Summary: Another Harry gets re-sorted. But I hate how many fics have nearly every student getting into a new house. I don't feel most of the students would get into a new house. Only a few students change that much. So hopefully this one is different enough. Snape Mentor. Eventual Slash. HP/DM.
Author Note: Please let me know what you think. If I should keep going, thoughts, reactions, ideas...
Harry sat next to his best friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley in the Great Hall. He was stunned. The Headmaster's announcement had sent shock waves through all the students in the school. 5th and 6th year students were to be resorted. From here on out all 5th year students would be resorted. This year it would be both years. 7th years were excluded so as to not pull them away from friends during their last year at Hogwarts.
It was something about needs changing. The needs of a student to be fulfilled being different for an eleven year old than for the needs of a fifteen year old. He didn't really pay attention. He was still frozen on the resorting. Hermione was saying something about it not making a difference. She knew she would be put back in Gryffindor. But Harry knew. It did make a difference. Cold filled him. He knew. He was going to the snake pit.
This was why none of the 5th and 6th years had gotten prefect announcements. The positions would be assigned in the following week, after the necessary changes had occurred. Thoughts whirled through Harry's mind. He didn't even register the sortings that were going on. The 5th years were almost done being resorted. Most of the students were returning to the previous locations. Very few were being assigned different houses.
But he was Harry Potter. Of course he was going to get a new house. Nothing went right for him. He knew that by now. He was going to be thrown in with the snakes and the only person to be there for him was the one person that perhaps hated him as much as Voldemort. Professor Snape. Hmm, and of course, he could always buddy up with Draco Malfoy after all his father had tried to kill him almost as many times as the Dark Lord himself.
He felt a hysterical laugh building up inside of him as Hermione tugged on his arm. He glanced around and realized that they were already done sorting the 5th years and the other houses 6th years. The final sorting was the Gryffindor 6th years. He blinked as he realized that somehow he missed the fact that Colin Creevy had been the only 5th year Gryffindor to leave, he was sorted into Hufflepuff. Hmmm, odd.
Hermione was making her way to the stool and gracefully placing the hat on her head. The pause was rather long. Harry wondered idly if the hat was going to finally put her in Ravenclaw. But no, it was shouting out Gryffindor. She made her way back to her seat. Neville too was taking a long time. He finally was also sent back to Gryffindor. Harry allowed a small smile. He knew Neville was nervous about going to Hufflepuff but Harry knew that below that nervous exterior was a very brave lion. He had fought well outnumbered against Death Eaters. Not too many 15 year olds could say that. It was a slight shock when he really looked at the Gryffindor table and realized that Luna had been sorted there. He allowed a small snicker inwardly.
Really there weren't too many changes. He felt a small push against his back and refrained from flinching as he made his way to the stool in front. He closed his eyes tightly as he place that hat on his head. It fit well. He remembered how it nearly engulfed his head the last time he wore it.
"Ah yes. One of the more difficult placements I have had through the years. Have you changed your mind yet child? Have you seen what Slytherin can offer for you?" that hat was gently chiding in his ear.
'Offer me?' Harry thought. 'I see them offering me as a sacrifice to Voldemort' he said snidely.
'Child, none protect Slytherin so they protect themselves,' said the hat.
'I don't understand,' Harry responded.
'Few do. They understand each other. They protect their own. Even those that have gone before,' Harry pondered these words.
'But I fear the house. I don't wish to turn into a Dark Lord,' he begged.
'And does a house make a dark wizard? Hasn't Peter Pettigrew taught you otherwise? The house doesn't make the wizard child. The wizard makes the house,' Harry considered these words. He didn't entirely grasp them. He didn't know what the hat was trying to say.
'You need what the snakes can teach. The lions have taught you well, but they no longer understand your needs. You carry a heavy load. One that you cannot share, but that can be lightened,' the hat was gentle as it spoke.
'And how can supporters of my enemy help me?' Harry was pleading with the hat for compassion.
'Perhaps they are. But perhaps they also carry burdens that they require assistance with. You can help many of them as much as they can assist you,' Harry considered that. He still didn't understand what the hat was trying to express but he did know he was slowly losing the argument.
'The lions want to continue to play. They will rush in when service is required, but they do not understand the daily grind that comes from a heavy burden carried. The snakes do. They carry burdens every day. They know what it means to have to weigh decisions and to know the impact of each choice. They even now face a difficult choice that only you can hope to influence,' the hat was still being vague but suddenly Harry understood with clarity what he was being told.
The weight of responsibility suddenly multiplied. The Dark Lord. They were being pressured to take sides and it was Harry who would be responsible for protecting them. The hat interrupted his wandering thoughts, 'Child, you would gain as much from them as they from you. They can save you child.'
'Save me?' Harry asked. 'From Voldemort?'
'No child. From something bigger than that,' Harry stiffened slightly. 'From yourself.'
