Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
"First years, COME THIS WAY, c'mon, first years…" A surly voice yelled as the first years slowly made their way off the train. Remus could feel Peter grasping the back of Remus' robes for reassurance. Sirius and James were leading the way, stomping in puddles and spraying older students with muggy water.
"It's starting to rain!" James shrieked, hands outstretched, as Remus shielded his eyes and managed to shake Peter off.
"FIRST YEARS, OVER HERE."
All of the first years rode across the lake, soaking wet, but Sirius and James didn't seem to care. The surly man who was shouting 'first years' ushered them all into four groups and James, Sirius, Peter, and Remus were all smashed into one boat, James in the back and Sirius clinging to the front and pretending playfully to fall off the boat.
Remus was indeed very glad that it wasn't a full moon. But somehow, the tiny sliver of light in the sky wasn't enlightening their way very much. The man with the biggest boat in the front ordered them all to light their lanterns and hold them high. James did several imitations with the help of the lantern, swinging it around playfully.
Remus was drenched when they reached the castle, and Peter was clinging onto the back of his robes again, now shaking from the cold. It was a very beautiful castle from first glance, but at second glance, a large ghost swooped down on them and emptied an inkbottle over Peter's head, cackling.
Soon they all were brought into the sorting hall, as Remus remembered it, until someone corrected him and said it was called the Great Hall. It had floating candles, a swarming ceiling that reflected the sky, and large wooden tables that went along the entire hall.
Everyone learned about how they would be sorted.
"This hat," They had said. "will sort you. Do not judge it by its condition, please, it is a magical thing."
While James and Sirius exchanged disgusted looks, and Peter looked a little let down, Remus was satisfied. He didn't have much to offer in strength or wit or anything like fighting a troll, so he was very happy about impartial hat. He was impressed by its smug appeal and smartness, and was very happy all in all.
"What a let down." James muttered.
"I don't think so," Remus whispered back. "It sees people for who they are despite their skills at some things and how nervous they are right now. Don't you think?"
But James never got to respond as the first person got called up, and Sirius' face grew hot. They were calling this by last names.
"What's your last name, Remus?" James asked him urgently.
"Lupin." Remus murmured back, and mopped his sweating brow. He was getting nervous again.
"Pettigrew!" Peter shared anxiously. "Is mine. What's yours, Sirius, again?"
Sirius licked his lips. "Black."
"Oh," Remus said softly. "It won't be long until you go up."
"Me and Peter won't be so far apart," James said. "Potter and Pettigrew. But you're first, Peter."
"Peter and I." Remus corrected, and James rolled his eyes.
"Are you a grammar freak?"
Remus gulped carefully. Another kid went up and Remus could see Sirius swallow.
"What house d'you want to go in?" James asked.
"What? Oh, houses, um… I don't know, Ravenclaw wouldn't be bad, I guess…" He mumbled hurriedly.
"My mum said that Hufflepuff would be the second best choice." Peter said quietly.
"What about you?"
"I'm for Gryffindor all the way." James said proudly, looking a little worried at the same time.
"Black, Sirius." A booming voice seemed to break through their conversation, and Remus whipped around to wish Sirius a good luck, but he was already fighting his way through the crowd a little viciously.
"Oh." Remus said in a quiet voice.
Sirius slipped onto the stool, the hat falling over his eyes.
Remus waited for about a minute, when the hat's mouth opened and shouted:
James cheered loudly, being the only first year to clap but clapping along with the Gryffindors nonetheless.
Before long, they had gotten around the L's.
Remus fell through the crowds. He stepped two steps ahead, tripped over his robe, and felt James grab the back of his robe protectively. He still staggered forward as the hat was jammed onto his head.
There was a small, evil little voice in the hearth of his head.
"Ah, yes, plenty of courage, yes, in the back, you don't see much of it, do you? But there are brains, lots of brains… What about Ravenclaw?"
Remus didn't have time to be flattered about the bravery part of the hat's musings, but all of a sudden, shook his head against the hat. It's sides flapped against his forehead and cheeks as his clammy hands gripped the bottom of his chair. He couldn't hear the crowd.
Remus shook his head again. He didn't know why he was declining to be put into a house for the wise – but just the look of disgust on James' face when he told him he might like to be Ravenclaw – or just that he wanted to be with some people he thought might be his friends –
"Better be – GRYFFINDOR!" The words rang in his ears loudly as someone turned the volume back on – the crowd was cheering, and was shunted along the table. Sirius clapped him on the back, looking very relieved, just as though he might hug him but was thinking against it.
More than three years had passed since the unceremonious meeting in the train compartment, and of course, unlike Remus' prediction, they had become friends.
They were all in Gryffindor – even though Remus wouldn't have minded if they all would be in Slytherin. Besides, the Sorting Hat had considered putting him in Ravenclaw after all.
Not one day passed when Remus didn't contemplate how lucky he was to have such great friends by his side.
But not one day passed when Remus didn't contemplate how lucky he was that they didn't know his greatest secret.
"Pass the eggs, Remus."
Remus passed the plate of eggs over to Sirius, chewing nimbly on his toast.
"What do we have this morning?" Peter asked between a mouthful of pancake.
"I dunno – let me check… oh, that's great," James said wryly, flattening his schedule. "Herbology with the Slytherins."
Sirius looked uncomfortably at his own schedule. "That's just wonderful. A whole hour with Regulus and then half an hour with Slughorn."
Remus looked carefully at Sirius. He barely ever mentioned his brother – only when he was extremely angry would he shout anything about his family. Remus wondered if the Sorting Hat had ever considered putting Sirius in Slytherin.
"Potions isn't that bad."
"That's only because you have a crush on that one red-haired girl in it." Sirius said quickly, and Remus heard James' spoon fall onto the table with a clunk.
"Her name," James said irritably, as though he very much wanted to hit Sirius on the shoulder but was refraining from doing so. "Is Lily. And I don't like her, she's just smart and in Gryffindor."
Sirius was still smiling in his waffle by the time they had gotten up to go to Herbology.