Chapter 1: First Years, This Way

Harry Potter sat on the Hogwarts express, staring out the window at the throngs of students that were outside, running around and talking to people that they had missed over the summer. Harry knew none of them. If only he had been a part of the wizarding world, he might have known someone. If only he had been a bit braver, he would've been out there running around with them, but after years of living with the Dursley's abuse, he had become a little withdrawn, and a little uncomfortable when he tried to make friends.

Right now the only people he could really call friends was a man he hardly knew named Hagrid, and an owl. Hedwig was the one and only present Harry had ever received that didn't involve pain on his part. Hedwig was the perfect gift in the fact that she always seemed to know when he needed her. He had spent a good a good part of the summer stroking her feathers, and simply talking to the owl. He was overjoyed that he now had someone to talk to that wouldn't judge him.

Hagrid had to have been the only person in Harry's life that had treated him as if he was a human being and not a slave. This spoke wonders to the boy. His entire life he had been ridiculed and made to do all of the chores that Dudley wouldn't do, and his parents didn't force him. Hagrid had been the one that showed him that there was more to life than living to serve the good for nothing people that he was forced to call family. Hagrid had opened his eyes to a whole new world that he would now be a part of. Maybe life will improve he thought.

His thought process was disturbed as he heard the door to the compartment open up behind him. He turned around and saw two girls standing in the door way with their trunks behind them. One of the girls had her blond hair in pig tails, while the other had strawberry blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. If he had been any older and didn't think that girls had cooties, he would have thought that they were pretty cute.

"Hello," said one of the girls, the one with the pigtails. "All of the other compartments are all filled up, and we were wondering if we could sit with you?"

Harry shrugged. "Sure, I don't mind." He stood up, and helped them place their luggage in the overhead racks. The girls smiled and sat down across from him as the train lurched forward, setting the train forward on its journey to Hogwarts. After a few minutes of silence, the blond girl that spoke up earlier introduced herself. "My name is Hannah Abbot, and this is my best friend, Susan Bones. We're first years this year."

Harry smiled back at them. "I'm Harry Potter." The two girls' eyes widened at that, and flicked upwards to his forehead, eyeballing the lightning bolt scar.

"Wow," Susan breathed. "I heard you were supposed to be in our year. My auntie told me you lived with Muggles your entire life. What were they like?"

Fear crept into Harry's eyes. "It was horrible. Well, not all Muggles at least. Just my aunt and uncle."

Both girls sensing that this was a sensitive issue for Harry decide not to push the issue. Susan, in an attempt to cover up for the stupid question, decided to ask an innocent question. "That's a beautiful owl you have there Harry. What's her name?"

Harry smiled. "This beautiful owl here is Hedwig." Hedwig heard the praise, and puffed her feathers up, making her seem as if she was smug. "Although she is a bit vain." Hedwig turned her head and glared at her young master as the two girls laughed at the antics of the two.

Talk soon turned to Hogwarts, and their fears about the sorting. "We heard the two twins tell their brother that we would have to wrestle a troll, and however we won would determine which house we went to," Susan told her new friend.

Harry shuddered. "Are trolls exactly how they are in Muggle fiction?"

The girls looked at each other. "If you mean are they big, smelly, stupid, and extremely powerful, then yes."

Harry paled at the thought of having to wrestle with a fully grown troll. Susan smiled at him. "I doubt that Dumbledore will allow something like that to happen, Harry." Harry seemed to relax a little, but his face remained pale.

The door to their compartment opened, and they saw an elderly lady pushing a cart. "Anything off of the trolley dears?" she asked. Harry jumped up. In his excitement to leave this morning, he forgot to eat a proper breakfast, and decided that now that he had a decent amount of money, he would use the opportunity to live a little. Not wanting to seem like a pig though, he turned to his friends and asked, "Want anything?"

Susan blushed, and nodded, while Hannah shoo her head. "I'm good Harry."

