A Darker World Book One: Changing Identity

Chapter 4: The Sorting Of the Houses

Discalimer: I totally forgot to do this when I posted the first chapter so here it is now. I wish to God I owned this but I don't and am therefore poor.

Neither do I own the poem the Sorting Hat recites. It is Silence by Edgar Allen Poe.

Chapter Four

The Sorting Of the Houses

McGonagall led the children into the castle.

'This is the Entrance Hall,' she said coolly.

She then led them down a side corridor into a small chamber that they all just barely fit in.

'Wait here,' said McGonagall.

She disappeared and the children started looking around nervously.

'Wow, she is strict,' said Mandy with a small laugh.

Harry didn't answer. He was curiously watching the antics of a group of girls in front of him. One girl, a tall thin girl with long white blonde hair and ice blue eyes, stood elegantly in the centre of a circle. A much smaller girl with a squashed face and short dark hair was teasing the blonde cruelly while a much bigger girl and a ginger-haired girl laughed. The blonde's face was impassive and emotionless, though her eyes were shooting daggers at the three girls.

Harry decided enough was enough when the ginger-haired girl reached up and tugged the blonde girl's hair viciously, sending the blonde staggering back. The three girls laughed maliciously and Harry strode forward. He stepped in front of the blonde girl and went down on one knee.

'Harry Snape,' he said calmly. 'Heir to the Prince, Black and Potter fortunes. I offer myself in betrothal to you.'

The blonde girl didn't falter. She laid a pale hand on Harry's bowed head. 'Daphne Greengrass,' she said smoothly. 'Only daughter of Peter Greengrass. I accept your offer of betrothal on the condition I may break it at any given moment for any given reason.'

She removed her hand and Harry rose fluidly to his feet. Green eyes locked with blue. 'Agreed,' said Harry.

There was a flash of pale pink light and a how of protest. Ron Weasley ran forward. 'No!' he wailed. 'You're supposed to marry my sister! We have a contract and everything!'

'The contract is not valid,' Daphne said coolly. 'Magic itself has recognised our betrothal.'

Glancing around, Harry noticed Longbottom looking thoughtful. Harry held out his arm to Daphne who lay her own atop her fiancé's and followed him away from the commotion.

'What was that, darling?' Daphne asked through clenched teeth.

Harry didn't answer. He was staring blankly at a wall. Daphne opened her mouth to ask him again when somebody screamed. Several ghosts were floating through a wall, avidly discussing something.

'My dear Friar, you cannot possibly allow Peeves to attend the Welcoming Feast,' an aristocratic-looking ghost with a ruff around his neck was saying. 'He will wreak havoc!'

The Friar, defeated, looked around the chamber. 'New students!' he cried happily.

'Wh-wh-who are you?' one girl stammered bravely.

'My dear lady, I am the Fat Friar,' the portly ghost said, bowing to the girl, 'the ghost of Hufflepuff House.'

The aristocratic ghost rolled his eyes. 'Such dramatics,' he sighed. 'I am Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington, the ghost of Gryffindor House.'

'You're Nearly Headless Nick,' Weasley said boldly and very rudely. 'My brothers told me all about you.'

Sir Nicholas sniffed haughtily and ignored the bad-mannered redhead. 'I regret to inform you that the Bloody Baron, ghost of Slytherin House, and the Grey Lady, ghost of Ravenclaw House, will not be attending the Feast tonight. They have had a minor disagreement and have dispersed to regain control of themselves.'

There was much chattering at this. Harry was used to the Baron and the Lady having disagreements. It occurred all the time.

McGonagall returned to the chamber then and everyone stopped talking immediately.

'One line. Pairs,' McGonagall barked out.

The children all scrambled to pair up and get into one line. Parvati had disappeared having felt uncomfortable around her twin's new friends so Crabbe paired with Mandy, Harry with Daphne, and Goyle with Padma. Once the pairs were all in one long line, McGonagall turned and led them out of the chamber and straight into the Great Hall. Hundreds of eyes followed the train of first-years down the Great Hall to where they stopped in front of the Head Table where all the professors were sat. A stool was on a raised platform between the first-years and the professors with an ancient hat upon it. All eyes focused on this hat. A rip at the brim of the hat opened wide:

'There are some qualities- some incorporate things,

That have a double life, which thus is made

A type of that twin entity which springs

From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade.

There is a two-fold Silence- sea and shore-

Body and soul. One dwells in lonely places,

Newly with grass o'ergrown; some solemn graces,

Some human memories and tearful lore,

Render him terrorless: his name's "No More."

He is the corporate Silence: dread him not!

No power hath he of evil in himself;

But should some urgent fate (untimely lot!)

Bring thee to meet his shadow (nameless elf,

That haunteth the lone regions where hath trod

No foot of man,) commend thyself to God!'

Harry clapped politely as the hat recited a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. Dumbledore rose to his feet then and spread his arms wide.

