Ten year old Harry Potter takes one long look at the eggs he's cooking and lets out an exasperated, slightly hysterical, whine.
He promptly turns around and walks out of the kitchen.
Walks out of the house.
Returns only to magic his uncle's wallet into his hand as his deceased mother's family complains about the burning smell.
And makes his way to London.
"I would like blood test, the forms for a minor seeking emancipation, and sanctuary until said emancipation goes through."
The goblin gives the boy wizard a look.
Harry stares back, lifting the hat to show the scar.
The goblin hums and nods. "Right this way."
"Potter? What the bloo- hey!"
"Just shut up a moment, Draco. I need your cooperation with something."
"Oh, I don't think I will. Even Granger wrote to me as soon as she remembered last week. Where were you?"
"Locked in my family's cupboard for the last ten years. Now-"
"You're excused. Now, I really need- oh, don't give me that look. It happened the exact same last time, so it's no shocker."
"Shhh, I really need to talk with you. You said Hermione remembers? Who else?"
"Everyone in our year, though they all remember being twenty or dead. Lavender is currently in St. Mungo's because she claims she was mauled by a werewolf. The rest of us are keeping mum about it."
"Anyone remember before Hogwarts started this year?"
"No, all on the same day. Most claim they woke up from a dream, but we've been assured by those awake that the memories came on at once."
"Alright, this is good."
"What are you doing in Diagon Ally if you're supposed to be in a cupboard?"
"I can work with this."
"Sorry. I've been coming up with plans to middle finger the wizarding worlds."
"… My ten year old self is horrified, but my twenty year old self is intrigued. Continue."
"Here are my plans."
"No, Sirius is still charged with murder and treason."
"Are you going to do anything about that?"
"In a bit. Now, would you really be able to pull it off?"
"Me? I think Weasley is the one we'll have a problem with."
"You were placed before it even touched your head."
"So we make sure Abbot and the ones before us tell the hat about our plan."
"…That could work."
"Good, then we'll write them letters tomorrow."
"I want to throw the world into chaos as much as you do, and I'm not letting you screw up the only plan I agree with."
"Are you sure you don't just want a dorm to yourself?"
"And deal with my Godfather and the older kids by myself? Potter, use your head a little, it's embarrassing."
"Fine, fine. Thank you, Draco, for your help."
"See? A little humility goes a long way."
"We don't have time for a sass battle," he ignores the squawk of outrage, "but… do you want me to owl Hermione?"
"You talk to the Weasley, Potter. Granger is the lesser evil."
"Come on, Draco."
"I have to make Theo and Pansy agree with this, you don't get to complain."
"I'll owl Blaise."
"How are you, Lavender?"
"Much better, thank you Harry. It's great being alive and all, though I'd rather be off these potions and thinking clearly."
"I've got people pulling strings to get you out, so you won't be here much longer. I'm… I'm sorry about-"
"Harry, shut up. Honestly, if you make my death about you then I'm murdering you in this hospital."
"Are you here for another reason, or just to say hi?"
"Have you been getting any letters?"
"My parents won't let anyone else contact me while I'm here. I take it there's something important I should know?"
"Yes. Since it's only our year that remembers, we're doing what we can to cause some chaos in the wizarding world."
"Oooh, count me in. I've got plenty of revenge I want to get for leaving us kids stranded in the castle."
"Alright, here's what we're planning…"
"Have you made sure the others know the plan?"
"You were the only one not to reply back."
"Alright, but I think you're going to have some problems when it all goes down."
"The heads of houses, for one. Our now-alive headmaster for another."
"I'm sure Flitwick and Sprout will love to one-up McGonagall and Snape. Dumbledore will either focus on me or the hat, so don't worry there. And if they try to pit us against one another, we'll show them the true meaning of unity."
"That's all great, but I'll send you lot a list of what they can do so we can get around it; not like I have anything better to do than review Hogwarts' rulebooks."
"Thank you Lavender."
"Before you go; two things. How did you get an invisible cloak?"
"I got emancipated, and any family heirlooms automatically came back to me. Dumbledore's been to Gringotts more this summer then he's been in the past decade trying to get it and me back."
