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The Prefect Remus is following is considerably taller than him, and he has to half-jog to keep up. There are three other boys Sorted into Gryffindor: Peter, James and Sirius. James and Sirius seem to be friends already, Remus wonders if they know each other from outside Hogwarts. He wonders if they’ll want to be friends with him, or if they’d just stick together. Peter seems to be walking with them.

Will they like me? Remus thinks. Probably not. He can’t shake off the feeling that he is probably the most boring boy to be Sorted into Gryffindor. He should be in Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. He’s not very brave. He likes books and the indoors.

The Prefect shows them where the toilet and the showers are, explains the daily routines of life at Hogwarts and then leads them up to where they will be sleeping for the next seven years. The room is comfortable looking, with four four-poster beds with scarlet hangings and bedclothes. The Prefect leaves and Peter takes the first bed, James the second and then Sirius the third.

James and Sirius are talking about a boy on the train called Snivellus, though Remus doubts that is his real name. Sirius collapses on his own bed, his limbs spread out.

James seems to finally notice Remus. “Hi,” he says and smiles widely. “Didn’t see you there. I’m James.”

“Hello. I’m Remus.” He smiles, but he feels like he’s showing too much teeth.

“This is Sirius,” James says, “he’s grumpy because he thinks he should be in Slytherin.” James grins again. “I think he’s an idiot for thinking that. We’re in the best house, don’t you think?”

“I don’t really know,” Remus says. He doesn’t know what to do with his hands. Should he put them at his sides? Fold his arms?

Sirius sits up. “You Muggle-born?” His tone is sharp.

“N-no. My dad is a wizard.”

Sirius regards him critically for a few moments, then lies back down, staring moodily at the ceiling.

“My name is Peter,” says Peter. He’s shorter and chubbier than the others and looks much younger, although they are all the same age. His eyes are grey and a little watery and he’s wringing his hands.

“Hello.” Remus smiles at him.

James goes back to his bed and starts unpacking his trunk; Peter follows suit. Sirius remains on his bed, so still he could be made of stone.

Remus hadn’t spoken to any of them during the feast, instead he listened to the conversation around him. People always made it look so easy. How did they know what to say next?

Peter and James are talking, but Sirius remains silent.

“So why do you think you should be in Slytherin, then?” Remus asks.

Sirius turns his head to face Remus. “All my family have been in Slytherin. And I’m pure-blood. How am I supposed to tell my parents?”

“You’re not one of those blood purists, are you?” Remus says, trying to joke.

Sirius rolls his eyes and turns back to the ceiling.

If Sirius is so offended by the fact that Remus was a half-blood, imagine how he would feel if he found out that Remus was a werewolf! Would Remus be able to hide it well enough? Surely they would notice some time. Dumbledore had explained it all, he said it would be fine. Remus had seen the Whomping Willow, and it did look very impressive. But surely his dorm-mates would notice that he disappeared once a month, always at the full moon?

Remus sits down on his own bed and removes his socks, wriggling his toes. He would have to deny it. Would they confront him about it? He wrings his hands together. At least the next full moon was three weeks away. He had at least three weeks at Hogwarts, then.

“Sirius?” James says from where he is seated on his own bunk. “Did you see that weird looking tree? The Wanking Willow or whatever? We should check it out tomorrow!”

“A girl I was talking to at the feast said it moved by itself!” Peter says.

“Bollocks,” James scoffs. “But there’s something weird about it. What d’you say?”

“Sure,” Sirius says as he sits up. “We should do it at night, though.” Peter gives a small noise of fright. “Unless you’re scared.”

“I’m not!” Peter says.

“Good.” Sirius smirks.

“How about it, Remus?” James asks.

“Oh. Sure!” Remus says, grateful that James had thought to include him, even it was simply out of politeness.

Maybe he would make some friends here; James and Peter seem alright. He wouldn’t be making friends with Sirius any time soon, if his abysmal attempt at conversation was anything to go by.