The Sugar Quill
Author: CornedBee  Story: Three out of Four  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Three out of Four

First Part of the Marauder Chronicles

King's Cross Station was bustling with activity. People of all ages and appearances swept along the halls, going about their business, some in groups, most alone or in pairs. Many people were arriving from the country to start their work day in London, some were going the other way, some were just changing train. The din of their footsteps and voices and the echoes from the high rooms was bordering on the unpleasant. You could hardly walk five steps without bumping into someone, and muttered apologies made up a large part of the conversations.

With all this going on, it was hardly surprising that a small number of travellers, who would have otherwise stood out, went about their business completely unnoticed. They were strange people, wearing clothes that really should not go together, or were completely inappropriate for the season, or were simply inappropriate, period. Garish colours, styles that had been out of date for years, decades, or even centuries, decorated people who were quite strange all by themselves. Many of them stared in fascination at the most mundane things, such as the list of arrivals and departures that was mechanically updated every now and then. They were almost always in small family groups, one or both parents, along with anywhere from a single child to a small crowd of them, most of them school age, some younger. They had animals with them: cats, rats, toads of all things, sometimes even owls. Those earned some looks by passer-bys, but nobody had the time to stop and really wonder why owls were kept in cages. Nor did anyone have time to listen in on the conversations of these people — hard as that would have been with all the background noise — or they might have seriously doubted their hearing, or the sanity of these people. Words were used that didn't really exist, and what was said didn't make any sense.

But strangest of all, these people were invariably headed for ... well, for a piece of wall between platforms nine and ten. They all headed directly for that wall, some never breaking stride, some running, some nervously putting a hand on it first — and then they disappeared. More than one traveller had to blink and shake his head before realizing that he couldn't have seen people disappearing through the wall, and his mind had been playing tricks on him, they had just walked behind that pillar, and wasn't it really early in the morning?

One particular family was just entering the station. There was only one child, a boy of eleven, with black, messy hair, glasses, and all the youthful energy of a child and then some. Currently, he was putting his energy into whining.

“I still think it's unfair that first-years can't have their own broomstick,” he complained. “Why do I have to use a stupid school broom when I have a far better one?”

“Hush,” the mother said, but there was no bite in her voice. There never was when she talked to her only child. After all these years, she and her husband had nearly given up on having children, and she wasn't going to get angry with the gift they had received. Especially not today. “You shouldn't talk about these things where the Muggles can hear.”

“Yes, Mum,” the boy said, in a tone that promised a continuation of the tirade the moment they were among their own kind again. Neither parent worried too much about that. He'd forget all about it when they got to Platform Nine and Three Quarters. They both remembered when they'd first seen it, all those years ago, the platform where the Hogwarts Express departed, the bright red train that took the children to Hogwarts every year on September 1st, and brought them back in July. Hogwarts, the school where the children learned magic, making them wizards and witches for real, and not just by heritage.

For that was what all these strange people were.

The family got through the barrier that hid the platform from non-magic people without problems. The parents had been entirely right in their prediction. James just stood there, staring.

He had seen a lot growing up. The Potters were an old and rich family, and they had made sure that their little darling never lacked for anything. They took him on trips to interesting places, they met with various relatives, and basically did everything they could think of. However, James had never seen this many children. Especially not children of his own age — that was something that was scarce among the Potters' acquaintances, given that most of them had had children half a generation earlier. James had been duly played with by older cousins and had recently seen a few toddlers of the next generation, too, but he was rather alone in the big age gap between those groups.

Here, everyone was in that gap. From the first-years like him to the seventh-years going back to Hogwarts for the last time, everyone was closer to him in age than anyone he'd grown up with. And there were so many! They were hugging their parents, greeting old friends, glaring at old enemies, and everything at a high volume. James couldn't stop staring.

His mother knelt down beside him and hugged him.

“Right, then,” she said with tears in her eyes, “be good, make sure you write a lot, and stay out of trouble.”

“Yes, Mum,” James said as he hugged her back.

His father didn't bother to kneel. Instead he lifted James up in the air and held him out at arm's length.

“Well, son,” he said, “you're off for Hogwarts. When you've finished that, you'll be a man. Remember to stand up for yourself and for your friends. You're a Gryffindor at heart, so live up to it.”

James squirmed to get free. He didn't mind being the centre of attention, but he didn't want to be held in his father's arms when he was.

His father laughed and pulled him close into a crushing hug. “Good luck,” he said.

