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What Happened Next: Shadows Looming by Janus
Chapter 1 : The Start of the Journey
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 6

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 IMPORTANT- This story is a sequel to ‘What Happened Next: The Rest of their Lives’, which links this story to the end of Deathly Hallows.

While many events that occur in that story will be mentioned in passing it is mostly canon. However the events of chapter 32 in particular will be key and this story may not make complete sense if you haven’t read that.

a/n: Here we go, back to Hogwarts- just two brief notes
• Remember in my story James is three years older than Albus, even though in the epilogue he seems a little immature for a 14 year-old (call it artistic licence)
• I’m changing back to third person compared to the end of the previous story, but am open to feedback as to which you prefer.

Hope you enjoy! Reviews are much appreciated.


Chapter 1: The Start of the Journey

Disclaimer: I own nothing except my ideas



1st September 2014

James Sirius Potter had inherited his namesake’s hazel eyes, thin build and the messy black hair that his father also shared, while his character and personality were, despite his mother’s best efforts, a lot like that of the second ‘marauder’ for whom he had been named- occasionally a little immature and bad-tempered in addition to his mischievous nature. He was also however, intelligent and kind, particularly towards his little sister Lily, with whom he got along excellently. In contrast he regularly feuded with his brother Albus, though it was usual over something trivial and they were always able to resolve their differences quickly enough, back to their usual state of friendliness.

James sat alongside Albus, Lily and Teddy Lupin in the back of his parents’ magically enlarged car. James was probably the most excited he’d ever been, because this was no ordinary drive- they were going to King’s Cross Station. That could only mean one thing- the day had finally arrived for James to start Hogwarts. He had been waiting years for this day to arrive but it had been particularly unbearable since his trip to Diagon Alley a few weeks ago to buy his school robes and books, his owl and most importantly, his wand.

He looked across at his siblings, supposing that he’d probably feel sorry for them having to wait so long until they started if not for the fact he was too excited for such thoughts right now. Besides, it wasn’t like he’d not had to deal with the same thing; having to listen to Teddy’s stories about how brilliant Hogwarts was while waiting another five whole years before he started himself.

“Are we almost there mum?” he called to the front passenger seat.

“I don’t know,” Ginny said, “Harry?”

“Yeah just a couple more minutes,” James’s father called from the driver’s seat.

“Brilliant,” said James, craning his neck to look for a sign they were nearby. A couple of minutes later however Harry had pulled the car over, and they went to retrieve James and Teddy’s trunks from the boot while Ginny took Albus and Lily by the hands.

“Hold my hands until we’re onto platform 9¾,” James heard her saying to them, “it’s really busy down there and I don’t want you getting lost.”

“We’ve got your trunk James,” said his dad, as he and Teddy hauled the two trunks out of the car, “you just get Ignotus.”

“Thanks dad,” James said, retrieving the cage containing his owl Ignotus out of the car and dashing off to follow his mum and siblings. A couple of minutes later they were on platform 9, watching a stop-start stream of people disappear through the barrier connecting them to platform 10, unnoticed by the surrounding muggles.

“Do you want me to go first James?” asked Harry, having caught up with the rest of the family after a detour to get a trolley to put the trunks on.

“No way!” exclaimed James, “I’m going first!”

“Take the trolley then,” said Harry. “See you in a minute.”

“Don’t hesitate!” called Ginny after her son, but James was already off, and disappeared through the barrier a second later, unable to stop himself flinching a little as the solid surface approached him, but certainly not hesitating.

James was still standing just the other side of the barrier when his parents, Albus and Lily followed him through, followed shortly by Teddy, pushing his own trolley.

“Come on,” said Ginny, “stop staring at the train, we need to got your trunk on board.” As they approached the Hogwarts express, gleaming magnificent scarlet, they saw a familiar face already lifting a trunk into the carriage.

“Uncle Bill!” called James, hurrying over to his mother’s oldest brother.

“Hey James,” said Bill, a grin on his scarred face, “You need a hand with that trunk?”

“Thanks,” said James, as Bill lifted the trunk onto the train, “Hi Victoire, Aunt Fleur,” he added, as his cousin and aunt emerged through a crowd of people, Victoire, having turned fourteen a couple of months ago, was now almost as tall as her mother and looking more like her than ever.

“Hi James,” said Victoire with a friendly smile, “looking forward to it?”

“Of course!” he said, “Isn’t everyone?”

“I dunno,” she said, “I was actually pretty nervous before my first day.”

“Well not me!” he asserted as everyone else exchanged greetings, Ginny giving her brother a brief hug while Fleur kissed everyone on the cheek in her customary fashion.

Teddy meanwhile came over to join James and Victoire, having lifted his trunk to join the others. “Hey Vic,” he said, “did you have a good time in France?”

“It was alright I suppose,” she said, brushing her long silvery-blonde hair out of her eyes as a strong breeze whistled along the platform. “The weather was lovely, but it was a bit boring at times not having anyone my own age to hang out with.”

“Ah well, you’ve got the opposite ahead of you then!” said a grinning Teddy, his own hair short and very light brown at the moment- as a metamorphmagus it was prone to changing with Teddy’s moods and whims.

“Yeah why couldn’t they have put Hogwarts somewhere warmer?” asked Victoire with a rueful smile, “Like the Caribbean, or at the very least the south of England.”

Before anyone could reply the train’s whistle sounded, signalling one minute before eleven, when it would leave.

“We’d better get aboard,” said Teddy, hopping agilely up the step onto the train as James and Victoire went to say goodbye to their parents.

“Have a brilliant time James,” said Ginny, giving her son a hug. “Don’t get into any trouble and remember to go and visit Hagrid.”

“I will,” he said, giving his dad a briefer hug before picking up Ignotus’s cage. “You sure you don’t want to lend me your cloak dad?” he asked as he backed off towards the train, continuing a topic of conversation that had been running in the Potter house for the past week.

“No!” said Harry firmly, though he was more amused than annoyed. “I can’t see why you’d need it,” he added, although in reality he knew exactly why James wanted it- for the exact reasons he’d found it so useful when he’d been at Hogwarts.

“You know,” said James with a malicious grin and a wink, “this and that. Bye, Al, Lily,” he called as he climbed onto the train. “I’ll write and tell you how awesome everything is, I’ll send one tomorrow to tell you I’m in Gryffindor! Bye Mum! Bye Dad! See you at Christmas!”

And suddenly the train was moving, Teddy and Victoire joining him at the window as they waved to their family for a few more moments before backing away.

