After what seemed like a lifetime - or, at least, a human lifetime. Fae lifetimes tend to be sufficiently longer - We were the only ones up there. The Headmaster of the school, Albus Dumbledore, stood up from his chair - throne, rather.

"This year, things are a slight bit different." he said. "We have, for Care of Magical Creatures, we have a returning teacher, Professor Grubbly-Plank. Please welcome her back." The teacher from the boats stood up. There was a smattering of applause. "For Defense Against the Dark Arts, we have a new teacher, Dolores Umbridge. Please-" he stopped. A toad-like creature wearing a hideous pink cardigan stood up and made her way to the front of the room.

"Hem hem." she said in a sweet, sickly voice one last time before continuing. "Thank you, Professor Dumbledore." she cleared her throat. "It is lovely to be back at Hogwarts again. I have missed it so very much." I stopped listening after that. I'm not sure what the hell she said, but from the vibe I'm getting from her, it wasn't good. Eventually, she sat down, and Dumbledore stood back up, applauding. He was the only one doing it. Not even the other teachers clapped more than 2 times before stopping.

"Now, as I was saying," Dumbledore started again. "This year is still more different. As you may have noticed, there are still people waiting to be sorted, and they are older than our first years." Oh, they noticed all right. The whole crowd of students had been staring at us since we got here, and they hadn't stopped. "Well, Hogwarts is now host to 6 American exchange students."

A murmur washed over the crowd, but stopped once Dumbledore started talking again. "Unlike last year, the is no tournament of any kind." I raised my eyebrows. I'll have to find out more about that sometime later. "They are simply here for the sake of learning. I hope you give them all a warm welcome as they get sorted." Now there was much more applause as people craned their necks to get a better view of us. Professor McGonagall came back to the front with a different list.

"Daye, May!" she announced. Jazz whispered something in May's ear before May walked up, grinned at McGonagall, and sat down as McGonagall put the hat on her head. After a few seconds, her grin lessened a bit, something I only noticed because I had looked at a smile that looked like that for most of my life, though it was usually only in a mirror.

After a minute, the Hat called out, "HUFFLEPUFF!" The table with the yellow badger banner hanging over it burst into applause, Jazz and I along with them. May waved at them and sat down.

After they stopped clapping, Professor McGonagall called out again, "Daye, October!" I walked up and sat on the stool. She placed the Hat on my head. It fell over my eyes.

"Ah," said a voice. My eyes narrowed.

'So you're the Sorting Hat, huh.' I thought.

"Correct, I'm here to sort you. Now, oh!" the Hat exclaimed in my head. "You're much older than you look. By about 40 years." it guessed.

'Don't tell anyone." I mentally hissed.

"Oh don't worry, I'm not allowed to tell anyone what I learn. Your secret is safe with me. Now, let's see… Oh, this one's a true hero!" Flashes of Blind Michael's lands buzzed through my head before vanishing. I shivered. "Bravery, truthfulness… There's only one answer for this… GRYFFINDOR!" It announced to the whole hall. I got up and walked over to the red table. I sat down in an empty seat across from Hermione and next to Harry. Hermione stuck out her hand.

"Congratulations for getting into Gryffindor. Sorry you and your sister got into different houses." she told me. I shook her hand and nodded, trying to avoid the thank you.

"It's alright, May and I are completely different people." I admitted. Hermione nodded, and we both turned back to watch the sorting.

"Patel, Jasmine!" called Professor McGonagall. Jazz walked up to the stool and sat down, smiling just before the Hat went over her head. Her sorting didn't take long at all. "HUFFLEPUFF!" the hat shouted. The whole of Hufflepuff started clapping, May being the loudest. I clapped along with them.

"Sollys, Quentin!" Quentin glanced at Raj, then went over to the Sorting Hat and sat down, the Hat then going on his head. "GRYFFINDOR!" the Hat soon called out. Quentin's eyes opened, and he bounded over to the Gryffindor table and sat down next to me.

"Bet you a dime that both of them will go into Slytherin," I said to him quietly. Quentin shook his head.

"Nah, Raj would go into Ravenclaw, probably Tybalt too. At least one of them will go into Ravenclaw." he replied just as quietly. Professor McGonagall read from the list,

"Stratford, Raj!" Raj walked up to the stool confidently and sat down. McGonagall placed the Hat on his head.

"SLYTHERIN!" it shouted. Quentin glanced at me nervously as Raj sat down at the Slytherin table. I smirked.

Professor McGonagall eyed Tybalt a bit before reading from the list, "Stratford, Rand!" Tybalt smirked as he walked up to the stool and sat down. The Hat was placed over his head.

"SLYTHERIN!" it called out.

"Yes!" I exclaimed quietly. Quentin groaned and handed over a dime. I pocketed it, smirking all the while before starting to clap. Tybalt eyed us, obviously amused. He sat down next to Raj.

