No one had ever questioned the Sorting Hat before.
After all, it was magic. It read your mind, it knew you better than you knew yourself, and it Sorter you accordingly with magic. It was the thing the founder of Hogwarts had placed at the beginning of a young witch or wizard's journey of magical education, to impress them.
One day, you will be able to create this.
No one questioned what "this" was.
Until Edward Elric came along, that is.
The scruffy hat slipped over Edward's eyes when he put it on. He would have fumed over this, were it not for the hat speaking to him.
So instead of fuming, Edward jumped and swore.
"How the fuck is it doing that!" he yelled.
The students in the Great Hall laughed before settling down quickly and waiting for the results of the Sorting.
"Don't act so surprised," the hat spoke in his ear. "It's magic. I'm the magical Sorting Hat."
Edward turned white. "You're a soul," he whispered, "A soul attached to hat."
If a hat could stiffen, the Sorting Hat did.
"You're a smart kid," the Sorting Hat whispered, infinite sadness in the words. "No one else has ever said that."
If the hat hadn't been over his eyes, anyone looking would've seen them flash with anger.
"You have a soul. You're a person," he hissed fiercely. "And you're trapped in a hat!"
"I'm not a person," the Sorting Hat said, "I can never be a person again. My body decomposed over a thousand years ago. I'm just a Sorting machine now."
"I'm happy like this. I see all the new students, and they're all so happy, that I can't help but be happy too. This is where I belong: Sorting."
"But… wouldn't you be happier, if…"
"You're stubborn. And brave. Excellent qualities in a Gryffindor."
Edward swallowed past the lump in his throat. "Yeah," he said in a choked voice.
"GRYFFINDOR!" the hat yelled out to the hall.
Edward kept the hat on his head just a moment longer. "I'm so sorry."