'To my new students, I am sure most of you know the Houses of the school but I am aware some of you do not. So here they are: Gryffindor, the House of the courageous; Hufflepuff, the House of the loyal; Ravenclaw, the House of the intelligent; and Slytherin, the House of the cunning. All you need do, my dear boys and girls, is slip the Sorting Hat upon your head and allow it to place you where you most belong.'

The students clapped as Dumbledore sat back down and McGonagall pulled out a long sheet of parchment. She started calling out names and the children were Sorted one-by-one. Mandy was the first to be Sorted out of Harry's little clique. She went to Ravenclaw. Crabbe went to Slytherin as did Goyle. When Daphne was called, Harry walked her to the platform, kissed her knuckles and returned to the line. Both Dumbledore and McGonagall looked disapproving of this behaviour while Severus smirked proudly. Padma was then Sorted into Ravenclaw where she eagerly joined Mandy. A Sally-Anne Perks was then Sorted into Gryffindor.

'Potter, Harry,' McGonagall called once the clapping died down.

There was silence then Harry stepped forward. 'Forgive me, Professor,' he said coldly, 'I thought you were aware that I am no longer a Potter?'

There was a stunned silence. No one had ever dared be so rude to McGonagall. She pursed her lips and glanced at Dumbledore as Harry stepped back into line. Dumbledore nodded at his Deputy and she went back to calling names.

'Snape, Harry!' McGonagall finally called.

Harry stepped out of the line, feeling hundreds of eyes watching him curiously. It didn't take him long to walk up to the stool and sit down. He supposed he looked incredibly silly sitting on such a little stool. His knees were up to his chin!

Harry placed the Hat on his head and waited.

'SLYTHERIN!' the Hat shouted.

There was surprised chatter. The Hat usually took at least 30 seconds to decide.

'Look again,' Dumbledore commanded the Hat.

If the Hat had had eyes it would have rolled them. 'Look, old man,' it said, sounding bored. 'I have looked. He is sly, cunning and resourceful. He is intelligent, yes, but doesn't live to learn. He doesn't trust easily, and therefore isn't loyal, and though brave, he is not stupidly reckless.'

Dumbledore looked as though he had swallowed a lemon as Harry walked over to the Slytherin table and sat down between Daphne and Crabbe.

There were a few more students to be Sorted. 'Turpin, Lisa' went to Ravenclaw while Weasley went to Gryffindor and 'Zabini, Blaise' to Slytherin.

Once Zabini had sat down at the Slytherin table, Dumbledore rose to his feet again.

'Before we tuck into a delicious feast I would just like to say nitwit, oddment, blubber, and tweak. Thank you.'

He sat back down again and food appeared on the plates before them, courtesy of the House Elves.

There was a lot of chatter over dinner as older students welcomed the new and explained a bit about the school. Harry, Daphne, Crabbe and Goyle ate in silence, unnerving their fellow class mates.

Once dessert was over and the plates magically cleared away, Dumbledore once more rose to his feet. Spreading his arms wide, he beamed down at the students, his eyes twinkling madly.

'Welcome,' he said dramatically. 'Welcome to our new students and, of course, our returning students. I do have a few announcements to make. Firstly, Professor Hobbs will sadly not be returning this year due to ill health. Professor Quirrell will be taking the Defence Against the Dark Arts position in his stead.'

There was a polite round of applause for the shaking man.

'Secondly, Mr Filch, our esteemed caretaker, would like me to remind you that magic is forbidden in the corridors. There is also a list of forbidden merchandise pinned to the door of his office.

'Thirdly, the Forbidden Forest is just that. Forbidden. I'm sure a few of our older students would care to be reminded of this.' Dumbledore's eyes twinkled in the direction of the Gryffindor table.

'Finally, the third floor corridor is out of bounds this year unless your life's ambition is to die a very painful death.'

There was much muttering from the children regarding that bit of information.

'One round of the school song and then off to bed,' said Dumbledore.

The entire school, other than the Slytherins, burst into song. Harry tuned them out, his eyes glancing up at his father to see his reaction. Both Snapes looked horrified.

Slowly, the noise died down until there was silence. The prefects all stood and ushered the first-years to their feet. Severus swept over to the table.

'Straight to the common room,' Severus barked. 'We have a House Meeting in ten minutes.'

'This way!' a fifth-year bellowed.

The first-years scrambled to follow the burly prefect. Harry took Daphne's elbow to guide her safely through the halls. Crabbe and Goyle lumbered along behind them, ensuring Harry's back was safe.

They were led down into the dungeons and through a maze of corridors before stopping in front of a blank wall.

'This is the entrance to the common room,' a female prefect said.

'The password is Snake Vorago,' the burly fifth-year added.

The wall slid aside to reveal a large room decorated in green and silver. There was a large fireplace with high flames running along one wall. Several squishy armchairs and couches surrounded the warm fire. The rest of the room was littered by tables and soft high-backed chairs. The room gave off a very cosy atmosphere.

The older students quickly claimed the comfiest chairs, leaving the first-years to seat themselves on the rug before the fireplace.

A click signalled the wall sliding aside and the arrival of Severus.

'Good, you're all here,' Severus said briskly. 'Welcome to our new first-year students. Here in Slytherin we have a set of rules to abide by. Hands up if you're betrothed.'