Food suddenly appeared on the table. I stared at it before looking around. Everyone but Quentin and I had started eating at our table. Quentin shrugged before starting to eat with them. I sniffed a particularly good-looking turkey leg before biting into it. It was delicious! I had a few things before stopping. Instead I looked around at the others. Quentin was busy inhaling the entire table, May and Jazz were interacting with some of their new House-mates, and Tybalt and Raj were having some meat. Tybalt looked up at me and smiled. I smiled back. "Toby?" asked Harry. I tore my eyes away from Tybalt and looked at Harry.

"Yeah?" I asked him.

"Eh, could you pass the salt? It's right over there." I looked over to my right. Quentin was currently pouring what seemed like the entirety of the salt shaker onto his chicken tenders. I sighed, and pulled it away from him - "Hey!" - and gave it to Harry.

"Here you are," I said. He nodded.

"Thanks," he replied, before starting to use it. I bit my lip. Strictly speaking, in the mortal world, we were allowed to say thanks, but I didn't like it either way.

"Mmm." I hummed. Quentin had stopped his eating for the moment.

"Are we allowed to switch tables and talk to our friends?" he asked me. A boy sitting across from Quentin looked up.

"I don't know… I don't think there are any rules against it… I'm Neville, by the way. Neville Longbottom." he said thoughtfully. Quentin nodded, then opened his mouth to say something. I sniffed the air, and nearly gagged. The smell of the food was overshadowing almost everything, I could barely even smell Quentin's steel and heather keeping his human illusion up. But buried under everything, nearly pushed away, was the smell of fertilizer and honey combs. Quentin closed his mouth, looking at me worriedly.

"Toby?" I waved my hand dismissively.

"I'm fine," I told him, before nearly falling off of the bench. All of the food from the table had been replaced by all kinds of desserts. Towering castles of ice-cream, tortes of all kind, there was so much. Who makes all of this? I was interrupted from my musings by Harry again. He smiled nervously, and held out what seemed like a cherry pie.

"Want some pie?" he asked. I raised my eyebrow and smirked slightly.

"That depends. Is it an evil pie?" I heard Quentin start choking on his raspberry torte. I pounded him on the back, chuckling. He glared at me, still trying to regain his breath.


"You better be."

"Uh huh." Soon, the feast was over. All the houses stood up as one, and started to leave. The Gryffindors headed out the door and up the stairs with the the purple and bronze house, while the Hufflepuffs trailed into a door to the right of the staircase, the Slytherins, a door to the left of it. Tybalt winked at me. I smiled back.

The Gryffindor common room wouldn't look out of place at Shadowed Hills' guest suites. If it had more roses, that is. Hermione led me the dorms, which had about equal amounts of red as the common room. I walked over to the bed that had my name written on a plaque on the end of the four poster bed. I checked the time. 9:55. Knowing Tybalt, he'd probably get here at exactly 10.

Yet, sure enough, exactly 4 minutes after 9:56 pm, a loud yowling filled the room. I jerked up, and heard my roommates do the same. I grinned, jumped out of bed, and walked over to the door.

"Okay! Tybalt, enough already! In!" I said as I let Tybalt, in cat-form, into the dorm. Hermione looked at me as the other girls cooed over him. I smirked.

"Tybalt? Prince of Cats?" she asked me. I smiled.

"I think he fancies himself as a King. You read Shakespeare?" Hermione blushed.

"That's why my name is Hermione; my parents were avid readers of him." Nodding briefly, I walked over to Tybalt and his new fan-base - the squealing girls that had been squealing since we got here.

"Come on, Tybalt, to the bed we go." Tybalt bristled as I ungracefully picked him up, but soon started purring as I petted him.

I carried him over to the bed, to which he strained out of my grasp and onto the red sheets. I climbed into the bed with him, and closed the curtains surrounding the bed while casting a notice-me-not charm. Almost immediately he turned back to human.

"By Maeve, woman, how have your cats not killed you with the way you can carry them?" he asked with a smirk on his face.

"I respect them and they respect me. Except when they want food." I replied. Tybalt cast what seemed to be a silencing charm on the curtains.

"I told Raj about this outing before I left. He seemed to be trying to chat up some of the fourth year boys, so I'm not entirely sure he was paying attention." Of course he was. Quentin was going to be so disappointed.

"What are we going to do about all of us being in different houses? Jazz and May, You and Raj, me and Quentin?"

"Meet up whenever possible. Make allies and friends within our respective houses and years. You seem to have the best chance of befriending Harry Potter." I blushed.

"Yes, well, I'm a bit old for him." Tybalt practically purred as he responded.

"Aren't I a bit old for you?"

"I think you're missing the fact that you put up with me, and you fell for me first."

Tybalt laughed. "I did not, as you say, 'fall for you', my heart simply slipped into your hands at some point in our relationship." I wrinkled my nose.

"Okay, ew."

"Shall we start? I didn't come all of this way for talking - quite the contrary."

I thought for a moment. "When do you need to be back?"

"4:00 am." he replied evenly.

"Well, I guess that's enough time…" I mock-sighed.

Tybalt smiled.