A/N: Hey, there everyone! Before we begin, I would like to deliver some news regarding another one of my stories. There and Back Again has been adopted by 'firebolthallow1572.' If you enjoyed were I started with that story, check it out. On to matters regarding this story…I have nothing. Thanks to everyone who reviewed, favorited, and/or followed.
Disclaimer: The names, people, places, and things that appear in this are either real, or belong to JK Rowling and everyone else associated with Harry Potter at a corporate level. I am not one of those people, and as such, receive no financial benefit from writing this. I do this purely for the pleasure of myself and anyone else who decides to read my work.
Harry stepped out of the fireplace located on platform 9 ¾ at precisely 10:15 A.M. on the morning of September 1, 1991. Harry and his friends had made plans to meet on the platform at 10:30, but there was nothing wrong with being early. Harry used the 15 minutes he had to step onto the train waiting at the platform, looking for an empty compartment to store his stuff in. He found Neville in a compartment, evidently with the same idea as Harry, and the two quickly stored their stuff and made their way back to the platform. Within a matter of minutes, they were joined by the rest of their friends, and the group, minus Astoria, said their goodbyes to their respective guardians, and headed for the compartment Neville and Harry had staked out. There was a brief dilemma when they realized that the compartment was really only designed to hold 6 people, but since they were smaller than most other students attending Hogwarts due to their ages, and they didn't particularly mind being close to each other, they were able to make it work. Harry's arrangement of sitting between the window and Susan reminded him of the kiss she had given him at his birthday, and he decided he would ask her out at some point in the coming year, probably sooner rather than later.
After about 10 minutes of small talk, the train suddenly lurched forward, and the group of 8 realized with some anticipation that they were finally on their way to Hogwarts.
Draco finally broke the silence by asking everyone what houses they thought they would be going to. It was a subject that had led to pounding headaches for some members of the group, as they felt their sorting could go one of two ways. Draco, Blaise and Pansy were all quite confident they would end up in Slytherin. Daphne and felt she could go to either Slytherin or Ravenclaw, a view everyone in their group agreed with. Susan and Neville were both likely to go to Hufflepuff or Gryffindor, while Tracey was considered most likely to end up in either Slytherin or Gryffindor, a fact which amused many of the group, as the two houses were widely considered to be polar opposites. The only member of the group that no one had any idea about was Harry. Everyone felt he could end up as a Slytherin, a Gryffindor, or a Ravenclaw, and Neville had even gone so far as to suggest that he might even have an outside shot at Hufflepuff. Needless to say, Harry had come out of that conversation just as confused about his prospects as he had been when it had started.
Their discussion turned into which classes they were most looking forward to, with answers of Charms (Daphne and Susan), Transfiguration (Harry and Blaise), Potions (Draco, Pansy and Tracey), and Herbology (Neville). No one was quite sure about what to think of Defense Against the Dark Arts, as it had been well documented that no one teacher had held the position for more than a year for quite some time. The group's projected least favorite subjects were less varied. There was a split within the group on whether History of Magic, which they had been informed, was taught by a horribly boring ghost, or Astronomy, which took place in the middle of the night, would be more hated.
Eventually the train started to slow down, and pulled into Hogsmeade Station. No one knew exactly what time it was, but it was dark, so they guessed it was probably about 6:30 or 7:00. On the platform, an extremely large man called all first years over to him. Theodore Nott sneered at the man. The first years were then led to a large lake, where they were directed to sit in the waiting boats in groups of no more than four. Harry, Neville, Blaise, and Draco took one boat, and Daphne, Susan, Tracey, and Pansy took another. Soon, the large man, who still had not been identified, said in a booming voice "Onward!" and the boats took off.
After they entered a cave led directly under the school, the boats soon ran aground, and the students disembarked. Harry made sure to help Susan when she had a little trouble getting out, which just reaffirmed his intention to ask her out this year. The giant of a man lifted a large fist and knocked it against a large wooden door three times. The sound echoed throughout the cavern for a minute. The door was opened by a stern looking witch, whom Harry knew to be Minerva McGonagall, a friend of his grandmother's. McGonagall was a master in Transfiguration, the subject she taught, and also had duties as the Head of Gryffindor House, and as Deputy Headmistress of the school.
"Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here," she said in a no-nonsense sort of tone. The giant man, who the students now knew to be Hagrid, bowed slightly, and went off to who-knows-where. The students filed through the large door behind McGonagall, who lead them past an even larger set of wooden doors, behind which the first years heard a multitude of voices, and to small chamber adjacent to those doors.
McGonagall proceeded to introduce herself and give a brief overview of the House system to those who weren't already aware of it. She then left the first years alone for a bit, while she went to go get something for the sorting.
Draco decided to have some fun at the expense of his friend, and declared loudly, "Oh…My…God! I can't believe it! It really is…Harry Potter! The savior of the wizarding world!" he shouted, pointing at Harry, just to make sure everyone got his point.
This announcement led to an unwilling Harry being mobbed by a number of muggleborns and muggle-raised half-bloods that had never met him. Through the swarm, Harry was able to give Draco a look that promised pain. Draco just smirked in return. Harry was given a reprieve when someone shrieked. Everyone looked around to figure out what had caused the sound of terror, before they spotted a group of ghosts. Harry took advantage of the distraction to get away from the swarm of people around him, and hide by Neville. By the time anyone discovered where he had gone, McGonagall had returned to bring the first years to the Great Hall to be sorted.
As the group filed into the Hall, Harry could vaguely hear a girl telling someone that the ceiling was charmed to look like the outside sky.
