stern look before uttering a spell. Suddenly the dull ache from Hazel's nose disappeared and she felt her nose move into it's correct place. 'This should fix you up. If you have a numbing sensation or it tingles for more than half an hour, as soon as the sorting is finished grab my attention. I'll take you to the hospital wing.' Hazel gave her a weak nod and unconsciously touched her nose with her hand, expecting to feel some form of pain…but there was none. McGonagall gave her a small smile and handed her a handkerchief. 'You may want to wipe the dried blood off your face before entering the great hall.'

As soon as she believed Hazel had been sorted, McGonagall walked back to the front of the group. They all went dead silent as they stared up at her in a mix of confusion and nerves.

"Now that we're all accounted for, I would like all of you to stand here and wait. As soon as the great hall is ready for you, I will come back." She paused to allow it to register. "I will be back in a moment." And with that, she walked through the doors and into the great hall.

'Lily…' There was a pause.

'Yes, Potter.' Hazel could tell that Lily was furious. It was the first time she had used James' surname and there was a cold tone in her voice.

'I'm sorry I upset you.'

'It's not me you should be saying sorry to.'

There was another pause.

Hazel gave Sirius a questioning look and he whispered into her ear.

'He called Severus Snape a muggle hating twit.' Hazel blinked.

'Is that it?' She asked in a hushed whisper.

There was a pause.

'Severus Snape then insulted James' parents. So James punched him on the nose.'

'Ah…' She glanced over to Severus Snape, who had been at the other end of the group of first years. She could faintly see some dried blood under his nose but it hadn't looked broken.

It wasn't long before McGonagall returned, and she cleared her throat to get their attention.

'The hall is ready for you all now. Please follow me, in a nice orderly fashion.' She turned and opened the large oak doors to the great hall.

It was spectacular. The hall looked to be the length of a football pitch and there were four long oak tables that stretched from one end of the room to the other, they were filled with students of various ages. The walls had hundreds of levitating candles and pictures hung on the walls that moved. The ceiling magically showed the midnight sky above and the stars twinkled as though welcoming the students into the room.

'Woah. My mum was right. It's amazing.' Hazel overheard James muttering to himself. Like her, he was in awe with the sight in front of them. 'It's just like how she described it!' Hazel felt Lily's hand grab hers. She turned her heard to see Lily's face full of nerves, her excitement had evaporated and she looked as though she was about to be sick.

'Everyone is staring at us..' Hazel blinked and looked around. It was as though Lily said, every student in the great hall's eyes were upon the group of first years. She clearly didn't feel the nerves as much as Lily did.

'Yeah, I guess the sorting will be in front of everyone. So they want to get on with it.'

'How can you be so calm?!' Lily looked horrified. 'What if it's made a mistake? What if I'm not a witch and the sorting hat tells me to go home?!' It was a rather bizarre fear Lily had, however Hazel understood. Lily was so excited on the train about the prospect of being in Hogwarts, that the idea of now having to prove which house we belonged in would cause doubt and fear that her hopes could be squashed down and she would have to go back to being a muggle.

'It won't do that Lily. If you wasn't a witch, you wouldn't have got a letter.' Hazel tried her best to calm her down. Believing that being erratic during the sorting could potentially not be a good thing.

'You're right I suppose.' Just as Hazel hoped, Lily started to calm. 'What if we're in separate houses though?' Hazel gave Lily's hand a small squeeze in reassurance.

'If we're in different houses, we'll still be friends.' Hazel replied. 'Now don't panic! You'll do great!' Lily finally gave Hazel a smile and they stopped at the front of the hall. Hazel noticed Dumbledore's attention was on her and he was smiling. She returned it, and his eyes twinkled in joy.

McGonagall stood in front of a stool that had a long, dark brown wizarding hat placed on top of it. It looked incredibly new, with barely a mark on Hazel had looked at the hat in a different light however, she would have unmistakably noticed what looked to be a face silhouetted in its features.

'Now, when I call your name, you shall place yourself on this stool, and I shall place the sorting hat upon your head. Once house name is called out, please sit at the designated table.' Professor McGonagall paused and waited to hear if there were any questions. The students watched her silently, and McGonagall took that as a sign that they understood. She gave a small cough and continued. "We will now start the sorting process." She opened up her parchment. 'Adams, Julian'

A young boy with chestnut hair and freckles on his nose, broke from the group of first years and hesitantly sat down on the stool. McGonagall placed the sorting hat on his head and within a minute, the hat jerked and bellowed.

