Chapter 2 : The Sorting
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The students followed Professor Patil into a large dining room. The ceiling looked just like the night sky outside. “It's enchanted to look like the sky,” Rose whispered to Albus. The older students at all four of the tables were whispering to each other and pointing wildly at Albus. Once the first years reached the head table, Professor Patil turned around. The older students were still whispering, and they seemed to be doing so more loudly by the minute. Albus looked out at them and then inched his way to the back of the group so no one could see him. Sometimes, he hated how much he looked like his father.
“Quiet, please,” Professor Patil announced, and the students immediately stopped talking. An old, patched hat sat on a stool and all of a sudden it broke out in song. A few of the first years were quite shocked at this and jumped back. Once it stopped, Professor Patil started talking again. “When I call your name, you will come forward and try on the Sorting Hat.”
“Asterley, Elaine.” A short, blond haired girl ran forward and tried on the hat. “Hufflepuff!” the hat shouted.
“Brickston, John.” John ran up and jammed the hat on his head. It was only there for a second when it shouted out, “Gryffindor!” John let out a loud whoop and ran for the Gryffindor table, where he was patted on the back by a few older Gryffindors.
“Creevey, Janie.” She was also made a Gryffindor.
“Eckerton, Matthew.” The headmaster suddenly sat up straight in his seat and stared as Matt tried on the hat and was made a Gryffindor. The headmaster relaxed again. 'That was strange,' Albus thought. Matt walked calmly over to the Gryffindor table and sat next to John.
"Eubert, Carter." Albus recognized the other boy from their boat as he walked up to the Sorting Hat. He put it on and a few seconds later it shouted out, "Ravenclaw!"
A few more students were sorted and then Professor Patil called “Malfoy, Scorpius.” Albus watched as a blond haired boy with a smug look on his face was made a Slytherin before the hat even touched his head.
“Potter, Albus.” A whisper went through the crowd. The headmaster had sat up straight again. Albus froze. He couldn't do this. What if he was made Slytherin in front of all these people? All these people who expected him to be in Gryffindor? “Albus Potter?” Professor Patil said again. Someone pushed Albus forward. He walked up to the stool and put on the hat.
“Ah, yes, another Potter. I see it all here. The bravery, yes, yes, it's all here,” the hat told Albus.
“Not Slytherin,” Albus thought, “Anything but Slytherin.”
“Oh, oh, this sounds familiar,” said the hat, “Yes, indeed, just like your father. And just like your father, Slytherin would help you achieve greatness, but if you insist, Gyffindor!”
Albus breathed a sigh of relief as he jumped off the stool and ran to sit across from John and Matt at the Gryffindor table. Albus didn't even pay attention to the next few sortings. He was just so happy to be in Gryffindor.
Albus next looked up when Professor Patil called out “Tagger, Amanda.” Albus watched as Amanda cautiously put on the hat. “Gryffindor!” it shouted. Amanda ran to sit down across from John, with a smile on her face. Only one student was left to be sorted.
“Weasley, Rose.” Rose was made a Gryffindor before the hat had even touched her head. 'Just like how James was sorted,' Albus thought. It never hesitated for them. But it had for him. Albus stared glumly at his golden plate.
The headmaster rose from his chair. “Welcome back to Hogwarts to all returning students and welcome to those who are new. For those of you who don't know, I'm Professor Kendrick, headmaster of Hogwarts. Now, I know the older students have noticed we are short one staff member,” the headmaster gestured to the empty chair beside him. “But I shall inform you about that later. Right now it is time to eat.” And the golden plates filled with food.
Albus stared in amazement as the food appeared in front of him. He started piling his plate with as much as would fit. John was using not only his plate, but an empty one that he found as well.
“This is amazing!” John exclaimed. “I might actually get full here! I hope all the meals are like this.”
“Yeah, it all looks very good,” Albus said. Albus started eating his food and couldn't help but overhear a conversation between two older students.
“I wonder where Professor Torro is? It's not usual for a teacher to miss the start of term feast,” a brown haired girl asked the boy sitting next to her.
