The eve of September the first came more quickly then any of the Parker's had prepared for. Emily's new trunk was packed to the brim with long black wizard robes, and piles of books she'd spent the past fortnight reading religiously. Her wand was the last thing she packed, the long thin box resting a top all her other possessions. Emily was too excited, as many children would be, to sleep that night. She kept leaping up at odd moments to sneak a peak in her trunk, to simply touch her wand.

And when her mother came in to wake her the next morning, Emily was already dressed, wearing her favourite (and clean) jeans, and a charcoal grey sweater.

"Ready love?"

The young girl nodded, too excited to speak.

"Got your ticket and everything?"

She nodded again. "Yeah, and we're supposed to meet James and Mr. Potter at 10:30 at Kings Cross."

Josie gave the bedroom a sweeping glance, checking to make sure her daughter hadn't left anything important behind. She opened her mouth to speak, but shut it again quickly.

"What Mum?" Emily asked softly.

"I was just thinking … are you sure you don't want to see Edward before you leave? You know…to say goodbye?"

At this, Emily faltered. "He's not talking to me."

"Well, I know you said that, but he's your best mate."

"And we had a row over my going away! It might help if I could tell him where I was going… but then again, I don't think he'd believe me anyway."

"Em, he won't stay mad at you forever. We could stop over on our way to the train… I'm sure he'd want to see you."

"I don't care. When he's done being a jerk, he can write me. Stop pushing this."

Resigned, her mother sighed, brushed a strand of hair out of her daughters face and headed towards the kitchen.

In silence, Emily picked at her breakfast, the row with her mother already pushed far from her mind. Energy bubbled within her, for the first time in her life, excited to get to school, excited to start her new life.

***

The journey to Kings Cross was as quick and silent as breakfast had been. James and his friends had been easy to find, with their oversized trunks and large owl cages, they stood out in the Muggle world like sore thumbs.

"So, what's the big secret? How do we get onto the platform?"

James laughed. "Watch and learn." And with a wink, he took off at a run toward the barrier between platforms nine and ten. And he vanished.

Emily felt her mouth drop open slightly, and caught sight of Thomas Potter, smirking slightly. "How… where did he go?" she demanded to know, placing her hands on her hips.

"Here, give me you hand." Thomas said kindly. "There, and take your mother's, and have her take your dad's, that way we can all get on safely."

In an awkward chain, the four melted through solid brick.

"That was pretty damn cool!" she exclaimed, smiling brightly.

"Language, young lady." Josie reminded her daughter.

"Sorry, Mum." She apologised without really meaning it, and spun to face her new friends.

"Alright, you lot. Let's get a compartment, before they're all gone."

"Sure. Just… just one minute." Emily agreed with a nod, and turned back to her parents, her violet eyes sparkling behind the long fringe of her bangs. "I guess this is it then…"

"Hey, kiddo, don't worry, we'll write to you and everything."

"Really?" she asked, the nerves coming out in her voice.

"As often as you need."

The train whistle sounded loudly, and she threw her arms around both her parents at the same time.

"See you at Christmas, then."

Emily nodded, and swatted a few loose tears away from her face. Without another word, she dashed towards the train, just in time to help James, Peter, and a boy she didn't know lift her trunk onto the high shelf above the seats.

"Thanks." She muttered, and turned towards the window, just in time to wave at her parents as the train picked up speed and they grew smaller and smaller in the increasing distance.

"Parker, are you crying?"

She sniffled and wiped her nose. "No!"

"You're such a girl."

Emily jetted her tongue out, and flopped into her seat, folding her arms over her chest.

Having settled comfortably into their seats, James broke the silence by pointing at the unknown boy.

"Sirius, this is Emily and Peter. And, guys, this is Sirius Black."

Emily smiled at Sirius, something about his face, the hallowed cheeks, and dark eyes made him seem easy to talk to. "So, how long have you been friends?"

"About three minutes. I helped them put your trunk on the shelf, and saved them from falling on their fat arses…"

James looked positively mutinous, like he might punch his new friend square in the jaw. But before he could do anything rash, the sound of voices in the hallway grabbed their attention.

"You'd better be in Slytherin…" A stout greasy haired boy spoke earnestly to an attractive red-haired girl.

"Slytherin? Who wants to be in Slytherin?" James said, smirking slightly, "I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?"

"My whole family has been in Slytherin," Sirius said, looking back at James

"Blimey," said James, "and I thought you seemed alright,"

Sirius broke into a grin for some reason. "Maybe I'll break the tradition," he smirked, "Where're you headed if you've got the choice?"

"'Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart!' Like my dad," he grinned at Sirius, who chuckled heartily. The greasy haired boy snorted, and both James and Sirius snapped their attention to him.

"Got a problem with that?" asked James, frowning.

"No," the boy didn't even bother to hide his obvious sneer, "If you'd rather be brawny than brainy – "

"Where're you hoping to go," Sirius cut across, "Saying as you're neither?"

James snorted, and then burst into laughter.

"Come on, Severus," she said "Let's find another compartment" whispered the red-head soothingly.

James and Sirius glanced at each other, identical smirks on their faces.

"Oooooooo," the adopted high pitched, mocking voices, and as the boy named Severus passed, James stuck his foot out to trip him.

"See ya, Snivellus," Sirius called, just as the compartment door slammed shut. James burst into laughter once again.

"So your whole family has really been in Slytherin…" Emily whispered, slightly in awe, and a little afraid after all she'd heard about them.

