Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I'm just a student trying to kill time in this sandbox

Note- This begins similar to the movie scene at Kings Cross. If you see any ideas that are yours please inform me so I may give proper credit. Revamped and reloaded on Aug. 1st.

The Journey to Hogwarts
The Fearsome Foursome Is Born

To many in London, September 1st was just a normal day. However for one boy, this day was far from that. Then again... when it came to this boy, normal was never applied to him. He was short and very skinny, yet wore clothes that were absolutely massive on him. He was accompanied by the largest man any had ever seen.

The boy's name was Harry Potter, and he was very confused.

"Platform 9 ¾? Does such a platform actually exist?" asked Harry. The poor boy was still trying to come to grips with that fact that he was a wizard. A famous one at that.

"Yes it does 'Arry. Now all's yeh got to do is walk though the barriers between platforms nine an' ten." answered Hagrid as he pulled out a pocket watch. "Blimey is that the time? Sorry 'Arry, but I have to leave yeh. Dumbledore will be wantin' his... well, yeh know what I mean." With that Hagrid waved and left.

Harry continued through the station and eventually came to the barrier platforms nine and ten. He double checked his ticket, and then looked at the clock. It read ten o'clock; so according to his ticket, Harry had about an hour to get on the train before it left. Harry walked over to the wall and looked at it sceptically. The wall looked very solid. He gave it a closer look, hoping to find a clue like at Diagon Alley.

While Harry wasn't completely sure about how getting on the platform was going to work, he belived Hagrid. He hadn't been led astray during his introduction to the wizarding world or his trip to Diagon Alley, and Harry was starting to view Hagrid as a friend...despite the short time he'd spent with the giant man.

Apprehensively Harry reached out to touch the wall. To his utter amazement, it felt like there was nothing there at all!

"Amazing!" He whispered to himself, "so this is real..."

"Oh good I'm not the only one," said a voice next to him.

Harry jumped and spun around, nearly tripping over his trolley. Upon regaining his balance, he looked up to meet the speaker. In front of him were three other children his age. The one closest to Harry and the one who spoke, was a boy with sandy brown hair and was wearing jeans and a red shirt. Behind him were his parents, based on their appearance. They were very well dressed. To his right were two girls. One girl had strawberry blond, possibly even considered red, hair and wore a skirt and yellow blouse. The other had blond hair, and wore a similar outfit, but wore a green blouse. They were accompanied by a woman that look similar to the first girl. Harry guessed that that the woman and the first girl were, at the very least, relatives of some kind.

Harry smiled; he was quite glad that he wasn't going to have to find everything out alone.

"Well children, when you have your things organized we can get onto the platform. I'm sorry to rush you, but I have an important meeting at the Ministry in fifteen minutes." said the woman accompanying the two girls.

"Yes, Auntie Amelia," replied the reddish haired girl. "I'm really excited to finally go to Hogwarts! How about you Hannah?"

"Susan! We need to get going!"

"Sorry Auntie," answered Susan.

Amelia turned to the two boys.

"You two are more than welcome to come along with us," she said quietly. "I know how nerve wracking it is to go to Hogwarts the first time, and I grew up in a magical house hold."

Harry nodded his thanks and the other boy gave his parents a questioning look.

"Its okay Justin," his mother assured him, "I doubt we can get through anyways, and I'd feel better with you going in a group."

Justin nodded and turned to Harry, "Well, ready to go? I didn't catch your name though."

Harry quickly looked at all six people. "Oh sorry, my name is Harry."

Amelia discreetly nudged both girls before they said something. "Well then Harry, if you and Justin would go first, I will follow with Hannah and Susan. Just casually lean against the wall and you'll go to the other side where the train is waiting."

Harry and Justin nodded and together they went through the barrier. What awaited on the other side was amazing. There was a multitude of adult witches and wizards accompanying their children and putting their trunks aboard.

The three witches appeared behind Justin and Harry. Hannah and Susan were just as amazed as Harry and Justin were.

"Wow..." breathed Hannah.

