"You're Tony Chopper, yeah?"
Chopper looked up from his breakfast to find one of the Ravenclaw Prefects, a fifth year student named Iceburg, talking to him, "Yes?"
"Here," he handed him a piece of paper, "Professor Clover wanted to give me your schedule, since it's different from the other first years."
"Oh," he said as he took the paper.
He'd never been to school before, so he didn't know what to expect. Between travelling the world as Doctorine's assistant and his particular condition, he'd never gotten a chance for proper schooling. When his Hogwarts acceptance letter had finally found him, he was excited for the chance to have the normal school experience most young wizards had.
He raised his glasses to his forehead so he could read over the schedule, "Thank you."
Iceburg shrugged, "It's whatever. Your first class is Defense Against the Dark Arts with the rest of the first years, but then you've got," he leaned over Chopper's shoulder to read the schedule, "Charms with the second years, and after that is Potions with the third years."
"Ah," Chopper said as he lowered his glasses. Per Doctorine's request, he'd been able to test his proficiency in all the subjects. He'd tested high in Charms and Transfiguration, and exceptionally high in Potions and Herbology, so he was allowed take those lessons with the older students. He didn't really know the older Ravenclaws aside from the Prefects who'd introduced themselves to the first years already, but he supposed he'd have met them eventually, and he'd get to know them in class.
"Wait a moment," an older blond boy sitting across from them said, "The Gryffindor and Slytherin second years have Charms second today. Why's he not with the Ravenclaws?"
Iceburg glanced across the table at him, "Sabo, how and why do you even know that?"
"As the responsible older brother, I make it my business to know Luffy's schedule."
He looked over at the table next to them, "The Gryffindors don't even have their schedules yet."
"I may have broken into Professor Smoker's office last night to get a peek at the second year Gryffindor schedule," Sabo said as he piled his plate with bacon, "It's called being responsible."
"I'm just going to pretend I didn't hear that."
"You do what you have to do," Sabo pointed his fork at Chopper, "Why isn't Mr. Genius here having classes with the Ravenclaws?"
"I didn't make his schedule," Iceburg shrugged, "I guess they couldn't get it to work with the older Ravenclaw's classes, so they just put him in with whoever worked with his timeslot?"
"Ah," Chopper said as he stared down at his schedule again. So he wouldn't be with his Housemates most of the time. That had the potential to get awkward fast.
"Looks like you've got Transfiguration with the Gryffindors too," Sabo said as he leaned across the table to get a better look at the schedule.
"It doesn't matter," Iceburg said, "Point is, Kalifa won't be able to walk you to class with the rest of the first years, so now I have to do it," he sighed and grabbed a roll off the table, "My Mondays are already so full and now I have to do this. Being a Prefect is so annoying."
Chopper glanced down at his schedule again. He hadn't even been in this school for a full day yet and he was already inconveniencing everyone.
"I'll walk him to class, if you want," Sabo said.
Iceburg raised an eyebrow, "Why the sudden desire to help?"
"Hey, I'm a helpful guy!"
"Do I really need to bring up last year's Bathroom Swamp incident?" Iceburg said, taking a bite from his roll.
"Valid point, but my intentions this time are pure," Sabo said, pointing at him with a forkful of bacon, "I'd like the excuse to see Luffy, and I really don't mind."
"Whatever," Iceburg rolled his eyes, "You can if you want, but you've got to do it the whole day, not just to whatever classes he happens to share with Luffy."
"Sure thing," Sabo grinned, swallowing his bacon, "You don't mind, right Tony?"
"Oh," Chopper sat up straighter, "No, that's fine."
"Great," Sabo smiled at him, so Chopper tried his best to smile in return, "Then I'll see you after class."
Chopper's first class at Hogwarts was over and done with. Kalifa, the other fifth year Prefect, had already taken the rest of the first years off to their next class. Sabo was nowhere in sight, and he was starting to worry.
Should he try and find his way to Charms by himself? He started biting his thumbnail and ran a hand through his curly brown hair. It was only one floor down, so it shouldn't be too hard to find, but with the way those staircases kept changing he was bound to get lost, not to mention that he didn't know where on the second floor the classroom was and what if there was a trick? What if the classroom was hidden and he needed an older student to let him in the first time? Should he ask someone for help? All the students currently in the hallway were busy rushing to their own classes, but maybe Professor Smoker could help him?
He peeked back into the classroom, but the next class had started coming in, and Professor Smoker was answering one of the student's questions already. No good.
Chopper leaned back against the wall and chewed on his fingernails some more. If he didn't leave soon, he'd be late for class, but if he left without directions he'd get lost and end up late for class. What should he do? Maybe this whole school thing was a mistake, being homeschooled forever wasn't the worst thing in the world. Was it too late to go back to Doctorine?
"Tony! Hey!" Sabo shouted as he screeched to a halt in front of him, out of breath, "Sorry I'm late, the Potions teacher kept us up and I had to make my way up from the dungeons."
"I wasn't worried at all," Chopper said, near tears.
Sabo gave him a smile and ruffled his hair, "Luckily I know every secret passage in this castle."
Halfway down the hall, Sabo stopped by a statue of an old, ugly woman with a cloak over her head and a basket full of apples. He pulled out his wand and tapped the basket, causing the statue to move slightly to the left and open up a passageway just small enough for them to squeeze through.
"This takes us to the second floor," Sabo explained as they went down the hidden staircase, "So, how was your first class?"
"Alright," Chopper played with the strap on his bag, "Professor Smoker seems okay, and the coursework itself looks interesting."
"And the other Ravenclaws?" he asked, "How were they?"
"Oh, uh," Chopper bit his lip, holding back his tears as best he could, "Great."
"You can tell me the truth," Sabo said, his voice warm and understanding, "I won't tell anyone."
Chopper's bottom lip wavered, "They don't like me. They called me a freak and none of them would talk to me. I had to sit with the Slytherins, who just ignored me."
Sabo sighed, "Yeah, I was afraid that would happen."
Chopper sniffled, "It's me, isn't it? I'm just that unlikable."
"No! Absolutely not! It's got nothing to do with you at all," he rubbed the back of his head, "Well, maybe a little bit, but it's not your fault. You see, Ravenclaws are supposed to be like, the smart House. They get very territorial over who the smartest in each year is, as that would make them the smartest of the smartest. The first through third years are the worst at this, since they're trying to prove themselves to the rest of the House, and then you come along and start taking higher level courses. None of the other first years can hope to compete with that! It's not you, not really, they're just jealous, and that causes them to lash out."
"Ah," he looked down at his feet, "I was hoping to have a normal school experience for once in my life. Instead it got terrible fast."
