I Solemnly Swear
"Firs' years! Firs' years, this way! Foller me!"
James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter looked around tiredly for the person calling for first years. Within seconds, they had spotted the tall, giant-like man. He stood at the edge of a large, black, glassy lake, surrounded by dozens of small boats.
"Whoa," Peter muttered, "He must be ten feet tall!"
"Probably taller," Sirius replied, looking up.
All the first years gathered around the giant, gazing at him in awe.
"Name's Hagrid, Keeper o' Keys an' Grounds. Now, hurry up you lot; four ter a boat, hurry 'long!"
The four friends rushed to be in the same boat. Once all four were seated, the boat started moving, by itself, across the lake. Sirius and James dangled their hands in the water lazily.
"AUGH!" James yelped suddenly and pulled his hand out of the water.
"What?" Sirius asked, slightly amused at James's panic.
"Something just...did you see? It grabbed me!"
"Keep yer hands outta the water," Hagrid called out, "Or the Gian' Squid'll pull yer in!"
"Giant...Squid?" Peter asked nervously, "There's a Giant Squid?"
"Oh yeah," Sirius said slowly, "My cousin said something about that!"
Peter shuddered and squeezed closer to the center of the boat.
''Look!'' Someone cried suddenly, "It's Hogwarts!"
Everyone looked up ahead. A huge castle, spanning as far as the eye could see, lay at the opposite edge of the lake. High towers reached up to the night sky; lights shone brightly from every window, and two large oak doors were opened slightly, as if welcoming the new students.
"We're finally here," Remus gasped, "I'm actually at Hogwarts."
"Amazing, isn't it?" James grinned widely, eyes shining as he took in his new home.
Sirius and Peter just nodded mutely, scanning the school. The four jumped out even before the boat stopped, earning a strong glare from Hagrid. They raced towards the door, and were greeted by a strict-looking, brunette woman. Her hair was pulled back tightly, and her robes went up to her chin.
"Welcome, students," she said regally, "to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I am Professor McGonagall. In a few moments, you will be taken into the Great Hall with the rest of the students, where you will be sorted into your Houses. The four Houses are as follows: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin."
At her last word, Snape straightened up a bit and James glared.
"Please wait here for a few moments."
Professor McGonagall swept through the entryway, leaving the first years alone in the hall.
"Sirius!" A shrill, high pitched voice broke the silence, and Sirius groaned.
"Bellatrix," Sirius said sourly, "I had almost forgotten about you, silly me."
"Look, Sirius, I just want you to know that Auntie Walburga has instructed me to make sure you don't do anything stupid. Like hang around with half-bloods and mudbloods, for instance?"
A few surrounding students gasped at the word 'mudblood'. Bellatrix looked around before turning back to Sirius.
"And, just so you know, any association with Andromeda," she spit out the name as if it were poison, "is forbidden."
Sirius licked his lips. "Well, Bella, I'll have you know that blood means absolutely nothing to me, I probably will do something stupid about twice a day, and Andie is my favorite cousin. Yes, I will be associating with her."
"Well!" Bellatrix huffed and turned away.
Professor McGonagall re-entered at that moment.
"We are ready to begin. If you will follow me, please."
James and Sirius pushed each other out of the way jokingly and rushed to be first through the entryway. The older students sat at four long tables, each with a different-colored banner above it. The first years stopped when they reached the fifth table, occupied by about a dozen teachers. A ratted, ancient-looking hat sat on a stool at the front. When all was quiet, a slit near the brim opened, and the hat began to sing:
It was quite a while ago
When I was brought to life;
And in the past few centuries
This hat has seen much strife.
Brave Gryffindor, the valiant one,
Slytherin, ambitious till the end,
Clever Ravenclaw, that witty brain,
Fair Hufflepuff, good friend;
They founded the best magic school
That ever hath exist
And students would attend, you see,
The four would their magic lend.
Then these Four Founders,
The best ones of their age;
Experienced a falling-out
A great outbreak of rage.
Shrewd Slytherin soon left the school,
The other three were left alone;
And Hogwarts school was naught the same,
of which the three would moan.
The Houses split, the founders fought,
And everything had changed,
For years and years, discord was much,
and no one got along
But everything has changed, you see,
For today's teachers have shone.
Today's students must learn now from
the Four Founder's mistakes
And get along with other folks,
for Friendship we must make.
