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If asked, Albus Severus Potter would vehemently deny feeling any sort of fear towards his upcoming school year. However, one would simply have to look at his face to know that wasn’t true in the slightest. He’s pale, paler than usual at least, with deep purple bags weighing down his green eyes. His hair’s a disaster, despite the numerous straightening charms his mother had attempted on him that morning. One trip through the fireplace and it was all over the place once again. Let’s just say it doesn’t look good.

It certainly doesn’t help that his cousin Rose looks practically pristine, bouncing on her toes in an attempt to see the train better. That’s just about the only thing Albus was better at than her: growing.

“Oh I just can’t wait Al!” she says, sighing dreamily and turning to face him.

“Yeah” he answers, albeit with much less enthusiasm.

Like always, she seems to practically read his mind. “Don’t be nervous, it’ll be fantastic; I just know it.” She grabs his hand and delivers a tight squeeze, before dropping it and turning to look at the scarlet engine again. “It’s much shinier than I expected it to be” she comments, head tilted to the side.

“Yeah,” Al repeats. He turns to look for his family, or entourage as James likes to put it, only to meet eyes with the boy his Uncle Ron had pointed out to Rosie earlier, just a few meters away. Scor something. And a Malfoy. Al didn’t actually know much about him, but he knew a lot about his father. Draco Malfoy. The student-turned-death eater-turned-innocent trapped in a crossfire. His Aunt Hermione kept a collection of newspaper clippings about the war under her desk, and Rose had taken them one day and made copies with one of Granddad’s machines. They would pour over them together at night whenever given the chance.

The boy’s grey eyes widened at being caught staring, and he turned his head away again. Albus turned too, locking eyes on his family farther along the path, talking to Mrs. Scamander, or Auntie Luna as she was affectionately called. Her two boys, Lorcan and Lysander, were going into their second year at Hogwarts, and had told him not to be afraid just a few minutes ago. Yeah, like that was enough to stop the churning in his stomach.

He pointed them out to Rose, and they made their way over together.

“Hey Rosie,” Lysander greeted with a wide smile on his face. Of the two of them, Lysander was the much more outgoing twin. He and Rose often had discussions about various magical creatures, something they were doing right now in fact. As a second year, he already knew that he wanted to grow up to be Magizoologist like his great grandfather. Lorcan was much more closed off, preferring to read or draw than engage with other people. Al didn’t think he had ever exchanged more than ten words with the guy, but he liked him well enough anyway. His art was pretty amazing. He didn’t enjoy talking much either, so they got along well.The twins’ differences didn’t stop there though. For one thing, Lysander was in Ravenclaw, and Lorcan was in Hufflepuff. Lysander was a good few inches taller than his brother, and his hair was a good few inches shorter. Lorcan’s blond hair reached his shoulders, and sometimes he would pull it back into a ponytail. Albus secretly thought that was really cool, something which he would only ever admit to Rosie.

“What do you think Al?” Lysander asked. Albus jumped, realizing he had zoned out of the conversation.

“About what?”

“Do you think they would let me take Care of Magical Creatures a year early? They didn’t last year, but maybe Headmistress Sinistra will change her mind.”

“She won’t,” Rosie interrupted. “You’ll just have to wait; it’s the rules .”

Albus agreed with Rose, but just shrugged in answer and turned to face his mother, who was deep in conversation with Auntie Luna about something or other. Luna turned and winked at him, before whispering something in his mother’s ear and pulling the twins towards the train.

“We’d best start heading that way too sweetheart,” his mother tells him, a gentle smile on her face. “The train is going to leave soon.”

He doesn’t say anything, just starts walking in that direction with her, trying to ignore the unease rising up his throat. Before he knows it, he’s in front of the scarlet engine, and he’s hugging his parents and Lily goodbye, and he and Rosie are looking for a compartment. They find the very last one to be completely empty, and sit down before peering out the window to get a last glimpse of their families. They spot them, and start to wave, but then the train is pulling away, jostling them about and causing them to lose sight of the station. Al sits down, holding his stomach gingerly, and Rosie sits beside him and pats his shoulder.

