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Chapter 13: Chapter 13: Sorting ceremony

Authors Note: The chapter came fast because I didn't need to think much. Many of you who had read 'Harry Potter' will find it similar to Page 7 of the original book, albeit with a little bit of Kent and Hermione mixed in.

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It was already dark when the train reached Hogsmeade station.

Kent and Hermione got off the train in the midst of the students pushing their way through the door.

"Firs' years! Firs' years over here!" They saw a huge man about as tall as the train coming over with a lamp in his hand.

'Hagrid's really huge!' Kent looked up at the man with the lamp and wandered, 'Then, what about real giants?'

The first year students gathered in front of the Hagrid one by one.

"All right there, Harry?" asked Hagrid.

Harry sleepily nodded. It was a long journey.

"Any more firs' years? C'mon then, follow me!"

The first years followed Hagrid down a steep narrow path. It was really difficult to see on the either side of the path because of the dark.

"Yeh'll get yer firs' sight o' Hogwarts in a sec," Hagrid called over his shoulder, "jus' round this bend here."

"Wow!" Kent looked at the vast castle perched over a high mountain on the other side of the lake.

Hermione was silent by his side. She had a complicated feeling looking at the familiar castle. It had brought her so much joy but also had ruined her life once.

"We won't let it happen again," Kent said softly.

Hermione nodded, clenching her fist.

"No more'n four to a boat!" Hagrid called, pointing to a fleet of small boats sitting in the water by the shore. Each boat had a lamp hanging from the wooden post stuck on it.

Kent and Hermione got into a boat followed by the girl Sally-Anne Perks and another lively girl with blond hair.

"Everyone in?" shouted Hagrid, who had a boat to himself. "Right then -- FORWARD!"

And the fleet of small boats moved off all at once, slowly gliding across the lake.

The castle was getting bigger and bigger as they moved closer to the other side.

Kent got a clear view on how big and majestic the castle was.

"Heads down!" yelled Hagrid as the first boats reached the cliff; they all bent their heads and the little boats carried them through a curtain of vines that hid a wide opening in the cliff face. They were carried along a dark tunnel, which seemed to be taking them right underneath the castle, until they reached a kind of underground harbor, where they clambered out onto rocks and pebbles.

Kent and Hermione were the only ones who didn't have any difficulties walking on the rocks.

They steadily walked through the crowd of students and stopped beside Hagrid who had a little toad in his huge hand.

'When did Hagrid got it?' Kent wondered.

"Trevor!" cried Neville blissfully holding out his hands.

Then the students, except for Kent and Hermione who were walking steadily as walking on a flat land, clambered up a passageway in the rock after Hagrid's lamp, coming out at last onto smooth, damp grass right in the shadow of the castle.

They walked up a flight of stone steps and crowded around the huge, oak front door.

"Everyone here?"

Hagrid raised his gigantic fist and knocked three times on the castle door.

...

While everyone was nervous, Kent was quietly looking at door, recording everything in his sight using the system library. There were lots of unknown intricate symbols and inscription on the door. They might come in handy one day.

A few moments later, the door swung opened to reveal a familiar face.

Kent recognised the black haired witch at first glance. She was Professor McGonagall who "introduced" him and his sister to the magical world and also acted as a guide in Diagon Alley.

"Firs' years, professor McGonagall," said Hagrid.

"Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here."

She pulled the door wide. The entrance was big, big enough to fit a medium sized house in it. The grey walls were lit with flaming torches. In the front was a marble staircase that led to upper floors.

The Granger duo followed behind the professor along with other first years.

'The door probably leads to the great hall,' guessed Kent hearing the drone of voices coming from the doorway to the right.

The professor led them to a an empty hall and stopped in front of them.

The students crowded in, standing rather close to each other. Kent and Hermione stood at the side.

"Welcome to Hogwarts," said Professor McGonagall. "The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of 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 noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points, while any rulebreaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours.

"The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting."

Her eyes roamed around the students for a moment.

"I shall return when we are ready for you," said Professor McGonagall. "Please wait quietly."

The hall fell silent. There were bouts of whisper but no one spoke out loud.

"Are you nervous?" Kent whispered to Hermione.

"Yes, I am afraid we have to lower our occlumency shield for the hat to sort us." Hermione said, "it uses legilimency."

"I don't think the hat remembers what it sees," Kent said. "It must have sorted so many students in the last thousand years. It can't possibly retain everyone's memory, right?"

"What the – ?!"

Their conversation was cut short by a collective gasp from the crowd. The students were staring at a group of pear-white and slightly transparent figures floating and talking with each other.

It was their first time seeing ghosts. It was bound to scare them a little.

Kent looked at the ghosts curiously wandering if they were real spirits.

"Move along now," said a sharp voice. "The Sorting Ceremony's about to start."

Professor McGonagall had returned. One by one, the ghosts floated away through the opposite wall.

"Now, form a line," Professor McGonagall told the first years, "and follow me."

Kent and Hermione were the last to join the line, with Kent standing behind Hermione.

They followed the professor out of the chamber back across entrance hall, and through a pair of double doors into the great hall.

