MAKENNA AND I HAVE STRUCK AGAIN. (Go follow her on tumblr [flirtykurty . tumblr . com] and read her stuff on as flirtykurty!) This story has been a work in progress for far too long... why we waited all summer to start posting is beyond me. Takes place in the next generation, containing canon characters, OC's galore, and of course, Klaine. So enjoy this crossover of epic proportions, review, and enjoy! :)


"I trust that you'll represent us well at Hogwarts."

Blaine nodded solemnly at his father. The ends of his father's mustache quirked upwards slightly, but only for a moment.

"We're counting on you, Blaine," he said lowly. He held out his hand for his son to shake. Blaine grasped it, his manner businesslike. It was awkward between them as he let the hand fall. He turned to his mother, who was seated in her armchair with a long cigarette.

"Write often," she schmoozed, waving said cigarette in the air in lofty circles. Blaine nodded once more, feeling a lump swell up in his throat.

"Everything's set then. Bonkie!" barked Mr. Anderson.

With a loud crack, Bonkie appeared before them, bowing low at his masters. "Bonkie, take Blaine to the platform." With another gracious bow, Bonkie grasped onto Blaine's trousers and they Disapparated.

The young Anderson heir stumbled briefly before regaining his footing on the tiles of the platform. He looked up, and was immediately taken aback by the enormous scarlet steam engine in front of him.

It was the most magnificent train he'd ever seen. His eyes were still wide when Bonkie pushed his cart towards him.

"Good luck, Master Blaine!" squeaked the house elf, and it Disapparated before Blaine could thank it.

He sighed and tried not to let the familiar bitter ache in his chest get to him. He told himself for the umpteenth time that his parents loved him in their own way; even if love to them was measured in piles of sickles and galleons in a faraway Gringotts bank vault. It was not his fault that his parents had a house elf raise their son because they were busy with their jobs at the Ministry.

Blaine swallowed down the notion that said otherwise, the notion nagging that he was hopelessly unworthy of their attention, and tightened his grip on his trunk, peering around. This didn't help much, seeing as most of the other eleven-year olds were accompanied by their parents, but Blaine observed just the same.

There was a threesome waving goodbye to their mother as they entered the train, the eldest and darkest of the three urging her twin brother and sister along. Through the windows of the train he saw the twins glaring at yet another set of identical siblings, the two black boys sneering in return. Blaine just barely saw the older sister roll her eyes before his eyes were drawn to a small boy leaning down to tie his shoe very near where he stood, and his heart picked up a slight pace when he saw his father lean down to help him; it was Harry Potter.

Blaine tried not to freak out at the fact that Harry Potter was less than ten feet away from him (with not much success because he quickly found Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley in the crowd as well) by averting his gaze, settling instead upon watching two quarreling brothers, one monstrously tall and the other gracefully slender.

"Straighten your collar! So sloppy," the tiny one snipped, having to reach on tiptoe to do it himself. His brother shook him off.

"It doesn't even matter! Why did we have to show up on the platform with our robes on? Everyone's in Muggle clothes anyways!" the taller brother complained loudly. He tugged at the edge of his robes, which were about five inches too short for him.

"Would you like some cheese with that whine, big brother?" retorted the smaller boy, dragging his trunk behind him.

A boy with a mohawk elbowed past Blaine, throwing him off balance. Mohawk immediately pulled the taller one into a hug.

"I haven't seen you since July, bro!" exclaimed Mohawk in an abrasive American accent. "How you doin'? And you, Kurt?"

"I'm fine, Puckerman," 'Kurt' replied haughtily. "Help me with my trunk?"

The two larger boys hoisted the trunk onto the train, and Kurt stood back to check his watch. "10:50," he observed, pulling his robes back down to cover the watch. "There's barely anyone here."

This was a false observation. The platform was packed. Maybe Kurt had been on the platform before.

Blaine snuck a glance back at Harry Potter, who was leaning down and speaking to what must have been his youngest son. He gazed longingly at the kind smile upon the hero's face, and the grasping of the boy's shoulder. Gritting his teeth to stave off any sort of emotion (God forbid), he walked over to the entrance that Kurt was using to enter the train.

