Chapter 1: Tricksters, not Heroes
What if…the Sorting Hat had originally been Salazar's kippa, not Godric's wizard hat? An AU tale of a subtler Sorter.
Fred ran confidently to the front of the Great Hall and sat on the stool with a bounce. Unlike many first-years, he had no worries about which House he'd be in: Gryffindor, just like his father had been, and his two eldest brothers, whom he idolized. He grinned at the assembled student body as the Hat settled onto his head, sliding slightly toward his left ear.
Gryffindor, you say? I suppose it would work, but students with brains like yours are usually wasted there. Ravenclaw would be good, or better yet, Slytherin.
"What?! No!" he replied silently. "Weasleys are Gryffindors, all of us—"
With all those secret schemes and plots in your head? You're a trickster, not a hero. Yes, Slytherin will do very well.
Fred was panicking now, his whole world turning upside-down. He and George had it all planned; Mum had already knitted them red and gold jumpers…
"No, you can't—I have to be— " To his mortal embarrassment, he felt as if he might cry at any moment, with everyone watching him. He wished the tiny round skullcap were big enough to come down over his eyes.
You're sure? Really, your mind is wonderfully devious.
But Fred wasn't feeling devious at the moment. He wasn't thinking, couldn't think. "No, no…"
All right, all right, I expect it won't hurt you too badly. Go on to—
With a gasp of relief Fred whipped the Hat off his head and raced to the cheering Gryffindor table, forcing back the incipient tears. By the time he heard George's name being called he had managed to place a maniacal grin on his face and sat beside Charlie without obvious signs of panic.
George went to the stool with the same confidence as his twin, and the Hat greeted him with:
So, would you like to be the Slytherin twin, then?
"Slytherin? What—no! They're dark, evil—"
George could almost hear the eye-roll and, despite his panic, some lurking part of his mind giggled at the thought of a hat with eyes.
Slytherin is the House of practical intelligence, of subtlety, of tricks and stratagems—abilities that can be used for anything. Noble causes, dark causes, your own amusement… You and your twin do have quite the Slytherin sense of humor.
"Fred!" George's mind jumped back in, hats with eyes forgotten. "He's in Gryffindor. I can't be separated from Fred."
Come now, telepathic twins are never truly separated.
"Telepathic…" George's racing thoughts came to a full stop. He and Fred were telepathic? They didn't finish each other's sentences that often, did they?. His panic unexpectedly dissipated as ideas started churning through his mind.
Think of all the jokes you two could play, working from two Houses.
"Yesss…" George breathed aloud, captivated with a vision of magnificent school-wide pranking.
Right, then. Since you agree, we'll make it—
"Wait, I didn't say—"
The Hat came off. George stumbled toward the Slytherin table, but his eyes were turned toward the Gryffindors.
What am I going to do? he thought. I have to calm down. I have to think. He sat at his House table, ignoring his new housemates. I need to talk to Fred. We can work this out. The first thing we need to do is trade passwords and…
The twins' eyes locked from across the Great Hall.
Fred finished the thought: …and swap spare house ties.
Anyone who wants to adopt the tale of Gryffindor!Fred and Slytherin!George is free to do so, as long as you agree with me that neither Salazar nor his House are intrinsically evil and bigoted, especially not when they're only eleven.
"Kippa" is the Ladino name of the skullcap otherwise known as a yarmulke. My version of Salazar Slytherin is not a native Englishman but a Sephardic Jew from northwestern Spain, originally from the real-life village of Salazar south of Santander.