“Hey James,” said Teddy, “there’s an empty compartment right here for you if you want it.”

“Cool,” said James, stepping in and putting down the cage holding Ignotus, “thanks Teddy.”

“I’m gonna go and find Brad,” said Teddy, “see you two later.”

“Bye,” they both called, before Victoire, standing at the doorway to James’s compartment, seemed to notice something. “Will you be okay on your own James? I’ll just be in that compartment there,” she pointed, “with the girls.”

“I’ll be fine Vic,” he insisted, “don’t worry if you check back and I’m not here, I might go for a wander if no one joins me soon, seeing as most people probably got compartments before us.”

“Okay,” she said, “well see you at the feast at the latest, bye.”

And James was alone in the compartment. This certainly wasn’t much fun, he decided quickly, he’d give it just a minute or two, then see if he could find some other first years to talk to. It turned out he only had to wait a few seconds as a voice coming from the corridor drew his attention.

“Alright Potter, mind if I join you?”

“No, come in,” he said to the girl who had addressed him. She had thick curly brown hair, a bit like his aunt Hermione’s only much shorter, round brown eyes and was smiling at him. For a second James was baffled by her addressing him by name, before he suddenly remembered who she was.

“You’re Oliver Wood’s daughter right?” he asked, trying to cover his initial confusion as she sat down opposite him. “We met at that Quidditch match?”

“That’s me,” she grinned, before adding sarcastically, “thanks for remembering me James, I’m honoured.”

“Well don’t be too honoured,” James said, “because I’m really sorry but I can’t remember your first name. It’s something weird isn’t it?”

“Thanks!” exclaimed the girl, “that’s really charming!”

“I didn’t mean weird, I meant it’s…unusual!” James hurriedly replied, trying to cover his mistake, “Isn’t it?”

“Chill out,” she said with a chuckle, “I was just messing with you, it is a pretty weird name I suppose.”

“Go on then,” prompted James when she didn’t continue.

“You get three guesses,” she smirked.

“Oh come on!” said James exasperatedly, “I really can’t remember, I’ve got an awful memory.”

“Okay,” she said, “I’ve got a deal for you- I’ll tell you my name if you buy me a pack of chocolate frogs when the trolley comes, y’know, to apologise for forgetting it.”

“Alright, deal,” sighed James, “half-amused and half-annoyed by the girl’s constant smug grin.

“In that case,” she said, “Octavia Wood, pleased to meet you.”

“Octavia!” that was it, said James, clicking his fingers. “Is that what I should call you, or is there like a short version or something?”

“Now that,” said Octavia, “is a good question. If you can find one then you’re welcome to it, I’m not convinced it can be shortened without making me sound like an octopus.”

James laughed at this. “I’ll have a think.”

“I’m guessing you’re just James,” she said.

“Yup,” he said, “no nicknames here. No Jimmy, no Jim, no Jimbo, no Jay, no Jamesy, no Jamie, no JP-”

“I get it!” Octavia interrupted, “no nicknames!”

“And you’d better remember it,” he said, “or I’ll call you Ocky, which is far worse than anything you could come up with for my name!”

“Fair point James,” she said, emphasising his name. “I do like my name, but it has its annoying moments…”

“So,” continued James, “are you going to be joining me in Gryffindor?”

“Are you really that confident?” Octavia asked, her expression questioning as her grin faded for the first time, “or are you just being smug?”

James shrugged, “I’m pretty confident, I can’t see myself being in any of the others really. How about you?”

“I really don’t know,” she said, “I’m not bothered really either.”

“Except for Slytherin right?” said James.

“I guess,” she said, “it’s not like it’s anywhere near as bad these days though.”

James made a snorting noise, “Well if I ever find a nice Slytherin I’ll let you know.” Octavia didn’t seem to have any response to that, looking out the window as they continued to zoom through the countryside, with no sign of improvement in the dreary weather. “So I’m guessing you’re a Quidditch player,” James said after a few minutes to break the silence, “what with both your parents being professionals.”

“Yeah kind of unavoidable,” she said, “not that I’m complaining, I love it. Do you play much?”

“A bit,” James replied, “I’m just average though.”

“So you’re not going to try out for your house team then?”

“Not this year!” exclaimed James, “Are you? There’s not been a first-year on a house team since my dad!”

Octavia blushed a little as she replied, “I’m not that good, I just thought I’d give it a shot, get some feedback. It might depend what house I’m in too.”

“See now you’ve denied it I’m just imagining you’re even better than I thought before,” said James. “I bet you get on the team.”

“I really don’t think I will,” said Octavia, still blushing. “It’s incredibly rare, even your dad was a seeker, which is the position best suited to being small.”

“What position are you then?”

“Keeper,” Octavia replied.

“Okay, fair play,” said James, “you might not get on. Even if someone’s not as good as you they might actually be better if they’re much taller and can reach more shots. I look forward to seeing you play though.”

“Thanks,” said Octavia with a genuine smile, as opposed to the amused grin she’d been wearing at the start of their conversation. “So,” she continued, “which subject are you most looking forward to? I think Charms for me, I was reading the textbook and some of the stuff we’ll be doing sounds really interesting.”

“You’ve actually read the textbooks?” asked James, his eyebrows shooting up his forehead. “I haven’t touched mine.”

“Well…just browsed through a few of them,” said Octavia hesitantly, not wanting to sound like a swot. “I was just excited to find out what we’ll be learning.”

“That makes sense,” said James with a shrug, “I guess it’ll just be a nice surprise for me! And to answer your original question I’m looking forward to Defence Against the Dark Arts most, but I guess Charms’ll be alright. The more we get to use our wands and the less we have to read and write the happier I’ll be.”

“Changing the subject,” said Octavia after a few seconds of silence, “your owl’s beautiful. What’s it called?”

“Ignotus,” said James, turning he look at his barn owl, now sleeping in his cage. “He’s named after an ancestor of mine. But I tend to just call him Iggy.”

“Well he’s gorgeous,” said Octavia.

“Haven’t you got your own owl?” queried James.

“Yeah, she’s delivering a letter to my Granddad at the moment. She’s a hawk owl, her name’s Lena.”

The two new first years continued to chat for a while, until the food trolley arrived. James brought Octavia a pack of chocolate frogs as promised, and they also delved into their reserves of coins to buy at least one of pretty much everything on offer.

“Hey!” exclaimed Octavia as she finished biting the head off her fourth frog and took out the enclosed card, “I’ve got your uncle.”

