Disclaimer: I do not own any part of the HP universe.

Summary: What if the Sorting Hat had the flu the night of Harry's sorting?

The Sorting Hat and the Bird Flu

The Sorting Hat, otherwise known as Irving, had a dreadful case of the bird's flu. He had caught it from Fawkes and he was not at all happy about it. His brim was stuffed up, his point was droopy and over all he felt as if he had been given to Fluffy as a chew toy. He had politely requested that they hold off the sorting until he was well, and then, when that didn't work be begged. Still Dumbledore refused.

"Very well, Albus, but I cannot be held responsible for my actions this evening."

Normally Irving was all too happy to open the sorting with a song, if fact he had spent weeks preparing one, but he simply wasn't in the mood. So instead he simply said.

I have the flu thanks to a bird

That I'm here is completely absurd

Centuries old and I've never been sick

Now on with the sorting your house I will pick

Short but to the point.

"Abbott, Hannah." Professor McGonagall called the first students name, a pink faced blond girl happily sat on the stool.

"Let's see". The hat said with a sniffle. Irving really didn't feeling like wasting what little energy he had on rummaging through the girls mind, picking through her life story instead he simply made a quick analysis. "You mother was in Huffelpuff, your father in Gryffindor. You like the color red. There we go, GRYFFINDOR."

Hannah was surprised to say the least, she had always thought she was more like her mum. Oh well, she figured the hat knows best. With a small smile the girl headed over to the cheering table of crimson and gold.

"Bones, Susan."

The girl gave a small giggle as she sat on the stool. "Bones, oh yes, I remember your aunt. Sharp as a tack that one."

"Yes my auntie is very smart but-


Susan's jaw dropped slight, but quietly descended the stool and made her way over to her new table non-the-less.

Irving gave a barking cough just as he came to rest upon Terry Boot's head. "Okay, Boot, where would you like to go?"

"You're asking me?"

"Sure, why not."

"Um, well Gryffindor sounds the best."

"Very well, GRYFFINDOR."

Terry ginned excitedly and instantly dashed over to the house of the brave.

At this point Albus Dumbledore was starting to get worried. It would seem that Irving was a bit off his game. This may become a problem when it was Harry's turn to be sorted.

As the sorting went on Irving was feeling less and less up to par, and his sorting became more and more bazaar.

"Brocklehurst, Mandy" went to Slytherin. "Brown, Lavender" to Huffelpuff. "Bulstrode, Millicent to Gryffindor, as did Crabb, Vincent."

Grumbling and complaints began to echo through the Hall and Dumbledore himself had to demand silence.

Irving felt no pity. He told the headmaster he was ill. This was his own fault for making him work.

He sent Justin Finch-Fletchry to Ravenclaw, and Hermione Granger and Gregory Goyle to Huffelpuff.

When Neville Longbottom was placed in Slytherin the nervous young boy promptly fainted and had to be levitated to the hospital wing.

Morag MacDougal was quickly sorted into Gryffindor after the hat had asked her, her favorite animal and she had replied Lion.

Draco Malfoy marched proudly up to the stool, a confident smirk plastered on his arrogant face. "Ah a Malfoy, your lot normally go to Slytherin."

"That's right, so put me there you disgusting old dust rag. And be quick about it, I don't want to get whatever it is you seem to have".

"Dust rag! You really shouldn't be insulting me. I do after all decide where you will live for the next seven years of your life.

"Put me in Slytherin or I swear to Merlin I'll-


After the initial shock Draco pulled the hat off his head, threw it on the floor and began to jump on it. Professor McGonagall had pulled him off just as Draco drew his wand. "Take it back! Take it BACK!" The boy demanded attempting the throw hexes his father had shown him. Dark hexes. One struck just inches from Irving leaving a dark scorch mark in the floor beside him.

Once Draco was securely restrained and escorted out of the Great Hall the sorting continued.

"Potter, Harry."

Dumbledore groaned. Irving was not only sick but had just been trampled on and nearly incinerated. This was bad, very bad.

A small boy with wild black hair and glasses softly sat upon the stool. "Ah, Mr. Potter. Well Dumbledore is adamant that you be placed in Gryffindor."

The boys emerald eyes widened. "What?"

"Oh, I wasn't supposed to say that, was I?" Irving's brim turned into a smirk.

"Why would the headmaster want me in Gryffindor. Because my parents were?"

"You truly are a naive little thing. There is so much more going on then you know. I can see that you want to excel in school, that you are eager to learn magic and to be accepted by your peers, to have friends. You know what, screw the headmaster. You want friends Harry, you will make your most true and loyal friends in HUFFELPUFF.

Harry smiled.

Albus paled.

Severus Snape laughed.

And Irving wished Harry the best of luck!

After Harry joined his new friends at Huffelpuff the hat realized that he had only placed two students in Slytherin and as such he should make up for the absence of students in the house of snakes.

"Thomas, Dean." The tall black boy sat down on the stool, and although Irving needed to fill Slytherin, the boy was a possible muggleborn, so instead, GRYFFINDOR."

Three students left.

"Turpin, Lisa."


"Weasley, Ron."


"What!" The red-headed boy screamed. "Bloody Hell NO! NO WAY!"

"Mr. Weasley." Professor McGonagall's fierce green eyes narrowed at the tall youth. "I do not desire to restrain yet another student this evening, so if you could please take a seat at your table."

Ron looked over at his brothers, then at Harry sitting with the Huffelpuffs, and then back at the witch aside him. Swallowing his anger he gave a small nodded and slowly headed over to the table of green and silver.

"Zabini, Blaise"

Blasie stiffened as he approached the stool. He had to go to Slytherin, it was tradition, at least on his mother's side. His father, well he had been an African Prince, and no Zabini would have ever been sorted into a house of duffers like Huffelpuff or brazen idiots like Gryffindors, though he supposed Ravenclaw would be okay, but Slytherin was better.

As soon as the hat touched the boys head. "SLYTHERIN."

Balize took let out breath of relief as he headed over to his mother's old house.

Trying not to appear ruffled Albus gave his normal speech and the feast commenced.

Later that evening, after all the students and most of the staff were slumbering peacefully in their comfy four-posters, Albus sat at his at his desk in his office, the sorting hat in front of him.

Albus took off his half moon spectacles and slowly rubbed the bridge of his long crooked nose.


"Yes." He replied with a sniffle.

"I believe…I should have…taken your advice on postponing the sorting."

"Yes, you should have."

"You didn't place Harry in Huffelpuff just to spite me…did you?"

Irving laughed. "What do you think, Albus?"

The one hundred and fifteen year old man shook his head before letting out a hearty laugh.

"I suppose." He finally said. "I have learned my lesson."

"Knowing you, I doubt that." Irving said. "But I do hope you have learned that you cannot always manipulate things to your advantage."

Albus placed his glasses back on before pulling out his wand and levitating Irving back to the top shelf.

"Oh I learned that a long time ago, but that doesn't mean I will stop trying."

The End

A/N: I wrote this as a funny little one shot, but I may expand it into something more in the future, but not for quite a while. Anyway. Hope you enjoyed it.

Also I have made a few editing changes but if you notice any grammar or spelling errors I have missed please feel free to politely point them out

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