Chapter 7 : The Sorting Sock
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He grimaced slightly, however, at that previous descrpition...saliva? Really, what were adjectives coming to....
“Amazing…” he breathed, and he looked to his right to see a waterfall that looked an awful lot like hot chocolate.
“Isn’t it though?” said a very gravelly, feminine voice. Harry gave a slight jump and blanched as he saw that a very haggardly old woman was watching him from inside the gingerbread house. She had a long nose, a wart on her eyebrow, and her skin was tinted a sickly green. She poked her head out the window, wringing her hands together in glee. “Why don’t you come inside?” she asked. Harry raised an eyebrow.
“Umm…who are you?” he asked. The woman in the house merely cackled a high pitched screech.
“I’m Cinderella, of course,” she said, smiling.
“Oh…” Harry said.
“.…Where is your sister?” she asked, looking around hopefully. Harry looked around, searching for somebody else, but he was quite alone.
“If you’re talking to me…?” he said. She looked at him expectantly. “Uh…I don’t have a sister.”
“But…aren’t you Hansel?” the woman asked, slumping slightly. Harry shook his head numbly. “Gretel?” she guessed hopefully. He shook his head again. “Frosty the Snowman?”
“Close…but no. I’m Harry Potter…” he explained slowly. “I’m looking for-”
“Hogwarts,” the woman said dejectedly. She rolled her eyes. “Right right, it’s over there, to the left. Man, you don’t know how many people come to my house, looking for that place, and do Hansel and Gretel ever stop by? No,” she said, shaking her head.
“Oh…sorry about that,” Harry said uncertainly.
“Yes, well, if you see them, do tell them I’m waiting for them,” she said. “I plan on having them for dinner.”
“Right, will do,” Harry said, and began on the path the old woman had directed him to. His mind buzzed with confusion, wondering how he could have taken the wrong path, and ended up at this place.
“Excuse me,” said a sweet, girlish voice. Harry turned to see a boy and girl, holding hands and skipping towards him.
“Hey, would you two happen to be Hansel and Gretel?” he asked uncertainly. They both nodded.
“Oh, okay, well this old lady wanted me to tell you to meet her at her gingerbread house, okay?” Harry informed them.
“What does she want? We’re lost!” said the little boy.
“She said she wanted to have you for dinner,” Harry said cryptically. “I’m assuming that means she wants to eat you.”
“Oh…alright. Bye!” the two said and began skipping off down the lane. Harry shook his head and turned back towards his destination. It wasn’t too long before he saw the gleaming lights of a large, shadowy castle.
“Hogwarts…” Harry said hopefully. He gasped as he saw horseless carriages moving down a gravel pathway. He smiled. Finally, he’d escaped some of his weird encounters and could get back to his friends. No sooner than that thought passed through his head than somebody hissed at him.
“Hey…hey Mac,” said somebody in a deep growling voice. Harry turned around and saw a large, human sized rabbit leaning against a tree. He was wearing a trench coat and a large floppy hat to cover his white fur. His bright pink eyes glimmered in the moonlight.
“Uhh…are you talking to me?” Harry asked, looking around.
“Hey, come here,” the rabbit said huskily, beckoning Harry closer. His eyes were red and bloodshot and his long ears twitched every now and again.
“If you tell me you’re the Easter Bunny I might just have to shoot myself,” Harry said, shaking his head. The rabbit snorted and pushed away from the tree. He had his hands in his large pockets and pulled his shoulders up to conceal his face.
“Listen, Mac,” he said, wriggling his adorable pink nose, “I’ve got the money if you’ve got the stuff….”
“Uh…I don’t got the stuff,” Harry said uncertainly. “What exactly do you want?”
“You know what I want, man. Just gimme the Trix…” the rabbit said, looking around warily.
“Listen, I’m sorry but I…” Harry began to say, but he was interrupted when a loud shout rent through the air.
“Hands UP!” shouted a voice. Harry heard a gun cock, and turned to see a policeman standing in the clearing, the gun pointed at the rabbit. “Hands out of your pockets! Get away from the boy!”
“Hey man, it’s cool…it’s cool,” the rabbit said slickly, slowly pulling his hands up. The policeman walked forward cautiously, taking handcuffs out of his pockets. He motioned for Harry to step away, and Harry quickly obliged.