He felt suddenly like crying. But he wasn't going to. He hadn't cried all summer, he wasn't going to now. He vaguely noticed how quiet the Great Hall was. Everyone was shifting about nervously with how long it was taking for the Great Harry Potter, Golden Boy of Gryffindor, Epitome of Good to be sorted. Of course he was going back to Gryffindor, that was a given, so what was taking so long?
His thoughts were interrupted once again by the hat 'Look at the bright side child. Professor Snape never takes points from his own house.'
Harry was startled into laughter. His audience was so distracted from the sight of the sudden laughter they almost missed the hat when it shouted out "Slytherin." Almost.
The hall erupted into chaos. Harry stood with more calm than he felt. His face reflected nothing of the churning emotions and fear that he felt. Slowly, not looking at his friends, he placed the hat back on the stool and started towards the Slytherin table.
"Headmaster! I protest! This is impossible," came the complaint from Professor Snape. He had crossed in front of the table and halted Harry's progression towards the table. The Headmaster also stood and joined the student and teacher. He took each by the arm and guided them to a door. As the three passed through the door he turned and indicated to Professor McGonagall to continue with the sortings.
The door closed behind them and before Professor Snape could speak the Headmaster looked at Harry, his eyes twinkling annoyingly and said "I guess the Sorting Hat got its way this time Harry?"
"Yes sir," Harry answered. He thought he knew what the old coot was trying to do but really wasn't in the mood for it. Frankly, all he wanted to do was sleep and hopefully wake and find out it was all a nightmare.
"This time?" snarled Snape.
"Yes Severus. Seems our Mr. Potter was a borderline during first year and was offered his own choice. His needs have obviously changed," at this comment the Headmaster reached as if to lay a hand on Harry's shoulder. Harry moved away from the hand, as if to look at a portrait, pretending to not pay attention to the conversation behind him.
"Albus, we cannot let him into the dungeons. How can we be sure that someone won't be killed by morning?" Snape was plying the very argument that most frightened Harry. Frankly, if it wasn't him killed then it would be Malfoy or one of his goons. Surely someone wouldn't make it to morning.
At some point the two professors seemed to have finished whatever they were discussing. Harry had tuned them out. He was getting good at that. They were looking at him waiting for him.
"Are we ready to rejoin the rest of the students Harry?" asked Professor Dumbledore quietly. Harry nodded and headed back to the Great Hall. A hush went over the room when the three re-entered and Harry made his way to the Slytherin table. McGonagall stopped him to hand him something. Harry took the scarf without comment and sat down at the very end of the table.
Food was served. Harry didn't look up. He quietly filled his plate and didn't look at his new housemates. Every now and then he allowed his hand to brush against his wand reassuringly. Before he knew it, the students were starting to leave. He realized he had only eaten a couple bites, but he knew he couldn't handle any more. He was already feeling nauseous.
He pushed back his plate and followed the first years. They were being led by the 7th year prefects. He realized that there were two other new Slytherins, a former Ravenclaw 6th year girl and a former 5th year Hufflepuff boy. He could recall their names.
The password to the dungeons was runespoor. Harry nodded when they were informed that absolutely no one was to give out the password. It would be changed weekly.
They stepped inside. It was the same as he remembered from second year. He glanced around briefly. He got a slight shock when he saw Professor Snape enter behind them. Harry noticed that the common room was packed. Every Slytherin student appeared to be in attendance. This confused him slightly. Gryffindor didn't do anything like this.
Snape started to speak. Harry decided to listen, curiosity overriding the detachment he was feeling.
"You have all been chosen for Slytherin. No matter how...inconceivable a selection it may have been," his eyes rested briefly on Harry who lowered his own gaze.
"Do not expect respect from other houses. They do not protect us. Hence, we will protect our own. ALL of our own. I do not tolerate fighting and bickering within the house. We see enough from the other houses. I expect that you will do your best, guard your backs and those of your housemates," Harry felt Snape glaring at him. It took too much energy to glare back, so he didn't bother.
He felt the professor approaching him. When he looked up the professor was looking at Draco Malfoy, then at Crabbe, Goyle, Parkinson and Nott. His hand raised as if to rest on Harry's shoulder. Quickly Harry shifted away. Snape's hand dropped back to his side.
"Again, I remind you, we PROTECT our own," Harry pondered the meaning behind the emphasis before it registered. He must be really tired. Junior Death Eaters, they were getting warned.
"Mr. Malfoy, Ms. Parkinson please stand in for the 5th and 6th year prefects until such time as the Headmaster can appoint them. You know what to do and what to watch for. As soon as the students have been settled, prefects report to my office," with those words, Snape exited the rooms with a flourish of cloaks and Harry felt the weight of the stares on him.
A tall dark skinned boy ...Zabini?... approached him. "Well Potter, since it seems you have joined us, perhaps you could be useful."