“It’ll be alright Al. Everything is going to be fine.” He can scarcely hear her though, the sound of his own blood pumping louder than his surroundings. He’s been known to throw up before when nervous, but he hopes dearly that it doesn’t come to that. That hasn’t happened to him since the time when he was eight, and his father hadn’t come home from a trip when he said he would. It had been just a week after he and Rosie had started reading the articles, and the fear he felt caused him to be sick for two straight days until he finally came home. It turned out that everything was fine, and since then he had been better about controlling his nerves. He felt close now though, and closed his eyes, focusing on the feeling of Rosie patting his back gently. She knew about his troubles, of course she did. They were best friends after all, and best friends know everything about each other.

It’s after he’s calmed down a bit that his father’s words from the station come back to him.

‘It doesn’t matter to us, Al. But if it matters to you, you’ll be able to choose Gryffindor over Slytherin. The Sorting Hat takes your choice into account. It did for me.’

Albus didn’t think his father had ever told him that before. No, he was almost certain. He’s comforted again by these words, and takes a deep breath before turning to Rosie with a shaky smile.

“Thanks Rosie. I’m good now.” She smiles back, and takes her hand away to dig around in her bag. She produces two owl treats and give them to Viktor and Bathilda each respectively. Albus still can’t believe she named her pet after an author. The author of the most boring book ever might he add. He wasn’t much better though, naming his pet after a character from an anime. It wasn’t his fault the bird’s feathers were the exact same silvery shade as the character’s hair. Besides, he could always just lie and say he’s named after the Quidditch player.

They sit in silence for a while, watching their owls nibble on their treats and ruffle their feathers. After just a few minutes of this, Rosie falls asleep with her head on his shoulder. She’s never been able to stay awake during trips, even if they’re only driving for a few minutes. Just a few miles and she’s out like a light. Al could almost fall asleep too, it’s nice in the compartment, and he hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before; he could use the extra hours. But then, the door slides open slowly, and he turns his head to see who it is, only to be greeted with the downturned face of Scor-something Malfoy.

“Can I sit in here?” He asks nervously, peering into Albus’ eyes imploringly through his fringe. “Everywhere else is mostly full, and...well...nobody really seems to want to talk to me.”

Al doesn’t say anything, too startled by the silver-haired boy’s presence. After a few seconds of staring at him, the boy blanches, and makes to turn around and leave; probably to squeeze into some other compartment, and, well, Al doesn’t want to be cruel.

“Wait,” Malfoy looks up hopefully,“you can stay. I don’t mind, really.”

He takes a step, then stops, looking towards Rose. “What about her?” He asks warily.

“She won’t mind either.”

He doesn’t say anything else or move, seeming to consider Albus for a moment, before sitting across from him with a small smile.

“I’m Scorpius, uhm, Malfoy.” He mumbles his last name.

“Scorpius” Al says, testing it out on his tongue. What an odd name, but he supposes he’s one to talk.

“I’m Albus Potter.”

“I know.” Scorpius answers, blushing a bit when he realizes how it sounds. “I mean, uhm, because…”

“It’s okay. I think a lot of people probably know.”

“Right.”

Neither of them say anything now, both blushing and looking down. The silence is broken only by Rose’s loud snores. Al starts to giggle, because really, it’s a little absurd. Scorpius looks up at him, and cracks a smile too. Just like that the tension is gone.They’re both laughing like fools, so much so that Rosie wakes up, a red splotch on her cheek where it had previously been resting on Albus’ shoulder.

“Whas so funny?” She asks Al, rubbing her eyes; then she catches a glimpse of Scorpius and turns to him with a little squeak. They keep laughing, because her hair is stuck to the side of her face, and her eyes are blinking owlishly at Scorpius. It’s hilarious.

“That’s not very nice you know.” She scolds, turning back to Albus once the giggles subside, and then they start laughing again. She fumes, fixing her hair with one hand and scrubbing her face.

“I’m sorry Rosie, really, really sorry. This is Scor…”

“I know who he is,” she interrupts scathingly. They stop laughing. “That’s Scorpius Malfoy, in our train compartment .”

“Yes, in our train compartment . Is that a problem?” Al asks with an apologetic glance at Scorpius and a glare at Rose.

“Uhm, no, I guess not.” She looked a little ashamed. “Uhm, it’s...very nice to meet you, properly, Scorpius.”

Al turns his glare to Scorpius, who looks grateful. “You too. It’s Rose right?”