"Excuse me?"

Kurt looked up at him, eyebrows raised.

"I-uh," Blaine almost lost his voice in shock of the piercing blue eyes aimed straight at him, but cleared his throat and smiled hopefully. "Erm, sorry, but are you a first year as well?"

Kurt looked taken aback at Blaine's forwardness but smiled lightly. "Yes I am. I'm Kurt."

"Blaine. Will you- I mean, would you like to catch a compartment together?"

Kurt snorted and caught a glance at his brother and friend roughhousing about a few feet ahead and rolled his eyes. "Anything would be preferable to those oafs, so yes, I suppose that would be practical."

Blaine felt in inexplicable swelling of warmth in his chest. If he really had to pinpoint the precise feeling it would probably be one similar to acceptance.

"Just let me say goodbye to my dad and stepmother. Have you already said goodbye to your parents?"

"They're not here," Blaine recited automatically.

Kurt frowned slightly but knew better than to pry. "Alright then. Find a compartment for us, if you don't mind?"

Blaine's smile faltered just slightly as he watched the boy run off. He was really going to have to get over his neglectful parents complex if he wanted to make friends.

He took a deep breath and stepped onto the scarlet steam-engine.

Blaine just turned and watched Kurt go to kiss his stepmother goodbye. His father ruffled his hair, and Kurt slapped his hand away good-naturedly. Then he was caught in a wide bear hug, which Blaine could see Kurt could barely return. His arms were as small as the rest of him. He walked back with Finn towards the train. He caught Blaine's eye.

"Finn, pull up Blaine's cart, would you?" Kurt said offhandedly to his stepbrother. Finn glared at his brother but complied, lifting Blaine's cart onto the train. Kurt turned to Blaine. "Well?"

"Oh," Blaine said softly, looking around himself. "Um, there's an empty compartment." Kurt rolled his eyes.

"They're all empty, Blaine, I was being facetious."

"Oh, um… okay."

Kurt pulled his trunk behind him up to the compartment. He pulled the door aside and went inside. He looked expectantly at Blaine. "Are you coming in?" he asked.

Blaine scrambled to follow the tiny brunette, trudging his cart inside. He slid the compartment door closed.

"So what house do you think you're going to be in?" questioned Kurt easily, offering the barest hint of a smile. Blaine bit the inside of his cheek.

"Probably Gryffindor. My family's been in it for years."

"That doesn't mean you have to be in it, though," Kurt pointed out. "You're not your family."

At that, Blaine didn't have a response. Instead, he deflected with another question: "What house will you be in?"

Kurt went quiet, resolving to look out the window.

"My dad was in Gryffindor, like your family," Kurt said quietly. "My mom was in Ravenclaw. My stepmom was in Hufflepuff. I'll probably be in one of those. Or you know, the only house that's left. So essentially I've no idea."

"That's not necessarily true," Blaine retorted, reversing the situation quite easily. "Do you think Finn'll be in Slytherin?"

"Oh, gosh no. He's a red-blooded Gryffindor through and through. Thick as the walls of Hogwarts, too," Kurt said, waving his hand in the air.

"In any case, didn't you just say your family doesn't determine your House?" Blaine said quietly, suddenly bashful, and he looked towards his knees. He heard Kurt chuckle quietly.

"I did say that, didn't I? Touché, Blaine, touché."

Blaine smiled fully at Kurt then, welcoming the happy feeling spreading in his heart. Kurt smiled haughtily back, crossing his legs primly and smoothing a finger along his bangs as he looked out the window.

As if on cue the train let out a loud whistle and the remaining students on the platform scrambled to get onto the train. Parents waved tearfully goodbye as the train slowly began to move from the station, and Blaine couldn't help but feel a little melancholy as he saw Kurt blow a kiss to his family.

"Funny, isn't it?" Kurt finally said as green pastures began to roll by.

"What?" Blaine looked up at him.

"Leaving home. I feel like I should be sad, but somehow I'm not. I'm excited," he mused.

