The Problem with the Sorting Hat
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. Sorry.
The pit in Albus's stomach was beginning to come back. It had gone away when he and Rosie had been on the train. There had been no room for it: he had been way too excited. But now… Al gulped as he stared at the hat sitting on the three-legged stool in front of him and the rest of the first years.
He looked to his right to see that Rosie was completely white beneath her freckles. Her eyes stared off through her too long bangs and her mouth was moving frantically (but silently) as she absentmindedly twirled a piece of her curly red hair around her finger.
To his left, a boy named Henry Nott (a very unpleasant person that Al and Rosie had met on the train) was staring straight ahead, unblinkingly. Occasionally, he sent longing glances toward the table where the Slytherins sat. Al thought that he himself might be slightly green.
They were already on the L's… only three letters left before the P's…
'Well,' Al thought miserably, 'At least there's no test, or giant, enchanted rubber duck trying to attack me like James had said there would be,'
Al was so busy wallowing in self-pity and nerves, that he scarcely noticed when Henry Nott was called forward and placed in Slytherin.
"Aw, damn. I wanted him to be in Hufflepuff," Al turned to his left to see a blond boy looking horribly disappointed.
"Why?" Al murmured, unable to stop himself.
The boy was slightly surprised, but answered quick enough: "I wanted to be in Slytherin and I hate that—" The boy froze, turned even whiter, and muttered, "Damn, that's me," He then walked forward and put the hat on.
"Who was just called?" Al whispered to Rosie as the boy sat frowning on the stool. Rosie turned her petrified brown eyes towards him.
"Al, I'm trying not to puke here. I'm not exactly listening right now!" She told him in a slightly hysterical voice.
Meanwhile, the whole hall was chuckling while the boy was being sorted. Poor Hagrid was looking somewhat confused until a boy called out, "M comes before N, not after it!"
"Oh," Hagrid turned a nice shade of red, "Righ'."
Just then, the hat shouted, "SLYTHERIN!" The disgruntled boy headed toward the cheering and whistling table at the far end.
As he passed Al, he muttered, "Great Merlin save me. I'm stuck with the twerp," Al stifled a laugh. He didn't know who that boy was but he liked him.
Just as Al stopped grinning, Hagrid called out, "Potter, Albus!"
The whole hall began to whisper excitedly amongst themselves. Al heaved a loud sigh and walked toward the hat. He hated how everyone reacted to his last name. It wasn't as if he was the one who defeated Voldemort. If people were going to whisper about him, he wished it would be because of somethinghe had done. Not his dad…
Al sat down and dropped the hat on his head. The hall disappeared from view.
"So, you're the younger brother," a tiny voice muttered in his ear.
Al felt a twinge of annoyance. Why couldn't he ever just be Al? His own person; not the brilliant troublemaker's kid brother or the miniature of his father…
"Oh? You want to become your own person, eh? Better than your dad and brother ever were?"
'No,' Al thought, peeved. 'Notbetter. Just different'.
"Well, you are rather different already… especially from your brother. He liked to walk in a straight line from point A to B, nice, easy and, very often, stupid. You on the other hand… you like walking in a diagonals and squares. Even backwards!"
What was that supposed to mean?
"Means you're cunning: Sly. Like your dad,"
Couldn't this hat take a hint? He didn't want to be like his dad. He wanted to be like himself! Whoever that was…
"But you're much more ambitious than he was and you have a different sort of courage as well. Yours is quieter: takes root deeper down and isn't as easily seen. Hmm… no, I don't think you're a Gryffindor,"
Al felt nothing but shock. What did the hat mean? Why wasn't he a Gryffindor? Was he an evil coward?
The voice just laughed, "Of course not. Didn't I just say you were brave? No, you're just not as reckless and stubborn as Gryffindors tend to be. You can work you're way around obstacles in odd ways. Yes... Yes, you're not a Hufflepuff either,"
This was going to take ages, Al thought, clearly irritated. First he wasn't brave or noble and now he was a backstabbing lazy bum! Al was beginning to dislike the hat…
"I didn't say that!" The voice snapped, obviously annoyed as well, "And this won't take forever if you just shut up and let me mumble!"
'Fine!' Al thought angrily.
"Hmm… I suppose… do you have any objections to any particular house?"
'I thought I was supposed to stay quiet and let you mumble.' Al thought snidely.
"Fine," The hat huffed, "You won't have a say in the matter!"
Al didn't care.
"Fine!," The hat growled, again. Obviously, Al glowered, they shared a mutual dislike.
Then, it called out, "SLYTHERIN!"
Al thought that it sounded pretty angry. Not that he cared about the stupid thing anyway. He took the hat off crossly and stormed over to the nervously clapping Slytherins. Al caught sight of James, his brother, and Victoire, his cousin. Both looked slightly dumbstruck. He just glared at them and they quickly fixed their faces into smiles.