Harry jerked his head up in surprise. Well, at least he wasn't being hexed yet.
"Umm, and how is that?" he asked warily.
"My snake. I have a python and the thing isn't doing well. Thought perhaps you could talk to her and tell me what is wrong," Harry was shocked. He was used to people being afraid of the fact that he could talk to snakes. This boy wanted to use it.
He spit out the first thought that came to mind "What's in it for me?" He didn't know where that came from. The room was silent. Shit, he was going to get his ass kicked.
A shout of laughter startled him. "Yup, he's a Slytherin alright!" exclaimed Zabini (What was his first name? Harry wondered). He was so busy trying to process that the group appreciated his comment and seemed to be accepting him that he failed to notice the arm coming up to slap him on the back. He winced slightly before covering his response.
Draco's eyes narrowed. It couldn't be. He watched as Harry expertly maneuvered his way out from under the arm. He had avoided being touched by Snape, but then, they hated each other so that was natural. 'Only one way to find out,' he thought to himself.
Slowly Draco approached the new Slytherin. He stretched out his hand and said "Hi, I'm Draco. Draco Malfoy."
Harry looked at the proffered hand with only a brief moment of confusion. He smirked at the blond before rolling his eyes. "No shit," he swatted the hand away without malice. "Save your manners for the first years. They might believe it. For a week or so." He heard the snickers around him. He gave the blond a smile to show he was understood the offer and was accepting it. A truce. Or friendship. He wasn't exactly sure which. Truce for now, maybe friendship later?
He turned back to Zabini. "Going to show me the snake? Since Malfoy here hasn't shown me the rooms..." he threw a glance over his shoulder to the blond who had a slight smile on his face. It was then he noticed Draco reaching for him.
Quickly he moved just out of reach. He hoped that Draco wouldn't hex him for the implied insult. The other boy just rolled his eyes and said "Relax Potter. Tell you what, you find out what is wrong with Blaise's snake so we don't have to listen to him whine on about it and we won't make you the victim of any pranks for at least a week."
Harry snickered and agreed. The three boys headed to the stairs to the rooms. This time Harry didn't notice when Draco draped an arm across his shoulders until it was too late. He couldn't help a small flinch, but recovered quickly and followed along.
Draco noticed the lapse however. He still couldn't quite accept what it implied. He knew Snape would have a hard time with it as well. The whole situation felt surreal. This boy, his mortal enemy for five years, and now he had to make nice with him. The Golden Boy was now a Silver Snake.
He listened with a slight shudder to the hissing that was going on in the corner. Potter was saying something to Blaise about the snake needing more space and more heat. Draco glanced at the time and realized he had to meet with Snape to discuss the new students. He sighed. It wasn't a meeting he looked forward to.
As he entered the common room he saw Crabbe and Goyle looking at him with confusion. He smothered a sigh of annoyance and decided they didn't get the implied comments. Too thick to get it. Subtle comments didn't work for them. You had to beat them over the head.
"Potter is now a Slytherin. Got that?" He waited for them to nod. "Slytherins protect their own right?" again they nodded. "Therefore, we now protect Potter. Understand?" Their eyes widened before they nodded.
"Good. Now stay here, I have to go meet with Snape," he rolled his eyes as he left the two large boys behind. When he got to Professor Snape's office he realized he was the last prefect to show.
"Sorry sir. I was trying to confirm a theory," he explained. His head of house nodded without comment. The 7th year prefect was talking about the first years. Giving a report on which ones to watch for abuse, homesickness and which would fit in well.
"Draco, care to tell me your observations?" said Snape.
Draco sighed. "Okay, but you aren't going to like it."
"Just tell me and let me decide," snapped Snape.
"I noticed one case. Well covered. Back injuries for sure. Malnourished judging by the skin and bones I felt. Very skilled in masking it. Long term possible," Draco was looking at the others. None of the others seemed to have noticed what he had and were looking at him with confusion and curiosity.
"And who is this student?" Asked Snape who appeared to be getting annoyed.
Draco closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "It's Potter."
There was a gasp of shock. He opened his eyes and saw his head of house's gaze on him. The intensity almost made him step back. "Are you sure?" he asked.
Slowly Draco nodded, never breaking the gaze. A flicker of something unreadable crossed his professors eyes before he broke contact.
"Very well. Send Ms. Gladstone in when you return. Draco, have Potter report here at 8:30. And remember. We protect our own. The reports made here stay here. If I hear a whisper of rumor you will not like what I have to say," he glared at them all before they left. Draco knew that he meant Potter. No one would care about any other Slytherin being abused. But Potter would feed rumor mills for weeks.
Briefly Draco lamented the fact that they were no longer opposing houses. The Daily Prophet would have loved to get their hands on this piece of information. With a sigh he returned to his room, his goons falling into step behind him. Seems they took him at his word when he told them to stay. Neither had moved an inch from where he left them. Morons.