Before she could ask Severus what happened, a familiar voice rang over the roar of the engine.

"Firs' years over here, follow me. Firs' years this way," instructed a man at least twice as tall he should have been. His eyes crinkled at the sight of Lily staring up at him and he bent down and winked to her, "How are yeh Lily?"

"Just fine Hagrid," she grinned at her friend. As Severus had said, when she got her letter, somebody had come to explain it all to her parents. That somebody just happened to have been twelve feet tall and five feet wide.

He waved to her then shouted again, "Firs' years over here," his tangled black beard moving with his mouth.

Collected in their small group, they made their way off the platform at approached a small fleet of boats sitting on the bank of a large lake.

"It's tradition that first years ride to the school in boats rather than in coaches like older students do," Severus whispered to Lily as they walked over to an empty vessel. She looked behind her to see a look of hesitation on Celia's face as she viewed Severus before she followed obligingly at Lily's encouraging waving of her hand.

Before they got in the boat, another girl came rushing up to the three first years and threw herself into their boat without permission. Her hair was blonde, almost white, and braided away from her face in twin ponytails. She looked to her three companions over the side of the boat and grinned sheepishly, "Sorry, I was afraid I'd be left behind."

At the guilty expression on the girl's face, Lily and Celia began to laugh, this strange girl joining them. Severus wasn't quite so easily amused.

Lily climbed inside the boat and felt the excitement mounting as the group at once lurched into motion at the tapping of Hagrid's pink umbrella to his own boat.

"Well since you're in our boat and all," Lily turned to the stranger, "would you like to introduce yourself?"

"I'm Mary Macdonald. Name and house," she asked, almost bossily, looking from one companion to the next.

"Celia Francot, Gryffindor."

"Severus Snape, Slytherin."

The two shot suspicious glances at each other, then looked expectantly toward Lily, who paused before giving her answer.

"Lily Evans, Slytherin or Gryffindor."

"Now, how odd," Mary exclaimed.

Severus looked hurt while Celia looked betrayed.

Freak.

"Why can't you choose between the two," Mary broke the silence.

"They are both wonderful houses," Lily said defensively.

"Yes, but they are rivals. Funny that you should be torn between the two, many people are either for one or the other," she observed.

"Which are you for then," Lily asked, seeking to change the subject from her own choices quickly.

"Gryffindor," Mary replied matter-of-factly.

Severus cleared his throat, thoroughly uncomfortable at sharing his boat with three potential Gryffindors.

"Come now, you didn't mind us before you knew what house we wanted," scorned Mary.

"She's got a point Sev," Lily admitted, smiling at him.

He grinned reluctantly.

"Yeah, I s'pose."

They sailed up to the many glittering turrets and towers that was Hogwarts. It stood in profile on top of a large hill, every window lit in welcome as the stars winked down at the young witches and wizards.

Lily whispered to Severus, "Now I know what you mean. It's almost as if-as if I can feel the magic of the castle." She put her hand to her heart, "in me."

Lily screeched as their boat rocked quickly, nearly unseating her.

The familiar laughter of two boys made itself heard.

"Give you a fright," called one of the boys as he tapped their boat with his again.

"Poor Snivelly probably wet his pants," retorted the other.

"Potter," Severus sneered, yanking his wand from his pocket with expertise.

"Severus no," Lily shouted, pulling his arm down, "you mustn't break the rules before we even get to school.

"Yeah, Snivellus, be a good boy like your girlfriend says," taunted the boy surnamed Potter.

Severus lunged forward angrily and yelled "Reducto," blasting their boat into debris and sending four students into the water.

Lily's boat found the edge of the lake and she sighed with relief that the boys had fallen into shallow water, out of which they jumped back up with haste, wands drawn and tempers flaring.

"Now wha's goin' on 'ere," asked Hagrid, as he viewed the scene with interest.

"Nothing," said one of the boys who had been dumped into the water because of his friends.

This boy was different from Potter and the other boy that had been on the train. Instead of longer black hair, his was a light brown that fell only to his eyebrows. He was pale and meek in appearance, and his voice was raspy and hoarse. He had the pinched look of someone who was in bad health. It seemed Potter had found another bullying friend.

"Alrigh'," Hagrid grunted as he led them up to the castle.

Illuminated by the stars and the half-full moon, the grounds were beautiful. The grass fell and rose over hills decorated by towering trees, eventually thickening into a forest.

They clambered up the stone steps to a colossal oak door. Hagrid raised his giant fist and knocked thrice upon the wood.

The door swung open at once, where a severe looking witch awaited the group of students. Her black hair was pulled back into a tight bun, and the expression of scrutiny on her face clearly spelled out that she was not one to cross.

"The firs' years, Professor," Hagrid said proudly.

"Thank you Hagrid," she said briskly, dismissing him.

She made a motion for them to follow her, past the magnificent marble staircase before them into a small, circular chamber.