'Hufflepuff'

The table on the right clapped and cheered as Julian joined them.

Hazel noticed Lily sigh in relief. Realizing that they hadn't needed to show off their magical ability but have an object decide what house would best suit them, must have made her feel more comfortable. McGonagall looked back down at her parchment and called the next student.

'Avery, Kenneth'

A boy that had stood next to Severus had walked through the crowd. He had the look on his face of that he had smelt something absolutely awful. Hazel presumed that perhaps that was how he normally looked as he sat down, giving the tables directly in front of him a dirty look. It only took a few seconds for the hat to make a decision.

'Slytherin'

Hazel heard Sirius scoff and she turned to him. Sirius noticed her look.

'I know the Avery name. They're pureblooded wizards that would never be caught dead in a different house.'

'Oh…How do you know the name?' Sirius was about to reply but then his name was called. Sirius gave her a thumbs up.

'Good luck.' Before she could reply with a 'you too', Sirius had already walked over to the stool and eagerly helped McGonagall guide the hat onto his head.

There was a pause.

'Gryffindor.'

There was a cheer from the far left side of the hall. However the table at the opposite side of the hall on the far right believed it to be an outrage. The Slytherin students who wore emerald green robes looked furious. There were screams, saying that the hat had made a mistake and to try again.

A girl with black curly hair, who looked vaguely similar to Sirius stood up. She pointed at Sirius accusingly.

'TRAITOR!' Hazel noticed Sirius laugh.

'That will do, Black.' McGonagall said. ' Sit down. The hat has placed your cousin in Gryffindor.' There was a pause and the girl slowly sank back down in her seat, giving Sirius a filthy look, whilst Sirius looked absolutely thrilled.

Once the great hall calmed, McGonagall continued.

'Cooke, Gary'

A young boy with sandy blonde hair and piercing turquoise eyes walked between Lily and Hazel, breaking their hand holding. Like Avery, he stayed calm and seemed confident on the house he would be placed in.

'Hufflepuff'

The Hufflepuff table cheered again as Gary smiled, seemingly happy that he had been placed into the badger house and joined their table.

'Daniels, Hazel' It was Lily's turn to squeeze Hazel's hand comfortingly.

Hazel suddenly felt a wash of nausea, the nerves had finally hit her. What if the house sorted her in the wrong house. Could it be possible?

'C'mon Hazel! It's your turn.' She heard James mutter.

'You'll be fine.' Lily said softly.

With a gulp, Hazel made her way to the front of the group. McGonagall gave her a smile of encouragement and waited until she sat on the stool.

The moment Hazel had been seated, it took less than a second for her eyes to be met with darkness.

There was a pause.

'Now, this was someone I had never expected to meet.' Hazel heard a quiet voice in the back of her mind. It sounded distant, but as clear as a whisper in her ear.

'Sorry?' She asked.

'Such courage, bravery beyond comprehension. You'd do well in Gryffindor.' Hazel blinked, there must have been a 'but', because there was no yell from the hat to say he had made his decision. After a long pause the hat continued. 'You have a mind that's incredibly powerful. Your will is like your father's.'

'You know my father?' The hat ignored her and continued.

'Yes, definitely like your fathers.' It seemed to say to itself. 'Your ambition to be great is strong. You want power to be recognized by your parents. Slytherin would make you great.' Hazel could feel herself become agitated.

'How can I want to be recognized by father, when I don't even know who he is?' Asked Hazel. This had been the first she had heard about her father. Rose had never mentioned him, when she asked questions over the years, her mother simply said he had passed away and not to dwell on him. 'I don't want to be in Slytherin.' She heard a chuckle from the hat.

'You can't lie to the sorting hat, Hazel. I can see it here, in your head. You want power, you want to be great.' Hazel gritted her teeth, she was starting to lose her temper.

'I don't want to be in Slytherin!' The hat simply ignored her.

'Theres something else here…' The hat muttered quietly. 'Something I cannot see.' Hazel was confused. She had nothing to hide nor could she even try to stop the hat from delving into her mind.

'Listen, you…' But Hazel could not continue. The hat made a loud scream, and Hazel could feel it judder on the top of her head. Still unable to see, she heard the school gasp and she placed her hands on top of the hat to try and yank it off but it wouldn't budge. She could hear McGonagall call for Dumbledore and claim she couldn't take the hat off herself and Hazel could feel herself panic. She felt no pull from McGonagall. The hat suddenly yelled in a high pitched voice, as though it were in pain.

'I DON'T KNOW.'

There was a long pause. The Great Hall suddenly erupted in shock.

