As Elizabeth Bennet sat down at the Hufflepuff table, next to her friend Charlotte and sister Jane, she pulled the letter she had just received at the Gryffindor table out of her pocket. She broke the seal, scanned the letter and laughed.
'Hey, Jane, yesterday I sent Mum a message saying about the Triwizard Tournament being hosted at Hogwarts and the other schools coming here, what an honour and excitement it was, etc. and do you know what she sent back? 'Ooh, that's great; you'll meet some nice boys!'
Jane and Charlotte laughed.
'Really? I guess I should have expected that, but I thought she'd be a bit more excited about the tournament.' said Jane. She still hadn't finished her breakfast, so Charlotte and Lizzie had come and sat next to her. Due to their being split into different houses, Lizzie into Gryffindor, Charlotte into Slytherin and Jane into Gryffindor, they usually sat on Jane's table in the middle. They'd been friends for too long to split up just because of their houses.
Charlotte had lived near to the Bennet family all her life, and could joke around about the sister's mother like her own. She knew how obsessed Mrs. Bennet was about getting her daughters married. With Lizzie in her sixth year and Jane in her seventh, both without boyfriends at the moment, their mother felt like they were doomed to a fiery pit of eternal spinsterhood.
Charlotte's mother wasn't too bad, really, but she'd definitely been corrupted by Mrs. Bennet.
Jane finished her breakfast and they headed off to their first lessons, nearly running into a pair of ginger twins- the Gryffindor beaters- discussing how to get into the competition and something about growth potions. Reminded of their previous topic, Lizzie asked, 'So, who do you reckon the Hogwarts champion will be?'
'I'm not sure,' said Jane, 'most of the 'Puffs want it to be Cedric Diggory.'
'Yeah, I can see why. Prefect, Headboy, Quidditch Captain, what about the Slytherins?'
'Y'know, the average knuckle-headed bully.' replied Charlotte.
Jane and Lizzie nodded. Neither of them agreed with the bias against Slytherins as a whole, like some people in their houses, but there were some idiots in there.
'What about Gryffindor?'
'Merlin, we're the house of bravery and daring, the whole house is itching to have a go, even me. Too young, though. I expected the Wonderkid Harry Potter to be a favourite, but he's too young. Knowing his luck, he'll still be picked, poor kid. I'm backing Angelina.'
'Johnson? The team captain?'
'Yep. She's pissed that there's no Quidditch though. She's nearly as bad as the last captain. Remember when he didn't think that the Chamber of Secrets opening and a giant snake attacking people was a good enough reason to stop Quidditch?'
William Darcy rolled out of bed with a groan, waking up his friend Charles on the other side of the room.
'What time is it?' Bingley asked sleepily.
'Nearly seven, you'd better get up soon.' Darcy said, as he went over to the wardrobe. Despite aiming for the start of term, they'd only arrived late last night. They were meant to arrive two days before so their rooms had been given away and they'd had to share. Bingley's sister, Caroline, had kicked up a fuss about it, and she didn't even have to share. The thought that they were 'insulted' was enough to make her give the landlady hell. Darcy and didn't mind; they were used to it. Darcy got dressed, wondering what would be waiting for them when they arrived at Hogwarts.
Five hours later, Darcy, Bingley and Caroline, Bingley's sister, were sitting in the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Professor Dumbledore's, office. They'd gone through a lengthy checking process, and were now just waiting to be 'sorted'.
It was a pain having to start three days after everyone else, thanks Aunt Catherine, at least they were spared the indignity of having to line up with all the first-years, thought Darcy. Though he didn't really see what this old hat would do. Apparently, it was meant to sing, but had refused to do it anywhere but in the real sorting. Another professor, McGonagall, placed the hat on Bingley's head. They all sat in silence for a few minutes, Darcy and Caroline feeling faintly ridiculous. Eventually, the hat yelled;
Caroline snickered at the name, but her brother looked pleased. Darcy thought about what he'd heard about Hufflepuff. He'd always been told that they were useless, but apparently Bingley was one. Maybe it was wrong. He'd check it out. Next to be sorted was Caroline. The hat had barely touched her head before it yelled;
Caroline looked smug at getting into the house that she considered superior, but Darcy thought that she would have been at least a little upset about not being in the same house as her brother. If she was, she definitely didn't show it.
Darcy stepped forward for his turn, ignoring his feeling of apprehension. It was ridiculous. He came from an old, proud, rich, pure-blood family, who shouldn't have been worried about being judged by an old hat.
Resolutely, he sat on the chair whilst McGonagall placed the hat on his head.
'Hmm... let's see, ooh, you're going to be a tricky one, aren't you? Well, well, let's see. Plenty of pride, ambition. Wants what's best. You'd make a good Slytherin.'
Darcy was relieved; that was the house he had wanted to be in. Although... he felt a slight twinge of regret about losing his childish Gryffindor ambitions, before he knew better. It was nice when he had imagined himself flying around the school, fighting monsters and winning Quidditch matches. But now he knew better. Shaking off his moment of sentimentality, he began wondering what his years in Slytherin would be like.
'I see...' Darcy nearly jumped. He'd almost forgotten that the hat was watching and hearing his thoughts. 'I wasn't sure at first, but this settles it then, eh?'
It would be fine, no more weird memories, he was going to be a Slytherin and pass his NEWTS. And Slytherin was the house he'd always wanted to be i-
Wait, what? As Darcy looked up in astonishment, he didn't even notice Caroline's smug smile drop.