A/N: So… I'm still alive-I think… Uh, Happy New Year! This is my first chapter of 2014. I'm going to put my excuses at the bottom… On with the story!

Thank you to everyone who reviewed, favorited, or followed this story.

Disclaimer: See earlier chapters.

Chapter 3

Following the feast, the Headmaster rose from his seat, and made a few announcements.

"The forest located on the western border of the grounds is considered forbidden to all students, unless they are accompanied by a teacher. A reminder to all third years, and any years above that who did not have their Hogsmeade slips signed and turned in previously, those slips are due to Professor McGonagall by next Friday if you wish to go to Hogsmeade for the first Hogsmeade weekend, which is next Saturday. What else? Oh yes, anyone who is interested in trying out for their House Quidditch team must get the approval of their captain and contact Madam Hooch as soon as possible. Also, Mr. Filch has extended his list of forbidden items. The full list can be viewed outside of his office on the main floor.

"Now that those announcements are out of the way, I would like to introduce our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Charles Thompson. Professor Thompson is a retired Auror, who graciously agreed to teach you for this coming year. Please give him a round of applause." After the applause died down, Dumbledore continued.

"And now, before we send you off to bed, it is time for our school song!" It didn't take a genius to figure out that almost everyone in the school, except perhaps the Headmaster himself, could have done without the song. The incoming first years were clued into why once the song started, the words being projected into the air by the headmaster. Harry noticed that most of the Slytherins stayed quiet during the whole thing. Once the last students had finished singing, which happened to be the Weasley twins, if Harry wasn't mistaken, Dumbledore sent the students to their dorms for the night.

Harry and the rest of the Slytherin first years rose, and fell into a line in front of a prefect who introduced himself as Miles Bletchley, the keeper for the Quidditch team, and fifth year male prefect. Once the group waited for the Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs to leave the hall, Bletchley led the first years to the dungeons, home of the Slytherin dorms.

Upon arriving at a picture of a snake located higher than normal on the wall, Bletchley informed them of the current password, and how to obtain the new password when it was changed every other week. Whispering the password at the stretch of wall, a door appeared, which Bletchley opened, and allowed the first years through. As said first years looked around at the room they had just entered, Bletchley, along with the rest of the prefects, told the first years to line up, shoulder to shoulder, and gave them a brief speech on the importance of house unity, and to ignore anyone who tried to get under their skin for being in a "dark" house. When they were done, a previously unnoticed figure stepped in front of the first years. Horace Slughorn was well-known to favor students that had the potential to be influential members in society, either through talent or affiliation of famous people. The students he favored were often invited to parties hosted by himself throughout the year, and were collectively known as the "Slug Club." It was perhaps the ambition to reap the benefits of being associated with people that would later go on to make names for themselves in the world that made him the perfect Slytherin. He had been on the staff longer than anyone except for Dumbledore himself, and had allegedly turned down the offer of becoming the Deputy Headmaster due to the fact that he knew his parties would be heavily looked down upon had he continued them upon acquiring that position. Other rumors suggested that he had a heavily strained relationship with the Headmaster; something about nearly being forced to resign to make room for a Death Eater that Dumbledore attempted to vouch for following the war that ended 10 years previously.

Slughorn looked over each of the first years, likely trying to gauge if they would be worthwhile additions to his "Slug Club." Harry knew his mother was a member, and he expected he would be invited for the sole reason of being "The-Boy-Who-Lived," if his being the heir to a sizeable Potter fortune and being the child of a former Slug Club member wouldn't otherwise earn him admission. Slughorn's speech, however, was mostly just a follow up on what the Prefects had said, adding that his door was always open to students in need of help, and that the Prefects, particularly the Sixth Years, would almost always be available if he wasn't. He told them where they could find their dorms, and wished them a good night. Harry, feeling drained, bid his friends a goodnight, before heading to his dorm. Finding that he would be bunking with Blaise, Harry let out a sigh of relief. He didn't know if he could stand seven years of Crabbe, Goyle, or, Merlin forbid, Nott, as his dorm mate. Harry laughed when he realized Draco would ultimately be stuck with one of them.

Entering the room, Harry saw his trunk in front of the bed closer to the far wall. The room looked very much like an extension of the common room, done in green, silver, and a little black. Strangely, it felt comforting, not dark and unwelcoming like one might expect. Preparing for bed, Harry laid down, and drifted off to sleep in a matter of minutes.

