To say Sora was nervous would be an understatement.
When Miss McGonagall (his brain refused to translate from normal school terms) had explained the Sorting and the Houses to him, he'd taken it for granted that Goofy, Donald and he would be in the same group.
Apparently, that ratty old hat disagreed.
He had gotten a small amount of worry when Donald was Sorted into Ravenclaw first- it would have been nice if they were in the same House as Harry and Ron and Hermione, he thought, but he hadn't gotten too worked up over it. Then Goofy was Sorted into Hufflepuff- something to do with his fierce loyalty or something, the other boy had muttered as he shuffled past.
Now, Sora was sitting on the stool, obviously the very last to be Sorted, the entire hall fixated on him. He forced a grin. Just be brave, it'll be okay...
Ahh, channelling a Gryffindor from the very start, are we?
Sora jumped and nearly fell off the stool. Of course, he had known the hat had to be sentient somehow in order to make these important decisions, as well as to sing the funny song it had, but he hadn't expected it to...
Yes, I suppose you could call it telepathy... but let's not waste time with the mechanics of my head; yours is what we're interested, yes?
Sora nodded, wondering if the hat could feel as he did so.
Alright, then let's have a look... He got the distinct sensation of being invaded and probed; it wasn't necessarily painful, just uncomfortable.
Well, well. You've certainly participated in your fair share of heroic adventures, haven't you? If the Hat was surprised to see all the places he'd been and things he'd done, it didn't show it. And I suppose, if your memories are currently working properly- Sora winced at the vague reference to the incident at Castle Oblivion- your strength of heart can't be disputed... a Keybearer, hmm? I know quite a lot, but I can't say I've come across that term before...
Sora started at this."Re- " He caught himself before he spoke to the silent Hall, blushing slightly. Uh... really? See, I've kinda been wondering at this world... no one else has really been surprised to see us or what we can do so far.
I see... well, I am fairly certain that this world is under the impression that it is the only world. Of course, I'm merely a hat, so what do I know?
The brunette grimaced. Maybe we could just get this over with?
Certainly. If I may just examine this one last 'corner', perhaps-
Sora cried out as his head was suddenly filled with angry shouting. He barely registered as Dumbledore and McGonagall moved towards him, or as the Hall erupted in hushed discussion.
"Sora? Sora? Who's in here? SORA! There's an intruder in our mind- who are you?!? Get OUT! Get out of Sora's mind, what the hell do you think you're doing-"
"Ro- " Again, he caught himself, pressing his fingers to his forehead. Roxas! Stop, it's okay, I let him- it in! It's just trying to-
"It's been looking through your memories Sora! Why would you let anyone do such a thing?!? You know- " His head was filled with images of angry blue eyes and a mouth much like his own twisted into a snarl.
"S-someone take it off!" he forced out, cringing. "He doesn't like it- owww..." The wizard and witch before him hesitated, but Goofy was much quicker, springing forward and removing the hat. Immediately, Roxas quieted down.
"Don't let anyone do that to you again... "
He rubbed his eyes, blinking at the Headmaster of Hogwarts apologetically. "S-sorry... I don't think my magic liked the Hat."
"That's quite alright, Sora, we should have expected that not everything would run smoothly," McGonagall said, not unkindly, as Dumbledore nodded and addressed the chattering Hall.
"Students! Please, calm down, this was an unfortunate mishap, but no one was hurt, which is of course what counts the most." He tilted his head at the Hat. "Had you reached a decision of any sort before...?"
The Hat cleared its nonexistant throat, Roxas grumbling in the back of Sora's mind. "I believe the young man would be best off in GRYFFINDOR!"
The red-and-gold table cheered, half uncertainly, and Sora smiled gratefully at Goofy. "Thanks; we'll figure it out later," he murmured, then headed off to join Harry, Ron, and Hermione, ignoring the suspicious looks he was getting.
Harry groaned, stretching out as far as he could as he and his housemates made to leave the house table. The start-of-the-year feast seemed to get more and more magnificent each year; he made a mental note to compliment the house-elves on that when he next had the chance (as well as perhaps sneaking a few pastries.)
Right now, however, there were more important matters to discuss with his friends than the state of the return feast. Ron beat him to it, reaching around Hermione to poke Sora in the shoulder.
"So, er... what exactly was that, up there with the hat?" the redhead asked. Harry noticed that Ron seemed a bit nervous.
There was, of course, no need to be. Sora grinned sheepishly, scratching in between his brown spikes. "You remember on the train, when I told you I have a nobody too, right?"
Comprehension dawned on Hermione's face immediately, while Ron took a moment or two longer. Harry nodded at Sora. "I'm guessing he didn't like the hat?"
Sora shook his head fervently. "That isn't, er... bad news, is it?" He shot a sideways glance at Hermione. She hesitated a moment before speaking up.
"It's not exactly... horrible news. Not even really bad, even. But, it's odd for someone's brain to reject the Hat like that; I don't think all of our fellow students will be quite as understanding as we are." She didn't need to elaborate on what she meant. Even some of their fellow Gryffindors were giving the group questioning glances.
Harry scowled slightly. "Well, you know we don't exactly run 'round with the brightest group of witches and wizards, 'cept for Hermione, of course." Said girl blushed faintly, obviously pleased. "Besides, I think it's really great that you've got a way of protecting your mind, even if it's not you that does it." Harry paused, then ammended his statement, feeling slightly foolish. "Er, except that it technically is you, so... right."
Sora laughed, waving his hand. "Don't feel dumb, I can still hardly wrap my head around the fact that Roxas is half of me and I'm half of him."
