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The Harp of Forever

Chapter Text

Normally, letters come in the mail. Normally, they have stamps and go through the postage system and wind up in a metal box on a stick. Normally, letters are not delivered by owls.

Of course, Jack Frost, Merida DunBroch, Rapunzel Corona, and Hiccup Haddock are not very normal themselves, though some of them may not know it quite yet.

Jack's and Merida's letters were delivered by strange people who took out flashy sticks and brought forth pretty sparks and loud bangs. These people gave them letters from a school called Hogwarts. They explained to the two children that they had magic, and that at this school, they would learn to channel that magic. That was definitely not normal.

But Rapunzel's and Hiccup's letters were delivered by owls. This was not a surprise to them; they already knew they had magic, and were eagerly waiting for the owls. They jumped with excitement and ran to show their parents. They needed no explanation. That wasn't very normal either.

One fateful day, all this abnormality was directed at a certain shopping district called Diagon Alley. Here, the normal meter was ticking further and further down.

Jack Frost was there with a man who called himself Aster Bunnymund. He said he was a teacher at the school, Hogwarts, and he was fairly tall, with graying brown hair and weird tatoos on his arms. Jack might have been there with his parents, but he didn't know who they were. Heck, he didn't even know if they were alive or not. He had been a foster kid for as long as he could remember, but he never stayed in one home for more than a few months; strange, unexplainable things always happened around him. Or, they were unexplainable until Aster came calling. Now he knew he was a wizard.

Jack had to walk fast to keep up with Aster, while at the same time craning his neck to try and see everything he possibly could. He caught glimpses of cauldrons, owls, and even a broomstick. Jack wondered if witches and wizards really rode around on broomsticks, but before he could ask, they entered a large, snowy white building. Jack read the name 'Gringotts' carved above the entrance before he went in with Aster. Jack couldn't help staring at the little men as the bustled around without so much as a glance in his direction. He wondered what they were. Gnomes? Trolls? Goblins, perhaps? He would have to ask someone.

Aster had a talk with one of the little men, but Jack didn't pay much attention. Finally, after the man gave Aster a little bag that jingled with coins, they went back out into the crowded street.

"Madame Malkin's Robes for All Occasions," Aster recited, "That's where you'll get your uniform." He lead Jack into a shop, where he went to go talk to the shopkeeper. Jack wandered over to the window and watched the people who walked by, read display signs and listened to bits and pieces of conversation here and there.

Suddenly, the ding that signaled the door opening caught Jack's attention, and he turned to see a weedy-looking auburn haired boy entering the shop with a big, muscular man with a very long, very scraggly beard. The man went to wait for the shopkeeper's attention, and the boy stood awkwardly, clearly unsure what to do. Jack decided to rescue him.

"Hey!" the boy jumped as Jack waved at him. Jack pretended he didn't notice, "Are you going to Hogwarts, too?"

The boy shifted uncomfortably, "Yeah," After a moment of silence, he said, "My name's Hiccup. What's yours?"

Jack could barely restrain a laugh at the boy's name, but he thought that would be rather insensitive. Hiccup might not appreciate it. So instead, he answered Hiccup's query, "Jack Frost," The said boy grinned and extended a hand, "Nice to meet you, Hiccup." As Hiccup shook his hand, Jack couldn't help but wonder which drunken fool named this guy. He decided it would be rude to ask.

Instead, he asked, "Did you grow up surrounded with magic? I didn't; this is all new to me."

Hiccup blinked, "Yeah, I did. My whole life, actually. I can't even imagine what it would be like to grow up as a muggle."

Jack shrugged, "Seems normal to me. I didn't think magic was even real until a few weeks ago. Are both your parents magic, then?"

"Nope," Hiccup shook his head, "My mum's a muggle."

"Have you got any older siblings?"

"It's just me and my parents."

"Huh," Jack was about to ask what wizards did for fun, but then Aster appeared with Jack's uniform, "I guess I'll see you around, then, Hiccup."

Flourish and Blott's was not necessarily Merida DunBroch's favorite ever shop, but at least the books they sold were interesting enough. She had picked up a book about some boy who was killed dozens of times and kept getting brought back by some mysterious bloke with a contraption called a timeturner. It was very interesting, even though she only managed to read a few pages before it was snatched out of her hands and placed back on the shelf.

"Mum!" Merida groaned, "I was reading that!"

Her mother, Elinor, frowned sternly, "We are here for your course books. I'm quite certain I never saw 'The Many Lives of Jimmy Johnson' on your list. Would you like to check it for me?"

"But mum," Merida insisted, "Aren't you always saying I need to 'improve my mind'?"

"This is not the type of literature a princess should be reading. If you need something to read, you can choose from my list. They're all classics, and I find them to be quite engaging."

Merida didn't think her mother's books would be interesting in the least, but she knew when she could and couldn't win. So she held her tongue. For now.

She waited until her mother's back was turned, then snatched the book off the shelf again, flipping back to where she had left off. Soon after, she had sunk down against the wall, her eyes boring into the page. She was so engrossed in the story that she didn't notice the girl until she felt a tap on her shoulder.

Merida looked up quickly, and couldn't stop her jaw from dropping. She had heard of long hair, but this was pushing it. The girl standing next to her had a very long, very thick, very blonde braid, trailing down her back and even a few inches past her ankles, so that it dragged ever so slightly on the floor.

"That," Merida finally found her voice, "Is quite a bit of hair."

The girl reached up to tug at it self-consciously, "It is, isn't it," Awkward moment of silence. Then, "I'm Rapunzel. I couldn't help but notice what book you're reading; it's one of my favorites."

Merida glanced down at the book in her hands, "My name's Merida. I only just started this, but it is pretty interesting. I suppose you have magic parents, then? Are you going to Hogwarts?"

"Yes to both questions. Did you already buy your school books?" Rapunzel slid slowly down the wall to sit next to Merida.

Merida waved vaguely toward the direction she thought her mother must be, "Nope, mum's getting them. I got bored and decided to read this," There was a moment of silence before something occurred to her, "What kind of sports do witches play? Are they very different from muggle sports?"

Rapunzel frowned, "Well, I couldn't tell you how similar it is to muggle sports, but we do have Quidditch. Everyone knows about it, even if they don't play much."

"How do you play?"

Rapunzel went on to give a basic explanation about Quidditch and its rules. It all sounded like loads of fun to Merida, but she doubted her mother would approve. Almost as soon as Merida thought of her mother, the woman in question called for her, as if summoned just by the thought.

"Oh, I've got to go," Merida stood, quickly shoving the Jimmy Johnson book on the nearest shelf, "Hopefully we see each other at school. It would be nice to actually know someone."

Rapunzel smiled happily.

"Mum, can I bring a pet to school?" Rapunzel Corona glanced over at the Magical Menagerie, "Like, a cat or something?"

Queen Arianna smiled gently, "Of course."

Rapunzel grinned and rushed over to the shop, excited at the prospect of getting her first pet. She pushed the door open, her mother close behind, and immediately began scanning the cages for something she might like. There were kneazles, mice, toads, lizards, and even a couple of crups. But nothing really caught Rapunzel's eye.

The princess frowned as she noticed an empty cage, one of the only ones in the shop. She thought she saw a flash of color, so she stared into it to see if she could figure out what it was. Right as she was about to dismiss it as her imagination, a green lizard-like animal faded into view. Rapunzel grinned at the sight.

"Mum!" She called excitedly, "Mum, look! It's a chameleon!"

Arianna looked over and smiled, "That it is. Do you want it?"

"Oh, yes!" Rapunzel grinned, "I think I'll name him Pascal. Doesn't he look like a Pascal?" Arianna chuckled.

After the chameleon was paid for, Rapunzel put him gently on her shoulder. He immediately turned a shade of violet identical to Rapunzel's dress. She giggled, "He's smart, too. Oh, but do you think they'll let me bring him?" She suddenly looked very worried.

Arianna smiled, "I'm sure I can talk with the headmaster, get special permission. You are a princess, after all."

Rapunzel grinned. When they finally finished all the shopping they had to do, Rapunzel was positively bursting with excitement. In a few weeks, she would be heading off to Hogwarts, with Pascal the chameleon, her very first pet.

After he spoke with that strange white-haired kid in the robe shop, Hiccup trudged around after his father while they bought Hiccup's things for school. They went to an apothecary for potions supplies, a place called Flourish and Blott's for his books, and a few other shops as well. While they were going through these places, Hiccup noticed a few people who looked to be his own age. There was his cousin Snotlout (Hiccup made sure to steer clear of him), a boy with a monkey for some reason, and a girl with freakishly long hair, to name a few.

But what Hiccup was really excited for was getting his wand. An object used to channel a wizard's magic and make extraordinary things happen. An extension of the wizard himself, a loyal companion, the most important part of making magic. Now, it was time for Hiccup to be chosen.

The little shop wasn't the most impressive thing ever, with peeling gold letters above the door to label it as 'Ollivander's' and, as they discovered upon entering, quite small and a bit dusty. There were long, narrow boxes of varying lengths stacked up almost everywhere. The shopkeeper didn't appear to be there.

Stoick stood waiting, unperturbed by the absence of the shopkeeper, while Hiccup glanced around at the many boxes. He wanted to open one, just a peek, to see what it looked like. But he knew that wasn't a very smart thing to do. So instead, he waited.

"New student, eh?" Hiccup jumped at the sound of an unfamiliar voice. An old man with silver eyes and hair to match had suddenly appeared at the desk. Hiccup could have sworn he hadn't been there a second before.

Hiccup nodded in answer to the man's question. The man smiled, "Oh, good. I always love new customers. Oh, and Stoick! It has been a while, hasn't it? I still remember when you came in here all those years ago, excited as can be at the prospect of your very own wand. How the time flies...

"I am Mr. Ollivander, young man," Ollivander addressed Hiccup, "And you would be...?"


Ollivander smiled, "Yes, yes... now, please hold out your wand arm for me, would you? Good." A tape measure began taking different measurements, from Hiccup's elbow to the end of his middle finger, from his wrist to his shoulder, and so on. Once it was finished, it crumpled to the floor in a heap, and Mr. Ollivander began taking seemingly random boxes off the shelves.

"Mm..." Ollivander pulled a wand out of one of the boxes, "Holly, dragon heart string core, nine and a half inches. Give it a little wave."

Hiccup took the wand gingerly in his right hand and flicked it nervously. There was a very loud bang, and a foul smell filled the air. Ollivander snatched the wand back and had him try another one. This one let loose a flash of light that ricocheted around the shop before shattering a glass vase. Once again, the wand was snatched back, Ollivander repaired the vase, and Hiccup was handed another wand.

"Ah, here we are. Chestnut wood, unicorn hair, eleven and a quarter inches. Quite bendy. Try..."

Hiccup grasped the wand in his hand and gave it a little wave. A weak jet of sparks flew out like a muggle firecracker, and a feeling of warmth flowed up Hiccup's right arm. Mr. Ollivander gave a little clap, "Aha! There you are! My, you were probably the quickest customer I've had all day."

Stoick paid for Hiccup's wand, and Mr. Ollivander packaged it back up for him. Finally, they left the shop and made their way back to the Leaky Cauldron. As Hiccup seized a handful of Floo powder and called out the name of the island he lived on, he took one last glance at the pub, and the wizards and witches and warlocks all gathered around it.

With the knowledge that in a few weeks, he would be at a school dedicated to teaching magic, Hiccup disappeared into the flames, back to the isle of Berk.

Chapter Text

Jack Frost looked at his train ticket again. Surely he had read wrong. But no, the slip of paper was still labeled as Platform Nine and Three Quarters. Aster would probably know what to do, but he had been in a rush and Jack had insisted that he knew how to get on a train. Well, now he was paying the price.

Jack sighed, looking up at the barrier between platforms nine and ten. The absence of a 'platform nine and three quarters' was quite obvious. For a moment, Jack wondered if this wasn't all just some big joke. But he remembered very clearly the feeling he got when he had been chosen by his wand, the people, books, and everything else. He could clearly see, in his mind's eye, the wall outside the Leaky Cauldron shifting and morphing into a stone archway.

Suddenly, it hit him. Aster had used magic to get into Diagon Alley. Probably, you had to do something similar to get onto the platform. But he couldn't just pull out his wand and start tapping every brick in the station. That would take ages, if that was even the way to do it.

As Jack went back to worrying and glaring at the barrier, he caught a little snippet of conversation, "-off to Hogwarts, I can hardly believe it-" Jack didn't hear the rest, but it was enough. He turned his trolley and spotted three people walking towards the same barrier he had been glaring at just moments before.

Two of the people were adults, and Jack assumed they were the third person's parents. The girl in question was attracting quite a lot of stares, and it was easy to see why. Her golden hair was braided down her back, all the way to her ankles, even dragging slightly on the ground. Her parents looked a lot more normal than their daughter, both with brown hair that didn't seem to glow like the girl's did. They looked somewhat familiar for some reason, but Jack ignored the feeling. Instead, he watched them carefully, hoping to see the way onto the platform.