A boy was telling someone else that his brothers had told him they would have to wrestle a troll. Harry couldn't figure out why someone would believe that. It wasn't like they were expected to know any magic. And how would that help sort them? Would you have to charge headfirst to get into Gryffindor? What about the other houses? Harry just stopped thinking about it when he got a headache trying to figure it out. That kid had to be either mentally challenged in some way, or the most naïve person on the planet.
Harry returned his attention to McGonagall when the group reached the front of the hall, where a stool was sitting. A hat that Harry hadn't noticed in McGonagall's hand was placed on the stool, allowing Harry to examine it. It looked rather dirty, and slightly frayed, as though it had been used quite a bit. Upon reflection, Harry realized that it had in fact been used quite a lot. At least since his grandmother attended the school, and very likely even longer than that.
Recalling what he had been told about the hat, Harry wasn't too surprised when the hat started talking. Or, more accurately, singing, about his purpose and creation, giving the uninformed first years a little insight into each of the four houses.
Once the hat finished, Harry looked at each of his friends and smirked slightly. They were all looking forward to the sorting, and the hat finishing his song struck home just how close it was to happening. Harry then looked to Blaise, who would be the only member of the group sorted after Harry, and said "A galleon on each member of our group and which house they end up in. Both guesses being correct or incorrect negates the bet for that specific person."
Blaise responded with a smug look and said, "You're on, Potter. I hope you are ready to lose a few galleons."
Hannah Abbot was the first person to be sorted. She wasn't really a part of the group, but she was friendly with a few members of the group, particularly Susan. The hat put her in Hufflepuff, and with that, the sorting officially commenced.
The first member of their group to be sorted was Susan, two names later. Harry said "Gryffindor," while Blaise said "Hufflepuff." Blaise ended up winning the first bet a minute later.
The next member of the group to be sorted was Tracey. Blaise declared "Gryffindor," while Harry said "Slytherin." The betting was evened out a moment later, as Tracey was sent to the house of green and silver.
When Daphne came up to the stool, both Harry and Blaise said "Ravenclaw." They were not overly surprised when she ended up in Slytherin, though, and Harry laughed when she winked at him. He had the feeling she overheard them.
More names were called before, eventually, McGonagall got to Neville's name on the list. Harry said "Gryffindor," and Blaise said "Hufflepuff." Harry was disappointed when Blaise regained his one galleon lead. With both Pansy and Draco almost certain to go into Slytherin, Harry knew he would have to guess his own house correctly if he wanted to break even.
Sure enough, Draco was sent to the house of Salazar, and was joined shortly by Pansy. Harry waited for the Patil twins, and a Sally-Anne Perks to be sorted, before his name was finally called. Harry said "Gryffindor," while Blaise smirked at him and said "Slytherin."
Harry approached the stool, and put it on his head, ignoring the whispers that broke out when his name was announced.
"Greetings, Mr. Potter," came a voice inside Harry's head, which Harry immediately assumed to be the sorting hat. "Where should I put you? I see you could probably go in any of the houses, though the first one I will rule out is Hufflepuff. Loyalty, while present in you, is not your defining trait. The same applies to Ravenclaw, I believe. You have intelligence; however that house is not the most suited to you. That narrows down the choices to either Gryffindor or Slytherin. I can see that you do have bravery, as well as cunning. You are as chivalrous as you are ambitious and politically savvy."
"In that case, I'd rather not be in Slytherin," thought Harry, thinking about his bet.
This was apparently the wrong thing to do, as the hat laughed in his head, and said "Thank you, Mr. Potter, for making my decision easier. Such thoughts are why you would do best in Slytherin!" said the hat, announcing the last word to the hall. The announcement left several people stunned, not the least of which was Harry. He certainly hadn't expected that to happen. Blaise caught his eye, and winked, mouthing "Slytherin," and pointing at himself, to which Harry could only nod dumbly.
Slowly, everyone who was expecting him to go to Gryffindor regained their senses, and the Slytherin table clapped politely. Harry slipped the hat back on the stool, and went to go join his friends already at the Slytherin table. Harry conversed quietly with Daphne on his left as the sorting approached its conclusion. Harry noted that the boy who said his brothers had said they would have to wrestle a troll was Ron Weasley, which made sense to Harry, who knew the reputation of his older twin brothers to be pranksters. That still didn't excuse the fact that he actually believed them. Harry decided that he would most definitely not pursue any political alliances with the Weasley family. Even though Harry knew that Ron was nowhere near the top of the line of succession to the head of house position, the house itself wasn't highly influential, and Harry didn't want to run the risk that the heir might be as special as Ron himself.
Eventually, the sorting did come to an end, with Blaise being the last one sorted, ending up in Slytherin as he had predicted. The Headmaster, who Harry knew to still be on probation due to an incident involving him as a child after his parents had died, greeted everyone and told them to dig in. As he said this, a large variety of foods appeared on the table in front of Harry. He grabbed the nearest plate, which had slices of turkey on it, and helped himself to a few pieces before passing the dish around. Blaise, sitting on Harry's right, grabbed it, and said, "Now about those two galleons…"
Harry only groaned and rolled his eyes at his friend. This year was already shaping up to be interesting, and they hadn't even been there for 3 hours.
A/N: Sorry this update is so late, but life got in the way. Make-up work on top of my regularly assigned school work sucks. On a similar note, I probably won't update again until Christmas break. That starts on the 20th, I believe, so look for an update around the 21st or 22nd.