“Thanks, Dad,” James wheezed. Suddenly he was let go, but he was prepared and landed nimbly instead of stumbling.

“Are you sure you've got everything?” his mother asked anxiously.

“Yes, Mum.”

“Wand? Potions kit? Parchment? Quills? Ink? Underwear? Robes?”

“Yes, Mum.”

“Money?”

In James's pockets was more money than some wizard families made in a month.

“Yes, Mum.”

His mother was clearly trying to think of something else he might have forgotten, but his father said, “Off you go, then, or the good seats will be taken.”

James grinned widely and grabbed his trunk.

“Right. Bye, then,” he called as he walked off towards the train. An older student, a Hufflepuff Prefect according to the badge on his robes, helped him heave the trunk into the wagon. Then he walked along the corridors, peering into the compartments to find an empty one or preferably one with other first-years. Most held older students, and a few were already full, but he finally found one where there was only a single occupant of the right age. He opened the door.

“First-year?” he said.

The boy in the compartment was slightly chubby, with light brown hair. He looked up and nodded.

“Great,” James said and went in. “Help me out, will you?”

Together, they lifted the trunk onto the baggage holder. Then James flopped down on an empty seat and stretched out his legs. He took a closer look at his companion. The boy didn't meet his eyes.

“Excited?” James asked.

The boy nodded again.

“I bet,” James said. “Can't even get a word out for all the excitement. Pixie got your tongue?”

The boy looked away.

James sighed and stared out of the window, watching the goings-on on the platform. More families were arriving through the barrier all the time. His eyes wandered across the scene and latched onto a hidden corner where a boy and a girl of perhaps fourteen years were kissing. They apparently thought themselves unseen, but James had a very clear view. He wrinkled his nose in disgust, but nevertheless tried to remember their faces. Gossip was real currency in the circles his parents moved in, and he thought it might be the same at Hogwarts. Or at least it might give him teasing opportunities.

It didn't take long for another boy to join them. This one was far more to James's liking. Black hair like his own, though far more orderly, he seemed not at all shy and came into the compartment without even asking. James helped him stow away his trunk, and the boy took the seat opposite James.

“I'm Sirius,” he introduced himself.

James laughed. “Seriously?”

“No, just Sirius,” the boy said with a bored expression.

“I'm James Potter.”

They both looked expectantly at the third boy. He took a while to take the hint.

“Um, Peter Pettigrew,” he said quietly.

“Right,” Sirius said and turned back to James. “Can you believe it? I'm finally going to Hogwarts. And with Dromeda being Head Girl, too.”

“Dromeda?” James asked.

“My cousin, Andromeda. She's in her seventh year. And her sister Narcissa is in fifth. Prefect, of course. But I don't like her.”

“You got any brothers or sisters?”

“A brother. He's a year younger. You?”

James shook his head. “No. Only child. It's got its peaks.”

“I bet. Done any magic before?”

“Of course,” James laughed. “Everyone does. How else could they tell we're magical?”

“No, I mean real magic. You know, with a wand.”

“Oh, right.” James took out his new wand. It was shiny, made of mahogany with a Phoenix feather core. “Yeah, I have. Dad taught me a few spells. Suppose we want to be left alone ...”

He pointed his wand at the door and said, “Colloportus!

There was an odd, squelching noise. Sirius stood up and pulled at the door.

“It doesn't open.”

“Not bad, eh?”

“What if we need to get out?”

James pointed his wand again.Alohomora!

The door slid open and shut easily again.

“Nice,” Sirius said as he returned to his seat.

“I thought we weren't allowed to use magic at home,” Peter said.

“Well, yeah,” James laughed, “but how are they going to tell? Oh, if you live with Muggles, they can notice the magic and they'll know it has to be you, but with wizards as parents they can't do anything.”

“Can you teach me those spells?” Sirius asked. “Mum and Dad never let me use magic.”

“Sure,” James said. “But better not yet. If you do it wrong, the door could break, and I don't know how to repair that yet.”

“So what? That's what older students are for.”

“But they'll give us detention, too, and I don't want that. Not if it isn't worth it.”

Sirius shrugged. “Whatever.”

The recently decharmed door opened and a girl looked in.

“Do you have a free seat?” she asked in a small voice.

“Suppose,” James mumbled. He had some very definite ideas regarding girls. He'd played a prank on one once, and his mother had been angrier with him than any other time. It was unfair.