Sabo laughed, "That's the most normal a school experience you could have," he pat his shoulder, "Honestly, normalcy is overrated. My advice? Try having a good school experience."
Chopper frowned, "How do I do that?"
"Find a core group of friends who like you for you, stick with them, and ignore everything else."
It seemed simple enough, but if none of the other Ravenclaws wanted anything to do with him, then that was going to be difficult, "Will you be my friend?"
Sabo grinned, "Sure, but I'm a fourth year, so I'm not going to be in any of your classes. I'm not going to be much help there."
Right, guess he was back to square one, practically friendless and taking classes with older students who weren't even Housemates.
"Don't worry though," Sabo said as the reached the bottom of the stairs. He tapped his wand against one of the bricks on the wall and it parted, revealing the back of a tapestry of a girl asleep in a glass coffin, "I've got you covered there."
He pulled back the tapestry, and Chopper stepped through. Sabo followed quickly after him, placed a hand on his shoulder, and guided him down the hallway towards an open classroom door with a group of Gryffindors hanging out outside.
"Luffy!" Sabo called over to them with a wave.
One of the Gryffindors, a black haired boy with a small scar under one of his eyes, turned at his shout. He grinned wide and shouted back, "Sabo! Hey!"
Sabo steered Chopper towards him as the rest of the Gryffindors went inside the room. Luffy jumped forward and wrapped him in a tight hug, saying, "I haven't seen you in forever!"
"I saw you at dinner last night, Lu," Sabo laughed as he returned the hug, "How's your first day back so far?"
"Great," Luffy grinned as he pulled away, "I had a free period before, so I got to sleep in late."
"You're supposed to be using those for studying."
He pouted, "Give me a break, I haven't even had a class yet."
Sabo laughed, "Alright, but don't make a habit of it," he nudged Chopper forward, "I wanted to introduce you to a friend of mine, Tony Chopper. Tony, this is my brother, Luffy."
"What, your name's Chopper, like an axe or something?" he grinned as he grabbed his hand and shook it hard, "That's so cool!"
"Ah," Chopper blushed a bit as he returned the handshake, "I don't care what you think," he said with a huge smile on his face.
"Tony's going to be in your Charms class," Sabo said.
Luffy's eyebrows furrowed as he tilted his head, "I thought I had Charms with the Slytherins?"
"You do. Tony's only in his first year, but he's taking some second and third year courses, so his schedule is a bit strange."
"Ah, I see," Luffy nodded, "Like a mystery."
"If you want," Sabo chuckled, "Anyway, I got to get going. I just wanted to make sure you two met," he waved, "I'll see you guys later!"
"Later, Sabo!" Luffy waved back as Sabo took off down the hallway.
Chopper shuffled a bit, awkward now that Sabo had left and he was alone with Luffy. Should he say something? But Luffy probably wanted nothing to do with him now that Sabo was gone. He was in Gryffindor after all, he sure must have had Gryffindor friends he could be talking to instead.
"Let's go, Chopper!" Luffy grinned at him.
"Oh," Chopper said as he was startled out of his thoughts, "Right," he gripped the strap of his bag tightly and followed Luffy inside.
As soon as they entered, Luffy wandered off to find a seat. When Chopper made to follow him, he was approached by a tall man with an afro, "You are Mr. Chopper, yes?"
"Uh, yeah," Chopper said with a nod.
"Wonderful. I'm Professor Brook Bones," he extended his hand, and Chopper shook it carefully, "If you have any questions about the material please do not hesitate to ask me. I know being new in a class with older students can be a bit daunting, so would you like me to introduce you to the rest of the class to break the ice a little?"
"Uh, sure," Chopper played with his strap nervously as Professor Bones led him to the front of the classroom.
"Hello class," Professor Bones said. The class quieted down and turned to face him, "I hope you all had a fantastic summer. I know you are all very excited to pick up right where we left off last year, but first we have a new student joining us," he placed a hand on Chopper's shoulder, "Class, this is Tony Chopper. He's a first year Ravenclaw student who will be joining our class this year."
Chopper glanced around the room and bit his lip. He was getting a lot of glares from the Slytherin side of the room and more than a few raised eyebrows from the Gryffindors. On the Slytherin side he noticed a girl with bright orange hair lean in and whisper something to the dark skinned boy with a long nose sitting next to her. He couldn't find Luffy in the crowd at all, and gulped.
"I'm sure you will all do your best to make Mr. Chopper feel comfortable," Professor Bones continued, "Now, where is there an open seat?" He glanced around the classroom.
A hand in the back of the room shot up, "There's one next to me, Brook!" Luffy said.
Chopper smiled, relief flooding his chest, as Professor Bones said, "Excellent! Thank you, Mr. Monkey."
Chopper went to the back of the room and put his bag in the empty seat next to Luffy as Professor Bones began the lesson.
"To ease back into the swing of things, we'll spend the first half of the class reviewing the spells we learned last year," Professor Bones said, "Split up into pairs to practice," he waved his wand, causing the list of spells to appear on the blackboard behind him.
Chopper glanced over at Luffy, who was already looking at him with a grin on his face, "Let's pair up, Chopper!"
Hands slammed on his desk. Chopper jumped and saw the orange haired Slytherin girl standing in front of them, "No, we're pairing up so I can make sure you didn't forget everything I taught you last year," she turned her attention to Chopper, who was half under his desk quivering, "Sorry to steal your partner like this. My name's Nami, and Luffy's Charm work is my responsibility."
"Aw, but Nami," Luffy whined, "I wanna work with Chopper."
"Too bad," she tugged on his cheek and dragged him away, "Prove to me you're capable of retaining knowledge and you can pair up with him next time."
"Sorry about her," the Slytherin boy with the long nose said, "She's a nice person under normal circumstances," he held out his hand, "I'm Usopp. It's nice to meet you."
Chopper shakily grabbed his hand and shook it, "Nice to meet you."
"Do you want to partner up for this?" Usopp asked, "I can show you what we learned last year."
Chopper smiled, "Yeah, that'd be good."
"You're in luck, actually," he said as he came over to Chopper's side of the table and sat down next to him, "I'm basically a pro with Charms."
"Really?" Chopper looked over at him, eyes wide.
"Of course," Usopp laughed, "Brook's asked me to teach the class on several occasions, you know. Of course my humble nature would never allow me to take his job, but I did teach him everything he knows."
"Wow," Chopper said, completely awed, "I'm really lucky to have such an amazing wizard here to help me out."
Usopp blinked and stared at him for a moment before breaking out in a wide grin, "Yes you are. My great skill and generous nature is why I am known the world over as Usopp the Great and Generous."
