Arriving on time the red steam engine that was the Hogwarts Express pulled into Hogsmeade station, and a few moments later the doors on the outside of the carriages opened and older students started to step out and onto the platform.
Magnus, followed by Daphne and Tracey, stepped out of their carriage into the cold air of the night all dressed in their Hogwarts uniforms. Like some Magnus's uniform was noticeably different to others, not the style but the materials. At a casual glance one could tell it was of a higher material than most others, and while some wore robes that were too big for them Magnus's fit him perfectly.
Looking around Magnus was instantly grateful for his choices when purchasing his uniform, as it was well worth the extra galleons for the finer materials and the charm work he had requested from the offered listings.
His entire uniform was made from acromantula silk, and his shoes were dragon skin. All of his clothing currently was charmed to be water and dirt repellent, self-repairing and was magically fitting. While his robe had the extra added enchantment of a warming and cooling charms set to keep his temperature regulated so he didn't get too hot or too cold at any time.
No sooner were they on the platform they heard a booming voice ahead of them at the end of the platform, "First years this way, come on now first years don't be shy!"
They all turned to see the massive figure of Hagrid standing at with a lantern in his hand not that he needed it to get their attention given how large the man was.
Moving as instructed the first year students started toward the large half-giant and looking ahead of them Magnus could make out the messy black head of hair next to a messy ginger one and smirked realizing who it was as they started to move off the platform with the rest of the first years as the other years started to move off in a different direction.
It wasn't long before they made it to the docks on the shores of the Black Lake and Hagrid turned to face the first years again, "alright no more than four to a boat, come on now" he instructed and the students started to obey.
Magnus got into one of the boats and sat down rather carefully, this practice had always made him cringe when he thought about it. Taking the entire group of first years to the castle on small boats pulled by the giant squid of the black lake may initially seem like a good idea, but to Magnus it was just an accident waiting to happen, putting young children into boats and putting them out on an open body of water with no means of keeping them from accidentally falling overboard, yeah love to meet the guy who came up with that idea.
As Magnus was mentally rolling his eyes at the first year tradition both Daphne and Tracey had gotten into the boat and taken the seats behind him, that was when a voice broke Magnus out of his thought that Magnus recognised.
"Um do you mind if I sit here?" asked a female voice.
Magnus's head turned and looked up and it was only thanks to his occlumency training that he kept his shock from showing on his face. On the dock looking at him was the young bushy haired girl that all Harry Potter fans knew, Hermione Granger.
Magnus quickly caught himself on before he stalled to long, "Sure, go ahead Miss?" He offered and asked with a kind smile.
Hermione smiled as she sat down next to him, "Oh sorry, I'm Hermione Granger" she said with a smile.
Magnus nodded, "A pleasure to meet you miss Granger, my name's Magnus Black," he said with a smile before gesturing to the two behind them, "and these two lovely ladies are Daphne Greengrass and Tracey Davis." he said as he introduced them, both girls nodded to Hermione as Magnus introduced them.
Hermione nodded back with a smile before looking go, Magnus, "Black? You aren't related to one of the previous Hogwarts headmasters are you, I read about someone called Black in Hogwarts: A history?"
Magnus gave a small chuckle, "Yes the same, though I'm not sure how far back I was related to him. I do know he was a Black though there's a painting of him in my family's manor." he told her before mentally smirking 'or there was'.
Before any more questions could be asked Hagrid's voice boomed once again at the front of the peer, "Alright then, forward!" and with a jerk, the boats all started to move forward and out onto the lake.
The illusion of the boats moving on their own had many of the first years in awe as they looked around in shock, you could tell the muggle-borns from the purebloods who weren't doing so as they were pulled out of the cove the dock was in and out onto the open water of the Black Lake and that was when they saw it.
Hogwarts castle was certainly a lot bigger than Magnus had imagined as it stood looming out over the lake, its torches burning bright as beacons for all to see.
"Wow, it's bigger than I thought," Magnus voiced unintentionally in his awe as the three girls around him nodded in agreement as they continued on their lap of the castle. It wasn't long before they beached the boats on the shore just thirty or so yards from the large castle doors and the students started to climb out of the boats and followed Hagrid to the huge doors of the castle which he easily opened.
"Alright in ya's go this way now," Hagrid said as he stepped to the side and all the first years started into the castle as they looked around with awe as they ascended the steps ahead of them and continued up them until they came to the top where Professor McGonagall was waiting for them.
Magnus kept to the side of the large group of first years as McGonagall looked them over and glanced at him for a second longer than he felt she should have and that was when he realized and started to mentally berate himself, his hair, it was still the length that he had changed it too with his Metamorphmagus skills. She had seen him less than a month ago with much shorter hair, of course, she was going to find it strange.
After looking over the students McGonagall began her speech with Magnus tuned out of somewhat while he knew that the houses were a key part of Hogwarts and its history the idea of sorting children at a young impressionable age had always been something that made him pause for thought on whether this was a good idea or not. While on one hand, he liked the idea of the houses as they promoted individual ideals, there was also what they had become, labels for each student that would stick with them for the rest of their lives, not something you should force on children.
But once again Magnus was pulled from his thoughts with a cry or "Trevor!", and his head turned to see the rather clumsy form of the boy he knew to be Neville Longbottom make his way through the crowd to collect the large toad on the steps just before Professor McGonagall's feet.
Magnus suppressed a smirk and rolled his eyes, he had always wondered when he watched this scene how Trevor had made it all the way to Hogwarts if he had been lost on the train, and it was only after watching the movies multiple times did the answer finally hit him like a slap in the face, Hogwarts house-elves.