"So, what am I supposed to do?" The girl with the long hair asked her parents.

The woman who was presumably her mother smiled, "Just run through. We'll be right behind you."

Run through? Jack frowned. That didn't seem very magical.

"What?" The girl squeaked, "What do you mean, 'Run through'? What if I crash?"

Her father chuckled, "You won't, Rapunzel. It's been this way for generations. It's not going to suddenly change now. Just run through the wall, and we'll be right behind you."

The girl, Rapunzel, seemed to steel herself. Then she pushed her cart forward, and ran at the barrier. Just when Jack was sure she would crash, Rapunzel disappeared. Right through the wall. Jack blinked, sure he must have missed something. Then Rapunzel's parents strode over to the same barrier and glanced around, maybe checking that no one was watching. Then they walked through the wall.

Jack's brain couldn't quite process what he was seeing. Sure, he knew now that magic really was a real thing. He knew there were mermaids and dragons and flying horses, too. But up until now, it hadn't fully registered in his brain. He blinked, staring at the wall. So, he had to run through a brick wall to get onto a platform, where a train would apparently be waiting to bring him to magic school. Sure. Why not?

Jack positioned his trolley so that it was facing the barrier. He took a deep breath, thought, I'm an idiot, and ran at the barrier. He clenched his jaw, the sane part of him wondering what on earth he was doing.

Fortunately, magic wasn't just a big joke, and Jack didn't crash into a brick wall. He didn't even feel anything, just sliding effortlessly through it as if it were made of air. Then he was on a platform, and there was a bright scarlet steam engine labeled The Hogwarts Express. Jack grinned, not even sparing a thought about the muggle world he was leaving behind.

Unfortunately, getting his luggage onto the train was a task easier said than done. He was eventually rescued by an older student who used some charm or another to levitate it up for him. Jack grinned and thanked the person, and then went to find a compartment.

There were lots of compartments on the train, but not many were available. They were too crowded, or there were older students who didn't want to sit with a first-year, or there were only girls. Finally, though, Jack found a compartment that was occupied by only one person.

Jack slid the door open a bit and poked his head in, "Excuse me, but can I - Oh, hello Hiccup!" Jack grinned at the other boy, recognizing him from Diagon Alley.

Hiccup looked up at him in surprise. "Jack! I was wondering when I'd see you. Do you want to sit with me? It would be kinda boring, sitting all by myself."

"Actually, that's what I was gonna ask; everywhere else is taken," Jack opened the door the rest of the way before sitting down and shutting it, "So," Jack suddenly remembered a question he had been wanting answered for the past few weeks, "What exactly do wizards do for fun?"

Everything had gone perfect today, right up until Rapunzel was left to her own devices. She hadn't woken up late, so she'd had plenty of time to wash and dry and comb her hair, as well as braid it in an intricate way that made it several times shorter than it was normally. She and her parents had gotten to the station at a good time, so they weren't in a rush and they could avoid the biggest crowds. She had gotten on to the platform with no trouble at all, and her parents had levitated her trunk onto the train. They said goodbye and there were hugs, but Rapunzel's parents had responsibility, and soon they had to leave. Naturally, that's when things started going wrong.

Rapunzel watched her parents vanish into the crowd, then turned to find a compartment. She reached up absent-mindedly to pet Pascal, but her hand only felt empty air. She froze, then started feeling around on her shoulders and in her hair and on top of her head. Pascal was nowhere to be found.

Rapunzel's panic grew steadily, and she tried to think back to this morning. Had she brought Pascal with her? She couldn't remember. She couldn't think of anything else to do, so she started opening compartment doors, frantically asking people if they'd seen a chameleon. Nobody had. She was just about to lose hope, opening one of the last compartments, when she caught a flash of green, which changed into purple and then vanished in a matter of seconds. She looked around wildly, trying to spot it again.

"What are you doing?" For the first time, Rapunzel noticed a girl who looked about her age, with a fiery mane of red hair and a thick Scottish accent.

"Merida!" Rapunzel cried out in relief, "Oh thank Merlin and Circe and every other wizard there ever was! I've lost Pascal! You've got to help me!"

"Pascal?" Merida gave her a blank look.

"Oh, that's right, you don't know," Rapunzel began to describe him, using frantic gestures to try and get her point across, "He's my chameleon. You know, small, scaly, likes to disappear?"

"Oh, him. He was here just a minute ago, hang on," Merida started patting her hair. Before she could find him, however, Pascal appeared in a vibrant shade of green on Rapunzel's shoulder.

"Pascal!" Rapunzel grabbed him and Merida stopped feeling around her head, "Why on earth would you do that to me?! I've been looking everywhere!" She continued to scold him. Pascal looked a bit bored.

"You know he can't understand you, right?" Merida said bluntly.

"Oh hush, of course he can," Rapunzel put the chameleon in question back on her shoulder and plopped down across from Merida, sweeping her long braid to one side. Now that she was calmed down, she noticed that Merida had a rather old and large book open in her lap, "What's that you're reading?"

Merida groaned loudly, "Something my mother wants me to read. I had absolutely nothing else to do besides read this dusty old poetry in an attempt to put myself to sleep. But," she slammed the book shut and chucked it aside, "Now that you're here, I have something much more interesting to do."

Rapunzel grinned, "Oh? Like what?"

Merida sat forward, "Ask you a gazillion questions about magic, of course!"

Rapunzel thought about this. Had she been a more self-doubting person, she might have been offended that Merida only seemed to want to talk to her because she'd grown up in the wizarding world. But she decided that this didn't bother her; she was already making a new friend. So she waved a hand nonchalantly. "Ask away."

Hiccup had just finished explaining things like Quidditch, gobstones, and wizard's chess to Jack when the compartment door slid open and a kindly looking woman popped her head in the compartment, "Anything off the cart, dears?"

Hiccup immediately stood, "Oh yes, please." He bought a small mountain of candy, then noticed Jack wasn't buying anything. "Aren't you hungry?"

Jack shrugged, "I don't have wizard money."

Hiccup's eyes widened as he remembered Jack was from the muggle world, "Wait, so you haven't tried any of this stuff!" Hiccup turned and caught the trolley lady just before the compartment shut. He doubled the mountain on the seat. Jack gaped at him.

"Here," Hiccup shoved a Chocolate Frog in Jack's face, "Try this. They move, so make sure it doesn't get away from you."

Jack opened it, and the frog immediately leapt away and out the door, which was still slightly ajar. Jack's mouth twitched. Hiccup shrugged and handed him another one. Just as Jack was about to open the second one, the heard a high-pitched shriek out in the corridor. Jack snorted, and Hiccup, realizing someone had just discovered the escapee, exploded with laughter.

Once they gained control of their giggles, Jack managed to eat the second frog after looking at his cards, Merlin and Ronald Weasley. He announced that they were delicious, but kind of unnerving with their wiggling about. Hiccup made him try Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Fizzing Whizbees, and a load of other stuff Hiccup deemed amazing.

They were in the middle of a dscussion on the different types of trolls when the compartment door slid open again. This time, it was a girl with long, horribly messy hair. "Hello," She didn't sound overly friendly, "I'm Camicazi, who are you?"

"Ah," Hiccup frowned at her, unnerved at how familiar she seemed, "I'm Hiccup. Do-" He didn't get a chance to finish his question before he was interrupted.

"And you are?" Camicazi turned to Jack impatiently.

"Jack Frost," He stuck out his hand enthusiastically. Camicazi ignored it.

"This doesn't make us friends or anything, got it?" Camicazi glared at them, "This was my mum's idea; she said I should try to get to know everyone in my year, even the boys. But I don't think I should bother, I mean I'm obviously going to Gryffindor, but you both are going to Hufflepuff, probably. We'll only ever see each other during double classes, so I don't think I need to bother getting to know you. But, mum insisted. So anyway, goodbye." She shut the door and left.

Jack stared at the door, his hand still outstretched, "Um. What just happened?"

"You tell me. She seemed kind of familiar," Hiccup shrugged and went back to his food, "I probably just imagined it. She's right, though. I probably will be put in Hufflepuff." He suddenly looked quite glum.

Jack shrugged, putting his hand down and digging into a Cauldron Cake. "I'd rather be in Hufflepuff than Slytherin. The house for Death Eaters."

"Yeah. I heard Voldemort was in Slytherin," Hiccup shuddered, "Imagine being in the same house as the Dark Lord."

Jack nodded in agreement, "I'd take Hufflepuff any day over Slytherin."

Soon, they heard a voice announcing that they would be arriving soon, and they began to change into their Hogwarts robes. Finally, the train stopped completely and everyone began filing into the corridor, and out onto Hogsmeade Station.

Merida had spent the past hour or so drilling Rapunzel for information about the wizarding world. Rapunzel gladly gave answers, telling Merida all about Quidditch, dragons, her cousin's strange powers, predicting the future, the four Hogwarts houses, and on and on. At one point, the trolley witch stopped in, and Merida, her mother having converted some muggle money for her to bring in case it was needed, spent quite a bit of money on the different sweets. Her mother would definitely not have approved of the way she was 'stuffing her gob', and that made it all the more enjoyable.

Finally, the voice came telling them to be ready to get off and to leave their luggage on the train. Rapunzel and Merida changed into their robes, excitedly discussing which house they thought they would be put in and which ones seemed best. Rapunzel seemed convinced she would be in Ravenclaw, while Merida didn't know enough about it to decide. She thought Gryffindor sounded good, though, being the house of the brave.

Finally, the train pulled to a stop and the two girls pushed their way into the crowded corridor. They were swept along on a tide of students, finally emerging from the train. Rapunzel threw her braid across her shoulder like a scarf, maybe to keep other students from accidentally stepping on it, and they followed a very large man who held a lantern, calling the first-years to him.

The giant man, who towered over all the first-years, lead them down a seperate path from the older students, and he called to them to say they would be getting their first view of the castle as they went around the bend. There were several gasps of awe as they caught sight of it, a huge stone building with towers that looked as if they were held up by magic. Well, Merida realized, It probably is, seeing as this is a school made for magic people.

Between them and the castle, there was a vast black lake, glittering under the cloudless, star-filled sky. The big man lead them further down the path to a dock, where there were dozens of boats. He announced that there could only be four people in each boat, and Merida and Rapunzel ended up with a chatty blonde girl and an egotiscal boy who was built like a brick wall.

"Hello!" Said the blonde girl cheerfully. Merida noticed she spoke directly at her and Rapunzel, ignoring the boy, who was admiring his reflection on the water, "My name's Camicazi. Who are you?"

"I'm Merida, and this is Rapunzel," Rapunzel gave a little wave and a smile, "Do you have any clue who this egomaniac is?" Merida flicked a hand at the boy in question.

Camicazi wrinkled her nose, "That's Snotlout. I don't think you should care, he's not someone you should bother getting to know. Unless, of course, you want to use any information he might give you to avoid him," she added thoughtfully.

"Isn't this brilliant?" Rapunzel piped up, "Look at the castle. It looks so big. And the lake is so dark and it looks so deep. My dad has told me," She leaned forward, dropping to a whisper, "That there's a giant squid in the lake."

Camicazi perked up, "Really? Do you think we could catch it?"

Merida snorted, "Good luck with that. It's probably as big as a dragon."

Camicazi shrugged, "Could be. Not all dragons are huge, you know. Some are so small that you eat them with one bite. Not that anyone would want to." She shuddered, as if the very thought of it was too horrible to even consider.

Merida frowned, wondering how this girl could know so much about dragons, but the boats glided to a stop and the students began piling out, forcing Merida to follow suit.

The large group of first-years was lead up another path, until they came to a stop at a very large pair of oak doors. The giant man raised a fist the size of a boulder and knocked three times on the castle door.

Chapter Text

The doors were opened, maybe by magic, and Jack, along with the rest of the first-years, was lead into the castle. They were lead into a smallish room to the side, where they could hear the dull roar of voices beyond one wall, as if the rest of the school was already gathered there.

"Right then, you lot, I'm Professor Bunnymund." Jack looked up at the sound of a familiar voice with an Australian accent. It was Aster, the man who had brought him to Diagon Alley, "They're all ready for the feast out there, but before we eat, you've all got to be sorted into your houses. There are four houses - Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin - and they'll be kind of like an extended family for you while you're here. You'll eat with your house, share a dormitory with others from your house, and go to classes with your house. Triumphs will earn house points, rule-breaking will lose them, and at the end of the year the house with the most points wins the House Cup. It's kind of a big deal around here, so I'd suggest you behave yourselves.

"Now, it's none of my business, but there's a bit of a rivalry between houses. It could influence who you choose as friends, who you choose to socialize with, who you choose to hate, and so on. My advice to you is to avoid these petty little squabbles. But again, it's none of my business. That is, unless you get sorted into Slytherin. Anyway, please wait quietly while we prepare a few things." And with that, Bunnymund left into the Great Hall.