Harry turned to the lady, and was about the order Mounds and Hershey bars, but instead of the candy that he grew up watching Dudley eat, he saw boxes that were totally different. He saw boxes of chocolate frogs and bags of jelly beans among the rest of the packages on the trolley. Harry gazed in wonder over all of the colorful packages, and decided to buy a little bit of everything. He paid for his purchases, and stepped back into the trolley. He dumped the packages on his seat, and stared at the packages, wondering what to try first.

Susan had no qualms about what she wanted. "Harry, could you pass me a bag of jelly beans?" Harry picked up a brightly colored bag, and read Bertie Bott's Every Flavored Beans. He handed them across the compartment.

"Susan, do they really mean every flavored?" Harry asked her.

Susan nodded her head. "They really can be anything. For example." She held up a grey colored jelly bean. "This could be anything from troll booger to strawberry." She nibbled a corner of one, and quickly dropped it. "Merlin is that spicy. I think that one was a habanera."

Harry looked confused. "If you never know what you're going to get, than why would you eat them?"

"Because their great fun to eat Harry," Hannah said, grabbing a bean from the open bag. She popped it in her mouth, and chewed. "Interesting. Pork chops."

His interest now piqued, he reached over and pulled a blue colored bean out of the bag. He looked at it, and pondered if he was really that brave, and silently decided, Why not? He popped the bean into his mouth, and gagged as he tasted salt water. Susan saw the look on his face, and asked," Watch get Harry?"

He swallowed the bean down and choked out, "Sea water."

Together they devoured the bag, Harry tasting mint, grass, sprouts, and a gray yellow one that tasted like sweat socks. After the bag was gone, Harry could see why they were so popular. Redirecting his attention to the rest of the candy, he saw a five sided box that contained a chocolate frog. Deciding that it was just plain chocolate, Harry grabbed the package and tore off he top. Inside he saw a frog made completely out of chocolate, and reached to grab it.

The frog however, did not want a one way ticket through the digestive system, and jumped at the window, and escaped through the crack in the glass. Harry watched at this in shock as realization hit him. Hannah and Susan laughed at the shocked expression his face. "It's alright Harry," Hannah told him. "Frogs always try to escape. The really interesting part is the card at the bottom. Go on, who did you get?"

Harry popped the small card out of the bottom of the box, and looked at the name. "I've got Dumbledore." He read further down, and saw a small biography written about the wizard.

Currently Head master of Hogwarts.

Considered by many the greatest wizard of modern times, Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon's blood, and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas Flamel.

Professor Dumbledore enjoys chamber music and tenpin bowling.

Harry looked as the small pile of frogs quickly vanished, and the compartment was filled with the sound of frogs croaking and the laughs as the three tried to catch the frogs and eat them. After the frogs had vanished, Harry looked back down at the card, and saw that the picture of Dumbledore was no longer on the card.

"He's gone!" Harry exclaimed.

Susan looked at Hannah. "Wanna give this a go Hannah? You know more about this than I do." Hannah nodded and looked at Harry to begin her explanation when the door to their compartment, and they saw a bushy haired girl standing in the doorway of their compartment, looking as if she was out of breath.

"Have you seen a toad by chance? My friend Neville lost his toad, and people were saying that they heard croaking coming from this compartment," the girl said all in one breath. "I'm Hermione Granger by the way."

Harry quickly introduced them all to her. "That's Susan Bones, Hannah Abbot, and I'm Harry Potter."

Hermione looked excited. "I've read about you. You're in The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts." Harry shrugged. He didn't care if he was famous or not.

Hannah looked over her shoulder to see a pudgy boy behind the bossy girl and waved at him. "Hi Neville. How was your summer?"

Neville looked up and saw Hannah, and blushed. "It was ok," he said, and mumbled something to Hermione and walked off

They heard a tapping sound and saw that Hermione was tapping her foot, and waiting for a response. "Well, have you seen any?" she asked.

Susan shook her head at the girl. "Sorry, Hermione, no. That was just a bunch of chocolate frogs."

Hermione nodded. She sat down next to Harry, ignoring the discarded wrappers. "Do any of know which house you'll be in?"

Susan and Hannah both nodded. "We're probably going to be in Hufflepuff. Both of our families were in that house for generations."

