Rating: PG. I say "bloody".
Author: Miss Erin
Disclaimer: Not mine. If you believe that the characters and settings are other than the property of JK Rowling, Bloomsbury and Warner Brothers, please check yourself into St Mungo's as soon as possible.
Summary: You say you want a revolution…
Author's Note: Four phrases in here have been borrowed, and in some cases, paraphrased, and used in the story. Two are from movies, two are from a feminist American poet, and one is from a feminist theorist. If you can spot them, and e-mail me your answers, you win a 'ship fic of your choice, by me. Control yourselves, etc. Lame prize, I know, but hey, this ain't no Publishers' Clearinghouse, kid. Otherwise, you can e-mail me and I'll identify them for you. Much love to Laura for her plentiful Harry Potter chat and fics.
* * *
It was not an unusual occurrence, teachers of many years often remarked, for a kind of magic to happen over the summer between fifth and lower sixth. The relieved children they had herded onto the Hogwarts Express seemed to undergo some personal metamorphosis in the intervening months before returning in September to begin their NEWT studies.
For some, it was a purely physical change. The boys grew taller, shedding their gawkiness, the tangle of spindly arms and legs giving way to the bodies of the men they were so quickly becoming. The girls, too, came back looking less like children. Curves had appeared where none had been before, their faces losing the last of the puppy fat, womanly hips appearing where once they had been almost indistinguishable from the boys. Hormones were running thick and furious through the children's bodies, the transformation from child to young adult almost complete.
There were also hints of fashion and rebellion, though one could never distinguish one from the other these days. The usual parade of ridiculous hairstyles, holes where none had been before, and whispered awe at stories of tattoos and alcohol and summertime flings flying through the halls like Peeves on an energetic day. Sex seemed to be everywhere, in everything, and in the faculty's experience, it was now more likely that House points would be lost through inter-House rendezvous in darkened corners after curfew than through hexes and name calling.
The most marked changes were hidden to the naked eye, however. Some returned, either heartened or chastised by their OWL grades, with their minds on serious scholarship, as if the concept of the future had only been discovered in the previous three months. Unlike in the previous years, the first week would be devoted to meeting with various Professors to discuss, in light of their OWL results and class participation thus far, which subjects would be most appropriate for NEWT-level studies. The business of purchasing texts and supplies would be taken care of on Saturday, when the upper sixth and their chaperones would proceed to Hogsmeade for the day. It was considered by the faculty to be a taste of both the responsibilities and rewards that came with their advanced age and status, a demonstration that students who could act like adults would be treated as such.
Hermione Granger had come back with all of the above, and something even rarer. Her shorter curls were a distinct change from the previous year, significantly more flattering than Brown's abomination of a haircut, and the young girl had certainly filled out in all the right places and grown a few inches. Already one of the most studious in the year, her OWL scores were unparalleled, but Severus Snape could not help but smile at the fierce determination in the Gryffindor's features as she stared down a very irate Minerva McGonagall.
Hermione Granger, Gryffindor Prefect, know-it-all, sidekick and bookworm, had come back to Hogwarts with a vengeance.
* * *
"What a lot of nonsense!" Professor McGonagall cried, rubbing her fingertips over her temples in small, sharp circles. "You have always been one of my favourites, Miss Granger, and I am most displeased that you should attempt such a – such a stunt. What can you possibly hope to achieve here, child?"
"It's not a stunt," Hermione replied, her voice even and calm. "Every other House has a mascot that is gender neutral. Why must Gryffindor persist with such a show of patriarchal superiority?"
"Patriarchal superiority?!" Professor McGonagall stuttered. "I'll have you know that Godric Gryffindor, a very well-respected wizard, who founded-----"
"Had his facts wrong, for a start. It's commonly known that it is the lioness that is the braver of the species. She hunts and patrols, while the lion simply has pointless scraps over who'll get mating rights. I hardly think that lying around in the sun licking ones genitals and arguing about who's going to impregnate the females is what Gryffindor is supposed to embody."
Professor Flitwick coughed, trying to smother the fact that he had choked on a mouthful of tea. Exchanging a raised eyebrow with Professor Sprout, Professor Snape tried to suppress the urge to grin like a bloody fool. If one had to describe the events that the precocious Gryffindor had set in motion, from the list of grievances against Gryffindor she had nailed to the Fat Lady's portrait, to the current discussion, the word was priceless.
This would certainly be a memory he would relish re-experiencing in his pensieve for, he thought, as long as he lived. It made up for every little bastardly thing that Black, Pettigrew, Lupin and James Potter had done, every time he had been overlooked in favour of a Gryffindor, every time that some idiotic act of Harry Potter's had paid off with last-minute House points that had taken the House Trophy, when it should have got him death, or at least detention.
He wondered how much the rest of the faculty would pay to view his pensieve. For once, he felt supremely blessed to be a Head of House. The expression on Minerva's face was not something that could be fully appreciated second-hand. He would be sure to replicate Miss Granger's list before he left. It would be a perfect memento, seeing every thing he'd ever thought about bloody Gryffindor House laid out in the perfect copperplate script of its, hereto, heiress apparent. Hell, he might even build an altar to it.
"I refuse to even discuss this matter further, Miss Granger," Professor McGonagall said. "There will be no alteration of the Gryffindor mascot, and you will kindly transfigure the crest on your robes back to the approved form. Do you understand? You have had your fun and made your point. I will not indulge you any further."
