Chapter 2 : The Announcement
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"I'll take some Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans,” Albus replied while pointing to a rainbow colored box on the top row.
"I'll have a chocolate frog," Cedric put in confidently. "I still need Bathilda Bagshot."
Rose shook her head no to the offer, and Cedric and Albus were flabbergasted.
"These toffees are quite tasty if you ask me," the woman told her, seemingly disappointed by the refusal. After a few seconds of peer pressure, Rose finally gave in and handed the lady a sickle for the toffee.
"Rats," Cedric murmured. "Gellert Grindelwald. This is my third of him."
Rose unwrapped the brown wrapper that she reluctantly purchased and put it in her mouth, and suddenly she gagged. Albus and Cedric looked up to see Rose's huge tongue sprawling onto her lap and down towards the floor.
Rose let out a few syllables of gibberish was probably translated to "Ton Tongue Toffees!" Albus tried to figure how to help by frantically searching for his wand and thinking of a good spell when James and Fred Weasley burst in. The troublemakers helped fix Rose’s elongated tongue back to normal size, then James handed the lady with the cart a galleon. She seemed displeased with herself and continued down the train while muttering to herself.
"I really hate you guys," Rose told James and Fred as she wiped her clothes to get the saliva off; she had fallen for her brother and cousin’s tricks too many times. James and Fred sniggered and went back to their own cab.
They rode several more miles in silence as Cedric and Albus chewed happily on their candies. Albus handed Cedric a white colored bean and he ate it with a curious grimace. "Yuck! Soap!" Albus laughed happily as he plopped a blueberry flavor in his mouth.
Looking for something to talk about, Albus looked at Cedric's crest on his robes, it was blue with an eagle on it, the symbol for Ravenclaw house. "How's your Quidditch team going to be this year, Cedric?"
"With me at seeker and Jonathan Boot at Beater I think we'll be alright. I just want to pummel Malfoy,” Cedric explained as he threw the Gellert Grindelwald chocolate frog card into the garbage. “That git annoys me so much.”
Rose chuckled. "Yes, we want to beat him too, but he said they have a really good team this year, the best since our parents and your mom were at Hogwarts.”
“Yeah, but Gryffindor will definitely give them a good competition. Your house has only lost the cup once since James started," Cedric replied with a downtrodden look in his eye, probably remembering losing to Gryffindor every year except his third when he captured the snitch just before James. Albus knew his parents still encourage him, but they could not be exceptionally pleased with that fact.
The train was slowing down, so the trio looked out the window. They saw the stately oak trees that were rushing by slowing. Suddenly, they could see a grassy field with a huge tree slightly swaying, it's branches like arms punching something. All the students knew and feared this tree famously called the Whomping Willow. Then a huge lake appeared in Albus’s peripheral vision next, with a huge tentacle dotted with suckers of the giant squid that lives in the lake. On the other side of the lake was the huge Hogwarts castle that has been the home to Albus for four years. It was the happiest place in the world to him.
The Hogwarts Express finally halted to a stop with a loud creak of the wheels on the tracks. Albus slid open the compartment door and ushered Cedric and Rose through. When they walked down the stairs of the train, a gigantic, literally, man with long black bushy hair and a beard stood at the doorway. "Firs' years this way!" the half giant shouted for all students to hear.
"Hello, Hagrid," Albus told him as he hugged the large figure in his dragon hide vest.
"Hey, Al. Yer getting ter look a lot like yer dad. How was yer summer?"
"Pretty relaxing," Albus told him. “Except the times when James wants to play tricks on the family.”
“He’s always doin’ his jokes on people,” Hagrid bellowed loudly as he laughed along with Albus.
Rose and Cedric greeted him too, when all of a sudden a large boy about six feet tall with thick eyebrows and dark brown eyes came running up behind Hagrid. His plumpness reminded Albus of his cousin Dudley.
"Hey, Bucky!" Hagrid yelled as he put his arm around the large boy, and even Hagrid was several feet taller than Bucky. "This is my son; he's startin’ at Hogwarts this year."
Bucky beamed down at them and Albus finally took notice of the huge black robes that he wore, which showed about six inches of his legs at the bottom. "It's nice to finally meet you, Bucky," Rose told him. "We've heard a lot about you."
Bucky smiled bigger than ever and he gave each of them a hug before he ran off to join the other first years which were just taller than half the size of him. Hagrid swung his glass lantern and corralled a few stragglers that were still getting off the train. "This is the firs' year Olympe isn't stayin’ with me. Since Bucky is here now she 'as gone back ter Headmistress at Beauxbatons." Albus tried to look sad with compassion, but he was getting tired of Madame Maxime interrupting all of their Care of Magical Creatures lessons.
Hagrid bid adieu to the three and left to tend to the first years after he introduced little Hugo to his son. The three walked towards the second through seventh years that would sit in the Great Hall before the sorting.
Albus walked through the huge oak front doors that led to the Great Hall followed by Cedric and Rose. He had been in the Great Hall many times, but it has yet to fail to amaze him. It was a large room with four long tables for each house with one horizontal table at the front to seat each of the teachers. The roof was jinxed to look like the outside sky, which was a beautiful scene of colors as the sun went down. The walls and banners were decorated with red and gold, the colors of Gryffindor, because they had won the House Cup the year before.
