Disclaimer: I not own Harry Potter
A/n: Thanks for reviewing. I will continue the story as far as I can. to HoshiHikari: Your mind is already in the rightway ; ) That's for further chapter. But please inform me if you find other questions, sometimes I like to make unexplainable flaws in my story.
Finally I get a beta reader, thanks a lot to nljfs.
Chapter 6: Second Sorting
The first experience for new students at Hogwarts was the same as always. They still took a boat across the lake. Alex missed his half-giant friend's warm gaze. Hagrid seemed to shun Alex since their first encounter. He quickly moved to another boat when Alex stepped into his boat. It was just one of the many consequences of bearing the Riddle name. Moreover, the idea of being a new student, which thrilled him earlier, was proved not very exciting anymore. Sometimes, he wondered whether he had made the right decision.
However, his worst nightmare happened when they got off the boats; Professor McGonagall informed him about a meeting with Dumbledore before dinner. "Great. That's what exactly I need. A meeting with that old man" he thought sarcastically.
They were at the stone gargoyle within minutes.
"Chocolate Frogs" said McGonagall and it leapt aside, the wall behind him split open, and they ascended the moving staircase, which led to a polished door with a griffin knocker. Professor McGonagall rapped the door several times before it opened of its own accord.
"Good morning, Mr. Riddle. Please take a seat." Dumbledore was sitting behind his desk in a high-backed chair. Alex noticed that his phoenix, Fawkes, was not in the room.
"I will leave you both of you here, but please keep it short, Mr. Riddle needs to be sorted, and you are supposed to open the feast."
"Don't worry, Minerva, I'll be there on time"
Professor McGonagall sighed before she left.
"Well, Mr. Riddle. I received your letter and your mother has explained everything." His penetrating light blue eyes fixed intently upon Alex. Suddenly, he felt his brain's cells shake and felt a stinging pain. He's trying to break through my Occlumency barrier. Alex strengthened his Occlumency level and tried hard to avoid any eye contact, which seemed impossible. "You must have noticed, Mr. Riddle, that you are here for a three-month probation. I'm sorry, but that's standard procedure. Hogwarts puts a high standard for her students. We rarely accept any exchange students or students older than 11, unless it is a special case. Although your case can be counted as special, we don't know whether you can catch up with our lessons."
"I understand, Sir," Alex said.
"Who is your guardian now, Mr. Riddle?"
"No one, Sir. I am used to taking care of myself."
"How about your family?" Dumbledore surveyed him through his half-moon glasses. More than once, he paused at Alex's forehead, where his scar was once marked. If he was looking for any similarities between Harry and Alex, he was wasting his time. Alex's appearance was very different from Harry's, except for his eyes. In addition, he had put a concealing spell on his scar.
"My mother is the only family I ever knew and she passed away recently."
"And your father?" His head was smarting again, legilimency, why did Dumbledore want to read his thoughts so badly?
"I dunno, Sir. Until her death, my mother never told me anything about him."
"I think it's time for us to attend the sorting ceremony," Dumbledore scanned at his twelve handed pocket watch and again the pain stopped. This short interview was a hard test of his Occlumency skills. Ironically, he should thank Voldemort, who had given him constant nightmares and visions, forcing him to improve his Occlumency and Legimency skills so he could sleep in peace.
"Mr. Riddle, you remind me of one of my former students; he was both handsome and brilliant. Nevertheless, he was lost to darkness and evil. Now, I can only blame myself for failing to read the signs of a neglected teenager. It is my fault that he chose the wrong road, a road which resulted in a dreadful end." Dumbledore breathed out heavily when they were half way to the Great Hall and stared at Alex, who stared back, "Maybe I'm not the right person to say this to you, but, I really hope you won't go in the same direction. The similarities between you both are exceptional, at least from outside."
There was a brief silence, then Dumbledore continued "About you guardian, I am more than willing to offer myself. However, it is ultimately your choice."
"Thank you, Sir. I will consider it."
Professor McGonagall had reached letter R by the time they arrived. Dumbledore settled down in his high-backed golden chair at the centre of the long staff table while Alex joined the first year line.
"This year, we have a new fifth year student. Riddle, Alexander," she announced after the younger students had been sorted.
Alex strode to the three-legged stool and put on the Sorting Hat.
"Please stop the Occlumency or I can't sort you." The Sorting Hat growled in his ear."Only if you agree to one condition."
"What is it?"
"Swear to me that you won't tell anyone anything you read in my mind, especially Professor Dumbledore."
"Hmm, I am suspicious. Hiding something, are you? Are you friend or foe?"
"I am neither friend nor foe."
"Then why you are afraid? No need to be afraid, unless you hide something evil."
"I am not hiding something evil. I only wish to prevent my deepest secrets from becoming known."
"Do you think I would do something like that?" It was clearly insulted.
"I dunno, if you aren't going to discuss my secrets with anyone why are you afraid to give your word?"
"You know young man; you are really smart and cunning. Without reading your mind, I have already decided you belong in Slytherin. But, just to make certain, I promise you I won't tell anyone anything I learn from your mind, especially to Dumbledore, unless it is harmful for this school," the Sorting Hat lowered its voice for the last statement.
"I assured you that I won't cause harm to Hogwarts or any of her students"
"Well then," Alex removed his Occlumency defense.
He could hear a yelp from the hat.
"So that's it. Weird. Mr. Potter or should I call you Mr. Riddle, do you know at your first sorting, I was surprised to find a powerful Slytherin bloodline in you. Dumbledore and I always thought it was because of the curse caused connection between you and Voldemort. Now, it makes sense. Hmm, I am still of the opinion that you will do well in Slytherin, but you will still fit in any house. Where do you want to be sorted?"
Alex was stunned for a moment. He wanted Gryffindor, the house where he could be with his old friends, but it was too risky. It wouldn't take long for them to discover who he was. This new life he had built would turn into a mess. Despite the fact that Slytherin wouldn't be his favorite House, it was the safest and the Sorting Hat had said he would do well there. Why didn't he just let it put him where it thought it best?
"Just put me in the most suitable house."
Alex walked to second table from the right, ignoring Malfoy, who eyed him solemnly. There wasn't as much handclapping and cheers as for the first years; perhaps all of them were as hungry as he was. Anyway, most Slytherins were not very friendly to newcomers, except for their own first years. During the feast, Alex noticed Dumbledore looking at him with a disappointed expression on his face, before he turned away for a conversation with their new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Saladin Allison.
"What school are you transferring from?" asked Pansy.
"I was home schooled by my mother, until she died. Sorry I can't be of more help."
"You're a really mysterious guy, aren't you?" She giggled along with her Slytherins' girl gang. "Your sorting was one of the longest. What'd the hat tell you?"
"None of your business. Why can you shut up?" He had no patience for the Slytherin girls, particularly when his best friends started glancing skeptically at him from Gryffindor table. Alex did not realize that they might consider his words an insult to their girls' charm.
A/n: Voldemort won't appear until chapter 12 or something. So for some who are waiting for him, please be patience. I will be delighted if someone can give me some ideas, especially about what Harry-Alex supposed to do.