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McGonagall's Sorting Speech

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“Welcome to Hogwarts. The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly,”

Minerva's gaze swept across the first years as she began her speech. It was her time to try and take the measure of the new students. See which of them might join her house.

“The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts.”

It was easy to spot the Malfoy boy. While she wasn't exactly sure which families the ones on either side of him were from, she knew of which type they must be.

“You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory and spend free time in your house common-room.”

The last Weasley boy, if she remembered right. The girl would be next year, or the year after.

“The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin.”

She knew what she was doing and she was mad at herself for it. He was right in front of her, but she was looking everywhere else. Now she forced her eyes to really look at him before turning to the others.

“Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding wizards and witches. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points, while any rule-breaking will lose house points.”

Harry Potter. Whom she had last seen so long ago. Finally here at Hogwarts. He was the spitting image of James. But for the eyes. Those were Lily's.

“At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup, a great honour. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours.”

He must Sort into Gryffindor. But how could he not, with his parents? Another glance almost brought a frown to her face. He looked small for his age. And thin. She accepted Albus's logic about why the boy had to live with the Muggles, but she had never been happy with it.

“The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting.”

Her eyes took in the disarray of some of the students, noticing Harry trying to tame his hair at the edge of her vision. But she wouldn't look at him now.

“I shall return for you when we are ready for you. Please wait quietly.”

Minerva closed the door behind her, taking a steadying breath. She waited til she caught Albus's eyes, then nodded. Harry's safe now. That's all that matters. We'll look after him as befitting James and Lily's sacrifice. We'll protect him.