"Interesting, very interesting." The hat's deep voice resounded in my head, it felt like it came from everywhere and nowhere at once.
'A natural occulomens, this will make sorting you a bit trickier, but it's your personality that's more problematic.' Mumbled the hat inside my mind, which was becoming increasingly disconcerting.
'Wait, that's it? I am a natural occlumens and it's my admittedly messed up personality that bothers you?' I thought it was somewhat reassuring that he didn't make a big deal out of it, less chances that he'll spew everything to the staff.
'Boy, I am talking hat. I was created by four extraordinary wizards who founded a school called Hogwarts to sort children into houses that will determine their entire future based on their eleven years old self.' explained the hat.
'I am the sorting hat, I sort students. Nothing more, nothing less. I am no advisor for the school's headmaster, nor am I an overelaborate tool to spy on children. Why would I care for anything but your personality, potential, and values?'
This…actually makes sense. Ghosts and soul-sucking monsters are no less mind-numbing than reincarnation or me reading ahead of time.
'Now, where should I sort you?" Asked the thinking cap, "You are pure of blood and have plenty of cunning, and more than a little ambition...I see you've already surrounded yourself with heirs and relatives of politicians, ingratiating yourself with those in power is key to obtaining the latter. You could do great things in Slytherin, very great things.'
'I'd rather not. Associating with the right people is one thing, spending years with future death eaters is another. Besides that, joining Slytherin is a sure way to become a pariah among other houses and get on the radar of troublesome people. I'd go mad with paranoia, the risk of someone cursing me in my sleep is very real.' I denied him quickly.
Slytherin is the house of social suicide. No matter how cool it might seem to an objective reader, living in the snakepit is not something I'd look forward to…especially for me who is way too liberal for a pureblood whose last name is MALFOY!
"Oh, then perhaps you'll find your place in Hufflepuff. Where you'll find loyal companions, and build the reputation of a virtuous young man, this should put most people at ease." Said the talking hat, who I was sure already knew where he should put me. "Hufflepuff would allow you safety and friendships, and a place to open your heart..."
'Nope, not for me. Hufflepuff might be nice and safe, but as I said earlier, it lacks any real substance. Gryffindor is for the brave, Slytherin for the cunning, Ravenclaw for the wise, and Hufflepuff is for the rest.' I refused.
Hufflepuffs were nice, but that's it. They were the fodder, the no-names, those whose lives and deaths were meaningless beyond giving someone else character growth. And aside from that, if they find me reading something in peace, they would most certainly drag me to socialize and have 'fun' and if I am found frowning, they might shove candies down my throat...
So, none of that!
"You certainly have some nerves and the bravery to face death without fear along with that adventure-seeking spirit. What do you think of Gryffindor? You could do a lot of good in the house of Godric, guide the Potter boy, train him to face the trials ahead." Said the old chapeau, without really meaning it.
'This sounds like a very bad story.' I joked 'Making Professor McGonagall happy is just about the only good thing about joining Gryffindor, not worth the trouble. Just put me in Ravenclaw already, we've been at it for a while.'
"RAVENCLAW!" shouted the sentient headwear.
So my presence wasn't enough to change that, that's good.
"Boot, Terry" called my favorite animagus who's not in jail.
"RAVENCLAW!" The headgear soon exclaimed.
As my new housemate made his way to our table, I cheered for him before shouting him a sly smile, which she returned in kind.
"Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are, Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak" Said Dumbledore, "Tuck in!" The students cheered as more food than I've ever seen appeared before us.
There were steaks, pork chops, lambs chops, sausages, roast beef and roast chicken, boiled and roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and all kinds of fancy food. I felt my mouth watering, ignoring whatever non-sense Terry was telling about Dumbledore's apparent insanity, I selected the best dishes out of the lot and dug in.
It was magnificent.
After we finished the main course, the golden plates were cleaned instantly, their content was soon replaced with more desserts than I could count. Not that I'd bother, as I savored some chocolate ice cream.
"What?" I asked Terry who was eyeing me strangely.
"How can you eat so fast without dirtying yourself? You must've eaten as much as the Weasley boy." He sounded genuinely curious, the little bastard.
"Do not compare me to that barbarian," I said, looking at the boy who was assaulting some pudding. That's not eating, that's an act vile enough to make dark wizards see reason.
"He's lacking intelligence, while I'm actively elegant." I did not forsake my manners, no matter how hungry I was. And…oh boy, Ron is violating the vanilla ice cream.
"Now eat some of this pudding, hunger is the enemy." I chuckled to myself, before focusing back on a more pressing matter.
This chocolate ice cream won't finish itself...
What better way to round off a great evening than with musical chaos? As the rest of the teachers maintained 'fixed' smiles, Professor Dumbledore conducted the school in a rousing anthem, with everyone singing their tune of choice.
"Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic beyond all we do here! And now, bedtime. Off you trot!"