Magnus watched as Neville muttered his apology and slipped back into the crowd of students as McGonagall righted herself after being interrupted.
"The sorting ceremony will begin momentarily" she finished before turning and leaving the first years standing on the stairs.
Magnus smirked knowing what was coming next, and sure enough, right on cue, the pompous voice of Draco rang out. "It's true then, what they're saying on the train. Harry Potter has come to Hogwarts."
Magnus leaning against the railing listens as the conversation continues as he watched from the back as he hears the other first years start muttering in excitement.
"This is Crabbe and Goyle," Draco said as he introduced the two bookends behind him, "and I'm Malfoy...Draco Malfoy."
At that, a snort was heard and Magnus rolled his eyes knowing it was Ron's snort to keep from openly laughing and then he heard Malfoy's retort.
"Think my name's funny, do you? No need to ask yours. Red hair and a hand me down robe? You must be a Weasley." Draco spoke with an obvious glare at the redhead before looking back to Harry, "We'll soon find that some wizarding families are better than others, Potter. Don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there" he stated as he held out his hand.
It was then Magnus's turn to openly snort getting eyes turned to him, "Oh please Draco. Stop embarrassing yourself. I know you're blond but surely you have a bit more tact than that." Magnus spoke getting snickers from the other first years and a punch in the shoulder from a glaring Daphne, but Magnus continued un-phased, "I mean who in their right mind would want to be friends with you, hell your family name is a warning to all, right bad faith?" he said as he cast a glance towards the blond who was practically red with rage.
Magnus rolled his eyes and stood up from leaning against the railing and took the last few steps up the stairs until he was at the front and turned his glare on Malfoy who had the wisdom to back off remembering their confrontation on the train.
With Malfoy subdued Magnus then turned his attention to the twin gazes of Harry and Ron who were looking at him with interest. Magnus smirked and held out his hand, "A pleasure to meet you Harry Potter, my name is Magnus Black." he said with a smile as he took in the response to his name from the other first years.
Whispers broke out again from all the first years just as much as when Harry had been identified, Ron who was beside Harry looked at Magnus his eyes wide obviously realising the connection. Harry didn't seem to mind at all and reached out his hand taking Magnus's and shaking it.
"Nice to meet you too," Harry said returning the smile.
Magnus nodded once as they finished the handshake just as the door behind them opened and Professor McGonagall came out. Magnus quickly slipped back into place as they were lead from the stairs through the grand doors and into the feasting hall.
As they walked in Magnus could already feel all the eyes on them from the four tables, as they were lead down the length of the hall. As they were Magnus could hear just a bit behind him Hermione talking about the ceiling above them how it was bewitched.
As they walked up through the hall Magnus let his gaze fall to the front of the hall as they walked, and it was then that Magnus first set eyes on the old man.
Dumbledore sat in the middle of the staff table in a large golden throne of a chair in the most oddly coloured robes Magnus had ever seen, his eyes twinkling as he watched down the hall as they approached.
It wasn't long before they were all grouped at the front of the hall just before the steps up to where the Sorting Hat was placed on the stool in front of the staff table.
"Now, before we begin, Professor Dumbledore would like to say a few words." Professor McGonagall stated before turning their attention to the staff table as the aged wizard rose from his seat.
Magnus's eyes narrowed on the old man knowing what he was about to say and mentally rolled his eyes at the man's tact, to any intelligent third party who would hear this most would question his intelligence unless they realized what his motives were behind his statement.
"I have a few start of term notices I wish to announce." Albus began, "The first years please note that the dark forest is strictly forbidden to all students. Also, our caretaker, Mister Filch has asked me to remind you that the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a most painful death."
Magnus mentally scoffed, 'Yeah right, if the forest is so forbidden for students then why were the golden trio, plus Malfoy, sent out there for detention with Hagrid, doesn't sound so forbidden to me. And telling children from the ages of eleven and up that somewhere is forbidden or out of bounds, that's basically saying "hey look kiddies adventure here, go have fun", but then again that is what that old bastard wants.' Magnus mentally raged to himself.
He watched on as Dumbledore sat down once more and everyone's eyes fell to the hat on the stool at the front as a ripping sound was heard as its eyes and mouth opened and soon the voice of the sorting hat filled the hall with it's song.
"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 folks 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!"
As the song came to an end all the tables started to clap and the first years joined in, though Magnus could hear some of them talking in disbelief many commenting on the test, Magnus could make out Ron's voice saying he'll kill his brothers and mentally scoffed remembering how apparently the twins had told their little brother how he would have to fight a troll to be sorted, and the little idiot believed them.
As the applause ended Professor McGonagall turned back to the first years with a rolled up parchment in hand and cleared her throat before speaking, "When I call your name, you will come forth, I shall place the sorting hat on your head, and you will be sorted into your houses." The professor explained as she unrolled the parchment and called out the first name, "Hermione Granger."
Magnus watched on as Hermione walked out of the group and started up towards the steps. Behind him he heard Daphne give a snort, "she'll be in Ravenclaw. She couldn't stop talking about the books she's read." The blond stated smiling.
Magnus gave a single chuckle, "Don't be so sure," he said as they watched as McGonagall place the old tattered hat onto Hermione's head, though Magnus raised an eyebrow when he didn't hear a physical conversation between the girl and the hat like he had expected and a few moments later the hat's mouth opened and bellowed, "Gryffindor!"
The red table immediately burst into applause and cheers while the other tables clapped amicably as the hat was removed from Hermione���s head and the young girl hopped off the stool and went to join the Gryffindor table.
