Catherine or Cate
What Should Have Been
Hermione Granger wanted one thing – to prove to the wizarding world that witches with Muggles for parents could do just as much if not more than they could. She wanted to pull the entire society from the stagnant hole in which they found itself and show them all the good things Muggles had created and how they could be adapted and used to improve their lives. As much as she'd hoped she'd be in Gryffindor, she knew it would be unlikely. Her love of learning, for knowledge is power, would make her unsuited to be one of the Hogwarts Lions – they tended to act before thinking and while being a major strength of the house as a collective, it was also a weakness to be exploited. If Gryffindor also took on any other traits of the big cats, Hermione presumed that the boys would tend toward being lazy leaving the girls to do all the work. Hufflepuff wasn't an option because she was loyal only to herself because there was no one better qualified. That left Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Slytherin wasn't preferred because of their openly acknowledged tendency to produce less than savoury characters and low tolerance of non-purebloods. And Ravenclaw wasn't ideal for her plans but she assumed that it would suffice.
Ravenclaw is most unsuitable for your plans, the Hogwarts Sorting Hat told her. Although you do rely on books for information almost as much as members of the blue house do. You trust books far too blindly, Miss Granger. As you will learn power gets you what you want in the wizarding world and history is written by the victor.
"Do what you think is right," Hermione whispered to the hat on her head.
What is right is not equal to what is easy... SLYTHERIN!
Hermione noted as she set the hat back on the stool that the hooked nose professor was the first to clap and only then did her house mates join in.
She hoped that seven years in social Siberia would be worth it.
She could feel the eyes on her as she walked the few meters where the Sorting Hat waited. Still, she kept in character and resisted the urge to fiddle with the ends of her waist length champagne coloured hair. Sitting down, she straightened her skirt and raised her chin before the hat fell over her eyes.
Daphne Greengrass the hat said. Let's get straight to the crux of the matter. You don't want to be known as Queenie Wickham's love child with Hugo Greengrass – the two most beautiful people of the past twenty years.
"I also don't want to be treated as the girl whose mother committed suicide because she was weak and loved a man who didn't love her back. I don't want to be the girl who grew up with an evil step mother jealous of everything I was born with, that was given to me with no choice in the matter. I don't want to bear those tags."
Then who do you want to be?
"That's what growing up is about. It is about learning who you are. All I want is to be a good sister to Astoria because her mother treats her worse than me. I know my mother loved me. Father gave me the memory of when she left me with him that last time. She must have said 'I love you, Daphne' a dozen times and kissed my face fifty times. Katerina never tells Astoria, ever. I need Astoria. Astoria needs me. I am Astoria's sister – anything after that I will learn along the way."
Daphne imagined the hat smiling. You are strong. And you have the drive of a neglected child out to prove her worth, like most orphans and children growing up in broken homes. The green house will give teach you the lessons you will need to survive where your mother did not.
"Send me to Slytherin," Daphne said quietly, lifting her chin determinedly.
Very well... SLYTHERIN!
"I want to be the very best wizard I can be. I want to be the very best wizard I can be."
The hat touched Neville Longbottom's head for a few moments before calling its answer to the room.
After a moment of shock, Neville stood, lifted the hat off his head and handed the relic to his grandmother's old friend Minerva McGonagall. Giving the older witch a slight bow, Neville turned on his heel and proceeded to walk as confidently as he could to the Slytherin House table, the silver serpent of the left breast of his robes.
"I will be the very best wizard I am."
Neville stopped at the very end of his new house table and bowed. A number of students bobbed their heads in return. Frowning, Neville raised himself up onto his toes, swallowed his fear and tapped his heels together. Slowly, lowering himself so that his feet were flat on the floor he looked up and down the table deliberately, his shaking hands clasped behind his back before he bowed a second time. The second time, nearly all of the students at the Slytherin table bowed their heads politely and a handful from nearby tables did also. Quirking an eyebrow Neville quickly moved to sit down.
"You've made an impression on them," the girl with long hair next to him noted.
Neville nodded and turned back to the sorting ceremony. "That was my intention, after all my bloodline is older than most of theirs, they should respect my position as heir to one of the ducal families and their social superior, Lady Daphne."