"Yes, the first time you see it is quite amazing," said Amelia said with a wistful smile. "I'll take your luggage and put it on the train while you four go find a compartment to sit in. Don't forget your owl, Harry. She is quite beautiful, but I don't think she'd appreciate being stuck in the luggage compartment."

"I don't think she would either Madame...?"

"Oh how rude of us to forget introductions! The girls with me are Susan Bones and Hannah Abbot."

The girls each gave a smile to the boys as they were introduced.

"And I'm Susan's Aunt Amelia," continued Amelia. "Now off you go, before all the compartments get too full!"

With a smile and a wave (and hugs in the girls' cases) the foursome made their way through the crowd and boarded the train. As the four students-to-be searched for a free compartment Harry noticed two groups of students glaring daggers at one another. One group had a green and silver badge with a serpent, the other a red gold badge and was emblazoned with a lion. Harry could sense the tension and hatred between the two factions, and it unnerved him. After about five minutes of searching, they found an empty compartment near the end of the train.

After they sat down all four were silent for a while. Justin was the one who mercifully broke the ice, "Well, since we're going to be classmates for the next seven years, we should do a bit more of a formal introduction. My full name is Justin Finch-Fletchley. I was down for Eton when I was born, but then I got my letter. It mercifully explained the odd occurrences that had been happening around me. My parents were stunned, as you could imagine, but they accepted it quickly."

Harry gave a low whistle. Eton was way better than this "Smeltings" that Uncle Vernon was so proud of!

"I'll go next," said Hannah. "I'm Hannah Abbott. I've got a little brother who will be coming here in a few years. Susan and I have known about this world since we were born, as our parents are magical. We also grew up together. If you two boys have any questions feel free to ask. We know a fair bit about lifestyles and customs."

"My turn," said Susan excitedly. "My name is Susan Bones. I live with my Auntie Amelia and, like Hannah said, we've known each other forever. Feel free to ask any questions. Auntie told me about Hogwarts, so I can clarify a few things if you like."

When she finished, the others had turned to Harry expectantly.

"Er...well," Harry floundered, "My name is Harry Potter..." He stopped, waiting for the inevitable outburst and squeals from the two young witches. When they didn't come, he looked visibly relieved. Susan noticed this and explained.

"I think I know exactly what you were expecting Harry. A lot of people I meet always see me as the niece of Amelia Bones- Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and not Susan Bones. Hannah and I see you as Harry Potter; not Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived. I have to warn you: I highly doubt many others will see it that way though."

Harry nodded.

"I... live with my aunt, uncle, and cousin..." he paused for a moment, suddenly very unsure and self-conscious. "I don't like it there at all... they seem to hate me. They hate the mere word magic. In fact, they hate anything that they don't consider 'normal'. They dote on their son and if I'm lucky I get the leftovers. That doesn't matter anymore. What does matter is that I'm far away from them, on a train bound for another lifestyle, and sitting next to three others who would honor me if they were to call me their friend."

The other three in the compartment smiled. Justin was the first to answer. "I'm with you on that last bit Harry. We're both going into a completely new world and I, for one, could use all the friends I can get."

"You're not gonna get rid of us," promised Susan. Hannah nodded in agreement.

After talking, laughing, and throughly enjoying the company of newfound friends, Justin had a question that had been on his mind ever since he had read his letter.

"Susan, did your aunt tell you what life at Hogwarts was like out of classes?"

"Yes she did." answered Susan with a nod. "Actually, it was one of my first questions I asked her. There are four Houses at Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Students do not pick their house, they are Sorted-"

"Sorted?" interrupted an alarmed Harry. Just his luck that he may be separated from his friends so soon.

"Yes, by the Sorting Hat. It basically learns about your personality and then sends you to the House that it feels would fit you best. I've heard that it listens to the suggestions of the person being Sorted, but I don't know if that's true."

"So what are the Houses like?" asked Justin again.

