The Sorting and The Banquet
Hundreds of students filled out the hall, some older than others, and yet no less expectant. The Great Hall simply had that kind of atmosphere. In a moment, the first years were lined, and ready to be sorted. With a flick of his wand, Deputy Headmaster Filius Flitwick had floated an worn and - to the older students - recognizable old hat upon a high stool.
Silence reigned as the rip on the brim turned into a mouth, and the Great Hall was filled with the sound of its' singing:
The dawn has passed and morning's stayed
We've done away with fear!
Seven years of happiness
Have once more brought you here!
So once again, I'll do with glee
The task assigned to me
I'll know you and I'll sort you
Oh, where will you belong?
In brave and daring Gryffindor,
Stout and true of heart?
Or Hufflepuff, the all accepting,
In diligence is their art!
Perhaps Ravenclaw! Wise and bright,
With wit ever the sharprest!
Still there's cunning Slytherin,
More ambitious than the rest!
Now step up, put me on!
leave me to work my magic,
And I'll see where you belong!
The whole of the hall burst into applause as the Sorting Hat finished it's song, and with a flourish bow for something with no body or neck, it returned to absolute stillness.
It was when Professor Flitwick took a stand at a foot stool that the sorting truly begun. Names where rolled out one after another, and soon everyone was sorted, some more pleased with their selection with others, but sorted nonetheless. Everything proceeded without incident, barring a small reaction to the names of one of the students - "Malfoy, Delphini", stood out, as anyone with that last name would. As the last of the names was called, the Headmistress stood, and looked around at the assembled crowd. Her hair was white and she was wizened beyond belief, yet her eyes contained a youthful vitality that many would find hard-pressed to match.
"Seven years," her old voice was stern, but nonetheless contained a quality of warmth in them, "a very powerful number, magically. Seven years since the most momentous event in recent memory - I feel that is important, and yet there is another number that runs alongside it, in my mind. Lucky number eight. Eight years since the passing of, I daresay, the greatest Headmaster to have graced these sacred halls."
"Albus Dumbledore would have been happy beyond all measure to see all of you here now, happier, I would say, than receiving a pair of new socks," the old witch's' eyes crinkled as though she had told a joke, "I am a very different sort of Headmistress than he was, for he would have been quite done with this little speech in a moment, but I will not take up your valuable time for much longer; I'm sure you're all quite famished! That is all, thank you!"
Another round of applause and cheering resounded, until it tapered off as food suddenly piled in front of the students, and they began digging in.