Disclaimer: Harry Potter and related characters are the creations and property of JK Rowling.

Red-Eyed Monster

by WendyNat


Some people claim that behind great hate there is great jealousy. A desire to have the other, a desire to be the other. But not always. Sometimes, it is not a green-eyed monster but a red-eyed monster.

Sometimes, it is just hate.

---

The little boy sat, trembling slightly, the hat on his head like a great weight for all its lack of substance. He tried not to show his fear – it was a weakness, one that he seldom succumbed to – and he thought at first that he had been successful. His face was frozen in a slight sneer, as if looking down his nose at the proceedings occurring around him. His breathing was deep and even. His small hands lay clasped lightly in his lap.

But he trembled.

The old man – Dumbledore, he had called himself – stood beside him, waiting for the hat to pronounce his fate. He knew little of the world in which he now found himself… very little. And his knowledge came not firsthand, studied at a beloved mother's knee, but from overheard bits and pieces from other children on the train. Some basic instruction given to the group of entering students in the entranceway outside this large room. None of the others were like him, that he knew – even the students who were also what these people called "Muggles". They had been given a chance to read, to study, to learn… brightly bound books with the history of this great castle were clutched in their hands on the train. Darkly bound books with words and incantations and spells.

He, however, was an orphan. Of a sort. His father lived, but his mother lay dead. No one could tell him it was anything other than his father's fault. No one. His mother dead, his father uncaring, and so he became a charity case. Some benevolent adult had donated coin for him to be supplied with books and quills and robes; but he had been unable to retrieve these items before arriving at Hogwarts. The orphanage had been scandalized enough by the idea of a developing wizard in their midst – there was no way they would have allowed him access to learning materials.

The waiting was almost unbearable. At times he could hear the hat muttering (who could imagine? A hat, talking!) but the words were difficult to decipher. He knew his future hung in the balance – much was made over what house the students would be sorted into.

Gryffindor… or Slytherin? A bit of both… bravery, indeed, you have that in abundance… and yet more there.

He trembled, waiting. Nervously he glanced to the side and saw the gray-bearded man watching him kindly, an almost sympathetic look in his blue eyes.

Sympathetic!

Outraged, the little boy turned back around, stilling his trembling. He never showed fear! Never! And here he was, being pitied for his fear – a towering shame ate through him at the thought, it wound through him like an oily snake, then squeezed tight.

He would not be pitied. Not by that old man! Dumbledore with his red robes and gold hat, his twinkling blue eyes and his sympathetic face. No.

He rejected it, rejected him. Hated him. Hate. He had no fear. He needed no fear. And if fear came, he would sculpt it and mold it into a weapon to do his bidding. He would have revenge. I will. I will make him pay. My father will pay. Whatever I have to do, I'll find him. And he'll pay.

Just as the thought formed in his mind, the hat shouted to the assembly, "Slytherin!"

And thus was the red-eyed monster born.