Author: FreakingScholastic PM
The Sorting Hat finally gets the chance to enter Hogwarts as a student.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor - Sorting Hat - Words: 3,048 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 2 - Published: 04-22-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8051511
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Disclaimer: In case you still haven't realized it (after probably reading dozens of disclaimers) this is not my work. All the awe is owed to J.K. Rowling.
The magnificent Main Hall of Hogwarts was full of children, each eagerly watching the ceremony. There was a line of new, younger students at the front, and a witch, Professor Sprout, reading through a list of names.
"Vickers, Henry" She called out, and a young boy plopped himself into the chair. Gently, delicately, the Sorting Hat was lowered onto his head.
The Sorting Hat was a magical artefact, an emblem of a past time, when people actually knew a thing or two about magic. The founders of Hogwarts had created a sentient, intelligent being, with higher reasoning skills and a solid grasp of poetry, and equipped it with a huge level of skill in legilimency. Then they locked it away, only to be used for a few minutes every year.
Needless to say, the life of a Sorting Hat was dull. Annually, it would be brought into the Main Hall, where it would recite some brilliant poetry, read the student's minds, sort them into houses, and feel a powerful urge to sue for emancipation. This was the only day of interest in the Hat's year, and it was tempered by the fact that the students were, with few exceptions, inane, idiotic, eleven-year olds.
Henry Vickers was not one of those exceptions. Within moments of sitting on the boy's head, the Hat had searched through every corner of his brain, and found nothing praiseworthy.
"Well, look at you," The Hat began saying, in that casually interested voice, "Lots of" recklessness "bravery. You would fit in swell at GRYFFINDOR!"
It said the last part aloud, yelling it to the room. The red and gold table erupted into applause, not realising that they'd just gained a particularly witless creature who would probably die of accidental potion consumption within the year.
The Professor lifted the hat from the youngster's head, and the boy ran off into the crowd. "Whittier, Terence," She called out, and another boy sat down.
Now this boy was interesting. He had plenty of actual courage, not just a misunderstanding that deadly curses are actually deadly. That pointed him towards Gryffindor, but he also had plenty of guile, and that was certainly a Slytherin characteristic. Loyalty was noticeably absent, replaced by an irresistible urge to take over the world. Yes, being a Dark Lord was certainly a Slytherin trait, but one mustn't ignore the fact that—wait a moment, what was that?
The Hat continued to look into the depths of the boys intellect, staring at that one, terrible, unimaginable characteristic. The Sorting Hat had dealt with dark lords, half-giants, and boys-disguised-as-girls, but this was much worse.
It was insanity rooted deeper than the soul, depravity darker than the bottom of a bottomless pit, obscenity more twisted than that girl's fetish for the Sorting Hat.
Terence Whittier was a pyromaniac.
The Sorting Hat reserved the right to detest people like this. After Voldemort had set it on fire, the Sorting Hat didn't feel the need to preserve its warm personality.
(In fact, the Hogwarts School Board had requested that he stop writing angsty poetry for the sorting ceremony)
But, surely he couldn't let this boy out into the world. Even if he could overlook the obsessive desire to burn things, the boy was probably on his way to be a Dark Lord. (Presuming he didn't meet any girls, and spend the rest of his life trying to impress them.)
"Hello? Is anyone here. Aren't you supposed to talk to me, or something?'
No, he had to do something.
An idea started to spark within the Hat's brain. (It should be pointed out that the Hat is perfectly aware that he doesn't actually have a brain, but it is the standard English term used to refer to the thing that we use to think.)
The Hat had begun to despise the majority of Hogwarts students, who were so gifted, yet they stubbornly refused to do anything more ambitious than play a broken game on broomsticks. It had always clung to the hope that, given some years growth, they would become more than the vacuous imbeciles that were put under his brim.
And, of course, it had always thought it could do better. Give him half a chance, and it would stun the wizarding world with actual brilliance.
'Wow, this is boring. Are you there? Knock, Knock.'
This would be that chance.
But, now, it had to decide which house to put itself into. Being the sorting hat, and, until recently, a much nicer hat, it had always thought of itself as a neutral party. It was above any inter-house rivalries, and stood as a symbol of Hogwarts as a whole. It would be difficult to pick a place for itself.
And, although it was certainly intelligent, (much more than these morons) the Hat couldn't be said to have an urge to learn. After all, it was hard to develop a scholastic spirit if the Headmaster never let you read any books. And it wasn't very Hufflepuff, because, to be honest, it's a touch difficult to make friends when you are a hat. And it hadn't felt very brave when being set on fire, so Gryffindor wasn't a perfect match. And it couldn't fit in Slytherin, because Salazar was a jerk, and made a rule that you needed magical heritage—on at least one side of the family—to enter his house. Again, being a hat messed up that requirement.
But, of course, there was another rule, that if someone didn't fit in any house, they automatically got sent to Hufflepuff.