"Well, that's an interesting name." Jack murmured once he was gone.

"That's all you took from that speech?" Hiccuo asked incredulously.

Jack was about to answer that no, he had actually processed every word Bunnymund had just said, but before he could say anything, a slightly familiar voice began talking loudly, "I don't know about any of you, but I'm going to be in Gryffindor, and I'll be the best witch ever to walk the halls of this ancient pile of rocks!" It was Camicazi, the girl who had given a brief introduction of herself to Hiccup and Jack on the train, then left as is she had never been there. Now, she was boasting quite loudly, and most of the room was staring at her. Including, Jack realized with a jolt, the paintings on the walls.

"Gryffindor is for losers." A voice spoke up from behind Camicazi, "I'm going to Slytherin, just like the rest of my family. The house of people who will actually accomplish something worth recognizing."

"Snotlout, do you ever shut up?" A girl on the other side of the room rolled her eyes. She had blonde hair braided to her shoulder blades, but she looked like she could take a dragon in a fight, what with the way she wa glaring.

Camicazi turned around, revealing a mucular boy with black hair. She put her hands on her hips and glared at him. "Yeah, Snotlout, shut up. We all know Slytherin is the Voldemort house. The house where all the bad guys come from."

"At least I won't have any mudbloods contaminating my house!" At this, there were several cries of outrage, but also a few quiet murmurs of agreement. But before anyone could do anything, Bunnymund came back and asked them to line up and started to lead them into the Great Hall.

"What's a mudblood?" Jack whispered hastily to Hiccup.

"It's a really bad word for people who have muggle parents." Hiccup hissed angrily, "I can't believe Snotlout said that!"

"You know him?"

"Unfortunately." Hiccup grumbled, "He's my cousin." They couldn't say anymore as they sidled out into the Great Hall with the rest of the first-years. The hall was enormous, easily the biggest Room Jack had ever been in. The ceiling looked nonexistant, showing an exact replica of the starry night sky, but when Jack looked closely, he could just barely make out the ridges showing that yes, there was a ceiling. Hundreds of candles floated above four long tables, as well as another table at the front of the room for the staff.

Jack noticed an ancient and worn hat on a stool, and he realized that almost every person in the Hall was watching it, as if they were expecting it to come alive, grow legs, and dance for them.

Instead, it opened a tear like a mouth, and the hat began to sing:

"You can see I'm a hat,
And an old one, at that,
But nary a year I've forgotten.
I was born of a charm,
I shall do you no harm,
This same path all students have trodden.

"You shall sit on this stool,
It's a bit of a rule,
You will slip me right over your ears.
I will look through your head,
I shall tell you your stead,
So come now, there is no need to fear.

"Gryffindor, Hufflepuff,
Courage and kind enough,
These are the houses of Hogwarts.
Ravenclaw, Slytherin,
Cleverness, ambition,
Come find with which one you comport."

The entire hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song. It bowed to all four tables, then became still again.

Professor Bunnymund held up a roll of parchment. "When I call your name, you'll come and sit on this stool. The Sorting Hat will tell you where to go.

And with a call of, "Abney, Mackenzie!" the Sorting began.

Rapunzel watched anxiously as a girl with dirty blonde curls and lots of freckles rushed to sit on the stool. Professor Bunnymund placed the hat on her head, letting it fall over her eyes. After a moment, the hat called out, "RAVENCLAW!"

The professor went down the list, calling for Luke Anderson, a Hufflepuff, Sarah Berman, a Slytherin, and several others, all of whom were greeted with enthusiastic cheers from their respective tables.

Bunnymund worked through the A's and B's, finally getting to the C's, before he called, at last, "Corona, Rapunzel!"

Rapunzel ran out to the stool, a certain spring in her step. She heard the shocked whispers and thought self-consciously of her hair. She sat down, and the old hat was slipped over her head. She was certain she was going to Ravenclaw, but she didn't mind. In fact, she had decided that Ravenclaw was probably the best house for her. So, she listened to the little whispers in her head until finally the hat hollered, "GRYFFINDOR!"

Rapunzel's eyebrows shot up as the hat was pulled off her head. Nevertheless, she jumped off the stool and made her way to the Gryffindor table, which had exploded with cheers. She sat down in the first empty spot she came to and was greeted with congratulatory slaps on the back. Was she a Gryffindor? She hadn't thought so. But she had heard that the Sorting Hat could see things that even it's subjects were not aware of.

Rapunzel shrugged, enjoying the affection from the other students. I suppose the hat knows best.

Merida stood in the group of first-years, excitedly waiting her turn. Camicazi was sorted into Gryffindor after barely a moment, and to Merida's surprise, so was Rapunzel, after the hat considered something for nearly an entire minute.

A boy Merida vaguely recognized, Wee Dingwall, was sorted into Hufflepuff. Then, finally, it was Merida's turn.

Bunnymund called her name, and she hurried up to sit on the stool. The hat fell over her eyes and started whispering things in her ear. It took her a moment to realize it was the hat speaking, and a moment more to decipher what it was actually saying.

"Ah... Interesting... We've got some ambition here... Courage, recklessness... Quite a lot of individuality... Hmm... Let's put you in... GRYFFINDOR!"

Merida jumped up the moment the hat was off her head. She sped over to the cheering Gryffindor table and dropped down happily next to Rapunzel. She barely noticed the rest of the sorting. She spoke with Rapunzel about which classes seemed interesting, and Rapunzel informed her that they would be starting Flying lessons within a few weeks. A flying broomstick. Merida decided that was probably the most exciting thing she had ever heard of.

Jack watched as Bunnymund slowly moved down the list. He wondered which house he would be sorted into. Which was the best? He didn't know enough to decide. Instead, he focused on the sorting; A boy with thick, sandy blond hair and a confident expression was sorted into Gryffindor. A scrawny, timid-looking boy was sorted into Hufflepuff. Finally, the Professor began moving through the F's. Then came the call.

"Frost, Jackson!" Jack practically flew to the stool and dropped onto it. The hat was barely on his head before he started fidgeting impatiently. He thought about what he had heard about the four houses. Gryffindor was the house of the brave, Ravenclaw the house of the wise, Hufflepuff the house of the kind, and Slytherin. Come to think of it, Jack didn't actually know much about Slytherin, just that it was supposedly the house of Dark wizards. Everyone said that Voldemort himself was in it. Jack, having been raised in the muggle world, didn't actually know who that was, but he was such a clearly famous person that he felt a bit embarassed to ask anyone. Judging from what people said, however, Voldemort was a very powerful, very evil Dark wizard. He was apparently extremely cruel and horribly scary. Any house that could turn out a wizard that bad clearly couldn't be good.

"Well now... This is quite interesting indeed..." Jack started in surprise as he heard a voice in his ear. After a second, he realized it must be the hat. But that was ridiculous! Hats couldn't talk. Could they? "Quite a peculiar child we have here... There's quite a bit of bravery here... A great deal of kindess... There's some brains in here, as well... And very ambitious... Hmm... Oh? But what's this... Ah, my dear boy... Well then, there's only one place for you... SLYTHERIN!"

Jack stiffened momentarily. This had to be a bad joke. Perhaps a cruelly ironic twist of fate. He couldn't be in Slytherin. The hat must have made a mistake. But then the hat was pulled of his head, and Jack realized it was too late. Somehow, he made his limbs move. He walked over to the cheering table of Slytherins and dropped miserably onto the bench.

Well, isn't this just great.

Hiccup watched Jack slump at the Slytherin table, and he winced in sympathy. Nobody seemed to realize that Jack was definitely not pleased with this arrangment. Hiccup felt guiltily glad that at least if he was put in Hufflepuff, he wouldn't have to deal with the sneering kids at that table. Or the creepy Slytherin ghost, either. He was moaning and clanking his chains, and he was covered in... was that blood?

Hiccup shuddered. He hadn't even thought ghosts could bleed. He had never really had to think about it, for that matter.

Hiccup turned back to watch the sorting. Sheila Gordon was sorted into Hufflepuff, and Hunter Grant became a new Gryffindor. Then Bunnymund yelled, "Haddock, Hiccup!"

Hiccup sped over to the stool and sat down, fidgeting nervously. The hat was over his head, and he heard just a few words, "Oh, here's an interesting choice! But I suppose... It is no choice. You're going to... SLYTHERIN!"

Shock filled every nerve of Hiccup's body. It barely registered when Bunnymund pulled the hat off his head, and he just barely managed to pull himself off the stool and over to the table. He sat heavily next to Jack, looking at the empty golden plate in front of him with a blank stare.

"The irony is just killing me." Jack muttered, "I mean, the one house we both agreed we'd rather not get sorted into, and what do you know, next thing, we're in Slytherin. Just great."

Hiccup watched absently as Astrid was sorted into Gryffindor, Snotlout and the Thorston twins were sorted into Slytherin, and Fishlegs was predictably put in Ravenclaw. A few people he didn't know stuck out at him a bit; a very confident looking boy with a tremendous quiff of brown hair, Xar Southwark. The hat didn't hesitate even a moment to put him in Slytherin. A frown flickered across Xar's face, as if he wasn't quite pleased with this development, but it disappeared almost immediately, to be replaced by the same confident smirk. He strode to the Slytherin table as if he owned the place and sat down right next to the Bloody Baron. A lot of people gave him weird looks, but he ignored them like they didn't exist.

The other person that stuck out at Hiccup was a short, nervous looking girl called Wish Temples. She had long, whispy blonde hair, which was a bit stringy as well, and she was wearing an eyepatch. Hiccup had seen people with eyepatches on Berk, and the way they got them usually wasn't very pleasant. Nor was the socket. The girl had been fiddling with something like a spoon, but she slipped it into a pocket when her name was called. Hiccup thought she was a bit too gentle with it, if it really was just a spoon. Wish was sorted into Ravenclaw.

Finally, the last person, Wilhelmina Zyka, was sorted into Slythern, and Headmaster Nicolson stood up to give his few words. Then, with a word from the headmaster and several gasps of shock from the first-years, a delicious-looking feast appeared on yhe golden plates and Hiccup finally had something to distract him from his current situation - eating.

"How on earth did you manage that?!" Merida gaped at the Gryffindor ghost, Nearly-Headless Nick. He had just flipped his head of his neck, as if it were on a hinge, then flipped it back on again, to demonstrate why exactly he was given his nickname. The ghost didn't appear to like the subject of his neck - he looked more like he wanted to get away from Merida and sit somewhere else.

"Back when the witch hunts were going on, people didn't bother to sharpen their axes before execution." Merida wished she hadn't asked. She blinked hard, trying to get the image out of her head, and Nick floated away. She was almost glad.

"That," Rapunzel said next to her, also seeming like she wanted to puke, "was disgusting."

"That about sums it up." Merida looked after the ghost, half-hoping he wouldn't come back and half-hoping he would. As disgusting as his neck was, it was still pretty cool to talk to a dead person. "I wonder if he was really beheaded with a rusty axe. Do you think he was just trying to make us sick?"

Rapunzel shook her head, "He doesn't really seem like that type of person. I think he was telling the truth."

"Well, that's bloody disgusting." Merida turned back to her food, having managed to get over the queasiness of seeing the inside of Nick's ghostly neck. "So Rapunzel, do you know any of these people, or are we both complete strangers?"

"No, my parents are pretty protective." She fiddled with her hair, and Merida wondered just how long it actually was. "I never met any other kids who were my age. Well, except muggles, but they were never allowed inside the castle."

Merida choked on a carrot and had to cough it up violently before turning on Rapunzel, "Castle?!"

The girl flushed bright scarlet and she clapped her hands over her mouth. "I wasn't supposed to say that." she whispered through her fingers urgently, "You won't tell anyone, will you?"

Merida couldn't keep the grin off her face as she shook her head. "No, of course not. I'm just a little surprised. I mean, I thought I was the only princess at Hogwarts; mum never mentioned another one."

"Another..." Rapunzel's eyebrows were suddenly in danger of disappearing into her hair, "Wait, you mean you're a princess?"

Merida grinned and nodded. Rapunzel smiled back. They both agreed to keep it a secret; they wouldn't directly lie to anyone, but they also wouldn't say the whole truth unless dasked very directly. The rest of the feast went by in a blur. Finally, the headmaster stood and gave the announcments, and then sent them on their way to bed.

Merida, feeling sleepy and content after all the food, dragged herself alongside Rapunzel and the ret of the Gryffinor first-years, following a prefect up to their common room. The prefect said the password, 'Dumbledore', and everyone went up to their dorms. Merida just barely managed to change into pajamas, too tired to say a word to anybody, before she slumped into bed, dead to the world.

Jack was not having fun. The Welcoming Feast really didn't feel wecoming, at all. The evening was just filled with irony, wasn't it? At least he was lucky enough to be put in the same house as his only friend.