The great hall was lit by the numerous candles that were floating over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting. At the top of the hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting. Professor McGonagall led the first years up here, so that they came to a halt in a line facing the other students.

Kent looked at teachers. He recognised headmaster Dumbledore, who was sitting at the middle of the high table.

He also recognised professor Quirrell by his large purple turban, who was fidgeting constantly. He was having a conversation with a greasy haired man sitting beside him.

"That must be professor Snape." Kent guessed but turned his eyes sideways. From the the corner of his eyes he could see professor Snape looked at him.

'Phew! He's too sensitive,' thought Kent as his eyes fell on professor McGonagall.

She placed a four-legged stool in front of the first years. On top the stool, she placed a pointed wizards hat. This hat was patched and frayed and extremely dirty.

Kent shivered at the thought putting that dirty hat onto his head.

Soon the chattering of the students quieted down with all of them staring at the hat, waiting for something to happen. The hat twitched as if it was coming to life. A rip near the brim opened wide like a mouth -- and the hat 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 top 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 the brave at 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 in 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 don't get in a flap!

You're in safe hands (though I have none)

For I'm a Thinking Cap!"

The whole hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song. It bowed to each of the four tables and then became quite still again.

Professor McGonagall now stepped forward holding a long roll of parchment.

"When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted," she said. "Abbott, Hannah!"

A pink-faced girl with blonde pigtails slowly walked to the stool, put on the hat and sat down.

"HUFFLEPUFF!" shouted the hat.

The table on the right cheered and clapped as Hannah went to sit down at Hufflepuff table.

"Bones, Susan!"

"HUFFLEPUFF!" shouted the hat again, and Susan scurried off to sit next to Hannah.

"Boot, Terry!"

"RAVENCLAW!"

The table second from the left clapped this time; several Ravenclaws stood up to shake hands with Terry as he joined them.

"Brocklehurst, Mandy" went to Ravenclaw too, but "Brown, Lavender" became the first new Gryffindor, and the table on the far left exploded with cheers.

"Bulstrode, Millicent" then became a Slytherin.

"Finch-Fletchley, Justin!"

"HUFFLEPUFF!"

"Finnigan, Seamus," a sandy-haired boy sat on the stool for almost a whole minute before the hat declared him a Gryffindor

"Granger, Hermione!"

Despite having gone through the sorting ceremony once, Hermione was a little nervous. Fighting was lot more easier than being on a stage with hundreds of eyes on you.

She put on the hat and sat quietly on the stool. It took about half a minute to decide which house she belonged to.

"GRYFFINDOR!" shouted the hat. The Gryffindor table once again burst into loud cheers.

Hermione slowly walked to the familiar long table and sat on an empty sit.

"Granger, Kent!"

The crowd saw a boy, little over five feet tall, walked out of the line. The extra attention was due to the fact that his surname was same as Hermione's, who was just sorted.

Kent was nervous. Neither in his past life nor in this life had he ever stood in front of a crowd with all their attention on him. It was a little nerve-wracking.

He quietly walked to the stool and picked up the hat. He took a glance inside. It looked clean.

He sat on the stool and put on the hat. The hat fell over his eyes hindering half of his vision.

'Godric Gryffindor sure had a huge head,' a funny picture appeared in his mind.

'Let's see what we have here,' a rough voice sounded in his head. He waited for the hat's "evaluation" of him, see if it matches with his own ''evaluation".

'A curious yet cautious mind,' The hat said in his head, 'Brave heart but with a sense of restraint. A seeker of knowledge. Where to put you–'

'Just put me in Gryffindor,' said Kent.

'Gryffindor eh?' chuckled the hat, 'So be it–

"GRYFFINDOR!" shouted the hat.

The table to the far left burst into cheers.

Putting the hat back on the stool, Kent walked to the Gryffindor table and sat down next to his sister. He took a quick glance at the long table to the far right.

It was then Neville's turn. The round-faced boy fell over on his way to the stool. It took about a minute to decide as the hat finally shouted "GRYFFINDOR!".

Then a thin boy by the name "MacDougal, Morag" was sorted into Slytherine.

It was finally Malfoy's turn. He was blonde guy with a "I am better than everyone" fac. He walked confidently to the stool. The hat barely touched his head before it shouted "SLYTHERINE".

The three student after him with surname, "Moon", "Nott", "Parkinson" were also sorted into Slytherine one by one.

Then a pair of twin girls by the name "Parvati Patil" and "Padma Patil" were sorted. The first one to Gryffindor and the second one to Ravenclaw.

Then Kent saw the familiar bespectacled "Perks, Sally-Anne" walking to the stool nervously. It took only few seconds for the hat to sort her into Ravenclaw.

"Potter, Harry!" When Harry's name was called the hall fell into a strange silence. There were occasional whispers among the students as the black-haired boy slowly walked to the stool.

After Harry put on the hat, Kent noticed that he was whispering something.

A minute later, the hat shouted, "GRYFFINDOR!"

The Gryffindor table burst into loud cheer and applause. It was different from before as most of the students in the Gryffindor table stood up and clapped. A pair of twins with red hair even shouted "We got Potter! We got Potter!".