"Amazing!" he exclaimed, "Do they really call you that?"
"Of course, would I lie to you?" Usopp said as he pulled out his wand, "Here, show me which of the spells you do know, and I'll tell you about the time I single-handedly fought of a banshee with nothing but a slingshot."
Chopper nodded eagerly, happy to have such an amazing person helping him out.
"Remember," Sabo was saying as he guided Chopper down to the dungeons, "be friendly enough to make friends with whoever you end up sharing a workspace with, but not so friendly that you're a pushover. That's not a friendship."
Chopper nodded as he gulped audibly. Potions was going to be his first class with the third years and he had no idea what to expect from them, "Do you have any brothers in this class too?"
"Unfortunately no," he placed a hand on his shoulder, "But you are with the Hufflepuffs, and they're friendly people. Usually."
Chopper grimaced as they approached the classroom door. Some of the fifth year Ravenclaws from the previous class were lingering in the hallway, and he noticed Iceburg talking to a Ravenclaw girl with long black hair and piercing blue eyes. Iceburg smiled at him when he saw him coming, and the girl turned look at him as well.
"Robin, my sweet!" a blond Hufflepuff boy darted between Chopper and the fifth years, a rose clutched in his hand that he offered to the girl, "It has been a long, cold summer without your presence in my life! What a glorious day this is to see us reunited once more!"
Robin smiled and took the flower, "It's nice to see you again too."
"You somehow managed to get even more annoying," a Gryffindor boy with green hair snarled as he walked by them towards the classroom, "Didn't think that was possible. Hey Robin," he nodded.
"Hello," Robin replied.
"You wanna fight me, Moss Head?" the blond snapped as he followed him into the room.
Robin twirled the rose between her fingers and gave Chopper one last smile as she and Iceburg left the corridor.
"Yeah, you'll be fine," Sabo gave him a firm pat on his shoulder, "I believe in you. Oh, and don't let Spandam get to you. He's like that to everyone," he gave Chopper one last parting wave and an, "I'll see you after class," as he took off down the hallway.
Chopper stared at the door, took a deep breath, and went inside.
All of the tables were occupied as he made his way around the side of the room, looking for an empty seat. The rest of the students were seated and talking amongst each other, Gryffindors on one side, Hufflepuffs on the other, seemingly no place for a lost little Ravenclaw. Maybe he should just sit at a Hufflepuff table and hope for the best? Oh, but Luffy was a Gryffindor, wasn't he? Maybe someone in here was his friend and he could sit with them?
"You're that advanced Ravenclaw student, right?" The man in the front of the room said to him as he approached, "Tony something or other?"
"Tony Chopper, yes," he nodded, "Are you Professor Spandam?"
"Of course I am," he rolled his eyes, "I thought you were supposed to be smart. Don't expect any special treatment from me. I intend to treat you just like all of the other students. The Headmaster thinks you can be here, despite my misgivings about you," Chopper winced and tugged subconsciously at his shirt sleeve as Spandam sneered down at him, "so let's see if you can."
Chopper nodded and tried to shuffle away, but before he could Spandam was speaking again, "Attention class, we have a new student. Tony Chopper here is too good for the other first years, so he's joining you lot instead. Is there an empty seat anywhere for him?"
The other students looked around the room at each other, but remained silent.
"Oh! Oh! Spanda! Spanda!" a hand shot up near the back, "Spanda! There's a seat back here!"
Spandam grimaced, "Anyone? Anyone at all have an empty seat?"
Chopper noticed the other students shift their bags over unoccupied seats as the voice in the back grew louder, "Spanda! Spanda, there's one back here! There's a seat over here, Spanda! Spanda! Spanda!"
Suddenly a blond head appeared over the rest of the class, and the Hufflepuff boy from outside waved his hands, "Right back here, Spanda! He can sit here!"
"Get off the table, Mr. Black!" Spandam shouted as the boy grinned, "Ten points from Hufflepuff!"
Chopper shifted his weight as the boy sat down. Spandam cleared his throat, "It appears there's a space all the way in the back where you can sit," he waved Chopper off and turned to the chalkboard.
Chopper weaved his way through the students, some ignored him, others glared down at him, until he reached the table in the very back of the room. It only had two occupants, the blond Hufflepuff, who was currently scribbling something down in a standard Muggle notebook, and the green haired Gryffindor, who had his arms crossed and was glaring at Chopper.
"I'm Sanji Black," the blond said as he pointed to himself with his pen, and Chopper saw that this too was a regular Muggle pen. He pointed the pen at his classmate, "That's Zoro Roronoa."
"H-hi," Chopper said as he sat down, "I'm Tony Chopper."
Sanji hummed in acknowledgment, but didn't look up from his notebook. Zoro's eyes narrowed even further.
Chopper swallowed hard as he tried to ignore the hateful look in his classmate's eyes. Why did he have to end up at the scariest table in the room?
His eyes darted between Sanji, who was still scribbling in his notebook, and Zoro, whose eyes hadn't left him. Sabo's words from earlier flit through his mind, "They're jealous, and that causes people to act out." Zoro was a Gryffindor, but in his mind Chopper was probably this upstart first year that had no place in this class, just some freak that was too smart for his own good and didn't belong.
Would he attack him? Spandam wouldn't stop him, heck he'd probably encourage it. Would the rest of the class jump in to save him? He remembered their cold gazes as he tried to find a seat earlier. Couldn't count on them to stop him. What about Sanji? He did invite him back to his table, would he be willing to step in? His gaze shifted back to him, still scribbling with an air of casual indifference. Would Sanji even notice if Zoro attacked him right now?
Chopper was going to die, there was no way around it. Zoro was going to kill him and he was going to die. School was a mistake.
He whined softly and laid his head on the table. Zoro raised an eyebrow as Sanji glanced up, "You okay?"
Chopper nodded, but before Sanji could say anything further, Spandam started talking.
"We're jumping right into new material," he said as he wrote out 'Shrinking Solution' on the blackboard, "The Shrinking Solution is a pretty basic potion, so even you lot should be able to do it without too much hassle," he stared pointedly at Chopper's table, "Most of you, anyway."
Chopper shivered and shrunk further into his seat. Sanji rolled his eyes as Zoro scoffed and slouched into his chair.
"You should find all the ingredients in the cabinet," Spandam wrote down the ingredients, Shrivelfig, rat spleens, caterpillars, dandelion roots, wormwood, "The process itself is really quite simple," he started writing the instructions on the board as well.
