Green and Silver
A new adventure to celebrate two years of ffnet.
Anything you recognise belongs to JK Rowling. This is JKR's world with one (major) difference.
The Sorting Hat
Harry stepped forward, aware of the whispers hissing around him.
The next moment, the Sorting Hat was blocking out all view of his surroundings.
"Hmm," said a small voice in his ear. "Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind, either. There's talent, oh, my goodness, yes - and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that's interesting... So where shall I put you?... You could be great, you know, it's all in your head and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness..."
"SLYTHERIN!" shouted the Hat.
Harry slowly pulled it off. Stunned faces met his gaze. The Hall was completely silent. He couldn't bear to look at his new friend Ron.
He took another look at the Slytherin table. Perhaps they weren't that bad, though that boy, Malfoy...
He turned to Professor McGonagall. To his surprise, she looked devastated.
"Can't I...? Is it...? Can I try again?"
"No, Potter." Professor McGonagall seemed to have difficulty speaking. "You must go to the Slytherin table."
"What if I don't want to?"
"Then you can go home."
Hanging his head, Harry trailed over to the Slytherin table. Eager not to sit close to Malfoy, he chose a seat on the other side of a boy called Theodore Nott, another first year who didn't seem to want to join Malfoy.
Perhaps it wasn't so bad, he tried to tell himself again. It was definitely better than going back to the Dursleys. At least he wouldn't be with that Hermione Granger.
But a lump was growing in his throat. It threatened to burst when Ron joined the Gryffindor table. Harry couldn't bear to look up any more, not even when a boy called Blaise Zabini came to sit next to him.
"So you're Harry Potter?" he said, looking at him curiously.
Harry just nodded. On his right, Theodore Nott was staring at him too.
"See, Potter?" called Malfoy's voice across the table. "You can't hang out with scum!"
"I'll hang out with who I want and it won't be you!" Harry lashed out, surprising even himself.
Harry turned towards the staff table. A teacher with greasy black hair and a hooked nose was glaring at him.
But before Harry had time to feel worse, Dumbledore had stood up and was opening his arms wide.
"Welcome! Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words and here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!"
He sat back down, among clapping and cheering. Zabini snorted. Nott seemed bewildered. Malfoy looked at the Headmaster very disrespectfully.
Suddenly the dishes on the table were full of food. Harry reached hungrily for everything in sight, but he found, after the first few bites, that the food weighed heavily on his stomach.
Again he looked around him. A horrible ghost in robes stained with blood was hovering next to Malfoy. Malfoy's unhappy face cheered Harry up a little - as long as the ghost didn't get too close to him.
"Is that the Bloody Baron?" asked Zabini with interest.
I'm so ignorant, thought Harry. I know nothing about nothing.
At the Gryffindor table, another ghost was swinging his head off his neck. It seemed the Gryffindors weren't better off.
"Professor Snape's looking at you, Potter," called Malfoy. "You didn't even salute him. He's our Head of house, you'd better show him respect."
Harry turned to the staff table, wondering which one was Professor Snape. His question was quickly answered. The hook-nosed teacher was looking straight at him - though not unkindly. Harry felt himself blush. He wondered what Malfoy had meant by "saluting" him.
The teacher looked straight into Harry's eyes and a sharp, hot pain shot across Harry's scar.
The others stared at him.
"What?" said Malfoy.
The pain had gone as quickly as it had come.
Harry looked at Snape again, but Snape didn't look back. He was busy talking to Professor Quirrell.
The puddings disappeared and Dumbledore got up again to give a few notices.
"Finally I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not want to die a very painful death."
Nott frowned. Malfoy sneered.
"Before we go to bed, let us sing the school song! Everyone pick their favourite tune."
Complete cacophony followed, as everyone was trying to sing louder than everyone else, until all tunes came to an end, leaving only the Weasley twins who, for some reason, were singing a funeral march that matched Harry's mood.
"Bedtime. Off you trot!"
The prefects, who introduced themselves as Adrian Pucey and Heather Harper, led the first years out of the Great Hall and down to the dungeons. The corridors were a dark maze, cold, dark and gloomy. Harry doubted he would ever learn to find his way in there. What if he got stuck in the dungeons for ever?
They stopped in front of a stretch of bare, damp stone wall.
"Great snakes," said Pucey.
"That's the password," he added. "Don't forget it."
A stone door appeared and slid open. Pucey marched through. The first years followed.
The Slytherin common room was long, with rough stone walls and a low ceiling. At the further end of the room, a beautiful fireplace cast some light and warmth on what Harry thought was otherwise a creepy place. He wondered what the Gryffindor common room looked like.
"Girls down there, boys down here," continued Pucey, indicating stone doors on either side of the room.
Behind the door leading to the boys' dormitories, more stone steps led even deeper under the school. Harry found himself in a room he had to share with Nott, Zabini, Crabbe, Goyle and Malfoy. Quite a change from his lonely cupboard. He sat on the bed next to his trunk and let out a sigh.
"Homesick, Potter? Miss the Muggles?" said Malfoy.
Crabbe and Goyle sniggered.
"No," said Harry.
One thing he did not feel was homesick.
He pulled his pyjamas out of his trunk and fell into bed. It was nice and cosy. Suddenly Harry felt better. He fell asleep almost immediately.