“So you have!” laughed James, leaning over to look. “My mum said that he described it as his finest hour, being put on the card I mean.”

“Ronald Bilius Weasley,” read Octavia aloud, “Famous for his schoolboy friendship with Harry Potter and the key role he played in helping with the defeat of Voldemort in 1998, Ronald is now an Auror and lives with his wife Hermione and children Rose and Hugo in Cambridgeshire. He was once described as having produced the ‘best played game of chess that Hogwarts has seen’ and says his greatest dream is to one day see the Chudley Cannons win the league.”

“Classic uncle Ron,” chuckled James, “he is seriously good at chess though. He doesn’t play against any of us much ‘cause we’re fed up of always getting crushed.”

“I don’t even know how to play,” admitted Octavia, “so you’d probably be able to beat me at least.”

“Well if we end up in the same house I’ll teach you,” said James, “everyone should know how to play chess. I’m not that good though, my brother Albus normally beats me too and so does my dad.”

They were interrupted by a sudden screaming from out in the corridor. Looking confusedly at each other and went to stick their heads out to see what was happening only to be forced back in as several people bundled into their compartment, one boy sliding the door shut behind him.

“What’s happening!?” asked James to no-one in particular.

The boy who had pulled the door shut answered. “Some prat’s let a snake loose!”

“A snake!” screeched Octavia, stepping back away from the door, her eyes wide.

“Don’t worry,” said James, “it can’t get it here with the door shut.”

“Who the hell brings a snake to school anyway?” asked one girl incredulously.

“Obviously a Slytherin,” replied another boy.

Before any else could say anything else a man hurried past their compartment. James pushed to the doorway to get a better look, and could see Victoire a couple a compartments down also staring out of through the glass.

“What’s happening?” asked the girl who had already spoken, “who was that?”

It was the boy who had spoken first who replied, “He must be a security guard or something, he’s not one of the teachers.”

“He’s got the snake,” said James, craning his neck to see along the corridor. A sigh of relief reverberated around the compartment and the door was eased back open.

“It’s safe to come out everyone,” called the security guard as he walked back towards the back of the train, his voice magically amplified. “Although it wasn’t that dangerous anyway, the snake isn’t poisonous. If the person who brought it on the train would like to own up and reclaim their snake I will be at the rear of the train.”

“Okay,” said Octavia to James as the compartment emptied again, “Maybe I would rather not be in Slytherin.”

James chuckled, “Told you! You alright?” he added in a kinder tone, “You’ve gone a little pale.”

“I’m fine,” she insisted, “Snakes are just a bit scary, aren’t they?” James just shrugged noncommittally. “Alright Mr. Tough,” Octavia said sourly, “what are you scared of?”

“Nothing,” said James abruptly. “I’m not trying to be tough,” he added adamantly as Octavia gave him a withering look, “I guess there probably is something, I guess I just haven’t come across it yet.”

“Well bully for you,” she said, though she half smiled as she looked away, out the window.

“I was thinking,” said James to break the silence after a few minutes, “what if you were the only boy or girl in your year sorted into a house? Would you get a dorm all to yourself?”

“That never happens,” said Octavia brusquely.

“But it could,” persisted James, “I mean it’s not like there’s a quota.”

Octavia sighed loudly. “So could a lot of things, but I don’t spend my time thinking about them.”

Any response James had never got a chance, as they were distracted by Victoire appearing at the door. “Hey James,” she said, “how’s it going?”

“Fine,” he said. “Octavia this is my cousin Victoire, Victoire this is Octavia Wood.”

“Nice to meet you,” said Victoire, “are you any relation to the Quidditch player Oliver Wood?”

“Yeah,” said Octavia indifferently, “he’s my dad.”

“Well if you’ve inherited any of his talent maybe I’ll see you on the Quidditch pitch some day.”

“Victoire was reserve chaser last year,” clarified James.

“Yep,” she confirmed, “and now Allie and Jake have left I should have a good shot at the team.”

“Well good luck,” said Octavia kindly.

“Thanks,” said Victoire. “Well I’ll leave you in peace, just wanted to check you were okay after that thing with the snake.”

“I’m eleven Vic,” said James in an annoyed voice, “not five.”

“You could have just said ‘I’m fine thanks’,” Victoire huffed, before storming off.

“That wasn’t very nice,” said Octavia after a few seconds, eyebrows raised disapprovingly.

“I’m just fed of every treating me like I’m a baby,” said James, “just ‘cause I’m starting school. I’ll apologise to her later. I promise!” he added as Octavia continued to look reproachfully at him.

“Are all your family in Gryffindor then?” she asked, seemingly a little mollified by his guarantee.

“Yeah,” he said, “and so’s Teddy. He’s my dad’s godson,” he explained, “but he comes round to our house so often he’s more like a brother to me. But yeah, all my family are Gryffindors, although of my many many cousins Victoire is the only on older than me so I’ll have to wait and see where those nine go, plus my younger brother and sister.”

“What’s it like having such a big family?” asked Octavia.

“Great,” said James. “A bit mental sometimes, but great fun most of the time. There’s never really much arguing thankfully. Why do you ask, is your family quite small?”

“Just me and my parents really,” she said, sounding slightly regretful. “No-one else I see even close to regularly.”

James didn’t really know what to say to that so they lapsed into silence again, talking on and off for the next few hours as the train continued to race up the country.

At about four o’clock, James suddenly got up from his seat. “Watch Iggy for me,” he said to Octavia, “I’m just going to the toilet.”

“Sure,” she said, and James headed out into the corridor. Heading to the toilet at the back of the train he passed a lone compartment in which he saw the security guard sitting. As he returned the way he had come moments later he saw three boys stood in the corridor, all fairly short, probably first or maybe second years James supposed.

“No!” he heard one boy, the tallest but skinniest of the three, say as he approached. “Why would I do that?”

“Because,” growled the shortest of the three, a dark-haired boy, “I want my snake back and I don’t fancy getting in trouble. Plus,” he added, gesturing to the third boy, who was very thickset, “Kevin here’s a lot stronger than you are, and if he can’t convince you then I can always curse you.” As he finished he pulled out his wand and aimed it at the taller boy.

He pulled out his wand in response and Kevin grabbed his wrist and slammed him against the wall.

“Leave him Kevin,” said the owner of the snake, “he’s muggle-born, there’s no way he could do anything to me.”

“Leave him alone,” said James as he reached the confrontation, his own wand drawn.

“Or what!?” said the dark-haired boy.

