five

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IN HER OPINION, THE WELCOME banquet was overrated. For the past five years, nothing had really changed. Though, it seemed each year with Harry Potter meant another danger. First year had been the only normal school year she has experienced so far. Second year, the Chamber of Secrets was opened, and a Basilisk was attacking Muggleborns. Third year, my father escaped Azkaban and Celestia was shunned by everyone besides the Slytherin's. Fourth year, she learnt that her father was innocent and had been spending the past year with Harry. By the end of fourth year, Voldemort had returned, Cedric Diggory was dead, and she was trying to repair a broken relationship with my father.

Now that the fifth year had begun, and her attempt to mend her and Sirius's relationship had failed, she had to worry about how Harry Potter planned to ruin the fifth year of Hogwarts. Hopefully this time no one dies, gets paralysed, and they finally get a normal year.

So far, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Candles hovered above the four tables, colours going to their designated locations. Students yelled at each other in greeting after the long summer, bringing each other up to date on the latest gossip. The ceiling was starless, and Celestia found herself missing the stars already.

When her group finally found a spot where they would all fit, they fell into their usual positions. Theo was once again by Celestia's side, an arm thrown around her shoulder. To Celestia's left, Pansy was leaning over the table to fix Draco's Slytherin tie who sat opposite her. Blaise sat next to Draco, and opposite Celestia. Tracey Davis sat beside Blaise, one of Pansy and Celestia's dorm mates, sat beside Blaise but thankfully she was engaged in conversation with other Slytherin's.

"Look, there's our favourite boy," whispered Theo, lowering his head to whisper into her ear.

She instantly knew who he was talking about. She could have - no, she should have - ignored him, but she could not resist. Walking into the Great Hall was the infamous Harry Potter, Hermione and Ron trailing slightly behind him. Celestia was not the only one looking at him. Many other students' conversations changed subjects to the Boy Who Lived and about his proclamation of Voldemort's return. Student's heads tucked together even at the Gryffindor table, no doubt gossiping about him as well. It was obvious to anyone looking close enough that the gossip was annoying him, as he was gritting his teeth, feeling betrayed by his own house. She should not have deprived pleasure from seeing him uncomfortable, but she did. Even if his proclamation was true.

"Say the word, and I'll punch him in the face," continued Theo.

She jabbed him slightly with her elbow as she scolded him, "Violence is not the answer."

"Right, says you," grinned Theodore, who had turned to look at her properly now. "Didn't you hex a Ravenclaw at the Yule ball because she scoffed at your dress?"

"That was different," was Celestia's mumbled response.

"Who the hell is that?" squawked Pansy.

At first, Celestia thought she was talking about one of the other Slytherins but when she followed her friends gaze, she saw a woman in blindingly bright pink. One look at the woman sitting at the staff table dressed in pink, and it made Celestia want to burn every pink item she had in her trunk. She did not hate pink, quite the opposite, but the sight of it on this woman made her want to gauge her eyes out.

"Oh, bloody hell," remarked Draco. "It's Dolores Umbridge, she's a Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic. What is she doing here?"

"The Ministry has a representative here? What are they planning?" asked Celestia, sitting forward in her seat.

Before anyone in the group could answer, the door from the entrance hall opened, and a long line of scared first years entered behind Professor McGonagall. Discussion around the hall came to a halt, and McGonagall placed down the stool and the Sorting Hat. The whole school waited with bated breath. Then the rip near the hat's brim opened wide like a mouth and the Sorting Hat burst into song as it did every year.

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