The following morning, Harry awoke to find Blaise already getting ready for the day. Harry had already learned that Blaise tended to be late to bed, early to rise. Stretching, Harry got out of bed, and headed for the bathroom. Once he finished there, he and Blaise headed for the common room, where they found most of their friends already up. Draco was the only one who wasn't present. Exchanging greetings, the group waited for their remaining friend, who showed up a few minutes later, grumbling about being paired up with Nott in the sleeping arrangements.

The group made their way to the Great Hall, which wasn't too hard to find, as it was immediately on their right once they came up from the dungeons. The group sat about halfway down the Slytherin table. Harry sat at the end of the group, with Tracey on his left, and Draco sitting across from him. A group of third years sat to his right. Waving to their friends in Hufflepuff, the group made small talk until Slughorn came around with their schedules. Looking down at his schedule, Harry noted that they had several classes with Gryffindor, including several of the more volatile classes that had a lot of opportunities to go wrong, particularly Charms and Potions. Harry was glad to see that Monday mornings were open slots for Slytherin first years, as he hated Monday mornings. Harry noted with some disappointment that only History of Magic was with the Hufflepuffs, meaning that their time with their other friends during classes would be quite limited.

As it happened, September 2, 1991, fell on a Monday, so the group decided to do a little exploring of the castle, as their first class, Defense Against the Dark Arts, would not take place until after lunch. After an exploration that didn't yield anything particularly useful in terms of navigating the castle, the group returned to the Great Hall for lunch.

Once everyone had finished, the group headed back down towards the Slytherin common room, where they had been told, a Prefect would escort them to DADA. Grabbing the necessary materials, they waited for their remaining year mates to show up before the sixth year Prefect, Lucian Peregrine, led them all to the classroom.

Professor Thompson's classroom was clearly more for function than decoration. With the walls being sparsely decorated with posters dealing with various aspects of defense, from Ministry classified "Dark Creatures" to Ministry classified "Dark Spells." The Professor himself was a short, balding man that screamed dangerous. The physical proof of this was the several scars from his time as an auror, though not nearly as many as the famous Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody, reputed for his reckless style of pursuit of dark witches and wizards, without regard for his own body.

Thompson waited for the late bell to ring before beginning his welcome speech.

"Welcome to Defense Against the Dark Arts. My job is to keep you kids safe. First, though, I would like to lay down a few ground rules for my class. Rule number one is no talking," he said with a pointed glance at a particularly chatty Ravenclaw, who Harry thought was Boot. "Yes, no talking when I am talking. Am I clear?" When the class mumbled a few 'yes's, Professor Thompson wasn't happy. "I will only respect you if you respect me. Let's try 'yes, sir,' from now on. Class?" Getting the response he wanted, the professor continued, "Rule number two, be on time. You've been here once; you have no excuse for being late from lunch. Rule number three…"

As the professor continued listing his rules, it was clear he had a military-type background, and was a man that commanded respect. Harry found himself appreciating the man's forward style, and was looking forward to lesson's in the future. After giving an overview of what the class would be covering for the year, he assigned an essay on the information that he had just given for the first homework assignment of the year before the bell rang.

Outside the classroom, Draco started complaining about how strict the professor was. "It's going to be a nightmare. Honestly, did Dumbledore expect him to be able to get along with a bunch of eleven year-olds?"

"It's not that bad, Draco. At least we know we'll be learning from someone who's clearly qualified to teach the position," said Daphne, springing to Professor Thompson's defense.

"Yeah, I think it will be a great class," said Harry.

They didn't have to wait long for Peregrine to show up to take them to transfiguration. With McGonagall's reputation of being just as strict as Thompson seemed to be, every first-year Slytherin wanted to be on time.

A/N: So, it's excuse time. Well, my entire family got sick before Christmas. Then, we had people over for New Year's. Then I had to go back to school. Then I prepared for baseball tryouts for my high school team (I didn't make it .) Then I had to cope with the heartbreak of not making it, so now I get this finished. Or something…

It's Olympics time, which is always exciting. A big shout-out to Team U.S.A.; it's time to get a move on. It's been rather disappointing the first few days of competition in terms of the medal count. Although, to be fair, a lot of the events so far are the ones the U.S. stink at. But Bode Miller, that was just so disappointing. Seventh in the men's downhill!? That wasn't even the best American time! Good luck to which ever country each of you support. Except Russia . Aw, never mind. Good luck to Russia as well, geopolitical differences aside. Does anyone else think figure skating is the most boring Winter Olympic sport ever? I would place it second overall, to only equestrian of the Summer Olympics.

Enough ranting about the Olympics.