Chapter 1: A Very Different Sorting
Harry Potter stood towards the back of the line, terrified. This was a big place...a brand new world...and he wasn't ashamed to admit that he was scared. The big man, Hagrid, hadn't been able to understand why the boy wouldn't talk to him; wouldn't say so much as a word. What he couldn't know was that Harry was unable to speak. Harry shook a little as he remembered how furious his Uncle had been that day,when he was barely six years old, that had changed the whole outlook of his life. He desperately wrenched his thoughts away from that, instead, concentrating on the fact that he was in a school he had been told didn't exist. Filled with excitement, and a little anxiety, he listened in amazement to the singing hat, captivated by this first example of magic in this beautiful, imposing hall.
He had read all of his textbooks; studied them with the furious intensity of a young child who wanted nothing more than to fit in. Once he finished his seven years here he wouldn't ever have to go back to THEM. For now, that was his motivation, along with a will to succeed at something for once. Now was his time to shine.
Pulled from his thoughts by the stern woman who had first greeted them (McGonagall, he thought her name was), Harry watched as his future classmates were Sorted into houses in alphabetical order. As the names continued, his attention was drawn to the hall around him, specifically the staff, which were all sitting together in a single line behind an enormous old table. To the farthest left sat a teacher in a pure black robe with a high collar and long sleeves. He had a hooked nose, chin-length black hair and very dark eyes. Harry watched him for a long moment, noting the reserved, careful movements. The man's expression was carefully blank, except for when he caught Harry watching him. Then the dark eyes held his for a long moment before narrowing slightly, at which Harry turned away, ducking his chin as he did so.
Finally McGonagall called, "Harry Potter!"
Slowly, nervously, Harry made his way forward. He knew he was gaining stares from the others because of his fame. Hagrid had told him he was famous for defeating a Dark Lord or something like that and that had been that. He swallowed, glad for once that he wasn't getting stared at for his milky pale skin, obnoxious plastic frame glasses, or the messy black hair with the fringe that fell into his eyes. They were whispering things amongst themselves and he felt anxious and worried.
Sitting on the small stool, he took a deep, shaky breath and closed his eyes. He hated being stared at, it made him want to hide in the nearest dark corner and make himself as small as possible. Attention was not a good thing in the life of Harry Potter. So absorbed in his thoughts, he gave a small jump when the Hat's felt brim was set on his head. He nearly jumped again when it began talking to him.
"Hmm," it muttered, "difficult,very difficult. Courage, intelligence, talent, all of it's here. But where to put you? You face great adversity, young Potter, and a challenge far beyond your current years. You will need both loyalty and power to overcome, but your greatest skills lie in the…I think there's only one choice for you." And with that the Hat yelled loud enough to make his eardrums reverberate with the sound, "SLYTHERIN!"