Hermione perked up. "Roxas? That's his name?" Sora regarded her with some confusion.
"Yeah? What about it?" She looked slightly embarrassed.
"Oh, nothing, just... that's almost an anagram of your name, isn't it?"
Sora paused, thinking it over.
"...you know what, I think you're right. My name plus an X. I wonder if they're all like that...?"
"...ha, took the little... it out, eh?"
"Don't... to him, L... you realized that either."
"I thought everyone knew that."
"Haha! Xa.... party in here!"
"Shut it, you're.... Axel."
"G... say his name, it... feel sick."
"That's no... ice."
"Whoever said we were nice?"
Ron blinked. "By 'they,' you mean the, erm... Organization, right?" Sora nodded. "Why would they?"
In response, the brunette merely shrugged. "I dunno, I was never sure how they got their new names in the first place." He furrowed his eyebrows, thinking back. "Xemnas's works, if you figure that he was using Ansem's original name and not his own... Xigbar was Braig... Xaldin, Dilan; Vexen, Even... wow, I can't believe we never noticed that before."
Harry snorted. "I can. I mean, Hermione recently translated Voldemort from whichever language it's in-"
"French," Hermione interjected, rolling her eyes. Harry nodded.
"Yeah. And it turns out it's something silly and 'ominous' like Death Taker-"
"Stealer of Death," Hermione ground out, and Ron almost walked into a coat of armor from laughing.
"I know. But even though I guess it's kind of interesting, it's not like I'm stupid for not asking about it during any of our battles. 'Oh, excuse me, sir, but after you're done trying to fry my face, I simply must know how you managed to come up with such a title. Do you hail from France?'"
Sora threw his head back and howled with laughter. "Hahaha... I guess... aha... now that you put it that way..." After a moment, Ron and Harry joined him in his over-the-top gigglefits.
Hermione cast them a look that clearly expressed that she didn't think it was that funny, but was ignored. "I wonder," she said loudly, "what the significance of the letter 'x' is. Why choose that over any other letter?"
Ron managed to stifle his laughter and shrugged. "I dunno, but it's kind of a mean letter, isn't it? Maybe that's why."
"Mean letter?" Sora and Harry asked in unison. "I think you're off your rocker, Ron," Harry added mildly. Ron blushed.
"You know what I mean."
"Maybe because it's..." Hermione put in, groping for the right term, "...oh, what's the term Americans use... 'cool'?"
Above Ron's protests that he used the word 'cool' and he bloody well wasn't American, Sora retorted, "The Organization doesn't do stuff just because it's cool. I mean, unless we're talking about Demyx, but he wasn't one of the original six." Hermione nodded fervently, her brow furrowed into the typical 'Hermione is thinking' expression.
"I suppose I could research the origins of the letter; perhaps Professor Babbling would know..."
Harry rolled his eyes. "I don't think it matters much, Hermione. Not that that's going to stop you, of course." Ron snickered, and Sora looked downright offended at the idea of purposely doing research work when none was needed.
As a group, they ascended the last staircase. All three of the wizards were slightly out of breath, but Sora seemed to be in mint condition. "How do you manage it, Sora?" Harry grunted as Ron dug around in his pockets for the piece of paper that had the password to the common rooms scribbled down on it.
"I know I had it in here somewhere..."
"Oh, honestly, Ronald... quacksalver quassia," Hermione told the portrait of the fat lady. The picture nodded, its frame swinging open, and Sora resolved to commit the words to memory.
"Quacksalva quash... uh, quacksalv quashia." He shook his head, mumbling to himself, climbing gracefully into the portait hole after the others. Harry chuckled.
"C'mon, I expect you've been added to our dorm." The black-haired boy grinned, clasping Sora on the shoulder. "Let's have a good year, huh?"
"We're arriving at a faster rate, have you noticed?"
"Lux, are you in here?"
"You know... despise that shortening of my given name."
"'Course you do, you old coot. Hey... along with the Keybearer's new friends."
"They got your funny accent."
"In my opinion... the ones with the funny accents, but that's by the by."
"Would you all shut up? This might be..."
"What's so...nt about it? So the idiot redhead can't remember..."
"Fool. ...written down somewhere. And now he doesn't have that..."
"Do we have Assassins available?"
"Yes, your highness."
"Cut the crap, and send them."
Sora glanced around the common room, feeling worried for reasons unknown to him.
"You alright, Sor?"
The brunette blinked at the nickname. "Uh... yeah, I just feel like something bad is gonna happen."
Ron sighed, stretching. "It ain't a year at Hogwarts if something a... apocalyptic doesn't happen, mate." Sora smiled slightly at the redhead's struggle with the word, but otherwise was unmoved.
"I don't know. I feel like we forgot something. Are we safe in here? How do we know Nobodies can't get in?"
Hermione's head snapped up from her book. "They're unlikely to even be able to get in the castle, Sora, and even if they did, the common rooms are the most heavily guarded areas in Hogwarts. Those portraits don't move for anything."
"Except the password..." Sora murmured, suddenly feeling very tired. "I guess you're right. We gotta figure out how I can still keep checked in with Donald and Goofy tomorrow..." He could feel himself nodding off. The chairs near the fire were so comfortable, it seemed like beds were unnecessary.
Hermione placed a hesitant hand on his arm. Sora jumped at the contact, then grinned sheepishly. "You shouldn't worry so much, Sora," she commanded in a gentle tone. "We're safe here."
In my general defense, school has amped up to being off the scale. I suppose reviews are too much to ask for now that I've given this meagre offering after 5 months, eh?