Chopper frowned at the board. He'd made dozens of Shrinking Solutions with Doctorine, and while it was possible that Doctorine's way wasn't the standard way, some of the things Spandam was writing were just plain wrong, "Excuse me, Professor," Chopper spoke up, "Aren't Shrinking Solutions generally made with daisy roots? And I'm pretty sure you're supposed to stir after you add the Shrivelfig-"
"Oh, I'm sorry," Spandam snapped as he turned around and glared at the class, "Does somebody here think they can teach this class better than me?"
Silence fell over the room as Chopper sunk even further into his seat, half hiding himself under the table. He'd been in this class for five minutes and he'd already messed everything up. Spandam was going to dock him a bunch of House Points and the other Ravenclaws were going to hate him even more. Why'd he open his big, stupid mouth?
Suddenly Zoro stood up, slamming his hands on the table, "Finally, I thought you'd never ask." He walked up to the front of the room and snatched the chalk out Spandam's lax hand, "Alright class, pay attention. Here's how to identify an arse," he said as he began doodling crude pictures all over the board as the rest of the class laughed.
"You're worried that everyone's going to follow those instructions and mess up the potion, right?" Sanji said. Chopper nodded and Sanji smiled, "You're a good guy, but don't worry about it. Everyone here knows Spanda has no idea what he's talking about. They'll just follow the directions in the book."
"Ah," Chopper said as Sanji flipped to the last page in his notebook. On it were two columns, one labeled 'Zoro' and the other 'Sanji,' with a ten already written in the Sanji-column.
"Enough!" Spandam snatched his chalk back from Zoro and pushed him away from the board, "Return to your seat, Mr. Roronoa! Thirty points from Gryffindor for your insubordination!"
The Gryffindors groaned as Zoro made his way back to their table.
"Pathetic," Sanji said as he wrote a thirty in Zoro's column, "I would've been able to get at least fifty if I'd gone up."
"It's the first class of the year," Zoro shrugged as he sat back down, crossing his arms behind his head as he leaned back in his seat, "I'm easing into it."
"As I was saying, before I was rudely interrupted," Spandam spat out as he continued, "Each table will create a Shrinking Solution and present it to me five minutes before class ends. I will test your potions on these," he said as he placed several small cacti on his desk, "If you manage to shrink your cactus, you pass. If you don't, you fail. Now go get started."
The rest of the class bustled out of their seats as Zoro turned to Sanji, "So what're we gonna make this do?"
"We can do an explosion," Sanji frowned as he scribbled something down in his notebook, "Explosions are always easy. If we add a bunch of different petals we can even get different colors without compromising the integrity of the potion. Or maybe sparkles. These ingredients lead well to sparkles."
"Shouldn't the potion just," Chopper said, bringing the others' attention to him, so he ducked under the table a little as he continued, "Make the cactus smaller?"
Sanji smiled at him, "Don't worry, it'll do that. But there's very little fun in that."
"We found out our first year that Spanda can't actually fail us as long as the potion does what it's supposed to," Zoro said with a yawn, "So we make it do something else too, to give him a shock. Remember last year when we singed his eyebrows off?" Zoro grinned, "Can we do that again? Start the year with a bang?"
"Yeah, good times," Sanji nodded, "But these ingredients don't lend themselves to incineration very well. We could dye it, make the cactus red or blue so it doesn't look like your relative."
Zoro glared at him, "Why don't we give it a swirl so it looks like one of yours?"
"Let's let Chopper pick, since it's his first class and all," he turned to face him, "What do you want the potion to do?"
Chopper blinked at him. He was supposed to be making friends with Sanji and Zoro, and that meant getting into trouble, apparently. Still, he didn't really want to get in trouble on his first day, and while it was good to know an exploding potion could still pass, the threat of docked House Points and disappointing a House that was already against him was enough to make him hesitate.
"What if we just, made the potion," he gripped the edge of the table as his eyes darted between Zoro and Sanji's waiting expressions, "Do what it's supposed to do? But like, really effectively?"
"A Super Shrinking Potion?" Sanji grinned, "Make the cactus so small Spanda can't find it again?"
"Oh, he'll hate that," Zoro chuckled, "I like it."
"We'll need extra caterpillars and Shrivelfig," Sanji said as he stood up, "And those daisy roots are going to need to be perfectly minced, but I'll leave that to you."
"Sure thing, Prince," Zoro said as he began setting up their workstation.
Sanji's face went red, "Shut up," and he went off to the cabinet to get the ingredients.
He came back a few minutes later and tossed the daisy roots at Zoro, "Get chopping, cut boy."
Zoro grumbled under his breath, but grabbed the roots and started cutting them into small, perfectly minced pieces.
"Here," Sanji passed Chopper the jar of leeches, "Do you have a lot of experience in potion making?"
"Oh, uh," Chopper took the leeches and looked away, biting his lip. He didn't want to show off or brag or anything, and the older students already saw him as a some kind of know-it-all for being smart enough to be in this class. There was no need for him to flaunt it in their faces more than necessary, especially since he was trying to be friends with them, "A little, I guess. I mean, I'm no expert but I've done it before."
"Good, you can juice those," Sanji smiled at him as he grabbed a Shrivelfig, "It'll be nice to have someone else in this class who knows what they're doing."
Chopper smiled back as he gathered his materials and started juicing.
Zoro and Sanji were still laughing when they left the potion room, Chopper grinning in between them.
Sabo was waiting for him just outside, and raised an eyebrow as they came closer, "What did you troublemakers do now?"
Zoro snorted, "Like you're one to talk."
"We made a Super Shrinking Solution and made a cactus microscopic. Spanda was livid," Sanji said with a grin as he pat Chopper's head, "All his idea."
"Causing trouble already?" Sabo mimed wiping a tear from his eye, "I'm so proud of you. But don't tell Iceburg or he might kill me."
"His fault really, for leaving him with a degenerate like you," Sanji laughed.
"I'm a goddamn saint compared to you," Sabo said as he shoved his shoulder as the four of them made their way to the Great Hall for lunch.
As soon as they were inside, Luffy spotted them from the Gryffindor table and called out to them, "Hey! Chopper! Sabo! Zoro! Sanji! Over here!"
The other three grinned and walked over, and Chopper hurried to keep up. Zoro sat down next to Luffy, while Sanji took a seat on his other side.
"It's Tony Chopper, right?" The older boy sitting across from Luffy asked. He was fairly large, with blue hair styled in a pompadour and a Prefect badge on his robes. Chopper nodded nervously as he grinned and held out his hand, "Super, Iceburg told me to keep an eye out for you. I'm his much cooler brother, Franky."
"Oh," Chopper shook his hand. He didn't realise Iceburg had a brother, let alone that he'd mentioned him to him, "It's nice to meet you."