"Wow, I didn't realize he was so micromanaging."
"Before the nurses come, what's the second thing?"
"Right; I want a different potions teacher."
"You want Snape gone?"
"Yes! Do you realize how incompetent that man is as a teacher? We need him gone, and gone soon."
"…I was eventually going to name one of my children after him."
"That is stupid, and if you ever do that I will truly murder you right here and now in this hospital, Harry Potter."
"Fine! No naming kids after Snape! I'll have to talk with Draco about this, though. He's vetoing all my plans."
"She's been busy writing letters and searching for Moldymort's address. Oh, that reminds me, no one's going to go to Quirrell's class. Ever."
"I know he tried to steal the stone first year, but is a boycott really necessary?"
"He's got Moldymort living in the back of his head during our first year."
"No! Really? You're not just saying that so no one goes?"
"I'm telling the truth! Honestly, I thought everyone knew."
"Ew, no, no one knew that. How did no one know that?"
"I'm going to be asking that question too much. Anyway, I really must be going."
"Get me out of here soon, please."
"Let's do it," Blaise agrees in a second.
Draco protests. "Now Blaise-"
"I'm with Blaise," Daphne says, tilting her head further back so Tracy can get more hair for the braid.
"He may be your Godfather," Pansy starts, siding with the others, "but I will not have my potions career ruined again because of his abhorrent teaching methods."
Hermione bites her lip, flicking her gaze around. "Now, maybe-"
"He insulted you when your teeth wouldn't stop growing," Theodore points out.
"Alright," Hermione nods decisively. She turns to Harry. "I didn't want to say anything, but I think it was a horrible that your list of children's names included Severus."
That starts a whole lot of shouting and disbelief from the former Slytherins toward Harry. Only Draco complains to Hermione, "I thought we'd agree to face everything together?"
"You're Godfather won't play favourites if you stick to the plan," Hermione replies easily. "Do you really want to hear him taking points and insulting your friends?"
Draco pauses. "We are getting Severus out of Hogwarts."
"We need to change this list," Millicent says, handing the paper to the girls. Daphne snorts at what she reads and passes it on.
"Write down your suggestions," Harry says, gazing around the former Slytherins group. "And we're also going to need a better plan at getting rid of Quirrell."
There is a pause.
"What's wrong with Professor Quirrell?" Gregory asks
"We know the plan," Hannah says for the nth time.
"I'm sorry," Harry says immediately. "But it all relies on you. I want to hear your arguments one more time… please."
Most of the former Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws groan as Hannah, Susan, and Terry recount their arguments. Once satisfied with their answers, Harry turns to Ron. "Do you want to explain Quirrell or Snape?"
Susan looks between the two suspiciously, "Explain what exactly about those two?"
"Draco," Harry greets, lowering his book.
"Harry," he nods, shutting the door to their compartment. "A little light reading before the end of the world?"
"You're being dramatic," Harry huffs, going back to reading.
"I'm coping," Draco remarks, gracefully sprawling across the empty seat. "There is still a part of myself that doesn't want to disappoint father."
"Too bad," Hannah says as she slams the compartment door open. Draco shifts his legs so she doesn't land on them. Sue slips in and closes the compartment door, quietly sitting next to Harry. "We're all disappointing someone with this plan. Just remember we're all here together."
"That doesn't comfort me," Draco whines, laying a hand over his eyes.
"Is it a good book?" Sue asks Harry quietly.
"It's alright," Harry shows her the front. "Better than Lockhart, in any case."
They all groan at that. Hannah throws her arms up, "We'll have to deal with him too, won't we?"
"If that's the worst of it, then I'll gladly take one for the team," Harry mutters. "All we had to worry from him were memory charms."
"I'll have to get Granger to give me a few memories of you acting out his books," Draco snickers.
Harry rolls his eyes. "She had a crush on him for most of the year."
"Her memory might influence you to have a crush on him."
The girls howl with laughter at Draco's horrified expression.
