We walked into the great hall and Neville and I left Luna and headed for the Gryffindor table. We sat down opposite Hermione and Ron and waited for McGonagall to give the usual start of year speech. It was a surreal feeling being back in the great hall, it brought a mix of emotions to me. Last time I had been here Fred was lying at my feet and the war was over. Now we're back like nothing had happened, other than the odd face missing in the students, and a few new faces on the staff table. It was very much like just another a school year. I don't know why I expected otherwise, in fact, I didn't even know what I expected. In some ways this was nice, but at the same time I wanted the battle to be remembered, to know that none of those we lost died for the sake of it.
The great doors slammed open and Hagrid led all the first years thought the tables and told them to gather at the front. Flitwick then appeared with the stool and the sorting hat, how that had survived the battle I will never know, but it was some miracle. The hat burst into song, which was short but sweet, and cheeriest it's ever been. Flitwick then called the first years up one by one to be sorted into houses.
With lots of chatter and excitement as the new members of each house made themselves at home, McGonagall announced the start of the feast and the food piled up in front of us. Without Dumbledore it just didn't feel the same, I know he wasn't here last year but I didn't want to be either, so somehow I blocked that out, it was like it never happened.
Soon the fest was over and we were all silenced once again. She went through the usual rules and introduced the new members of staff. Slughorn was back again for Potions, he was also head of Slytherin, Sprout still had Herbolgy, and was head of Hufflepuff, Binns was still in for History, Flitwick was Charms Professor, head of Ravenclaw and now Deputy Head, Hagrid still taught care of Magical creatures and Trelawney was back in her post for Divination. With McGonagall head she could no longer be head of Gryffindor but carried on teaching transfiguration as they were still to find a new teacher. Much to our delight Hagrid had been made Gryffindor head. Kingsley was announced the new DADA teacher, which we all thought was wonderful. (He had stepped down from minister of magic just last week, this was obviously why) Much to Ron and my embarrassment, McGonagall announced a certain Arthur Weasley to be teaching Muggle studies, we had no idea.
She was almost done saying all the usual notices about the forest and what have you when there was a knock on the main doors.
With that McGonagall hopped in excitement and announced that there were to be extra DADA lessons if anyone wishes to attend, the classes were to be taught by a certain.... Before she could finish her sentence the main doors burst open and Harry walked in. I nearly fell off my bench before collapsing into hysterical laughter. Ron and Hermione giggled but didn't look overly surprised, they must have known. Everyone else cheered as he walked up through the tables to McGonagall, she gave him a welcoming hug before Harry asked to say something quickly. He stepped in front of the school and told anyone interested to come to his office (He has an office! My mind was now filling with inappropriate thoughts, but I couldn't control what I was hoping was going to happen in that office between us) in the Gryffindor tower to sign up, he then asked for a minutes silence for all that we lost in the battle. The minute was over, but rather than going to sit behind the staff table, he joined us at the Gryffindor table and sat down. It turned out he was still having lessons this year and was going to sit his NEWTS just like everyone else. My smile split my face in half. I couldn't be happier. I accidentally caught eye contact with Dean, he looked away immediately looking very embarrassed - especially now Harry was here. I was especially relieved that Harry was here now, Dean wouldn't dare try any funny businesses with Harry around.