The Sugar Quill
Author: Jo Wickaninnish  Story: The Marauders: Year One  Chapter: Chapter One: The Sorting
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Author’s Note and Disclaimer (all that fun stuff): Clearly, this is not my playround, it’s Ms

Author’s Note and Disclaimer (all that fun stuff): Clearly, this is not my playround, it’s Ms. Rowling’s and she’s ever so kind to allow us to swing on her swings and slide on her slides. It’s appreciated.

Also, I wanted to thank my ever amazing betas: KATBLUE512 and Elanor Gamgee.


The Sorting

            “Is this compartment full?” A pale, quiet boy with light blond hair asked as he slid the door open. Clearly it wasn’t, but he was sure the two boys wouldn’t want him to sit with them. They were so loud and they didn’t look scared at all, they had to be Third years at least. The shorter one with the messy hair and glasses looked up at him.


            “Does it look full? Of course not, come on, sit down,” he shoved some of his stuff over to make room for the boy with the blond hair. “Sirius, would you give me back that Chocolate Frog, it’s my last one!”


            The other boy, whom the short one had just called Sirius, looked at the new one with a twinkle in his eye as he popped open the box and tried to cram the frog into his mouth before it could hop out of his hand. Quick as lightening, the boy with the messy hair sprung across the car and tried to grab the frog from him. All the while, the quiet boy with the blond hair was trying to curl himself up into a little ball wondering what on Earth he’d gotten himself into sitting down in this compartment.


            The struggle ended when the frog jumped from both their hands out into the hall, where it was stepped on by a boy passing by. The boy was already in his Hogwarts uniform, robes and all, and looked down at his boot in disgust.


            “Potter,” the boy said. “These boots are brand new. My father got them for me from Italy.”


            At the word “Potter”, the boy with the messy black hair and glasses looked up and rolled his eyes. “Like I care, Malfoy. Why don’t you have your little grease ball friend there lick them clean for you?” With that he leaned over across the boy curled into the little ball and shut the door with a loud thud as the other boy, the one with the neat dark hair, pulled out his wand and muttered, “Colloportus Securus.”


            The boys on the outside began tugging on the door, but to no avail. Potter and the boy who’d uttered the spell leaned back on opposite sides of the car laughing at the struggle taking place on the other side of the door. As their laughter tapered off, they both seemed to realize at nearly the same time that the chubby little blond boy was still curled up in the corner of the car.


            “Hey, we’re not gonna hurt you or anything. Really. Those guys out there are jerks. Gallus Malfoy, stupid git, his family and mine go way back… he likes to make trouble. Nowhere near as bad as his oldest brother Lucius, though. I have no idea who that was with him- did you recognize him, James?” James shook his head and began rummaging through a nearby bag. “I’m Sirius Black.” He gestured towards James. “And that’s James Potter.” He stuck out his hand. “We’re first years.”


            The little blond boy had uncurled a bit during Sirius’s little speech and was nearly sitting like a normal person. He reached out and grasped Sirius’s hand. “I’m Peter…” He was interrupted by James.


            “Aha! I knew I had one more.” James looked up with a Chocolate Frog package in his hand. Sirius made as though he was about to attack again. “No you don’t.” He moved a little farther away from Sirius. “Here you go, Peter. We both had a bunch when the trolley came around earlier. So, is this your first year too?”


            Peter reached forward to take the Chocolate Frog package and nodded. “Yea. Do these really, I mean…” he trailed off and eyed the package. “Is this going to hop all around my stomach?” He looked a little nervous.


            “A Muggle-born!” crowed Sirius. Peter gave him a look.


            “A what?”


            “Oh you have so much to learn,” he said. “Whatta ya say, Jamesy boy? Shall we take him under our wing? Teach him the ways of the wizarding world?”


            “Do not call me Jamesy boy, Siri-wiri-poo… isn’t that what your mom called you on the platform before we left?” James ducked just in time to avoid the textbook Sirius chucked at his head. He turned to Peter, “No, it’s just got one good hop in it. The good things about the Chocolate Frogs are the cards. Go on, open it.” Peter gave him a bit of a wary glance and opened the package. He grabbed the frog and swallowed it quickly. Then he glanced into the package and saw something moving. He pulled out the little five sided card and gasped.


            “It moved!”


            “Well tuh, do you think they want to sit around all day looking at your ugly mug?” Sirius asked, quickly following that with, “Only kidding, you know. Actually, wizarding pictures all move around, it’s just… what they do. Now your Muggle pictures, those things are odd. I mean, they just sit there, like they’ve got nothing better to be doing. Strange. Anyway, who’d you get? I’ve been looking for Habeus forever, can’t seem to find him anywhere.”