Susan thought for a few moments. "Well from what I got from Auntie Amelia, it's a little bit like this: Gryffindor is considered to be the House of the bold and courageous. They tend to dive into danger regardless of the risks. They have had a very intense rivalry with Slytherin for as long as any can remember.

"Slytherin is said to be the House for those who are cunning, ambitious, and driven. They do whatever it takes to achieve their aims, even if its underhanded. Lately, Slytherin has gain a reputation of supporting the surpremecy of those who are of 'Pure Blood'," Susan said this with disdain. "Which in turn gives it a reputation of being full of dark wizards.

"Ravenclaw, on the other hand, is for the intelligent students. Many from Ravenclaw are near the top in the class and take studies very seriously. Many see them as bookworms and anti-socials, but not all of them are like that.

"The last is Hufflepuff. This House is for those who are loyal, kind, tenacious, and not afraid to work. Slytherin and some Gryffindors look down on Hufflepuff, calling them weak duffers. I'd be proud no matter my house."

Harry and Justin leaned back to digest this latest information."

In short from what I've heard the first two are stereotypical," chimed in Hannah. "Many Gryffindors consider 'Claws to be nerds, 'Puffs to be wimps, and all Slytherins to be evil. Most Slytherins hold similar views, and feel that since they are pure blooded, they are better than others. Those with muggle parentage are harassed and called derogatory names. Its bigotry of the worst kind, and gives other pure-bloods a bad name, even if they don't hold that view."

Justin nodded, "So basically Gryffindor is full of stereotypical gits and Slytherin is out 'cause I'm of non-magical, or muggle, parentage?"

The girls nodded. As they sat and chatted about various topics. Shortly after getting their robes from their trunks (luckily they were right next to the luggage compartment) and changing (the boys bolted out with out being asked, much to the girls' appreciation) they arrived at the station. Much to Harry's delight he met Hagrid and he guided them across the lake to the castle.

The first sight of Hogwarts took the breath away from the four friends. The two girls just stared while the boys were trying to form words. In Harry's opinion, Justin summed it up the best ("Bloody hell that castle's big!").

As the four got off the boats, they got a better look at who their year mates were. There was a gangly redheaded boy who seemed to be arguing a with a bushy haired girl for whatever reason, which was surprising since they had just gotten ashore. An arrogant, sneering voice jerked Harry out of his thoughts.

"So the rumors were true then: the great Harry Potter has come to Hogwarts."

Harry, Justin, Hannah, and Susan turned and were greeted by the sight of a snobbish looking blond boy and what seemed to be his body guards.

"Malfoy," muttered Susan. Both girls eyed the new boy with distasteful looks.

Harry and Justin exchanged baffled looks. Anything that made two of their new found friends act this way made the boys very wary indeed. Instinctively the two boys moved in front of Hannah and Susan.

Malfoy continued as if nothing had happened.

"I see you're starting to make friends already. You'll soon find out, though, that some families are far better than others. I, Draco Malfoy, can help you there. We don't want Harry Potter to be hanging out with a crowd full of riff-raff now do we?" Malfoy finished his short speech with an extended hand.

"Why thank you, Draco," answered Harry, emphasizing the boy's name. "I agree. I don't want to be around the wrong crowd."

Harry's three friends looked at him with puzzled expressions

"That's why I will be staying right here with these three," continued Harry. "You see, anyone who insults my friends is no friend of mine. Shove off."

Malfoy sneered and stalked off. Harry turned to his friends and grinned.

"You didn't think I'd turn on you so soon did you?" he teased. "I know that you're good people, and since Hannah and Susan reacted that way to Malfoy, it was easy to figure out that he is no good."

The two girls had a hint of a blush, but nobody noticed. Justin laughed at Harry's answer. After seeing all the questioning glances he responded with, "What? If Harry's this good at reading people he's just met, he's going to be in Ravenclaw for certain!"

Harry laughed with Justin but shook his head, "No, I don't think Ravenclaw is for me. I don't think I can handle the expectations. Then again, we'll just have to see what happens won't we?"

"How did you know him Susan?" asked a curious Harry.

