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“Good lord above.” Minerva muttered at the staff table as they watched as Ron, Harry, Hermione, Neville, Luna and Ginny entered the hall. They were the first ones in and they could see why Ron was so eager to get sat down. “What happened to his robes?” “Perhaps he shrunk them with his powers of stupidity.” Severus suggested and a slight smile touched the faces of Filius, Remus and Minerva. “They look more like Harry’s than his own.” Remus said and wondered whether or not Ron had just vanished his robes altogether and had been forced to borrow someone else’s. “I can find out what happened if you would just…” Severus started. “You’re not using Legilimency on him.” Filius told him and Severus scowled slightly but said nothing; he wasn’t going to start an argument with Filius, not after he had seen how formidable he was in a duel. “Don’t you have somewhere to be, Minerva?” Remus asked her mildly and she leapt to her feet a second later. “The first years!” She cried as she almost ran through a door and into a small room beyond where the first years had already been taken. “Wonder what that was about?” Ron asked as they watched Professor McGonagall run out of the room and into a smaller chamber beyond. “Probably forgot the first years.” Harry smiled slightly and Hermione scowled at him disapprovingly. “Professor McGonagall would not just forget the first years.” Hermione said coolly and Harry and Ron just grinned, both pretty certain that she had just forgotten them. “I can’t wait to start NEWT classes.” Neville said to Ginny to the surprise of Harry, Ron and Hermione who presumed that he was dreading the extra work and advanced classes. “What did you take, Neville?” Harry asked him as they watched the hall filling up with students, now more than half of the room was taken. “Charms, defence against the dark arts, transfiguration and herbology.” He replied, “What did you three take?” Hermione replied for herself and for Harry, seeing as they were taking the same subjects and Ron scowled slightly as he revealed that he hadn’t attained a high enough grade in potions to take the same and was instead taking care of magical creatures. “Well if you’d tried harder last year then I’m sure you could have managed an O.” Hermione said to him, “Harry managed.” Ron glowered at her but didn’t comment as Dumbledore rose from his seat at the staff table and the sorting began. Harry watched with little interest as the eleven year olds were sorted into one of the four houses. Instead he glanced up at the staff table to see Remus’ eyes glancing around the room at the students, wondering whether or not they would have him chased out of the school in under a week. His eyes met Harry’s for a brief moment and they both smiled before he looked back to the sorting in an attempt to remember where at least some of the first year students would be housed. Harry looked further along the staff: Professor McGonagall was standing at the head of the shortening line of first years, trying not to look as bored as she probably felt. Dumbledore was smiling as always and observing the new students being sorted, his eyes never wavering from them to show any signs of boredom. Filius had charmed either himself or his chair so that he hovered almost a foot higher than he would otherwise have done and he now sat at the same height as Remus on his left hand side. His eyes flickered over Remus again who was making an effort not to look bored and was coming close to failing. Snape had no pretence about him as he rested his chin on his hand and looked thoroughly uninterested in that which was going on about him. It also could have been attributed to the fact that Professor Trelawney had made a rare appearance and was sat on the right of him, occasionally trying to spark up conversation with him about the meaning of life and other such things. “The meaning of my life is to poison those who greatly irritate me.” He scowled darkly before fixing his eyes on the next first year to sit in on the stool with the sorting hat falling over their eyes. “Why does the sorting always take so long?” Ron groaned and let his head drop onto the table infront of him, causing everyone close by him to turn round and look at him upon hearing the thud. Ron went rather more red than he had been before and Dean and Seamus were hiding their laughter opposite him. They all glanced up to the sorting to see McGonagall looking disapprovingly at them whilst Melanie Richardson was sorted into Ravenclaw. Eventually the sorting had finished and Gryffindor had eight more students in their house. Harry glanced around the table, looking for any potential members of their Quidditch team, but no one leapt to mind, although he had heard