A/N: I wrote a small snippet of this for the Houses Competition, and was encouraged to expand on it. This is will be diverge from Canon greatly after the Sorting Ceremony. In this AU, Voldemort was able to fully possess Quirrell's body, and there is no parasite growing out the back of his head. Tom Riddle is in full control of the body now. I hope everyone enjoys it.
Sadly, I'm not JKR, and she owns the Harry Potter Universe. All usual disclaimers apply. Much love to my co-writer, DaronwyK for the collaboration & beta'ing.
Hermione's heart was beating rapidly in her chest as she approached the battered looking stool, knowing that her entire future could rest on whatever this mouldy old hat said. She'd poured over her school books as well as the supplemental texts, and it seemed pretty clear that your House influenced not just your years at school, but opportunities beyond too. She hopped up on the stool and Professor McGonagall dropped the hat down on her head. It was so large it slumped down over her eyes and she nearly shrieked when she heard a voice inside her head.
"Well…in quite the tizzy aren't we? But you're not wrong, your house is vitally important…possibly the most important part of your first year at Hogwarts. Let's see now, you have a brilliant mind, there's no question there. You yearn to know everything, but more than that…you want to be the very best. Oh ho…you want to be the greatest witch since Morgana…now that is a lofty ambition. There is a House that could help you to reach it…"
'Gryffindor? The house of Albus Dumbledore? I read all about him, he's the greatest wizard alive,' she thought excitedly.
"You're no lion. No, Gryffindor wouldn't suit you at all. Ravenclaw or Slytherin. That's where the choice lies for you, either the pure love of knowledge or the desire to use your knowledge for personal gain. I think you know that you're far too ambitious to go up to Ravenclaw Tower, you'd drive them half-crazy with your intensity, your desire to be great. The path to true greatness is never easy, but you have the strength to walk it. I can see the steel in your heart, little witch. Slytherin will forge you into the very greatest witch you could be."
'No, you have to put me in Gryffindor! It's the best House, all the books say so!' she demanded stubbornly. She had a plan all laid out and Slytherin would be a disaster. She was muggle-born and they HATED people like her, and Ravenclaw…they were just stuffy academics. So few of them ever really got anywhere other than research positions in the Ministry. No she needed it to be Gryffindor. 'Please!'
"Don't say I didn't warn you, little Snake." There was a pause, before the hat opened its brim. "Gryffindor!" It proclaimed, much against its own better judgement.
Hermione smiled brightly, pleased with getting exactly what she wanted and she headed over to sit down at the wildly cheering table. An older red-headed boy with a shining Prefect badge welcomed her to Gryffindor. Yes, everything was going to be just perfect.
Tom Riddle was sitting at the head table, watching the Sorting with a strange wave of nostalgia. It had been so very long ago that he'd been standing there, just as small and uncertain as the current group. Of course everyone saw Quirinius Quirrell when they looked at him. The young Hogwarts Professor had truly been a gift from the elements. He was in his late twenties, attractive if somewhat effeminate and moderately powerful, but it was his weak mind that had pleased Tom the most. Possessing him had been laughably easy. He'd overwhelmed the young wizard, trapping the real Quirrell deep inside his own mind. It was a relief, since the other type of possession would have been greatly taxing on him and need extreme measures to preserve the host's body. His borrowed blue eyes flicked out over the students, coming to rest on a boy with messy black hair, and startlingly green eyes.
Oh, how he remembered those eyes. Albeit the last time he had seen them, they had been in the face of a formidable witch trying to defend her child. This very same boy. It was a shame he'd been forced to kill Lily Potter, for many reasons. Ten long years living as a wraith, surviving off lesser creatures, but now he had a body of his own and access to the child that had reduced him to that state.
"Gryffindor!" The hat announced for the boy, and he mentally scoffed…certain the child would not be any trouble at all.
Pretending to be the shy and timid Professor Quirrell was difficult, but being back at Hogwarts, the only place that had ever felt like home, was worth it. Having Dumbledore bring the Philosopher's Stone here was frighteningly tempting, it would be extremely difficult to resist the allure, but he would have to try. He knew the old man would have some clever trap waiting for him, and he was not yet back to his full strength.
Like most of the other teachers, he clapped politely for all the children, focused on maintaining his cover. Quirrell had taught here for two years, as the Muggle Studies Professor, the mere thought turned his stomach. The only thing magical children needed to know about muggles is that they were inferior, dangerous creatures.
"You seem to have a sizeable group this year, Severus," Tom said, looking over at Snape. He had mixed feelings about the Potions Master, but mostly he was uncertain about him. Before that Halloween night, he'd had no reason to doubt his devotion, but the last ten years had obviously bred doubts. He'd need to observe him carefully.
"Unsurprising given the families, but it is nice to be on somewhat more equal footing than some years," Severus said, dark eyes surveying the children.
"Indeed. I was wondering if you'd be willing to help me design a module for the sixth and seventh years on dark potions, and how they can mimic certain curses?" he asked.
Severus looked surprised. "I would be willing to discuss it, at least," he said, frowning a little as he saw the Potter brat scowling at him.
"Good, I hope there's no hard feelings. I know you wanted the position, and to be truthful you're far more qualified." He remembered how much Severus had craved recognition and approval.
"None…of course," Severus said, expression tightly guarded. "After all, you don't make the staffing decisions." The wizard's black eyes flicked briefly towards the Headmaster.
Tom inclined his head slightly and settled back into the feast, keeping an ear to the conversations at the Head Table, in particular to Albus as he discussed the Yorkshire puddings with Minerva McGonagall. He had to keep a low profile, and avoid raising any questions from the old man.