“Look,” said James calmingly, remembering his mother’s final words before he’d got on the train and realising he didn’t fancy his chances against both of them, “there’s no way he’ll give you back the snake anyway, they’re not allowed at Hogwarts. The best you can hope for is your parents being allowed to take it home or something, and that won’t work unless you own up yourself.”

The boy glared at James, but seemed to realise the truth of what he said, as he walked away, the boy called Kevin following him obediently. “You want to watch who you mess with,” he called back to James as he headed away.

“Thanks,” said the remaining boy. “I’m Ryan,” he said shaking James’s hand. Ryan was noticeably taller than James, with light brown hair and a thin, angular face.

“No worries,” said James. “I’m James. Are you a first-year too?”

“Yeah,” said Ryan.

“You alright yeah?” James asked, glancing down the corridor to see the two boys had gone into a compartment.

“Fine thanks,” said Ryan. “I’m glad you showed up then, I didn’t fancy getting cursed before I’ve even started. I don’t know why I pulled out my wand really, I don’t know any spells.”

“No worries,” James said. “I bet that guy doesn’t know anything that’d do you any serious harm anyway, he was probably bluffing… Well I’ll be getting back to my compartment,” he added, “do you want to join us?”

“Thanks,” said Ryan, “that’d be great. I’ve kind of been sitting on my own most of the journey.”

So they returned to the compartment, Octavia and Ryan introducing themselves, before the three conversed for the rest of journey. Octavia and James discussed Quidditch at length, having explained the rules to Ryan, while they also talked about what they were looking forward to about Hogwarts, and their families.

By the time it was getting dark, meaning Hogwarts had to be close, James was really enjoying Octavia and Ryan’s company. Both had a good sense of humour, both were fairly chatty. Octavia was a bit of a tomboy, absolutely loved her Quidditch, and wasn’t afraid of letting her opinion be known. Ryan was seemingly unfazed by having only weeks ago found out he was a wizard and, like James, seemed to have a bit of a mischievous streak, judging by some of his stories.

“We should get our robes on,” said Octavia abruptly, “we must be almost there.” They did so, and it turned out she was right, just four or five minutes later the train slowed down over a few minutes before sliding to a stop.

The disadvantage of being at the back of the train became clear as we headed onto the platform- a huge crowd of people quickly appeared in front of us as every student in the school got off the train. “Let’s just wait,” said Octavia, grabbing my arm as I started to head towards it. “They’ll all be out of the way in a minute.”

We could hear Hagrid’s voice yelling, “Firs’ years! This way!” even over the chattering of hundreds of students, and soon, thankfully, he came into view as the crowd thinned and we made our way along the platform.

“Hullo James!” Hagrid exclaimed as we reached him. “I was wonderin’ were yeh’d got to.”

“We were right at the back of the train,” I explained, “so we had a bit of a crowd to fight through.”

“Righ’ yeh are,” he said, “jus’ head down there an’ wait with the others. I’ll be with yeh all in a mo’.”

We headed in silence down the pathway away from the station to reach the edge of the Black Lake. Most of the other first years were equally silent, staring across the lake at Hogwarts Castle and James had to admit to himself that he understood why. Despite his earlier assurances to Victoire he was definitely a little nervous now, struck by how huge the castle looked even from this distance. Looking around at the other first years James noticed the two boys who had accosted Ryan earlier, and received a malevolent glare back from the boy who had lost his snake. Hagrid then arrived from behind them, causing more than a few of his fellow first-years, James noticed, to back away.

Hagrid however appeared not to realise the nervousness he was causing amongst some of the new students. “Righ’ I think that’s all of yeh, so if you’d like to get into the boats, no more than four in each one please! They’ll take yeh’ across the lake to Hogwarts.”

Ryan, Octavia and James were joined in a boat by a terrified-looking girl with long blonde hair pulled into a half-ponytail, who gasped loudly when Hagrid suddenly called out “Forward!” causing the boats to start their serene drift across the lake.

“Wow,” breathed Ryan, finally finding his voice, “that is seriously impressive.”

“Sure is,” James said, struck by not only the grandeur of the castle was but also by the thought of all it contained and all that had happened there. It was where his dad had competed in the Triwizard Tournament, it was where Albus Dumbledore had died, it was where Voldemort had met his end…

James was jolted out of his reverie as the boats pulled over. Everyone clambered out and followed Hagrid for a few moments, heading inside the castle for the first time. They waited in silence for a few seconds in the entrance hall before another face James recognised appeared, a dark-haired woman in her late forties with a friendly-looking face.

“Thanks Hagrid,” she said, “We’ll follow you in shortly.”

“Righ’ yeh are Professor Jones,” Hagrid said, before heading off towards the great hall.

“Hello everyone,” she said brightly, “I am Professor Jones, deputy headmistress here at Hogwarts, and also head of Gryffindor house. For those of you who don’t know, students at Hogwarts are sorted into one of four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. You will share your dormitory and common room with members of your own house, sit at your house table at meals, attend lessons together, and maybe compete for your house in Quidditch or other inter-house competitions. In addition as a member of one particular house you will be aiming to help that house win the House Cup each year- this is awarded to the house with the most points, points being awarded or deducted by teachers as a result of good or bad behaviour or academic achievements. Winning the house cup is a great honour, and hopefully you will all feel at home in your houses and want to do the best for yourselves and your fellow students. I will now lead you into the great hall for the sorting which will be explained once we are inside, so follow me.”

To James the walk, from the doors into the great hall along the length of the house tables to below the teachers’ table where they came to a halt, seemed to take an eternity. Everyone was entranced by the starlit ceiling of the hall, posing as the sky. Even for the pure-bloods who already knew about it, it was certainly a stunning sight. Glancing around the hall he saw Hagrid sat at the teachers table, though he was pretty difficult to miss, as well as Victoire and Teddy near each other on the Gryffindor table. Neville, who James realised he was going to have to remember to call Professor Longbottom, was also at the teachers’ table, hidden a little by Hagrid’s shadow, as was the headmaster Professor O’Halloran, who James recognised from his chocolate frog card, an old but sprightly-looking man with shoulder length frizzy white hair.

“Welcome!” said Professor O’Halloran, once the first-years had come to a halt. James was surprised as he realised how tall the ageing headmaster was as he stood from the central chair on the teachers’ table. “For our new arrivals, I am Professor O’Halloran, your headmaster. For all our returning students I extend a fond welcome back, and would like to ask you to welcome our new students.” He raised his hand in the direction of the first-years, signalling an enthusiastic round of applause. When the clapping came to a halt he spoke again, one simple sentence that for James, made it feel like Hogwarts was really starting. “Let the Sorting Ceremony begin!”