"Ministry functions," explained Susan. "I've had to go to a few, and he was spouting off the same garbage about being better than others even then. Except he was hiding behind his father the whole time. Malfoy's father is very 'influential'...which is politician talk for being rich."

As Susan finished a stern looking woman came through the castle gates. All chatter immediately ceased as the first years became aware of the new presence.

"Welcome to Hogwarts!" said the woman in a no-nonsense tone. "I am Professor McGonagall. Here at Hogwarts you will learn to control the magic you have been gifted with, and will make bonds the will last you for your entire life time. Now, there are a few things I must go over with you before we go inside to join the rest of the students. Here, you are sorted into four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. During your time here your house will be like your family. Each year the House Cup is awarded to the house with the most points. Points are gained by performance in class and through quidditch matches, and lost by misbehavior. Follow me."

The first years followed with considerably less chatter. Harry looked around as he walked and came to a realization.

"Er...how are we going to remember where everything is here?" he asked. "This castle is huge!"

Justin, Hannah, and Susan thought for a moment, and then shrugged. They followed the professor for several more twists and turns before stopping in front of two large oak doors. McGonagall turned and gave her last instructions. "For the Sorting, simply come forward when I call your name and put on the hat. After you are sorted head to your house table. Form a line and follow me inside, please."

In the rush, Harry was separated from his three friends. After walking through the doors Harry was greeted by an extraordinary sight. The ceiling looked exactly like the sky! Every detail was there, right down to the phase of the moon and the large cloud covering it. Harry wasn't the only one to notice this, and the bushy haired girl from earlier muttered something about Hogwarts, a History. The students all stared at a battered old hat on a stool. To the utter amazement of the new students, the hat formed a mouth and began to sing:

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 Gryffindors 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!

At the end of the song all in attendance burst into applause. McGonagall stepped forward with a roll of parchment and began to call out names.

"Abbott, Hannah."

"Hufflepuff!"

"Bones, Susan."

"Hufflepuff."

Harry's face split into a huge grin. At least the two girls wouldn't be separated.

"Boot, Terry."

"Ravenclaw!"

"Brown, Lavender.

"Gryffindor!"

"Bulstrode, Milicent."

"Slytherin!"

"Crabbe, Gregory."

"Slytherin!"

"Finnegan, Seamus."

"Gryffindor!"

"Finch-Fletchley, Justin."

"Hufflepuff!"

Harry watched as Justin grinned and walked to the Hufflepuff tables and sat near Hannah and Susan. Justin turned and flashed a smile towards Harry, giving him a thumbs up while the Hat sorted the other students. Harry waited patiently for his turn.

"Granger, Hermione."

"Ravenclaw!"

"Longbottom, Neville."

"Gryffindor!"

"McMillan, Ernie."

"Hufflepuff!"

"Malfoy, Draconius."

Harry couldn't help but join the rest of the Great Hall in chuckling at the scowling boy's ridiculous first name.

"Slytherin!"

Malfoy strutted over the the cheering Slytherin table. Harry prayed that his turn would come soon. He was anxious to know what house he was in, not to mention that he was pretty hungry.

"Parkinson, Pansy.

"Slytherin!"

"Patil, Padma."

"Gryffindor!"

"Patil, Parvati."

"Gryffindor!"

"Potter, Harry."

Harry's heart leapt into his throat. His body was suddenly overcome by nerves. He slowly walked over to the hat amidst a flurry of whispers.

"The Harry Potter?"

"-Deafeated You-Know-Who..."

"His parents were supposedly both Gryffindors..."

Harry sat down and put on the hat. Immediately another voice joined his thoughts.

"Ahh...Harry Potter! I was wondering when I'd get to sort you! Let me see...whatdto we have here? Oh this will be difficult...very difficult indeed! There is much courage in you Mr. Potter, much indeed. A wonderful mind as well! What's this? Oh yes, a thirst to prove yourself; no doubt brought about by what others expect of you.I sense devotion in you...a kindness that resonates in the essence of your soul! My oh my...you'd fit in any of the houses! So where to put you...? You have so much potential, so it'd better be...Slyth-"

"Wait!"