The old man had already given his warnings about the forbidden forest, messing with Filch and…the third-floor corridor. Telling a bunch of students not to go somewhere because it's dangerous without specifying the danger, hoping that it would be enough incentive for your Boy-Who-Lived to be curious and check it; which would ultimately lead to a near-death experience and running through a gauntlet specifically made to give him some damn confidence and trap Voldemort….Well, it's an idea. Not the most reasonable, responsible, or efficient one, but an idea nonetheless.
"I'm Penelope Clearwater, the Ravenclaw prefect. Now that you are all fed and watered, I will be guiding you to our dorms where Professor Flitwick will meet us." Said a rather cute sixth-year with long, curly blond hair.
I remembered that she's currently dating the Weasley prefect and will do so for a few years, she also got petrified by the Basilisk with Granger through the whole Heir of Slytherin fiasco. Beyond that, she was a brilliant if inconsequential young witch without much to offer in the ways of advantages.
Following her through the school's confusing corridor illustrated the difficulty of navigating through the castle, something I would have to correct sooner or later. She was helpful enough to provide us with some information about the castle, our classes, and other much-needed intelligence.
"But why would a poltergeist be allowed in a school full of children?" I asked her, as she warned us of Peeves' potentially deadly antics.
"The headmaster is rather eccentric, so he decided not to interfere in unloving business so long as he can be controlled by the ghost council." Sighed Penelope "We tried to get rid of him before, but poltergeists are surprisingly hard to eliminate. These attempts only caused more damage, Peeves always managed to not only survive, but also spread as much mayhem as possible with each attempt on his un-life."
We soon arrived at our destination; the Ravenclaw Tower.
Climbing up the spiraling staircase, Terry looked like he was about to puke, which made me put some distance between the two of us. I liked my new friend, but not enough to let him vomit on me. Fortunately, his stomach did not fail him as we came face to face with a large gate devoid of any door knob. Instead, a large bronze knocker in the shape of a masterfully crafted eagle stood proud.
As soon as one of us, a boy called Goldberg or something, spoke up to question Penelope, the bronze eagle spoke up to the surprise of the new students who almost fell down the stairs in shock.
"I have a head and a tail that will never meet, having too much of me is always a treat. What am I?" Questioned the eagle.
"A coin," I answered after a second, the alternative was either Time or a magical beast unknown to me.
"Well reasoned." Spoke the knocker, and the large doors were opened.
"Good job." Smiled Clearwater, she, fortunately, had the sense not to pinch my cheeks.
"Don't you ever get surprised?" whispered Terry, mock complaining after he almost fell down the stairs.
'If only you knew.' I thought, repressing a chuckle. Reincarnation in a fictional world coupled with some sweet foreknowledge made it rather hard to baffle me because of notions as uncertain as a possibility.
As we got inside, we were treated to our first sight of the Ravenclaw common room. A place where we would dwell for years, and have some of our most memorable experiences inside.
Graceful arched windows gave us a fine view of the castle under the starry sky, The walls were hung with blue and bronze silks. The domed ceiling was painted with the night sky, which echoed in the midnight-blue carpet. Tables, couches, chairs, and bookcases covered the expanse of the floor, and a magnificent white marble statue of Rowena Ravenclaw sat next to the door that led to the dormitories above
Standing before the founder's statue was the diminutive Fillius Flitwick; half-goblin charm master, former dueling champion, and current head of their house. His usually jovial face was solemn as he admired the statue of Rowena, perhaps seeing something we could not.
He was a short wizard, a setback of his goblin lineage that helped him greatly during his dueling career. Clad in Ravenclaw-blue robes and trousers, he also wore an elegant bronze waistcoat and simple black dress shoes; it was much more fashionable than the medieval clothes many wizards used.
He eventually turned around, his serious face retrieving an agreeable smile as he addressed the first years. His eyes swept over each of us, no doubt memorizing the members of his house.
"Welcome to Ravenclaw; The house of the wise, where the clever will soar through the sky." Declared the Former Champion.
I rather liked it, soar through the sky. There was something undeniably appealing to that idea, which takes root in a want I've had from the day I understood that the world had no love for us.
"Lady Rowena favored the noblest virtues of intelligence, wisdom, and logic. Something most wizards tend to forsake, finding little need for scholarly pursuits as they revel in blissful ignorance." Flitwick's tone started light and reverent, but progressively gained in contempt and virulence.
"This is the exact thing that allows crises to strike us unprepared, bigots to gain in power and lead many a wizard to their doom." His voice was mournful, he has been a teacher for many years and has without a doubt met and taught many wizards whose end came early.
"Yet, here, you stand in the house of the clever, the haven of knowledge." He perked up slightly. "In the lot of Ravenclaw, where all wizards, regardless of their blood, name, or wealth, can be the eagle whose vision is prosperity!"
'The eagle whose vision is prosperity…' I thought, feeling a smile stretch across my face, it was it. The elegant formulation of a lifetime of longing; wants, needs, and dreams made into words satisfies both my mind and heart.
I am a Ravenclaw.