            “Uh… Dippet? Says he was an old headmaster of Hogwarts. Do either of you know who the headmaster is now?” Peter put the card in his pocket, anxious to get as much information as he could about the wizarding world from these guys. They seemed nice, if really hyper, but he just chalked that up to eating one too many Chocolate Frogs.


            “Dumbledore,” Sirius said. “I don’t know much about him really. His frog card said he helped vanquish some Dark wizard Grindywindy or something. Eh, whatever. Hey James…” James had been staring out the window at the passing countryside. Sirius kicked his shin to get his attention.


            “What?” he asked, slightly annoyed.


            “Five Galleons that I get sent to the Headmaster’s office first.” He had a bit of a wicked grin on his face. James grinned. Peter noticed it was a slightly lopsided grin, almost a smirk, but he was already betting all the first year girls would notice it too.


            “Make it ten and you’re on. Want in on this, Pete?” he turned towards Peter.


            “I’m pretty sure you’ll both beat me there,” he said quietly. “But what happens if you both wind up there at the same time?”


            Sirius laughed, “It seems our new friend here has just figured out the most likely possibility. Want to put ten on that, Pete?” Peter looked from the boy with the smirking grin to the boy with the mischievous twinkle in his eye and was suddenly certain that they would end up there together. He also realized that if he stuck with them, he’d probably wind up there with them. He knew his parents would go nuts if they received owls at home saying he had detention, but something about these two boys made him want to hang out with them.


            “It’ll be the easiest ten Galleons I’ve ever made,” he said confidently, and they all shook on it.


            The Hogwarts Express continued to wind its way through the countryside and before long it was in a dark forest. Peter was starting to get really nervous. He had this stupid idea in his head that he was going to get to Hogwarts, step off the train and one of the teachers was going to come up to him and tell him they’d made a mistake, he didn’t really belong there, put him back on the train and send him home. He was rather surprised to notice that the closer they got to the school, the quieter even James and Sirius were getting.


For the most part of the ride, James and Sirius had been filling him in on various wizarding customs. They even seemed interested in some Muggle things, but the compartment was becoming quieter and quieter. Finally there was a knock on the door. Sirius scrambled for his wand and muttered, “Alohomora”. Then he quickly shoved his wand back into his robes and said “Come on in” in a tone of voice that would’ve made any adult give the room a quick second glance to see what they’d been up to. A tall girl, already in her school robes, opened the door and told them they’d better get dressed- the train was nearing the school- and then continued on to the next compartment.


Peter gave Sirius a glance, as though to ask what this ‘aloha’ stuff had been about.


“Not really supposed to lock the doors and all on the train,” he told Peter. Then the three boys quietly stood up and began rooting around through all their stuff. “These yours, Pete?” Sirius asked quietly, most of the humor gone from his voice, as he handed over a pair of school robes.


Peter nodded and accepted them. “Might want to straighten your tie, James,” he said while he finished attaching the clasp of his robes. James nodded, looking rather pale.


“I heard there are four different houses… how… how do they decide which one you go into?” Peter asked quietly. “What’s the difference between them?” He hoped the other two would start talking again and they all might be distracted for a few minutes until the train stopped.


“Well, there’s Slytherin,” Sirius began, and he and James both made faces. “My whole family has been to Hogwarts and nearly every one of them was a Slytherin, but if that’s the house I wind up in, I’m getting right back on the train. That lot’s just a bunch of jerks. The house was founded by Salazar Slytherin, the man was a madman. Hated Muggle-born witches and wizards. They put way too much value on pure blood there.”


James then added his point of view. “Then there’s Ravenclaw, I don’t think that would be so bad. Most of the witches and wizards in there are really smart.”


Peter shook his head sadly. “I doubt I’ll be in there then. I’m pretty slow.”


James looked over at his new friend. “I doubt you’re as dumb as you seem to think you are. Anyway, there’s a lot more to a good wizard than just book smarts.”


“Ahem,” Sirius cleared his throat dramatically, apparently getting into the role of information giver to the uninformed little Muggle-born wizard. “As I was saying, the Ravenclaws, they’re a pretty smart bunch. Then there’s the Hufflepuffs. A lot of people say they’re not all there, if you know what I mean, but I’d take Hufflepuff over Slytherin any day. They’re generally a pretty nice bunch. Not the most intelligent or brave, but they are loyal. And then there are the Gryffindors.” Both he and James smiled wistfully. “That’s the house we’re hoping for. Gryffindors are really brave, they’re pretty smart too. I guess that’s about it.”