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw two prefects, both within earshot lean in close enough to whisper to one another and then send his words further up the table. Underneath the table, Neville rubbed his sweaty hands down the side seams of his trousers and let out his breath, ever so slowly.
"Don't worry," Daphne Greengrass whispered. "You did well."
Neville shuddered as he thought how many more times he may have to throw the political weight of his surname around.
He didn't know how it happened but it did. He'd missed the sorting for the entire first half of the alphabet. He'd only realised when the entire hall watched Neville Longbottom invoke pureblood tradition to have most of Slytherin House bow to him and publically acknowledge him as their social superior. There went his father's plan to have him rule the lower grades of their house. The heir to a lordship couldn't usurp the heir to a duchy, unless he became an advisor or deputy of sorts. None of the boys that his father had indicated would be in his Slytherin peer group had blood like his. However, Longbottom was a cousin on his mother's side. They might even be able to become friends.
He froze and his heart doubled his pace upon realising his errant thought.
"Malfoy, Draco," the deputy headmistress called.
Draco walked up to the stool, trying to emulate Longbottom's calm stride and sat down, allowing the hat the hat to be placed on his head.
Your mother was right. Be a child for a few years. Have some friends. SLYTHERIN!
Draco waited for the hat to be removed before standing. Giving a small nod to his godfather, the man who was now his head of house, Draco moved to the Slytherin Table, nodding to his peer group, who returned his nod. Before taking his seat opposite Longbottom, Draco nodded once more and the round faced blond boy nodded back after a brief pause.
Quelling the anticipation growing in his chest Draco joined his classmates with a contented sigh. Nothing could ruin this moment for him. He was going to belong.
Harry Potter moved toward the Sorting Hat with the ominous feeling that he was about to meet his destiny. Sitting on the stool, the hat on his head, he considered his option. Hufflepuff was unlikely but they seemed like a nice group of people. Ravenclaw was unlikely because he'd never had books to read so he didn't know if he'd like studying or not. He knew his eyes didn't, they'd always found reading difficult. Everyone expected him to go into Gryffindor and that was fine. His parents were Gryffindors and Hermione said that Dumbledore was supposedly on too. Hagrid, his first friend liked Dumbledore and respected him greatly.
Harry looked at the Slytherin House Table. They didn't seem inherently evil like Ron had said. They looked like children and young adults, and there was one up the far end of the table who had blue eyes, red hair and freckles just like Ron. They looked as confused and as inquisitive as every other face looking up at him from the house tables. He knew his aunt and uncle always spread malicious rumours around the neighbourhood saying he was crazy and he knew he wasn't so who was to say that the children dressed in green before him were good or evil. They'd barely made enough choices in their lives to warrant such slander. Harry thought of one of his aunt's favourite phrases; 'one bad egg can ruin them all'.
For a moment he thought to the Sorting Hat's song. He'd had qualities of all the houses. He had ambition too, in bucket loads, because he wanted to prove that he wasn't a freak.
I wish I could split you four ways, Mr Potter.
"Hello?" Harry asked.
Yes, hello, the hat replied chuckling. You were right. You won't be a badger or a raven and I'm starting to think you won't be a lion. You don't think like your father, I saw his head too many years ago. You think more like your mother and she almost ended up in Slytherin. Then again she almost ended up in Ravenclaw. It's your choice now. Are you going to be good or are you going to be great?
Harry grinned to himself. "What a stupid question to ask an eleven year old!"
It is rather. I'll take it you plan to be Harry Potter, not Harry Potter boy-wonder and clone of his father.
"That would be nice," Harry agreed. "Just to be me."
I wish you well... SLYTHERIN!
Harry walked off the podium and down to the end of the house table and bowed as he had seen Neville Longbottom do. To his surprise Neville stood up and bowed his head in reply. The entire Slytherin table then bowed deeply and those close by shuffled down to make space for him next to the sandy blond boy. Harry sat and after a long, thoughtful pause returned the nod of Malfoy. He then turned to face the head table and thus began his career at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.