The Sorting Feast
NOTE: Amy doesn't get changed back. Willow finds Rack by herself and goes to England to recover. AU from there on
NOTE: This is definitely an AU. I might have muddled up events in the canon timeline so please forgive any inconsistencies. This is after the Glory mess but before the First. There is no First. The Geeks were run of the mill demon worshippers (for power, etc). The Scoobies still hasn't forgiven Willow's actions - nearly destroying the World and hurting Dawn.
NOTE: AtS until Connor. AU from there on. Cordelia accepts demonhood. No Jasmine. AI doesn't own Wolfram and Hart.
NOTE: Post GoF. OotP didn't happen per say. Sirus is alive.
AN: All of you guys out there... sorry for the long delay but here it is!! The Americans are going to Hogwarts!!
AN: Harry-4-Hero fans, major downer so please don't start flaming me!!
~*~ The Sorting Feast ~*~
Harry Potter was not entirely surprised to find out Hermione Granger was not on the Hogwarts Express. What worried him were the rumors. Some true some false some unconfirmed.
His best friend, Ron Weasley, threw himself onto the empty seat beside Harry. Soon they were joined by other sixth year Gryffindors.
"Do you know what happened to Hermione Harry?" Lavender Brown asked The Boy Who Lived.
"I don't know Lavender." Harry confessed. "She only sent a few owls this summer. She said she met her American cousin and had a wonderful time in California. And that she met someone special but she didn't give any details." Harry skewed the contents to give Lavender details that would interest her - romance in Hermione's life.
"Really? An American?"
"I suppose." Harry shrugged.
"Muggle or wizard?" Lavender wanted details.
Ron stifled his jealousy. "What about her OWLS?" He asked. "She missed them. And what was Snape doing last year? He practically missed the last part of the term." Dumbledore had taught Potions and surprisingly everyone, even Neville passed.
"She took them over the summer." Harry explained. "The Department of Education gave a special exception due to her parents dying. She got five Os and two Es. Hermione mentioned getting some private tutoring from Snape."
Everyone was impressed.
"She survived and got that many Os? That's good." Parvati commented before brightening as she recalled something else. "Do you guys know anything about the new MS teachers? They are foreigners. Three of them for one course." She pronounced.
Ron grinned. "Hermione mentioned that. Her cousin is one of the new teachers. I don't know about the other two."
"But her cousin is a Muggle!" Lavender gasped. "What is Professor Dumbledore thinking?"
"It is Muggle Studies." Neville pointed out. "It makes sense to ask a Muggle to teach it."
"I'm more interested about Voldemort." Everyone shuddered. Harry continued ignoring that. "The Quibbler had an article claiming he's dead. Even the Daily Prophet published a few lines about Death Eaters being captured by the Ministry Aurors."
"And your godfather was cleared." Ron spoke cheerily. "Is it true? He and Professor Lupin are going to teach DADA together?"
Harry blushed. "Yes. Next summer I don't have to stay with the Dursleys." Then he frowned. "Remus didn't say anything but I think he has a girlfriend. Even Sirus doesn't know anything about her."
"Maybe Hermione can mix up some Veritaseum and get Professor Lupin to confess." Lavender suggested brightly.
Everyone looked at her.
"Lavender. That would be illegal." Ron pointed out slowly.
"Lavender! Do you want Hermione to be expelled?!"
"Just kidding! Just kidding! Jeez, can't you guys take a joke?"
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Minerva McGonogall smiled as she watched the students mill about catching up on recent events and exchange gossip about summer adventures. First years looked around with wide scared eyes as they waited to be Sorted. Seeing the students settling down Minerva decided to start.
"Silence." It was good to see she hadn't lost her touch. She allowed a thin smile to curl her lips. "I would like to welcome everyone to Hogwarts, returning students and newcomers. First years will be Sorted into one of the four Houses most suitable to them. Your House will be your second family. You will attend classes with them, eat meals, play sports, participate in contests, room together. Each House has its own proud history and traditions.
"I will call out each student by name. When you hear your name please come up and sit on this stool." She pointed at a three-leg stool on the dais. "And put on this Hat." She indicated a gray, dirty old wizards hat resting on the stool. "First Amelia Avery."
A small mousy blonde stepped up.
"Slytherin." Claps from the Slytherin table.
The Gryffindor table were more interested in gossiping than watching the Sorting.
"Where is Hermione?" Ron hissed.
"I don't see Snape either." Parvati pointed to the front of the Great Hall. Several teachers were still missing.
"They might be at a meeting." Harry pointed out.
"Do you think it is true?" Colin Creevey asked taking photos of new Gryffindors.
"That the Dark Lord is dead?"
Harry frowned. "I don't know. My scar hurt really bad late June and after that it didn't even twinge a bit."
"No one is saying anything." Ron pointed out then frowned. "I think Bill knows something. He dropped by in August and talked to Mum and Dad. He boxed Fred and George when they tried to use their new Extendable Ears to eavesdrop."
