NOTES: This is the infamous "Hat" cookie to which I referred in one of the previous chapters. I'm too lazy to go back and look to see which one now. I wrote it many, many moons ago and posted it to the Draco/Ginny Fanfiction Review Board and later to my mailing list ( ) There is also a short Christmas ficlet over there that I will not be uploading to I'm only actually uploading this one so many months after "The Little Child to Lead Them" was completed because I haven't written anything in so long. I've missed hearing from you guys.

Well, without further ado (there's already been too much of that) here is the "Hat cookie" which takes place not long after TLCTLT ends:


Dumbledore's office was empty. It was dinnertime so he had abandoned his post in favor of hearty eating. The moonlight came through the window, illuminating the gems embedded in the sword of Gryffindor, but other than that, the room was dark. The door slowly creaked opened, so slowly that you knew that the person behind it wasn't supposed to be there.

A tiny head popped out through the crack. Blonde pigtails bounced in the moonlight. "Hello," Cassie said brightly to the portraits of old Headmasters and Mistresses. They had intended on scolding whoever dared enter Dumbledore's office without permission. They lost their stern exterior when she spoke and smiled at the girl.

"I have to talk to the hat," she said secretively. "It's important." They nodded down at her and pointed in the direction of the old Sorting Hat.

Cassie bounced over to the stool that the well-worn hat sat on. She stared up at it in awe. She had to tilt her head to completely vertically, because she was so tiny and the stool was so tall. "Hi, Mr. Hat!"

The Sorting Hat opened one bleary eye, as if to say, "Is it fall again, already?" Then the eye fell on the little girl in front of him.

"I need your help," Cassie explained.

"What is it?" The hat asked irritably, visibly annoyed at having been woke so early from his nap.

"See," she explained awkwardly, "My Daddy wants me to be like him and be a Slit-a-ring..." she paused knowing that wasn't right. "A slithering..." No, that still wasn't it. She frowned. "A Slyth-rin..."

"A Slytherin." The hat corrected, a bit more gently than before.

"Yeah!" she beamed. Then she frowned again. "But Mummy says they're bad. And Uncle Ron says they're all 'slimy gits.' Then I told him my daddy wasn't a slimy git and he just laughed at me." She looked up at the hat again, expecting answers. She was a very conflicted young lady. She wanted to make both of her parents proud, but she couldn't do that.

"You have to put me on," the hat said patiently.

Cassie made a face. She hated being so little. She jumped, trying to grab the hat but all she managed to grab was air. She tried again, still nothing. Annoyed, she put her hands on her hips. "Can you come down here?" she asked huffily.

The hat sighed wistfully, "Oh, to have legs to climb."

She assumed that meant "no" and sighed. "Ok, then," she said, trying to look innocent. "I have another idea." Cassie proceeded to shake the stool back and forth, making loud noises as she did. The hat shrieked girlishly as it came clattering to the floor. The Headmasters and Headmistresses all turned and looked at Cassie disapprovingly. She grinned sheepishly. "Oops."

She scrambled across the floor to where the hat lay. She happily sat on the cold marble, and jammed the hat over her head. The cap was so large it covered her to her shoulders. She giggled because it tickled her nose.

Ahh, there you are, said the hat.

"Well?" asked Cassie.

I see a lot of bravery and a lot of cunning. Cassie's face fell. That didn't help at all. And also a lot of intelligence for such a young girl. You know things that people your age shouldn't. You read a lot?

"Mummy reads to me. I like fairy tales."

You weren't afraid to face the Dark Lord…

Cassie scoffed. "He's mean but I knew my Daddy could beat him up."

You love your father. You tricked your mother into talking to him for the first time in years...

"Yeah," she said proudly. "I needed a Daddy to play with."

And you're a loyal friend...

This time, Cassie cut him off. "I don't have any friends," she pointed out sadly.

Oh, but you will. The hat said surely. Cassie opened her mouth to quizzically ask him what he meant when the hat shouted at the top of its lungs (if it had them):


Cassie grinned as she took the hat off. A rush of light that hadn't been there when she put the hat on disoriented her for a moment until her eyes adjusted. They fell on the blurry shape of her father, standing in the doorway. He had come looking for her when she didn't show up to dinner in the Great Hall. Cassie grinned at him. "Did you hear, Daddy? I'm a Hufflepuff."

Draco's eyes rolled back in his head as he fell to the ground, out cold.