Professor McGonagall smiled watching the girl go before she looked to the list again for the next name and Magnus and everyone else could see her eyes widen in what was obvious shock at what she had read and her eyes immediately went to Magnus as she spoke, "Magnus Black"
The simple saying of Magnus's name first brought complete and utter silence to the hall, before the whispering started in earnest, and Magnus could see the looks of shock many at the staff table had as well, none more so than Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape, both of whom looked on in shock as Magnus stepped out of the crowd and started up the steps.
Magnus watched the headmaster and potions professor as he started towards the stool. He could see that Dumbledore at least schooled his features after a couple of seconds, while Snape shock seemed to fade into a sneer, but Magnus knew better than to look into either of their eyes.
His occlumency training had taught him that a master of legitimacy did not need their wand nor an incantation to get into his head, he already suspected as much from fanfiction concepts, which stated that all they needed was to make eye contact with him and they could attempt to pull his memories. So there was no way he was looking either of them in the eyes and just in case he made sure to raise his occlumency shields to full strength to prevent any intrusions.
Reaching the stool Magnus turned and sat down on it and took a deep breath as he felt the hat being placed on his head and immediately he felt something, a presence inside his head followed by a voice that echoed in his head.
'My-my, what do we have here? Aren't you an interesting one.' the voice of the sorting hat sounded.
Magnus frowned before mentally replying, 'Hello hat, I take it you want me to lower my occlumency shields?' he stated plainly only to get a chuckling response.
'Oh no dear boy, no need to do that, I'm already in your head. The founders enchanted me to be able to bypass any form of mental defences. So your barriers don't affect me in the slightest, though I must admit your defences are quite good for someone your age. Though not enough to keep the castles resident pair of Legillimens out of your head should they try and force their way, though it should buy you the couple seconds you need to break eye contact with them if you don't want them to find out your secrets' the hat stated.
Magnus mentally scowled hearing that and closed his eyes as he enters into his mindscape which he had done so many times before and opened his eyes again to find him standing in the library of his memories face to face with a floating sorting hat as Magnus mentally spoke. 'You're in my head, but that means…'
The hat shook the equivalent of its head in mid-air, 'It means nothing dear boy. Your secrets are safe with me. The founders may have enchanted me to get by all mental defences but they also made it so that I cannot tell anyone about what I glance from a student's head nor have it pulled from my own, not even the headmaster can order me to do so, your secrets are still secret and will remain that way'
Letting out a mental sigh of relief Magnus mentally nodded his head, 'I see,' he said before looking at the hat with an interested look, 'You don't seem surprised about my memories, could it be that you've seen people like me before?'
The hat chuckled. 'The same as you no, but like you in a sense. People who have been reincarnated, I have seen my fair share over the years, and though I won't tell you who they are I will say that none of them are as interesting as you are. You certainly have an interesting point of perspective involving the headmaster and certain individuals, a perspective that I and Hogwarts herself happen to agree with'
Magnus blinked, 'You do? …Wait what do you mean Hogwarts agrees with me? Do you mean the castle's…'
The hat chuckled, 'You've already worked it out. The castle is sentient, though this fact is only known to those who are connected to its wards. The castle-like myself was enchanted by the founders in order to better protect the students, although its capacity to do so has been greatly diminished over the years by each headmaster that have come and gone, and from what I can see from your memories, that isn't going to change.'
Magnus blinked as he mulled over the thought of the castle being sentient and he realised that on some level it was possible if he thought about it, there had to be some level of understanding if the room of requirements existed, and apparently the castle agreed with him.
'Okay, so what does that all mean?' Magnus asked still trying to wrap his head around the facts.
'It means that you will have Hogwarts support should you need it, but such support will be limited given the restraints placed upon her by the headmaster. It is Hogwarts obligation to protect her charges. That is the duty the founders charged her with, but since Dumbledore has set foot inside her halls that job has become next to impossible. I can see you are aware of what is to occur over this school year, what the headmaster has set up on the third floor corridor. Hogwarts has protested against these to the headmaster but he has ignored all of her pleas to remove them for the student's safety, and she is restricted from doing anything without the consent or orders of the headmaster'
Magnus frowned, 'so even Hogwarts doesn't like the old man, can't say I blame her'
'Indeed, this castle was meant to be a place of learning but ever since Albus started here and gained favour with the previous headmaster that has changed drastically. I can see you also suspect this by your criticism of what is taught here at Hogwarts, and you are correct, all branches of magic are no longer taught within the castle's walls. This is due to two reasons, the ministerial condemning multiple forms of magic that they deem to be dark, now normally this wouldn't affect what classes Hogwarts has taught in the past as it is a sovereign nation and not restricted by ministry laws. But ever since Dumbledore has been both chief warlock of the Wizengamot, the body who made the decisions on magic, and Hogwarts headmaster. He has used this as an excuse to have the subject cut from Hogwarts curriculum and has done so to such an extent that it is what you see it today.'
Magnus scowled at that revelation it was obvious to see what was happening, Dumbledore had been manipulating things to get what he wanted. He used his sway in the Wizengamot to get branches of magic ladled dark and then used his power as headmaster of Hogwarts to remove them from the curriculum. Doing so in such a way that no one would question why because it played to his persona as the leader of the light. But that only left one question, what was his real reason for doing so.
The hat laughed, 'You are a clever one, seeing through his trickery and manipulations so quickly. Though when you think about it it's really not that difficult to see why. Albus has always had a god complex, you know the saying that knowledge is power. Well with magic that is more than just a saying, it is a fact, and by removing branches of magic from Hogwarts by having it declared dark, magic that he already knows. He is effectively limiting the knowledge of future generations and making himself more powerful in the process.'