While most of the Great Hall of Hogwarts watches with vague interest, the first years look on with baited breath. One minute turns to two. Then three. Four… Five…
Hannah gives the first years a wide smile and thumbs up. Harry lets out a breath and relaxes, smiling back at her.
Again, it takes at least three minutes for the hat to call out "HUFFLEPUFF!"
The hat is a little faster to call "RAVENCLAW!"
The moment of truth.
Harry can feel his nerves standing on end.
This has to work.
Three minutes in the hat open's its mouth. "RAVENCLAW!"
Lavender cackles as she walks to the bench.
Stephen Cornfoot, Vincent Crabbe, and Tracey Davis go to Hufflepuff, and Michael Corner to Ravenclaw. By now, there are worried looks being passed around the staff table. Older kids have taken their eyes off of the Boy-Who-Lived and are looking at the sorting hat with confusion.
Kevin Entwhistle, Justin Finch-Fletchley, and Gregory Goyle are the next Hufflepuffs with Seamus Finnigan and Anthony Goldstein going to Ravenclaw.
The young girl frowns halfway through her chat with the hat. Then she scowls. Seven minutes into her sorting, she sighs and the hat shouts "HUFFLEPUFF!"
This stuns every first year. Draco looks like he swallowed a lemon, Hannah is groaning into her fist, and Harry is ready to tear that hat apart.
Daphne Greengrass and Wayne Hopkins go to Hufflepuff as planned.
Sue Li, Neville Longbottom, and Morag MacDougal are placed the Ravenclaws as they thought they would be.
Harry thinks Snape couldn't glare harder at Draco if the man tried.
Having recovered from the last few planned sortings, the blond strides up to the hat with a knowing smirk. His sorting last thirty seconds. "RAVENCLAW!"
Draco and Hermione share a reluctant nod as he walks to the stunned table of blue and silver.
Harry is trying not to laugh at the astonished gazes of every teacher and pureblood.
Megan Jones, Ernie Macmillan, Roger Malone, Lily Moon, Pansy Parkinson, Parvati Patil, and Sally-Anne Perks go to Hufflepuff.
Theodore Nott and Padma Patil to Ravenclaw.
It's sad but the whispers don't faze him. Harry smiles cheekily to the audience of students before the hat drops over his head.
"So," the sorting hat says inside the boy's head, "I have you to thank for this ploy, do I?"
You've seen in all of our heads, Harry thinks back, furious. I wasn't going to take this separation bull lying down once again.
"Yes, yes," the sorting hat sighs, "but really, isn't this taking everything too far?"
You're going along with it.
"Touché. Still, if the founders could see me now…"
You're a hat that's placed on eleven year olds' heads once a year to purposefully pit them against each other in 'friendly' competition. Do you honestly think Rowena or Helga would care with what we're doing?
"I should have put you in Slytherin the first time."
I would have been killed and we both know it.
"Now, Mr. Potter, I wouldn't have sorted you with murderers."
The first years aren't the ones planning my death even now.
"Because you got them to choose 'anything but Gryffindor and Slytherin'. I only get off the shelf once a year and you've already made it exceedingly difficult to do my job."
At least you get sunlight on your shelf.
Don't you 'Mr. Potter' me, hat. You've seen in my head. I have twenty years of memories and more than half of them are of being locked in a cupboard.
"I spend the rest the year on a shelf. That is my life-"
Well, at least you have a shelf life then!
I was expiring away in the cupboard!
"I set myself up for that."
Yes, you did.
"Alright, Mr. Potter, you win. Good luck hunting horcruxes in-"
Hold up a second.
Why did you deviate from the plan?
Hermione fought for her right to be in Ravenclaw and you refused. Why?
"I've seen in everyone's head, Mr. Potter. None of you are the same children you were the last sorting. Ms. Granger has to be the most loyal person in your age group so far. There was no way I was letting Ravenclaw chew her up."
Is it really that bad?
"What happens with Ms. Lovegood is an example of what will happen if the inner-house rivalry gets out of hand."
We'll deal with that. Are you sticking with the plan of even numbers between the two houses?