“Move away kid. We’ve been tracking this guy for years,” the man said, shaking his head. He quickly cuffed the rabbit’s paws, muttering, “Silly rabbit…Trix are for kids….”
“Harry! Harry!” called a familiar voice. Harry breathed a sigh of relief. It was Ron. Harry saw him peaking around one of the carriages and, with a nod of approval from the policeman, hurried to him. Harry ran up to him, and saw that they were with a large bunch of other first years. “Where were you?” Ron asked him.
“Never mind,” Harry said, shaking his head. “I’m not late or anything, am I?” But his thoughts were interrupted as a loud, booming voice reached across the crowd to him.
“Firs’ years! O’er here, please! Come on, all o’ yeh!” It was Hagrid. Harry saw him and waved, grinning broadly. Hagrid waved back, and began to usher them all onto small wooden boats, which Harry saw led to the castle, across a huge lake. He watched the faces of the other students as they crossed the lake. Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, who he’d met right before getting lost, Draco Malfoy, and Ron Weasley were among the few people that he recognized.
He saw that they all looked as nervous as he felt, and was heartened. Maybe all of this wasn’t only new to him. Perhaps others were like himself, who hadn’t known they were witches or wizards until recently. Even Ron, however, was looking bewildered. Even though he was used to magic, he’d never seen anything as magnificent as Hogwarts castle.
As the boats docked, students filed out onto the mushy grass and were promptly led up to the steps towards the castle. The were led through a large set of double doors, and Harry’s breath was quickly knocked from his lungs. The setting was too beautiful to behold. The ceiling, enchanted to look like the night sky, was glimmering with stars, mixing in the black and blue swirling clouds.
Four large tables were settled in the middle of the room, and Harry couldn’t believe his eyes. He assumed that they were for the four houses that he suddenly knew about for some reason. Odd, he didn’t remember somebody explaining everything to him….
“Wow,” whispered Ron and Hermione who were standing beside him.
“It’s not as impressesive as I’d thought it would be,” said a sneering voice from behind them all. Harry turned quickly to see a blonde, sleek-haired boy with a pointed face. Draco Malfoy.
“Hello,” Harry said. He was aware that they’d never fully met, but knew already that he didn’t like the boy.
“Hello there,” Malfoy said. “I suppose you’re Harry Potter?” Harry nodded. “Right…well, hopefully I’ll see you in Slytherin, then?”
“No way!” Ron said vehemently. “He’ll be in Gryffindor, just like the rest of us.” Malfoy sneered.
“Yes…well…we’ll just see about that,” he said, raising his finely curved eyebrows. “You know, my father says that only idiots are sorted into Gryffindor.”
“Well your father is a prat then,” Ron said, his ears reddening.
“I happen to think that all the houses are equally deserving of your respect,” Hermione Granger said, surprising them all.
“Why don’t you keep your big, bushy head out of other people business, Granger?” Malfoy smirked. Hermione fumed.
“Maybe you should learn some manners! Going through like as an insufferable snob might not serve you too well,” she said reprovingly.
“Shove off, or I’ll show you the extent of my manners,” Draco snapped.
“I’ll bet you’re all bluster,” Harry said, rolling his eyes. “All bark and no bite, I think.” Draco suddenly pulled a face, full of tension and mistreatment. He gave a sigh, and looked at them all in anguish. Ron gave Harry a sideways look, surprised by this odd reaction to Harry’s words.
“You’re right,” Draco said, causing them all to stare. “I’m not really so mean. Actually I’m an amazing guy, and I love puppies and daisies. I’m just extremely misunderstood! Somebody love me! I need a girl to come along and change me!” he cried.
“This isn’t a Draco/Ginny romance!” Harry snapped, “So there’s no need to act pathetic.” Draco’s tears dried up, and he looked over eagerly at Hermione. She shook her head.
“This isn’t a Draco/Hermione romance either. We established that earlier…” she explained, shrugging her shoulders. Draco gave a resigned sigh and then looked around very, very slowly at Harry, eyeing him. He pulled from his pocket a pair of fluffy handcuffs and a whip. He raised his eyebrows slowly.
“Harry?” he said seductively, giving him a tantalizing look and jiggling the cuffs provocatively. Harry’s eyes widened, and her turned on his heel. As he and his friends began walking away he could hear Draco yelling after him.
