"Interesting…" The little voice spoke softly in his ear, in such a way that only he could hear. For a brief moment this idea made the little boy almost blush with the feeling of being special. Then he realized that the word "interesting" isn't always a good thing, a realization which made him frown in displeasure.
"What's interesting?" he demanded, keeping his voice low as the hat sighed. He fidgeted under the stares of everyone in the hall, and the weight of the hat on his head was growing with each passing second. He grabbed the limp rim and pulled it lower, forcing his shiny black curls down and inevitably giving himself hat hair but the thought never occurred to him. "Tell me!"
"You're smart," the Sorting hat stated, "But it's an intelligence that could go many ways. Then there's the matter of courage, of which you're certainly not lacking. That would make you a good candidate for ," and here its voice raises enough for everyone else to hear (the boy panicked), "Gryf-"
"NO!" the boy exploded, cutting off the hat's conclusion. The stares intensified with burning curiosity and he squirmed, uncomfortable on the little stool and fuming at what his stubborn rejection of his brother did to him. Bright flashes of red and gold filled his vision; he wanted to be sick. "No," he repeated in a whisper, packing as much venom as he could into the two letters. "I refuse to be in Gryffindor."
"Why?" the hat queried, but if it expected an answer it was sorely disappointed. After a moment it opted to continue rambling about why he'd be good in Gryffindor. Despairing, the young boy squeezed his blue eyes shut and pulled the hat over his face so nobody would see him.
"Alright then," the hat sighed, "what House would you like to be in?"
"Why?!" The little boy's voice almost had a whining quality to it but he reigned it in at the last second.
"Because," and the hat's tone spared no room for argument, "I refuse to allow you to walk down the path to your destruction."
"Like how-?" But the hat raised its voice in a loud call of, "RAVENCLAW!"
So young Loki pulled off the hat.
"But you would do well," the Sorting hat persisted. The tiny boy ducked his head, the hat flopping over his face and he flailed a little before figuring out that he needed to pull it off his face to see again. Not that he really wanted to get a faceful of everyone's eyes on him again.
"I believe you think that," he answered bravely, "but I don't enjoy being put into the spotlight without having fully deserved it."
"The point of being in Gryffindor," and now the hat seemed to be suppressing irritation, "is not about being in a spotlight-"
"I understand your opinion, sir," the boy said, "but isn't there anywhere else?"
He felt he didn't deserve being in the House of Gryffindor. But the bravery was all there, the courage, the inner strength and loyalty… The hat sighed. "I strongly believe you belong there, but if you're so set on not being there… HUFFLEPUFF!"
The boy visibly relaxed, relieved, and respectfully placed the Sorting hat back on the stool in his place before moving to the cheering table with yellow banners above it. He could already tell he'd be right at home.
"Hello," he smiled at the nearest of his Hufflepuff classmates. "My name is Steve Rogers."
The Sorting hat spent a good minute going over this boy's mind. Action, excitement, dangerous situations, and lots of shooting things. With arrows. He felt his fabric mouth upturn in an amused smile. This was easy.
"YES!" The boy jumped up and fist pumped the air, nearly upsetting the hat from his head. He spoke nearly at the same time with a quick apology as the cheers erupted from the Gryffindor table.
"Clint," the small warning in the professor's voice behind him told him to go find a seat.
"Gotcha, Prof Potts." He grinned and waved at the stern teacher before clearing all the steps in one jump to his new House's table. She sighed after him and sent up the next student.
"You're a unique case, aren't you." The hat surveyed this student's mind carefully. Hints of magic, yes, but he scanned the boy's memories and found no trace of getting a wand. Indeed, the signs pointed to this young boy being a squib.
"Professor Fury had me come anyways." The child's voice was quiet, measured and calm. Well controlled, for such a young age. He rubbed at his dark eyes, seeming tired for no reason at all but the strain of the day's excitement all coming down to the hat on his curls. The hat took all this into consideration, and the sparks of genius attached to certain thoughts and images. Then it stumbled across something that threw him off completely.
"You don't believe in magic."
"I believe in the idea of magic," the boy clarified. "Magic itself is… something I'm going to have to get used to."
"Then why are you here?"
"I got tired of running," he said simply.
"Do you have any preference to which House you go?" Now the hat was curious.
"Welcome to Hogwarts, Mr. Banner."
Bruce took off the hat without so much as a word or flicker of emotion.
This mind was terribly confusing. Raging emotions and obvious intellect and completely incoherent thought patterns and processes exploded at it the second the hat touched this one's head. The boy himself was barely containing himself, wiggling in his seat and playing with the frayed edges of the hat as he waited.
"Anything else is boring," was the loud and cheerful reply. "Hey. Hat. How do you work?"
"Magic," the hat answered gravely. "And I can see that idea is going to be a problem for you."
The boy scoffed. "Magic isn't real, what are you even talking about."
"Magic is obviously real, you're in a magic school for children with magical gifts such as yours." The hat paused. "What's that on your ear?"
"Modified bluetooth," the boy chirped, poking at it with one finger. "My tech started going on the fritz when I got on the train, so I had to make some modifications before I got here. Just wait til I get all my stuff fixed. Right, Jarvis?"
The hat didn't know what to think. The little glowing blue light speaking at the boy's ear and his obvious lack of belief, even though he'd done the virtually impossible by combining muggle technology with magic…
"You know, hat, I really like the color red."
"Yes, okay." The hat was still reeling. "Red, however, is not your color. SLYTHERIN!"
"Tony." The voice called Jarvis was firm and interrupted the boy's outraged response. "The magical entity has made its decision. To the Slytherin table, sir."
"Fine, fine," he grumbled, pulling the Sorting hat off and dropping him on the stool carelessly. It heard, "stupid hat" before young Tony Stark followed the cheers to his table under the green banners.