The Hat stopped, and applause echoed throughout the hall. Sirius and James turned to each other and mouthed: 'Friendship we must make?' They chuckled softly, but became serious when McGonagall unfurled a piece of parchment.
"Alcraft, Connor!" A skinny, short boy walked up to the front nervously, sat on the stool, and sat silently as the Hat was placed on his head.
Cheers erupted from the third table, and Connor Alcraft collapsed gratefully on the bench.
A few more students were called, before:
Bellatrix sashayed to the front, flipping her long dark hair over her shoulder. The Hat barely touched her head.
The fourth table clapped this time, and Sirius looked over sourly as Bellatrix joined Narcissa and smiled at the other Slytherins.
Sirius walked up to the front and grinned as the Hat covered his eyes.
Another Black, eh? Most every other Black has been in Slytherin, but you're not like the others now, are you? No, you're definitely not Slytherin. Not Ravenclaw like the girl, either. No, you're intelligent, but not Ravenclaw. Not Hufflepuff, either, so I guess it's...
The Hat was removed from Sirius's head. He grinned at James, gave him a thumbs up, and turned towards the Gryffindors. The Hall was strangely silent, until a few confused Gryffindors began to clap awkwardly. Sirius strutted past the Slytherin table, headed straight towards his red-and-gold clad housemates. He sat down, met eyes with his dumbstruck cousins, and waved. Some of the teachers looked at each other curiously before joining in the applause. Andromeda, who was seated at the Ravenclaw table, gave him a small wave.
A few more students were sorted, and Sirius paid little attention. He looked up curiously when 'Evans, Lily' was called to the front, wondering where the snooty little brat was going to be put. He groaned when the Hat shouted Gryffindor, and sneered at her as she passed.
Finally, Remus was called.
Remus Lupin, eh? I've heard the teachers talking about you...you're the werewolf. The first one to attend Hogwarts, y'know. Hm..you're smart, there's no doubt about that...Ravenclaw, perhaps? Bravery...you show qualities of Gryffindor, also, you know. But which one?
Just not Slytherin, please.
No, you're not a Slytherin. I guess it'll be...
Remus relaxed greatly when the Hat made his final decision. He sat down next to Sirius, grinning widely as the rest of his new housemates patted him on the back. The two sat through the rest of the sorting, waiting for James and Peter to be called.
"Pettigrew, Peter," McGonagall said finally.
Peter trembled as he made his way to the front. The hat was placed on his head, and he shivered when it began to speak to him.
You show all the qualities of a Hufflepuff, you know...
No, please, I have to be in Gryffindor...the rest of my friends are, I have to be!
Are you sure? You're really not Gryffindor material, you know. There is bravery, deep inside your mind, but it will rarely show itself...
I'll be braver, I promise! Just please, you have to put me in Gryffindor...
Well, I can't argue with what's inside your heart...
Peter rushed over to Sirius and Remus, collapsing with relief at the table.
"Merlin, what took so long? You were up there for ages!" Sirius whispered through his teeth. Peter shrugged, and turned back to watch James's sorting.
James Potter...I see great things in your mind...Intelligent, very intelligent...However, you seem to be quite arrogant, Slytherin-like...Loyalty, much loyalty...and intense bravery...You seem to be every House rolled into one...
Put me in Gryffindor or I'll scream.
You'll scream, eh? Well, you should know that that won't affect me. I don't have ears, you see.
Put me in Gryffindor or I'll cut you up into tiny little pieces.
You are very Slytherin-like, you know...But you are right, you're most definitely a
No problem, Potter. I expect great things from you.
James joined his friends at the Gryffindor table. They patted him on the back and clapped.
"How much of a coincidence is this?" Sirius yelled, amongst the clapping, "That the four of us all ended up together?"
James shrugged, "Pretty big one, actually," Peter gulped and turned back to the front.
The four whispered throughout the Sorting, only pausing when Severus Snape was called. The Hat barely touched his Head before screaming 'Slytherin', and James and Sirius chuckled.
"Good thing it was so short; he may have contaminated the thing with his greasy-ness," Sirius muttered, earning giggles from the surrounding students. Lily Evans glared at him before turning away.
Once the last student had been sorted, an old man stood to address everyone. He had long, auburn hair, and a matching beard, slightly streaked with grey. His robes were an odd shade of dark purple, with tiny stars and moons flitting across the sleeves. He looked over the tops of his spectacles and spoke.