Blaine smiled strangely. "I suppose I know what you mean."

Kurt looked at him curiously. "Blaine, why weren't your parents here to send you off?"

Blaine decided it would be best to simplify things, at least a little. "They're… busy. A lot."

Kurt leaned forward, breaking his calm and collected persona just slightly. "They didn't let you go by yourself, though?"

"No," Blaine said incredulously. "They sent Bonkie, of course."

"Bonkie?" Kurt cocked his head.

"The house elf," Blaine said, as if it were obvious.

Kurt leaned back, an odd look on his face. "Oh," he said simply, eyes seeking the window once more.

"What's wrong?" Blaine asked, scared that he had said something to offend his new friend.

"No, it's just that my Dad… doesn't approve of house elves."

Blaine didn't know what to say.

There was a loud thump and then the compartment door swung open. In the doorway was a young girl, their same age, with a face full of freckles and hair curling in every direction.

"Can we come in here?" she asked breathlessly. "Everywhere else is full."

"Sure," Blaine said at the same time as Kurt said, "Who are you?"

The girl grinned widely. "Saoirse Finnigan," she introduced quickly. There was another thump and she tumbled into the compartment. Atop her back was an Asian boy, his smile nearly splitting his face.

"Wes Montgomery," the boy said at Kurt's upraised brow.

Blaine scooted over so that Wes and Saoirse could topple into the seats, pulling their trunks as they came. Saoirse brushed her honey colored hair from her eyes, giggling as she did so.

"Are you first years?" Blaine asked curiously.

"We both are," Saoirse said genially. "But we've been best friends since my dad and his mom were both in the DA, back during the war. My dad's Seamus Finnigan, you know."

Both Kurt and Blaine nodded in recognition.

Wes Montgomery leaned back in his chairs, placing his hands behind his head lazily. "I can't wait for Hogwarts, personally."

"Nor can I!" Saoirse exclaimed. They broke into excited chatter with Blaine, discussing how they were going to be in Gryffindor together, and about the House ghosts, and about other frivolities. Blaine gave a sideways glance towards their other compartment-mate.

Kurt had been entirely silent the entire time, gazing out the window, apparently lost in thought.

Blaine took a risk and kicked out his foot to nudge Kurt's shin. He looked vaguely over.

"Alright, Kurt?"

Kurt gave a tight smile and resumed his watch over the countryside.

Blaine sighed and folded his knees up to his chin. Ten minutes and he had already ruined a new friendship; without even knowing how.

Blaine had never been required to make friends; the posh and preppy "playmates" he met at daycare were always arranged by his parents. They didn't want Blaine hanging out with the "wrong sort."

So it frustrated Blaine, who really was trying to do things on his own, that he had screwed up on his first attempt at true friendship.

Well it wasn't screwed up yet, his stubborn eleven-year old self thought, not if he could help it.

"Hey," he said gently, nudging Kurt again. "I'm sorry."

"For what?" Kurt said in surprise, Blaine's forwardness once again catching him off guard.

"I don't know," Blaine admitted. "For whatever's upsetting you."

Kurt blinked in momentary shock before melting the ice off his shoulder. "It's nothing," he smiled, "I was just thinking about stuff. What were you saying about your family before?"

"Let's not talk about my family," Blaine offered quickly, not wanting to hit anymore sore spots. "What about yours?"

"My mum died a few years ago," Kurt said very matter of faculty, and went on before Blaine could even offer condolences. "And my dad was really bent out of shape about it but I introduced him to Carole, who was the mom of one of the boys in my class." Kurt shifted a little uncomfortably at this. "They really liked each other so they got married. And now I'm stuck with Finn Hudson for a brother," he wrinkled his nose.

"If you didn't like Finn why did you set his mum up with your dad?" Blaine asked.

Kurt turned a lovely shade of pink.

"Well, funny story that is," Kurt hedged.

Blaine raised his eyebrows.

"I… wanted to be his friend. But he didn't… er, see me that way so… sorry, this is stupid."