Jack snuck a glance over at Hiccup, who was gnawing on a chicken leg while absently listening to Xar Southwark brag about his Quidditch skills and dueling skills and 'pure' bloodline and basically about how awesome he thought he was. The Bloody Baron was right next to him, and he seemed perfectly content. The boy was so confident, it was hard not to believe him when he said he'd once taken down a dragon with nothing more than a few rocks, a small stick, and an iron saucepan.

Of course, Jack knew the boy was probably stretching the truth pretty far, at the very least. He noticed that Snotlout was carrying on a similar version of Xar's one-sided conversation. It was a shame he was so far dowjn the table; him and Xar might've gotten on well. Or, more likely, they would turn everything into a competition and strangle each other within the hour. If they did end up in a fight, Jack's money was on Snotlout. Xar might have been brimming with confidence, but Snotlout had muscle, which he didn't hesitate to display by rolling the sleeves of his robes up almost all the way to his armpits.

Jack stirred the food on his plate, a bit too depressed to eat. Unfortunately for him, not many students at the Slytherin table knew when to leave people alone.

"Oi, are you planning on eating at all?" Jack glanced to his left at a small boy who had also been sorted that night with a thick mess of black curls on his head and dark green eyes. The boy continued, "I'd at least eat something, if I were you. You might miss breakfast tomorrow, and then you'll be starving until lunch. But I suppose maybe you want to starve yourself. I can't see why you would, it's not very pleasant. But if you want to try it, it's not my business."

Jack blinked at him, both surprised that any Slytherin would be interested in whether or not he starved, and also wondering how he managed to say that all in one breath. In the back of his mind, he wondered how this kid would know the fine points of starvation, but he ignored that thought for now.

"Who said I was planning to starve myself?" Jack asked.

The boy shrugged, turning back to his food, "Nobody. But you haven't eaten a thing since the food appeared, so it's a possibility."

"I thought you were a Slytherin, not a Hufflepuff." Jack said slowly, wondering why this kid would notice that he wasn't eating.

"So? The hat considered Hufflepuff. And Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, too. Besides, what does that have to do with this conversation?"

Jack blinked, "Aren't Slytherins supposed to all be a bunch of jerks?"

"Are you a bunch of jerks?" The guy didn't look up from the ham he was devouring.

Jack opened his mouth, then closed it. He thought about it for a second. Sure, there were rumors about his house. Sure, there were at least two of his classmates who were probably narcissistic. But so far, nobody had really bothered him except to ask why he wasn't eating. Jack looked at the boy. "What's your name?"

"Merlin." He looked up at him and grinned. "Merlin Whitelaw. Yours?"

Jack looked at him for a moment. Was this kid serious? After a minute, he replied, "Jack Frost. Your parents sure have high expectations of you, naming you after that guy."

A shadow flickered across Merlin's face, but it was so brief Jack was sure he must have imagined it. Merlin shrugged, chewing at his ham like he had just gone for a month without food. "I suppose they did," he replied with his mouth full.

The rest of the feast seemed a lot more enjoyable, and that made it pass by far too quickly. Jack and Merlin had finished their food and were in a conversation that had somehow turned to the subject of yetis in Africa, when Professor Nicolson stood to lead them in the school song, give the announcements, and send them off to bed.

Jack, Merlin and Hiccup went with the rest of the first-years, feeling a bit peaceful with stomachs full of all that wonderful food. A prefect lead them down into the dungeons and stopped at a solid wall. The prefect said, "legilimancy," and the wall slid aside to reveal a room decorated with the Slytherin colors of green and silver and low-hanging lamps and even a few skulls. Jack saw a few windows on one wall, but they were all dark and sort of foggy. There were no stars either, although it was a cloudless night. Then Jack realized they were underground, and he got even more confused. But he was too tired to figure it out tonight, so he dragged himself to bed with everyone else. He fell asleep thinking, maybe he could enjoy this school after all.

Chapter Text

Merida was late. It was her very first day at this blasted school, and already she was running late.

Rapunzel had tried to wake her up earlier, but Merida's mum wasn't here to be disapproving of her lazy behavior, so she'd opted to sleep late. Unfortunately, she had slept in too late, and now she had about forty five minutes to wash up, attempt to comb hair mane of hair, get dressed and eat breakfast. Which, by the way, was seven floors below.

Yes, she was off to an amazing start.

She ended up sprinting down the Grand Staircase, intent on grabbing a sausage or two before going to whatever class she had first. But apparently her bad luck didn't just extend to sleeping late. No, she also had to put up with a very unpleasant surprise halfway down one set of stairs.

She had been taking the stairs two at a time, but as luck would have it, the moment her right foot came in contact with one of the middle steps, she felt the stomach-lurching sensation of the step in question giving way beneath her. Next thing she knew, her line of sight was lower by a foot or two, and her right leg had sunk into the offending step up to her knee.

It took Merida a split second to register her current situation. The next few minutes were filled with some very colorful language. She eventually managed to somewhat calm herself down, and then she realized she was going to be even later to class than she already had been. She dealt with the problem by muttering obscenities under her breath, because of course that would at least solve something. Maybe.

She tried pulling herself out, but it seemed that the more she struggled, the faster she was stuck.

Great, Merida thought sourly. Just perfect. I'm going to miss my very first class at this bloody school and I haven't even eaten breakfast yet!

As luck would have it, the first person to come across her were a group of first year Slytherins. Her luck just got better and better.

"-and then it hopped into the corridor and somebody screamed like a total girl-" The kid who was talking, a scrawny, extremely pale boy with a shock of white hair, came to an abrupt halt as he spotted the victim of the staircase. Merida glared down at them all.

"How in Thor's name did you get stuck in there?!" The question came from an equally scrawny boy, though less pale with dark auburn hair.

Merida felt her cheeks begin to heat up in embarrassment, and she crossed her arms in a hopeless attempt to save at least a shred of her dignity. "Apparently, the Hogwarts staircases like to eat the legs of unassuming first years. You should be glad I got caught first, otherwise you probably would have gotten yourselves stuck." The white-haired boy snorted, whether at her joke, or at the implication that they would be stupid enough to get caught in a trick step, Merida didn't know.

"Do you want a hand?" The third person in their little group, a raven-haired boy who was slightly on the short side, began making his way up the stairs, testing each one to make sure it wasn't another trick step. The other two followed suit.

Merida wanted to protest, they were slimy Slytherin snakes after all, but she knew that if she didn't accept their help, she would probably be left here, and then she would be late for certain. So instead, she neither accepted nor declined, but waited impatiently for the boy to reach her. He finally extended a hand, and she took it, vowing to never ever mention this to anyone again. The boy pulled, and with the help of his two friends, Merida's leg finally came free. She shook it out and grabbed her bag, which had fallen a few steps down in the struggle.

"I'm Merlin, by the way," Merida snorted at this. The boy who called himself Merlin, also the first one to offer to help, frowned. "I'm serious. My name is Merlin Whitelaw."

"Right, sorry," Merida couldn't keep the skepticism out of her voice. "Merida. Merida DunBroch."

"Jack Frost," said the white-haired boy.

The third kid hesitated a moment before muttering, "Hiccup Haddock."

Merida snorted again. She really couldn't help it. Haddock went red and Merida realized she still needed to get her schedule. She probably had five minutes left, if not less.

"Well," she turned to leave, "Well, I suppose I'll see you guys... around." She waved her hand vaguely and then sprinted down the staircase.

Yes, she was definitely not telling anyone about this.

When Merida sprinted into the Great Hall about five minutes before the bell, Rapunzel sighed, watching her run to the table, grab a glazed donut, and run back to Rapunzel, who had been waiting by the entrance to the Hall. They immediately set off at a very rushed pace to the Charms classroom.

As it turned out, they were nearly fifteen minutes late, but thankfully, Professor Mansnoozie let them off with a warning. He didn't speak, but waved his wand and spelled the words out in mid-air with something like golden sand that poured from his wand.

Unfortunately, their first Charms class consisted of a lecture of sorts and note taking. They didn't actually do any magic, much to the disappointment of basically everyone in the room.

"Do you think all our classes are going to be like this?" Merida complained quietly.

Rapunzel shrugged. "Probably. I mean, for the first few days at least." Rapunzel's parents didn't tell her much about the exact curriculum of the school, but she could use her common sense. "After all, we do need to understand the 'how' or we might end up - I don't know - conjuring a buffalo or something."

"A buffalo?"

Rapunzel nodded, "Mm-hm." Professor Mansnoozie gave them a warning look and they had to direct their focus back to their notes.

After Charms, the Gryffindors headed out to the greenhouses for Herbology with Professor Longbottom. The class was quite interesting Rapunzel found, and after a very brief lecture on the basic curriculum, Longbottom sent them on a scavenger hunt of sorts, to see how many plants in the greenhouse they could name without the aid of a textbook.

Then it was time for lunch, which was just as delicious as the feast the night before. Rapunzel noticed that most people didn't eat much, probably not very hungry what with the amount of food last night and then breakfast just a few hours ago.

After Rapunzel had scarfed down a ham sandwich, she dragged Merida up to the library. They still had about half an hour left, but Rapunzel doubted that would be enough time for her.

"Why are we in here?" Merida complained as Rapunzel bounced through the aisles, examining every book for a story that might be interesting. "We're in Gryffindor, not Ravenclaw."

Rapunzel pulled out a book titled 'Basking with Basilisks' and flipped through it. "So what? That doesn't mean I can't enjoy a good book. Oh, not this one. Half the pages are just sketches of this guy's face." She shoved the book back on the shelf and removed a slightly thinner one. "Oh, 'The Many Lives of Jimmy Johnson'. But I've read this one." She made to put it back in the shelf, but then something occurred to her and she showed it to Merida, "Wait, weren't you reading this at Flourish and Blott's?" When Merida nodded, she continued, "How far in are you? I'm still waiting for the third installment to come out."

"Ah..." Merida wasn't sure how to explain that her mother didn't approve and so she hadn't even finished the first chapter. "Well, my mother wouldn't buy it..."

"Why not? It's not like you couldn't afford it."

Merida let out a frustrated groan, "Ugh, I know! But she doesn't want me to read it! She thinks I should read something more 'appropriate' for a princess, like her dusty old poetry or Shakespeare! She tries to control my entire life and she never cares what I want!" Merida stopped, her face flushed, and tried to calm herself down.

Rapunzel looked at her for a moment, not sure how to react. Finally, she held out the book. "Well, she isn't here now, is she? So you can borrow it from the school instead."

Merida raised her eyebrows, then grinned. "You know, I didn't expect you to be the rebellious type, Rapunzel."

She shrugged, "I probably wouldn't if it were me, but I bet you will."

Merida snorted, "Well then you're betting skills are clearly up to scratch."

Rapunzel grinned. Merida took the book, and grinned back.

"Do you think the schedules change each week?" Jack wondered as he, Hiccup and Merlin made their way down to the Slytherin common room after dinner. "I mean, imagine starting every week of school with History of Magic, of all things. I think I'd die."

"Well on the bright side," Merlin interjected, "We'll get extra sleep every Monday."

"Okay, but then we'll be all tired during Defense, and I don't want to be falling asleep in there." Defense Against the Dark Arts, taught by Professor Ogglebert, was showing potential to be every students' favorite class. Ogglebert was a very eccentric man with an impressively curled mustache. He had gone into a detailed summary of what they would be covering this year, and Jack thought it seemed quite interesting, though he didn't think Hiccup shared his sentiments.

"I think I'll just skip the lessons where we curse each other, thanks." Hiccup said dejectedly as they entered the dungeons. "Otherwise I'll wind up being embarrassed in front of half our year."

Jack rolled his eyes, "Come on Hiccup, if you don't go to Defense, you'll get the worst marks in our year. And heaven knows we wouldn't want that." The last part was laced with sarcasm, but Hiccup didn't seem to notice.

"That's true... Dad would probably kill me if I skipped class anyway." He said the password and the stone wall slid aside to reveal the dark Slytherin common room.

Jack glanced at the foggy, floor-to-ceiling windows at the back. "Why are the windows so dark? It's only, what, six o'clock?"

"It's under the lake," Hiccup made his way to the windows to peer out into the gloom. "My dad - he was in Slytherin too - he says he once flipped off the giant squid as it passed, and it rammed the window and ended up with a headache."

"And you believe it?" Jack asked skeptically.

"Yes I do."

Jack snorted, but before he could tell Hiccup that was ridiculous, they were interrupted by Merlin, who was standing near a tapestry, "Hey guys, come and look at this."

They joined him and looked at the tapestry, which depicted a tall, stern looking man with slicked-back black hair and wearing green robes. He looked at them critically, and Jack was once again reminded just how different this world was from the one he was used to.

"Good evening, young snakes." The man said, his face impassive.

"Who are you?" Jack asked, not bothering with the pleasantries.

The man's mouth twitched, though Jack was unsure if that was a good or bad thing. "Take a wild guess, why don't you?"

"You're Slytherin, aren't you?" Hiccup said, his voice betraying his awe. "Salazar Slytherin."

Slytherin gave them a thin smile. "Right you are. And what are your names, my snakes?"