He dreamed he was wearing Professor Quirrell's turban and Professor Snape was telling him to take it off at once. He tried to pull it off, but it got tighter and Malfoy laughed at him and Ron laughed at him and told him it served him right for being in Slytherin. Then Professor Snape walked over and pulled the turban off as easily as Harry had taken off Uncle Vernon's overlarge socks.
Harry opened his eyes and nearly screamed. Snape was there, bent over his bed.
"Quiet, don't wake the others. How you got yourself all entangled in the curtain, I have no idea. You are lucky I... um, have a habit of checking on the first years on the first night. Go back to sleep."
Snape straightened up and walked out, his black robe sweeping around him.
Harry lay back in bed. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad... if only Ron was in the bed opposite his, instead of Malfoy.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was pacing in his study. Strictly speaking, this was not an unusual occurrence. Albus Dumbledore liked to pace, as others like to doodle. The rythmic moving of his feet helped him to think. Albus Dumbledore thought a lot.
There was a lot to think on this night of the first of September 1991. His carefully prepared plans had hit an unexpected snag.
"Remind me why you placed the boy in Slytherin," he ordered the Sorting Hat.
The Hat was delighted. It wasn't used to getting attention between Sortings, from one year to the next. What a good idea it had been to put Harry Potter in Slytherin. Even Sirius Black's sorting in Gryffindor had not got the Hat so much attention.
"The boy is prime Slytherin material, Headmaster. An abused, angry Half-blood with a thirst to prove himself. The typical Slytherin background. More ambition than Crabbe, Goyle and Bulstrode put together and I notice you haven't questioned their Sorting. Harry Potter intends to save the wizarding world."
"Why would he? He knows nothing of the prophecy."
"That's how prophecies work, Headmaster. They are unwittingly fulfilled by unaware subjects. You might like to discuss this with Sybill Trelawney."
Dumbledore clucked impatiently. He disliked witty remarks when he was not the one making them.
"I sense the power of Slytherin in this boy," the Hat was saying. "And tremendous anger. Not unlike one Tom Riddle I made a Slytherin years ago. These two boys have a strong connection, similar powers..."
Dumbledore stared. Ollivander had, indeed, owled him a month ago to tell him Harry had bought the second wand containing a feather from Fawkes's tail. Could this mean the rumours were true? Could Harry, son of James Potter, be a budding Dark wizard?
"They even look alike," added the Hat, proud of having silenced Dumbledore.
"He looks like his father, James Potter, whom you Sorted in Gryffindor!"
"Ah, James Potter was the perfect Gryffindor. His son is different, much more sensitive. He reminds me also of Severus Snape."
"Snape, yes. I need to speak to Snape."
Dumbledore turned around and began to pace in the other direction, thus signifying to the Hat that it was free to go and compose next year's song. Before he summoned Snape, he needed to reconsider his plans. The first step had been to send Hagrid to advertise Gryffindor. That hadn't worked. Some adjustments needed to be made before he undertook his second step.
Or maybe not. Hagrid was bound to invite Harry over, even though he was in Slytherin. Dumbledore just needed to have a friendly talk with Hagrid to find out when the visit would take place. Probably on Friday afternoon, just after Harry's first Potions class. Perfect timing. Dumbledore might even find out what Harry thought of his Head of house. During the Hippogriffs' feeding time, Dumbledore would give Hagrid a cutting from the Daily Prophet about the Gringotts break-in. Hagrid would be too busy to read it and would be likely to leave it hanging around.
The boy is supposed to be cunning, isn't he? And he wants to save the wizarding world? What a coincidence. There just happens to be a Philosopher's Stone in danger of being stolen in the school.
"Aah, Severus, you nicked the prize under Minerva's nose."
"The Sorting Hat told me the boy reminds it of you."
"You can tell the Sorting Hat..." Snape tried to think of some witticism about hats, knowing how much they annoyed the Headmaster, but could think of none.
"Minerva is quite upset. So what do you think, Severus?"
Severus said nothing. He hadn't thought yet. He had kept himself as busy as possible so as to avoid the moment when he would find himself alone and have to face the new reality. Like Dumbledore, he had automatically assumed this reincarnation of James Potter would be in Gryffindor.
"He is one of yours. I trust you treat him well." said Dumbledore.
"I always treat my students well."
"Being in Slytherin might be a good thing for Harry. Though I must confess I am a bit worried about his proximity to Draco Malfoy."
"They are only slightly closer than they would have been, had Potter been in Gryffindor."
"They share a dormitory."
"Is that what you wanted to talk to me about? You are worried that young Malfoy might murder precious Potter in his sleep?"
"You know what I mean, Severus. And there is something else to consider. I hadn't paid much attention to the rumours claiming Harry Potter might be Dark wizard..."
"No eleven year old is a Dark wizard. Not even Malfoy. Not even Zabini."
"It's all in potential at this stage. If Harry Potter is a dark wizard in potential..."
"Then Slytherin is the right place for him. Is that what you mean?"
"You know as well as I do that Slytherin attracts that type of person."
Snape narrowed his eyes.
"If you decide the boy is really what you would consider to be a potential Dark wizard, do you trust me with him?'
"How would you act with him?"
"The way I usually do."
"I see. Severus, I expect you to report to me. I want to know how he fits in."
Severus grunted something that could pass for "Yes, sir".
"That's all for now, Severus. Who knows? The boy might come to see you as a father figure."
This time, Snape's grunt could definitely not pass for "Yes, sir".