Disclaimer: I do not, and will never unfortunately own any of these characters or places. If you see anything you recognize from the books, it's the work of the marvelous J. , not me. I make no profit other than my happiness from writing this story.

Chapter 1: Introductions

"For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
And I can top 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." – The Sorting Hat, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Another school year had started at Hogwarts. The Sorting Hat spotted several familiar faces amongst the sea of students sitting in the Great Hall. It chuckled to itself as it glimpsed the Potter boy surrounded by his Gryffindor friends. Yes, that boy did do well in Gryffindor after all, the old hat mused to itself. Brave he was, taking on He Who Must Not Be Named alone, and even braver to come back to Hogwarts after. That boy, along with his friends would have a hard time catching up with all the work required for N.E.W.T.S together with dealing with the aftermath of the Second Wizarding War.

The Sorting Hat smiled in its own peculiar way as it caught sight of the Potter boy's sidekicks. Miss Granger would have no problem catching up intellectually the hat thought, adding: she has a wit to rival most Ravenclaws. However, the hat's odd smile drooped as it beheld the boy under that ginger mop of hair. Ahh... it thought, envisioning a hard year for that one. The Weasley boy was not renowned for his brain.

The hat's thoughts stilled as silence fell across the Great Hall.

Minerva McGonagall strode into the Hall, leading a terrified group of first years. Sniggers could be heard echoing through the vast room as one tripped and fell flat on his round, red face. The Headmistress, abandoning her position at the front of the throng, helped the tiny boy back onto his nervous, shuffling feet. She then cast a disapproving glare over the students, namely the tall red-headed boy who was whispering into his black-haired friend's ear.

Harry smirked as Ron finished betting which house that clumsy boy would be in. Hufflepuff for certain.

Hermione sent the boys a reprimanding look before her face softened as her ginger-haired boyfriend winked at her saucily from across the table.

Their attention was turned back to the Headmistress as she called the name of the first child to be sorted. Abi Acker came forward and sat on the wooden stool, eyes darting around nervously. The Sorting Hat was placed onto her small head and pondered for a moment before declaring, "Hufflepuff!"

The Hufflepuffs cheered as the blushing first-year joined their midst.

The sorting carried on with each table showing their approval as each child was placed into their house, Gryffindor being the most vocal. Slytherin's applause was rather subdued.

"Ernie Wiffles!"

Anticipation fell upon the tables as the boy who had fallen over approached the stool. Harry and Ron exchanged glances as the sweating boy placed the hat on his head. After a moment's pause, where the two boys at the Gryffindor table chanted under their breath, "Hufflepuff, it's gonna be Hufflepuff..."

The Sorting Hat seemed to relish the anxious attention cast upon it as it rose dramatically before bellowing, "Slytherin!"

Many people's jaws dropped to hit their tables as Ernie Wiffles stumbled over to the green and silver bannered table.

The few Slytherins on that table clapped half-heartedly as the boy sat amongst them.

"Hey there aren't very many Slytherins here, are there?"

"Congratulations for noticing, Ronald," Hermione snapped sarcastically.

"Yeah, did you think many would come back? I mean after the war and all. Most of their parents are in Azkaban- I doubt any of them will show their faces in public again," Harry added, "I'm just surprised Malfoy came back. His dad's in it pretty bad after all the crimes he committed."

The threesome turned to look at the miserable blond who was flicking his thumbs against each other in an attempt to look casual.

All three fell into a contemplative silence before dragged their eyes to the front of the Hall where the sorting had finished. However Professor McGonagall still had an announcement.

"Each and every one of these first-years have been put into their houses. Yet, the sorting is not over." The students muttered to their companions in confusion. The Headmistress continued.

"We have two... transfer students, entering in their seventh year. Now they are... a little different in their ways of magic, but nevertheless must still have a house to belong to. Heloise Pearle, Guinevere Wynters!" Professor McGonagall called out. The school waited with bated breath, before two girls emerged.