A/N: J. K. Rowling owns the world of Harry Potter, I only claim ownership of Lexie, Max and the five new characters I've mentioned in this chapter and will introduce formally in the next. No money is being made from this fic, it's just a bit of fun. I'm sorry for the ending but it's all I've got so far. Enjoy!
The door swung open at the man's knock, and everyone looked ahead to be greeted by the sight of a tall, brown haired witch in emerald robes. Her hair was piled under her hat and her stern face surveyed them all as they stood in the doorway.
"The firs' years, Professor McGonagall," said the man.
"Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here."
She pulled the door open as wide as it would go to allow everyone inside, and Lexie was amazed to see the size of the entry hall, it could have fit her room and Draco's with much more space to share. The walls were stone, flaming torches giving off most of the lighting, with a marble staircase that led to the upper floors.
The students followed Professor McGonagall across the stone floor toward another doorway on the right, where Lexie could hear the low buzzing of voices. She expected that Professor McGonagall would take them into the room with the rest of the school, but she showed the first years into an empty chamber off of the main hall. They crowded in; all standing a little too close to each other for comfort, all looking about nervously.
"Welcome to Hogwarts," said Professor McGonagall. "The start of term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be very much like a family within Hogwarts. You'll have classes with your house, sleep in your house dormitory, and spend free time in your house common room.
"The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each house has its own history and each has produced noble witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your accomplishments will earn you house points, while any rule breaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup, this is a great honor. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours.
"The Sorting will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all prepare yourselves while you are waiting." Her eyes flicked from Neville, to red hair’s dirt-smudged nose, to Messy hair's unruly mop. Lexie noticed Hermione trying to flatten her bushy hair but failing.
"I shall return when we are ready for you, please wait quietly." Professor McGonagall left the chamber, and everyone started to fidget and talk in low voices. Draco glanced beside him to see that his foster sister looked deathly pale from nerves so he reached over and gently squeezed her hand once. She seemed to come out of a trance and gave him a shaky smile.
"How do you think the Sorting ceremony is done?" Messy hair asked the boy beside him, the redhead.
"Some sort of test, I think. Fred said it hurts a lot, but I think he was joking." The boy answered and Lexie gulped, fighting to keep her lunch down. It would not do to get sick in front of everyone, but it terrified her that she would be placed into a house in front of the entire school. Draco didn't seem so concerned, but he stayed close, a little worried that she would fall over at any moment.
Lexie saw Hermione glancing around and she followed suit to see that she wasn't the only one who looked scared. No one spoke much, but she could faintly hear Hermione whispering what sounded like spells to her inexperienced ears. The girls locked eyes and Lexie tried to smile, but Hermione was too busy with her whispering to notice.
Suddenly Lexie felt a new presence and was startled when at least 20 ghosts emerged through the back wall. They were all translucent, gliding over the room and talking to one another, not noticing the scared first years below. They seemed to be arguing, one was saying: "Forgive and forget, I say, we ought to give him a second chance."
The two ghosts went on about their argument but one noticed them watching, a ghost wearing 16th century clothing, peered down at them. "New students!" cried the first ghost, smiling at them but no one moved or spoke, still in shock. "About to be Sorted, I suppose?" A few brave students nodded, "Hope to see you in Hufflepuff! My old house, you know."
"Move along now," said a crisp familiar voice. "The Sorting Ceremony is about to begin." Professor McGonagall had returned, at last. The ghosts floated away one by one, through another wall. "Now, form a line and follow me."
Lexie stood behind Hermione, who was behind the redhead and Messy hair. They walked out of the chamber, through the entrance hall, and entered the Great Hall. Lexie's eyes went wide again to see so many people in one place, her eyes flitting from each house, to settle on two familiar faces, Fred and George who sat at a table on the right of them. George grinned encouragingly at her and raised his empty goblet. She returned the smile, only a little more at ease than before and continued her examination of the room. The room was lit by hundreds of candles above them, over the four long tables, where the rest of the students sat. Most seemed to be watching the first years as they followed behind Professor McGonagall but she noticed that one table on the far left had students who were more interested in talking.
At the top of the hall, another long table was placed, where who she could only assume were the Professors sat. Professor McGonagall led the first years toward it then stopped in a line facing the Head Table. Lexie couldn't see what they were stopped in front of over the other student's heads and shifted nervously. She noticed the return of the ghosts, hovering near the tables. Lexie saw Hermione looking up and she tilted her head back too, to see an enchanted ceiling, strikingly black with stars dotted throughout.
"It's bewitched to look like the sky outside. I read about it in Hogwarts, A History," Lexie heard Hermione say. "It would be an excellent place to stargaze, no need to even go outdoors." Lexie replied and she saw Messy hair smile at her comment.
Everyone's attention was called back to Professor McGonagall, as she placed a four legged stool, then on top of the stool a wizard's hat. The hat looked terribly old, patched and beaten up and very dirty.
Lexie thought that it would have made a wonderful picture and committed it to memory, she couldn't wait to sketch. Hogwarts was the most breathtaking place she'd ever seen, with Malfoy Manor a close second. Everyone else was also staring at the hat; a few minutes of silence went by before it twitched and a rip near the brim opened like a mouth and began to sing."Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your tops hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
And I can cap them all.
There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell brave of heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet wise old Ravenclaw,
If you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don't be afraid!
And you won't get in a flap!
You're safe in my hands (though I have none)
For I'm a Thinking Cap!!"
The entire hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song, but Lexie couldn't tear her eyes away, her brain rapidly telling her that hats weren't supposed to talk. Although judging by the response from the rest of the school, this was a normal occurrence so she meekly joined in. The hat bowed to each of the four tables and became still once more.