“Yeah, quite strange, really. I hope he's all right. Maybe he's ill or something?” the boy responded.
“What does he teach?” John said, interrupting the two older students.
“Defense Against the Dark Arts,” the girl told him. The two older students continued their conversation, but in lower voices so John couldn't overhear him.
After the students had eaten their fill of dinner, the golden plates became clean for a moment, and then dessert appeared. Albus immediately helped himself to his favorite, treacle tart. While he was eating, he heard a scream coming from his left. A ghostly head had appeared right out of Amanda's plate.
“Oh, so sorry to have scared you!” the ghost said as he glided out of Amanda's plate. “I'm Sir Nicholas.”
“You're Nearly Headless Nick!” John shouted. “Great to meet you. Can I see you pull off your head?”
Amanda looked like she might faint, but Nick grudgingly pulled on his ear and his head came partially off.
“Wow! That's bloody brilliant!” John exclaimed. “Did you see that, Albus?”
“Yeah,” Albus responded. He didn't think it was as neat as John did, and was beginning to wish he hadn't eaten nearly as much treacle tart.
The headmaster got to his feet again as the golden plates became clean once more. “Is everyone satisfied? Good. Now, I have a few start of term notices. The village of Hogsmeade is out of bounds for first and second years, as well as the Forbidden Forest to everyone. As always, stay away from the Whomping Willow. Mr. Filch has added a few new items to the list of forbidden things and if you wish to inspect the list, it is pinned to Mr. Filch's door.
“Now, as many of you have noticed, Professor Torro is not with us tonight. I regret to inform you that he has been discovered dead only a few hours ago,” Professor Kendrick stated with a sad expression on his face. There was a sharp intake of breath from the students. “Cause of death has not been determined. Until I can find a suitable replacement, Defense Against the Dark Arts classes will not take place. Now, it is time to go to your dormitories. Classes begin tomorrow and you will need to be well rested. First years, please follow a prefect to your common rooms.”
Albus got up and looked for his cousin, Georgia, for she was one of the Gryffindor prefects. Albus found her, and he, John, Matt, Rose, and Amanda all followed her up to the common room. As they walked through the castle, there was a whole lot of whispering about Professor Torro.
“He wasn't even that old,” one student said.
“Yeah, and wasn't DADA the subject that was jinxed years back?” another responded.
Albus and the others arrived at the portrait of the Fat Lady. Georgia told her the password, Cornish Pixie, and everyone walked inside.
“Boys to the right, girls to the left. I hope everyone has a good night,” Georgia told the first years.
Albus walked up the spiral staircase to his dormitory with Matt, John, and two other boys Albus had not met yet. Albus thought their names were Bilius and Ethan. Albus was rather quiet while he got into bed. All the other boys were laughing and talking. But Albus couldn't shake that he was considered for Slytherin. He was also a bit nervous about the fact that a professor had died. That didn't happen often, did it? Albus was still thinking about these things as he drifted off to sleep.
When Harry, Ginny, and Lily walked back into their house after taking James and Albus to Platform 9 3/4, Harry noticed an owl waiting on the windowsill. He walked over to it and opened the letter.
I would appreciate it if you would come to Hogwarts later tonight, around 9pm.
I have something to ask you, and would prefer to do it in person, rather than by letter.
Please return this owl with your answer, thank you.
'That's strange,' thought Harry. Surely one of his boys couldn't be in trouble already? “Ginny, I'm going to have to go to Hogwarts tonight. Fabius has requested that I meet with him. He hasn't told me why,” Harry told his wife.
“Okay, just let me know before you leave. That is strange, though. Why wouldn't he have met with you before term started? I hope James and Albus aren't in trouble.”
Later that night, Harry Apparated into Hogsmeade. It was a chilly night, but there was not a cloud in the sky. The stars and moon shone brightly. Harry thought the students must be in their common rooms by now, judging from the time. 'That's good, Albus and James have no idea I'm here', thought Harry. He walked along the path and soon found himself walking through the big oak doors into the Great Hall. Kendrick was waiting for him there.