“Yes...It is.” She answers with civility, if a bit stiffly.

“Good then.” Al says with a nod. “What house do you hope you get into Scor?” He asks, trying to carry on a conversation.

“Scor?” Oh drats, he had accidentally given him a nickname.

“Oh god, I’m sorry.” He stammers. “It’s just, Scorpius is a bit of a mouthful, and well, I just…”

“I like it.” Scorpius has a very nice smile. “Very much. And I don’t really know. My mom and my grandparents want me to get into Slytherin, like the rest of my family. I don’t think my dad really wants that though. I think I’d like to end up in Ravenclaw, or maybe Hufflepuff. But Slytherin or Gryffindor wouldn’t be bad either. I’m just excited to finally get to go to Hogwarts. I’ve been waiting my whole life, you know?” He blushes suddenly, and looks down, murmuring into his lap. “Sorry, my grandpa tells me I talk too much. He’s right of course.”

Al’s a bit shell-shocked, but shakes out of quickly. Scorpius hasn’t looked up yet. Al glances over at Rose, and notes that she’s as surprised as he is, then makes a decision.

“No, no, no, you don’t talk too much. Don’t worry about it!”

“That was very well-said Scorpius.”

Apparently Rosie made the same decision at the same time.

“No, I do. You don’t need to say that. Thank you though.” Scorpius still didn’t look up, and Albus was having none of it.

“No, really, that was fine Scor. We don’t mind at all. Like Rosie said, that was really cool,” Al said, coming over to sit by the morose boy, patting him on the back the same way Rose had been a few moments ago.

“Thank you.” Scor answered, finally looking up. “I’ve never really, interacted, with people my own age. I’m sorry.”

“You don’t need to say sorry. You didn’t do anything wrong,” Rosie piped up from the other seat.

“Anything from the trolley dears?” They all looked up at the new voice, and were greeted by a kindly, wizened face.

“Uhm, may I have a chocolate frog and a pumpkin pasty please?” Rose recovers first, digging around in her bag and pulling out a few knuts.

“Of course,” the witch replies, and they exchange. “Anything for you boys?” She asks, turning to face them.

Albus gets a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, and Scorpius gets the same with the addition of a chocolate frog.

The three of them spent the rest of the train ride enjoying the treats and making mindless conversation about what things they had done over the summer, what classes they were looking forward to, and other things of that caliber; interrupted only by short nap breaks by Rose. Albus couldn’t believe it when they pulled into Hogsmeade, the time had gone faster than a Firebolt. They all stumbled off of the train with fuzzy minds and happy smiles. Al was surprised to see that he wasn’t scared anymore. He found himself actually looking forward to the upcoming school year, excited to spend it with his family, and with his newfound friend.

Chapter Text

Once off the train, Albus, Rose, and Scorpius followed the rest of the first years towards what they assumed was the lake. Al could hear Hagrid’s booming voice somewhere ahead of them, calling over the first years, but it was too foggy to make out more than a huge, vague shape. They made their way in that direction, and Scorpius’ breath caught in his throat once he got a good look at the half-giant. Hagrid smiled once he saw Al and Rose.

“Alrigh’ you lot?” He grinned, waving. “Haven’ gotten yourselves in trouble yet have yeh?”

“Oh course not Hagrid,” Rosie replied, cheerily waving back before marching ahead to where most of the first years were waiting for instructions.

“An’ you Albus? Who's tha’ you’re with?”

“I’m doing alright Hagrid. And this is Scorpius. We met on the train.”

“Tha’s great, already makin’ friends, jus’ like your father.”

They nod and go to catch up with Rose, where Hagrid stops them again.

“Scorpius who?” He asked, squinting through a small pair of glasses resting on the bridge of his nose.

It Scorpius who answers, though quietly, the same way he had told Albus his name. “Malfoy. My name is Scorpius Malfoy.”

“Ah...I see,” Hagrid answers, looking thoughtfully towards the direction of the school. “Well,” he finally says, “yer welcome to come to over fer tea on Friday too if you like. I’m sure Albus here would appreciate it.”

Scorpius blushed, obviously not expecting this warm response. “I would like that very much sir. Thank you.”

“O’ course.”