"It's not stupid," Blaine said earnestly, though he couldn't help but think Kurt was being somehow slightly untruthful in this explanation. "It's fine to want friends."

"I suppose," Kurt said, blushing and looking away.

There was a light knock on the door, and it slid open gently. "Candy off the trolley?" asked the kindly old woman that manned it.

Saoirse and Wes scrambled for coins while Kurt cast a wary glance towards Blaine.

"Are you getting anything?"

"Not supposed to spend my pocket money on things like that," Blaine replied, embarrassed. Kurt shrugged and turned to the candy lady.

By the time the woman moved on from their compartment, the seats were covered in Pumpkin Pasties, Jelly Slugs, Drooble's Best and Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. Wes had shelled a Chocolate Frog and immediately stuffed the chocolate amphibian into his open gob.

"What's the card?" Kurt asks interestedly. "My brother collects them."

Wes observed it for a moment. "Ronald Weasley. I've got about eight of him already. You want it?"

"No, Finn already has him too."

"I'll take it," Blaine piped up suddenly. He looked towards the card, almost hungrily. "I've never collected anything before."

Kurt wrinkled his brow at this, and Wes and Saoirse exchanged a look. Blaine flushed crimson. Wes leaned over and handed the card to Blaine. He leaned back, reaching for another Chocolate Frog. Saoirse sucked on the straw to her pumpkin juice noisily to clear the silence.

"Pumpkin Pasty?" Kurt offered Blaine, and Blaine hesitated before taking the delicious-looking treat out of Kurt's hand, observing it carefully.

"It won't bite," Wes grinned.

"And no one will find out," Kurt said, winking knowingly.

Blaine blushed gratefully. It was nice to accept this new concept of freedom. Even nicer was to have a friend who understood it.

It was something Blaine looked forward to getting used to.

Blaine grinned mischievously and ripped off the wrapping, shoving half of the pasty into his mouth rebelliously.

"Welcome to the good life," Saoirse clapped Blaine on the shoulder, smiling through a pile of Bertie Bott's Every Flavored Beans. Blaine choked briefly before swallowing, hard. "Ew, Wes, there are at least five tripe-flavored ones in here."

The rest of the train ride passed in shared candies and laughs and happy chatter. The sunny pastures slowly faded into afternoon and then sunset and finally twilight, and the foursome were launched out of their contest of who could make the most colorful sparks exude from their wands when a small brunette abruptly slid open the compartment door.

"You all had better change into your school robes," she said in a shrilly over-enthusiastic voice. "We're nearly there, you know. I've just been to the prefect's compartment and they said to spread the word to other first years. I'm Rachel, by the way, Rachel Berry."

Kurt made a face at the girl's enthusiasm, and Wes and Saoirse exchanged looks. Blaine, oblivious to their hesitance, grinned widely, eager to make a new friend.

"I'm Blaine," he said, extending a hand, and Rachel shook it vehemently.

"Kurt," offered the brunette boy, rolling his eyes at Blaine.

Wes and Saoirse introduced themselves as well before Rachel made her exit, running off down the hall.

"Batty, that one is," Saoirse muttered.

"I thought she was nice," Blaine pouted.

"Shier, you've got to leave the compartment so we men can change," Wes said to his female friend, puffing out his chest importantly. She huffed and gathered her robes in a hasty pile.

"You men, honestly…"

Wes immediately shed his Muggle sweater, pulling it over his head. Blaine's eyes quickly slid away from him, focusing intently at the wall. He could feel his face burning. He really was too modest for his own good.

He glanced over at Kurt, who was mimicking him, but had begun unbuttoning his shirt. Their eyes locked, and Kurt glared at him.

"D'you mind?" Kurt mouthed, and Blaine turned away, feeling more awkward by the minute.

He couldn't help the thought that passed through his mind at that moment: Kurt was very pale.

The train began to grind to a halt. Saoirse banged on the door impatiently.

"Are you done in there? I have to change as well, you know!"

"Give it a rest, woman!" Wes yelled back at her, but he opened the door for her to come in. She ushered them into the hallway.

"I'll go fast, I promise."

