Chapter 4: Minion

What if…the Sorting Hat had originally been Salazar's kippa, not Godric's wizard hat? An AU tale of a subtler Sorter.

Gryffindor. Vince was in Gryffindor!

Gregory Goyle walked slowly up to the front of the Hall and took his place on the stool for his Sorting. He couldn't believe what had happened to his friend.

Yes, Vince sometimes did reckless things. He was always trying to cast spells he shouldn't. But that didn't make him a Gryffindor, did it? He and Vince were supposed to be in Slytherin with Draco.

The Sorting Hat settled onto his head.

So, you've made up your mind because of your friend? Your friend who hasn't been Sorted yet?

"Drake will be in Slytherin; his whole family is. But Vince and I have to be there with him. We have it all planned. Anyway, our dads were in Slytherin, too."

Yes, Patrick Goyle was a clever one, though not as clever as he thought—Slytherins rarely are.

"I know I'm not as smart as Dad, but Slytherin's not like Ravenclaw. It's about being important, right? Draco's going to be important, and I need to be with him."

Do you really care about being important? Your father wanted to be important but he didn't want to work for his success, so he latched onto Lucius Malfoy's coattails. Now he's told you to do the same with your friend, hasn't he?

"It's not about what Dad wants—it's about Drake!" Greg was starting to get angry. The Hat just did not understand about Draco. Sure, he was smart—he could think circles round him and Vince both—but he needed looking after.

That was Greg's job—looking after Draco when he got too clever. "It's always been the three of us together—me and Drake and Vince. But you put Vince in Gryffindor! How could you do that?"

The mental voice lost its sharp tone, and was almost gentle: It's my duty to Sort each student according to his own mind and heart, not according to the wishes of his family and friends. It can seem hard at first, but it's usually for the best.

Greg felt his throat choke up, and was horrified to hear himself sniffle. The Hat couldn't split them up like this.

"Maybe you can put me in Gryffindor, too—no, then Drake would be all alone. You have to put me in Slytherin. Vince will be okay with the Gryffs—he can handle himself—but Drake needs someone to look out for him."

He can still have you both. What could be safer for a too-clever Serpent or Raven than having both a Lion and a Badger watching over him?


Of course. Such a faithful friend as you can belong only in—


Author's Notes:

Crabbe should probably be a Hufflepuff as well, but I wanted to break up the set, and invoking Fiendfyre without being able to control it was certainly reckless. The Sorting Hat expects Gryffindor House to help Crabbe develop that reckless courage into something steadier.

We know Goyle Senior and Crabbe Senior physically resembled their sons in being large and heavy, but canon says nothing about their intelligence or lack of it.

This is the last chapter I have pre-written for this story. I would like a do a chapter on Dumbledore, but it's hard to find the right "voice" for eleven-year-old Albus, child of Victorian Britain and far too gifted for his own good.