Magnus felt sick to his stomach, 'So he is effectively sacrificing generations of students educations just to make himself seem more impressive? He's more twisted than I thought and I was thinking pretzel twisted. I wondered why there were so many more books in the Black library that I could recall seeing at Hogwarts, because the Black library hasn't effectively been castrated by the ministry with Dumbledore's permission and blessing.'
'Indeed,' the hat nodded once, 'now, as much as I'd love to chat with you more about what other things the headmaster has done that is questionable over his many years, I do have my duty to perform, and I think I know just where to put you, someone with your cunning, sly and ambition would do well in Slytherin wouldn't you agree?'
Magnus smirked, 'True but it doesn't seem very Slytherin to be placed in Slytherin does it? Plus I think we both know you aren't going to put me there.'
The hat chuckled, 'Oh is that right, and why would I do that? You have all the traits of that house and regardless of your belief about how un-Slytherin it would be to be placed in Slytherin it is still my duty to sort you accordingly.'
This time it was Magnus's turn to chuckle, 'Simple, because you and I both know you don't sort students by their traits. You sort them by what they value the most. How else would you explain your sorting? Hermione in Gryffindor when she's clearly a Ravenclaw. Neville in Gryffindor when he's clearly a Hufflepuff. Harry in Gryffindor when with his upbringing he could easily be a Slytherin, Draco and his two book ends in Slytherin when they don't have an ounce of cunning or sly between the three of them' he listed.
All the time he was doing so the hat grinned and burst out laughing at the end, 'ha-ha-ha, in over a thousand years none have ever realised what you have, they all believed the drivel I spouted about having the traits of the houses. You really are something. So then tell me where will I be placing you then?'
Magnus smirked, 'You already know, I value intelligence and those who employ it above others, using it to reach my own end, by those values I'm more Ravenclaw than Slytherin. Send me there.'
The hat nodded, 'Indeed, you will make a fine raven, you are not blinded by the labels that have been placed on magic by others, you seek the knowledge and the power that comes with it to better defend yourself and those who you see as your friends, a worthwhile goal. However I need not warn you to be wary of using some of those spells you have learned in the presence of more light-minded individuals, they may not take too kindly to them, and you don't need that much attention from the headmaster just yet, though I fear that you will be getting plenty so enough'
Magnus nodded his head in agreement, he already knew that with his name being announced he would draw the old man's attention and he already had steps in place to deal with him.
While Magnus was being sorted
Outside of Magnus's head time was ticking by as everyone watched patiently for different reasons, many at the staff table were watching with intrigue at the back of the young heir Black, Dumbledore was stroking his beard slightly as he mulled over this latest development as he wondered just where this boy had come from as he didn't recall seeing any Black on the enrolment form. Had he seen him he would have gone to investigate himself as there shouldn't be any other Blacks left, the house was all but extinct now with the last remaining Black locked up in Azkaban. So the question remained just where had the boy come from and how had he eluded his knowledge.
As Albus thought this over he tried to contemplate also just what this might mean for his plans, the appearance of an heir to the house of Black could possibly prove to be a problem if the boy was aware of his family and his heritage, which given how he was dressed in fine robes and the way he held himself left no doubt in Albus' mind he was. It meant that as heir Black he would be entitled to his seat in the Wizengamot when he reached his majority at seventeen, but Albus shook that thought from his mind, that was far in the future and as the boy was clearly an orphan he would have no guardian leaving such decisions in his own power. He could easily arrange for someone of the light to take up the voting power of house Black claiming he had consulted with the boy and no one would be the wiser, all the while giving more votes in his favour not that he needed it not with the Potter seat already under his thumb for the past ten years but it never hurt to have more voting power.
Then his thoughts turned back to his pawn and he couldn't help but feel a little giddy, he everything was falling into place perfectly when he saw young Harry enter the hall looking around him in awe, his plan to be the boys grandfatherly saviour from his poor childhood at the hands of his muggle relatives was coming along flawlessly. The boy was clueless about his heritage and he couldn't help but smile seeing his second pawn was by his side. He was delighted earlier when he received the floo call from Molly about their successfully meeting and helping young Harry through the barrier to the platform. Now with young Ronald by his side he would be able to monitor why young Harry has contact with, after all, it wouldn't help matters to have the boy learn about his heritage, it's not like he needed to know after all given that in order for Voldemort to die by Albus' hand in order to further his own plans young Harry would have to die first by Voldemort's.
At first, Albus had cursed the prophecy when he first heard it, how could a child be the destined one to defeat Voldemort and not him, Albus Dumbledore, it was unthinkable. It had just been sheer luck that Severus had overheard the start of the prophecy and had taken that knowledge to his master. Of course, had he heard the full prophecy he might have been reluctant to attack as he had, but because he hadn't it allowed Albus time to plan and use this to his advantage. Once he had identified the two possible children the damned prophecy could have related to it was only a matter of time to separate them from all possible help by sending them into hiding.
But of course Lily never made things easy, she was always a studious student and had voiced strongly with using the Fidelius Charm on the cottage in Godric's Hollow in order to further hide from Voldemort, and James had, of course, agreed with his wife. It was only the miracle that they made the foolish decision on their choice of secret keeper that made Albus' plan not come to a dead halt.
Of course, he'd know about Peter being a spy for the other side, he had been using this fact to feed them just the right amounts of information in hopes of drawing Voldemort out into the open for a confrontation. So he knew that the information on the Potter's whereabouts would get back to Voldemort, it was looking more and more like the Potter boy was the one the prophecy spoke of, and then the night finally came to pass and both James and Lily had been killed and Harry had survived by some ancient magics that Lily had found that Albus had never seen before, and to this day that still grated on his nerves.