Five pair of eyes turned at once to Miss Granger, sitting primly on the edge of the chair across the table from the four Heads and the Headmaster. Professor McGonagall had laid down her hand, declared the matter closed. Professor Snape wondered idly what the girl had up her sleeve – she would have foreseen Minerva's move easily. It was the bane of every child's life, the parent declaring that because I said was more powerful than any argument or logic the child could provide, no matter how compelling.
It was a move, they would soon see, waving a very large, very red flag in front of a Hippogriff.
"I am sorry that we cannot come to an agreement on this, Professor," Hermione said, her voice tinged with what sounded like genuine regret. "I have enjoyed my time in your House, and I am sorry to see it end like this."
"Yes, have," Hermione nodded. "Past tense, Headmaster."
There was a tense silence as four minds wondered where she was going with this, and one broke into spasms of internal laughter and applause, that jammy, jammy brilliant little cow.
"It is my very sincere wish, Headmaster, that I be resorted."
* * *
Resorting, it appeared, had only happened once before in the history of Hogwarts. A young Hufflepuff named Charles Elsworth had petitioned the Headmaster at the time to be resorted. He had argued that he was no longer loyal to his House, a particular faux pas for a Hufflepuff. His second argument was that, as his character had undergone such extensive changes since he had begun as a frightened and shy 12 year-old, his House no longer reflected who he was.
Charles Elsworth, one-time Hufflepuff, Hogwarts fifth-year, had agreed to be bound by the outcome of his resorting, and the Sorting Hat was dusted off and placed on his golden locks. It had crooned and considered and called out Slytherin! into the night, and Charles Elsworth was tucked into his bed in Slytherin House before the grandfather clock in the Headmaster's office chimed midnight.
It was a very obscure part of Hogwarts' history, and generally only known to the most thorough Slytherin historians. How Miss Granger came into possession of that little fact would make for a most interesting discussion in the morning.
"I see no choice but to grant your request, Miss Granger," the Headmaster sighed, obviously tired after what had been a very long day. "Minerva, if you would get the Sorting Hat, and Miss Granger, if you will swear that you will abide by the Hat's decision, even if it is Gryffindor-----"
"I swear," Hermione nodded, loose curls bouncing into her eyes as she did.
Reluctantly, Professor McGonagall set the Sorting Hat on Hermione's head.
The die was cast.
"It's not too often I am asked
To perform again this vital task.
You have charged that I not knew
The House which would be best for you.
Gryffindor has served you well
But on the past, we shall not dwell.
You'll seek your fortune elsewhere now
To another House, your loyalty vow.
Hufflepuff, loyal, or Ravenclaw, smart
Sorting out students is my art.
Slytherin House is for those with ambition
And Gryffindor has seen your attrition.
Enough from me, for it is late
And your new House needs no debate.
Now, I say you should be in…"
The six people in the room all held their breath.
"The Hogwarts House of Slytherin!"
Professor McGonagall cried.
And Professor Snape fell out of his chair.
* * *
"Messrs Potter and Weasley will be most shocked at the turn of events," Professor Snape said, as he accompanied Hermione Granger, his newest Slytherin, from Gryffindor Tower with her belongings. "And, I dare say, more than a little displeased."
"I decided I was tired of living my life to suit my friends," Hermione shrugged, following beside Professor Snape with Crookshanks in her arms. "If they are my friends, it won't matter what House I'm in."
"You are an optimist, then, Miss Granger."
"No, I wouldn't say that," she smiled. "I just couldn't stand the idea of not being allowed in the duelling club because I have breasts."
"In my experience, they do not impact on duelling in any way," Professor Snape chuckled. "So, you are a closet cynic? How have you survived Gryffindor this long?"
"I developed cynicism the day I discovered I was different from little boys," Hermione shrugged, as if stating the plainly obvious. "I thought it would be different here, but it just turns out it doesn't raise its quite so soon. No matter how smart I am, I'm still just a girl to people like Harry and Ron and even Professor McGonagall. I had enough of that in the Muggle world. I don't want being a woman to stop me from achieving."
She paused, thoughtful.
"I think the trouble with being a woman is being a little girl in the first place. Not all the books of the world will change that."
"They say, Miss Granger, that the process of taking power is empowerment in itself," Professor Snape smiled softly. "If it is given and not taken, it is not power."
"That makes sense," Hermione nodded, as the approached the door to the Slytherin House common room.
They stopped short, and he turned to her, lowering her trunk to the floor with his wand.
"Before we go in, I would like to ask you a question, if I may?"
"Of course, Professor."
"Why? Why would you throw away a golden existence in the tower to join the ranks of the outcasts in the dungeon?" he asked, his tone one of genuine confusion. "You know, I would have traded anything to have what is up there, what Potter and his father had. Yet you…"
"I want to kiss God on His nose and watch Him sneeze, and so do you. Not out of disrespect. Out of pique. Out of a man-to-man thing."
"Did you…" His eyes were watering, the emotion catching them both off-balance.
"No, a Muggle poet," Hermione smiled softly, shaking her head. "Let's just say, I want to see what happens when I tear the world apart."
"Well then," Professor Snape said, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear, and meeting her eyes with a shaky smile. "Welcome to Slytherin House, Miss Granger."