The girl walked in, eyes averted, and said, “Could you please help me with my trunk?”

James and Sirius sighed and stored her trunk away. They nearly lost their balance when the train started moving, but they finally got the job done. They turned around to find that the girl had curled up in one of their window seats.

“Hey, I was sitting there,” Sirius complained.

The girl didn't react. James saw her body shake a bit and thought she might be crying.

Sirius reached for her arm and pulled. The girl shook him off and said, “Leave me alone!”

“You're sitting in my seat,” Sirius said.

James gently pushed him away and said, “Oh, let her be.”

He sat down near the door, and Sirius reluctantly sat down opposite him.

“You're such a pushover,” he grumbled.

“She'd just start scratching and biting,” James said. “Why bother?”

“You can't let girls get away with everything just because they're girls.”

“Yeah, well, Mum taught me to be nice to girls.”

“Bah, I think you just like her.”

“I don't!”

Sirius laughed. “Found yourself a girlfriend already. Well done.”

James snorted. “Right. Like I want a girlfriend.”

“Well, my cousin says it's the greatest thing,” Peter joined the conversation.

“Can we please not talk about girls?” James said exasperatedly.

“What do you want to talk about then?” Sirius said.

“Quidditch, of course. You're going to try out for the house teams?”

“You can't do that in first year.”

“Oh,” James said, very disappointed. He hadn't known that. “But that's totally unfair! Not only aren't we allowed our own brooms, we can't even play Quidditch?”

“You've got your own broom?” Sirius asked, ignoring the complaint.

“A Comet 215,” James announced proudly. The broom was just over a year old and had been top-notch when it came out — not as fast as the Nimbus 1001, but more agile, better suited for James's dream position of Chaser.

The three boys were deep in a discussion about the relative merits of various broomsticks when the door opened again. A pale boy with a distinct air of having lacked proper parental care entered. He didn't bother to put his trunk away, just sat down opposite the girl and started talking to her. He obviously knew her. James focused again on Sirius's treatise on the performance of an experimental Nimbus broom (unofficially given the number 1499) flown by the Wanderers Seeker in the match against the Prides. The Seeker had outstripped his opponent by far, caught the Snitch, then had a failure of the breaking charms and crashed into the ranks.

James lost concentration when a sentence in the other conversation stood out.

“Slytherin?” he repeated the word that had caught his interest. “Who'd want to be in Slytherin? I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?” he asked Sirius.

Slytherin was one of the four houses that Hogwarts students got sorted into. It was the one where all the people went to who, according to his mother, “didn't have their head screwed on quite right.” His mother had been a Hufflepuff, and very proud of it.

Sirius looked unhappy.

“My whole family have been in Slytherin,” he said.

“Blimey,” said James, shocked to hear such a thing about his new friend, but exaggerating even so, “and I thought you seemed all right.”

Now Sirius grinned impishly. “Maybe I'll break the tradition. Where are you heading, if you've got the choice?”

James remembered his father's words at the station. He pulled out an imaginary sword and held it in the air before him.

“'Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart!'” he declaimed. “Like my dad.”

He heard a tiny snort from he pale boy and instantly felt very annoyed.

“Got a problem with that?” he challenged.

“No,” lied the boy. “If you'd rather be brawny than brainy -”

James considered hexing the boy, but Sirius said, “Where're you hoping to go, seeing as you are neither?”

James burst out laughing. The girl abruptly stood up and gave him and Sirius dirty looks.

“Come on, Severus,” she said loftily, “let's find another compartment.”

“Oooooo ...” James tried to imitate her voice. He let her sweep past him, but stuck his foot out when the boy followed her. Unfortunately, he was a bit too slow and a bit too short, and didn't manage to trip him.

Sirius got up and reached for the door handle the moment they were outside.

“See ya, Snivellus!” he called after them before slamming the door shut.

Then the two of them started laughing. Peter looked a bit confused.

“Snivellus is good,” James observed.

“Honestly, who'd call their child Severus?” Sirius asked. “And I thought my family was bad.”

“Who is your family, anyway?” James asked, remembering that Sirius alone had not given his family name when introducing himself.

“The Blacks,” Sirius muttered.

James whistled. “No wonder you didn't want to tell. Mum and Dad make a point of not going anywhere any Blacks go too.”

“Yeah, well, I don't have to be the same, do I?”

