A Dirty Rag and a Feathered Duster

It was a cold spring day at Hogwarts, and Headmaster Albus Dumbledore was enjoying his late night tea with his Deputy, Minerva McGonagall.

"I fear I'm going to lose him, Minerva," Dumbledore said thoughtfully, remembering the conversation they had led with the Slytherin fifth-year Severus Snape. "But there is no way I could expel Mr. Potter and Mr. Black. You know how important the Potters are for our side, and Mr. Black would surely be lost to the dark side."

McGonagall let out a long sigh, knowing she wasn't able to change her old friend's mind.

Suddenly, Fawkes began to trill. #That's all just because of you, you filthy old piece of cloth! If you hadn't sorted him into Slytherin, he might have well become friends with the Marauders.#

"I merely sorted him where I deemed it necessary," the Sorting Hat replied in his high, pitchy voice. "What does a phoenix know about such things?" The Hat straightened itself in his shelf, trying to unobtrusively shake some dust off.

#Surely more than you, you ancient fool. I'm at least refreshing my brain every now and then! Your brain is completely stuck in dust and filth.#

"Does the Headmaster know what you're doing with his lemon drops in his absence, you feathered duster?"

#What would you know about it, you dirty old rag? Your brain isn't only completely rotten; it even only works if someone puts you on their head.#

"You're lucky that you're an immortal being born out of fire, because you're so ugly; if you had a mother, she'd have broken your egg when you were a chick."

#Be glad that those who made you didn't have to wear you; otherwise you might have ended up as a rag to clean the toilets.#

"Fawkes, behave yourself," the Headmaster lightly admonished his familiar after interpreting Fawkes' words to Minerva.

#I always behave, even when I'm a nestling, don't I, Madam Know-it-all?# With that Fawkes elegantly jumped onto Minerva's left arm, inclining his head as an invitation to pet his head feathers.

McGonagall gently stroked the phoenix' feathers as she chuckled at his antics. "Well, I believe it has long been time to abolish that ludicrous and antiquated Sorting procedure. I suggest we let Fawkes sort the first-years into their Houses from the next school year onwards. And I'm sure if you agree, it might even improve the taste of your lemon drops," she added, glancing at Fawkes, who was trilling a reassuring melody.

The End

A sequel is now posted under "Fawkes, the better Sorter?"

This oneshot is not beta-ed, and I'm not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes or help me to correct them.

All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.