"Chopper, Sabo," Luffy whined from across the table, "Sit down and eat with lunch with us!"
"Can't today, Lu," Sabo said, "I've got something I need to work on before afternoon classes start."
Luffy groaned around his mouthful of chicken.
Sabo turned to Chopper, "I'll meet you after lunch, okay?"
Chopper nodded, and with a final wave Sabo was gone.
He glanced around at the Gryffindor table. Luffy, who had a plate full of meat, was trying to take some more off of Zoro's plate. Zoro was fighting him off with a fork and almost hit Sanji, who was loading his plate with broccoli, in the head. The two started bickering, and with Zoro distracted, Luffy stole some chicken off of his plate.
He looked over at the Ravenclaw table. It was much calmer over there, and he noticed a group of his fellow first years sitting together at the corner of the table, talking and laughing. He should probably go sit with them.
"Um," he cleared his throat, "I guess I'll get going."
"What? No!" Luffy said suddenly, causing him to jump, "Stay here! Sit with us!"
"But, this is the Gryffindor table," Chopper said, fidgeting, "I should really be at the Ravenclaw table."
He glanced back over at the Ravenclaw first years. They'd noticed him and were all giving him identical, malevolent glares. Chopper gulped, the insults they threw at him that morning dancing through his head.
"Yeah, you're not sitting there," Chopper looked up and saw that Franky had followed his gaze. He moved over and patted the seat next to him, "Just sit here, Little Dude, it's fine. If anyone asks, we'll blame Sanji since he sat down first."
"Some Prefect you are," Sanji snorted as Chopper sat down, "You've been at it for an entire day and you're already disrupting the House order."
"I feel they knew what they were into when they gave me the badge," Franky shrugged, "Speaking of Prefects, Jinbei's been looking for you. Is that why you're not at the Hufflepuff table today?"
Sanji swallowed his mouthful quickly and turned away, "No, shut up, I don't give a shit what Jinbei wants."
"Are you in trouble already?" Zoro said with a smirk.
"No," Sanji shrugged, pushing the vegetables around his plate, "He just wants me to get along with the rest of the House, but I already told him I would when they stop being pricks."
"The only prick in Hufflepuff is you," he said with an eye roll and a bite of chicken.
"You would know," Sanji responded, eating his broccoli, "you're the biggest prick in this castle."
"How can I be when you're the biggest prick in the country?"
"Impossible, seeing as you're the biggest prick on the continent."
"You say that, but you're the biggest prick on the planet."
"Can't be, when you're the biggest prick in the galaxy."
"I like Jinbei," Luffy said, swallowing his mouthful of chicken before continuing, "He helped me and Ace get out of detention a lot last year," he turned to Sanji, "Why don't you like him?"
"I don't know," he shrugged and stabbed a piece of chicken with his fork, "He's always trying to see what I'm up to and involve himself in my business. It's annoying."
"He's probably just worried about you," Franky said, "Because you're a loner," Sanji glared at him, but he just shrugged, "I don't know him all that well, but he seems like the kind of guy who would worry over something like that."
Sanji took another bite of his chicken, muttered, "Whatever," and turned away.
The conversation moved on, and all throughout lunch Chopper felt happiness bubbling in his chest. It was nice to be included.
There was still about ten minutes before lunch officially ended, but the others had already gone their separate ways, so Chopper decided to just wait for Sabo at the foot of the Grand Staircase. He had a very interesting book about the approaches to healing in various cultures, it even had a chapter about Muggle methods, so he was content to wait.
"Hey," he looked up to find Zoro standing there, "Aren't you going to class or something?"
"Ah, well, yeah," Chopper clutched his book, "but Sabo is gonna walk me to class, so, I'm just waiting for him."
"Okay," Zoro sat down on the steps next to him, "I'll wait with you."
Chopper swallowed, trying not to shake as he said, "Okay."
It wasn't that Chopper didn't like Zoro or wasn't grateful for the company, but the fact was that Zoro was terrifying. He rarely smiled, his body language was constantly aggressive, and overall he was hard to read, so Chopper had no idea what he thought about him. He was friendly enough, with Sanji or Luffy or even Franky, but when it was just the two of them like this Chopper could only guess what he was thinking.
He probably hated him, everyone else seemed to. He probably thought he was a freak or a stuck-up know-it-all that was showing off by being in his class. The only reason he'd put up with him so far was because of Sanji and Luffy, but now without them here he'd tell Chopper to back off and stay away from his friends so he didn't have to be around him anymore, that lunch was a fluke and shouldn't happen again. Maybe he'd punch him. Chopper really didn't want to be punched.
"What's your next class?" Zoro asked.
"Oh, uh," he dug into his bag and pulled out his schedule, "Herbology, it looks like."
"Oh, me too," Zoro nodded, "And Curly. Another third year class for you then?"
"Y-yeah," Chopper nodded.
Yeah, Zoro couldn't stand him.
"Hey!" Sabo shouted as he came running around the corner. He screeched to a halt, panting, and said, "There you are."
"Yeah," Chopper stared at him, "Um, are you okay?"
"Of course," Sabo grinned, "Why wouldn't I be?"
"You're on fire?"
"Huh?" he glanced at his elbow, which had a small flame on it, "Oh, oops," he pulled out his want and muttered, "Aguamenti," dowsing the flame with water.
"Where the hell were you?" Zoro asked.
Sabo waved him off, "Doesn't matter. So, Tony, where are we going?"
"Herbology," Chopper said as he put his book back in his bag and stood up.
"Alright great, Herbology," Sabo said as he glanced out the door, "That's in the greenhouses outside. Um," he tapped his chin, "I have Divination in the North Tower next, so I'll have to book it," he glanced at the ceiling and shook his head, "Nope, no way will I make it on time. But it's fine, it's Divination. Professor Shyarly's probably already foreseen my tardiness."
Chopper bit his lip as the guilt welled up inside him. Sabo had been helping him out all day, and now he was going to get in trouble and it was all his fault.
"It's fine," Zoro said as he stood up, "I'm going to Herbology too. I'll walk him."
"You sure?" Sabo said, "I don't want to impose."
"You're not imposing anything," Zoro rolled his eyes, "We're literally going to the same class."
"Well, if you're sure," Sabo glanced over at Chopper, "Are you okay with that?"
No, of course not, Zoro was probably going to use the opportunity to finally punch him or leave him for dead somewhere, but he also didn't want Sabo to be late for class because of him, so he mustered up the best grin he could and said, "Yeah, it's fine."
"Great," Sabo grinned and gave him a thumbs-up, "I'll meet up with you again after class," and took off up the staircase.
Zoro said, "C'mon," and walked out of the castle.
Chopper took a deep breath and followed.