“Who are the Blacks?” Peter asked. Both Sirius and James looked at him oddly. He'd known about brooms, so he had grown up in the wizarding world. Could someone like that really not know who the Blacks were?

“We're one of Britain's oldest wizarding families,” said Sirius. “Sadly, we're also probably the most hated. A lot of Blacks are outright crazy.”

“Which house do you want to go to, then?” James asked.

Sirius shrugged. “Not Slytherin, I know that. Other than that ... Ravenclaw, perhaps. Of course, Gryffindor would annoy my parents the most, so it might be worth it just for that.”

He said this with a challenging look, as if daring James to say anything to contradict him. James chose to ask Peter for his preference instead.

“Gryffindor would be nice,” said the shy boy. “My mum was a Hufflepuff, but I'd really like Gryffindor more.”

James shook his head impatiently. “None of that 'I'd really like' nonsense. You either go to Gryffindor, or you don't. Not a house for half measures.”

Peter looked quite scared at the idea, so James took pity on him.

“Right, repeat after me: I will go to Gryffindor.”

“I ... will ... go to ... Gryffindor,” Peter said timidly

James snorted. “Ha, you think that will convince them? Say it again: I will go to Gryffindor!”

“I will go to Gryffindor,” Peter said, still rather quietly.

“I can't hear you.”

“I WILL GO TO GRYFFINDOR!” Peter shouted.

James whooped and thumped him on the back. “That's the spirit!”

Sirius laughed with them and joined the affirmation.

The train rolled through the land. James had made himself comfortable, taking a window place again but with his legs outstretched on the bench. Sirius lay in a similar position, but on the other bench, facing James. Peter sat in the corner, playing with his pet rat.

Nobody had come to take the places the boy and the girl had vacated, so it was very comfortable. The seats were covered in the masses of sweets James had bought from the witch with the trolley. The boys were trading the collectible cards that came with the newly introduced Chocolate Frogs; each depicted a famous wizard. James had found Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, in his first frog, and Peter tried to haggle him down to no more than three other cards for him. But James remained firm.

“Four cards, Peter. He's worth that, and despite what Snivellus thinks, we Gryffindors are not stupid.”

“You're not a Gryffindor yet,” Sirius remarked. “Who knows — they might put you in Slytherin.”

“Shut up.” James threw an empty Chocolate Frog box at him. Sirius batted it aside.

“Say, speaking of Snivellus ...” he said. “Did you notice that he and the girl left their trunks here?”

“'Course I noticed,” said James. “This thing is taking up half the floor.”

They looked at each other. Identical, evil grins appeared on their faces.

“Right,” James said lazily. “Let's see what we can find.”

He sat up and reached for the trunk, undoing the clasps. He lifted the lid and looked inside. It was tidily packed, but not by someone who was good at it, so the Hogwarts robes that lay on top were rather crumpled. James reached for them to lift them out of the way.

The trunk growled.

James instinctively pulled his hand away, and not a moment too soon. The lid snapped shut hard, making all three boys jump. Then the trunk roared.

With a startled yelp, James jumped up on the seat. Peter did the same, but he yelped even louder. He also dropped his rat and stuck his finger in his mouth; the rodent had bitten him. Sirius was saved the embarrassment by virtue of already having been on the seat.

The trunk attacked. It wasn't very mobile, but it still tried to reach James by rocking back and forth and snapping its lid. James sat there and stared at it.

“Timmy!” Peter cried fearfully. His rat had stupidly left the safety of the bench and jumped down on the floor, attracting the attention of the carnivorous baggage. The thing growled and slowly made its way over to where the rat was hiding and scrabbling at the wall.

James jumped down on the floor.

“Hey!” he called. “I'm over here.”

The trunk turned on the spot and went after him again.

“Get the rat!” James cried, while his attacker came closer.

Sirius reached down under the bench, grabbed Timmy and hauled him back up. He pushed him at Peter, saying, “Put this thing back in its cage. It's not safe here.”

James jumped back on the seat before the trunk had made it all the way to him.

They continued the ride mostly talking about Snivellus and his insane trunk. It wasn't very long before the person himself appeared, with the red-haired girl in tow. She looked a lot happier now than before, and so did Snivellus.

The boy entered the compartment and went for his trunk without comment.

“Just getting our trunks,” the girl said.

Snivellus frowned at his trunk, which was growling again, like it had on and off for the past half hour. Slowly, a nasty grin spread over his face, and he looked at the three boys as if to say, “I know what you were doing.”