"Yeah." Sirius agreed, his good mood vanishing on the spot. "But, like I said, hopefully, I'll be the one to break the mould. And what about you girly? Picked a favourite house yet?"

Emily opened her mouth to speak, but James cut her off.

"If there's a house for wimpy girls, that's where she's going to end up."

"Hey!" Emily cried, completely outraged. "Exactly what've I done today in order to earn the label wimp?"

"Didn't you need the boys to help put your trunk on the rack?" James asked with a raised eyebrow.

"No way. Not flying. You did that all on your own." She retorted with a smirk.

"She's got a point, mate" Sirius added.

Colour flushed in James's face, and he immediately took up a surly expression, that was only broken hours later, when Peter announced that it was getting dark, they must be arriving at the school soon, and had better change into their robes.

***

The air was brisk, and the night had set in when the train came to a halt. A booming voice called out amidst all the chatter of students and friends excited to see each other once again.

"Firs' years! Firs' years over this way!"

Emily glanced around, looking for the source of the call, and stopped dead in her tracks when she found it. Before her eyes was the biggest man – er was he a man? She pondered His face was more like that of a boy's – that she'd ever seen.

"That's Hagrid." James said, predictably knowledgeably. "He's gamekeeper. Don't worry, Parker, he's not going to bite." And with another laugh, and an elbow into her ribs, he clamoured into a boat behind Sirius.

"No mor' tha' four to a boat now! And don' worry about your thing's they'll be taken up to the castle separately."

With everyone settled into boats, they sailed effortlessly across the lake. Their first view of the Hogwarts castle was predictably met with a series of gasps and excited cheers. And once the boats had docked, the children disembarked in the same unorganised manner they had loaded in. The giant called Hagrid seemed to want to give direction of some form, but appeared not to know where to begin.

"He must be new at this…" Emily observed, and James nodded in agreement.

"My dad said Professor McGonagall usually brings the first years up…"

The group made their way into the castle, and gathered in the antechamber, where they did in fact, meet Professor McGonagall. She stood at the bottom of an impressive marble staircase, an old patched hat in one hand, and a scroll in the other.

"Form a line please, two by two."

No one dared disobey, her voice oozed authority. When it was done, McGonagall opened her mouth once more.

"Now, wait here a moment, shortly you will be sorted into your houses. While at Hogwarts, your house will be like your family. You will take meals with them, and likewise attend classes together. Any merits will earn you house points, while any rule breaking will lose them."

A few people nodded. Vaguely, Emily wished she hadn't eaten any candy on the train, as it was threatening to come right back up again. In complete silence, they followed McGonagall into the Great Hall.

Emily was stunned by its vastness. Four long tables filled the space, and before fifth, on a raised platform, where she assumed the teachers sat, was a tiny wooden stood. She chanced a glance towards James, and felt slightly relieved to see, that even he, looked impressed by the size of the place.

McGonagall placed the hat onto the stool, and stared at it, as did all the other students. Emily wondered exactly what they were waiting for when a rip near the brim of the hat opened wide like a mouth, and began to sing:

The house that I will sort you to
Will show your heart's true colours.
But my aim is not to sever you
Or divide you from the others.

United Hogwarts stands,
And divided we will fall.
Animosity between us spells
Disaster for us all.

If you're Gryffindor you're daring,
Courageous and brave at heart.
While if you're Ravenclaw you're clever,
Intelligent, witty and smart.

In Slytherin you're cunning,
Ambitious shrewd and sly.
And in Hufflepuff you're fair and true,
Work hard and always try.

Now put me on, and don't be scared
It doesn't take that long.
I'll take a peek inside your head
And see where you belong!

Tulmutous applause broke out among both the students and teachers. When it died down, Professor McGonagall began to call out the names of the first years.

"Black, Sirius!"

Beside her, she heard Sirius swallow hard, and march slowly towards the front of the room, silently cursing his last name. He hated going first.

"Gryffindor!"

As each student before her was sorted, Emily grew more and more nervous. Until finally, she heard her name called out.

"Parker, Emily!"

Knees shaking slightly, she made her way to the front of the room and placed the hat upon her head.

"Well. Aren't you a tricky one? Plenty of courage… and an excellent mind at that. So where to put you…"

Emily squeezed her eyes shut, and silently prayed it would be over shortly.

"Ravenclaw!" the hat finally cried, and she exhaled, letting out the long breath she'd be holding.

She joined the clapping third table, and caught sight of James, still in line and Sirius already in his place at the Gryffindor table, both of whom looked slightly crestfallen at the potential loss of their new friend.

"Pettigrew, Peter!"

The hat took a long time to decide where to place Peter, but in the end, decided on Gryffindor.

"Potter, James!"

On the other hand, James was placed instantly into Gryffindor. Emily scowled, and secretly hoped that being in separate houses didn't mean she would lose her new friends. So distracted she was by this latest thought, that she hadn't even realised that sorting ceremony had ended, and food had filled their plates. Hardly hungry, she picked at her food sparingly, and didn't even attempt desert. Her gaze was blank when Professor Dippet gave his start-of-term notices.

Exhaustion from her sleepless night had finally set in.

Emily followed quietly as prefects showed the new students the way into the common room, and listened as they also explained that in order to gain entrance; one had to answer a question.

Soon, she found herself in the spacious common room, with its deep blue carpets, and inviting armchairs.

"Girls rooms up the stair and to the right, boys, same, but to the left."

In a trance, she did as was instructed, and soon fell, face down onto her four poster bed, fast asleep without even taking the time to change her clothing.