'The Hat doesn't know?!' Hazel could hear one student say.

'Do you think she cursed it?'

'She's broken it for sure.'

Hazel felt the hat lift off of her head, as though it were slumped and drained. McGonagall's concerned face was the first thing she saw. Her hand held Hazel's shoulder, turning her slightly to give her a once over.

'Are you alright, Hazel?' She gave her godmother a weak nod.

'I think so.' Out of the corner of Hazel's eye, she could see Dumbledore rise out of his seat and walk over to her. He gently took the hat out of McGonagall's hand and curiously inspected it. The hat, no longer looked brand new but ragged and worn. It looked as though it had aged half a century. There was a pregnant pause before Dumbledore placed the hat back in McGonagall's hand and he outstretched his hand for Hazel. She took his hand and stood.

'Hazel, which house would you like to join?' He asked in a kind, gentle voice. He spoke to her as he would when he would visit her and Rose.

'Gryffindor, Professor Dumbledore.' Dumbledore's eyes twinkled in, what Hazel would only interpret as joy, as he stood in front of hat and stool.

All the students had seemed to notice his presence, because the Hall suddenly went into silence and the students looked towards Dumbledore expectantly.

'It looks as though the hat needed to have some guidance. I formally place Miss Daniels into Gryffindor.' A pin could have been dropped, and every single student would have heard it. There was no cheer. No celebration as Hazel slowly walked towards the table full of Gryffindors.

It was only until she was inches away from reaching the table, did Sirius break out of his shock and he stood. Giving her a beaming smile and a small clap. He was the only student to do so.

'Congrats Hazel!'

'Thanks Sirius.' She muttered, feeling her ears redden and she quickly sat down next to him. Sirius seemed to notice her discomfort and he quickly sat back down. 'You're cousin wasn't very happy..' Sirius' eyes lit up, his eyes full of mirth.

'I suppose she wasn't, was she?' He answered.

'Evans, Lily' McGonagall had seemingly decided to carry on using the sorting hat, however she had paused hesitantly before placing it on top of Lily's head once she was seated on the stool.

The was a long pause.

'Please let Lily be in Gryffindor….' Hazel said to herself quietly. Her fingers crossed under the table.

'Gryffindor' She let out a sigh of relief and joined in with the cheer from the Gryffindor table. Lily beamed and sat next to her.

'I'm so glad we're in the same house! I was really worried for a moment there.' Hazel nodded in agreement.

'So was I! You're stuck with me from now on though!'

'I can live with that.' Lily replied. They giggled amongst themselves and Sirius had left them to it.

The sorting continued and the group of first years in front of McGonagall had started to dwindle. She had finally reached the Remus' name. Hazel had noticed that Sirius' attention was fully on Remus and she was relieved to see him mouthing to himself 'Gryffindor. Gryffindor goddammit.'

There was a pause, and just as both Sirius and Hazel had hoped. The hat yelled 'Gryffindor'. Remus, Hazel noticed, seemed to sigh in relief and a smile appeared on his face. The Gryffindor table cheered and Remus sat facing Sirius across the table. In his excitement, Sirius gave him a high five.

'Thank goodness. I was the only first year boy so far!'

X

It wasn't long before Peter Pettigrew was sorted into Gryffindor as well, much to Sirius' relief. Once the hat had announced Peter's house, the Gryffindor table cheered and Peter was left awestruck. He had mumbled a quick 'thank you' before sitting down next to Remus'. His ears scarlet and covered his face in his hands, hiding his embarrassment.

It was inevitable, however the moment James Potter had been sorted into Gryffindor, Sirius had leapt up from his seat and 'whooped'. His claps were the loudest from the Gryffindor table and James gave him a mock bow once he had found his seat next to Peter. It wasn't long before Hazel realized that perhaps it had been good that both him and Sirius had been separated across from the table. Already they seemed to be acting as though they had been friends for years and whilst the sorting continued, they gave each other knowing looks and through insults to every student sorted into the Slytherin house and mock saluted every student that joined either Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw.

It came no surprise to the group, including Lily, that Severus had very quickly been sorted into the house which he seemed to admire the most, Slytherin. Lily had given him a saddened look, clearly upset that they had been separated but Hazel squeezed Lily's hand comfortingly and promised her that she was sure nothing had changed, they were still friends. This had caused James to scoff. Unfortunately for him, this had meant Lily disliked him even more.

And at last the sorting had came to a close. Dumbledore stood back up, and outstretched his arms. He looked across the hall and was absolutely thrilled, as though nothing gave him greater joy than this very moment.