And now there were only four people left to be sorted. "Thomas, Dean," a black boy taller than most first years, joined Harry at the Gryffindor table. "Turpin, Lisa," became a Ravenclaw and "Weasley, Ronald", the red haired boy who was with Harry Potter was sorted into Gryffindor.

The ceremony ended with the last student by the name "Zabini, Blaise" being sorted into Slytherin.

Headmaster Dumbledore rose from his seat. He was beaming at the students, his arms opened wide, as if nothing could have pleased him more than to see them all there.

"Welcome," he said. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!"

"Thank you!"

He sat back down. Everybody clapped and cheered.

'Eccentricity stems from power and authority.' Kent figured. Dumbledore was probably the only wizard who held three to four positions at the same time and also one of the most powerful wizards of all time.

Soon he was snapped out of the thoughts as food magically appeared on the gold laden plates. There were so many varieties of food: roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, boiled potatoes, roast potatoes, fries, Yorkshire pudding, peas, carrots, gravy, ketchup, and, for some strange reason, peppermint humbugs.

'Elves' magic is really advanced,' thought Kent as he began eating. He really envied the ability of the elves to remain invisible and teleport which seems to have no barrier, at least he never heard any.

Then his attention turned to ghost that just came out through the table.

"That does look good," said the ghost in the ruff sadly.

"Can't you -- ?" Harry Potter, the bespectacled boy offered the piece of steak he was going to eat.

"I haven't eaten for nearly five hundred years," said the ghost. "I don't need to, of course, but one does miss it. I don't think I've introduced myself? Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington at your service. Resident ghost of Gryffindor Tower."

"I know who you are!" said Ron suddenly. "My brothers told me about you -- you're Nearly Headless Nick!"

"I would prefer you to call me Sir Nicholas de Mimsy -- " the ghost began stiffly, but sandy-haired Seamus Finnigan interrupted.

"Nearly Headless? How can you be nearly headless?"

Sir Nicholas looked extremely miffed, as if their little chat wasn't going at all the way he wanted.

"Like this," he said irritably. He seized his left ear and pulled. His whole head swung off his neck and fell onto his shoulder as if it was on a hinge. Someone had obviously tried to behead him, but not done it properly. Looking pleased at the stunned looks on their faces, Nearly Headless Nick flipped his head back onto his neck, coughed, and said, "So -- new Gryffindors! I hope you're going to help us win the house championship this year? Gryffindors have never gone so long without winning. Slytherins have got the cup six years in a row! The Bloody Baron's becoming almost unbearable -- he's the Slytherin ghost."

Kent and other first-years nearby, looked over at the Slytherin table and saw a horrible ghost sitting there, with blank staring eyes, a gaunt face, and robes stained with silver blood. He was right next to Malfoy.

"How did he get covered in blood?" asked Seamus with great interest.

"I've never asked," said Nearly Headless Nick delicately.

When everyone had eaten as much as they could, the remains of the food faded from the plates, leaving them sparkling clean as before. A moment later the desserts appeared. Blocks of ice cream in every flavor you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, Jell-O, rice pudding...

As Harry helped himself to a treacle tart, the talk turned to their families.

"I'm half-and-half," said Seamus. "Me dad's a Muggle. Mom didn't tell him she was a witch 'til after they were married. Bit of a nasty shock for him."

The others laughed.

"What about you, Neville?" said Ron.

"Well, my gran brought me up and she's a witch," said Neville, "but the family thought I was all-Muggle for ages. My Great Uncle Algie kept trying to catch me off my guard and force some magic out of me -- he pushed me off the end of Blackpool pier once, I nearly drowned -- but nothing happened until I was eight. Great Uncle Algie came round for dinner, and he was hanging me out of an upstairs window by the ankles when my Great Auntie Enid offered him a meringue and he accidentally let go. But I bounced -- all the way down the garden and into the road. They were all really pleased, Gran was crying, she was so happy. And you should have seen their faces when I got in here -- they thought I might not be magic enough to come, you see. Great Uncle Algie was so pleased he bought me my toad."

'No wonder Neville's so clumsy,' Kent thought.

At last, the desserts too disappeared, and Professor Dumbledore got to his feet again. The hall fell silent.

"Ahem -- just a few more words now that we are all fed and watered. I have a few start-of-term notices to give you.

"First years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. And a few of our older students would do well to remember that as well."

Dumbledore's twinkling eyes flashed in the direction of the Weasley twins.

"I have also been asked by Mr. Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors.

"Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch.

"And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death."

"And now, before we go to bed, let us sing the school song!" cried Dumbledore.

After singing the 'out-of-tune' song, the Gryffindor's first-years followed Percy the prefect through a series of moving stairs to finally reach the portrait of a fat lady in pink silk dress.

"Password?" asked the lady in the portrait.

"Caput Draconis," said Percy, and the portrait swung forward to reveal a round hole in the wall. They all scrambled through it and found themselves in the Gryffindor common room, a round room full of squashy armchairs.

Percy directed the girls through one door to their dormitory and the boys through another.


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