Not a moment after they replied, a new voice piped up to their left, "And I suppose nobody has any clue who I am, yes?" They turned to see another tapestry, this one depicting a young raven-haired man with bright blue eyes, high cheekbones, and a thin frame, wearing what looked like very old-fashioned muggle clothes.

Salazar groaned, "Oh, come off it. You've been complaining about this for centuries, boy. Can't you grow up and act your age?"

The other man glared at him as well as he could, considering their tapestries were facing the same direction. "Can't you quit calling me 'boy'? Honestly, I'm a lot older than you are, and more famous, too. I have every right to complain when nobody knows who I am. Plus, tapestries don't grow up. It's against the rules."

Jack, Hiccup and Merlin stood there awkwardly, until Jack finally spoke up, "So... who are you?"

The man gave a long, dramatic groan. Then he sighed. "Okay, tell you what. If you can guess my name before you graduate, I'll tell you a very secret secret. But for now, call me... Colombarius." Salazar snorted loudly at this, but he didn't say anything. "But there's a catch. I'll give you hints if you ask for them, but I'm taking a leaf out of Ki- out of a friend's book and making my answers as vague as possible. And if you get hints from anyone else, I will find out and I won't tell you the extremely secret secret. You can use books though."

"Ah..." Jack and the others blinked, trying to register everything Colombarius had said.

"Oh did you know," The tapestry said suddenly, "A majority of the mermaids can use sign language. But don't ask them for dating advice. I once saw a boy flirt with a girl using horribly cheesy mermish pick-up lines. Quite a disaster, I can tell you. No girl likes having her hair compared to seaweed. Well, no human girl."

"O-kay," Jack turned toward the dormitories. "I think I'll just go ahead and sleep that off."

Neither Hiccup nor Merlin argued.

Chapter Text

"Specialis revelio." A wand was tapped against a painting of a never-ending hallway. Three people waited with bated breath for the results of the charm.

Nothing happened.

There was a moment of silence. Then Hiccup said, "Well, it's not like every painting is hiding some special tunnel."

Jack sighed, "Yeah, but I was so sure this one would, I mean, look at it. The whole picture just screams 'secret passage here'!"

"Yeah, well," Merlin fingered his wand, looking around for anything else that might be hiding a secret. "Hiccup's right; I've only managed to actually find one with this spell twice. It's meant for finding enchanted things, not specifically secret passages. This'd probably be easier with a spell that's actually tailored for finding tunnels and the like. We can't even be sure there are secret passages at school, or if there are, they might not be enchanted."

Jack leaned against the wall, "Maybe there's one on this floor, though; five's my lucky number."

"I doubt that," Hiccup muttered.

Jack just grinned, then pointed at an odd spot on the wall, "That might look like a key if you squint. Try it there."

Merlin performed the charm again, doubt written all over his face. Nothing happened.

The three of them had decided they were going to explore every last inch of the castle and find every hidden corridor there ever was. Well, Jack and Merlin had decided that and Hiccup hadn't had anything else to occupy himself, having finished his homework already. Actually, he could have organized his quills, but that was hardly the way Hiccup wanted to spend this particular Thursday evening.

And so they'd had to find a spell to help them find them. Luckily, Merlin knew a spell that might work, apparently having learnt it from his Uncle Oswald for this very purpose. Just a half hour before, they had scarfed down their dinner, and since curfew wasn't for several more hours, they had taken a corridor at random and started their search.

"Maybe..." Jack looked around and pointed at a slightly misshapen torch bracket. "Look, you could convince yourself that's a doorknob. If you tried really hard, maybe..."

Merlin tried it on the torch bracket. It stayed as a torch bracket. He tried it on a window that was missing a brick. It didn't react. He tried it on a good number of other things, too, but naming them all would probably take up a whole other book.

Jack sighed and flopped onto the floor. Then he winced and rubbed his head at the pain of stone meeting skull. "Are we ever going to find one? Maybe there aren't actually any hidden passageways here after all."

Hiccup frowned. "There must be. My dad said he used them to hide from Filch..." This was one hundred percent true, but Stoick had never said exactly where they could be found or how one could enter them.

Jack suddenly sat up and pointed at a small chandelier that looked a bit out of place. "There! There's no reason they need a chandelier there, it's got to be hiding something!"

Hiccup looked up, thinking Jack sounded a bit desperate. The chandelier swayed slightly as people moved upstairs. Hiccup looked back at Jack incredulously. "In the ceiling?"

Jack pointedly ignored him, turning to Merlin. "Here, I'll use that one levitation spell we're learning in Charms, Wingardium Leviofa I think it's called."

"Ah, no." Merlin displayed his deep bond of trust with Jack by backing away and managing to look just a teeny bit scared.

Coming to Merlin's rescue, Hiccup pointed out a statue of a paunchy bald man who looked a bit grumpy. "Why don't you try it on him? He looks like he's absolutely sick and tired of standing there anyway."

Merlin gladly took the exit and Jack pouted. As Merlin tapped the statue and said the incantation, Jack grumbled. "I'll just bet there actually is a secret about that chandelier."

"I seriously doubt that, unless the candles come alive and start singing or something," Hiccup replied.

"Well, come on, it's completely random! There's no reason fo a chandelier to be there!"

"This entire castle is random! There's no reasoning behind it! I mean, really, the staircases move and there's random trick steps and some doors are actually walls and the suits of armor can walk, and you think one random chandelier has got to be hiding something?"

"Well when you put it that way..." They were suddenly interrupted by the grating sound of stone scraping stone, and they whipped around to see the statue of the old man slowly moving to one side to reveal a dark tunnel. Merlin stood in front of it, looking a bit shocked.

After a moment of silence, Jack burst into a fit of laughter. "Of course it would be the one you chose, Hiccup! Your logic is really odd, so of course it would! Sick of standing there, right." He took a breath to calm himself down, then strode over to the newly revealed passage. He gestured to it, inviting Hiccup in. "Ladies first."

"Oh, by all means," Hiccup bowed sarcastically, then waited for Jack to go.

It took Jack a moment to get it, but then he snorted. Apparently, though, he was out of witty comebacks, because he whirled around and walked down the shadowy hallway. Hiccup followed soon after, and Merlin brought up the rear.

The statue slid back into place behind them, but luckily the darkness was lit every few yards by a torch with a flickering blue flame. They walked along the stone corridor in anticipating silence, Hiccup thinking what might be at the end. A dragon? A treasure room? A Roman fortress?

The tunnel sloped subtly downward, turning every so often and giving off a slightly damp smell. The air felt kind of stale to Hiccup, but he ignored it. Finally, they reached a spiraling staircase, and Jack stopped.

"What's up?" Hiccup whispered.

"I'm not sure... listen, I think I can hear voices. Can't you?"

Hiccup and Merlin stopped to listen. Hiccup could just barely make out the distant chatter of a group of people. There were too many and they were too far away to make any specific phrase out, but now that he heard them, they were definitely there.

"Where do you suppose this is?" Hiccup wondered. "Do you think we're still in the castle?"

"Who knows..." Jack replied. "Guess we'll just have to find out."

The trio began their trek up the stairs, the voices gradually increasing in volume. Finally, the stairs leveled out into a straight hallway, whose ceiling lowered into a relatively spacious crawling size. The tunnel finally ended at a glass pane, and Jack tried to make room for Hiccup and Merlin, who craned their necks to see.

Evidently, the pane was a one-way mirror, because every so often, someone would stop to fix their hair or their make up, staring at the glass and waving their wands around their heads. Beyond those people, there was a small crowd wandering around, looking at shelves and shelves of things such as sneakoscopes, non-explodable luminous balloons, crystal balls and lunascopes, among other things.

There was a silent minute or two in which they all stared at the shop and it's customers. Then it slowly dawned on Hiccup where exactly they were.

"Sweet mother of Thor," he breathed. "We're in Hogsmeade!"

Friday morning found Merida delaying her first class as much as possible without actually being late and losing her house some more points.

"Do you want to skip with me?" Merida suggested dismally, addressing the golden-haired princess next to her and pressing her forehead against the dungeon wall.

Rapunzel folded her arms across her chest. "No. And you're not either, I'll have you know."

"But," Merida turned to face her, desperate to get her to understand. "But it's double Potions!"

Rapunzel was unimpressed. "Yes...?"

Merida widened her eyes and spread her hands. "With Slytherin!"

Rapunzel shook her head. Then she abruptly grabbed Merida's wrist and pulled her away from the wall, dragging her toward the Potions classroom. Merida yelled and complained the whole way there, trying to pry Rapunzel's fingers off her wrist, but the other girl was surprisingly strong.

They entered the classroom with thirty seconds to spare and Merida scanned the room for the three boys who had helped her with the trick stair the first day. It wasn't hard to spot Frost's white hair, sitting towards the back with Whitelaw on his right side and Haddock on his left.

Haddock. What a ridiculous name.

Merida sat exactly opposite the three of them at the front of the room, pulling Rapunzel down next to her and determinedly not looking at those stupid Slytherins at the back of the room.

No sooner had the bell rang than a tall man with dark hair and grayish-looking skin swept into the room. He stopped at the front of the class and regarded them all as if they were an exceptionally dim group of creatures that had just been found under a rock and he wanted to put it back and never look at them again.

"Good morning," the man said, sounding as if it were anything but. "My name is Professor Black. I will be your instructor for this course from now until you either graduate or find yourself, for some reason or another, removed from this particular class. There are a good many reasons why 'Potions' might disappear from your schedules, and among them are insolence, rule-breaking and an utter lack of skill."

Black's eyes moved slowly from one side of the room to the other, as if he were taking note of anyone who looked like they would be even remotely successful in his class. He didn't seem pleased with what he saw. "I doubt many of you will manage to scratch your way to the final year-" Congratulations, thought Merida sourly, You're a terrible professor. "-but know that if you do not make it to your second year, you will be the first student I've had to have done so. Are there any questions." He made it sound like if anyone actually dared to ask a question, they would be pinned with a month's worth of detentions. Apparently, this didn't make it through to a Gryffindor named Timothy Marchbanks, because he raised his hand tentatively.

Professor Black's lip curled slightly. "Yes," He glanced down at a piece of parchment. "Mr. Marchbanks?"

Timothy chewed his lip, probably reconsidering his decision. "Are you, by any chance, related to Sirius Black?"

Black's lip peeled back in a sneer. "I highly doubt it. If I am, it is extremely distantly. 'Black' is not as uncommon a name as an imbecile like yourself might think."

Nobody else dared to ask any questions or make any comments, so the remainder of the lesson was spent mixing a simple potion for curing boils. By the end, Merida and Rapunzel's looked at least a little bit like the book said it should, but Merida, who knew absolutely nothing about either potions itself or even cooking like many of the other muggleborns, so she suspected she had been more of a hindrance than a help.

Her only comfort was that Frost and Whitelaw, who had been working together, had a potion that looked like thick tar and was bubbling unpleasantly. Merida noticed Haddock behind them shaking his head in utter disbelief. Not that she was actually looking at them. No, of course not, she had just been glancing around the room and their three semi-familiar faces caught her eye.

Stupid Slytherin snakes.

Jack sprinted for the fifth floor first thing after lunch, Hiccup and Merlin not far behind. After about fifteen minutes of retracing their steps, they were in front of the statue of Gregory the Smarmy, as they had recently learned.

After they Hiccup had come to the realization of where they were the previous night, they had agreed to come back the next afternoon, when they only had classes before lunch. Hiccup and Merlin had both brought wizard money to spend, and both had promised to share it with Jack, who didn't have any.

Now, Jack tapped the statue with his wand and murmured the incantation, Merlin having spent most of last night teaching it the other two. The statue scraped aside, and Jack was down the passage even before it had settled into place.

The three of them sped down the passageway, faster than before now that they knew their destination. Jack felt a grin slowly spreading over his face as he imagined all the wizard sweets, tricks and broomsticks. The only all-wizard community in the world.

When they reached the staircase, Jack slowed to a walk. They climbed up, spiraling around until it made them dizzy, until they finally got to the mirror. They removed their robes, so that they wore only muggle clothes. These would probably stand out from the rest of the town's wizard robes, but some wizards did wear muggle clothes, and it was better than getting caught outside of school, because they were definitely not supposed to be here.

"Hold on a minute, make sure no one's there," Hiccup said from behind. Jack rolled his eyes. Despite the fact that he was an idiot, he wasn't stupid. Honestly.

When Jack thought the coast was clear, he cracked the mirror open like a door and slid out, pushing it shut behind him and searching quickly for any witnesses. Finding no one, he turned back to the mirror. It didn't look suspicious in the slightest, just a simple mirror in a semi-hidden hallway that lead to the bathrooms. Who would think that it actually hid a secret tunnel that lead all the way up to the school? No one, that's who.

Glancing on each side and seeing a relative absence of people, Jack beckoned to the mirror. It swung open and Hiccup tumbled out. He stood almost immediately, grinning as much as Jack, and Merlin climbed out behind him, shutting the mirror door so that it looked just as utterly inconspicuous as before.

