Chapter Six: The First Week:

Hermione woke early as was her custom and smiled as she saw the dark blue of the curtains around her bed. She rose and walked to the bathroom to get ready for the day. She was in a room with Padma, from the outside the doors in the tower were far too close together for anything but a tiny closet space. On the inside the room had a small narrow window but the room was big enough for two girls. There was a four poster bed on each side of the window, a wardrobe for each at the foot of their beds and a bathroom set up for two. Padma agreed to room with her and Hermione was very glad, Padma was as neat as she was. She got ready and came out of the bathroom just as Padma was up and got ready next.

Down below Harry and Camden were up early as well and ready before their roommates. They left the dorm to find Callie ready to go as well, Ron stumbled out of the common room his stomach demanding food. He smiled a nervous smile at the three and found somehow they liked him and wanted him as a friend. They walked up to the great hall and took a seat at the Hufflepuff table. In front of Ron a tart appeared with the words "we love you Ron, Fred and George". Ron grinned, he had seen the looks from the two and wondered they were going to do to him. Percy came up and saw the tart and nodded.

"If they do anything to you, let me know, I will bring them to line." Percy said "congratulations, a jolly good house."

"Thank you Percy." Ron said.

"I was not sure if you wrote mum and dad so I took the liberty, I told them how proud I am of you." Percy said, "well now, I must go see to our brothers."

Ron felt ten feet tall, Percy proud of him! He grinned and quickly ate the tart doing his best to use good manners though he did need some work in that department still. He happily put a large breakfast away and took the schedule given him looking it over with as did Harry, Callie and Camden. They had it pretty easy these first two years with only seven classes, and an orientation that was not graded, this was led by Deloris Umbridge, a wicked, evil foul woman who had done horrible things. Yet she knew magical society very well and this was the worst punishment that could be handed down, she was required to teach the magical society classes for the first years or face execution.

"So all first years will have the orientation for the first week, manners, government, how Hogwarts runs, the whole thing." Harry said, "interesting."

"Sounds good." Callie said, "mum and dad taught us a lot, but these classes will be good."

"Too right," Camden added, "and dear old Umbridge has to teach it or she gets the death penalty, seems fair."

"Why let her live?" Harry asked, "after what she did?"

"She has a good knowledge base and it is a more fitting punishment." Callie replied, "she has to teach the people she hates the most and can't get out of it, plus she can't use her magic personally."

"You can't block or remove magic without killing someone." Harry said, "how was it done?"

"Oh her magic is being used to charge the protections of Hogwarts directly, and Hogwarts is keeping her in line." Callie replied, "yes Hogwarts is alive in a way."

Breakfast ended and the first years were taken on a tour of the school and given a map to use. They spent that first day going over Hogwarts and learning her history, Harry was impressed that the summer months were used to repair and clean the school. This made Hogwarts look fresh and new each fall, a hard task to do as most of the year nearly a thousand students boarded and were educated in the ancient halls. Hogwarts was unlike any castle in the world, in fact castle was a word that had been tacked on in the late 1800s as Hogwarts was far more than a castle, it was a school and in the early days refuge for muggleborns who needed a safe place to stay.

In the early days muggleborn were taken earlier by nine or ten to learn their letters and how to read and write as most could not. In fact aside from some nobles, royalty and clergy, many people were not able to read and write at all in those days. Though noble women could read and write, a common woman learning was frowned on as her place was to work not get ideas in her head. So it was that at one time the magical world was the leader in education and the height of civilization. Yet that had changed and the magical world was declining while the muggle flourished, even birth rates had been going down.

Hogwarts was a bastille of learning, of knowledge and strength. She had twelve towers spread across two main buildings, at least twenty outbuildings and a wall around the castle to the forest where a hedge grew to keep the citizens of Hogwarts out of the forest. Hogsmeade had been a great town at one time but had dwindled and now was growing again. Where only five hundred had lived for two hundred years, now ten thousand lived and once more the town grew to the outer walls of Hogwarts. The defense was back in place around the Hogsmeade valley and, surprising to Harry was the fact that Hogsmeade once more had home rule.

"I thought we answered to the ministry." Harry said.

"You answer to two actually." Umbridge said, she was pale, toad-like and clad in the worst shade of pink ever, "the ministry in Britain is for those that live in Britain, the Wizengamot has representatives for Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Hogwarts Valley. Each has one seat, the others are taken up by the British."

"Oh, that makes sense then." Hermione replied.