"Welcome, students and teachers, to yet another year at Hogwarts. For those of you who don't know, I am Professor Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of this school. Before we begin stuffing our faces, let me just remind you that the entire set of Hogwarts rules is posted on our caretaker's office door, on the second floor. Any breaking of the rules will lead in loss of House points and possible detentions. Now, dig in!"
The plates on the table immediately filled with steaming foods. Peter looked around hungrily at all the choices, while James and Sirius immediately began piling food onto their plates. Remus was more mannered, and took small servings of food.
"Ish mazy!" James cried, mouth full of chicken, "Esh foo ev!"
Remus and Peter turned to Sirius for a translation.
"It's amazing; best food ever," he said, before he, too, took a large bite of a chicken leg.
Forty-five minutes later, when all the students had eaten their fill, the food disappeared.
"That was excellent!" Sirius exclaimed, wiping his face with a napkin, "D'ya think we'll eat like this every night?"
"No way," Remus replied, "The older students are too skinny; they'd have gained about a hundred pounds by now."
"He's got a point," James said, nodding, "They all look pretty average-sized."
"Yeah, but maybe it's magic food!" Peter suggested helpfully, "Like maybe there's no fat in it or anything?"
Sirius opened his mouth to respond, but Dumbledore once again cleared his throat.
"Well, students, after that bit of delightful food, I must now bid you all a goodnight. Please, follow your House Prefects to your common rooms. But first, we shall all sing the school song. Join me, if you will, with any melody you wish!"
The entire school burst into a confused chorus, singing the words that had exploded from Dumbledore's wand. Each student sung a different tune, ending at different times. Everyone was giggling when it was over, as it had sounded completely dreadful.
"Beautiful, simply beautiful," Dumbledore exclaimed afterwards, "Now, Prefects, if you will..."
Two Gryffindors, a girl and a boy, stood up and began rounding up the Gryffindor first years.
"Come along, now," the girl said condescendingly, "Follow us to the common room!"
James mocked her snooty tone behind her back, causing a few other first years to chuckle softly.
The group followed the two upstairs and to a seemingly random painting of a very large woman.
"Password?" The woman questioned.
"Chrysanthemum," the girl stated.
The portrait swung open, revealing a large hole. The Prefects motioned for the First Years to climb through before following. They looked around in awe at the Gryffindor Common Room. Large, cushiony couches and chairs were arranged near a grand fire, and wooden tables and chairs were lined up against the opposite wall. The walls were painted a deep red, with gold wall hangings, and a Gryffindor Lion was displayed over the fireplace.
The girl Prefect clapped her hands together and smiled.
"Now, I thought we might introduce ourselves! I'm Sharon Green, and I'm a sixth year." She turned to her companion and poked him sharply in the arm.
"Ow! Er, I'm Arthur, Arthur Weasley, and I'm a fifth year."
Sharon Green turned to the first years.
A small, blonde girl jumped and flushed pink.
"I'm, er, Alice Matthews," She said nervously, looking at the ground.
A brunette girl was next: "Mary McDonald."
Sharon grinned at the seven new students.
"Well, you're quite a small group this year, only seven of you. I do hope you'll keep up the Gryffindor tradition; we've won the House Cup every year for decades, and I'd quite like to keep it that way. So no mischief, and keep your grades up."
Sharon flounced off, leaving Arthur Weasley with the group.
"Alrighty then, boys, you dormitory will be up that way, and girls, you'll be up that way. No boys in the girl's dorms and visa versa. And try not to get in too much trouble while you're here. There are four Prefects total, including me and Sharon, and the Head Girl is a Gryffindor, also, so don't get caught doing anything stupid."
He grinned and waved them off.
Lily, Mary, and Alice all began chatting as they made their way up to the girls' tower. The four boys grinned at each other as they turned towards theirs.
"This is great!" Sirius exclaimed, "We're the only ones in the room, we've got all the space to ourselves!"
The other three glanced at each other.
"Sure," James said, before opening the door to their dorm.
A/N:Ok, so I had a bad case of writer's block. Still do, actually; this chapter is not like I planned. Hopefully it'll get better, though. Thanks for being patient!! I've been swamped with all my AP courses this year. And for anyone not in high school yet: Do not join marching band, NHS, Student Council, and attempt to ace four AP classes. It is not easy... :)