Harry's pulse shot up. While Susan's words about Slytherin not being totally evil were on his mind, he also didn't want to be sorted into the house that had so many people glaring at him.

"Oh? Why not Slytherin? You could be great you know... What is this? Such strong desire to be with your friends! You're a loyal one, aren't you? And such a strong will! How could I have missed those? Only one house will be good for one with such a large amount of fine qualities! You, Mr. Potter are going to be in Hufflepuff!"

The Hufflepuff table erupted in cheers, with Justin, Susan, and Hannah being the loudest of all. Harry quickly made his way to where his three friends were sitting. He made his way down the table amidst a flurry of back slaps, hand shakes, and welcomes to his new house. Justin moved over and Harry sat between him and Ernie. By the time he had sat only two were left.

"Weasley, Ronald"

"Gryffindor!"

"Zabini, Blaise."

"Slytherin!"

With that the Sorting Hat returned to its previous state. McGonagall stepped over to remove the hat while an old wizard with a white beard down to his belt, and hair to match it, stepped up to the podium. All chatter immediately ceased as all the students gave the man their undivided attention.

"Welcome to another year at Hogwarts! For all who haven't been here before, I am Professor Dumbledore. While I have some announcements to make, I am certain that a certain pair would wreak considerable havoc if I do not let them eat," the Headmaster looked at a pair of identical redheads as he said this. "Let the feast begin!"

As Dumbledore finished vast amounts of food of every kind imaginable appeared on the tables. Ernie and the girls started picking out what they wanted. After a few moments neither Harry or Justin moved. The three looked up and immediately started laughing. The two boys had gone bug eyed from shock and had slack jaws. Ernie slowly waved his hand in front of Harry...and got no response. He then poked Harry with his fork. This got a reaction.

"Ouch! Hey! what's the big idea!"

Ernie, Hannah, and Susan merely pointed at Justin. Realization dawned on Harry, and he joined in the laughter. While Ernie worked on getting Justin's attention, Harry piled on an immense amount of food on his plate. He had never seen so much food in his life, and it was delicious!

"Yeowch!"

Harry was broken out of his reverie by the yell from Ernie, who had decided that the best way to revive Justin was by holding a piece of chicken under his nose. Ernie discovered it to be a bad idea when Justin took a huge bite and got a bit of Ernie's hand as well.

"That'll teach you not to tease me with food," joked Justin. Ernie joined in laughing despite nursing his hand. The feast went much the same, with all five bantering back and forth. While Ernie seemed slightly pompous, he was nonetheless good company. By the time the feast was finished, Harry felt like he was going to burst. Dumbledore rose again to speak.

"Now, before we go off to bed there are a few announcements I'd like to make. Mr. Filch would like me to remind you that magic is forbidden in the corridors, and..."

While Dumbledore continued, Harry's scar gave a painful twinge, causing him to gasp in shock. He quickly looked up to see a hook nosed, greasy haired man staring at him with the utmost loathing. Harry nudged Ernie

"Who's that man next to Hagrid?" he asked quietly.

Ernie scanned the staff to find who Harry meant, "Oh, him? That's Professor Snape. Real git I hear, hates everyone not in Slytherin. He teaches potions apparently."

Harry nodded his thanks and turned his attention back to Dumbledore.

"And finally, anyone who is on the third floor corridor should not enter the marked off room unless they wish to die a very painful death. Now, let us go to bed! Off with you!"

As the students rose from their seats, a voice called out, "Hufflepuff first years over here please!"

The five headed over to the voice and waited for the crowds to abate. They were greeted by two older students, a boy and a girl, who had badges on their robes.

"Wow, small group this year! Welcome to Hufflepuff House. We're your two fifth year prefects. I'm Jason Linston and this is Julia Robiss. If you have any questions at all feel free to ask us. We're here to help you as well as enforce the rules. Don't be intimidated by the size of the castle. Everything is organized by floor and corridor, so classrooms won't be hard to find. If that is all we'll take you down to you shall be living"

With that they set off. Along the way Jason and Julia pointed out anything of importance. According to the prefects they were taking the most direct route to the dorms. Within a few minutes they came to a massive series of staircases.