Once outside, Zoro started walking towards the Quidditch Pitch. Chopper jogged to keep up, occasionally glancing behind him towards the woods and what looked like a vegetable garden.
"Are you sure this is the right way?" he asked after a few minutes.
"Yeah," Zoro nodded, "The greenhouses are on the left when I see them from Gryffindor Tower, so we have to go left to get to them."
Chopper didn't know where Gryffindor Tower was precisely, but it couldn't be that far from Ravenclaw Tower, and, judging from what he saw of the grounds already, that was definitely not where the greenhouses were. Zoro was absolutely taking him as far away from the castle as he could so he could beat him up.
He was so busy running through the very few defensive spells he knew that he didn't notice some of his Housemates walking in the opposite direction. As they passed by him, one of them knocked her shoulder into him hard enough to knock him over, scattering his books and knocking his glasses off his face.
"Go back to the zoo, Freak," she taunted as he felt around the ground for his glasses and tried not to cry. He hadn't done anything to them, he'd even done his best to leave them all alone since they wanted nothing to do with him. Why were the so mean?
Suddenly Zoro was in front of him, wand out and pointed at the other Ravenclaws. His hand was steady, and if Chopper thought his stare was menacing before, it was nothing compared to the deadly glare he was giving them now, "What did you say?"
The colour drained from their faces, the others cowering behind the girl who had shoved him. She was staring wide eyed at Zoro, shaking from head to toe, "W-what?"
"You pushed him to the ground and said something," he took a step forward. The Ravenclaws lept back, two breaking away from the group and running as fast as they could to the castle, "I'm asking you to repeat it. I need to decide how hurt you're gonna be."
The other Ravenclaws made a dash to the castle as the girl stood there, frozen in fear, "I-I'm sorry, I-I didn't-"
"Why are you apologising to me?" The tip of his wand started glowing. She flinched and fell backwards on the ground, crawling away as Zoro took another step forward, "Chopper is the one you insulted. Apologise to him."
She turned to Chopper, eyes welling with unshed tears, and said, "S-sorry."
Zoro stared at her for a long moment before he nodded his head towards the castle, "Get out of here."
She didn't need telling twice, as she scrambled to her feet and sprinted away.
Zoro put his wand away and helped Chopper pick up his books, "You okay?" he asked.
Chopper nodded, "Y-yeah," and put his glasses back on his face, "Thank you."
"No problem," Zoro grunted as he stood up and dusted himself off. When he was done, he handed him back his books.
"Um," Chopper said as he put his books in his bag, "Why did you do that?"
"What, scare them off?" he shrugged, "You don't deserve getting picked on like that."
"Yeah, but," he adjusted his glasses and looked away, "I didn't think you liked me all that much."
"Don't be dumb," Zoro rolled his eyes and turned towards the lake, "I like you just fine."
Chopper grinned. As he ran after Zoro, he noticed green sparks in the sky on the other side of the castle, "What are those?"
Zoro stopped walking and turned to look, face getting steadily redder as he stared at the sparks, "Shit," he said, turning in the complete opposite direction and walking towards the sparks, "I told him not to do that."
Chopper was confused, but followed after him.
When the greenhouses were in sight, he saw Sanji standing outside, wand in the air creating the sparks.
"You didn't have to do that," Zoro grumbled as they approached, "I knew where I was going."
"Uh huh," Sanji turned to Chopper as he lowered his wand, "Where did you guys end up?"
"By the lake," Chopper said, "Near the Quidditch Pitch."
"So on the complete opposite side of the grounds," Sanji rolled his eyes, "Naturally."
"Shut up," Zoro said as he headed for the door, "C'mon Chopper, let's find a seat. Swirly's not invited."
Chopper grinned as he and Sanji followed him inside.
Sabo met up with them again back inside the castle.
"Hey," he said as he approached them, "How'd it go?"
"Great!" Chopper said with a grin, "We just went over some of the plants they covered last year, but it was still fascinating."
"The Moss Head got bit by a Venmous Tentacula," Sanji said, "So I'm having a good day."
"Hey, fuck you," Zoro said.
Sabo raised an eyebrow, "You okay?"
"Yeah, Chopper fixed me up," he shrugged, "Did a great job, too. Saved me a trip to the infirmary and from being told off by Professor Heracules."
"Really?" Sabo looked over his bandaged hand, "Good job, Tony."
Chopper blushed and stared at the ground, "Shut up, your praise doesn't make me happy," he said with a grin.
Zoro smiled and mussed up his hair, "I gotta get going. Professor Smoker'll be on my case all year if I'm late to his first class." He gave them a wave and went up the stairs.
"Yeah, I better go with him and make sure he actually gets to class," Sanji sighed as he followed after him.
"Okay so," Sabo turned his attention back to Chopper, "Where to next?"
"Transfiguration," Chopper said as he shouldered his bag, "Apparently it's on the first floor somewhere."
"Yeah, it's not far," Sabo said as he led the way.
They arrived without incident and ran into Luffy outside the Transfiguration classroom.
"Sabo! Chopper!" he waved at them as they approached, "You're in this class too?"
"Yeah," Chopper grinned.
"Great!" he grinned wide, "You coming too, Sabo?"
"Of course not," he laughed and ruffled Luffy's hair, "I have my own classes."
"I guess," Luffy pouted.
Sabo laughed again, "I'll see you guys after class," and left them with a wave.
"Alright," Luffy said as he grabbed Chopper's hand and led him into the classroom, "Let's go!"
Professor Dalton had them split into groups to go over what they learned last year. Luffy, barely able to contain his excitement, wasted no time dragging Chopper over to where Usopp and Nami were sitting.
"We're a group now," he said as he sat down. Chopper hesitated before sitting down as well.
"Okay, great," Usopp grinned and turned to Chopper, "It's good to have you."
"Yeah," Nami smiled at him. Her demeanor was completely different from this morning, "You must be really good at Transfiguration, right?"
"Uh, well," his eyes darted around the classroom, "I'm okay, I guess."
"Don't be so modest," she said, pulling out her textbook, "Here, we'll go over everything we learned last year, so just stop us if you already know it."
Chopper nodded as the four of them got to work.
After a few minutes of studiously working, Luffy and Usopp began attempting to charm their needles into dueling with each other. When Chopper tried to put them back on task, Nami waved him off.
"It's fine, they're surprisingly more productive like this," she said. She stared at him for a few moments before continuing, "Hey, what are you doing after classes today?"
"Uh," Chopper thought it over. Most of his Housemates were still avoiding him, so the common room was out, and he didn't really know what most normal students did with their time off otherwise, "Homework, I guess?"