They hurried on ahead, and clambered into a boat with Rose and another first year, whose name was Madeleine Macmillan, though she insisted on being called Maddie. Interestingly, she had bright blue hair, and she seemed to like talking. She didn’t shut up for at least the first five minutes of the trip, only closing her mouth once they got a good view of the castle. Al could finally understand the excitement his father had felt the first time he saw it. It was absolutely spectacular. Scorpius, who had previously been sitting ramrod straight, still a bit red from Hagrid’s invitation, loosened up when he saw the view. A soft smile formed on his face, and he closed his eyes for a second, soaking it in. He turned to Albus once he opened them again, the blissful smile still gracing his sharp features.

“Isn’t it amazing?”

“Yeah, it is.”

They sat in peaceful silence until the boat bumped against the shore, and they all stumbled out together. Maddie and Rose were deep in conversation about the Giant Squid, while Al and Scorpius talked. Albus learned that Scor had a black cat called Heath, named after Heathcote Barbary, the guitarist from the Weird Sisters. That launched a conversation about music. Scor was obsessed with the Weird Sisters, even though they stopped making music ten years ago, and you could only listen to their stuff on cds. Al told him all about the muggle bands that he had stockpiled on his iPod, which he had actually brought with him, even though Rose told him it wouldn’t work.

“I bet we could make it work,” Scor said, deep in thought, “magic and all, you know. We could figure it out together, and then I could listen to Fall Down Boy.”

Al laughed. “It’s Fall Out Boy, and I would like that very much.”

Scorpius’ ears turned pink, and he chuckled too. “Sorry, I have a lot to learn, don’t I? Will you teach me about muggles?”

“It would be my honor to introduce you to muggle culture Scor.” Al said, putting on a solemn tone of voice. They both erupted into giggles again, which didn’t subside until they were right in front of the massive castle doors. Al felt his breath catch in his throat. This was it. He was really there. He was about to be sorted into a Hogwarts house. James hadn’t been teasing when he said it was nerve-wracking to stand there waiting. Al felt positively exhilarated, unable to breathe, yet full of raw energy.

Hagrid knocks on the door three times, and it swings open to reveal a short, stern looking woman with silvery-grey hair. She had pointed amber eyes, and looked to be very athletic.

“Thank you, Hagrid.” Even her voice was harsh. “Follow me, quickly now.” She rushed them all through the entrance hall, which was a sight to behold, and led them to a small chamber.

“Welcome to Hogwarts, your home for the next seven years. You’re all about to be sorted into houses. I’ll assume most of you know about houses? Anyone that doesn’t may ask their neighbor at this time.”

“She doesn’t seem very ready to give this speech does she?” Rose whispered conspiratorially into his ear.

“I guess you could say that. She’s certainly abrupt isn’t she?” Al answered in the same tone. Scorpius snorted to his left, obviously having heard the remark. Al smiled, pleased to have said something funny, as Rose turned back to converse with Maddie Macmillan about the pros and cons of being sorted into Hufflepuff. Albus was pretty sure that the two of them would get along just fine, and that he would be seeing a lot more of Maddie in the future.

“Everyone ready?” The woman, whom Al had overheard was called Madame Hooch, called over their chatter. No one answered, which she took as a resounding yes. “Good. Come with me. Stand straight and stand tall, and wait for your name to be called, then step forward and sit on the stool.”

Al felt the fluttering feeling return to his chest as she opened the doors, leading them into a brightly lit, completely packed room. The Great Hall. It was spectacular. The students clapped politely as the first years made their way up the path to where they were supposed to wait. Once situated, Madame Hooch left, then came back holding a stool and a ratty old hat. Despite its unassuming appearance, Albus knew about it’s amazing magical properties. It had once belonged to Godric Gryffindor, who took it off his head and charmed it to be able to sort the influx of students into different houses. Madam Hooch put it down on the stool, and it was then that the hat burst into song.

 

You look upon me with distaste but you don’t know the half,

My powers are many, they are oh-so-great,

I see you want to laugh,

But put me on your head just now and then you’ll see your fate;

You see there are four houses, distinguished by more than name,

Each will welcome you as you are

Please join my little game

They are alike and different how?