Albus and Rose departed from Cedric to sit at the Gryffindor table all the way to left and Cedric sat at the Ravenclaw table next to it. Each year, they got to sit closer and closer to the end of the table, and this year Albus took a seat to the left of Rose and the right of Christopher Pawell, a fourth year Gryffindor who Albus hardly spoke to. Across from him sat one of the Gryffindor Quidditch team’s other Chasers and also his cousin, Dominique Weasley, her auburn hair hanging below her shoulders. To Dominique's left sat James and on Rose's right was Fred.
On the table laid empty silver plates and goblets, as the food prepared by the house elves would not appear until the opening announcements were completed. James tried to offer Christopher a Canary Cream, but Dominique stopped him to save Christopher the embarrassment.
The first years crowded in the back of the hall, anxiously waiting to be sorted to see which table they would be sitting at for the next seven years of their lives. Some children stood nervously and fidgety while some others were gasping in awe at the beauty of the wizarding school. Albus spotted his cousin Hugo, his red hair highly visible towards the back of the first years. He was fixing his black pointed hat from falling as he talked to a tall and lean man with an overbite and dark straight hair leading the first years up the aisle. Albus recognized him as currently one of his favorite teachers, the Herbology teacher, a hero of the battle of Hogwarts, a friend of his parents, and the Head of Gryffindor House, Professor Longbottom.
"Up here, first years. In a line, there you go," Longbottom announced as he placed an old worn out black wizard hat on a wooden stool in front of the whole hall. A mouth appeared on the wrinkles of the hat, and it started to sing its sorting song to the whole student body and teachers to hear. This song, like always, was different than the previous one.
“This song is quite rubbish if you ask me,” Rose whispered over to Albus, and he could not agree more. The Sorting Hat must be running out of ideas.
James and Fred sarcastically waved their arms like dancing as the hat sung, which finally ended with "For I am the Sorting Hat!"
The whole hall applauded the talking hat when Professor Longbottom read the first name off of a small scroll of paper, "Austero, Mason!" A short blonde haired boy cockily walked up to the stool. Longbottom placed the hat on Mason's head, and within three seconds the hat screamed, "SLYTHERIN!"
The table at the other end of the hall applauded as they received the first student to be sorted. The Gryffindor table groaned, knowing that Mason Austero could very well join the bullying dynasty of the sea of green and silver.
Two Hufflepuffs and a Ravenclaw were sorted next when "Finnigan, David!" Was called out. Albus knew this to be the son of Seamus Finnigan, a boy in the grade of his dad’s.
"GRYFFINDOR!" The hat shouted as Albus and his table erupted for their first first year.
"Hagrid, Buck!" Longbottom shouted as the huge first year stumbled up to the hat. After falling on his face by tripping on the steps, (And some giggling by the Slytherins) he put on the hat. It did not fit his head, but sat there for a while muttering to itself. It finally made its decision with "GRYFFINDOR!"
Bucky ran over to the table and plopped down next to David Finnigan; the contact on the seat was enough to vibrate the whole table, knocking a few goblets over. Albus looked at Rubeus Hagrid sitting towards the middle of the staff table next to Headmistress McGonagall. He brushed a few tears out of his beard then blew into his table napkin, a look of disgust shot his way by the Headmistress.
Another Slytherin was sorted when "Macmillan, Beth!" came forward. Albus had met her parents a few times, Ernie Macmillan and Hannah Abbott, two Hufflepuffs in his dad's year, both of which were in the secret society against Voldemort known as Dumbledore’s Army. Beth also had a third year brother and a sixth year sister in Hufflepuff.
Albus was sure what the Hat was about to scream because of her family line, but he was wrong when he heard, "RAVENCLAW!" The girl seemed to be shocked as well, but hurried along to the table next to Albus's after a thumbs up from her older siblings for condolence.
Several more Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws, and Slytherins, along with four Gryffindor girls and two more Gryffindor boys were sorted, when there was only one boy left to sort. Albus was awaiting this red haired boys sorting, as he was the final Weasley of this generation to start his wizarding career.
"Weasley, Hugo!" Longbottom yelled as he winked down to him. Hugo rolled up the sleeves of his robes and stepped up the marble stairs. He put on the hat and in a matter of seconds Hugo was the last Weasley to be sorted into Gryffindor.
James, Fred, Albus, Dominique, Lily, Louis, and Rose were exceptionally loud in their cheering for their relative as Hugo took a seat next to Bucky and David. He appeared to be slightly intimidated by the part giant because when Bucky introduced himself, Hugo blushed.
Professor Longbottom removed the Sorting Hat from the chair and carried it behind the staff table, where he took a seat to the left of Hagrid. Headmistress McGonagall began to rise from her high chair on the other side of Hagrid. She was a very old and fragile, but stern woman. According to Albus's parents, she is a lot more relaxed now than she was, probably due to the fact she didn't have to deal with the Gryffindor trouble makers.