"So we've just got to try on the hat!" Redhead whispered to Messy hair, then went on to say what Fred had told him about the ceremony. Lexie turned to look back at the twins briefly and saw that George was still watching but was also talking to Fred beside him. She wanted to be with Draco in his house, but she also wouldn't mind being with the twins either.
Professor McGonagall now held a very long roll of parchment, "When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted," she informed them and Lexie faced front again as the first name was called, "Abbot, Hannah!"
A girl with pigtails walked out of the line, put the hat on, and then sat. A moment's pause went by before the hat shouted, "HUFFLEPUFF!"
The table to their immediate right cheered as Hannah went to join them, one of the ghosts waving happily at her. A couple more joined the Hufflepuff table, and two to Ravenclaw, but "Brown, Lavender" became the first Gryffindor. The table on the far left exploded in cheers and whistles, welcoming their newest recruit. "Bulstrode, Millicent" became the first Slytherin and Lexie noticed that they didn't look all that pleased.
Lexie watched as more students were called and placed into houses, including two of the girls from the compartment she'd seen on the train, a "Dawson, Ruby" accompanied by "Farrel, Krystal", both in Gryffindor. Soon the G's came and it was Hermione's turn, Lexie watched, hoping she'd be in the welcoming house. Hermione seemed nice, maybe a little snobbish but nice and she hoped that she would be in a house that wasn't like Slytherin. Lexie noticed that sometimes the hat shouted the house out at once, while taking longer on others.
"Granger, Hermione!" Hermione gathered her courage and ran to the stool, jamming the hat on her head. "GRYFFINDOR!" Hermione looked happy but Lexie heard the redhead groan and she frowned. What did he have against Hermione? Not long after, Neville was also sorted into Gryffindor after a long wait, and everyone laughed as Neville ran off wearing it and had to return it to Professor McGonagall. The sorting continued and Lexie realized it was nearly her and Draco's turn and her nerves came back full force. What house would she be in?
Draco immediately became a Slytherin, and joined his table looking pleased. He watched as Lexie fidgeted before her name was also called, "Malfoy, Alexis."
Lexie approached the stool and placed the hat on her head as she took a seat, hands clenched tightly. "Hmm a difficult one, you were a Meadowes before, yes I remember your parents. Quite a dilemma. You could do well in both houses, where shall I place you?"
A voice whispered in her ear and she chewed her lip. "GRYFFINDOR!"
Lexie let out a breath and thanked the hat quietly in her mind before placing it back on the stool and hurrying to sit down. She noticed that George's and Fred's expressions toward her were both guarded and she wondered why but didn't dwell on it. She found a chair beside Hermione and Neville and took it, glancing over at the Slytherin table to see Draco scowling unhappily. She was dismayed to see him turn away as her gaze met his, but she pushed it aside and turned back to the Sorting. There weren't many left and she sat up to watch as one other girl from the compartment joined the Slytherin table, another to Gryffindor, and wondered when the other two boys would be sorted.
A pair of twins were separated, one in Ravenclaw, the other Gryffindor. She watched as a boy was sorted into Gryffindor and he took a seat diagonally to her. She gave him a friendly smile that he returned before her attention, and everyone else's, was sharpened as "Potter, Harry" was called. Lexie heard the whispers and even noticed the teachers sitting forward, as if anxious to hear the result as well. She watched as Messy hair- Harry -stepped towards the hat and placed it on his head, the hall went quiet, each house wondering for some reason where Harry Potter would be placed.
The hat twitched and Harry shifted uncomfortably, the hat was taking a long time, before it shouted, "GRYFFINDOR!"
Louder cheers than for the first Gryffindor erupted as a relieved, and blushing, Harry joined their house. One tall boy with a badge shook his hand while Fred and George made catcalls as Harry took a seat nearby. His cheeks were beet red from all of the attention and Lexie got her first real look at him. His black hair was unruly, barely covering a scar upon his brow shaped like a lightning bolt, his glasses looked very old and beaten up, and his green eyes were striking. She gave him a small smile and they both turned back to the sorting.
From her seat she was able to see the Professor's table better, and took the time to look over them. Her attention was immediately focused on a man with a long white beard, half-moon spectacles and twinkling blue eyes. The redhead turned out to be named Ron Weasley, and she could now see a resemblance with the twins as he sat next to Harry at their table. The two remaining girls from the train were also placed in Gryffindor, but Lexie was busy watching the High Table. She saw the large man from before, and a small teacher, who sat on pillows. Her gaze stopped on a man with sallow skin, a hooked nose and a sour expression. She looked once more at the white-bearded man and was startled to see him looking back and he winked, making her blush. She continued her examination of the professors, till she noticed a man in a purple turban, who sat quivering in his chair.
As the last student, a "Zabini, Blaise" was sorted into Slytherin; Professor McGonagall rolled up her scroll and took the hat and stool away once more. Lexie watched as the man with the beard got to his feet, shining a wide smile at the students, his arms open wide.
"Welcome!" He said. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!"
He sat and everybody clapped and cheered, Hermione's jaw hung open and Lexie's eyebrows rose in amusement. That was a speech? Harry seemed to follow her line of thinking as he asked the tall boy - Percy, another Weasley she remembered now - "Is he a bit mad?"
"Mad?" Percy replied, "He's a genius! Best wizard in the world! But he is a bit mad, yes. Potatoes, Harry?"
Lexie's nose twitched as it caught the scent of food and she looked around to see several entrees appear before them piled with every kind of food she could imagine, even some she'd never seen before.
She was definitely not at home anymore!