Wes was vibrating with excitement. "My godfather told me there's this fantastic feast after the Sorting, I really just can't wait."

"What sort of feast?" Blaine asked. Wes laughed in disbelief.

"Aren't you Pureblood, Blaine? Why don't you know?"

"Hogwarts never came up," Blaine mumbled, and Kurt patted his shoulder sympathetically.

"Then we'll all find out about it together," he said comfortingly. Blaine nodded thankfully towards his new friend.

Saoirse emerged just as the rest of the students began to file out of the compartments, straightening her tie neatly.

Wes rolled his eyes. "Girls," he shook his head and joined the crowd edging out of the train.

"Firs' years, over here, Firs' years, gather 'round!" a booming voice resounded, and the four moved towards the voice among their classmates.

"David!" Wes hollered to an anonymous student, pulling a small black boy into a tight hug. "I've been looking for you everywhere, buddy!"

"Honestly, Wes," said David, disentangling himself. "I only saw you yesterday."

"Rubbish," Wes dismissed him. "You know Saoirse. This is Blaine and Kurt. "

"Hello," David smiled politely, but before either boy could reply they found themselves face to face with a near-giant man with a fluffy black-and-grey beard.

"Follow me, ev'ryone!" he said, and the first years followed in blind wonder.

The giant led them to the edge of a lake where about a dozen boats were docked. Following their peers' leads, all five of them piled snugly into a boat. Once everyone was situated, the boats propelled themselves of their own account into the glassy black lake shimmering with the reflection of stars above.

Before long they got their first glimpse of the castle, and there wasn't a dull expression in the place. Blaine gazed with wonder at the enormous turrets and towers spiraling into the night sky, a feeling of excitement building up inside him at the thought of finding a new home.

Because that's what Hogwarts would be for him; he knew that much already: a home.

The first years clambered from the boats, soaking wet, and were guided by the giant man up the steps towards the enormous stone archway into the school. Blaine noticed a boy in a wheelchair having trouble for a moment, and he considered helping, but then the boy leaned backwards and the chair floated up the steps. His neck flushed after watching this; magic really was amazing.

"Welcome to Hogwarts! Thank you, Hagrid, I'll take it from here."

The young students looked towards the man standing in the doorway. A huge smile graced his face. His navy robes were not the right color for his complexion, and Blaine could have sworn he was wearing a vest underneath it. "My name is Professor Schuester. Follow me, students."

The students filed after Professor Schuester, who turned around abruptly to address them.

"Your time at Hogwarts will be a journey to remember," he said brightly. "In a moment, you will Sorted into your Houses. During your time here, your House is your family. Throughout the year, you'll earn points for your House and compete for the House Cup. Clear? Oh, and you can also lose points, please keep that in mind." Professor Schuester smiled kindly at Puckerman, who raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "So, here we go! Let's head into the Great Hall so we can get you all settled."

He swung open the enormous double doors that led to what Blaine presumed was the Great Hall. There were four long tables, each with enormous banners adorned with the House's patron animal. The chattering in the hall didn't cease with their entry, but every head swiveled to them.

They were led to a small wooden stool, on which a battered hat sat. Nobody in the hall said anything. Blaine pressed his lips together tightly. What were they waiting for?

Suddenly, a sizable rip in the brim of the hat opened, and the hat began to sing; a song about the four Houses, and their qualities, and their founders. Blaine watched in utter amazement as the hall burst into applause at the hat's song.

"Anderson, Blaine!" Professor Schuester announced pleasantly.

He felt his blood run cold, and he couldn't move his feet.

A warm hand nudged the small of his back. He glanced backwards to see Kurt looking at him encouragingly.

"It's time to go, Blaine," he mouthed, and Blaine nodded. He sprinted to the stool, eliciting a few laughs from the other students.

The hat was placed on his head, and even though he considered his curls to be pretty buoyant, the headgear slipped past his eyes and he was shrouded in darkness.

Blaine nearly jumped a foot in the air when he heard a small voice buzzing in his ear.

"Ah, the Anderson legacy, I see. Bet you're expecting to be put in Gryffindor like the rest, eh?"