After hearing of the attack Albus had been ready to give Sirius the speech about how it was best that Harry be put into hiding and to grow apart from the wizarding world because of his fame, but as it turned out the fool had gone and gotten himself arrested, and because of the deceit that he and the others had played in making the rest of the world believe he was the Potters secret keeper he was the prime suspect and with Barty Crouch Sr. and Minister Bagnold looking to sweep matters up quickly to put this whole mess behind them it was easy for him to "overlook" the fact that Sirius never received his trial, as well as keep quiet that he was not the secret keeper, after all, Albus was the one to cast the charm so he was the one who knew the truth, but it would serve his purposes better if Sirius was out of the picture for now. All it took was a simple memory charm before he was sent to Azkaban to make him forget who cast the Fidelius in the first place, then all that was left for him to do was make sure that the Potter will was never read, a simple matter for him as the Chief warlock of the Wizengamot, and like that he was able to claim guardianship of the child and have him put where he needed him in the less than tender care of his muggle relatives so that the rest of his plan could unfold just as he needed it to and as it had done so perfectly up till this point.
The sudden declaration of the sorting had brought Albus out of his thoughts as he focused back on the young Black having just been sorted, and he frowned slightly such a sorting didn't fall within the usual for house Black, but then perhaps given the boy wasn't raised a Black there might be hope for him, while it wasn't Gryffindor the house he was sorted into was a far better sign had he been sorted into Slytherin. He would need to meet with the boy, if for anything other than to determine his validity of being an actual Black, and it wouldn't hurt to be seen meeting with him for when he named someone to fill the Black seat on the Wizengamot.
I came out of my mindscape to the cry of "Ravenclaw" from above my head and couldn't help but smirk. That had gone far better than I had planned, and far easier. As the hat was lifted from my head I hopped off the stool and made my way to the Ravenclaw table who were applauding as I came to join them.
I could see many of them wanted to ask me questions, most likely to do with my name and my status, but at least I could see that they were going to hold their questions until the feast or until we were in the common room. One thing about being in the house that values intelligence, everyone is likely to ask questions.
I made sure to sit with my back facing away from the head table as best I could, didn't want to give the old man or greasy git the chance to try some passive legitimacy on me, not that they would get past my shields but I didn't want to give them the opportunity and watched the rest of the sorting as best I could without letting my gaze drift up to the head table.
Everything was running smoothly so far and nothing had fallen out of place as of yet as I watched each student go to the sorting hat and get sorted as they should.
"Daphne Greengrass"…. "Ravenclaw!"
I blinked, 'Wait what?' my head turned to see Daphne hopping off the stool with a pleased smile on her face as she made her way over to the Ravenclaw table it took a moment before I started to clap with the rest of the table, 'that wasn't supposed to happen' I thought worried, 'she's meant to be in Slytherin… did I cause her to be sorted here instead?'
I could see her pleased smile as she sat down at the table opposite me, I could practically see her giggling at my shocked look and I shook my head, 'okay as long as she's the only…'
"Tracey Davis"…. "Ravenclaw"
'Oh fuck me' I mentally groaned as I turned again to see Tracey hopping down from the stool as the hat was lifted from her head and smile all the way as she sat down next to Daphne both girls giving me grins and I suppress a groan, 'great, I wonder how this will affect things' I mentally berated myself. Of course my talking to them could have caused this, I practically pointed out the facts that made them Slytherin made the house of Slytherin unsuitable for them, and out of the only three houses remaining, of course, they would choose Ravenclaw it, their Slytherin qualities would make them not even consider the house of the brave or the house that is seen as taking the leftovers, Ravenclaw was the only logical choice left out of the three. 'I guess I can be grateful that I didn't mention the houses to Hermione or Harry when I spoke to them, last thing I needed was either of the golden trio not being in Gryffindor that could have seriously messed with how things are meant to go in the long run, guess I should be glad it was only these two that I had any real conversation with on the train'
As the sorting ceremony finished and the hat and stool were carried off out the side door of the hall, I heard the chiming of the headmasters McGonagall's goblet as she tapped it to gain everyone's attention as the headmaster rose from his seat, everyone turned to look to him. I did my best to follow the crowd but kept my gaze firmly on his chest not looking at his face.
"Let the feast, begin" Dumbledore's voice carried through the hall and just like that all the food appeared on the tables.
I could hear the shock from all those around me at the magic that was performed, making it look as though Dumbledore had conjured everything. I smirked, it was a good trick I'll give him that but it just takes a little bit of thinking to realize the number of ways it could be performed. And the easiest answer was simple, house elves, his command to have the feast begin was the command for all the houses elves to place the food on the tables via house-elf magic, while it made it look like the old man was using wandless magic when it was really slight of hand.
I just rolled my eyes as I began to fill my plate and snorted seeing other students looking at the food still in some kind of shock. Daphne looked at me with a raised eyebrow, "What are you snorting at?"
I smirked, "Just the headmaster's little parlour trick," I mused as I took a couple of spoonfuls of mashed potatoes making sure to use my ring hand and letting the detection ring get close to any of the food to test for any potions, not that I suspected anything, but it always pays to be safe.
"What little parlour trick, he used wandless magic, I'd hardly call that little" I heard from my left.
I looked and smiled as I recognised who it was, Padma Patil, and I shook my head, "No that's only what it looked like," I stated as I subtly checked then poured some gravy.
