After the sorting ceremony, the empty plates that filled the table were filled instantaneously with mouth-watering food, which all the students dug into without hesitation. The hall was full of excited conversation; regarding the New Year and finding out about one another's summer holiday. The majority of the conversation, however, was centred on the new boys. Each one of the boys were being fired questions and quickly trying to answer them before receiving another. All except Dallas, who found the constant questions rather irritating, and after stuffing his pockets full of food, raised from his chair and said to Steve "Come on, lets blow this joint man" before the two swiftly proceeded to their dormitory. Two-Bit was surrounded with attention and was in his element with the adoration he was receiving for his outburst during the ceremony. On the Gryffindor table, Sodapop, Ponyboy and Johnny were also making new acquaintances. Soda was surrounded by a group of girls who, despite their best efforts, were giggling girlishly whenever he spoke. As the boys sat amongst the eager students, they noticed a parting in the crowd as a group of four boys approached them. The gang was made up of a timid looking, mousey-haired boy and an ill looking boy, both of whom seemed somewhat distanced from the two who led. One of the boys was of average height, with extremely messy hair and hazel eyes, the other a good looking boy with dark hair and grey eyes. These two, it was obvious, were the leaders and the group surely had a reputation due to the students' acknowledgement of them. A silence fell and the crowd disintegrated, leaving only the boys and the trio. The boys faced an uncomfortable pause which was broken by the good looking boy;

"Hi," he said

"Hey," Sodapop replied as Ponyboy smiled and Johnny nodded.

"I'm Sirius Black; this is James, Remus and Peter." He told them, signalling to the others.

"I'm Sodapop Curtis, this is my kid brother, Pony and this is Johnny Cade." Sodapop replied as he too signalled to the others.

"So, err, how old are ya'll?" Sodapop asked

"Sixth year." Sirius said, looking to the others with a grin and adding, "I'm the oldest, they're just kids."

"Oh right, err, so how old does that make you guys then?" Pony asked

"Can you not figure that one out for yourself?" Sirius scoffed, receiving a nudge in the ribs from Remus for his rudeness.

"We're sixteen," Remus said, "Sirius is seventeen next week and how about you three, how old are you?"

"I'm fourteen, Soda is sixteen and so is Johnnycake…"

"Johnny what?" Sirius interrupted.

"It's just what the gang call me," Johnny answered quietly

"The gang?" Sirius enquired again

"Y'know, the ones standing lookin' outta place at the end of the hat thing," Soda laughed.

"The Sorting Ceremony" Remus corrected him

"Yeah, whatever it's called, well that's our lot,"

"Oh right, so those other lads, they're part of your gang?" Sirius asked

"Yeah, Two-Bit, he's the one in that puff house, and the other two, that's Dally and my best buddy, Steve."

"Hufflepuff," Remus corrected Soda again with a smile

"Well whatever,"

"Wait a minute; how old did you say you were?" James asked suddenly

"We're sixteen" Soda answered pointing to himself and Johnny, "and Pony's fourteen, you haven't got a problem with that have you?"

"Not really pretty boy. You guys must have just been held back a few years eh?" James snapped. At this comment Soda stood up aggressively, followed by Johnny and Pony. Sirius jumped in front of James, pushing him back,

"Sorry about that mate, touch of the green eyed monster I reckon." He said apologetically.

"Why are you saying that for? You berk!" James snapped at Sirius.

"I'm just trying to stop you getting whacked over some girl." Sirius responded.

"Some girl? She isn't some girl, she's my girl, and he was all over her," he said, his voice rising, whilst pointing at Soda.

"What girl?" Soda asked, "Look, I got my own girl, I'm not looking for anyone here."

"So what's wrong with my girl then? What? She isn't good enough for you or something is that it?"

"I'm sure she's fine but I love my girl." Soda replied matter of factly.

"Look lads, why don't we just calm down, Prongs mate, he's not after Lily." Sirius said restraining James.

"Yeah, I would never think of cheating man, I love her." Soda reassured him, "Why don't we just agree that we both love our own girls and leave it at that yeah?"

"I suppose, yeah, ok, sorry mate," James replied

"No bother." Soda said.

"Well, on that pleasant note, we'll leave you three," Remus exclaimed, while Peter bounced nervously on the balls of his feet.

"Yeah, I'm still hungry, what say we raid the kitchens and go back to the dorms?" Sirius asked.

"Good plan." Remus nodded, "See you." He said to Soda, Johnny and Pony.

"Yeah, see you guys later." Soda said, nodding his head at them.

"Well we'll see you round then." James said as the marauders turned and began walking out of the Great Hall "Oh, Quidditch try-outs are next week. Come along if you want." He added before they disappeared out of sight. The boys just looked at one another and shrugged and went back to consuming their desserts.

"What-itch?" Johnny asked as the four boys left.
"Beats me." Soda said, shrugging his shoulders and polishing off his third helping of chocolate cake. Pony shrugged his shoulders and let out a long yawn.
"I'm beat." He said to the others.
"Yeah, me too." Johnny agreed putting down a spoon in the empty bowl that had been full of ice cream.

"Come on then." Sodapop said, "We'll go check out these dorms."