Don’t fret, I’ll tell you now;

You could be placed in Gryffindor,

Home for hearts without fear,

The people there will not look back,

Unless for those held dear;

Mayhaps you belong with Hufflepuff,

The warriors known for love,

They will not cease till all are heard,

And aren’t afraid to gently shove;

Then there is Ravenclaw,

Renowned for smarts and wit,

The cleverest of the bunch they are,

It’s easy to admit;

And last we have sweet Slytherin,

To which nothing can compare,

They put their cunning minds to work,

Everything they do is done with not-so-hidden flare;

So pick me up and put me on,

I promise to be fair,

I hope you enjoyed my welcome song,

Now come up if you dare.

 

The flap closed with that final note, and the Great Hall cheered as Madam Hooch stepped forward with a roll of parchment in her hands.

“Anderson, Eloise.” A small girl with long dark hair stepped forwards and sat on the stool with the hat on her head. Nothing happened for a few seconds, then the tear in the hat opened again, shouting out “SLYTHERIN!” The girl, Eloise, took of the hat and jumped of the stool, walking to the table on the far right.

“Austin, Jordan.”

Practically the second the hat was placed on his head, it called out “HUFFLEPUFF.”

This continued, with people putting on the hat and then being sorted. Sometimes it would happen quickly, as it had with Justin Austin, and other times it would take ages. The hat deliberated over where to put Madeleine Macmillan for at least five or six minutes, eventually placing her in Ravenclaw. She waved at Rose from the table with a wide smile on her face, as the students around her patted her on the back with mumbled congratulations.

“Malfoy, Scorpius.”

The hall turned deathly silent, all eyes on the boy as he made his way up to the stool. Al felt uneasy, and it looked like Scorpius did too. He was wearing a deep frown, and his hands were shaking as he pulled the hat down over his eyes. It didn’t say anything for a long time, longer than it had taken for Maddie. Still no one said anything. Al felt his apprehension growing. ‘ What’s taking so long ?’ he thought to himself, panicking a little. ‘ It’s taking far too long .’

Finally, finally , the tear in the hat opened again, and screamed out “HUFFLEPUFF.”

Suddenly the hall was full of whispers. “Malfoy. Draco Malfoy’s Son. Hufflepuff.” “How did that happen?” “He must have done something to it, that’s the only way.” It took the Hufflepuff table a few seconds to realize that they should cheer, as they had for everyone else, and when they did it was belated. Scorpius didn’t look up as he made his way to an open seat, right at the end of the table. The whispers continued, and Al couldn’t believe it either if he was being honest with himself, but still, he felt sorry for the guy. He was grateful when Madam Hooch called out the next name, stopping everyone’s conversations. A few more people were sorted, and then it was Albus’ turn.

Once again, the Great Hall fell silent, and Al could feel the thousands of eyes burning into his back as he made his way to the hat. The stool was warm, and the Hat felt very strange on his head. At least it covered his eyes. He didn’t think he could handle having to look at everyone watching him.

“So,” drawled a voice in his ear, and Albus jumped, “you’re nervous are you? You’re not the only one, don’t worry. I sorted your father you know, he was nervous too, and quite adamant against Slytherin, even though he would have done well there. But what about you hmm? Where do you think you belong.”

Al couldn’t think straight, this was all too much. His mind was a swimming, swirling mess. He could picture his father, telling him they didn’t care if he was placed in Slytherin; and he could see Lysander and Maddie Macmillan shaking hands at the Ravenclaw table. He imagined Rose being welcomed at the Gryffindor table to a chorus of Weasley family cheers, even though she hadn’t even been sorted yet; and lastly he saw Scorpius, sitting alone at the Hufflepuff table, face in the crook of his arm, ears bright red.

“I see,” said the hat. “Very interesting Albus Potter. Interesting indeed. Very well then.”

“HUFFLEPUFF” shouted the hat, and then his ears were assaulted with more whispers, and a chorus of cheers from the Hufflepuff table. He removed the hat, and quickly made his way down the row to where Scorpius was sitting, ignoring the shocked faces of everyone around him.

“You got sorted into Hufflepuff,” whispered Scorpius, astonished.

“So did you!” Albus exclaimed with a wide smile on his face. He wasn’t in Slytherin. He wasn’t in Gryffindor either, but he wasn’t in Slytherin! Hufflepuff wasn’t so bad. Lorcan was there, and so was Scorpius. Scorpius, who was looking at him like he was mad, which to be fair, he probably was at this point.