“Alright…well…I’ll see you later then, shall I?” he said nervously, bouncing on the balls of his feet. “Yeah…ok…well, don’t stop being adorable!” he called, clasping his hands together and staring dreamily after Harry.
“I swear, this storyline is scaring the crap out of me,” Harry said, shaking his head. As Ron looked back to see Malfoy swooning, he nodded slowly.
“It’s a crazy world,” he agreed. “Oh well, maybe we’ll be able to….” Ron broke off. A crisp, rather high-pitched voice echoed across the hallway. Everybody stopped talking at once, and they all turned to stare at a tall, strict-looking woman. She had severe facial features and her hair was pulled up into a very tight bun. Her lips were a thin line as her sharp black eyes roamed the crowd.
“Welcome to Hogwarts!” It didn’t sound like a greeting, but a command. “I am Professor McGonagall. Before we begin our feast, I’d like to introduce, our first years!” she nodded towards the shivering, nervous group of children that included Harry. He and his new group of friends were observed dully by the other students while they received a polite round of applause. As the tumult died down, the woman began to speak again.
“Now, you will all be sorted into the four different houses, Slytherin, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw. You will come up and sit upon the stool and be sorted when your name is called. But first…bring out the sock!”
There was a collective silence as everybody watched a hunched, ragged old man bring out a yellowish, brown-tinted sock. There were holes in every other inch that appeared to be hastily mended.
“My brothers have told me about the Sorting Sock…” Ron said in awe, shaking his head. Harry looked around at everybody else as they began to clap when the old man placed the sock on the stool. Slowly the noise died down, and Harry waited for something to happen.
Silence. All was silent, expectant. Everybody was staring at the hat.
“Erm…should something be happening?” Harry asked no one in particular.
“My brother Charlie always told me it was supposed to sing, but I never knew if he was joking or not,” Ron answered him.
“Dumbledore…I think the sock might be broken,” Professor McGonagall said after nearly ten minutes of silence. She was looking at a wizened old man, sitting at the staff table. He had long white hair and a beard down to his waist.
“What’s this? The sock’s broken?” The man she’d called Dumbledore stood up. He sighed and shook his head. “Here,” he held out a paperclip, “go get MacGyver, give him this and see if he can fix the hat.”
But before McGonagall had moved, Harry watched in bewilderment as a small rip in the toe opened up, and began to sing:
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the sky so high.
Like a diamond in the….”
“Stop…STOP!” a voice screeched, interrupting the sock’s song. Harry saw that it was the strict woman, McGonagall. She was red in the face and her eyebrows were pointed down severely. She stormed towards the sock. “What on earth are you singing?!”
“My Sorting Sock song,” the sock said, bad temperedly.
“But that’s…that’s just Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!” she cried indignantly.
“Hey lady, you try making up a new stupid song every year!” the sock retorted. A few kids from the crowd gasped. Professor McGonagall looked very flustered.
“Umm…let’s just get onto the sorting, shall we?” she said. The sock didn’t answer, so she quickly pulled out a list full of names. “Potter, Harry!” she screamed. There was a collective gasp. Harry frowned.
“Ummm…shouldn’t you do it in alphabetical order?” he asked, uncertainly. “What about all the other students?”
“The other kids don’t really matter,” she said, shrugging. “Just come up here, it’ll save a lot of time.”
“Okay…” Harry said uncertainly. He walked nervously towards the stool, sat down, and looked awkwardly at the sock. “Uh…”
“Put me on your foot, dumb ass,” the sock said. Harry jumped and quickly pulled off his shoe. Harry slipped the ratty old sock on his foot. “You know, it wouldn’t kill you to wash your feet every once and a while,” it said. Harry frowned, but didn’t reply. “Alright…let’s see…you’re brave, loyal….”
“Just don’t put me in Slytherin,” Harry said pointedly.
“Not Slytherin, eh?” the sock said. “Alright…better be…SLYTHERIN!” it screamed to the crowd. There was a gasp and McGonagall’s eyes widened.
“But…I said not Slytherin!” Harry said, standing up in anger. The sock yelled in pain.
“Hey! Hey! Hey! Watch the face, Moron MacStupidface!” the sock said. Harry sat down, disgruntled. “Geez, can’t anybody take a joke? Gryffindor!! Gryffindor! Happy now?”
A/N: Please review=)
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