Harry shrugged. "I don't know or care as long as it's not Slytherin." All of them nodded at that. They all knew that Voldemort graduated as a Slytherin.

"What about you Hermione? Which house did your family come from?"

Hermione blushed. "I'm Muggleborn, so I'm a first generation witch my family. But I think I might wind up in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor."

Hannah nodded. "Respectable houses. Why would you go to Ravenclaw? That's the smartest house in the school. They usually have the highest average in the school.

Once again Hermione blushed. "At might old school, I was known as a book worm and a teachers pet, just because I got straight A's and always had a book on me. Because of that, I never really made friends."

Hannah blinked at that. How could Muggle children be so cruel? She reached across the compartment and gave Hermione a hug. Hermione jumped in surprise and blinked back tears as she realized she was being hugged, and the other two in the compartment were giving her friendly smiles. Hermione returned their smiles and returned Hannah's hug.

Once Hermione had calmed herself, Hannah was about to explain about wizarding photography, when the door to their compartment slid open once again, this time revealing the same blond boy that was getting robes the same time as Harry. Behind him stood two thickly built boys that wore expressions on their faces that made Dudley looks smart

"Rumor has it that Harry Potter was in this compartment," the blond boy drawled at them. He saw Harry sitting in the compartment, and his eyes flicked up to the scar. "So you are Harry Potter. Charmed to make you acquaintance once again. This is Crabbe and Goyle, and I'm Draco Malfoy. Why don't you come with us and leave the Mudbloods and blood traitors behind." At the word mudblood, Hannah and Susan bristled at that, and then for them to be called blood traitors. The nerve of him!

"I'm actually quite comfortable where I am thanks," Harry told the boy. "But if I change my mind, I'll come find you, but don't hold your breath."

Malfoy snarled. "You will do well to respect your betters Potter. This is not over!" With that, Draco slammed the compartment door shut, and stormed away, with his two body guards following closely behind.

The compartment was quiet for the next few minutes, giving the two pureblood witches time to cool down. Once they did, Hermione asked in a very small voice, "Hannah, what's a Mudblood?"

"That term Hermione, is a term that bigoted people like the Malfoy's use to degrade Muggleborn witches like you. It shows exactly how stupid that the pureblood bigots that use really are."

"Oh," was all that Hermione could say. She looked out the window, and saw that it was getting quite dark out. "We should change into our school robes. We should be arriving soon." She stood and walked out the door. Harry glanced at the girls, and saw them struggling to get their trunks down from the overhead racks. He got up, and assisted them. Sensing that they had to get changed, he quietly pardoned himself from the room, and went down the corridor and used the loo.

By the time he returned to the compartment, the girls we finished dressing and were just putting on their robes. After they finished, they left, leaving Harry alone, giving him a chance to get changed as well. By the time he was finished, the train had pulled into a station, and all of the students began to pile out of the train.

Walking to the door, he saw a lantern swinging in the air, and a voice that he recognized calling out. "Firs' years over 'ere. Firs' years." Harry smiled as he saw his large friend, and walked up and gave the man a hug.

Hagrid looked down and saw the young wizard, and smiled at him through his bushy beard." "Ello there 'Arry. 'Ow was the trip?"

Harry looked behind him and saw the two girls staring at Hagrid in awe. He did tend to have that effect on people. "I met two girls on train." He waived them over, and timidly the two girls walked over. "Hagrid, this is Susan Bones and Hannah Abbot."

Hagrid smiled at the two friends that Harry had made on his journey to the school. "Good for you Harry. Now if you woul' excuse me, I do have the job of relocating you lot to the school." He called out loudly, "Is this all the first years? Good. Follow me."

Hagrid led them down to the lake where there was a small fleet of boats waiting for them. "Now then. No more than four to a boat." He waited for them to pile into their boats. Harry, Susan, and Hannah piled into a boat together as a red haired kid jumped into. Hagrid got a boat to himself because of his sheer size, and was about to sit down, when he heard a croak of indignation, and pulled a toad off of his seat. "Any you lot lose toad?"