"How do you know it has something to do with Voldemort?" Harry demanded.
"I don't know. Bill was really excited and secretive. After Mum was crying really hard you know but she was so happy. She kept hugging Bill and he didn't protest." Ginny explained.
That was a surprise.
"What's up with Malfoy?" Seamus Finnegan asked glancing at the Slytherin table. "He's really down the dumps. Didn't even say anything when I bumped into him on the platform."
"His father was arrested." Colin spoke.
"So? What does that have to do with it?" Ron demanded.
"Lucius Malfoy tried to sacrifice his son for some Dark Magic ritual." Colin explained. "He nearly killed his wife who tried to protect Draco. After seeing that Draco summoned the Aurors and laid the charges himself."
Everyone winced. That must really suck.
"That wasn't in the Daily Prophet." Parvati was surprised.
"The Aurors suppressed the details. My second cousin eavesdropped on a few Aurors but the editor refused to publish the piece. He was worried about being sued by Malfoy."
"How is Draco coping?" Ginny asked with some sympathy.
"Okay I guess." Colin shrugged. "His mother's still in St. Mungos recovering. Draco had a lot of problems until Snape stepped in."
"Snape?" Harry was not surprised. "What did he do?"
Colin shrugged. "He is Draco's godfather. I checked the birth announcements. He accepted guardianship of Draco and took care of the Malfoy business affairs."
"He's Draco's godfather? No wonder Snape was always soft on the ferret." Ron exclaimed.
"The Sorting is nearly over." Ginny pointed out.
A short pause while the new students found their tables and settled down.
The students watched and waited patiently. A tide of soft murmurs as more figures emerged from the teachers entrance hidden behind the High Table.
Albus Dumbledore beaming widely, Severus Snape looking composed and restrained as usual in his black on black robes, Remus Lupin smiling slightly, Sirus Black looking bemused and slightly irritated. Three unknown women, all gorgeous - brunette, blonde, redhead in long covering robes. Hermione pulling another boy her own age dressed in black robes like other students.
Dumbledore coughed and straightened his velvet purple robes.
"We have a new American student joining the sixth year students though he will not be attending all the usual classes since his magic is very different. Connor O'Roarke.
Connor flinched slightly but obeyed Hermione's push. He settled on the stool gingerly, allowing the Transfiguration teacher to place it on his head.
"Well, well well. The Destroyer is finally attending Hogwarts."
Everyone started. The Hat rarely spoke a great deal, especially aloud.
"Yeah, what of it?" Connor groused.
The Hat chuckled. "No need to get snippy Mr O'Roarke. I have been waiting for you for a very long time now. You are one of the people I have to watch out for."
Connor tensed. "Not another prophecy!" He groaned softly but everyone heard him.
"Oh yes Connor. Now what House should I put you in? Hmmm. Yes, strength, agility, courage, loyalty, determination, stubbornness. Wonderful qualities for a Gryffindor." Hermione tensed. "But you do not belong there. What truly overwhelms all is your loyalty. And your stubbornness. You should know with the way you treated your birth father." Connor slumped. "It's not your fault my boy but you have to admit you are very loyal, even to people who do not deserve it. Hufflepuff! Yes Hufflepuff is the House for you."
The Hufflepuff tables clapped wildly. Cedric Diggory's death had been a major downer. This new student looked to be a good example for other Hufflepuff students. Why the Hat spoke out loud while Sorting him!
Connor took off the Hat and handed it to McGonogall before walking fast to Hermione who murmured an explanation softly to him. He nodded and walked down the dais to the Hufflepuff table while Hermione grinned and walked to the Gryffindor table.
"Shh you guys. Questions later! Listen first." She ordered her friends.
Dumbledore waited until the clapping softened before speaking.
"As you may have heard from the Hogsmeade grapevine we have several new additions to our staff. Remus Lupin and Sirus Black are co-instructors for DADA." Several students cheered as Lupin and Black waved their hands smiling. "We have three other American guests as well. They are students as well as instructors for Muggle Studies so they will be sharing teaching duties.
"Amy Madison is here to complete her formal Transfiguration/Animagi apprenticeship with Professor McGonogall." The blonde dressed in pale blue robes waved her hand smiling slightly. Everyone saw the fire flash of gems on her ring finger. "Miss Madison is also engaged to Professor Lupin so she is a suitable target for unrequited crushes."
Amy blushed as several boys wolf whistled. Lupin just smiled.
"I knew it!" Harry hissed. "I knew Remus was hiding something!"
"She is pretty." Ron pointed out.
"But how did Remus meet her?"
"Hermione?" The two boys turned to their friend who just smiled.
"Willow Rosenberg is completing her advanced DADA degree with Professor Lupin and Black." The red head dressed in saffron gold robes smiled shyly and ducked her heads. The brunette behind her pushed her forward. "Miss Rosenberg is engaged as well so don't waste your time boys!"
Soft laughter and more wolf whistles.