“Why are you so happy about that?” He asked, surprised.

“Because it’s going to be fantastic!” Albus was beaming, and Scorpius couldn’t help starting to smile too, if only because Al’s attitude was contagious. He could barely hear the rest of the sorting over his adrenaline, only looking up when Rosie’s name was called. She pulled the hat on confidently, as she did everything else. ‘ Gryffindor.’ Al thought to himself. ‘ This won’t take very long. She belongs in Gryffindor.’

“RAVENCLAW,” calls out the hat. ‘ What?’

The Ravenclaw table is cheering loudly, Maddie perhaps loudest of all. ‘ Huh.’ Thought Albus. ‘ Okay.’ He chanced a glance over at the Gryffindor table, not surprised to see several disappointed Weasley faces. Nobody really looked surprised though. Rosie was a genius after all. But then again, hadn’t her mother been too? And she ended up in Gryffindor. Oh well. Al was still happy for her, and she looked happy enough as well, sitting with Lysander and Maddie. This had definitely been an interesting sorting. The hat was absolutely right about that. The last few first years were called up and sorted, and then, it was time for Headmistress Sinistra to deliver a speech.

This was her first year in the position, which had been passed down to her by Professor McGonagall, who, as far as Albus knew, had retired peacefully. Judging by the newspaper articles he had read about her, she probably deserved a little rest and relaxation.

“Hello students!” She started cheerfully. “Welcome to our first years, and welcome back to everyone else. For those of you who don’t know, I am Headmistress Sinistra. I have just taken over the position from Minerva McGonagall, who, I quote, ‘wanted to get as far away as possible for a few years, then see what happens.’ Merlin knows she’s earned a vacation.” So Al had been right. “I used to teach Astronomy, a position which is now being filled by Professor Campbell.” She punctuated this by gesturing to a young man seated farther down the staff table. “I”ll make this quick, you all just want to get to the food. Don’t go near the Forbidden Forest, don’t be out after curfew, and don’t do anything stupid,” she stopped and looked down at James, who was already notorious for being a prankster, despite only being a third year. “Enjoy your meal.” With this, she sat down, and mountains of food appeared before them.

There was turkey and roast and potatoes, along with about fifty types of casseroles and beans. It was all amazing, and Albus and Scorpius stuffed themselves to the point of breaking, but they still helped themselves to treacle tart once the deserts appeared. Throughout the meal they maintained some light conversation, mostly about how amazing the things they were eating were. Once they had finished all of their food, and were waiting for the rest of the dining hall so they could be dismissed, they were greeted by a flustered James.

“How’d you manage to get into Hufflepuff Malfoy?” Jame sneered, putting a hand on Al’s shoulder.

“Hey!” Al admonished, “don’t say it like that! And his name is Scorpius. What would Mum think?”

James blushed, and didn’t say anything else, rushing back to the Gryffindor table to sit with his friends. Al was fuming.

“I’m sorry about him Scor. He’s just mean. But he’ll warm up to you. He has to.”

“Thanks Albus, but he’s right. I don’t know how I managed it either. I was sure I would end up in Slytherin like my parents.”

Al calmed down a bit. “But you didn’t. We’re in Hufflepuff together. And the Sorting Hat’s never wrong, so I guess you’re stuck with me.”

Scor smiled. “That’s not so bad. You’re right. I just have to trust the hat.”

“Yes, I am right. Now, when do we get to leave?” Al asked, yawning widely.

That question was quickly answered by the Headmistress.

“I realize you’re all tired, so, prefects, if you will please lead everyone to the common rooms. I’ll say the rest of the rules tomorrow at dinner. Don’t do anything wrong until then. Sleep well students. Classes start tomorrow.”

The entire Great Hall stood at once, and a mass exodus was instigated. Fortunately, the Hufflepuff table was the closest of the four to the doors, and the prefects led them swiftly out of the room and down a corridor. After that, they went down a staircase, through another corridor, past a large painting of fruit that Albus catalogued in his mind to be a marker, and reached a dead end with a collection of large barrels in the corner. The prefect, whose name Al learned was Miranda, tapped a barrel in the middle of the second row to the tune of a song.

“Helga Hufflepuff,” she explained, “that’s the name of the song. If you tap the wrong barrel, or don’t do the song properly, you’ll be doused with vinegar, but don’t worry; it’s not that difficult to remember.”