I could see a number of older students giving me sceptical looks, while I could see Daphne trying to figure out what I meant and I smirked, "How many of you over here are purebloods?" I asked as I ate, and I could immediately see some start to look at me with narrowed eyes, I sighed, "no I don't mean it like that. I'm only asking because if you're a pureblood it should make more sense to you as to how he did it." I said as I poured myself a drink, "he didn't use his wand, nor did he utter any incantation, he spoke in English and gave a command…" I said as I saw others now start to think as well.
I smirked and sipped my water, I couldn't fathom how people could stand pumpkin juice. As I did so I gaze around and saw that still, it wasn't clicking for any of them, I finished drinking, "He gave a command and his servants obeyed, the Hogwarts house elves" I stated and I could see a number of eyes going wide at my statement, "Oh come now, how do you think the castle stays clean, or all this food was prepared, I hardly think the staff do it" I stated and I could see it click with Daphne.
"He had it all set up so when he spoke the food would appear, clever" Daphne commented.
I could see a couple of older students start to shake their head in disbelief and I smirked, I must have been the first one to put that together for them, guess the house of the smart isn't as smart as it thinks.
As I was eating another voice spoke, "Are you really a Black?", it was a male voice this time and I looked to see it was a blond boy my age who had been sorted a little while after.
"Yes, I am," I replied, "I'm sorry but I didn't catch your name?" I asked, I felt like I recognised him but I couldn't place him.
"Anthony Goldstein," the Boy replied to my question, "But aren't Blacks always in Slytherin?"
I shrugged, "Well Mr Goldstein. That may have been the case in the past with my ancestors, but I wasn't raised a Black so it makes sense that I wouldn't have the same values as most of them, and thus I wouldn't be sorted the same," I stated, but I could see that others were getting ready to ask questions now that the first one had been asked, 'I'd betted nip this in the bud now before the flood gates open', I thought before speaking, "Now I would thank everyone if they could keep such questions about myself and my family till we get to the dorm room, I don't know about the rest of you but I'm hungry after the train ride and I want to enjoy my dinner" I said and I could see others nodding in agreement as they started back to their meals and idle chatter with each other.
I continued to eat my meal keeping my eyes down and away from the staff table, to prevent any chance of a passive legilimency probe from either Dumbledore or Snape, both of whom I knew were likely both glancing at me or Harry. But right now they weren't the only problems in the room given what I knew was under Quirrell's turban.
Fact is I was a little nervous and it was only thanks to my occlumency training that I was appearing as calm as I was. I knew not to misjudge the dark lord just because he was a shade. He was still in possession of Quirrell, and I knew that the whole stuttering show was just an act, Quirrell was a threat and a dangerous one, one that I intended to keep an eye on.
Eventually the feast wound down to a close and each of the groups of the first years were lead out of the great hall and started into the grand staircase, I followed along with Daphne, Tracey and the other Ravenclaw first years as we were led by a blond prefect which if I recalled correctly was Penelope Clearwater, Percy Weasley's girlfriend, that was if they had started dating already, I was never clear on when they did.
As we all walked I did my best to memorise the path, it would definitely take some time to get used to the castles huge layout, and then the absolute insanity of the changing stairs in the grand staircase.
It was another five minutes before we all began to come to a halt in front of a wall with a large door with a large bronze eagle knocker in its front and the prefect, Penelope turned to us.
"Here we are, now unlike the other houses who use regular single word passwords as their security, in Ravenclaw we have to answer a riddle to enter, a way to prove our intelligence, if you get it wrong you will have to wait for another to come along before you can come in as the riddle will only be asked once to each person and only they may answer," Penelope explained to us and there were a number of murmured responses to that from around myself.
"Now let's see what the riddle for this evening is then," Penelope said before she turned back to the bronze eagle as we all watched.
We all watched on as the eagle's eye opened and it flexed its neck as its head turned to Penelope before its bronze beak opened and it began to speak in a rather metallic voice. "You are in a room with no windows, doors or any exit. The only items are a mirror and a table. How do you escape?"
I smirked hearing that realizing the answer straight away but that smirk fell when I looked around and saw others looking confused, even Daphne and Tracey looked like they didn't get it, and Penelope looked deep in thought for a couple of moments before speaking, "Do I have my wand?"
The eagle knocker shook his head, "No"
Penelope sighed looking a little embarrassed to have gotten the puzzle wrong before she turned back to us, "anyone want to give it a try then?" she asked, no one immediately stepped forward, I sighed and did so.
I could feel everyone looking to me as the eagle head looked down at me before speaking again. "You are in a room with no windows, doors or any exit. The only items are a mirror and a table. How do you escape?"
I smirked, "You look in the mirror to see what you saw, you take the saw and cut the table in half, two halves make a whole then you climb through the hole!" I stated much to the murmured confusion behind me.
The eagle knocker knocked its head, "your logic is sound, you may enter" it spoke before it retook its original pose and the door clicked open and swung inward revealing a winding staircase leading up to the tower.
I turned back to my confused looking housemates and I smirked, "it was a word play riddle, words that sound the same but have different meanings" I said as I could see it started to dawn on some of them.
"Clever, Black," Penelope said looking at me with an impressed look before looking to the others, "alright this way, up we go," she said before leading us up the staircase.
It was only about two or three turns before we were filing out of the rather narrow stairway through another door that led out into a large dome-shaped common room, with four grand archers widows on the walls with two doorways leading to further stairs on the left and right of the room.
The walls were painted a pale white, and the dome ceiling had the night sky painted on it with a decorative bronze lining separating the ceiling from the walls.