"Welcome to Hogwarts," she began in the same business-like tone, "the sorting ceremony is about to begin, during which you will each be placed in your house. For seven years, you will be a part of your house, in which you will learn and live together."

She surveyed them all before continuing, taking in their faces.

"The four houses are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each is a respectable house from which many great wizards and witches have come. While you stay here, any victories you make will award your house points, as any breach of the rules will lose your house points. These points are taken into account at the end of each year, and the house with the most is bestowed upon the honor of the House Cup."

"The Sorting will take place in a few moments; please ready yourselves," she turned and made her way to the door, "I will return for you shortly."

The minute she left, they broke out in nervous chatter.

"What do we have to do-"

"My brother said we had to get past a Sphinx-"

"I heard we have to duel with older students-"

Mary rolled her eyes and looked to Celia, Lily, and Severus with a grin, "Oh aren't they so silly. Obviously don't know what to believe."

Professor McGonagall returned, and gave her version of a smile (which was very minute and almost unnoticeable).

"Follow me."

They returned to the Entrance Hall and proceeded to the door on their left that swung open to recently hushed chatter.

Lily entered the Great Hall for the first time, with Severus in front of her and Celia close behind.

It was probably the most beautiful and curious room she would ever be in. Seated at four long tables were all the older students, surveying the group with interest, some even seeking out younger siblings. Above these tables, thousands of candles hovered, flooding the room with inviting light.

Upon the checkered tables clothes were golden plates that sat empty, almost expectingly.

Lily felt her stomach growl.

Besides its contents, the room itself was spectacular. It seemed to have no ceiling at all, but just to open to the heavens whose starry eyes danced above them, looking as if they too were celebrating the occasion.

The first years followed Professor McGonagall up to a fifth table, occupied by the staff. Lily saw Hagrid sitting on the far left, and gave him a small wave, that he returned, knocking away another professor's grand wizard's hat. Between a dark haired witch and Professor Slughorn sat a very wizened old man.

His silvery hair and beard fell to his waist, and gleamed in the generous candlelight. Behind half-moon glasses, his piercing blue eyes surveyed the students presented before him, making an individual analysis of each face.

They were then instructed to turn away from the teacher's table and face the hall.

Lily poked Severus on the arm and beamed at him when Professor McGonagall set a frayed old hat on the stool she had been carrying.

"Is that the Sorting Hat," she whispered excitedly.

"Yeah," Severus said breathlessly.

"Oh," she had exclaimed as it began singing.

Its song was beautiful, rhyming with precision and weaving the most captivating tale. As he (it?) continued, the hat touched the topic of the four houses and Lily attention to the least biased version of the houses she would probably hear.

The song ended, leaving Lily frowning as she remembered something.

"Severus," she whispered to the boy, whose face was flushed at her tone, "you said it didn't matter."

The hat's words echoed cruelly.

Unworthy of learning.

Purest of blood.

"Lily, I just didn't want-"

"Severus-"

"Evans, Lily," interrupted Professor McGonagall, clearly disapproving of speaking during the song.

She went up to the stool, allowing the pointed hat to fall over her eyes, glad for the excuse to not look at Severus's face. She shifted nervously, the reality of what was happening sinking in.

Unworthy of learning.

Freak.

"Now, why so glum," asked a voice in her ear. Lily gasped in surprise.

"I wasn't lying when I said I could hear your thoughts," the voice claimed happily.

"Liar," came fresh into her mind.

Purest of blood.

"Ah, hoping for Slytherin," it assumed.

"No," Lily said, feeling foolish for talking to the hat.

"It wouldn't suit you," the hat explained, "Gryffindor seems more likely."

She heard Severus's voice, saw his accusing eyes.

Freak.

"Ah, no objection," the hat challenged.

She thought of Severus's lies, and Celia's smile.

She shook her head no.

"GRYFFINDOR," the hat claimed.

Lily removed the hat, grinning as she saw the look on Celia's face, pride bringing that contagious smile to Lily's face.

As she made her way to the Gryffindor table, she caught sight of Severus, which melted any feeling of animosity she had felt a second earlier. He had really had his heart set on them being in Slytherin together.

She shot him a sad smile, before she danced the rest of the way to the Gryffindor table. Potter's friends budged up to make room for her, and she declined the seat rudely, turning her back on him and stalking further down the table.

Celia was called next.

She sat under the hat for less than a second before her wish was granted.

"GRYFFINDOR!"

Lily beamed at her friend as Celia joined her at the table.

"This is brilliant," Celia called loudly, only to be hushed as the next person was called up.

The list got to the L's, and Potter's other friend from the Lake surnamed Lupin was sorted into Gryffindor. The seat Lily had declined earlier was happily occupied by the emaciated boy.

To each his own.

The M's were next; Lily held her breath and wasn't disappointed when Mary was declared a, "GRYFFINDOR!"

Lily groaned when a boy with very messy hair and round glasses strut from the stool to their table.

"Snape, Severus," was called and Lily bit her lip so hard, she could taste the salty blood.