"Dad says she was an old hag even when he was here," Fred announced. McGonagall walked up to the podium on the stage and held a wand to her neck to amplify the sound.
"Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts!" she announced. She coughed into her sleeve before starting again. "It is my pleasure to announce a new member to the staff this year."
Albus did not know there was going to be a new teacher this year, then he took notice of the empty seat next to the Divination teacher, Professor Patil. "You may have heard that the Defense Against the Darks Arts position previously taught by Professor Wurlitzer was open over the summer."
Albus was a little excited. He had nothing against Wurlitzer, but his class was boring without much action, almost as bad as Professor Binns’s History of Magic class. Some students were frightened that Wurlitzer would die someday, become a ghost, and continue to teach for a long time like Binns.
McGonagall hacked into her sleeve again. "Please welcome the new teacher, Professor Lupin."
Everyone around Albus gasped. Could it be? Rose even picked at her ears to make sure she heard correctly.
They spun around to the door of the Great Hall as a tall and handsome boy with a slight shadow for a beard walked into the hall. Albus was ecstatic, as it was the very Teddy Lupin, Harry's godson and the boyfriend of Victoire Weasley, Dominique and Louis’s older sister.
"Wicked," James and Fred said together as Teddy waved to the crowd before he took a seat at the end of the staff table. Albus was positive Lupin grinned at their area of the table. This could end up being a great year.
"Thank you. Now, please remember that the forest is forbidden to all students," McGonagall announced. "Also, Hogsmeade is only open to third years and above who have permission from a guardian. The first trip will be on the weekend of October the 21st.
"Now, before we eat. I have one more special announcement." McGonagall turned towards the staff and they smiled back. "Your parents have not yet been notified, but for the first time in twenty seven years, Hogwarts will host the Triwizard Tournament."
This created oohs and ahhs of all the students. Every student whispered excitedly to their friends around them at this shocking news. Albus was happy about this news, as it shall bring a twist to this year, but he was just a little disappointed that he was not yet of age so he could not participate.
"This tournament has different rules, however. It will not consist of one champion from Hogwarts, Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons, but will consist of three Hogwarts champions. Finally, there is no age limit as to who may apply to be a champion."
Albus turned to Rose and they cheered excitedly. James stared at Fred with huge smiles on their face. The headmistress continued, "The winner of the tournament will receive a winning of one thousand galleons along with three hundred points to their house."
When Albus heard this, he thought of one thing; one thousand galleons was enough money to buy the Lightning Rod racing broom he so dearly wanted to posses. He turned to the Slytherin table to see Scorpius Malfoy staring back at him with a sly grimace and a raised eyebrow, obviously thinking the same thought.
"In exactly one week’s time,” McGonagall continued, “The Goblet of Fire will be placed in the Hall. Just write your name and House on a sheet of parchment and throw it into the Goblet. You will have two days to do so once it is opened. Finally, unlike in previous years that the Triwizard Tournament has taken place, the Quidditch games will not be cancelled. Thank you, and enjoy the feast!" The whole room cheered as many delicious foods were presented on the plates. First Teddy becoming a teacher, then the Triwizard Tournament announcement, and the fact that Quidditch will still happen, Albus felt as if nothing could ruin this day.
Albus took a spoonful of creamed corn and some brisket out of the appearing foods just as Dominique elegantly laid her napkin across her lap. Fred and James immediately imbibed so much food that it started to sprinkle on a pretty seventh year girl named Harriet.
"So are you going to try to enter the tournament?" Lily asked everyone from a few seats over.
Fred, Dominique, Rose, and Albus all nodded, but James looked skeptical. "Just don't get your hopes up guys, it only picks three people."
"So you will not be entering?" Dominique asked James as she carefully cut her meat with a fork and a knife, then drinking pumpkin juice out of her goblet with a pinky hanging off of the gleaming surface. Apparently her mother tried to teach proper etiquette.
"I would enter," James replied, "but I will be gone every Saturday for the Chudley Cannons practice. And with schoolwork, Gryffindor Quidditch, and picking on little kids I just won't have time."
Fred seemed very disappointed at this remark by his best friend. He began to pick at his corned beef with a glum look on his face.
After the feast, Albus and his fellow prefects, including his cousin Dominique and a seventh year muggle born wizard named Patrick Fisher, led Gryffindor out of the Great Hall. Albus caught a glimpse of his burly friend Cedric walking away talking to a pretty brown haired girl named Laura Connolly. Cedric has had a crush on this girl for the past year and a half, but he has never had the courage to tell Laura because there was a problem: she was a seventh year Head Girl. Cedric thought she would not want to be with a fifth year.
The prefects finally reached the portrait of the Fat Lady. "Remember everyone, classes start tomorrow," Patrick announced brushing a strand of hair to the side. "Pick up a schedule on the chair by the hearth on your way in. Girls’ dormitories are on the left up the stairs, boys on the right.”
Patrick turned to the Fat Lady and said, "Dragon tooth." She swung forward and all of the Gryffindors climbed in to see the beauty of the common room, their home for the next ten months. An exciting year had just begun.
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