Blaine was wondering why the Hat made this seem like such a funny notion when he nearly jumped again; the Hat had read his mind and was speaking once more.

"Funny indeed, seeing as you're nothing like the rest of them. No, nothing at all…"

The Hat mused for a moment, and Blaine began to panic. He hadn't considered the option that he wouldn't be in Gryffindor; what would his father say?

Probably nothing much, he thought grimly. He wondered if his father would even care at all.

"I'm sure he wouldn't," agreed the Hat. "In that case, it won't be troublesome to put you where you belong, which, with that ridiculously oversized heart of yours, would be in-

"HUFFLEPUFF!"

The Sorting Hat was lifted off of Blaine's head and his legs traipsed him over automatically to the table that was cheering genially, throwing their pointed hats in the air and making a ruckus. Blaine took the seat nearest to him beside a shortish albeit friendly-looking redhead before glancing back at Kurt, who was smiling supportively, and maybe even little condescendingly.

Next was the little brunette who had entered their compartment from before, who got sorted into Ravenclaw. Two asians followed, "Chang, Mike" being sorted into Hufflepuff and "Cohen-Chang, Tina" leaving for Ravenclaw. Kurt hadn't been lying about his brother; Finn was sent to Gryffindor and as he sat down to a sea of claps on the back, Blaine's heart started to race.

"Hummel, Kurt."

Kurt sauntered up to the stool and sat down. The worn hat was placed upon his perfectly coiffed hair, and then his pale eyes were hidden from view.

The hall was completely silent, and nearly a minute had passed before the brim of the hat opened wide.

"Slytherin!"

There was cheering from the Slytherin table, some of it polite, most of it jarring. Blaine watched hopelessly as Kurt stood and walked towards his new House. He caught Kurt's eye once more, and Blaine was startled by the panic within Kurt's depths. But Kurt looked away, his jaw setting visibly, and his pace grew faster until he sat on the bench farthest from Blaine.

The Sorting continued, and Blaine sat glumly, realizing that befriending Kurt had probably been to both of their detriment; he wasn't a fool. He knew Slytherin's reputation. A Latina girl ("Lopez, Santana,") was the first to follow Kurt into the house of snakes. She didn't sit next to him, Blaine observed, and instead chose a seat next to a strikingly beautiful blonde girl with her hair pulled into a high ponytail.

"Potter, Albus."

There was a loud whoop of appreciation for this Potter spawn from the Gryffindor table - Blaine looked over to see a messy-haired brunette boy grinning from ear to ear, waving at his supposed brother. The hat was slipped on this Potter's head. Blaine turned back to glance at Kurt once more, knowing that this Potter kid would probably was Sorted into Gryffindor, and -

"Slytherin!"

The hall was silent. Albus Potter had the hat removed from his head and he scurried to the Slytherin table, where not a single soul was cheering for him. Blaine's eyes must have been as large as dinner plates. It was unimaginable; a Potter in Slytherin? But Albus didn't look worried. He looked determined, and unapologetic. He sat himself next to Kurt, whose eyebrows seemed to be kissing his hairline

Something inside Blaine was tugging at him in the ringing silence. Something that knew just how it felt to be a let down under high expectations. It was probably that something that caused him to start clapping confidently, breaking the silence.

The elder Potter boy, a blank expression on his face, chimed in next, and the house tables were quick to follow in applause. Even the rest of the Slytherins managed to half-heartedly put their hands together for the misfit Potter boy.

Professor Schuester resumed reading off names once the noise had died down, and when the last first years was finally sorted (The Black twins from the train, "Alexiares" and "Anicetus, Zabini" into Slytherin along with "Zizes, Lauren," plus "Weasley, Rose" into Ravenclaw), Schuester resumed his place at the Staff table as the Headmaster rose to make his start-of-the-year speech.

Professor Figgins was a stout, no-fuss, naive Indian man. When he spoke, Blaine couldn't help but be confused. Who was the dunderhead who let this guy land the role of Headmaster?