In that moment, Al felt very worried, but he didn’t say anything. He had a horrible memory. The barrel opened, and they followed a gently sloping path for a few minutes before being greeted with a cozy, low-ceilinged room. The walls curved, and were covered with shelves full of various plants. There were also plants in pots hanging from the ceiling, as well as on top of some of the honey-coloured tables scattered around the room. Everything looked very warm, and very bee-like, but that was to be expected. There were several round windows, which looked out into the dark night. However, despite this, the room still appeared to be well-lit. A large portrait of Helga Hufflepuff over the mantlepiece looks down on them, smiling genially. The room gives of a general feeling of warmth, and Albus feels content after the fantastic meal with the promise of a good-night's rest. He and Scorpius, along with a few other boys, are directed to one of two round doors in the wall opposite them. The enter, and walk down a passage until they find another found door labeled ‘first years’. Inside is a collection of beds, all of which are low to the ground and covered with colorful patchwork quilts. Albus doesn’t think he’s ever seen anything comfier, and immediately plops down onto one, only to find it already inhabited. There’s a black cat sitting on the pillow, and it looks at him coldly with it’s bright green eyes.

“Sorry Al,” Scor laughed warmly, “looks like Heath’s already claimed that one. I’ll move him.”

Al laughed too as Scorpius picked up his cat and moved him to the bed next to his.

“Good night Al.”

“Good night Scor.”

That night he went to bed happily, without a memory of the nerves that had plagued him that morning. There were still struggles to overcome, but in that moment, Albus didn’t think he had ever felt calmer.

Chapter Text

Albus would never admit this, especially not to his mother, but he had never slept in a bed as comfortable as those in the Hufflepuff dormitory. It was like a warm, firm cloud. He didn’t think he had ever slept better. He woke up on the first day with a smile on his face. Why was he ever worried?  He turned to Scorpius, one bed over, only to find his pale eyes sunken with bags. Scor looked exhausted.

Noticing Al was awake, Scorpius turned his head, looking down at his fingers tangled in the sheets.

“Are you okay Scorpius?” Al asked, worrying his bottom lip with his teeth.

Scorpius smiled thinly. “Yeah Al, I’m okay. Just had a bit of trouble sleeping. I-I can’t really figure out how I’m gonna tell my parents I’m in Hufflepuff.” He looked away again.

Albus nodded in understanding. “I get it Scor, but I think they’ll still be really happy. Don’t worry. We can write our families together tonight.”

“Okay.”

With that, both boys got dressed and walked out to the common room. It was mostly empty, with just a few older students chatting amicably in the corner. Soft, morning light was shining through the windows, giving the boys a good view of the dewy grass outside. Al spotted Conall, the second year son of Professor Longbottom. They both waved, and walked to meet each other at the exit.

“How’ve you been Albus? I haven’t seen you in ages.” Conall smiled, but it looked a little strange, and he avoided looking at Scorpius, who was still at Albus’ side.

“I’m alright. What about you?”

“I’m good.” Neither of them say anything for a moment.

“This is my friend Conall,” Al started, turning to Scorpius, “his dad and my dad were friends back in his school. His dad’s the Herbology professor. Conall, this is Scorpius.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” Scor mumbled, ears turning a little red. Conall looked him over, face wary, then spoke again.

“You too.” He gave a genuine smile then, and turned to open the passage.

“You guys coming?”

Al nodded, and he and Scor followed the older boy out of the room. They walked through the tunnel and exited the barrel in silence, but once they were out in the open, Conall started to speak.

“You know Al,” he started, “I’m really surprised you got sorted into Hufflepuff. I’m pleased of course, don’t get me wrong. But still, surprised. What with your dad and everything, I guess everyone just kind of assumed you’d end up in Gryffindor too.”

Al chuckled a little nervously. “Yeah.”

Conall seemed to take that as a valid contribution to the conversation, and continued.

“It was a little like that with me, but my mum was in Hufflepuff, so people weren’t as surprised. You’re really going to like it, I promise. Most of the stereotypes about us aren’t really all that true, but everyone is really nice. Same goes for you Scorpius. You’ll enjoy it.”