Malfoy, Pansy Parkinson, Harry, and Daphne all put their hands in the air. Severus rose one eyebrow questioningly at his son.

'To those of you who are betrothed, your intended spouse is your number one priority. If you hear anyone badmouthing them, you react. You catch them in a duel, you fight with them.

'To those of you who are unbetrothed, your number one priority is yourself.

'If you do something worthy of detention or loss of house points you cover your tracks. A Slytherin never gets caught.'

Severus paused to eye the first-years critically.

'As Slytherins, you will be the target of much hatred from the other students and a few of the teachers. I will turn a blind eye to many of your wrong doings but if you cross the line I will be forced to punish you.

'You will be the target of pranks and malicious hexes,' Severus continued. 'You will, therefore, travel in groups of no less than four.

'Now, as Slytherins we deserve nothing less than the best. You will each have your own room and may decorate however you wish, as it will be your home for the next seven years. Unlike the other Founders, Slytherin trusted his students to behave impeccably and therefore put no restrictions on members of the opposite sex entering each other's quarters. As Slytherin trusted you, so do I. Do not disappoint me. That is all. Harry, may I see you in my office for a moment?'

'Of course, Father,' said Harry, rising to his feet.

He gave a look to Crabbe and Goyle who nodded in reply before sweeping out after his father.

In Severus' office, Harry sat down opposite his father.

'To whom are you betrothed?' Severus asked, getting straight to the point.

'Daphne Greengrass,' Harry replied.

'Why did you not inform me?' Severus asked softly.

'It only occurred this evening,' Harry replied honestly. 'She was being bullied. Something inside of me made me react.'

Severus leant back, looking thoughtful. 'What are the terms of the betrothal?' he asked.

'Only that she may break our engagement at any time and for any reason,' said Harry. 'I will not force any girl into a loveless marriage.'

Severus nodded. 'A wise decision, my son.'

Harry relaxed slightly in his seat and the two chatted for a bit longer before Harry returned to the common room. Other than Crabbe, Goyle and Daphne, only sixth and seventh-year students were still awake.

'I'm tired,' Daphne announced, rising regally to her feet.

Harry immediately extended his arm for Daphne to take.

'Crabbe, Goyle, you shall enter the room first,' Harry said, upon reaching the door that read D. Greengrass.

Crabbe and Goyle lumbered into the room, springing a ton of jinxes.

'All clear, boss,' Goyle grunted.

Harry stepped aside to allow Daphne entry. 'I'm going to ward the room,' Harry informed the girl.

Daphne nodded and watched as Harry began twirling his wand in elaborate circles. Daphne watched in fascination as the room began to glow a multitude of different colours.

Harry stopped after a good five minutes. He looked completely unruffled though he was sure to be exhausted.

'Only the four of us are keyed into the room,' Harry said. 'I'll add my father tomorrow.'

'Thank you, darling,' said Daphne sweetly.

Harry frowned. 'Goyle, I'm assigning you as Daphne's personal bodyguard,' he said. 'Tomorrow I'll add an alarm that will alert you and myself when the wards are being battered. If you would like, Daphne, I'll add an activation phrase as well so if someone undesirable is demanding entry you can alert Goyle and I.'

Daphne's eyes softened. 'You're a sweet boy, Harry,' she said sincerely. 'I couldn't ask for a better boy to be betrothed to.'

With that she reached up and kissed him on the cheek.

'Good night, darling,' she said warmly.

Harry inclined his head. 'Goodnight,' he said stiffly.

He turned on his heel then and marched out of the room, Crabbe and Goyle hurrying after him. Daphne shut the door behind them and sat down to write to her parents.

Mother, Father,

The most wonderful news! I am willingly betrothed to the most fantastic boy...

A/N: Okay, concerning the poem the Sorting Hat recites. Personally, I think that the Sorting Hat would be sick and tired of composing little ditties to sing at each Welcoming Feast seeing as it has been doing so for thousands of years so I had it recite one of my favourite poems instead. Please do not Flame me for my choice in this matter because I absolutely adore this poem and I will fight back if Flamed about it. You have been warned.

Please vote on the poll in my profile, it concerns with whom Harry will be paired in this fic. If you're at all interested at the moment the standings are:

Harry/Daphne Greengrass 24

Harry/Tracey Davis 18

Harry/Mandy Brocklehurst 14

Harry/Lisa Turpin 7

Harry/Susan Bones 6

Harry/Hannah Abbott 3

Harry/Sally Anne Perks 3

Harry/Lavender Brown 2

I would like to add another poll here. It won't be on my profile because the current one there will be up for sometime. So, would you like me to pair Severus with anyone romantically?

a) Yes

b) No

If you vote please state with whom you would like to see him with. Note, I only write het. I have another against slash, I just can't write it. The few times I tried writing slash fics came out terribly and I just couldn't go through with them. So please vote. At the moment I only have the two choices but I may add more at a later date.

a) OC

b) Any female canon character (please specifiy which one)

Thanks go to iGymnast for betaing this for me

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