"Of course; no need for more of an imbalance. And I have just the strategist in mind to send to Ravenclaw in Ms. Granger's steed.
"Now, Mr. Potter, it's time to sort you. You would have done well in all four houses. Brave enough to concoct this plan. Ambitious enough to turn the Wizarding World on its head multiple times. Smart enough to hide your true intelligence to protect yourself. Loyal enough to make sure everyone is alright. Good luck Mr. Potter. I look forward to hearing how your ideas come to fruition. Now, go grab a seat in HUFFLEPUFF!"
There is a sigh of relief from the first years, polite clapping from the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables, with the Weasley twins groaning above the lions' furious whispers.
"That went well," Hermione says dryly.
"How long?" Harry wonders out loud.
"Three minutes," Pansy says, picking her nails.
"And at least three hundred people trying to read your mind with pure force of will." Hermione adds.
"The staring was rather amusing," Pansy agrees, discreetly watching Oliver Rivers get the hat next.
Harry resists asking who the Ravenclaw will be now that Hermione is here, because he knows she wouldn't have let the hat switch without a good reason.
Oliver goes Ravenclaw, along with Sophie Roper, Zaria Runcorn, and Sally Smith. The only Hufflepuff called in the mix is Dean Thomas. By now everyone bar the first years is confused by the whole sorting. McGonagall has had multiple quiet words with the hat in between calling names, and there are three people left to sort.
To even out the numbers, all three must be in Ravenclaw.
None of the first years are as stunned as the entire male side of the Weasley family when that is called.
"Congratulations," Pansy hisses to Hermione.
"That was terrifying," the curly haired witch bounces in her seat at the job well done.
"Why was Ron a Ravenclaw?" Harry asks quietly.
"He kept leaving us throughout the years," Hermione whispers back, the rest of the Hufflepuff first years listening to the two of them over the frazzled professors and headmaster. "Fourth year was enough to convince the hat not to put him in Hufflepuff, but the moment with the locket really tipped the scale. And he plays a great game of chess."
The former Slytherins sneer at the mention of why they lost the house cup their original first year.
"Why's Neville in the Raven's then?" Hannah asks, slightly wistful.
"He put together the DA after we left," Hermione explains.
"And you?" Megan asks.
"I don't thirst for knowledge, apparently," Hermione says, giving Harry a significant look.
He smiles. "And I was loyal to Dumbledore after everything he put me through."
Daphne laughs. "Not now though."
"Of course not," Harry mock sniffs. "Now I've got you lot to keep track of."
"Mr. Potter," Professor Sprout sighs and pours some tea. "Will you please tell me why everyone in your year is boycotting Professor Quirrell's classes?"
"Not Professor Snape's?" Harry asks innocently.
"They've already told me the reason when I asked," she says, lips twitching to hide a smile. "I understand you have all enrolled in owl classes for potions?"
"That is correct professor."
"Alright," she says simply. "They did tell me to talk with you if I wanted to hear the reason about Professor Quirrell."
"Traitors," Harry hisses theoretically. "Honestly professor, they could have explained it. We don't particularly care that he's trying to steal the philosopher's stone, but we are staying away because he has Moldymort's face on the back of his head."
Professor Sprout stares for a few minutes, and then pulls out a flask from her drawer and dumps the contents in her tea. "I apologize, but I feel this conversation is going to take something stronger. Should I call the headmaster for this meeting?"
"I would appreciate if you didn't. You see professor, the restraining order against him went into effect yesterday and I would rather not have it lifted so quickly."
"Definitely need something stronger. Are you alright if I call the Deputy Headmistress?"
"Go ahead; as long as she doesn't try to send me back to my mother's family, we should be fine."
"No troll in the dungeon this year," Harry comments to the former Slytherin girls as he passes. "Are you all still good for the bonfire tonight?"
The mixture of Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws give their confirmations. Daphne looks up from her book, interested. "Did you get the goblet?"
"Yep," Harry answers smugly, sitting next to her. "Arcturus died last week, Cygnus was never in line to inherit, and with Sirius still in prison, you're looking at temporary Lord Black."