“That trunk,” James commented, “is a menace.”

The girl looked at him. “The trunk?”

“It nearly killed my rat,” Peter complained.

Snivellus's grin became even wider.

“The poor rat did nothing but hop on the floor, and your trunk attacked it,” James said. “What was your dad thinking, putting such a curse on the thing?”

“It was my mum,” Snivellus said, and to the girl added, “Come on, Lily, help me here.”

Together, they lifted down Lily's trunk. Then they each picked up their luggage and made to leave.

“Besides,” Snivellus added from the door, “just serves you right.”

The last thing they heard was Lily asking, “Serves them right?” before Sirius slammed the door shut.

“Idiot,” he commented.

“At least the thing's gone,” Peter said.

That was indeed a relief. At least they could stand on the floor again, a freedom they used to get changed into their school robes.

But it wasn't over. Apparently, Snivellus had told everyone that they were afraid of a trunk. Students of all ages, but mostly of their own, would occasionally come by the compartment and look and grin. It made Sirius and James furious.

“Oh, I'll get him for that,” James promised.

It was already dark when they reached their destination. As they all departed the train, a huge man called for all the first-years to follow him. He led them away from the others and down to a large lake, where a small fleet of boats was waiting. They all got in, a girl and two more boys joining the three boys in their boat, and drifted out into the lake. James idly let a hand trail in the water, letting it stream between his fingers, his anticipation building. When he finally got his first sight of Hogwarts, he was not disappointed. In fact, he was speechless. The castle rested on top of a hill, its hundreds of windows all lit up and looking very much like a Christmas tree. They all stared up at it until they entered a cave directly underneath, where they got out of the boats. The huge man led them up a seemingly endless stairway that finally brought them into the air and to the front door of Hogwarts, where they were taken over by a stern-looking black-haired woman. During the exchange, they learned that the man was called Hagrid and the woman Professor McGonagall.

The teacher led them into a huge entrance hall and then off into a small side room, where she held a long, boring speech about the four houses, behaviour, and house points. James barely listened. She didn't tell them how they were going to be sorted into the houses, so there wasn't much that was useful. The house points were something to think about later, though.

“I expect that all of you,” she was saying, “no matter which house you're sorted in, will be a credit to wizard kind.”

“I know someone who won't be,” James whispered to Sirius. Unfortunately, Professor McGonagall noticed him.

Some of you would do well to watch their step,” she said, fixing him with a glare. “The Sorting takes place in front of the assembled student body and is not to be taken lightly.”

James grinned jauntily at her. She held his eyes for a moment, then addressed the whole year again.

“I shall fetch you when we are ready. You will wait quietly.”

With a last look at James, she disappeared.

“How does the Sorting work, anyway?” Sirius asked immediately.

“I don't know,” said James. “I thought we'd talk to the teachers and they'd decided where we go, but they wouldn't do that in front of the whole school, would they? Didn't your cousins tell you?”

Sirius shook his head. “Not a word. They think it's important that we don't know. Bollocks, if you ask me.”

“My cousin didn't say either,” Peter said, “but he told me it's nothing really bad. I didn't like the way he emphasized 'really', though.”

Fortunately, Professor McGonagall wasn't gone long. After just a minute or two, she lead them back into the Entrance Hall and from there into the Great Hall.

It was an amazing sight. The students sat along four long tables, each decorated in the colours of their house. At the very end of the hall, on an elevated dais, was the staff table. Above all floated hundreds of burning candles, casting a bright but soft light on everything, and beyond that was the ceiling, which was so well enchanted to look like the sky outside that you had the feeling it wasn't there at all.

The students were led single-file between the tables and made to queue up on the dais, just between the staff table and the house tables. There they waited nervously, although James of course didn't let his nervousness show. He looked at the staff table. At the centre sat the man on the card he'd finally traded with Peter, Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster. The seats to his sides were both empty; James thought they probably belonged to Professor McGonagall and the fat teacher handing her a stool and a very old, very patched hat. She acknowledged this with a nod, placed the stool in the centre of the dais and put the hat on top of it. Then she stood back.

Nothing happened for a few moments, but everyone was staring at the hat. Then the a seam of the hat seemed to rip open, and the thing started to sing. It was a fun song, telling the history of the four houses, each originally headed by one of the four founders of Hogwarts, and the history of the Sorting Hat itself; how Godric Gryffindor, founder of Gryffindor house, had once owned the hat and had, when the founders got older and expected not to be able to sort the students themselves for much longer, given it the ability of looking into the students' heads and sort them correctly. It also explained the qualities that defined the houses. Bravery and chivalry were Gryffindor's traits, intelligence and the hunger for knowledge Ravenclaw's, ambition and cunning those of Slytherin, and a good heart and the willingness to work hard Hufflepuff's.

