Godric addressed his hat.
"Alright hat. Are you ready?"
"I don't see why I have to do the Sorting," the Hat grumbled, "you created me to Sort AFTER you died. You still live, don't you?"
Godric sighed. "Yes, but you need the practice. Besides, you are more objective than we are."
"Helga is pretty objective," the Hat pointed out.
"She's also inclined not to Sort anyone into Slytherin because of the bias against the 'poor dears'."
The Hat would've rolled his eyes if he'd had any. "She's not wrong about that, you know. It's not the children's fault that Sa- "
"Yes, yes," Godric interrupted, "lets get going, shall we. Sorting to be done."
Five new students were lined up in the Hall, waiting anxiously. In former years, they would each have had a talk with all four Founders who would then decide where to place them. As one of the Founders was now missing, and Gryffindor had announced that a new, less time consuming way of Sorting had been found, they didn't quite know what to expect.
"I heard we are going to fight a Troll," a boy with a clear Norman accent whispered.
Several others gasped.
The tall, redhaired Founder strode in, carrying a stool and a hat.
"Very well. First student, please," he called cheerfully.
The children nearly dove under the tables.
"Let me, Godric," Rowena Ravenclaw stood up.
But before she could do anything, the Sorting Hat, which had been quivering on the stool for quite some time, opened the brim at the bottom and began to sing.
"Sumer is icumen in
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweth sed and bloweth med
And springth the wude nu
"…Hat…?" Gryffindor raised an eyebrow.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I was nervous!" the Hat wailed, "I…I thought a little song would calm me down."
The children began to giggle, and to Hufflepuffs relief they seemed to relax a little.
"I think the Hat just started a wonderful tradition, Godric," she smiled, "thank you, Hat. From now on you can sing a song before the Sorting every year. Try to make a little more about the school, however…such modern music as what you just sang is not my cup of butterbeer."
Rowena cleared her throat. "Alright then. I will call your name in alphabetical order and you will sit on the stool. I will…place the Hat on your head…right Godric? Yes. And the Hat will call out the name of your new House. You will go sit at the appropriate table…Ravenclaws there, Hufflepuffs on that side, Gryffindors to the far end of the room and Slytherins in front."
She Summoned a piece of parchment, looked it over and called out:
A tall boy walked up determinedly and sat on the chair. As the Hat was put on he heard its voice again, this time inside his head.
"Oh! Courage! Godric would drool over you…though with that mind and all the books you already devoured, Rowena wouldn't mind having you either. No…deep inside you are mostly one of Godric's. I will place you in GRYFFINDOR!"
The boy hopped off, Godric beamed and the rest of the room clapped as much for the first student to be Sorted this way as it did for the Hat doing its first Sorting.
The Hat was almost sweating by the time the last student was called.
"Ethelred, prince of Wessex!"
Whispers floated through the room – for this was no full wizard born child like them. Ethelred the Unready had fathered this boy out of wedlock with a witch. His father had acknowledged him and given him the title Prince of Wessex - that was a token title only since Ethelred already had an heir in Edward - on the insistence of the witch's father.
Godric turned pale, Rowena bit her lip and Helga had both hands pressed to her face.
The Hat nearly froze in place when put on the boys head.
"Ethelred! Matilda's son!"
"Yes, yes," the boy thought, a bit bored, "Mother changed her last name, you know. No need to get overexcited."
"Salazars grandson is sitting underneath me and I should not be excited?"
"Mother doesn't want anything to do with Grandfather since he became delusional," the boy observed, "the only reason he didn't kill both of us at my birth was because Mother had the good grace to at least have an affair with a king if she had to consort with a Muggle at all."
The Hat sighed. "Well traditionally speaking I might as well put you in Slytherin…"
"No, thank you," the boy replied polite but icily.
"You are ambitious…a nice thirst to prove yourself. Cunning when you want to be – you would fit well in Slytherin."
The Hat trembled a little. "Oh alright then. I see your point. Are you sure, though? Your position…you would do well in Slytherin. You could be great, you know."
"If I am meant to be great then I will be so regardless of my House," was the simple answer.
"Very well, then, Mr Slytherin. I will put you in GRYFFINDOR!"
The boy smirked and got up while Rowena and Helga tried to revive the fainted Godric.
"Thank you, Hat. And for future reference, my name is no longer Slytherin."
He patted the fabric.
"Mother changed her name, remember? My name is now Potter, Ethelred Potter."
The Hat kept quiet, frantically worrying that he had created a most horrific precedent by Sorting Potter into Gryffindor.