"With Cassiopeia as Lady Black?" Pansy drawls, interested.
"Got it in one," Harry says cheekily, dodging Daphne's swat. "Goblins have the goblet ready to burn."
"Draco's got the diary," Tracy says.
"Padma found the diadem and gave it to Terry," Parvati says with a look to her sleeping sister.
"I have the ring," Susan says with a grateful look towards Hannah and Hermione.
"Ron has the locket," Hermione says with a disgusted face.
"I know," Harry agrees. "The house was a nightmare."
"Never mind Kreature," Neville mutters. "And you said you got the snake ages ago, right?"
"Oh yes," Harry agrees. "I mean, it wasn't a horcrux yet, but Nagini is dead anyways; sorry Neville."
"Sorry?" he says in disbelief. "Don't be sorry! I'm glad it's dead, and I didn't ever want to face that thing again." Quieter he says. "Still get nightmares from it, you know?"
"I'll show my memories later," Harry offers. "I swear you won't have to worry about it ever again."
"You don't know that," Pansy mutters with a scowl. "What if this whole thing happens again?"
"Well," Hermione sniffs and smiles evilly. "We will have six more years without the threat of petrification or murder to make sure it doesn't."
"I knew I was forgetting something," Harry curses. "Who wants to help kill a Basilisk next year?"
"Not it!" almost everyone shouts.
Hermione cracks her knuckles, evil smile getting wider. "I never got a chance to thank it for the petrification, did I?"
She cackles as the others edge away from her.
"Thanks Hermione," Harry says cheerfully. "I knew I could count on you!"
Every first year watches as the six throw the objects into the inferno of magical fire.
Draco burns the diary since it was in his mansion all these years.
Terry burns the diadem since he supplied information for it previously.
Susan has the ring to burn since her aunt was attacked last time when Dumbledore found the ring.
Ron burns the locket since he destroyed it the last time.
And Harry and Hermione throw the cup into the fire because she helped destroy it last time and he wants some payback for having died again.
The goblins have mean grins on while the students watch the inferno in silence.
Ignoring the screams in the goblin's fiendfyre, Harry would have to say this is the best Halloween he's ever had.
He says so to the rest of them.
"We have very different definitions of what constitutes as a good Halloween, Potter," Draco says, watching the fire with a form of satisfied depression.
"Last Halloween I had a procedure done so I could clinically die," Harry admits. He explains further to the disbelieving faces. "I was also a horcrux, didn't you all know?"
"We really need to sit down and discuss all the things that led up to the final battle," Daphne all but demands.
"It's a date," Harry says cheekily, dodging her swat. "Seriously though, we got rid of Snape before October, all the horcruxes are gone, and the spirit removed from Quirrell is slowly dying inside its jar right about now. I believe this is probably as good as my Halloween is going to get."
"I have muggle chocolate back in the dorm," Hannah admits.
Harry stares with wide eyes, and then swings to face Neville. "Don't take this the wrong way, but I love your wife."
Neville laughs and hugs Hannah, whispering to her, "I love you more, dear."
"Same," she mutters back to him.
"Party in the Hufflepuff dorm?" Ron asks.
"This ought to be interesting," Draco mutters, rolling his eyes as Hermione and Pansy pull him away from the fire and to the portkey.
"I hope you're going to escort me back," Daphne says when it's only her and Harry staring at the fire.
"Of course, Lady Greengrass," Harry says with a mock bow. "It would be my pleasure."
Daphne takes his arm with a thin smile. "And if you ever die, again, without telling us, know us Slytherpuffs are going to make your undead-life dreadful for leaving us stuck in the house of the loyal."
"Does that make me a Huffledor, or a Gryffinpuff?"
"You're a Slytherpuff, and don't you deny it."
Harry grins cheekily. "I haven't the slightest idea of what you're talking about.
Daphne hums. "Of course. Happy end of the war, Harry."
"And to you as well, Daphne."
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. All rights belong to its respective owner.
A/N: Thanks for reading!
(The entire story was based off the pun of the sorting hat having a shelf life. At the moment, regretting nothing. Thanks again for reading.)