Author: Red Fiona

Disclaimer: I don't own any characters you recognise, JK Rowling does, and I'm making no money from this.

Summary: There's a new student at Hogwarts, but who is she? And what does she want?

Notes: Sorry about the bland summary. And yes there is a new character who's female but I don't think she's a Mary Sue, even if her name is Susan. It's my first try at this so, please bear with me. Set after Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire, so some spoilers if you haven't read that.

Feedback is gratefully recieved as always.

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The Sorting had taken place and all the new students had taken their places at their respective tables. One poor girl had nearly been scared to death by the Bloody Baron but other than that it had all gone well.

Professor Dumbledore made his speech and everyone got down to eating. It might have been the weather, but everyone was very hungry. Professor McGonagall came to the Gryffindor table and spoke quietly to the Prefect. He in turn walked to where the fifth years were sat.

"Hello Jones, what brings you down here?"

"Professor McGonagall wants a word with you, after the feast. Don't think it's something bad, but it sounds important. Good luck." He went back to the seat he had come from.

"So what do you think she wants?" asked Hermionie.

"Probably to give Harry some award or something."

"Or to tell Hermionie that she's good enough to take her O.W.Ls a year early." None of them had the faintest idea, but they were all a little worried, the last time there was something mysterious going on, it had led to the Tri-Wizard tournament. And everyone knew how that had turned out.

Harry turned round, as expected Hufflepuff were still solemn, and there was less fanfare than usual. Even, as he turned the High Table, Snape seemed to be looking at him with less venom. Still enough to give him a slight ache in the head but nothing as severe as usual. Snape as a whole looked even paler and more unhappy than usual. And Professor Dumbledore seemed to have aged five years over the summer holidays. Something was definitely happening with Vol-You Know Who. Harry still wasn't sure what to call him.

The Slytherin intake had been as hard faced as in previous years with the odd face dotted about who looked decent and therefore out of place. Malfoy's face too had hardened over the summer, as had Crabbe and Goyle's. The recent events had shaken everyone.

There were also a few people who weren't there. Their parents must have chosen not to let them back. Harry worried about these people, at least if they were here Professor Dumbledore would have been able to protect them.

The feast was soon over and the food vanished from in front of them. The Prefects led the first years out and soon everyone followed them to their dorms. In the movement, Hermionie, Ron and Harry moved towards the High Table. Professor McGonagall saw them and walked towards them.

"Good, you're all here. There's someone I want you to meet." Who could it be? Maybe it was their new DADA teacher, somehow, they didn't expect Mad-eye Moody to return. All three wished it would be Remus Lupin but with Voldemort gathering strength they doubted it. He'd probably be working for the Ministry or secretly for Dumbledore.

They followed her to a room on the front corridor. She opened the door, "This is Susan Woodford. She's new and I felt that Gryffindor house would be the one to make her most welcome." She didn't add, don't fail me, but she didn't need to. "She'll be in your year, although she will be taking astronomy instead of arithmacy or divination."

She moved aside so they could see the girl. And after such a big build up, she was a bit of a disappointment. Short, thick dark hair, probably black, but they couldn't be sure with the lights in the room. Short and dark did seem to describe her overall. She carried with her two small cases and had some sort of instrument case attached to her back. Her robe was shaby, to be polite about it, it looked about 40 years old and had gone grey in some places, and was fraying on two of the seams.

Ron spoke first, "You're in luck, you're in Gryffindor house, we'll look after you. Much better than those nasty old Slytherins."

"Weasley."

"Sorry miss." But the girl looked as though she was smiling and stopped looking quite so terrified.

"Hi."

"Hi. I'm Hermionie Granger, the one who just made a fool of himself is Ron Weasley, and this is Harry Potter." Everyone stealed themselves for her reaction.

"The Harry Potter."

"Yes."

"Wow, even more pleased to meet you then. I'm pleased to meet you two as well." She went a little pink. "I know it's horribly rude of me, but I've heard so much about Harry."

A brief look passed over Ron's face but that was all. "You don't read the Daily Prophet do you?"

"The what? No, I don't think so."

Since introductions had been made, Professor McGonagall thought it was time for everyone to go. "I'm sure you're all very tired. Would you be so kind as to take Miss Woodford to the dorms, and show her round tomorrow. You won't have any lessons in the morning, there's been a problem with the timetables."

Ron cheered quietly in the background and hoped Professor McGonagall wouldn't hear him.

"Bye miss." They took Susan's cases and got out of the door before they could have any points deducted.

Susan had gone quite silent by the time they reached the Fat Lady. "This is how we get into our dorm. You've got to give the password. What did Jones say it was?"

"It was mandrake root." Hermionie had of course remembered it. They all stepped through the hole.

"The girl's dorm is this way," said Hermionie as she led Susan up the stairs. They'd have to get a proper idea of what she was like in the morning.

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more soon