“I’m going to be a Hufflepuff,” Peter said and pressed his balled up hands to his cheeks, resting his elbows on his knees. “I know it.”


  “Well, that’s not so bad. I think one of my great uncles was a Hufflepuff,” James said. “We didn’t disown him or anything… but most of my family has been in Gryffindor. I’m convinced I’m going to wind up in Slytherin and then my family will disown me. Really though, if I do get sorted into there, I think Sirius’s got the right idea… I’m coming back to the train and going home.”


“So how do they sort you? I mean, they’re just meeting us, they can’t possibly know who is evil and who’s brave and who’s smart and who’s loyal…” Peter trailed off, horribly worried that he didn’t fit any of these categories. All of a sudden there was a screeching of brakes and the train slowed to a halt. The three boys all looked at one another. Any onlooker would’ve been completely incapable of telling you who looked paler. The doors opened and the boys spilled out onto the platform.


“Firs’ years, firs’ years this way… firs’ years…” an impossibly large man was yelling from the other side of the platform. Peter, James and Sirius gave one last glance back at the train and made their way over to the man. “Firs’ years! All here? Right then, let’s go.” With that, he started down a slope towards a lake where a dozen or so boats were floating. “Four to a boat then, alright there? Four to a boat, on wit ya’s, come on…” Peter, James and Sirius all climbed into the same boat along with another boy. None of them spoke. The boats washed up on shore and, in the same eerie silence, they all climbed out and made their way up to the massive castle.


Once in the foyer, Peter leaned over to James, “Exactly how do they sort us??” he asked, very nervous.


James looked right at him and said slowly, “I have no idea.” Peter looked over questioningly towards Sirius.


“I’ve heard rumors of fighting a werewolf and a troll… but there’s just no way… they wouldn’t make us… how could they make…” He trailed off, looking rather uneasy.


At that moment a tall witch with a look that clearly said she was not one to mess with stepped into the massive foyer. Behind the boys, a First year girl whispered excitedly to someone next to her, “That’s my Aunt Minnie.”


The witch cleared her throat, “First years, please follow me in groups of two, file in now. That’s right.” She walked past them all and up to the front of the group. Sirius and James fell into line right in front of Peter, who found himself next to a young witch who looked quite ready to throw up. She was muttering to herself and Peter could barely make it out but it seemed to go along the lines of, “It can’t be a troll, it just can’t, we’re first years… Muggle-born, I have no idea what a troll even looks like… or werewolves? But there’s no full moon tonight… oh my goodness, oh my goodness… trolls, werewolves…” She continued this tirade all the way up to the front of the Great Hall where Peter was ecstatic to find neither a troll nor a werewolf.


He nudged the girl, “You can open your eyes, there are no trolls or werewolves…” Then he looked around. The whole school seemed to be assembled to watch them. His level of ecstasy plummeted as he realized the whole school would be there to witness whatever humiliation was bound to happen. He’d been so occupied with the muttering girl next to him and then all the people sitting at the four long tables that he hadn’t even noticed the old hat sitting on the stool or the fact that it had begun singing.


…Hufflepuffs, the loyal and true,

Then there are brave Gryffindors,

Who have the urge to help and defend in their core,

Founded by Sir Godric,

Bravery they find, is their best trick,

So sit down now and have no fear,

For I am only a hat, my dear,

And for your future of the next seven years,

I’ll sort you out, let’s have no tears.


All the students sitting out at the four tables were clapping but Peter was still too scared to move. He’d missed the beginning of the song! What if there was some kind of important instructions in there? The witch who had led them in unrolled a long scroll and began to call people up to the stool.


“Alberts, Norton.” A small boy with bright red hair walked up to the stool and sat down. He picked up the hat and put it on his head with trembling hands. A few seconds later, the slit in the brim widened and out came “Hufflepuff!” and the boy jumped up and ran over to the table, second from the wall to Peter’s left, full of clapping people.


“Black, Bellatrix.” In front of him Peter saw Sirius shake his head, as though sad to be related to her. The hat barely touched her head before it screamed out, “Slytherin!”


“Black, Sirius.” Peter looked over to his new friend and saw James squeeze his arm before he walked over. He sat down on the stool and pulled the hat over his head. About fifteen seconds later the brim opened wide and the word “Gryffindor!” reverberated through the hall. Sirius jumped up to run over to the table, forgetting to take the hat off. Good naturedly he turned around and turned it over to the next name that had been called. The list continued for a while.