The moment the hat was finished, everyone burst into applause. It sort of bowed to the tables and then sat still again. Professor McGonagall stepped forward again.

“When I call your name, you will sit on the stool and put on the hat,” she said, unrolling a long list of names.

“Atwood, Heather.”

The girl who had been in the same boat as the three boys nervously stepped forward. Sirius gave her a very tiny shove. She walked unsteadily to the stool and picked up the hat. Then she hesitated and looked to Professor McGonagall for confirmation. She got an encouraging nod in return. She sat down and put the hat on her head. It immediately fell down to her ears, covering her eyes.

For perhaps ten seconds, there was silence. Then the seam opened again and the hat called, “GRYFFINDOR!”

The table decorated in red and gold burst into applause. The girl pulled the hat off, placed in back on the stool and went to join her new house mates.

“Atwood, Christian,” Professor McGonagall called.

One of the two boys from the boat stepped out and looked at Sirius as if daring him to push him, too. Sirius willingly obliged, but made the shove considerably harder than with the boy's sister. Christian needed several steps to regain his balance. Professor McGonagall gave Sirius a warning glare while Christian put on the hat.

“HUFFLEPUFF!”

Heather waved at her brother while the table in yellow and black cheered.

“Baddock, Patrick” was sorted into Slytherin, causing the green and silver table to applaud, and then it was already Sirius's turn.

He didn't look anxious like the children before him. He looked positively cocky, grinning widely at James as he strolled nonchalantly to the Sorting Hat and put it on.

Then they waited.

At least two minutes passed before the hat finally cried, “GRYFFINDOR!”

James whooped and laughed together with the Gryffindor table and flashed his friend a big thumbs-up. Sirius happily took his place at the table, opposite of Heather.

“Bliss, Heathcote” became another Hufflepuff, then another girl was sorted into Gryffindor, followed by several Ravenclaws, a Slytherin, and then the red-haired girl answered to the name of “Evans, Lily”. The hat sat on her head for just a few moments before crying, “GRYFFINDOR!”

Lily sat down next to Sirius, opposite the other two girls, but smiled sadly back at the waiting students, probably at that friend of hers who wanted her to be in Slytherin. Well, she was well rid of him.

As more students were sorted, two more girls joined Gryffindor, but no boys, until “Lupin, Remus” was called. James hadn't noticed the sickly-looking boy before, but as he seemed very happy to be in Gryffindor, James was happy too.

Lynch, Macdonald, Martin, Malkin, Messerschmidt, the list went on and on. Another two girls went to Gryffindor. James started to suspect that they were really going to be outnumbered there.

“Pettigrew, Peter.”

“Right,” James said quietly to Peter, who looked rather pale, “remember: I will go to Gryffindor.”

“I will go to Gryffindor,” Peter repeated.

James pushed him forward and Peter walked to the stool like in a trance. He sat down and put the hat on. James could see his lips moving, repeating the mantra over and over. The hat took its time, but after a minute it called, “GRYFFINDOR!”

Peter visibly relaxed — so much, in fact, that Professor McGonagall had to nudge him to remind him to leave the stool to the next student. Sirius punched him playfully on the arm when he arrived at the house table.

“Pilliwickle, Adrian” was sorted into Slytherin and “Plung, Louise” into Ravenclaw, and then, finally, James could put on the hat.

It was anticlimactic. The hat fell over his eyes, and a little voice in his head told him, “Ha, that's easy.” Then he heard the hat cry, “GRYFFINDOR!”

He was satisfied nonetheless and strutted to the table to receive the congratulations from his friends. He took so long to settle down that Professor McGonagall had to admonish him to be quiet.

He didn't pay much attention to the rest of the sorting. Three more girls joined Gryffindor, making it a total of eight, far outnumbering the four boys. “Snape, Severus” was sorted into Slytherin, as expected. He went there with a defiant look at Lily, but was well received by his house mates. James watched him closely.

As food magically appeared on the tables and they started to eat, James Potter was already plotting his revenge.

Thanks to the the people of the ATB:Language thread and my Quill beta PirateQueen.

//
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