"Yes, it would to you." Umbridge said sharply.

"I would be careful in your tone with me." Hermione said her voice cold, "you clearly are forgetting your place."

Normally no student could be this disrespectful of a professor. However Umbridge was not a professor and she had no rights over the students. They could not be overly rude to her, but Hermione could put her in her place, as was her right. Still, a professor could give detention if a student was rude without cause. Umbridge was classed as a prisoner and servant and as such answered to someone like Hermione. She bowed low and stammered out an apology and went back to the orientation. Not many of the first years knew what she did, but Hermione did, she had murdered her own family for her mother being a muggle and her brother a squib and she still felt no remorse.

The week passed pleasantly and the students got to know the school and the society they were in pretty well. A new tradition that Hogwarts had was that each house had two heads, one was for the boys and the other for the girls and the prefects had far more responsibility as well. They were more like aides in that they actively helped the younger years and brought the problems they had to the attention of the heads. There were twenty prefects for each house, it might seem a lot, but not to a first year who was homesick and scared in this new world. The more supervision meant a happier school and meant that things could not get swept under the rug as in the past. Being a prefect was a big job and one that students had to pass a test to even be considered now, and one had to have already passed their OWLs to be considered so it was the sixth and seventh years who were prefects.

The last day, Friday the senior prefects, a boy and girl from each house took them under their wing and formally welcomed them to Hogwarts and wished them well. This was the time of parties and fun and even Dumbledore showed up looking happy and well. He took care of the school and not much else, he loved the students and the new system was working wonderfully, why Hogwarts approved and loved it. The children played games that helped them cement the new knowledge in their heads and they were very happy with how the school cared so much about them. Hermione was fitting in very well, she now was best friends with Padma and was getting along well with Lisa and Mandy. Harry and Cadmus had made a good friend in Ron and Justin, Ernie and Zach would take some time to warm up but they were sure he would. Callie had made a good friend in Susan Bones.

"What a week." Harry said grinning as he sat cross-legged on his bed, "what a great week."

"Oh yes, but something needs to be done to liven things up." Ron said not forgetting his brother's shock at his sorting. "I don't know what though."

"Why not a prank?" Justin asked.

"We can't do that." Zach said, "it's not proper."

"Oh stuff your proper, and Justin is posh in the muggle world, heard his family is part of the peerage." Ernie replied, "if he says pranks then it is alright."

"What kind of pranks?" Harry asked.

"Well, there is a potion that could work." Cadmus said, "but dad might know it is us."

"Or not, I mean if you are thinking what I am then it is harmless and could be fun." Harry replied.

"Okay, but if we are caught I will say it was your idea." Zach said to Justin.

"I am willing to take the full blame." Justin replied.

"No I will, they are my brothers, it is a family matter." Ron replied.

That Saturday morning was spent being lazy and exploring the grounds. The sounds of the town could be heard over the large wall as the students played or lounged outside. A quick prank potion was created by the first years and pastries that two twins loved were placed with all the other pastries they loved in their dorm. That took some help from Dean who had heard the whining of the Weasley twins on that first night. The next morning saw the students back in the great hall seated for breakfast. The twin terrors came into the hall and took a seat it and dove into breakfast. There was laugher and they looked up and at each other, they had purple hair and green skin.

"We're identical!" They said as one.

"I wonder who did this?" Fred said looking around at the laughing faces.

"Yes who would prank us brother of mine?" George added.

"You never looked better." Percy said.

Percy supposed he had the twins to thank for his being able to take his OWLs early. After all he had to know how to defend himself from the twin terrors. That and he was really very smart and so that was why he was in sixth year not fifth as his age showed he should be. That was another change at Hogwarts, one could advance faster if they were ready and Percy had been. He saw Ron give his friends a grin and knew who did this, he would slip protection runes to him and his friends. After all Fred and George were not going to hurt their baby brother. At the great table Severus knew who did this and would keep an eye on those responsible, this was harmless and the pranks better stay harmless or he would be severely disappointed.

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So like I stated, canon left the building a long time ago. I am aware that Percy normally would be in his fifth year, but he took his OWLs early so that in this "new" Hogwarts he still could be a Prefect. I could see him being able to do this and yes, Deloris Umbridge is here and forced to teach which she hates, a fitting fate for her as she has no power over the students. Oh and yes, Fred and George deserved what they got, and yes Severus knows who did it. He will keep an eye on any future pranks.

Please do review please!