"What store is this?" Jack wondered aloud.

"Probably the one we're at." Hiccup shrugged.

"Oh, ha ha," Jack rolled his eyes. He went went toward the main room of the shop, heart thumping in anticipation and the other two trailing behind. He entered the room and got the first good look at all the things they had on the shelves. There were all sorts of things on display, from collapsible cauldrons to singing clocks to what looked like lava lamps with radio antennae. It was utterly chaotic and wild and magical, and Jack loved it.

They left Dervish and Banges with several odd things, such as a sneakoscope and an odd compass-like contraption that was used for telling when something invisible was in the area. They walked up the street to Honeydukes, the sun beaming merrily overhead. They spent a considerable amount of money at the sweet shop, buying things like ice mice, sugar quills, licorice wands and fudge flies, and they left with bags full of the stuff. 

After Honeyduke's, they went to Zonko's, which had been restored after Voldemort was defeated. There, they bought stink pellets, hiccough sweets and screaming yo-yo's, among other things that Jack couldn't wait to put to good use.

Their entire afternoon was spent roaming the town, visiting the Shrieking Shack and drinking several pints of butterbeer from the Three Broomstick's, and when they finally went back to the mirror in Dervish and Banges in the evening, they were laughing and thoroughly worn out. All in all, it was arguably the best day of Jack's life.

Chapter Text

When Rapunzel decided she wanted to go to the Library, she did not intend to talk to three Slytherin boys who were very clearly trouble. Of course, she never intended to meet another princess at school, either. But that was mostly because she didn't know there was one.

As she strode down a corridor on the fifth floor, mentally listing all of the books she wanted to look for, a group of three first year looking boys with robes lined with green came round the corner. Each of them were laughing at something one had said, and each were holding a pint of butterbeer. Rapunzel frowned and stopped.

"Where did you get those?" She asked.

The effect of these words was a bit comical. All three of them looked at her with wide eyes, clearly not having seen her there, and they took a moment to register what she'd said before hiding the drinks in various places (in their robes, behind their back, in their bag), as if that would make it so that she'd never seen them at all. All three started talking at once, voicing excuses from "In the dungeons" to "Stole them from a centaur and a unicorn in the Forbidden Forest". Rapunzel was unimpressed.

Her eyes roved over their Honeydukes bags. "You've been in Hogsmeade." The three boys immediately stopped talking and looked at her like a bunch of deer caught in the headlights.

The boy with white hair gave a very forced laugh. "That's ridiculous! We're not allowed in Hogsmeade till third year! Besides, it's not even time for that yet, how would we get in?"

He had a point, but Rapunzel came from a magic family and she wasn't completely stupid. "Hm, maybe a secret tunnel of sorts," she watched their reactions carefully. "One that goes into the cellar of Honeydukes or perhaps the back room of the Three Broomsticks or one of the other shops. I'm right, aren't I?"

They stood still for a split second before the auburn haired one blurted, "You won't tell anyone, will you?" The one who'd spoken first face-palmed.

Rapunzel folded her arms for a moment. Then she grinned. "One condition."

"Yes?" The first boy looked cautious.

"Show me."

Rapunzel made her way back up toward the Gryffindor common room, the library forgotten completely in the excitement of what she had just seen. Jack, Hiccup and Merlin, as she had learned, had shown her the spell to make the statue move aside. She hadn't gone down it, wanting to show Merida, so that was what she was doing now.

On her way up, however, she heard a thud and a curse in an empty classroom, and she decided to investigate. She crept over to a classroom door which was slightly ajar, wondering if maybe there was a crup in there or perhaps a streeler or a doxy. And if there was? Rapunzel stubbornly ignored that question.

Brushing back her golden braid and leaning cautiously around the door, Rapunzel peered into the room and discovered that it was not, in fact empty. Professor Ogglebert stood in the evidently disused classroom next to a toppled chair, apparently the cause of the thud Rapunzel had heard. He glared at it, gave it a kick, then coughed at the small cloud of dust that erupted from the floor.

Rapunzel watched as the professor searched the vacant room thoroughly from top to bottom, looking in the corners, under chairs, and tapping everything in sight with his wand, muttering. Every once in while, he would whip his head around to look at the door and Rapunzel would pull back quickly until he turned his back.

Should a teacher be acting so suspicious? Rapunzel didn't think so. She frowned, watching for a moment longer before slipping away to keep heading up to the Gryffindor tower, wondering about what she had just witnessed.

The next couple of weeks went by fairly slowly for Hiccup, going to class, doing homework, and the occasional trip down to Hogsmeade. One Friday afternoon, when the weather was warm, Hiccup was down near the lake, having decided to relax at school instead of going to Hogsmeade with Jack and Merlin. They had promised to buy him some candy and butterbeer, and Hiccup had grown up in a semi-wizarding community.

As he walked slowly along the edge of the water, Hiccup thought about home. Berk was an island filled with muggles and wizards both, but any muggle living there knew about magic and most even took part in it, except Mildew.

Hiccup had been warned that a lot of the things that went on on Berk were technically illegal so he wasn't allowed to talk about it. Well, okay, there was no 'technically' about it. But that didn't stop him from thinking about it.

He had heard the story many times since he was a small child and could barely walk. His mother, Valka, had grown up on the island when it was mostly populated by muggles. Even back then, Berk's entire population knew about magic and monsters and Hogwarts. For some, this made the world a scarier place, but Valka loved magic as if she were a witch herself. She had hoped dearly for a Hogwarts letter, and she was very disappointed when she didn't receive one.

However, when Valka was thirteen years old, she found an egg that was obviously magical. She brought it home and hatched it. Her parents were fortunately not home when it happened, so they didn't hear the very loud explosion and Valka, being a crafty and resourceful girl, managed to put the fire out before they returned.

Valka named the dragon that hatched from it Cloudjumper, and she raised him to adulthood without anyone finding him. But of course, you can't hide a dragon on an island the size of Berk without being found out eventually. Most people took it surprisingly well when a friend of Valka's stumbled upon Cloudjumper's cove one day. Some even asked her to teach them how to train a dragon.

Eventually, most of the people of Berk had a dragon in the family, and of course that attracted attention from the Ministry. They sent Stoick to do the job of memory-wiping. But when he arrived at the island, he realized that was easier said than done. There was, after all, nearly an entire island's population whose memories he would have to wipe.

Stoick soon found that Valka defended the dragons with every ounce of her heart. He caved and decided that he could help them hide the dragons from the Ministry, casting various charms around the island itself.

The people of Berk had emerged from the trial happy and relatively safer than before. Valka and Stoick had eventually fallen in love and married, and then they had Hiccup, who was now at Hogwarts.

As Hiccup's thoughts trailed through his head, he wandered dangerously close to the Forbidden Forest. He didn't notice, however, unitl he looked up and saw the trees mere meters away. He had turned abruptly, ready to head back to the castle, when he heard a faint scrabbling sound in the trees.

He looked back instinctively, just in time to see a purplish flash of light through the trees. He stood for a moment, considering his options. He could drag himself back up to the castle and pretend he hadn't noticed anything, or he could investigate... in the Forbidden Forest.

Well, Hiccup thought resolutely, making up his mind and darting under the cover of the trees. Curiosity might've killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.

Unfortunately, Hiccup didn't find the source of the weird purple light quite as soon as he would have liked to. He pushed his way determinedly through the undergrowth, thorns snagging his robes and scratching his face. He turned to glance back once and tried not to be nervous when he realized he couldn't see the castle.

Finally, he stumbled out into a clearing that was smoking slightly in the middle, the blackened ground suggesting a fire had been there moments before. Hiccup crept cautiously forward, his eyes darting around the shadows.

Reaching the blackened patch of ground, Hiccup bent down and scanned the area. Something thin and smooth caught his eye, and he reached over to pick up... a scale? He frowned. This was much larger than your average scale. What kind of creature could have scales this size?

Suddenly, Hiccup's eyes widened as the pieces fell into place. Fire. Smoldering ground. Huge scales. He felt a bit giddy as it dawned on him just what type of creature was living in the forest.

Clearing his throat, Hiccup spoke up in Dragonese, the language of the dragons that Hiccup had taught himself through years of observation. "Hello? Is anyone there?" Stupid. Even if the dragon was in the area, it wouldn't show itself just because Hiccup asked it nicely.

He heard a low hissing sound in answer, but he couldn't hear well enough to understand it. The hissing faded quickly, and before Hiccup could so much as bat an eye, a big black shape hurtled at him from the trees, knocking him to the ground and pinning him with strong claws. The dragon hissed into Hiccup's face.

"What are you doing here? And how come you can speak Dragonese?" The dragon's lips drew back in a snarl, revealing white teeth that could probably rip Hiccup to shreds if the dragon wanted to. It's big green eyes stared into Hiccup's, mesmerizing and hypnotic. Hiccup shook his head vigorously. He couldn't let himself fall under the dragon's spell.

"Ah," Hiccup tried to think of something to say. It wasn't easy, with a fire breathing dragon pinning him to the ground with its teeth mere centimeters away from his neck, but he managed. "I saw something explode and I thought, 'hey, I'm gonna go check that out'. And I can speak Dragonese because... I'm secretly a dragon myself." As if.

The dragon stared at him with its huge green eyes. Hiccup blinked rapidly. The dragon blew smoke into Hiccup's face. "Nice try. I'm not stupid, you know. I know a human when I see one. What are you doing here?"

"I think the real question is 'what are you doing so close to a castle full of witches and wizards? Do you, I dunno, have a death wish or something?" Hiccup was deliberately avoiding the question, mostly because a) the dragon didn't seem to believe the truth when he heard it, and b) now that he actually listened to himself, Hiccup realized just how stupid a decision he'd made.

The dragon snorted, and a spark of fire landed in Hiccup's hair. He patted it out quickly. "Yeah, right. I'll bet no one would dare. Azkaban is s'posed to be a pretty horrible place for people."

Hiccup frowned at that. "Azkaban?"

The dragon lifted his head and puffed out his chest proudly, suddenly much less hostile, although his claws were still pressing Hiccup into the ground. "Yup! I'm one of the last of my kind. If any wizard tried to kill me, he'd probably get thrown in with the dementors."

"Okay, first of all, how do you even know about all this? I mean, you're a dragon. Second, what kind of dragon are you, exactly? And third, can you please get your claws out of my chest?"

"Oh," The dragon looked down, as if just now registering the death grip he had on Hiccup's shirt. He disentangled it. Hiccup breathed again. "Whoops. Sorry about that. It's kind of a habit. Once I got attacked by some idiot Whispering Death, so now it's just reflexes. But anyway... I'm a dragon, sure. That doesn't make me stupid. Only the really dumb dragons don't know at least something about you guys, like the hogflies. Seriously, their so stupid. Once, I met a hogfly who flew too close to a Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus, thinking it was an island, and got blown up by those creepy laser eyes."

Hiccup got to his feet, nodding impatiently. "Yes, that's very interesting, now what are you?"

The dragon flicked an ear in annoyance. "Hmph. I thought you'd know. It's not like I'm super dangerous or anything..." Hiccup stared blankly at him. He huffed a breath of smoke indignantly and dropped the sarcasm for a more dramatic tone. "I'm a Night Fury. The last one, as far as I know."

Hiccup opened his mouth to say something and closed it again, not quite sure what to say. He looked over the dragon, noting how he seemed to be still growing, not quite an adult yet. He wasn't very big, at least not yet, for a creature that was famed to be the Dragon No One's Ever Seen. Now that he wasn't being the most hostile creature in existence, he looked almost cute. Though Hiccup wasn't stupid enough to ever tell him that.

"Okay..." It suddenly occurred to Hiccup that he was standing here having a casual conversation with the supposed offspring of lightning and death, or some other superstitious mumbo jumbo. "Ah... do you have a name?"

The dragon seemed to contemplate this for a minute, then said, "You can call me Supreme Force Who Squashes His Enemies."

Hiccup snorted. "Oh how very modest. So, you don't have one then."

"Nope. But I do have retractable teeth. And tail fins. Not every dragon has tail fins, you know. And I have these awesome wings--" he spread the wings in question dramatically, reminding Hiccup of a peacock, "--and I'm super majestic and scary and intimidating. But I don't really have an official name, no."

"Well, what do other dragons call you?"

The dragon managed to look irritated. "Sometimes I'm just That Night Fury, and sometimes I'm called some unpronounceable word in some dead language or another. I'm pretty sure it translates to something along the lines of 'that arrogant little sod'. It's very rude, and it doesn't even fit me."

Hiccup disagreed. But he didn't say so, considering he was just one mood swing of the dragon's away from becoming a charred pile of melted goop. "Hmm. Well, you need a name, and I might as well be the one to give it to you."

The dragon drew himself up proudly, the spitting image of arrogance. "Okay! If you can think of a name worthy of the Awesome Night Fury Who Is The Last Of His Kind..."