'Now, we must all have worked up our appetites. So before I start the school announcements, please dig in.'

As though a flower bud blooming, the large dishes in the middle of the table magically bloomed food in front of the students. Dumbledore chuckled when he heard the loud shocks of both surprise and excitement that echoed in the hall and he sat himself back down at the head of the table.

Hazel could feel herself salivate at the food in front of her. There was everything she could dream of. Steak, roast beef, roast chicken, chicken pie, Shepherds pie, Cottage pie…everything you could imagine, it was on the table.

'You look like your starving Hazel. Does your mum not feed you?!' James asked, noticing her pile up her plate with a trio of roasted meats and a miniature mountain of mashed potato.

'Yes, she feeds me.' She felt her face warm, she didn't particularly wish to tell them about their living conditions and their lack of income. 'I skipped breakfast this morning before the train, I was too excited.' James' looked unconvinced.

The food was delicious.

It wasn't long before their bellies were stuffed and all the students looked absolutely tired.

Albus Dumbledore rose from his seat and stood in front of the eagle pedestal. He had a kind smile on his face as he looked around the great hall and seemingly, mentally registered the new students in their designated houses. He paused when his eyes met Hazel's and a twinkle in his eye appeared. Whether it was an actual twinkle or the light caught his eye, Hazel wasn't sure. However it comforted her in knowing that his promise held true with her mother, and that he would be there to look after her. The great hall fell into silence in preparation to hear his speech.

'First years, welcome to Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. The houses you have been placed into will be like your family and you're experiences here will guide you down your path in later life. You will go to class with your peers, eat alongside them and friendships will be born.

'As always, please avoid the Forbidden forest. It is named Forbidden for a reason. And this year, we have a new addition to the school grounds, The Whomping Willow. It's located towards the entrance of the forbidden forest and I must ask students to remain aware that close proximity to the tree could cause yourself injury.' Dumbledore paused to allow the students to murmur amongst themselves at the newfound information. Both James and Sirius gave each other knowing grins whilst Hazel noticed that Remus looked anxious and as though he'd almost break a sweat. She placed a hand on his knee comfortingly which caused him to jump slightly. He gave her a fearful look.

'Don't worry, just stay away from it and you'll be fine. I'll make sure you're alright, okay?' There was a small pause. Sirius glanced over at the two whilst Hazel kept her eyes on Remus until he visibly calmed and gave her a small smile.

'Thank you Hazel.' He said in a quiet voice. Sirius turned when he heard Remus' response and gave him the thumbs up.

'Yeah, Remus! We'll all look out for you! Am I right, James?' James, who had been trying to make small talk with Lily, turned to Sirius and gave him a knowing look.

'Well, Of course!' He replied. 'We're all friends here. Even Peter here! Ey, Peter! You'll look out for Remus too right?' The boy Peter, had jumped out of his skin on his seat and nodded enthusiastically. He had clearly not expected to be included into the conversation that he had been listening in on.

Remus has been about to speak when a cough filtered across the room. Dumbledore had been ready to continue his speech.

'I would also like to welcome two new members of staff. The first is our new Herbology teacher, Professor Lupin.' A man stood up that had been seated next to McGonagall, he had short, ashen brown hair that seemed to be due to his hair aging. Hazel could of imagined in his youth, he would have had a darker, more rich chestnut colour. When it came to age, he looked to be someone in his early forties. He gave the hall a quick nod in a form of a bow and sat back down in his seat. His eyes roamed the great hall, and rested in her direction.

Hazel blinked, shocked. Professor Lupin's face broke into a soft smile and he lifted his goblet into a small toast, his eyes never wavering from hers.

'Hey Remus! Is that your dad over there?' Hazel heard James ask. She broke her eyes off of the professor and much like everyone else that were in close hearing range, turned to Remus. His ears turned pink.

'Ah…no. That's my Uncle Cecil. He hasn't had much contact with my parents since before I was born and I barely know him. I've probably seen him on two occasions. I do get a birthday and Christmas card every year though.'

There was a small cough from Dumbledore and sure enough, the hall fell into silence yet again.

'I'm sorry to say, that Professor Dingleberry resigned from his post during the summer.' There was a murmur from the Hall but Hazel noticed that there wasn't an air of shock upon this announcement. Clearly the older years had expected this. Dumbledore continued. 'However, I'm pleased to announce that Professor Aegon will be taking over as the new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher.'