"Hello, Students," the Headmaster projected in a haltingly awkward tone, "Welcome back, to those familiar faces I see, and simply welcome, to our new additions. I hope this year is filled with fun and magic for all. Study hard, and most importantly, have, fun!"

There was sparse applause before Figgins made his parting line.

"Now! Let's dig in!"

"First years, follow me, we're going to the dormitories now," called the sixth year Hufflepuff prefect, 'something-Buckle.' "Memorize how we're going. It's close to the kitchens, if that helps any of you."

Blaine obediently followed the prefect down the impossibly long hallways, the walls plastered with magically painted portraits and landscapes.

From beneath Blaine's feet, there was a sudden sensation of teeth-clattering cold.

He gasped in shock, but the sensation was over as quick as it came. A person-sized cloud of thick white had glided straight through him.

It took him a moment to realize it was Hufflepuff's ghost, the Friar.

"Evening, Miss Buckle," said the Fat Friar, tipping his dumpy little hat at the prefect. She nodded, smiling widely.

"These are our new first years, Friar."

"Oh, lovely. Welcome to Hufflepuff!" the Friar exclaimed merrily. "My house, you know."

"It was nice seeing you, Friar, but it's nearly lights-out," Buckle said worriedly, and the Friar flapped an engorged hand.

"It was a pleasure. To the common room!"

The Friar floated in front of them, guiding them towards the entrance of the common room. There was an enormous prairie painting. Buckle marched straight up to it.

The milky clouds shifted in the cerulean painted sky, forming words. "Password?"

"Confidentiality is a virtue of the loyal," Buckle quoted wisely, and the portrait swung open. It revealed a doorway, with a cheerily lit set of stairs going downwards. Buckle turned to the first-years. "Welcome to the Hufflepuff Basement."

Though the common room and dormitories were underground, there was no lack of light. Yellow drapings covered the wall, and squashy gold armchairs littered the room. Blaine couldn't help the smile that spread upon his face.

Out of the side door, a petite woman with flaming red hair emerged. She was dressed in a set of robes in a conservative shade of goldenrod.

"Welcome, students," she said shakily, her voice projecting but obviously nervous. "I'm Professor Emma Pillsbury, your Head of House and Charms Master." She flattened out her skirt anxiously under the scrutinizing gaze of the children.

"Boys dormitories are down the stairs and to the right, girls to the left. Please," she added with a slight twitch, "Don't get them mixed up. This is the common room, where you will interact with your peers and will act as a sort of safe haven for you in the school. With that I bid you farewell. I hope to see some of you tomorrow in class," she smiled nervously and flitted out of the room, hands held up as if avoiding contact with anything or anyone.

"Odd duck, isn't she?" said the boy next to Blaine. He looked over to see a large-lipped blonde boy grinning at him.

"But sweet," Blaine amended, holding out a hand. "Blaine Anderson."

"Sam Evans."

"Alright children, off to bed, pip pip!" instructed Buckle, and the sleepy first years made their way down a short, wide staircase, separating off by gender. Blaine and Sam entered the dormitory together along with a skinny Asian boy (one of the Changs, Blaine remembered) and a longer-set blonde boy. He found that their belongings had been transferred to the room already, respective trunks placed at the foot of each of the four beds. The room was not small but not spacious either; a neatly furnished circular room with a luxuriously blush black carpet and yellow hangings on the bed as well as pleasant paintings framed on the walls.

"Pretty nice place," said the Asian, plopping down on his bed and stripping off his robe. "I'm Mike by the way."

"Jeff," said the other blonde leaning against the bedpost.

"Blaine. And he's Sam."

"Sam I am," he agreed with a smile.

"Well I'd love to chat more with you blokes," said Jeff, "But I'm honestly dead tired."

"Same," said Sam, flopping facedown on his bed.

"I call the bathroom first," said Mike, rummaging around in his suitcase for a toothbrush.

"Not if I can help it," Sam laughed, racing to the door on the left.

"Oi!" Mike hollered, clambering off the bed to tackle Sam.

Blaine chuckled, observing the madness from where he sat quietly on the bed. He could definitely get used to this.