Professor Jones stepped away from the first-years and put a ragged, ancient-looking pointed black hat, which James knew to be the famous Sorting Hat, on a low stool. A noise that sounded suspiciously like a cough emanated from the hat before silence fell (saved for a few surprised intakes of breath from some first-years) as it started to speak.

“I may not look like very much,
But ask yourself this question,
When saw you last a hat with such,
Skill for calculation,

Ten plus fourteen is twenty-four
And fives times three fifteen,
But that is easy, I do more,
For I find the unseen.

No-one but me, not even you,
Can deduce your real nature;
I’ll search your mind and find what’s true,
Match you to your house banner,

Gryffindor, house of the lion,
Values courage most of all,
These brave souls never weaken,
When their backs are to the wall,

Hufflepuff, house of the badger
Will turn no-one away,
Here dwells many a hard worker,
And those who love fair play,

Ravenclaw, house of the eagle,
Takes those with brains and wit,
If you can solve any riddle,
In this house you will fit,

Last Slytherin, house of the snake,
Abode of the most cunning,
They are ambitious, no mistake,
And never tire of winning!

So jam me snug upon your head,
so I can know your mind,
For each and every one of you,
A Hogwarts House I’ll find.”

The school applauded the hat’s song keenly, before Professor Jones, patiently waiting for one last person to stop clapping, spoke. “I will now call out the names of all our newcomers in alphabetical order by surname. You simply need sit on the stool and put The Sorting Hat on your head. It will declare which house you are most suited to, at which point you should return it to the stool and join your house table, from left to right Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff,” she gestured.

“Blackford, Craig,” she began. It was ‘Snake boy’ from the train, and James was not at all surprised as the hat took barely five seconds to call out ‘Slytherin’, sending Blackford off the far table to loud cheers from his fellow Slytherins.

“Boll, Samantha.” An uneasy-looking blonde girl shuffled up to the stool and the hat took much longer this time, before calling out ‘Gryffindor!’

James saw Victoire offering the first new Gryffindor of the year a seat next to her as ‘Critchlow, Kevin’, big, blonde, thuggish-looking Kevin from the train, headed to the stool and shortly joined Blackford in Slytherin.

“Davies, Ryan,” was called next, and Ryan disappeared from James’s side, moving on to the Gryffindor table about 30 seconds later. James caught his eye and returned Ryan’s grin as the sullen-looking ‘Dorrans, Aaron,” became the third Slytherin boy, desperately hoping he would be joining Ryan in Gryffindor, not feeling quite as certain as he had when discussing it with Octavia on the train earlier.

‘Dunn, Freya,’ then became the first Ravenclaw before the girl who had joined James, Octavia and Ryan on the boat, ‘Eakin, Jessica’, became the first Hufflepuff to the biggest cheer so far.

“Epstein, Adam”- A serious looking boy with light brown hair went to Ravenclaw, as did a delighted-looking ‘Fawcett, Trudy.’

“Flint, Raymonda”- A sharp-featured, short-haired girl became the first Slytherin girl, and was followed by a trio of Hufflepuffs, ‘Gates, Holly,’ tiny and terrified, ‘Greenacre, Lola,’ blond and smiling and ‘Hopkins, Alfie,’ who strode confidently up and hurried eagerly off to his table after the hat’s yell.

“Kaya, Batuhan,” called out Professor Jones. The unusual name caught James’s attention, having been thinking how he had no chance of remembering all these names, as an olive-skinned boy hurried to the stool before disappearing to the Ravenclaw table.

A stocky black boy, ‘King, Averus,’ went to join the Gryffindor table with a beaming grin, ‘Laing, Layla,’ a pale blonde girl became another Slytherin before two of the less scared-looking first-years so far, ‘Leyson, Erin’ and ‘MacArthur, Kimberley,’ were sorted to Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff respectively.

‘Mattock, Sally,’ a curly-haired blonde girl was unable to restrain a whoop of delight as she preceded the tall and neat-haired ‘Melbury, Joshua,’ into Gryffindor. The red-headed ‘Morgan, Colin,’ went to Hufflepuff, as James became suddenly conscious it must be almost his turn. ‘Nowak, Lucas’ and ‘O’Hagan, Kyle,’ both went quickly into Ravenclaw before Professor Jones called out, “Potter, James.”

James hadn’t been expecting to feel so nervous, nor to feel the hundreds of eyes on him so keenly, as whispered conversations that had been going on halted to allow their participants to get their first look at the son of the famous Harry Potter.

James screwed his eyes half-shut as he pulled the hat over his head, not wanting to look at the crowd as he waited, but it turned out he didn’t have to wait long. “I’m happy to say I can grant you your wish young master Potter,” said the Sorting Hat, “nowhere to put you but…Gryffindor!”

Huge cheers erupted from the Gryffindor table as the hat announced the final word to the whole hall, James just about remember to take it off before hurrying over to plenty of shouts of congratulations and squeezing between Ryan and Teddy. “Well done,” said Teddy, “I never thought you’d be anywhere else,” as he clapped James on the back, before attention turned back to the rest of the sorting, with ‘Priest, Zach’ becoming a Ravenclaw after a couple of minutes of deliberation by the hat.

‘Quigley, Connor’ went to Hufflepuff, ‘Ramzi, Said,’ to Ravenclaw, the black-haired ‘Redmond, Paul,’ to Slytherin and ‘Romaine, Eve,’ a round-faced cheerful-looking girl to Ravenclaw. ‘Scannell, Oliver’ and the long blonde-haired, ‘Stretton, Liam,’ boosted the count of Hufflepuff boys, as did ‘Taylor, Logan,’ once ‘Tait, Laura,’ had become the seventh new Gryffindor.

Seven students now remained, but the end of the ceremony (which would bring the start of the feast) refused to come quickly, with significant waits for ‘Todd, Callum’ to join Slytherin and ‘Turpin, Daniel’ to become a Ravenclaw. ‘Underhill, Isabelle’ then headed off to the Hufflepuff table with a nervous smile, before ‘Vandervoort, Amelia,’ red-headed and, James couldn’t help but notice, extremely pretty, was dispatched to Ravenclaw. ‘Warrington, Chloe,’ with jet-black hair hanging past her waist, added to the meagre two new Slytherin girls, before ‘Williams, Lexi,’ a black girl with braids underwent a nervous wait before the hat called out “Gryffindor!”