"Who's she engaged to?" Some brave soul yelled.
The red head flushed but spoke in soft tentative tones. "I don't know if you've met him. Bill Weasley?"
"What?!" Ron screeched before Harry shushed him.
Dumbledore smiled proudly. "Bill Weasley is an alumni of Hogwarts. A Gryffindor and former Head Boy. He is currently working as a curse breaker for Gringotts."
"Bill didn't say anything!" Ron hissed.
"Actually he did. He told Mum and Dad." Ginny corrected thinking. "Remember Mum laughing and crying? She must have been so happy to find out Bill was getting married, going to settle down and have kids."
Ron couldn't say anything to deny that.
Dumbledore continued with a wide smile. He was so pleased with himself and things. All his babies were getting settled. His driving goal completed. He could afford to relax now.
"The last instructor for Muggle Studies is Miss Cordelia Chase." The brunette American was in emerald green robes that parted to reveal low slung knit pants and a halter-neck vest-style blouse. She simply folded her arms under her breasts and raised a simply brow as she glided forward. "Miss Chase is not a witch but she is a True Seer." A murmur of hushed anticipation.
Cordelia decided to make an impression.
"I do not teach Divinations." Her voice was husky, carrying and acidic. "I don't use tea leaves, crystal balls, meditation, candles or incense. I do not control when I receive a vision or what I see. It hurts a great deal and anyone wishing to be a True Seer is an idiot. It is a curse and blessing wrapped in one. I did not choose to become a Seer but now that I have one I cannot imagine giving the Sight up despite the pain and sorrow that comes with it." Her smile sharpened. "In addition to being a Seer I have a few tricks that gives me a heads up on any mere witch or wizard. Anyone even thinking of playing tricks on me, Willow or Amy will get it." Her eyes fell on the Gryffindor table.
"The Gryffindor student with black braids near Hermione... I did not use a charm on my hair. It is Muggle hair dye." Parvati gasped. Cordelia glanced at the Slytherin table. "Slytherin student with mousy hair and need of a good facial... I am wearing Muggle clothes; it is called a halter top. I prefer them." Pansy Parkinson shook her head in denial. Cordelia glanced at the Ravenclaw table. "The Oriental Ravenclaw student... I must warn you against your interest my godson. Connor is in a fairly committed relationship with someone else." Cho Chang blushed vividly. Connor groaned and covered his face with his hands. "The Gryffindor boy, Weasley, I do not appreciate you undressing me or my friends." Ron paled then blushed bright red.
"The truth is I have no interest in eavesdropping on hormonal teenage fantasies and rounding up rule-breaking students. I will leave that to Professor Snape. I have better things to do with my time." She concluded firmly. "Consider me Mother Confessor. You can tell me anything and I will not break your confidence as long as it doesn't hurt other students." Cordelia rubbed her forehead with her left hand. Green emeralds flashed on her ring finger. "It gives me a headache to probe telepathically for extended periods of time. I will respect your privacy if you respect mine."
Dumbledore was surprised and pleased at Cordelia's choice to be open and honest about her capabilities and ethics. He had a feeling Cordelia was going to end up as the School Counselor and Hogwarts Agony Aunt in the upcoming year. He coughed to get their attention.
"For the curious, Miss Chase is engaged to Professor Snape."
Snape didn't say anything as Cordelia Chase moved back until she stood slightly in front of him.
Ron gaped. "How can she be engaged to Snape?"
"I don't know but Hermione can tell us." Lavender giggled. "Miss Chase called Cho out. The new boy is her godson and Hermione knows him. Miss Chase is kinda young looking though to have a teenager as a godson."
"Let the Feast begin!" Dumbledore proclaimed.
Gold dust coalesced above the tables into platters of food. The students settled to eat.
Snape watched Cordelia discreetly. She was sitting straight reluctant to relax and allow her spine to touch the chair back.
"What is it?" He asked her softly.
She looked up at him. Her brown eyes were more gold with slit pupils, her nails were longer and sharper like claws clicking as she struggled to maintain control.
"It's too much." A single tear trailed down her cheek. "The thoughts are driving me mad." She confessed softly. "It wasn't this bad in LA. Magic there is shielded and demons guard their thoughts against probes. Here everything is open. It is like a thousand splinters."
Severus reached out for her hand unconcerned of who saw and what they thought.
Harry saw Snape grasp the brunette MS teacher's hand. She looked as though she were crying.
"He's hurting her!" He accused in a hiss.
"Shut up Harry!" Hermione ordered. "It is not Snape's fault!" Harry stared at her hurt. "It is not Snape's fault!" Hermione repeated. "Cordy is different. Being around so many wizards and witches may be having a negative effect on her."
Hermione watched the Potions Professor lace his fingers through his fiancee's hand. Contrast of marble and bronze, lean elegant manicured hands. She could see Cordelia relax.
"She's feeling better now." Hermione announced then frowned. "I think she's going to have to eat privately from now on though."
Hermione was right.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
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