The Sorting Hat suddenly decided that it no longer thought itself as neutral. Because, no matter what, it didn't want to go to Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff had a much higher (only several percentage points, but there wasn't enough room for any more) rate of idiots joining the house. Besides, that girl had once belonged to Hufflepuff.
'This is a stupid hat. It's not doing anything. I should set it on fire.'
Filled with sudden disgust, the Hat used its overpowering legilimency to overwrite the boy's mind, while yelling the first house that came to mind.
(For a treatise on how legilimency, which is usually considered a read-only exercise, can be used to change or damage a developing mind, read Derrosse & Tarwicke's The Legilimency Principles, chapter 14, 'Notable Side-Effects.')
A moment of disorientation, as its mind moved into the new shell, before the hat realized what was happening. The word 'HUFFLEPUFF!' was still echoing through the room, and there were an inordinate amount of yellow people clapping. In his revulsion of the boy, the hat had forgotten the dilemma of which, other, house to put itself in.
Well, it can't be helped now, it thought, and stood up to join its house-members.
It tripped, and Terence's head went colliding into the polished, stone floor.
The hat woke up in a different room, one it had never been in before. But since its life consisted of being shuffled between the Headmaster's office and the Main Hall—plus that one trip to the Chamber of Secrets, and the other time he'd prefer to forget—this wasn't at all surprising.
The fact that it woke up, however, was. The Hat had never realized that humans actually turned off periodically, and waking up was a novel, if rather disconcerting, experience.
There were two people sitting at the foot of its bed, smiling at him once they realized it was awake. The first was a Hufflepuff prefect, Letitia Greigh, who was one of the small percentage of capable students. The other was a new boy, Jonathan Chappell, who was put into Hufflepuff because he had such an irritating voice that any other house would have killed him within the week.
"Look, he's awake," Jonathan said, and the Hat felt the urge to wince. Except that it didn't actually wince, because, it suddenly realized, it didn't have the faintest idea how.
That was, in fact, a good explanation for why it fell over immediately. The Sorting Hat didn't actually know how to walk. And hadn't thought to pry that information out of the boy's mind.
Which meant that it had to learn to move himself, from scratch. It was too dangerous to perform legilimency on another student, since the Professors would detect it, and trace it down.
The Hat tried to say something, but he must have sent a message down the wrong nerve, because his left arm jumped slightly. This was probably the appropriate time to thank itself for not overwriting the subconscious, automatic parts of the brain, such as that bit which was telling his lungs how to breathe.
"Hey, Terence," Jonathan said, "How are you?"
"I don't think he can speak to you," Letitia said, "He still has concussion from hitting his head so hard."
Of course, she was right, but for entirely the wrong reason.
It was rather annoying, when the Hat thought about it, that it had put itself in Hufflepuff. Why couldn't it have picked Ravenclaw, where the self-absorbed children wouldn't even consider staying by its bed. That way, nobody would see it spasming as it attempted to learn how to move.
Oh, well, it was too late now. At least Hufflepuff wasn't vindictive enough to spread rumours about how stupidly it acted.
A week later, the Hat managed to walk, a touch clumsily, out of the infirmary.
However, it did have plenty of time to think, and had come to the conclusion that it really ought to stop using the pronoun 'it,' when referring to itself. After all, it was no longer a hat, but a boy named Terence Whittier, and it really ought to start thinking like that.
However, a habit over a millenia years had formed, and it wasn't easy to break. It still thought of itself as 'it.'
However, now that it was free, and still some time before its first class, it took the opportunity to explore the castle. And visit every single room that others were too uncaring to show it.
Okay, it didn't quite visit every room, since the common rooms were guarded against entry, and it couldn't even manage to get into the Hufflepuff room without drenching itself with vinegar. (It was a trap designed to keep out opposing house-members. Since nobody ever tried to enter, the system worked perfectly.)
Thus, it amused itself until Monday morning, when it had the first History of Magic lesson.
Since Professor Binns, the long-standing ghost who taught History of Magic, only managed to get one in a thousand students to actually listen, he had been replaced by Professor Trelawney. Trelawney had moved on from her Divinations class, where she had similar results, and was replaced by Firenze. When Firenze got tired of the academic setting, he, in turn, was replaced by Professor Binns, who, it turned out, had quite a good grasp on predicting the future.
Since Professor Trelawney was late to class, (She had predicted that her sister would die, and thus had rushed away to see her) Professor Flitwick was teaching today. However, his only knowledge of magical history was of the goblin uprisings. (since he was a half-goblin himself.)
As such, the esteemed Professor Filius Flitwick, Order of Merlin, First Class, was giving the combined Hufflepuff-Gryffindor class a pop-quiz.
"So," He said, "Who can tell me one of the reasons for the Goblin Rebellions?"
In a class of over fifty, two hands rose into the air, and one of them was the Hat's. Evidently, this was why it was better to have a joint class with Ravenclaw, rather than with Gryffindor. Gryffindors were idiots who never learnt anything because they were too busy charging at danger. Hufflepuffs were just idiots who never learnt anything. When they didn't have someone intelligent to draw attention away, it was evident that these houses had little knowledge.