that Seamus was a good flyer; his father had played for a minor team at one point and had apparently passed on the talent to his son. Dean wasn’t bad either but ‘not bad’ wasn’t going to cut it when they were desperate to beat the Slytherins. “To our new students: welcome to Hogwarts, I hope you find the next seven years interesting and productive and to our old hands: a very warm welcome back to you all.” Dumbledore smiled at them all as he spoke to the school. “There are a few notices to be read and a few reminders but now is not the time for that. Tuck in.” He finished and clapped his hands. There was a murmur of amazement from some of the new students and sighs of relief from others as the bowls, dishes and plates infront of them were filled with every kind of food that they could possibly wish to eat and much more besides. Harry was sure that a tough, rubbery looking dish somewhere near to him contained dragon – that was a dish he would not be eating from. “‘Oody bri’an’!” Ron grinned through a mouthful of food and Hermione looked suitably disgusted with her friend as he gorged himself on the food around him. “What did he say?” Neville asked him. “I think he said ‘bloody brilliant’.” Harry replied, “But you can never be sure.” Ron pulled a face at him upon hearing this comment and Hermione looked away, not wanting to ruin her appetite by Ron and the food that was almost oozing back out of his mouth which just wasn’t big enough to handle everything he wanted to eat all at once. Talk turned to what had happened to them all over the summer and Hermione listened to Lavender telling them how she had gone to Rome with her parents for two weeks whilst Parvati occasionally attempted to raise the subject of Viktor with her. Harry had known that it wouldn’t be long until they managed to change the conversation in that direction. “So I’ve been writing to him all summer and I promised him that I’d go see him over Christmas and spend time with his family.” She was saying to the two of them who listened intently to what she had to say; it wasn’t often that you met someone who was dating an internationally famous wizard. Lavender’s eyes strayed to Harry for a millisecond before going back to Hermione who was still chatting to Parvati. “Did you hear that?!” Ron said indignantly once his mouth was emptied. “What?” Harry asked as he ate some more of the lasagne on his plate. “Hermione’s going to stay with Vicky over Christmas, can you believe it?!” Ron said as loudly as he could without Hermione hearing him. “Yeah, I know she is.” Harry said, remembering a conversation with Hermione a while back about Ron’s most likely reaction when he found out about it. “What?!” Ron cried, causing a few people to turn round, Hermione included but she turned back and started talking about the contents of one of her latest letters. “How could you not tell me? She’s not going to be there on Christmas and she said that she would!” “No she didn’t.” Harry said, remembering Molly on the platform before they left for school. Everyone had agreed but Hermione, who had stayed quiet on the matter, knowing that she would be going elsewhere. She had told Molly about it before she had left Grimmauld Place though, that had started her off on one of the conversations about love potions and other such things between the two of them and Ginny. “She didn’t say anything.” Ron opened his mouth and Harry was certain that he was going to say something along the lines that he would tell his mother but Harry cut him off before the words managed to escape his lips, “She already told your mum and she doesn’t mind. She helped her write the letter that told him she’d accept and be visiting his house in fact.” Harry said and this only made Ron glower even more darkly, knowing that his own mother had assisted in removing Hermione from them at Christmas. Soon the feast was over, leaving everyone very full and rather sleepy as well. Harry glanced up to the staff table as Dumbledore rose from his seat to address the school. “A few notices and reminders.” Dumbledore said to them, smiling slightly at the four tables of bloated students, “A warm welcome back to Professor Lupin who has agreed to fill the position as the defence against the dark arts teacher.” Remus stood up and smiled slightly as the Gryffindors, Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs cheered loudly for him. The Slytherins made a point of sitting in silence and some of them even booed but it couldn’t be heard over the Gryffindor table. “And Mr Filch reminds everyone that there will be no magic in corridors on pain of death and that the Forbidden Forest is actually forbidden. Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of term and I believe that the Gryffindor team in particular is very low in members.” His eyes flickered towards Harry before glancing back around the hall, “And now that you are all fed and watered I bid you goodnight.” There was the sound of chairs scraping back from the table as many students all stood up at once and moved to leave the hall. Ginny and the other fifth year Gryffindor prefect lead the first years up through the castle to the portrait hole leaving Ron and Hermione free to walk up through the castle with Harry. “Hello Nick.” Harry said as he walked past the Gryffindor ghost in the hallway. “Good evening Harry!” Nearly-Headless Nick said and glided past him as he made his way down to the dungeons for a talk with the Bloody Baron. “It’s good to be back.” Hermione smiled as they walked along through the third floor and up onto the fourth. “Ron! Where are you going?” Harry glanced round to see that Ron was about to take a passageway which would have been all fine and good but it would have lead him back down to the second floor. “Anyone would think you didn’t even know where the common room is.” Harry laughed and Hermione grinned next to him as Ron quickly caught them back up and the three of them walked up onto the seventh floor, chatting idly about their coming days. Ron kept trying to change the subject of conversation to the upcoming Quidditch trials which he seemed eager to get going and Hermione kept wanting to talk about NEWT lessons. Harry stayed in the middle, talking about either but trying not to dwell on Quidditch too much for fear of boring Hermione and not talking about Potions if he could help it so as not to offend Ron. Soon their conversations were brought to an end as the three of them stood outside the portrait of the Fat Lady who was looking rather drunk. “Password?” She slurred and then hiccupped. “Locomotor Mortis.” Hermione said and the portrait swung open to allow them in. “How on earth are the first years going to remember that?” Harry asked. Ron shrugged and Hermione made a mental note to ask the Fat Lady to change it to something a little more first year friendly. “Night.” Hermione said and the word was echoed by Harry and Ron as they all made their way up to the dormitories for a good night’s sleep.
***
“See, it wasn’t so bad, was it?” Minerva said to Remus as he joined them in the staffroom. All the teachers had gathered together in the room for a little time in which they could sit and relax as they talked to their colleagues about their holidays and complain about the next day’s lessons. “I suppose not.” Remus replied, “Although some of the Slytherins were booing.” “Who cares what the Slytherins think?” Filius asked him and beside him Snape scowled but didn’t comment; he knew how cold his house could be. “I don’t want to be hated.” Remus said, his brows creasing as he drank a cup of tea. “You’re not hated.” Minerva said, “Or were you oblivious to the other three tables?” “Don’t let the Slytherins bother you, concentrate on just getting some information through their thick skulls.” Filius said. “I resent that.” Severus said and the other staff smiled. “You’re teaching the fourth year Slytherins and Ravenclaws first thing tomorrow so I suggest you stop caring what they think.” Minerva said to him and Remus nodded. “I suppose so.” He replied resignedly. He had read through his class lists of students in the fourth year and above to see which students he remembered and he was irritated to find that Malfoy had chosen to learn Defence Against the Dark Arts as one of his NEWTs which had mystified just about everyone. “I still don’t know why Malfoy took defence against the dark arts.” Snape said thoughtfully, trying to think of any reasons that he would have for taking the subject. “Maybe he misread and only saw Dark Arts.” Filius said. “Or maybe he wants to keep an eye on how good Harry is.” Minerva suggested. “He won’t find out easily.” Remus said, “He hides his intelligence well.” “Have you ever considered that perhaps he doesn’t possess any knowledge and that he is simply a moron who hides nothing?” Severus asked coolly receiving only frosty glares from his colleagues. “Do you intend on testing him for any talent in channelling magic without a wand, Remus?” Minerva asked him, ignoring Severus completely. “I’m not sure.” Remus said, “I know it would be useful if he had talent but it would be unfair for him to know he couldn’t learn it if he had no skill in the area.” He said and his companions looked thoughtful. “If you did test him and it turned out that he could use wandless magic then he would never leave you alone until he could do it well, you do know that, Lupin?” Severus said, “He’s ridiculously determined.” “I wouldn’t say ridiculously determined.” Minerva said as possibilities of Harry being able to