That left just Octavia, stood alone and looking surprisingly relaxed. As Professor Jones called out “And finally, Wood, Octavia,” James wondered if she was feeling as relaxed as she looked. Her expression even stayed even as the hat sat on her head for a good couple of minutes, before, as a few moans started to come from older students desperate for the feast to start, ‘Gryffindor!’ was exclaimed by the hat, sending a beaming Octavia to join her new house, finding a seat between Samantha Boll and Laura Tait, opposite and just along from James, who flashed her a grin that she returned with a satisfied-looking smile.

“I hope all of you will do your utmost to make our new students feel welcome in their new houses,” said Professor O’Halloran, standing again, “I have a few announcements to make-” An audible groan rose around the hall, “-But,” he continued undeterred, “I see no reason why they cannot wait until after the feast. Enjoy!” he declared with a smile, a wave of his hand cueing more food than James had ever seen in his life to appear at the Gryffindor table alone, to a brief cheer before everyone concentrating on piling their plates high.

Once James had wolfed down a few mouthfuls to take the edge off his hunger- it was an unusually late dinner after all- he engaged Ryan, sat directly to his right, in conversation.

“So, you pleased to be in Gryffindor?”

“I guess,” he said through a mouthful of vegetables, “It’s kind of nice to be told bravery is one of your best traits.”

James nodded. “It is. I’m just glad I’m in the same house as the rest of my family- as much as they wouldn’t mind I’d feel like the odd one out.” He slid a couple more roast potatoes onto his plate before calling across the table, “Hey Octavia!”

She finished saying something to Laura Tait, before looking to him and responding. “Yes James?”

“I’ll bet the hat spent ages deliberating putting you in Ravenclaw, didn’t it?”

“Yep,” she said curtly.

“Well,” said James, once she didn’t elaborate, I guess I’ll be teaching you chess then.”

“You did promise,” she said, cracking a smile before returning to her conversation with Laura. The girl sat the other side of Octavia, next to Victoire, caught James’s eye.

“Hi,” she said, barely loud enough for James to hear over all the conversations ongoing. “You’re James right?”

“Yeah, James Potter, nice to meet you.”

“You too- my name’s Sam,” she said.

“Samantha Boll, that’s right,” said James. “I was trying to remember, but I’m not great with names.”

“Me either,” she said, “but yours is a bit memorable isn’t it? And just call me Sam.”

“So you’re not muggle-born then Sam?” asked James, “seeing as you recognise my name.”

“My mum’s a witch,” she replied, “my dad’s a muggle.”

“How many muggle-borns do you reckon there are?” cut in Ryan, directing his question more to James but looking across to Sam with a nod of greeting too. “Everyone’s got a head start on me.”

“I dunno,” James shrugged, “you won’t be the only one though, it’s not that rare.”

“And besides,” said Sam with a reassuring smile, “it’s not like we know loads of magic already. At least I don’t.”

“She’s right,” James said. “The only spells I know are ones I’ve watched people do- mum and dad won’t teach me any magic, they said that’s what school’s for.”

“And you’re not the only one who’s muggle-born anyway,” came a new voice. “I am too.” It was the tall boy who was sitting on Ryan’s right- he spoke with (James thought) a distinctly posh accent and wore glasses.

“Cool,” said Ryan, “well good to know it’s not just me. Sorry, I can’t remember your name.”

“Josh Melbury,” the tall boy answered, before shaking Ryan’s hand, which seemed a bit over-formal for the situation to James.

“Ryan Davies,” Ryan replied, before taking another bite of roast beef and saying to no-one in particular, “Well if everything at Hogwarts is as good as this food I think I’m going to like it here.”

The conversation continued in dribs and drabs, between mouthfuls, for the next twenty minutes or so. It was very disjointed as all nine of the new Gryffindors tried to introduce themselves to each other, meaning a lot of speaking across other people. It turned out Josh and Ryan were the only two new Gryffindors who were muggle-born with Lexi Williams as well as Sam having one muggle parent. It also turned out James wasn’t the only one with relatives already at Hogwarts; Sally Mattock had older twin sisters in Hufflepuff and a brother who was a Gryffindor third-year.

As the pies, roast meat, potatoes, vegetables, steaks, sausages and gravy disappeared to be replaced by a stunning spread of cakes, tarts, ice cream, trifle, jelly and pies, James was now in a conversation with Ryan and Ted about Hogwarts magical features.

“The staircases move!?” exclaimed Ryan. “How do you know where you’re going?”

Ted shrugged, “You just have to get a good sense of direction quite quickly, there’s always a route to where you need to go. Sometimes you just end up somewhere completely different though, so I’d advise giving yourselves plenty of time to get to lessons, especially if you’ve got transfiguration or charms. Oh, and some of the staircases have got trick steps too, that your foot gets stuck in, so don’t go anywhere on your own until you’ve learnt where they are.”

Ryan shook his head disbelievingly. “I guess this whole magic thing is even more complicated than I thought.”

“It’s not just spells,” said James. “Oh, yeah I’d better warn you- the people in the portraits move and talk.”

“Yeah the Gryffindor common room’s entrance is through a portrait,” said Teddy, “called the fat lady.”

“Well everyone else might not be miles ahead of me in class,” said Ryan, “but it’s going to take me a week or two to get used to this place. Like where does all this food come from? Does it appear out of thin air?”

“Nah,” said Ted, “you can conjure some things with magic, but not food. This is all made by the house-elves in the kitchens and sent up here by magic.”

“House-elves?” questioned Ryan.

“Little things, big ears,” said James.

“Like the ones in…Gringlett’s was it? The bank in Diagon Alley.”

“It’s Gringott’s,” corrected James. “And no, those are goblins.”

“And I wouldn’t make that mistake in front of a goblin,” said Ted, “they’re pretty easily offended. And dangerous. Not like house-elves, they’re nearly always nice.”

“They’re sort of…servants,” James explained. They love it,” he added quickly, “it’s not like they’re slaves or anything. Beside most of the Hogwarts ones get paid now, the ones that don’t refuse to accept money, it sort of goes against their nature. My Aunt Hermione is big on house-elf rights,” he added, so I know a bit about it.

“What about the guy who took us on the boats?” asked Ryan now. “You know him right? There’s gotta be a story there; I’ve never seen anyone that big.”

“Yeah he’s Hagrid,” said James. “I know him ‘cause he’s a sort of family friend. He’s half-giant.”

“Giant…” said Ryan with a sort of shocked resignation. “What are they like?”