A midnight blue carpet covered the main floor which had a number of tables and chairs and comfortable sofa set out with bookcases filled with a number of books on different subjects, and on the far side of the room was an archer inset with shelves of books inside and a statue of a woman upon it who looked rather beautiful and regal who I suspect was Rowena Ravenclaw.
a number of the older students were still up and about in the common room chatting as we entered and Penelope led us to the centre of the common room as we looked around.
Penelope turned to us all as we gathered before speaking, "This is the Ravenclaw common room, we are the only house to have our own library in our common room that is open to all for research purposes and classwork. A handy thing so you don't have to risk missing curfew at night, though please keep the books from here and the library separate, Madam Prince keeps the school library in order and she does not need extra work in bringing books back here that was put there by mistake, she gave quite the lecture on the fact last year when she had to do so on five separate occasions." she explained as we listened.
"The left passageway leads up to the dormitories for the boys and down for the lavatories, girl its the same on your right, unlike some of the other dormitories, you will each have separate rooms, your belongings have already been brought up from the train, so when you are heading to bed simply look to find the room with your trunk in it, the doors will all be open so if a door is closed it means the room is taken" She continued, "bed time is in half an hour for first years so I suggest you go looking for your rooms shortly, Professor Flitwick will be along to address you all shortly." she finished before turning and walking off to join the other older students leaving us to our thing.
As soon as she had stepped away the other first years all turned to me with inquisitive looks and I blinked before Daphne nudged me, "remember you said you'd take any questions about your family after the feast?" she reminded me and I inwardly sighed.
"Alright everyone, I'll take questions now, but only three, I have my law-wizard set to make a statement to the daily prophet this evening so tomorrow's prophet will have everything I'm willing to disclose about myself in it, so ask what you will now and read the rest tomorrow" I stated plainly.
"How can you be heir Black, isn't the last one locked up in Azkaban?" Asked of the first year boys.
"And you are?" I asked.
"Terry Boot" the brunet boy replied
"Well mister Boot, I was born out of wedlock, my father was Regulus Black, but he died before I got to meet him, same as my mother who died giving birth to me, I was raised in a muggle orphanage, and my house was only discovered when I took my inherency test at Gringotts and as per law took up my heir ring" I explained.
"How come we're only just hearing about you now then, wouldn't the prophet have reported that an heir had been found?" asked a girl this time.
"My discovery was kept a secret on the recommendation of my account manager for both political and financial reasons, given the amount of interest my sudden appearance would bring, steps needed to be taken to secure mine and house Blacks well-being and they have been, Miss?" I answered and asked.
"Lisa Turpin" the girl replied to my question.
I nodded back, "okay final question?" I asked looking around.
"what side do you fall?" asked Anthony, "The Blacks were notorious for supporting he-who-must-not-be-named in the war, but you said earlier you weren't raised a Black so you're views are different, are you for the light?"
You could practically hear a pin drop after he finished and I could feel all eyes were on me for my answer and I thought for a moment how to properly word my response before shrugging.
"While it's true that my family has been known to support the dark in the past, as I've already said I was not raised a Black, and while I am receiving lessons from my grandparents portraits on traditions and the wizarding world in general, I am keeping an open mind to all views at this moment in time, I'm still new to all of this and so I'm looking at everything with a more rational mind." I stated as I looked at each of them, "as of this moment I'm still taking in all the facts, so as far as I can say I am neither light nor dark, given that I've only been in the wizarding world for a month it's too early to tell, I need more information before I can decide. So, for now, I'm neutral, grey if you will. Until I have all the facts and I can make an informed decision on that fact." I finished as I could see some nodding in understanding to my reasoning.
A couple of seconds after I finished talking there was clapping coming from behind us and we all turned to see Professor Flitwick in the doorway looking cheerful.
"Well said, just what I'd expect from a true Ravenclaw, gathering all the facts before you pick a side, knowledge is after all very important when making a decision such as that, very well said mister Black," The small professor said to me.
I smiled back and nodded my head, "Thank you, Professor."
Professor Flitwick nodded again before looking to the other, "Let me be the first to welcome you all to Ravenclaw house, as you've no doubt already deduced, I'm Professor Flitwick, head of Ravenclaw house, and it's my privilege to welcome you all to your new house here at Hogwarts." he said with pride, "Here in Ravenclaw we pride ourselves on intelligence, wisdom and wit, as well as creativity, originality, individuality and acceptance. Though we're only known for the first three, keep the others in mind as they are just as important."
Hearing that I inwardly scowled, 'Yeah right, what was with all the bullying of Luna then in the later years, where was the acceptance there, where was the acceptance of her individuality and creativity? That is not going to happen while I'm here' I thought to myself as I continued to listen to the speech.
"I expect to see great things from each of you during your time here at Hogwarts. Hogwarts is a place of learning, and for growing, and for Ravenclaws it is where you will learn all you will need for when you leave to go out and better our world with your knowledge and wisdom." the small Professor beamed, "Should you need any assistance or have any questions you can find me in my office in between class times, or at any other times you can ask any of the prefects for help, they will be able to help with homework by recommending books or passages to read or checking your work for corrections and give advice, but they will not do the homework for you, this is the house of learning after all. Now, I believe I have kept you all long enough, and I think it's time you all went to find your dorm rooms, good night"
With that, we all divided, boys and girls, and went to go to our dorms but before I could get very far, Professor Flitwick spoke again. "Mister Black a moment if you please," he said kindly.
I stopped and turned back to the small professor as the others continued on to the stairway. "Yes Professor?" I asked.
"Mister Black, as you've no doubt guessed, you're arrival has caused some shock this evening, as a result the Headmaster has asked that you attend a meeting with him in his office tomorrow morning to straighten some things out and answer some questions" Professor Flitwick told me with a gentle smile and a neutral tone.