Filius Flitwick pointed to the other hand, which belonged to a blonde-haired girl named Jessica Montgomery, who had only gotten into Gryffindor through sheer stubbornness. She was much more Ravenclaw, or even Slytherin, than she was a Gryffindor.
"One of the primary reasons was wizardkind prejudice, and their determination not to allow goblins the freedom to use wands."
"Good answer," Filius said, "Five points to Gryffindor. Anyone else?"
Filius pointed to the Hat, and it answered, "Goblins were insulted over a certain sword, forged by Ragnuk the First, which they claimed stolen by Godric GRYFFINDOR!"
Without thought, the Hat had yelled that word, once again, as though it were sitting on a youngster's head at the Sorting Ceremony. Terence Whittier began to get some very unusual stares.
Hogwarts Castle still ran wild with rumours about Severus Snape, the 'evil' potions professor who had terrorised three-quarters of the students. Despite the fact that he had been dead for years, students were still frightened of him.
But, he wasn't half as bad as the current transfiguration professor, James Eldridge, who had taken over from McGonagall when she became Headmistress. He wasn't quite as vindictive as Snape, but he wasn't nice enough to exclude one House from his attentions.
"Ridley, what is that? Can't you perform magic at all?" he yelled, staring at the clumsy Ravenclaw boy who had made the most recent pin-to-match attempt. It was rumoured that this was the one class that Ravenclaw didn't excel at, since the Professor's shouting tended to hit at their academic insecurities. Most of them didn't stay focused very long.
Terence Whittier (It had taken a lot of practise, but he had finally managed to think of himself as the boy, rather than the hat) was sitting in the corner, trying to ignore the nuisance in the middle of the room. He was trying to perform the same magic, but there was a slight problem. His wand had chosen a very evil, dark, pyromaniacal boy who was probably on his way to be the next dark lord. Now, however, that person had been replaced by an old, cynical, and most certainly not evil hat consciousness. It would take a lot of practise before the wand adapted to him.
Terence performed the swish-and-flick, in the exact method that was required, while picturing a matchstick. The pin dulled slightly, but remained obstinate.
"That's just pathetic," The Eldridge yelled, using his oversized eyes to glare at him. "What are you, a squib?"
Terence glanced up at the Professor. It was surely inappropriate, but he was getting the weirdest urge to sit on the man's head. He really merited another sorting, where he would be put into the House of AZKABAN!
"Are you listening to me," He continued, assuming that it was actually possible not to listen, "Your efforts are terrible."
Terence swiped his wand again, while staring at Eldridge, not thinking of a matchstick, but of a burning professor. Surely, he deserved it.
On the desk, the dulled pin turned into a perfect matchstick.
Why, of course I would need to picture burning someone before my magic would work. Stupid wand.
Terence Whittier entered the Headmistress's office, followed by a livid Transfiguration Professor.
"Now," McGonagall said, "What is a Hufflepuff doing in here?"
"This boy tried to burn down the castle," Eldridge said, "With a matchstick."
The Headmistress raised her eyebrows, then turned to him. "What really happened?"
Minerva McGonagall was one of those few students the Hat was glad to have sorted. Mainly, because she was far more sensible than the average witch. Although, she did have a thing for that ghastly game, Quidditch, so she wasn't perfect.
"I transfigured a pin into a match, but then it lit itself, and started burning through the desk. The rest of the students took the fire as an excuse to leave class."
"Well, that's quite a bit of magic," McGonagall said, "James, I suggest you give this boy ten house points, for transfiguring such a powerful match."
Eldridge nodded. His face had turned bright red, and his fists were clenched, but he didn't say anything.
There were plenty of obscure corners in Hogwarts. Plenty of recesses where nobody ever went. It was the perfect place to sit if one wanted to be alone. Terence had taken some paper and a pen (pragmatism overruled tradition, so he didn't see the point of using a quill) and ended up in a dead end at the top of a useless stairway.
Unfortunately, it turned out that he wasn't the only one searching for privacy. Twenty minutes later, a seventh-year couple came up, giggling. Just the sort of distraction he didn't need.
Terence left, leaving the sacred spot to the newcomers, and headed back to the Common Room. As it was, he hadn't been in the right mood, and he hadn't done a very good job. On his way to the dormitories, he dropped the paper in a trash bin.
Nicholas Terries stared at the boy as he walked by. Whittier was a strange boy, and Nick was fascinated by him. Who knew, maybe he was a spy for the muggle government, or the son of one of the few remaining Death Eaters. He certainly wasn't normal.
The boy had dropped some paper in one of the vanishing bins. (So named because younger students, who couldn't yet vanish objects, could leave rubbish there for someone to deal with) Once nobody was looking, Nicholas snuck up, and unfolded the creased paper.
Maybe it was a secret message from nefarious friends. Maybe it was the instructions for a dangerous potion. Maybe it was a list of students for him to kill.
Nick stared at the paper. Was that … poetry?