Hiccup's eyes glinted evilly. "Okay then... Toothless."

His face dropped immediately. "Wha-- no, no I am not going to be called Toothless, thank you very much."

"Too late! I'm going to call you Toothless, and there's nothing you can do about it!"

"Oh really? Then I'm going to think up a name to call you, and I'll call you by that for the rest of forever!"

Hiccup shrugged. "Oh, you don't need to. I've already got a horrid name: Hiccup."

Toothless blinked. "Well. Someone's parents hate him."

"Yup," Hiccup nodded solemnly. "Fortunately not mine."

Suddenly, Hiccup looked up at the slowly darkening sky. He cursed. "I need to get back to school. They'll notice I'm gone and I'll probably be in detention until I graduate if I'm caught alone in the Forest after dark." He turned back toward the castle, desperately hoping that was the right direction.

"You'll come back, though, right?" Toothless's gaze never left Hiccup's face. "The only company I have out here are unicorns, centaurs and giant spiders. The unicorns are extremely naive and kind of stupid, a bit like hogflies, the acromantulas are kind of psychotic, and the centaurs are the most superstitious bunch of cabbage heads you will ever meet. None of them can understand me anyway, and the few things I can understand the unicorns saying always have something to do with 'the one light' or some stupid thing."

Hiccup blinked. "Yeah," he said after a moment. "Yeah, I'll come visit sometimes. I could use it."

He turned and ran all the way back to the castle. Merlin and Jack were already in the common room by the time he got back, demanding to know where he'd been (as far as they knew, he simply lost track of time). It turned out he had missed dinner, but he didn't mind. When they finally settled into bed with the rest of their classmates, Hiccup slipped into dreams of his new friend, sleeping out in the woods.

Chapter Text

October hit the castle with a vengeance. The temperatures dropped and the trees burst with shades of red and gold that made Gryffindors smile and Slytherins frown.

The past few weeks had consisted of more than just classes for the heroes of our story. Hiccup made frequent visits to Toothless in the Forbidden Forest and questioned Columbarius along with Jack. Merida and Rapunzel spent nearly every free moment in Hogsmeade, especially at Zonko's and Honeydukes. The weeks had been generally happy for the four of them, so of course it couldn't last.

"Ugh!" Merida glared at the notice posted on the bulletin board in the Gryffindor common rooms, some irrational part of her dearly hoping that that would make it disappear. "I can't believe this! Why? Why did they have to ruin the thing I was looking forward to most? 'Punzie, can you believe this?"

Rapunzel looked at the notice as well, her brow furrowed slightly in confusion. "What are you talking about? You've been carrying on about this for the past week, telling me how exciting it seems. So what's the problem?"

"The problem," Merida explained through gritted teeth, unable to believe Rapunzel didn't understand, "Is not that we're flying in a week. The problem is that we're doing it with Slytherin!"

Rapunzel sighed and rolled her eyes. "Merida, aren't you over that yet? I've told you, the three boys I met the other day actually seemed very nice. It's very prejudiced of you to hate them all on the basis that they were sorted into a different house than us. They're not going to go out of their way to ruin this for you. Well, not all of them at least, but I suppose I can't speak for people I've never met."

Merida rolled her eyes. "Rapunzel, you just don't seem to get it. Sure, maybe there're a few who might seem like nice people, but then, there's weirdos in every group, you know, outliers. I'm sure there's a Gryffindor out there somewhere who's... well, I don't know, left a one-year-old baby out in the cold for a whole night in October or something. But that doesn't mean the rest of us aren't noble and everything."

Rapunzel stared. "First of all, that is oddly specific. Second, you're kind of proving my point."

"Okay, but my point is that sure, you happened to meet three nice boys from Slytherin. Great! They'll be the only ones for the next few centuries or so!"

Rapunzel frowned. "Merida, that's not true. Stop being so prejudiced. Why are you, anyway? Prejudiced, I mean. You aren't even from a wizarding family, so there's no real reason for you to be so biased."

Merida shook her head, exasperated. "Alright 'Punzie, but mark my words, this flying lesson is going to be a mess."

Jack ran ahead of Hiccup and Merlin on Friday afternoon, absolutely thrilled at the prospect of learning to fly on a broom. His two friends were less excited, Hiccup in particular ("I'll probably end up back on the ground with a broken wrist and broom.") but Jack thought it sounded awesome. They had explained Quidditch to him - Hiccup supported it quite enthusiastically, even if he didn't think he'd be any good - and Jack was already looking forward to next year, if only for the fact that they'd be allowed on the Quidditch team.

As they reached the rows of brooms laid out on the lawn, Jack noticed Rapunzel, with her unmistakable golden braid, talking to a girl with frizzy red hair. After a moment, Jack realized that she was the girl they'd helped on the first day. She turned and happened to catch his eye, and immediately turned away with a glare. Jack didn't really mind. She wasn't even in the same house.

Any thought of the two girls was immediately banished from Jack's mind as the flying instructor, Madame Hooch, barked at them all to stand by a broom, stick out their hand, and yell "up".

Jack's broom immediately shot into his grip, mirroring his excitement and slamming into his hand so fast that his skin tingled. Grinning, he looked around at the rest of the class, just managing to catch the sight of DunBroch's broom shooting into her hand, leaving the girl grinning in triumph.

Hiccup's broom was jerking twitchily on the ground, the frustration in his voice slowly heightening. Merlin's seemed to have it in for him, vibrating manically and smacking the boy in the shins.

Xar, for all his bragging and boasting, couldn't convince his broom to give even a tiny movement. Astrid's broom jumped into her hand not long after DunBroch, but Snotlout's kept rolling lazily away from him.

After a good long while, everyone except Xar had managed to make their brooms jump high enough for them to grab it. The boy in question quickly snatched his up, flushing a violent shade of scarlet that could rival the Hogwarts Express (Jack even reckoned he could see steam shooting out of the boy's ears).

Finally, they were instructed to mount their brooms. Jack scuffed up the ground with his feet, impatient to get into the air. After checking everyone's grips, Hooch commanded them to push off at her whistle, then come straight back down. The moment the shrill sound hit Jack's ears, he kicked his feet into the ground, rocketing into the air.

He shot up a good ten feet from the ground, and he felt the urge to go higher. He came back down reluctantly, knowing that if he disobeyed the instructions, it could very well get him kicked out of the lessons for good.

"Right," Hooch barked when they were all done with that simple exercise, "I want you to repeat that until your confident with taking off and landing. When you feel ready, you may spread out across the lawn and practice flying in small circles, staying low to the ground." She stressed the last bit, glaring at them all as if daring them to refuse. When nobody did, she continued, "Gradually fly in larger circles and higher in the air. Be careful that you don't go too fast; I've had more than one student fall off their broom and be sent to the Hospital Wing because they made themselves dizzy."

The students started again, some still trying to perfect their landings, some immediately starting the circle exercise. Jack quickly got bored with circles and made a game of doing tricky stunts when Hooch's back was turned. He lifted both hands off the broom, hung by his knees, pointed the broom straight up and stayed there, and hung from it with his hands like a gymnastics bar, among other things.

Finally he hissed, "Hiccup, look!" and the boy paused in his shaky circles to look at Jack, who pulled his feet up ever so carefully and stood slowly, slowly, up on his broom, holding out his arms. His heart thumped in his chest and he grinned, exhilarated, balancing like it was a beam. There was a heart-stopping moment when Jack nearly fell, flailing his arms desperately, and several people gasped loudly (apparently he had a larger audience than just Hiccup) and Hooch spun around.

Hooch's eyes narrowed, but all she saw was a large group of students doing exactly what they were supposed to, in various stages of the process. She squinted suspiciously at the lot of them before slowly turning back to the young Gryffindor she had been assisting.

Jack, who had regained his balance, dropped to a seating position and resumed his slow circles in one swift movement, grinned and just barely managed to restrain himself from whooping happily. Hiccup shook his head in fond exasperation, and Jack smirked smugly. Clearly, he could get away with just about everything.

Merida was not pleased. Their Flying lessons with the Slytherins had gone perfectly smoothly, but of course that stupid Frost had to ruin it by showing off with his stupid tricks. Merida had been very pleased when her broom shot into her grip almost immediately and she'd rapidly gotten the hang of flying. Then, Jack Frost had to go and ruin her satisfaction by showing her up completely, him and his stupid tricks and his stupid sparkly white hair. Why was his hair white anyway? Did he dye it? It actually looked natural to Merida, but of course it couldn't be. Could it?

She shook her head vigorously. No. She was getting of track. Jack Frost and his stupid, flashy, tricky, impossible--

"Merida!" Rapunzel glared at her from across the library table. "You're not even paying attention! What are you going to do tomorrow when you can't remember anything about Switching Spells?"

Merida groaned and dropped her head on the table. She'd been sulking all weekend, but so what. It didn't matter that it was a totally stupid thing to be mad about, Frost had shown her up, and he hadn't even broken a sweat. Shameful.

Rapunzel sighed. "Tell you what, why don't we go to the Three Broomsticks and you can chug some butterbeer?" Merida sighed. "Alright, then. If it's even open still."

The Three Broomsticks was, in fact, open, despite the fact that the sun was quickly disappearing over the horizon. And if anybody thought it odd that two eleven year old girls with bright hair were sitting at a table drinking butterbeer like a pair of men would down firewhiskey, well, they didn't say anything.

"So," Rapunzel started, "Why the heck are you sulking so much?"

Merida made a hrmph sound. "I'm not sulking." She was indeed sulking.

Rapunzel rolled her eyes. "Well okay then, why are you sitting around with a big grumpy frowny face and generally looking like an old, sick platypus?"

Merida snorted with laughter over her butterbeer at this comparison. "Well, when you put it that way, I'm acting like a platypus because--"

"--an old, sick platypus--"

"I'm acting like an old, sick platypus because of Frost and his--"

Suddenly, Rapunzel shushed her, her face creasing into a frown as she looked at something over Merida's shoulder. Merida turned to look, but she didn't see anything out of the ordinary. She turned back to Rapunzel, frowning, her mouth open.

Rapunzel pointed. "Look. Look at Professor Ogglebert. What's he doing here?"

Merida turned again. "Having a drink?"


Oh. Merida caught what she was referring to. Ogglebert, with his impressive mustache, was sitting at a table with three very unsavory looking characters. They all had several tattoos covering every visible part of their bodies, and two of them had chunks of metal in place of several of their teeth. They were missing several body parts each, an eye patch here, a hook-hand or a peg leg there, and they just looked Not Very Friendly in general.

The group of four were downing firewhiskeys and talking in low conversation, heads bent together conspiratorialy. Not the kind of activity you'd expect from a school teacher on a Sunday night before school. Or ever, really.

"Huh." Merida frowned. "Well... that doesn't look too wholesome, does it?"

Rapunzel nodded. "There's something I need to tell you Merida..."

And she told Merida about the suspicious activity of Alvin Ogglebert.

Hiccup had wolfed a hasty dinner and slipped several chicken legs into his bag before leaving the dinner table, informing Jack and Merlin that he would be in the library. They seemed a bit confused, but they let him go without further questioning.

He didn't go to the library, of course. He went straight down the lawn, around the lake as the sun began to set, and into the Forest. A few weeks ago, he would likely have been terrified, but now he knew this small section of the trees quite well, and he was confident that nothing would attack him.

He reached a clearing that was a bit farther from the school than the one he'd first found Toothless and dropped his bag. He had persuaded Toothless to stay here, making sure that no one (Hagrid) would happen upon the dragon should they decide to go for a carefree stroll in the monster-inhabited forest. A small river ran through the clearing, so Toothless didn't need to worry about food or water. He could drink from the river, and there were plenty of fish for any dragon who might take up residence (Toothless).

"Hey buddy, I got some chicken!" Hiccup called, knowing the dragon wouldn't be too far. Sure enough, a black mass of scales launched itself at Hiccup from in the trees as Hiccup pulled a drumstick out of his bag.

"Give it to meeee, I'm so sick of fish." Toothless nabbed it from Hiccup's fingers with his retractable teeth. Hiccup hastily pulled the rest out so Toothless wouldn't destroy the bag.

After Toothless had eaten the all the chicken, Hiccup decided to spring his idea on him.

"Okay, so, Toothless," Hiccup was very aware of the fact that the Night Fury could kill him as easily as breathing, "I kind of, sort of, had this idea..."

Toothless listened as Hiccup detailed his plan. The dragon seemed reluctant, but after Hiccup went over his ideas excitedly, the black dragon reluctantly agreed to let him try.

Then it was very late and very dark, and Hiccup was very tired, so he had to head back up to the castle. And if Jack and Merlin were suspicious about his night-time wanderings or hurt that he wasn't spending as much time with them, well, they didn't say anything.

Chapter Text

Hiccup sat at a table in the high-backed chairs of the Slytherin common room with Jack and Merlin one Tuesday evening. The lake outside the windows (why was that, anyway? Were the founders hoping to drown them all?) glowed slightly with the colors of the setting sun. It had a soothing effect, one that Hiccup really could have done without.