“Good evening, Harry,” Fabius greeted.
“How are you? What's this about? Are James and Albus okay?” Harry asked anxiously.
“Oh, don't worry, they're fine. But I would prefer if we discuss what we need to discuss in my office,” Fabius responded. Harry followed Fabius up to the stone gargoyle. It leaped aside as Fabius murmured, “Woolen coat.”
Harry walked into the familiar circular office. He saw all the various possessions that Dumbledore had left to the school. He also noticed the sleeping portraits of previous headmasters. Only one was awake, the one of Albus Dumbledore. Harry smiled as he saw him.
“Please, sit down,” Professor Kendrick said as he gestured to a chair in front of his desk. Harry sat. “I have some bad news. Professor Torro was found dead in his house this morning.”
“What?! How did he die? He wasn't very old,” Harry exclaimed. Professor Torro had been teaching DADA since Hogwarts reopened after the battle.
“I know, shocking, and very, very sad. His cause of death was Avada Kedarva, but I didn't tell the students this. It does worry me. It is quite suspicious. Especially since DADA was the subject that Voldemort jinxed.”
“But he's gone! I saw him die, I was there!” Harry shouted. “This can't be the work of him, can it?” Harry knew there would be an investigation awaiting him when he returned to work the next day. He had taken the day off to see James and Albus onto the Hogwarts Express, and hadn't heard a thing about Professor Torro's death until just now.
“Of course not. But there are still Death Eaters out there. I have reason to believe that one of them killed Torro and the Minister agrees with me. But onto the reason I have summoned you here.
“We are, of course, in need of a new DADA teacher, and I was wondering if you would like the job. I think it would be a good idea to have an Auror here after recent events and you are the ideal candidate,” Kendrick told Harry.
“Me? A teacher? Well, I can't say I've never thought about it. It would be nice to be back at Hogwarts. But what about Ginny and Lily? I can't leave them.”
“Of course. And feel free to leave every weekend to spend time with them. Neville Longbottom does the same thing to visit Hannah,” Kendrick explained.
“I guess I could do it, but only if Ginny is okay with it. I tell you what, I'll Apparate home tonight and ask her. You'll have your answer in the morning, okay?” Harry asked.
“That's fine. I'll see you in the morning, then. Good night.”
“'Night,” Harry said as he walked out of the office.
As Harry left the castle, he pondered the death of Torro. Harry had only met Torro a few times, and he was not particularly close to him, but his death still troubled Harry. Was this another random Death Eater attack? There had been a few of them throughout the years after the battle. But why was Torro killed? He didn't even live in Britain during the time of Voldemort, he lived in France then. Why were the Death Eaters going after Hogwarts teachers? Harry had a nagging feeling that this wasn't like the other deaths, this had significance. Surely, Voldemort couldn't return? He was dead. There were no more Horcruxes. Harry kept telling himself this, but he still felt very uneasy about it. The headmaster and the Minister felt the same way. Why else would they want an Auror at Hogwarts? Of course, Harry was the one who defeated Voldemort, so who else knew more about DADA?
Harry found himself back in Hogsmeade and he Disapparated. He appeared a moment later in his backyard and he walked into the house. It was time to tell Ginny what had happened. Luckily, Lily would be in bed.
Early the next morning, Harry Apparated into Hogsmeade once again. This time he had his old Hogwarts trunk with him, along with a large, black owl named Harvey. This is familiar, he thought. Harry wheeled his trunk over to Hogsmeade station, where he would wait for a carriage to take him to the castle. Ginny had said yes right away. She felt that Harry's presence in the school would protect her sons. Ginny was also quite worried about the death of Torro.
The carriage arrived and Harry loaded his trunk into it. 'This sure is strange,' he thought. Back at Hogwarts, once again. It kind of felt good, comforting in a way. Hogwarts had always felt like home to Harry. But he still couldn't shake the uneasy feeling he had about Torro's death. The carriage gave a lurch, and the thestrals pulled Harry up to the school.
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