"Okay," she smiled, more gentle than her previous smiles had been, "Would you like some company for that?"
Chopper frowned, "What do you mean?"
"We have a study group, we meet wherever we can find space and not get kicked out," she glared at an oblivious Luffy before continuing, "Usually either the Charm's Room or the library."
"The three of us," she gestured around the group, "Zoro and Franky from Gryffindor, Sanji from Hufflepuff, Robin from Ravenclaw," she counted off on her fingers, "and Brook whenever we need an adult."
"Oh, sounds fun," Chopper said, and it did since he actually knew most of the already, but there was a difference between being in-class friends and out-of-class friends, and he didn't want to overstep his bounds, "But I don't know."
"I know it's a little weird, being that we're all older than you and not in your House," Nami said as she rested her head in her hand, "But, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, you seem a little lonely. I can relate," she glanced across the table, "And hanging out with these morons is a lot better than being alone."
Chopper bit his lip as he thought it over.
"Nami, what are you trying to pressure him into now?" Usopp asked with a sigh.
"I'm just trying to get him to join our study group," she shrugged, "I think it'll do him some good."
"Yeah! That's a great idea!" Luffy grinned at him, "You absolutely have to come!"
Chopper couldn't help but smile back at him, "Okay. Sure."
"Great, it's settled," he slammed a hand on the table, "You're part of our crew now."
"Eh?" Chopper blinked, "Just like that?"
"Yup," he nodded, "Just like that."
"Here we see the early stages of someone who just got Luffyed," Usopp said in a stage whisper as Nami giggled, "Note the bewildered expression shrouded in disbelief, a sign of what's to come, although the subject does not yet know what's in store for him yet."
"Don't worry, it'll be fun," Luffy assured him, "Meet is after class and you'll see."
"What's your last class?" Nami asked.
He dug around his bag for his schedule and took a look, "Nothing, I have a free period."
"Great," she smiled, "Once classes are all done, we'll meet up in the Transfiguration Courtyard just outside this room," she winked at him, "Come join us then."
Chopper smiled and nodded back, a pleased feeling beginning to form in his gut.
Chopper peered around the corner into the Transfiguration Courtyard. There were lots of students milling about, but no one familiar from the 'crew' as Luffy had affectionately called them.
Maybe he'd gotten that meeting place wrong? What if they were in a different courtyard and he couldn't find it in time? He started biting his fingernail as he looked around nervously. What if they think he ditched him and never wanted to talk to him again? What if they never wanted him to come in the first place and gave him the wrong meeting spot on purpose?
He glanced around again and spotted a curled eyebrow peeking out under a blond fringe and relaxed. Sanji was sitting on one of the stone benches in the courtyard, a pair of thick black glasses perched on his face as he and a dark haired girl from Ravenclaw read a book in her lap.
As Chopper stepped closer, he heard Sanji say, "So that's what Ancient Runes are for."
The girl looked over at him, "You signed up for the class and you didn't even know?"
"Uh, well," Sanji's cheeks went pink, "You just, you seem to like it so much, so I figured…"
He spotted Chopper coming over and turned to grin at him instead, "Hey, Chopper! You joining our study group?"
"Yeah," he said, adjusting his glass as Sanji took off and pocketed his, "If that's alright."
"Of course, why wouldn't it be?" he smiled and pointed at the girl, "You know Robin, right?"
Chopper shook his head as he glanced over at her. He'd seen her around at meals and in the common room. She was usually by herself, always with a book, but he'd never spoken to her, although he hadn't really spoken to any of the Ravenclaws outside of Sabo and the Prefects. She probably hated him just like the rest of them. He bit his lip and looked away.
"We haven't been formally introduced," she said.
He looked back at her and found her smiling at him, her eyes warm and kind as she extended a hand towards him, "I'm Robin Nico."
He smiled back, small and shaking, but genuine and there, and shook her hand, "Tony Chopper."
Her smile grew, and she shifted away from Sanji on the bench, causing him to pout a little, and made room for him.
As he climbed into the seat, Franky appeared in the courtyard.
"Sup, bros?" he said with a boisterous laugh, clapping Sanji hard on the shoulder as he took a seat next to Robin. When he noticed Chopper, his grin widened, "Hey, Little Dude, you're joining us too?"
"Uh," he glanced down at the ground, blushing a little as he kicked his feet over the top of the grass, "Yeah."
"Super," he gave him a thumbs up, "This year's gonna be great!"
Chopper grinned back.
"Hey guys!" Nami shouted as she and Usopp made their way over. Noticing the bench was full, she looked around and spotted an empty one before turning back to Usopp, "Go grab that bench."
Usopp gave her a look, "You have a wand, right? Or are your arms broken or something? Get it yourself."
She pouted before turning to Sanji, voice simpering and sweet as she played with a lock of her hair, "Do you mind being a dear and bringing the bench over for me?"
He shot up instantly, "Absolutely!" and ran over to grab the bench.
Nami turned back to Usopp, "Why can't you be more like that?"
"Because I'm not a moron," he answered easily as he sat in Sanji's empty seat. Franky laughed loudly as Robin giggled softly behind her hand, and Chopper found a few chuckles of his own slip past his mouth at Sanji's eccentric behavior.
Sanji dragged the bench over, and once it was properly in place, Nami sat down, "Thanks," she said as she took a seat.
"My pleasure," Sanji grinned as he sat down next to her.
"Where's our fearless leader?" Usopp asked as he glanced around the courtyard.
"Hey!" Luffy shouted as he and Zoro entered the courtyard. His arm was wrapped around Zoro's and his grin was wide, but Zoro was frowning a little, "Sorry we're late, Zoro got lost in the dungeons."
"The hell were you doing in the dungeons?" Sanji asked as he leaned back on his hands, "We had Potions in the morning."
"Shut up," he said as Luffy sat down next to Sanji. He pulled on Zoro's arm until he was sitting down next to him too, "I got a little turned around coming from Transfiguration."
"This is the Transfiguration Courtyard, dude," Franky said, pointing towards the classroom, "It's right over there."
He crossed his arms in front of his chest and pouted, "Yeah, but everything in this castle moves."
"I think it has less to do with that and more to do with you being a lost child," Sanji said with a smirk as Zoro snarled at him.
"I'll draw you a map," Nami said in a condescending tone, "One with a little green marker and a compass so you never get lost again."
"I wasn't lost," he insisted, "I just wasn't here."
"Hey, it's okay," Usopp said as he leaned forward and pat his knee, "We all have fatal flaws. Nami's only true love is money," she rolled her eyes, "Sanji can't talk to girls without being an absolute moron," he squawked in protest, "Franky hates wearing pants," he shrugged in agreement as Usopp put a hand on Chopper's head, "And Chopper here is so adorable it's actually distracting."
