The train came to a halt at Hogsmeade Station and all the students flowed out of the exits. As Hiccup stepped out, he noticed Astrid with her Slytherin companions, looking fierce in the flickering light of the torches set along the platform. He let out a little sigh of longing, wishing he could be brave enough to approach her and introduce himself. It was likely she didn't even know he existed.
"Hey, Hiccup," said the familiar voice of Hiccup's solitary friend.
"Hi, Fishlegs," he responded, looking up at the enormous Ravenclaw. He was about the size of an adult bear, but he looked about as dangerous as a butterfly. He was incredibly shy and stuttered a lot around people who weren't Hiccup, but he was a whiz at memorizing things. His best subject was Care of Magical Creatures, a class Hiccup hadn't really bothered to take. He also knew Fishlegs wasn't the poor guy's real name, but the nickname had sprung up at the beginning of his first year and it had stuck ever since. It probably came from the fact he had a lot of bulk, but these skinny little legs that looked like they could hardly support the rest of his body.
"My mom said this year would be interesting for us," said Fishlegs as they walked up to one of the carriages pulled by invisible horses. "She said that we wouldn't be bored. I don't know what that means, but she looked really excited."
"Your mom works at the Ministry, right?" Hiccup checked.
Fishlegs nodded. "Yeah, I guess she might have learned about it from work."
The two of them clambered onto an empty carriage and everyone automatically stepped back to wait for the next one to come along. They probably didn't want to be seen with the two biggest losers of Ravenclaw. The First Years that didn't know would soon be taught.
On their way up to the grand castle, Hiccup spotted something dark and quick moving through the woods on the side of the path. He stared for several moments, wanting to get another look, but saw nothing more. His eyes trailed instead to the carriage behind him, where he recognized the dark-haired girl from before, the one that had asked him to solve the riddle. She was looking at her white-haired companion with amusement. Beside her sat a pudgy, sandy-haired kid who just looked around with an air of I-don't-care surrounding him. The white-haired kid suddenly turned slightly, and even from where Hiccup was at he could see the student's icy-blue eyes. Those were some strange features. White hair and blue eyes. Were they dyed? Did he have contacts?
Hiccup was yanked from his thoughts as the carriage came to a halt in front of the castle. He walked up to the double doors with Fishlegs, all the while glancing behind him at the group of three behind him. The doors opened the moment the students got within ten feet of it and they all passed through as a group. Hiccup looked up at his home, feeling a little more at peace. Even though he didn't have many friends, he still considered Hogwarts his home. It was better than Berk, the small wizarding village where his father had raised him.
Hiccup took his seat at the Ravenclaw table a few minutes before the First Years filed into the Great Hall. He had always liked the Sorting and listened with interest as the Hat sang its new song for the year. And then came the great moments for all the students.
It was exciting when the first student, a girl with thick blonde hair, was immediately sent off to the Ravenclaw table. They all burst into cheers and pounded the table, proud the first student Sorted was of their House. However, the next one was Slytherin, and the one after that Hufflepuff. The list went one without another Ravenclaw addition. The Sorting ended with only five more students added. One of them, a slight-framed girl with a dark bob, sat next to Hiccup and stared at him admiringly for a few minutes before a bunch of Fifth and Sixth Years started laughing about it.
"Has Hiccup got a little follower?" sniggered a Fifth Year.
Hiccup ignored him and faced Professor North as he stood up with a jolly grin.
"Welcome back to another year at Hogwarts!" he proclaimed. "Now, I have a few important announcements before you all dig into your food. This year is a very important one for Hogwarts, as we will be hosting the very first Triwizard Tournament in a hundred years."
Whispers immediately rose up in the Ravenclaw table, and spread to the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff ones. Of course, most Ravenclaws knew what the Triwizard Tournament was, having read about it in Hogwarts, A History, as it was most Ravenclaws first book to read at Hogwarts.
"Just to avoid any rumors, the Triwizard Tournament is a friendly competition in which three wizarding schools participate in. We join together to make new friends and alliances as well as learn more about each other and, of course, to compete! The ultimate prize of this Tournament is the Triwizard Cup and a heavy galleon reward.
"Now, you may ask 'How can I enter?' First of all, each school has only one champion. And each champion must be seventeen or older--"
North was cut off by angry yelling, coming mainly from the Gryffindor and Slytherin tables.
"This is because," North roared over the indignant yells, "there were student deaths in the past and the Tasks have been deemed too dangerous for inexperienced students. Take heed to my warning when I say that these Tasks are difficult. They will challenge your skill as a wizard and take a great amount of bravery to go through with them.
"Durmstrang Institute and Beauxbatons Academy will arrive within a few weeks with their student representatives and the Triwizard Tournament will officially begin when the names are drawn out of the Goblet of Fire on Halloween."
The students were all whispering excitedly amongst themselves now, looking in awe up at Professor North. Hiccup felt something stir inside of him, the yearning to attain glory, to prove to all of his Housemates that he wasn't as puny and wimpy as they thought he was. He allowed himself a moment to imagine holding a Triwizard Cup and hearing his name being cheered... Until it was shattered by a Gryffindor at the next table.
"I'm going to be a champion, Tooth, I just know it." The white-haired student puffed out his chest and the short, dark-haired one next to him looked to be holding back a smile as she tried to maintain a stern expression.
"I think you'd get hurt, Jack," she protested.
"Aww, Tooth, it's so cute how you care about me--"
"I'm talking about facts! It's dangerous, didn't you hear Professor North?"
Hiccup could see Jack's eyes glint. "Of course I did. That's why I'm entering the first chance I get."