Scowling, Al sat down next to the blond he had talked to earlier. Al noticed that he didn't look very happy either.
"I don't like that hat," Al muttered, glaring daggers at the offending accessory. It was now innocently sitting on "Quirke, Anna"'s head.
"Yeah," the blond agreed, also glaring at the hat, "Who does it think it is reading my brain and telling me just what I am and am not? I can be whatever I want to be! And I am not lazy!"
"I know! Bloody hat," Al muttered.
The blond suddenly grinned at him, "I'm Scorpius Malfoy by the way. Who are you?"
"Al Potter," The two boys shook hands and then turned back towards the hat, their scowls firmly back in place.
It was now sorting "Selwyn, Cassandra". She also became a Slytherin and Al and Scorpius reluctantly clapped for her. Out of the corner of his eye, Al saw Rosie send him a nervous look.
Al mouthed, "The hat's evil!" She gave him a confused look.
"What?" she mouthed back.
"The—hat—is—evil!" Al mouthed once more. Rosie just stared.
Scorpius frowned, "What are you doing?"
"Trying to warn my cousin about the hat," Al explained distractedly before going back to mouthing—very slowly—not to trust the hat.
"Oh," replied Scorpius, as if this were perfectly normal, "I'll help,"
And, with that, he began to sign something. It started out by putting his two hands on top of his head in a triangle shape and ended with him raising his arms in the air and scrunching his fingers up.
Rosie just blinked.
Sighing loudly, both boys tried to explain about the hat in every way they could without yelling it out. Albus tried shadow puppets, Scorpius acted it out with his utensils, they both muddled through British Sign Language and tried to spell it out that way and, in the end, they tried to act it out together. Scorpius was the hat and he tried to throttle Al, who was playing the poor, unsuspecting student.
However, by the time that Hagrid called, "Weasley, Rose", Rosie was just looking more baffled than ever. As she slid the hat over her head, she shot them one last befuddled stare, before her eyes disappeared.
"How didn't she get that?" Scorpius demanded, "If we'd been any more obvious… well, we couldn't have been more obvious unless we shouted it!"
"I don't get her; she… is she arguing with the hat?" Al suddenly asked, bewildered.
Scorpius just stared. Al was fairly certain that his cousin was arguing with the hat. Her mouth was in a thin line, her nose was crunched up and her hair looked more frizzy than normal. Just when Albus thought she was going to blow her top off, the hat yelled, "SLYTHERIN!"
It sounded as if it wanted to strangle something. With that, Rosie slammed the hat down on the stool, pulled out her wand and brandished it at the hat.
"I am not a shy, mean, untrustworthy, unstable, cowardly, confusing, brainless, arrogant know-it-all!" She shrieked. Scorpius, Al and the rest of the school stared.
However, before Rosie could curse the hat (as it deserved, Al thought sourly) Hagrid cleared his throat and pointedly called out, "Wood, Matthew!"
Rosie, cursing and muttering under her breath, stormed over to the Slytherin table, pushed poor Cassandra Selwyn out of her way and to the floor before slamming down across from Al.
"I don't like that hat!" she hissed, "I hate it!"
Al let out a loud sigh, "That's what we were trying to tell you,"
Rosie blinked, "You mean, this," she repeated Scorpius's first attempt of communication, "And this," she moved her hands around awkwardly (rather like sign language, Al mused thoughtfully) , "And, my personal favorite," she leaned forward and pretended to strangle Al, "Was supposed to mean that the hat was a lying, nasty, egotistical, conniving, assuming, stupid, ugly, annoying git?"
Scorpius and Al exchanged looks. Then Al shrugged and said, "Actually, we were just aiming for 'The hat is evil: Don't trust it' but, you know. That works too,"
Rosie let out a derisive laugh, "You two are almost as mental as the hat is,"
Al decided not to comment on that and instead watched Rosie send pointed glares at the hat and finger her wand impatiently. As Al watched Rosie seethe, he felt a small glimmer of self-satisfaction. That hat was going to get it, or else he didn't know Rose Charity Weasley.
As Professor Sprout welcomed everyone to Hogwarts, Al drifted off into happy little daydreams where the hat blew up, was forced to tap dance, or, even worse, was forced to listen to James' sing in the shower for four days straight…
A/N: I hope you liked it. It just all of a sudden came to me and I had to write it down. Anyway, please review and tell me if you liked it or not. I'm perfectly fine with flames, although constructive criticism is preferred. After much hemming and hawing, I decided to leave this as a one shot simply because I'm too afraid of destroying it and because, despite all my efforts, I couldn't come up with a plot I liked. Sorry about that! I'm glad you like it though! Hope you enjoyed!