“Evans, Lily.” A pale girl with brilliant red hair ran up to the stool and Peter recognized her as the girl who’d been muttering about werewolves and trolls a few minutes ago. “Gryffindor!” She ran over and sat down at the same table as Sirius.


“Fudge, Cedric.” “Hufflepuff!”


“Goyle, David.” “Slytherin!”


“Longbottom, Frank.” “Gryffindor!”


“Longbottom, Rebecca.” “Gryffindor!”


“Lupin, Remus.” A boy with light brown hair approached the stool. Peter had passed his compartment on the train looking for a place to sit, but he’d been sleeping. Peter didn’t want to bother him, so he had continued on. By the time Peter remembered all that, the hat had shouted “Gryffindor!” and Peter saw Remus run over and sit next to that Evans girl.


“Malfoy, Gallus.” The hat didn’t even touch his head before it screamed “Slytherin!” and the boy, the same one who’d stepped on James and Sirius’s Chocolate Frog, strolled proudly over to the Slytherin table.


“McGonagall, Trixie.” “Ravenclaw!”


“Nott, Frederick.” “Slytherin!”


“Ollivander, Mary.” “Ravenclaw!”


“Pettigrew, Peter.” Peter looked up in a bit of shock. He felt his legs moving towards the stool, but had no recollection of telling them to do so. He felt his hands grab the hat but didn’t remember telling them to.


Oh my, what to do with you? I’ve never had a Pettigrew before. There’s quite a bit of cunning in here, oh my yes. Slytherin would be just the place to put that to use. What’s this? You don’t want to be a Slytherin? Hmmm… I rarely get, or take, for that matter, requests. Hmmm… you seem to want to stay with your friends. Well… friends do have quite an influence over what you do here. Still, the side of you portraying cunning, really… dead certain then that Slytherin isn’t for you? Well, I was told to take requests, should anyone actually ask, that’s quite a rare occurrence though… If you’re sure, better be…


“Gryffindor!” Peter jumped up and put the hat back on the stool. He made his way over to Sirius in complete and total shock he’d been put in the house known for its bravery. He couldn’t believe it. Any second now, the Headmaster was going to grab him and tell him to go sit at Hufflepuff or Slytherin since that’s where the hat thought he should go.


“Way to go, Pete!” Sirius said and slapped him on the back. The two of them sat there now, waiting for James’s name to be called.


“Port, Alexandra.” “Slytherin!”


“Potter, James.” The hat took all over five seconds to scream out “Gryffindor!” and a thoroughly relieved James sat down across from Peter and Sirius. The three of them turned to watch the rest of the sorting.


“Smith, Alice.” “Gryffindor!”


“Smith, Melody.” “Hufflepuff!”


“Snape, Severus.” At this point Sirius poked Peter and said, “That was the grease ball with Malfoy on the train. I’d bet you any number of Galleons he’s Slytherin.” Just as he said that the hat yelled out “Slytherin!” “Aha, knew it.”


“Zark, Isabella.” “Slytherin!” With that the witch who’d been running the Sorting rolled up her scroll and took the stool and hat away. The man sitting in the middle of the table at the head of the hall stood up. He looked very old but there was something about him that made Peter, James and Sirius quite sure they never wanted to be on his bad side.


“Welcome to Hogwarts,” the wizard said with a sweep of his arms. “I am Professor Dumbledore. I’m sure you’re all quite starving- however I need to give some notices before the start of term. The Forbidden Forest is, of course, forbidden.” As soon as the word forbidden had exited his lips James and Sirius exchanged very excited looks and Peter, catching this exchange, rolled his eyes. “For the knowledge of the first years: at the end of year banquet we will award a House Cup. While you are here you will earn and lose points for your house based upon your behavior.” Sirius and James exchanged another look and Peter knew that if there was any way to run a house into a negative amount of points, the two of them were going to find it. “Well, I suppose that’s all, except for Quagmire Aboundment.” The three looked at each other somewhat perplexed at these last words until they realized that suddenly the empty tables were laden with food.


The three ate to their fill until the food disappeared and the prefects made their way forward to collect the first years and usher them to Gryffindor tower. James, Sirius and Peter, quite exhausted by this time, followed quietly. The prefect led them through the school, to the tower, where the portrait of the Fat Lady was hanging, and he told them all that the password was “Immadazzle” and pointed the girls and boys towards their separate dormitories. Without another word to anyone the three boys walked up the stairs and collapsed into their respective beds.  

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