Hazel noticed Professor Lupin's attention had turned to Professor Aegon across the table. He looked a few years older than Professor Lupin, his greying roots in his hair were the biggest giveaway. He stood up and gave a small bow to the students.

There was a small murmur from the hall. Apparently the idea of a new Professor against the Dark Arts teacher didn't come as much of a shock compared to Herbology.

'And now that is all out of the way, it's time for bed. You start your classes tomorrow and an early night would be best for you all. The prefects in each house will guide the first years to their common rooms. Off you trot.'

As everyone stood, Hazel noticed Lily's hand slipped into hers yet again. She squeezed Lily's hand comfortingly as the group of Gryffindor first years followed the fifth year that stood on one of the stools next to the table to grab their attention. It wasn't long until James' walked alongside Lily's other side, trying to get her to talk to him. Sirius was on his other side, laughing at his attempts and Lily ignoring him. She was clearly still upset with Potter.

Remus walked alongside Hazel's other side, whilst Peter trailed directly behind them, close enough so that he could be involved with the group. Remus still looked uncomfortable since the announcements had been made from Dumbledore.

'Hey, are you really that worried about getting hurt by that tree?' Remus broke out of his train of thought and stared at her wide eyed.

'N-No!' He stammered. 'But I wonder how many people may get hurt from it..' Hazel shrugged.

'Only the idiots that didn't listen to Dumbledore's warning. Don't worry about it too much. It's not like it's your tree. It's not your responsibility.' There was a long pause, and Remus slowly nodded. She could tell he wasn't convinced. 'Listen, if we notice anyone near it, we'll tell him to shove off. Okay? Don't worry so much.'

It wasn't long before they travelled up to the seventh floor and arrived in front of a portrait of a fat lady. She wore a large pink ball gown dress that travelled down to her feet and her hair and make up were immaculate. She looked ready for an extravagant party back in the 1800's. The lady looked at the first years wearily.

'Password?' The prefect stood in front of the group, he took a step forward.

'Ailurophile'

The portrait swung open.

'What the hell is an Ailurophile?!' Hazel heard Sirius loudly. Remus looked amazed.

'A cat lover.' The group looked at Remus in wonder.

'How did you know that, Remus?' Sirius asked.

'Is it not a common word? I read it somewhere..' Remus answered as they climbed into the entrance of the common room. The sight that greeted them was spectacular.

The common room was the definition of cosy. The theme throughout the room were the house coolers, gold and red. A crackling fire had already been alight in a grand fireplace, which was situated at the other end of the room. It gave a golden glow to the arm chairs and sofa that was situated right in front of it. Hazel knew that during the winter, she had found her favourite place already.

There were some dark mahogany table and chairs to their left for students that wanted to either organize a gathering and perhaps play some games, or for people that wanted to study and do their homework outside of the library.

The walls were a deep dark red with golden pattens etched on, which you could barely see as it was behind hundreds of portraits that covered almost every inch of the walls. If you wanted privacy, the common room would definitely not be the place for it.

'It's amazing…' Lily had voiced out Hazel's thoughts.

It wasn't long before the prefect that had guided the group of first years explained the location of the dormitories and the bathrooms for both genders. He explained that they'd receive their timetables during breakfast the next day and to arrive in the great hall for eight. Once he had relayed all the information they needed, he left to join a group of fifth years that had already taken claim to the sofa and armchairs for the night.

Lily suggested that they head to bed to wake up early the next morning and there were murmurs of agreement from the group. Both Hazel and Lily bid the group of boys goodnight and went up the stairs to the girls dormitory. Hazel noticed the moment that they had walked up the stairs and into first floor girls dormitories, that their luggage had already arrived. Gwen was already cozied on what Hazel assumed was her bed, given that her trunk had been placed at the foot.

'Ah! We're next to each other, Hazel!' Lily said excitedly. She ran to her bed and sat on the edge, giving Hazel a broad smile, which she returned.

'Lily, are you sure you're okay being separated from Severus?' Hazel asked her concerned as she walked to her bed and started to change into her pajama's which laid next to Gwen. Lily done the same next to her, on her left There was a long pause. Hazel climbed into bed and noticed Lily do the same.

She jumped when she heard Lily's voice.

'We are all allowed to be in a house that suits our personalities. Just because he's in a different house to me, it doesn't mean he isn't still my best friend.' Hazel turned to face her in bed and smiled at her new friend.

'Of course. I'm sure Severus believes that too.' Lily eyes shone with delight over her agreement.

'I'm so glad that we have each other Hazel.'

'Me too.'

It seemed as though, this was the start of the best thing that has ever happened in Hazel's life.