"I'm so bloody bored." Jack slammed his head on the table. "I'd even do homework right now if I could just have something to do."

Their usual evening entertainment of running down to Hogsmeade had been thoroughly cancelled by the absolute blizzard that had dropped itself on the castle. In October. Why was it already so cold? It wasn't even Halloween yet.

At any rate, the freak snowstorm that was now raging outside the castle walls had effectively put a stop to their evening wanderings, and Hiccup couldn't even get any solace from visiting Toothless, because of course that was cancelled, too. Hiccup worried. Toothless was a cold-blooded reptile. Would he be okay out in the cold? Would his internal fire be enough to keep him from freezing? Hiccup didn't know. Many dragons hibernated. Did Night Furys? Hiccup didn't know that, either. No one did.

Hiccup raised his gaze lazily to look at Jack. "Oh, did I hear you correctly? You actually miss homework? How shocking." They hadn't had homework at all this week, something Hiccup found very suspicious.

Jack huffed. "That's not what I meant, and you know it. If this snow keeps up, it'll be like Autumn never even existed. And what about Flying? I'll bet they cancel the lessons because of this." He gave a deep, depressed sigh that was probably a bit over the top.

Merlin snorted. "As if, you don't even really need them. You got the hang of it from the very first day."

"But," Jack sighed, "But it's so much fun, though!"

Hiccup rolled his eyes. "Yeah, and terrible for my heart. I swear, if I see you almost fall to your death one more time--"

"Alright, I get it, mum." Jack stood suddenly. "Do you know what? I'll be right back." And he left, marching through the brick wall with renewed purpose.

Merlin stared after him, his eyelids half closed. "What do you suppose he's doing?"

Hiccup shrugged. "Dunno. Don't care much either."


"Kinda tired though."


They sat for a few minutes before the passage opened again and Jack marched through, a box in his hands. He swept over to their table (an act made more dramatic by the robes that were the Hogwarts uniform) and slammed the box down.

"Three. Person. Wizard's. Chess." He grinned evilly at the two of them.

Hiccup blinked. "Oh dear."

And so it was that the Slytherin trio ended up staying awake far past their bed-time playing several aggressive matches of magical three-person chess in the dungeon common room.

Peeves was a man on a mission. A ghost on a mission. Poltergeist. On a mission. Whatever.

He was going to attend the Halloween feast, and he was going to wreak absolute havoc in there. This had been his goal each October for more years than he cared to keep track of. Of course, he could just go to Nearly Headless Nick's Death-day party, like every other year, but they were always incredibly boring. He'd tried everything he could think of to get into the Great Hall on Halloween. He'd attempted to sneak in through a suit of armor. He'd dressed up in robes, being slightly more physical than other "traditional" ghosts. He had simply turned invisible. Didn't work. He'd popped in and out of existence. Same results One year, he'd even just charged in through the open doors, but it wasn't long before the teachers had stopped him. And that was only the beginning of the ever-growing list.

This year, however, he had been trying his absolute best not to make trouble. It was so very painful that he'd had to try and isolate himself from the rest of the school. It was very boring.

Over the course of the last three months, he had discovered many secrets about the castle. First and foremost, the castle of Hogwarts was sentient to a degree. There was no telling just how sentient it was, but the fact remained that the old pile of stones was aware of its own existence and could manipulate its passageways in such a way as to further its own motives. And it did indeed have motives. What they were, exactly, was any ones guess.

The castle also changed over time. For instance, the Come-and-Go Room had not disappeared after being torched in the Battle of Hogwarts, but rather slowly moved its entrance while it reformed. Now, the entrance sat in the dungeons, a few turns down from the fruit bowl painting that hid the kitchens.

Salazar's Classroom hadn't changed a bit, however. The snake's carcass and skin still lay in the shadows of the giant chamber, and Salazar's enormous self still stood there with his long beard that really didn't quite match the real thing. It was almost as if the castle was ignoring that part on purpose, perhaps trying to isolate it from the identity of the school, or maybe so that someone could stumble across it and learn just what it could be used for.

There were also several ghosts he hadn't known of before. There was the ghost of a happy little crup that had once acted as a therapy dog. The creature's ghost was curiously warm, unlike any other ghost Peeves had ever met before, and it tended to only pop into existence when children were having nightmares. It would drape itself over the child until they were sufficiently comforted, then pop off again.

There were also some slightly darker poltergeists who, instead of being the more solid form of the children's mischief, like Peeves, were the embodiments of dark thoughts of revenge of those who had been subject to Filch's torment. These were of darker magic, so they stayed even after these cruel punishments were abolished, though they would most likely fizzle out after the man who caused those thoughts was dead.

They rarely showed themselves and dedicated their existences to making Filch's life as horrible as poltergeistly possible. Peeves made a point to avoid them (they weren't very fun at all), but since Filch never saw them, he always assumed that the mischief they caused was caused by Peeves. It was very rude of him. Peeves would never give any student a bloody nose, at least not one so bad that the caretaker had to spend over an hour cleaning up the mess.

All in all, Peeves' months of hiding were actually rather rewarding, if tedious. But, since he would of course have to be allowed to the feast on Halloween since he'd been so good, he could cause as much mayhem as he wanted before they finally kicked him out. Then he could fall back into his joyous routine of fun, this time with several hundred more tricks up his ghostly sleeves. And of course, he could introduce himself to all the ickle firsties...

Thursday evening couldn't come fast enough. Merida was bouncing in her seat during History of Magic, which was a rarity in and of itself, wishing fervently for a clock or a watch. Finally, when the bell rang, she was out the door before anyone else, dragging an exasperated Rapunzel behind her.

Down to the Great Hall for lunch, and then they had the afternoon off while the Great Hall was continued in its preparations. As the teachers put out giant Jack-O-Lanterns and conjured live bats out of thin air, Merida and Rapunzel ran back up to the tower as quickly as the could manage without causing suspicion.

Soon they were decked out in scarves and mittens, and they went down to the fifth floor, careful to avoid anyone who might bring up awkward questions.

Good old Greg slid aside, the same stony expression on his face. They went down the passage and he slid back to guard it. As they ran, the temperature steadily dropped until they could see their breath in the air. Finally they reached the staircase and clambered up it, eager for the warmth that would undoubtedly greet them in Dervish and Bange's.

They spent a good half hour looking over the invisible ink, collapsing cauldrons, and spetrespecs - because of course you'd find those in Hogsmeade - before leaving to wander the town.

As they walked, admiring the snow-coated village and chatting about the coming Halloween Feast, Merida spotted an all-too-familiar mop of white hair. She scowled.

"What?" Rapunzel looked in that direction and sighed when she realized who Merida was looking at. "Merida, this is getting old."

Merida huffed. "Fine. Lets just go get a couple of butterbeers."

So they went into the Three Broomsticks, which had become a favorite hang-out of theirs. They each ordered a hot drink and continued their idle conversation of pumpkin pie while they warmed their toes.

Then, there was a sound of several chairs scraping back as a group of three people came to join them. Frost, Haddock, and Whitelaw. Merida's scowl returned, but she decided she'd have to tolerate them for now, for Rapunzel if not anything else.

"Hey, Rapunzel," Frost grinned as he pulled off his green and silver scarf, "You excited for the Feast tonight?"

Rapunzel smiled. Clearly, they'd spoken more than once. "Yeah. When I was at home, we only really celebrated Christmas. And my birthday. But it'll be fun to see what other people do for the holidays."

Haddock (that name) hummed a little. "We only really celebrated Snoggletog on Berk. And things like Thor's Day Thursday, but it was mostly Snoggletog."

Merida squinted at him, unsure whether or not he was joking. "Snoggletog."

"Don't look at me, I'm not the one who picked such a stupid name. It's been done for generations and no one's ever thought to change it."


And so it was that Merida DunBroch decided not to openly hate the Slytherin trio.

Jack's excitement steadily grew as the five of them made their way back up the tunnel. They'd had to take turns getting through the mirror, so as not to attract attention, but they eventually all made it through.

Now, they made their slow way back to the castle, chattering excitedly about Halloween. Merida claimed there was going to be actual skeletons. Rapunzel thought there would be vampires hired to lurk around the Hall. Hiccup even offhandedly mentioned dragons at one point.

They had to get their common rooms quickly in order to change out of their heavy winter cloaks, and then they met in the Great Hall, though Jack noticed Merida seemed a bit reluctant.

The Hall itself was decorated spectacularly with huge pumpkins that Jack reckoned he could comfortably pace inside. Each of them was carved into some face that magically shifted from one expression to the next. The candlelight from inside gave them an eerily life-like effect.

The feast had already begun, and a few students were already sitting at their house tables. The tables in question were lined with black and orange tablecloths, and on the tablecloths were all sorts of Halloween dishes. There were even some that Jack had never seen before in his life, though since he'd grown up in the muggle world, that wasn't exactly a surprise.

The group had to split up, as they'd no doubt have to sit at their respective house tables. As they sat down and began to eat to their hearts' desire, more students trickled in, as well as a few ghosts, many of whom Jack had yet to meet.

After the Hall was nearly full with people, a group of skeletons randomly appeared at the end of the Hall opposite the staff table. Each of them held an instrument, though most looked like a very bizarre hybrid of some muggle instrument and another. They began to play a song that was apparently well-known among wizards, because many students began singing along.

This went on for nearly ten minutes before the chaos began. The pumpkin juice was apparently laced with some odd trick potion or another, because anybody who drank it soon began braying like a donkey. A load of fireworks appeared out of thin air, dropping onto the tables and causing several students to shriek as they exploded in brightly colored showers of sparks. Several dozen abnormally large spiders scuttled out of the pumpkins all around the hall, and almost all of the younger students (this, of course, did not include Jack. Nope) began screaming hysterically. The heads of the skeletons popped off and rolled around the hall, teeth clattering (the skeletons continued dancing and playing their songs as if this wasn't a problem at all). A huge tub of slimy green goop appeared the air, flipping and drenching several unfortunate Slytherins, including Jack.

A translucent little man appeared in the air, an evil grin pasted across his ghostly face. He cackled loudly, "Ooh, now the snakes are truly wearing their colors! Loud and proud! Ha ha ha ha!"

"Peeves!" Shrieked a Ravenclaw prefect. "I knew it! I knew he shouldn't be allowed! I told them this would happen!" Peeves just cackled, rolling in the air and popping out of existence. He appeared in front of a young Hufflepuff with a loud BOO!, making the poor kid shriek in surprise.

As the ghost(?) continued his chaotic antics, Jack turned to his friends who had somehow managed to escape the sticky barrage of Slytherin pride. "This- is- disgusting!" He sputtered.

Hiccup laughed at him. "Oh come on, Jack! You're wearing our house colors! Have a little pride!"

Jack glared at him as the goop slowly dripped down his face. His white hair would probably have a green tinge for weeks. He flicked his hands at Hiccup, causing some of the slime to spatter on to his freckled face. "There, now we're both proud Slytherin snakes. Sticky ones."

Hiccup snorted, wiping the slime of with his sleeve. Jack hoped hoped it would stain. "Go take a shower, Jack. I doubt you'll be able to enjoy the feast like that anyway."

Jack grunted, stomping away toward the doors. By now, Peeves had been caught and thrown out, but the chaos was still struggling to be dealt with.

The door fell shut behind him as Jack skulked into the Entrance Hall. It was startlingly quiet after the loudness of the Great Hall, though Jack could still hear the dull chaotic roar from the scene inside.

Jack shook his head like a dog in an attempt to get rid of some of the gooey stuff. Then a very large snake dropped down in front of him. He didn't scream. No, not Jack.

"Ah!" He yelped, "Go away!" Surprisingly, the snake didn't bother him, but instead slithered over to the Great Hall, grabbing the handle in its jaws and Dragging the door open before slipping inside. Huh. Jack didn't know they made snakes that smart.

"Ooh, how interesting!" Jack looked up to see Peeves floating overhead, legs crossed.

"Go away, Peeves!" Jack grumbled. "Because of you, I've got to take a shower and miss the rest of the feast!"

Peeves pouted. "You've got six more years left at this place. If you don't get kicked out. The Halloween Feast isn't even exciting."

"Yeah?" Jack scowled. "Well it's the only exciting thing that's happened all year, aside from Flying lessons."

"Hmm," Peeves floated closer to Jack, eyeing him closely. "You seem like the type of person who likes secrets. Do you like secrets?" He turned upside down so that his face was almost exactly in front of Jack's.


"Oh, I can tell you do. Peevesies likes secrets, too. Peevesies knows very many secrets, oh yes. Peevesies can tell you all sorts of things about this old castle, especially a snake like you. Do you want a secret?" Peeves didn't wait for Jack to answer. "I can give you secrets if you help me with things."

Jack's eyes narrowed. "What sort of things?"

Peeves grinned evilly. "Ooh hoo hoo, what fun Peeves is going to have..."