"SLYTHERIN!"

"Oh," Lily said, shock in her quiet voice.

She watched him walk over to the Slytherin table and sit down, where a boy wearing a Prefect's Badge patted him on the back encouragingly.

"Good riddance, I did not like him at all," said Mary.

"He is my best friend I'll have you know," Lily rose up instantly, "and I'd appreciate it if you didn't talk about him like that."

She glared at the girl for several seconds.

Celia spoke up, "See, you are a Gryffindor."

Lily chuckled, it was true.

"I'm sorry," she told Mary, who had a distant look in her eyes.

"Oh, its fine I guess," the girl said, vigor quickly returning to her voice, "I can't be mad at you for defending a friend."

Lily turned around to face the teacher's table and noticed the sorting had ended.

The wizened old wizard with piercing blue eyes had risen to his feet, with the air of somebody about to make a speech. The chatter died out immediately as everyone turned toward this curious man.

"Welcome to Hogwarts. I suspect you desire food more than words from an old man?"

He received appreciative laughter and 'Here heres'.

The man seated himself and when Lily looked back to her place she jumped in pleasant surprise, for it had filled itself with food.

The room filled with the delicious aroma of food and happy chatter of friends old and new.

"So," Lily turned to Celia, "what's your family like."

Celia made a right fit about finishing her bite.

"My actual family or the one I live with?"

She said it with such so casually she could have been asking what brand of quills Lily preferred.

"Oh," Lily said, thinking of Severus's family. Of how many times the child care services had been turned away with their eyes slightly misted over.

That was the only time Severus's mother was allowed to use magic.

"No it's fine," Celia frowned, "I can't remember my real parents. I was born into poverty, my dad was gone and my mum had to give me up. She wanted a better life for me," she narrated as if it were somebody else's life, "I live with a foster family now."

She shrugged.

"What about your family?"

Lily opened then closed her mouth, Celia had been honest with her so she thought it was only fair.

"My parents are Muggles," she winced, waiting for that questioning look in her new friend's face. She sighed with relief, Celia didn't seem to mind at all.

"My sister is too, but she doesn't like my magic very much," Lily had to gulp down the word Freak.

"I don't have any brother or sister I know of," Celia chatted, "but your parents sound lovely. What about you Mary?"

"Hmm?"

"Weren't you paying attention?"

"No," she admittedly promptly.

Lily rolled her eyes and laughed.

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

They all sat, fit to burst, sleepy and full.

Dumbledore got to his feet and the lazy talk that had filled the room ceased at once.

Lily could see this man was greatly respected.

"Now that we have all enjoyed the magnificent feast, I would like to borrow a moment to give a few start of term notices."

"All first years should know, the Forbidden Forest, as its name implies, is out of bounds for all students."

"Please remember, magic out of class is against the rules," he surveyed some of the older students with a knowing smile on his face.

"Quidditch trials will be held the week after next. If you wish to try out, please talk to your house's Quidditch captain or Madam Hooch."

He gave a sweeping look around the hall once more, "Now, off to your warm, cozy beds."

The sound of everybody standing up was deafening as the benches scraped across the ground.

Lily, Celia, and Mary all joined the throng of Gryffindors following a girl with a shiny Prefect's badge. They went past portraits, whose subjects were waving and bidding them welcome, Lily would probably have jumped in shock, had she not seen the pictures in her textbooks moving earlier this summer.

They moved up the stairs, to the uppermost floor, passing through two hidden halls and arriving at a large portrait of a plump lady in a pink, frilly dress. Not unlike, Tuney's Sunday best.

The Prefect strode up to the portrait and declared, "Fortitudo."

They were admitted into a gold and red themed room, filled with comfy looking armchairs and warmth from the glowing fireplace.

From this room there were two staircases ascending to doors unseen.

The girls were gestured to go up the staircase on the left.

Once up the spiraling stairs, Lily entered the door labeled 'First Year Dorms' and entered a room also decorated in vibrant yellows and deep set reds.

Five four poster beds stood, awaiting tired bodies to lay to rest there. Lily was surprised to see their trunks had been brought up.

Lily lay down on her own bed without undressing, fully intending to talk with Celia and Mary some more. However, she fell asleep the moment her head hit the pillow and she smiled at her dream of the day Tuney would come to Hogwarts with her.

When Tuney wouldn't hate her.

A/N: Holds hands up

I know, I know. I updated after an eternity and a half! But I finally got it done, right? Yeah, so here's the sorting scene. Haha, if you thought I was going to do another Sorting Hat song you were wrong! I probably should have, but whatever. Her feelings about the song were more important in this case.

So do you still like it?

If so or if not, I value your guys' reviews sooo much!!

Thanks for all the positive feedback I got from the first chapter, it definitely made my day

Okay, next chapter definitely going up sooner. I actually like chapter 3 much better than this oneā€¦but, well, I'll let you decide.

Anyhoo end of humungous author's note.

Ta!