Chopper blushed, "I-I'm not cute, you idiot," he grinned, "And saying that doesn't make me happy!"
"Like I said, adorable," he gestured at Zoro, "And sometimes you get lost."
Zoro scowled as Luffy bounced in his seat and leaned forward, "Oh! Do me! What's my fatal flaw?"
"You," he pointed at him, "Are a trouble magnet with no sense of self preservation."
He laughed, "Yeah I am."
"That's not a good thing," Nami rolled her eyes.
"And of course Robin turns her creep factor turned up to eleven just to watch people squirm," Usopp continued, causing Robin to laugh. Chopper glanced up at her, she didn't seem creepy at all. Actually, she seemed very nice. She looked at him and smiled, and he blushed and looked away.
"And what about you?" Sanji drawled with a lazy wave of his hand, "Pray tell, oh Great and Powerful Usopp, what is your fatal flaw."
"I have no flaws," he said with a flourish, "I am completely flawless, the pinnacle of humanity, and you're all extremely lucky to know me."
That made group burst out in laughter, even Chopper felt a few giggles come through.
"Anyway," Nami said as they all calmed down, "We should get to business," she pulled out her class schedule, "Since it's the first day I don't think anyone has that much homework yet, but we should still come up with a weekly study schedule for the rest of the year."
Luffy groaned, swinging his feet across the grass, "But that sounds so boring."
She leaned across Sanji and smacked his thigh, "This is all for you, idiot! Unless you want to fail again?"
He frowned and rubbed his leg, "No."
"Good," she nodded before gesturing towards Chopper, "Chopper, what happens here is each of us has an area of expertise, so each day we pick a subject and whoever's turn it is leads the study group."
"Except Luffy," Usopp said, "Luffy never leads a study session."
"Yeah," Luffy laughed, "I'm terrible."
"Anyway," Nami continued, "since your expertise seems to be in everything, you can jump in and help out whenever you feel comfortable," she looked around the group, "I don't think anyone would mind."
"It'll be a big help, actually," Sanji said, "Especially if we're doing practical Potion stuff."
"Or if we need to stop someone from eating everything in the greenhouse," Usopp said, shooting a look at Luffy
"Oh," he nodded, "Alright, yeah. I can help."
"Great," Nami grinned, "Also, since you're taking higher level courses, don't be afraid to ask us if you are getting overwhelmed and need a little extra help. Like if we're working on Charms stuff, but you need Transfiguration help, feel free to grab Franky and work on something else."
"Oh," they were already being so nice to him. He wouldn't want to burden them with his own problems. He was supposed to be able to handle it, wasn't he? That's why they let him take these courses, "Uh…"
He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to find Robin gently smiling at him, "We're all here to help each other."
"Yeah!" Luffy shouted, "We're all friends, and friends help each other," he nodded, "So if you ever need help with anything, just let us know."
He glanced around at the group, at the other faces smiling at him. He had been trying so hard to make friends all day he didn't realise he already had seven.
"Really?" he said, voice small and a little watery as he tried not to cry, "We're friends?"
"Yeah," Luffy said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world, "Of course we're friends."
Chopper sniffled, just a little and wiped at his eyes behind his glasses, "Yeah, yeah okay."
"Great," Luffy beamed, "Now is it snack time yet or what?"
As the conversation moved on, Chopper let the warm feeling of friendship fill him up, making him genuinely happy and content for the first time all day.
Dinnertime found Chopper once again standing at the Ravenclaw table, glancing at the group of first years at the other end of the table as the glared back at him. He shifted slightly as he considered his options. It was clear they still didn't like him, but he should at least try to be friendly with them, right? They still had several more years of school left together.
"Here," Robin said as she guided him over to the other end of the table, "We can sit over here."
"Oh, uh," he glanced at the first years one more time, and they gave him one last withering glare before going back to their meal, "Okay, yeah."
He sat down next to Robin and began filling his plate. He didn't have to fix relations with them today.
Robin was quiet, not much of a conversationalist he gathered already, but he was quiet too, and it was nice just to have her presence.
"You know," he said as he loaded his plate with peas and carrots, "For my first day of school ever, that wasn't so terrible."
Robin looked over at him, "You've never been to school before? Any school?"
"No, not really," he shrugged and pushed the peas around with his fork, "I was always travelling around with Doctorine, and she'd teach me, but," he frowned, subconsciously rubbing at his forearm and the scar he knew was there, "School was never really an option until Hogwarts."
"I never really went to school before Hogwarts either," Robin admitted as he looked up at her. She was frowning as she slowly mixed the peas on her plate with the mashed potatoes, "I was orphaned at a young age and bounced between places a lot. I never really settled down long enough for an education until here."
"Oh," he picked at the carrots on his plate. He knew the isolation that came with being a constant outsider very well, of traveling from place to place but never really having a solid place of his own to call home, but at least he had Doctorine. It didn't sound like Robin had anyone, "Sounds lonely."
"Yes," she conceded, but smiled at him, "But I'm not lonely now."
He grinned back up at her and took a proper bite of his food.
"Hey, Tony," Sabo said as he plopped down across from them, "Glad to see you survived your first day."
"Yeah," he grinned at him, "Thank you for all your help."
He waved him off, "It was nothing. I was happy to help," he blinked, and turned to Robin, "Which is weird for me, isn't it?"
She smiled, "Perhaps you're simply growing up."
"Ugh," he groaned and lay his head on the table, "Anything but that!"
As they laughed, Iceburg slid into the seat next to Sabo, "I see you made it to dinner. Did Sabo take you to all your classes?"
"Yeah," Chopper nodded, "He was great! He helped me out a lot."
"Huh," he turned to Sabo, "Looks like you did something right for once."
"Rude," Sabo said around a mouthful of mashed potatoes, "I do lots of things right."
"Anyway," he turned back to Chopper, "My schedule tomorrow is a lot lighter, so I'll be able to guide you around then."
"Oh," he was grateful for all his friends' help today, but he got the feeling they tended to do things outside the norm. It would be nice to have a Prefect show him how things were supposed to go before he settled on his own pace, "Good."
"So, how was your first day at Hogwarts?" he asked.
He thought back on his day, to the anxiety and the sneers and taunts from his peers, but he also remembered Luffy's eager face as he invited him to join their group, Zoro and Sanji's barely contained laughter as the cactus shrunk and shrunk, Usopp's face lighting up as he told him his life story, Franky's boisterous laughter at lunch, Nami's kind words, Robin's kind smile.
He grinned back and told him the truth, "It was the best."