"This is one of the main hubs of Hogwarts," Julia explained. "This can get you to just about any floor you need to go to. I warn you though, they like to move."

They took the stairs down a few flights. According to the prefects they were on the floor right below the Great Hall. They passed a portrait of a bowl of fruit. The prefects stopped and turned to address the first years.

"You lot want to know a trade secret?" asked Jason. "Watch this."

Jason reached out and tickled the pear on the portrait. After a few moments it returned to its original shape.

"That, ickle firsties, was how you enter the kitchens if you ever want a late night snack. Take care not to get caught, though."

"Jason, the only reason you know about that is because of the Weasley Twins." Julia admonished.

Jason grinned sheepishly and led the group down the corridor. They came to a portrait of a large field.

"Here we are!" said Jason grandly. "Er...Julia, what's the password?"

"Are you kidding me? You were the one that was supposed to go get it!"

"Well I didn't! Now we get to knock and hope someone -"

The portrait slide open to reveal a boy who looked slightly younger than the two prefects. He motioned them inside.

"Honestly, could you two bicker any louder? Professor Sprout's been waiting for you in the common room to bring the first years so she can welcome them." the boy said, eyes alight with mirth.

"Well hello to you too Cedric." muttered Jason. "By the way you lot, this is Cedric Diggory. He's in fourth year and is our seeker for quidditch."

Everyone noticed that Justin and Harry had absolutely no clue about what quidditch was. Cedric shook his head in amusement.

"I'll take this one you two. Basically quidditch is the greatest sport in the wizarding world. I'd explain more but Professor Sprout would have my hide for the delay. By the way the password is 'Flibbertigibbet'."

Cedric stepped aside and the first years entered to get their first view of the common room. It was amazing! There was a roaring fire in a mantel, with many soft chairs and couches circling it. There were tables and bean bags scattered throughout as well. To Harry it truly felt like a home. Standing in the middle was a short, older woman.

"Welcome to Hufflepuff, my dears! I am your Head of House Professor Sprout. I am also the Herbology Professor. Here in Hufflepuff we take pride in our loyalty, fairness, and tenacity. We do not shy away from our friends and beliefs, nor from hard work. As members of this House you are expected to live up to and uphold these beliefs. Hufflepuffs stick together and look out for each other. In Hufflepuff, our Prefects are like the mentors for the year they lead to the dormitories. Don't be afraid to go to them for help for anything. They understand their duties, and were the recipients of it themselves. Now, it is late and I'm sure you're all tired out from the day. Girls, your dorm is on my right. You have plenty of space, and your things are already there. Boys, you are on my left."

Everyone went their separate ways for the night. Harry entered the dorm he would share with Ernie and Justin and was shocked. The bed was huge! He walked over to it and performed a test flop. He concluded that it was easily the most comfortable ever. Justin's voice overrode his thoughts.

"Blimey! Harry look at your trunk. Our robes and uniforms are all different now!"

Harry rolled over to see what Justin he was talking about. His robes now a yellow crest with black checkers and a badger. His tie was striped in yellow and black, along with his winter hat and scarf.

Ernie's voice came from the other side of the room. "Well mates, we're officially Hufflepuffs! I'm knackered thought. 'Night to you."

Harry changed into his nightclothes and climbed into bed, absolutely content. His last conscious thoughts were about his new life and friends.

Ok, I ended up reading my first and second chapter...and I cringed. The difference between these two and my newer chapters is ridiculous! After a little thought, I decided to combine and essentially rework them. I hope this is more appealing to you all. Right now I feel that redoing the other chapters isn't as dire of a need, so I will go through them at a later date. Due to the combining of the two chapters, it is quite a bit longer than most of the others. As of today, the new chapter has had about 7k hits and 19 reviews, so you thank you all very much!

Please read and review!