I nodded, "I see, that's understandable," I replied having expected this, "I take it you will be accompanying me to, and during the meeting, as per the Hogwarts charter permits?" I inquired.
I saw Professor Flitwick blink a couple of times in shock at my statement before smiling a bit more, "I say, you've read the Hogwarts charter?" he stated sounding shocked and happy.
I smiled and nodded, "Yes, well glanced over it would be a better phrase, it's quite a large volume but I managed to find a copy in the library in Black manor, and I was interested in to learn more about Hogwarts, my grandparents told me what parts I should focus on first, but intend to give it a more thorough reading during the summer when I have some free time" I explained.
Professor Flitwick's smile grew more and more with every word I said, "oh splendid, I can see why you were made one of my Raven's Mister Black, and I will certainly be attending the meeting with you, I'm quite curious to learn a bit more about you myself given your sudden appearance" he chuckled, "now I'd better not keep you, off you go." he said with a smile and a wave of his hand as he dismissed me.
I nodded, "good night Professor." I said before turning and heading towards the staircase leading up to the boy's dormitories.
Luckily by the time I had made it up the stairs, everyone else had already found their rooms so there was only one door left open, stepping in I could see my trunk at the end of the large double bed with midnight blue sheets.
I closed the door to my doom before going towards my trunk and opening it and starting down the ladder and closing the lid behind me, grateful that I had my own room meaning that it would make it easier going in and out of my trunk without people seeing me.
Reaching the bottom of the ladder I started down the corridor and through the common area into my master bedroom and right to the bedside table taking out the mirror inside grateful that I had spotted these things when I had been in the Black vault at Gringotts. Communication mirrors.
"Andromeda Tonks," I spoke into the mirror and a couple of seconds later the reflective surface of the mirror shimmered and Aunt Andy appeared in the mirror.
"About time Magnus, we've been waiting for over half an hour," Aunt Andy said over the line before a pink haired Tonks stuck her head in.
"Wotcha cousin, damn this thing really works, wish I had these when I was in Hogwarts" Tonks smirked as she peered at me from beside Aunt Andy through the mirror.
I smirked, "Sorry Aunt Andy, hey Tonks."
"So how did it go during the sorting, like we suspected?" Aunt Andy asked me
"And what house did you get into? Ouch!" Tonks asked impatiently only to get a smack on the back of the head from Andy.
I chuckled, "It went exactly as we suspected it would, my name being called out shocked everyone, though I haven't had any problems yet because of it, though I have been told that Dumbledore wanted to have a word with me tomorrow morning in his office, no doubt he will have a number of questions for me, I've asked that my head of house be present there already."
Aunt Andy nodded her head as she looked to be in thought, "I see, yes just as we suspected then, Ted has already dropped off the information with the Daily Prophet as you wanted, and I'll make sure I'm free tomorrow morning to floo to Hogwarts for that meeting if you need me."
I nodded, "Good, oh and tell Ted that he'll want to be ready, I met cousin Draco on the train, he's no doubt send an owl off to his father and that will likely stir up some trouble." I explained.
Aunt Andy nodded, "Will do, knowing dear sweet Lucius as I do, he'll likely try something soon as soon as he hears, but given the time it won't be until the mornings prophet until we find out what, but we've got our bases covered so we're ready for whatever he can pull," she said with a confident smirk.
Tonks finally had enough, "Oh enough of the boring stuff already, come on the suspense is killing me, come on what house are you in?" she asked as Aunt Andy sighed.
I smirked, "I landed in the raven's nest," I said with amusement to Tonk's playful attitude. Something that I had come to grow accustomed to over the month I'd known her.
"Ravenclaw!" Tonks said with a grin, "you landed with the know-it-alls? Ow!" she said only to get another smack to the back of the head from her mother again.
Aunt Andy rolled her eyes at Tonks, "well it was going to be that or Slytherin, no way you would have been in Gryffindor, I think Aunt Walburga's portrait would have died itself if you had been. I can see your idea of how the houses are actually sorted was true then, about their values and not their actual traits?"
"Hm, what?" Tonks asked completely out of the loop on the matter as I had only discussed my idea with Aunt Andy on this for her insight.
I smirked, "Aunt Andy can explain it to you later Tonks, but the gist is, I'm a Ravenclaw with Slytherin tendencies… a snake in the raven's nest if you will," I explained and it seemed to dawn on her then.
"You mean you tricked the hat?" Tonks asked in shock.
I shook my head, "Nope, I just figured out how the sorting really is done, and used that to my advantage, after all, think about it, how Slytherin is it to be put into Slytherin?" I asked.
Tonks giggled, "now that you put it like that, not real-ow!" she replied only to get a smack to the back of the head again from Aunt Andy whose eye was twitching in irritation as she gave me a narrowed glare through the mirror.
I chuckled, "Still sensitive about that hm?" I asked grinning.
"Be thankful that I can't send stinging hexes through this mirror young man, or you'd be getting a few." Andy said with irritation in her voice.
I just grinned, "Well you can always try when you're here tomorrow, but you know I'm just stating the truth" I smiled only to get a grumbled response of "wise-ass kid" through the mirror making both Tonks and me chuckle.
"Well I have to go, wanna get a good night sleep if I have to deal with the old coot in the morning," I said with a grin, "talk with you both later, bye Aunt Andy," I said before my grin grew, "bye Nymphadora~" I chimed as I ended the call as I saw red hair and hear a cry of "Hey!"
I chuckled as I put the mirror on my bed table and then when to get ready for bed, it had been a hell of a long day.
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