channel his magic through himself without needing a wand flittered through her mind. “He’s already got a lot on his plate though.” Filius said, “Apparition lessons with Mad Eye, Animagus lessons with Minerva, NEWT classes…” “And that’s added to the fact that he’s determined to get good at duelling as well.” Remus said. “And he’s got to try and get the Gryffindor Quidditch team to exist. I cannot wait to see his team play – they’re going to be flattened in their first match.” Severus said and wondered who on earth he was likely to enlist into the team. In his mind Slytherin’s chances of winning the Quidditch cup this year were pretty high, although they too had a new captain. Draco Malfoy was an utter moron at times but with the fast brooms that Lucius would purchase for the team they had only to hope that he would pick a team capable of actually playing the sport. “Is it true that Malfoy bought the whole Slytherin team Firebolts this year?” Minerva asked Severus and his lip curled slightly at the corner. The Gryffindor team had two Firebolts which were seen as highly impressive but the Slytherins would have seven and that put them at a great advantage. “I cannot believe that. Why would Lucius bother?” Remus said, reading Snape’s expression correctly. “I neither know nor care, Lupin.” Severus said, “All that I know is that Slytherin is going to win the house cup and the Quidditch cup this year.” “Yeah right, if the Slytherins weren’t all such obnoxious little morons then perhaps you might have a chance with the house cup,” Filius said. “They think they own this school.” Minerva said coolly, “And I plan on making the penalties very severe for any Slytherins who dare to be contemptuous to any member of staff or to any student.” Her eyes flickered briefly to Remus before moving back to Snape who didn’t look particularly pleased by the fact that he now knew that most of the staff was going to be against his house that year. “Oh god… why can’t she just lock herself up in that damned tower?” Severus muttered as Sybil came wandering over to them away from Poppy Pomfrey, Sabina Sininstra and Heilia Hooch, all of whom looked thoroughly relieved to be rid of her. “Good evening to you all.” Sybil said to them and Severus, Filius, Remus and Minerva put in the effort not to look as if they loathed her. “Evening Sybil.” Minerva said coldly. Sybil took this as an invitation to join them and started yammering on about the best ways in which to teach students Divination – a subject which had the other four bored within a matter of seconds. “Well, as riveting as this conversation is…” Filius said, “I really should be getting to bed now, early morning tomorrow.” He said and nodded to the other three as he quickly escaped from Sybil. “Yes, I really need my rest.” Remus said, following Filius’ example, “Good night.” “I have corridors to patrol – make sure students aren’t out of bed, that kind of thing.” Minerva said before adding pointedly, “Good night, Severus.” And a moment later she had hurried out of the room leaving Severus stuck with Sybil. He would have attempted to go join Heilia, Poppy and Sabina but he knew that they weren’t in the best of spirits with him after he had been rather rude to Poppy earlier on. Instead he settled for leaving the room and getting an early night, making a mental note to run in the other direction when he saw her coming in future. “I have potions to concoct.” He said to Sybil and rose from his seat. “It’s not good to be down in those dungeons alone so much, I shall assist you.” Sybil said to him and moved as if to follow him. Snape span round and pointed his wand at her face. “Not with a wand lodged in your eye you won’t.” He growled threateningly before marching out of the room, leaving Sybil stood rather stunned in the middle of the room, surrounded by empty chairs. A/N: I updated, as promised and I was going to update twice since it's my birthday but unfortunately my chapters are beginning to catch up me and I'm only a couple of chapters infront what I post on here now so you're going to have to wait until the weekend for another chapter. Sorry! Anyway, I hope you're liking it so far. More past coming soon, as well as a new quidditch team, possibly wandless magic, animagi lessons with a twist in there somewhere, apparition lessons, duelling, a few staff points of views (just because I can put them in there and I like writing about the staff) and more Remus and Harry. As well as that there's Hogsmeade trips and eventually Christmas. I'll be interested to see if I can get this fic finished before fifty chapters but I really doubt it. Anyway, thanks for reading and I'll try to update on Saturday morning if not before :o) Cheerio!

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