"Trevor!" Neville called out. He jumped out of his boat, and nearly caught his foot on the edge of the boat sending him stumbling across the ground. He blushed, retrieved Trevor, and ran back to his boat.

"Alright then. Forward." The boats started across the placid lake, sending the smallest of ripples across the lake. They followed a small river until they reached a large lake, where they were granted their first view of Hogwarts. There were gasps of shock and awe at the view. Everyone was enthralled by it. Hagrid smiled, his beetle black eyes shining in the starlight. "Welcome to Hogwarts."

Within minutes, the boats had reached their destination, a small cove with littered with docks. Everyone pile out of the docks, and gathered at a flight of stairs carved out of rock that led up the cliff face. Once all of the students had left their boats with little problems (the only one being from Neville, who had lost his toad again.)

They followed Hagrid up the steps to a large set of double doors, where he knocked three times. After he let the knocker go, the doors opened, revealing a stern woman. She smiled up at Hagrid, and said "Thank you once again Rubeus. I will take them." Hagrid bowed to her, and walked past her. The woman turned her head back to the students, and smile once again. "Welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I am Professor McGonagall, Assistant Headmistress and Transfiguration teacher. If you would follow me to the Great Hall where the Sorting will commence.

The fear that Harry had at the beginning of the trip had returned, and his mouth seemed incredibly dry. He knew he was beginning to become very pale, when he felt a small hand slip into his. He looked over and saw Susan smiling at him. She squeezed his hand, and said "Don't worry Harry, you'll do fine." Harry smiled back at her, and some of his fear left his body.

The group of first years approached another set of doors, this that McGonagall pushed open, and strode through. Inside this room were all the students sitting at four different long tables, with a fifth at the front of the hall. Walking up to the high table, the first years stopped short and glanced up at the elderly headmaster, who smiled at them all, with a distinct twinkle in his eye. Professor McGonagall walked up to the table and pulled out and old hat, a stool, and a sheet of parchment.

All of the first years stared at the hat. What are we supposed to do with it? Harry thought. Are we supposed to pull a rabbit out of it?

A rip appeared on the brim of the hat and it broke out into song.

Oh you may not think me pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
your top hats sleek and tall,
for I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
and I can cap them all.
There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
so try me on and I will tell you
where you ought to be.

You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindor apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folks use any means
To achieve their ends.

So put me on! Don't be afraid!
And don't get in a flap!
You're in safe hands (though I have none)
For I'm a Thinking Cap!

After the hat finished its song, the crowd broke out into a spattering applause, and Professor McGonagall stepped forward. "When I call out your name, please come up, put on the hat, and sit on the stool. Once your sorting is complete, please sit with your new housemates.

"Hannah Abbot." Hannah glanced nervously at her two friends, smiled weakly, and steppe dup. Once the hat was on her head, it took a few seconds for the hat to call out its selection.

"Hufflepuff." A table to Harry's right broke out into applause as Hannah went to sit at the table. "Susan Bones." The hat took few more seconds to sort Susan before it called out Hufflepuff. Once again the table to the right broke out into applause as Susan joined Hannah at the table. After she went the sorting sped up a bit, sending Lavender Brown to Gryffindor. After about twenty people had been sorted, McGonagall made it to Hermione's name. Hermione went up and sat on the stool. Unlike the rest of the students, the hat took a bit longer, before calling out, Ravenclaw.

Soon, Pavarti Patil (Ravenclaw) and Padma Patil (Gryffindor) had been sorted when McGonagall called out the next name on the list. "Harry Potter." Conversation broke out over the Great Hall as Harry walked up to the Hat. Picking it up, he placed on his head, and his vision went dark.

"Curious, very curiousa small voice said in his ear. "Smart, very smart, and a good of ambition. A small amount of courage, but that could change. Ahh, you a hard working, and are very loyal to those who have your respect. Now where to place you."

Not Slytherin. I want a place where I can feel accepted.

Not Slytherin, eh?" said the small voice. "Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it's all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that-no? Well, if you're sure-better be HUFFLEPUFF!"