“Rare, thankfully,” said Ted. “They’re normally at least twenty foot and they’re pretty vicious.”

“What other creatures don’t I know about?” said Ryan with a nervous chuckle.

“Too many to name!” said James with a dismissive wave of his hand.

“You have to wait ‘til third year to take Care of Magical Creatures though,” said Ted, “so if you really want to know you could get a copy of Fantastic Beasts out of the library.”

“I might well do,” said Ryan with a grin. “I get the feeling lessons are going to be a bit more interesting than they were at my old school. Charms, Care of Magical Creatures, Defence Against the Dark Arts…they even sound more interesting than Maths… or Geography.”

Eventually, the puddings disappeared from the tables too, and everyone looked expectantly to the teachers’ table. Professor O’Halloran stood slowly before speaking, his voice resonating through the hall so well that James thought it must be magically projected somehow. “As always, a fittingly enjoyable start to the year, I hope you’ll agree. A few announcements now…First-years, some rules for you: the Forbidden Forest in the grounds is out of bounds, as its name suggests.” There were a few nervous chuckles from around James, as the headmaster continued. “The rest of the grounds are in bounds, though I advise you do not stray too far from the castle until you have learnt where the boundaries are, for they are not always clearly defined. The only other places out of bounds are the Herbology greenhouses when not having a lesson- some dangerous plants are held within, and the Whomping Willow. That is the large lone tree on the grounds; again the rule is for your own safety- if you get too close to the Willow then you are putting yourselves at risk of serious injury.”

“Is he serious?” Ryan whispered to James.

“Totally,” James whispered back, “from what I’ve heard it’s one nasty tree.”

“Finally,” Professor O’Halloran continued, James still grinning at the look on Ryan’s face, “you are to remain in either your house common room or dormitory after nine o’clock each evening, and are not to use magic in the corridors. Breakfast tomorrow will be at seven thirty and lessons begin at nine, be bright and early tomorrow to receive your timetables. And with that in mind, I advise you get to bed early for a good night’s sleep, so you are fully refreshed for the start of term. Second to seventh years, you may leave now, fifth-years prefects remain behind to guide the first-years to the common rooms.”

With that came a huge scratching noise as the benches were slid back and the great hall rapidly emptied, with everyone chatting eagerly. “See you in the common room!” Ted called back to James as he hurried off after his friends, leaving him with Ryan, Octavia, Sam, Laura, Josh, Averus, Lexi and Sally. They sat in silence as the hall emptied, a quick glance around revealing that the new Ravenclaws, Slytherins and Hufflepuffs were doing likewise, before two older students emerged from the crush of people leaving the hall.

As they headed over to the first-years, James noticed the shining ‘P’ badges on their robes and had a brief though that being a prefect didn’t really seem like much fun.

“Hi guys,” said one of the prefects, a round-faced, dark-haired boy. “I’m Mark Kessler and this is Kareena Bakshi.”

“Hello,” said the girl he had gestured too, an Indian girl with her long dark hair hanging loose and a warm smile.

“Right, if you follow me we’ll show you to the Gryffindor common room,” said Mark. “Try and pay attention, every year there are first-years who get hopelessly lost trying to find the great hall for breakfast the next morning.”

The nine Gryffindors did so, following the Hufflepuff group out of the hall but quickly separating from them as they headed downstairs while Mark and Kareena headed up the first staircase they came to.

“Hey,” said Octavia, catching up with James and Ryan. “Pretty impressive isn’t it?”
She directed the question more at Ryan, who gave a low whistle before replying.

“It’s enormous…” he breathed. “I love this place already.”

As they continued upwards, only occasionally straying from the main staircases, a few portraits spoke to them. ‘Do your house proud, new Gryffindors!’ one called out, while a heavily bearded man called loudly, ‘Wrong way! Stay away from there, ‘tis cursed!’

“Don’t worry about him,” said Kareena, turning back to the slightly unnerved-looking first-years, “that’s Pritchard the Paranoid, he thinks everything is out to get everyone.”

A couple of floors later they reached the Gryffindor common room. “This is the Fat Lady,” said Mark. A couple of sniggers came from behind James, but Mark continued without pausing. “Her portrait guards the entrance to the Gryffindor common room, which is where you will spend most of your free time, especially when the weather is wintery. It is also the access point to all the dormitories.”

“Now,” Kareena took over, “to prevent just anyone gaining access there is a password to cause her portrait to swing open. You must not write the password down, or give it to anyone not in Gryffindor. It will change from time to time and you will be informed when it does- now remember this.” She turned to the portrait and said clearly, “Ganymede.”

“Correct,” trilled the Fat Lady, the portrait swinging open to reveal a small passageway which the nine first-years followed the prefects through to see their common room for the first time.

James’s first impression was how cosy it looked- the fireplace on the far wall gave the whole room a very homely feel, as did the comfy-looking chairs and thick rug covering the floor. It was also currently crowded and alive with chatter, James saw Ted chatting to his friends around one sofa, while Victoire and her fellow fourth-years were on the far side of the room, stood near the fireplace.

“The boy’s dormitories are up that staircase to the left,” gestured Mark, “the girls are to the right. Up that stairway there is a seven-way fork- from left to right these lead to the dormitories for first to seventh years. As such, you should only take the leftmost stairway.”

“Are there any more questions?” asked Kareena. When no-one replied, she said, “Well if you have any questions you can always ask either of us or the sixth and seventh year Gryffindor prefects, who you’ll be able to identify by their badges. Enjoy your first evening in Gryffindor Tower!”

James quickly hurried over to Ted, followed by Ryan and Octavia. “Hey James,” said Ted, “how’re you liking it?”

“It’s brilliant,” said James.

Ted nodded, before turning to his friends. “Guys, this is James, James this is Brad, Janine and Kiara.” He signalled in turn to a lanky, skinny boy with short-cropped brown hair, a tall girl with dark brown wavy hair and a short black girl with short, straight, dark hair.

They all said hello, and James introduced Ryan and Octavia, before they decided to leave the older students to their conversation and nabbed a free armchair, James beating Ryan to sit in it, leaving him to perch on the arm while Octavia stood.

“I can’t believe this,” said Ryan excitedly, “it’s all happened so fast. A week ago it was still like some dream, in the back of my mind, and now I’m at school in a castle, and starting lessons in magic tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” agreed Octavia, “I mean obviously it’s much more of a change for you, but it’s pretty exciting for us too, right James? I mean we’ve lived around magic, but we’ve never done any, and it’s one thing hearing all about this place, it’s something else actually being here.”