Scorpius looked startled at being addressed, but he smiled nonetheless. The rest of the, admittedly short, walk was spent in comfortable conversation about the various plants that could be found in the common room. Conall knew a lot about plants, but Al supposed that was kind of to be expected.

They reached the dining hall, and Conall left them to say hello to some of his friends at the Slytherin table. Albus and Scorpius easily found seats at the practically empty table, and helped themselves to full plates of eggs and bacon. Scorpius also got a heaping dish of porridge. They ate quietly, and finished while the rest of the students filed in through the big doors. They talked about the classes they were excited to take, only to be interrupted by Professor Sprout, who was handing out schedules to all of the first years.

“You’ll all have Herbology with me first thing, and then you’ll go to History of Magic with Professor Binns. From there he’ll send you off to your next class. You’ll stay together as a group for this year. Do you understand?” She said this all very quickly, and rushed off to another couple of students before either of them got the chance to nod, mumbling something that sounded like “ late start...should have set my wand...always do this.”  Al and Scor both giggled at her frazzled state, before scanning over the rest of their schedules.

“This doesn’t look so bad,” Al said distractedly. “And look, tomorrow and Thursday we have a couple of joint classes with Ravenclaw. We’ll get to see Rose.”

Scor nodded, still looking over the piece of parchment in his hands.

They went back to the common room and grabbed their materials, and followed the group of Hufflepuffs out to the greenhouses, where they were thoroughly informed on how classes would work. The rest of the day went in a similar fashion, and Al was a little surprised when he plopped down onto his bed heavily that evening.

“Wow,” said Scorpius, also lying down on his bed.

“Yeah.”

They lay there for a minute, before Al sat up, and reached for a roll of parchment and a quill, while Scorpius just looked at him.

“Letters,” he explained, and Scor’s face grew paler.

“C-can’t that wait till tomorrow?” He squeaked.

“Nope.”

Scor sighed, and reached for his own parchment.

 

Dear Mum and Dad, Al started, already feeling unease form in the pit of his stomach. What if they were secretly disappointed? He scratched it out.

Dear Mother and Father, that sounded way too formal. It was scratched out too. He looked over to Scorpius, and found him having a similar problem.

Dear Mum and Dad, he reverted.

How are you? How’s Lily? I really like Hogwarts so far, but there’s something I have to tell you. That made it sound like he was dying, and he rolled his eyes before crossing out the whole section. At this rate, he wouldn’t have any parchment left to write on.

Dear Mum and Dad,

You might’ve already heard, there, straight to the point, but I’ve been sorted into Hufflepuff. Everyone seems really nice, and I’m already making friends. Hogwarts has been really great so far. I especially enjoyed the potatoes at dinner. Just kidding. Kind of. How are you? How’s Lily? Tell her I’ll write her a letter soon. I love you a lot.

Love, Al.

There, that was good enough. Albus looked over at Scorpius, and found him to already be looking over, having just finished his own letter.

“Will you read it?” He whispered, embarrassed.

“Of course. Read mine?”

Scor nodded, and they traded pieces of parchment.

Dear Mother, Father, and Grandfather,

I was sorted into Hufflepuff. So far it hasn’t been so bad. I’m even making friends. Well, at least one friend. He’s very nice. I’m looking forward to seeing you at Christmas.

Sincerely, Scorpius.

It was short, and a little stiff, but Albus gave it the nod of approval, knowing they would have to sit here for ages if Scor tried to re-write it. And he felt good about being considered a friend, and Scor even called him very nice . He felt himself flushing a little, and gave Scor the parchment back with a wide smile. Together they walked towards the owlery, and sent both letters off through one of the many windows, and together they walked back, quickly this time, so as not to be caught out of bed after the curfew. Together they stumbled into the Hufflepuff common room, laughing and out of breath, and they both went to bed with smiles on their faces.

Chapter Text

I am so sorry to anyone who was interested in this fic, but I just can't really keep up with it at the moment. It was pretty sill of me to think that I actually could. I just don't feel like it was my best work, and I'm not really happy with the first few chapters, so I'll be sticker to shorter, simpler stuff for awhile in an attempt to improve. I hope to one day re-write these few chapters and continue with this work in the future, but right now I'm going to take a break from it. Thank you to anyone who has read this, and I'm really sorry to anyone who liked the story and is disappointed.