“Definitely,” said James, “although, not wanting to put a downer on things, it is still school, I bet you we’re bored stiff in at least a couple of lessons sooner rather than later.”

“Who cares!” said Ryan, “I could be in muggle school and be bored ten times as often and not having talking portraits and moving staircases and…”

“Flying lessons?” offered Octavia, when he trailed off.

“Ghosts?” said James.

“This is going to be awesome,” said Ryan, before seemingly forgetting he was perched on the arm of a chair and losing his balance completely as he tried to lean back against nothingness and ending up flat on the floor.

A huge cry of ‘Wheyyy!’ went up from around the common room as the loud crash alerted everyone to Ryan’s misadventure. But, to his great credit James thought, he didn’t show any sign of embarrassment, simply raising his arms as if to acknowledge his error to the crowd, before accepting a helping hand back to his feet from James.

“I think I’ll stand…” he said to James and Octavia once everyone had returned to their conversations.

“Nah, take the seat,” offered James, getting up. “I just need to have a quick word with Victoire about something, see you guys in a minute.”

James thought he saw Octavia smile at him out of the corner of his eye, as he went over to keep his promise to her and apologise to his cousin. He wasn’t just doing because he’d promised though, he did feel bad for speaking to her that way, as fed up of being treated like a kid as he was she hadn’t deserved that, she’d just been looking out for him. Plus the relief of being in Gryffindor and the excitement of being a fully fledged Hogwarts student had improved his mood to near-perfect.

“Hey Vic,” he said as he approached his cousin, “can I talk to you for a second?”

“I suppose,” she sighed, turning away from her friends. “What’s up?”

“I just wanted to say sorry for snapping at you, on the train earlier,” James said apologetically. “I guess I was a bit tense, I was more nervous than I’d thought I would be.”

“Ah, don’t worry about it,” she said with a smile. “You glad to be in Gryffindor then?”

“Absolutely,” he said, nodding vigorously.

“Well not wanting to get shouted at again, because I know you can look after yourself, but if you ever want to talk about anything then you know you can always talk to me, right?”

“Thanks,” said James. “I’ll let you get back to your friends.”

“Okay, well I’m sure I’ll see you at breakfast tomorrow morning. Enjoy the rest of your evening.”

Returning to find Octavia telling Ryan about what some of the classes would entail, James sat on the floor and just listened for a minute, wondering if he’d already made a pair of friends for life. He knew it was silly, he didn’t really know either of them properly, but he remembered how his dad and Uncle Ron had sat together in the same compartment on their first ride on the Hogwarts Express and been friends ever since. He was snapped back to alertness by Octavia saying his name. “James!”

“Sorry,” he said brightly, “got lost in my thoughts there. What did you say?”

“I said I’m going to go up to my dorm. I want to sort out some of the stuff in my trunk before tomorrow, plus I’m pretty tired.”

“It’s all the excitement,” James said grinning. “Well ‘night then.”

“Yeah, goodnight Octavia,” said Ryan.

“See you tomorrow,” she said, before disappearing up the staircase to the girls dormitories.

“I guess we might as well go up too,” said James to Ryan.

“It’s not that late,” Ryan countered.

“Yeah but we don’t have to go to sleep. There’ll be a bit more space to sit down, plus I’m curious to have a look at what it’s like up there.”

Ryan nodded in agreement and they made their way up the stairs to reveal a round room that was pretty spacious considering it was just a four-person bedroom. Four large four-poster beds, complete with drapes filled the right and far sides of the room, while the left held a door which a quick check revealed held a shining clean bathroom.

“This is impressive!” said Ryan as they went over to claim the two beds nearest the bathroom. “I wasn’t expecting it to be so posh; I thought we’d probably have bunk beds.”

“Bet the view out of here’s pretty good when it’s light,” said James, looking out of the window next to his bed. “We’re pretty high up now.”

Once they had finished admiring the room they both opened their trunks. James just retrieved his schoolbag, currently empty, and dumped it next to the chest of drawers that acted as a bedside table, while Ryan pulled all his clothes out too, stuffing them messily into his own chest of drawers.

“This is seriously comfy,” said James, lying on his bed as Ryan pulled out several scarves and pairs of gloves and stuffed the drawer full of them. “I know it gets cold, but do you really need that many?” he asked amusedly.

“I didn’t pack them!” moaned Ryan exasperatedly, “My mum must’ve slipped them in after I’d finished.”

James laughed. “Don’t worry, my mum fussed loads over my packing too. What do your parents do? I don’t know much about muggle jobs.”

Ryan, pushed the draw shut and slid his trunk under his bed before perching on the mattress and replying. “My mum’s a teacher; my dad’s an IT technician.”

“Okay,” said James, “teacher I know. What on earth’s an IT technician?”

“You know what a computer is?” Ryan asked hopefully. James shook his head. “Well it’s pretty hard to explain then…a computer’s a sort of electronic box, and my dad fixes them. I really need to show you a computer to explain it.”

“Fair enough,” said James, before letting out a huge yawn. “Guess I’m more tired than I realised.”

James emerged from the bathroom, having changed into his pyjamas, to see Averus and Joshua had joined Ryan in the dorm. The other three also got into their pyjamas and the four chatted for a while before first Josh then Averus decided it was time to sleep and pulled back their drapes. “How do we turn the lights off?” wondered James aloud as he too lay down in the comfy bed.

“Not a clue…” said Ryan.

“I think they go off at eleven o’clock,” said Averus from behind his drapes. “What time is it now?”

“About two minutes to eleven,” said James, checking his watch. Even as he finished speaking the lights went out with a sort of sighing noise.

“I guess your watch is a couple of minutes slow!” chuckled Ryan.

“I guess so,” said James replacing it on his cabinet before fumbling to find his bed’s hangings it the dark. Finally finding them he pulled them shut, calling out as he did so. “Night guys, see you tomorrow.”

A chorus of ‘goodnights’ went around the room for a few seconds before silence fell, leaving James alone to his thoughts, then shortly his dreams.



a/n: I realise I made the sorting hat’s song rhyme more than usual (lines 1 and 3 of each verse as well as 2 and 4) but I only realised just as I was finishing it and there is no way I’m changing it now!

Anyway, hope you liked it, very much an introductory chapter.

One other thing to note is that it was A LOT longer than ANY chapter in my previous story- I don’t know if this will be an exception or if they’ll just be longer in this story, I guess I’ll find out as I write the next chapter.

Thanks for reading, reviews are much appreciated!

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