Hello. Finally here. at 00:30 in the morning. thanks to all the people who have left a comment so far. Please keep leaving them. They encourage me to continue writing. This is the chapter that explains the things people have been asking about. I hope.
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe belongs to JK Rowling.
Chapter 5: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
“Just continuing to believe isn’t the answer. If we don’t expose our weaknesses and wounds and keep on struggling, nothing will start.”
-From To the Other Side of the Door by Yellow Generation
I began to slowly shut down as the back of Charlie’s black robes swished around the corner and out of sight. The beautiful golden hall began to shrink and recede further away. Darkness and incomprehensibility filled the void it left in its wake. I was alone; standing in an endless black space.
“Oi! You in there, mate?”
A hand waved itself in front of my face. Another hand supported half my weight and gently eased me onto the ground. I couldn’t feel the hand that pressed itself against my forehead. I couldn’t feel the warmth of the other person’s hand or feel the texture of their skin. I could only feel a slight pressure, a slight force spread across my forehead. Even that faint feeling however was being consumed by the overwhelming numbness conquering my body. I never bothered fighting it. I just let it take over and consume me.
Where was I?
My vision was half obscured by something sitting on my head; something that began to twitch and talk. I lifted my head slightly, momentarily ignoring the voice in my head and instead focusing on what was in front of me. A sea of faces and a multitude of invasive eyes prying, knocking against my mind and attempting to intrude into my inner space. A place where my consciousness sat, alone protected by walls of steel and fear. And to protect that consciousness, I lowered my head, adverted my gaze and began to concentrate on something else.
So, finally ready to listen to me now, boy?
Who on earth?
I’m the hat, kid. The Sorting Hat.
I was having a mental conversation with a hat. The Sorting Hat. My brothers and parents had mentioned this to me, but the reality of it was still startling. I was used to gnomes on stubby little legs running from my mother after them with a gardening fork. I was used to jumpers knitting themselves and dishes cleaning themselves, rooms bigger on the inside than looked physically possible and my father creating miniature fire-breathing dragons for Charlie that would usually run amok and put something on fire. But, this. This was very new.
A hat that could hold an intelligent conversation was something that I had never encounted before.
I count that as an insult, boy. Of course I can hold an ‘intelligent conversation’ as you so eloquently put it.
It also made me slightly nervous when I realised that it could pry into my mind effortlessly. Nervous and so very, very scared.
Don’t worry, little boy. I will never tell. By the Four Founders I swear it. This discussion of your mind is for us alone. For you, me and your future alone.
I breathed in deeply, providing the much needed oxygen to my lungs that until then had been only able to access short, frenzied gulps of air.
Now then. Shall we begin?
Waiting at my mind’s gates, the hat waited patiently and slipped through the iron bars as soon as a little crack opened. It glided through the abyss of my mind like a well mannered guest, but a guest that would get what it had come for nonetheless.
Fear. That seems to be the most predominate emotion. An ocean of fear and at its centre is an island. A little island guarded by the black, drowning water of fear. Shall we take a closer look?
No! Fear drove me. Made me pursue the hat’s shadow flying over the water. The hat’s journey over the water was easy. Mine wasn’t. The hat probably wasn’t deterred by the personal terror locked in the cold waters, but I certainly was. Terrifying, grief-ridden waves threatened to drag me down, but a greater fear propelled me forward. A fear of the unknown.
That little island was my black box. My innermost and most private self lay there; buried, always buried, locked in silence by the sea and its dark, endless waters. I had never talked to him. Never conversed with him. He just dwelled there, manifesting and creating himself from my deepest and darkest desires, ambitions, thoughts and feelings. A ‘secret’ me that no one must touch. No one.
The hat’s ghostly form reached the island and someone screamed. It was my mind; screaming in panic, anguish and rage. I covered my face with my hands. I didn’t want to see him. I didn’t want to face him. The ‘he’ that was also ‘me’.
Look. Look at him. Look at yourself.
The hat undermined my ability to control my hands and slowly pried them away, while I continued to struggle, fight and squirm.
This is you.
His face had all my physical features. Green eyes, tinged with a brown that was similar in colour to gold. Flaming red hair that always stuck upwards in an uncontrollable fashion. Freckles littered over a face with high cheek bones and a firm jaw line. But he couldn’t be me. Couldn’t be.
Those eyes were two cold, glittering, seductive pools filled with a strange, wild and fierce light. It frightened me and enticed me. I wanted to reach out and touch the face that was mine and not yet mine. And I understood that it would be like touching a stranger that felt part of me; identical to me. A face filled with a warrior’s pride and honour. A glorious person. Different, and so very splendid/magnificent. A world apart from the timid and shy self that I was currently.
This is who you will be. Who you should be.
I broke from my other self’s hypnotic gaze and turned to look at the hat; confused.
Sensing my question, the hat began to explain, what my fear had hidden from me for so long.
You have always been overshadowed by your brother’s have you not? Always sat quietly in the background, always suppressing yourself. You believe that your brothers are special, that they have great, wonderful individual talents and personalities and they have the right to shine. Their inherent boisterous natures and the many siblings you have made it very easy to be swallowed up didn’t it?
You tried didn’t you? When you were younger. Tried so very hard to be part of that happy, always happy family. Tried to put your emotions into a string of comprehensible words and sentences. They laughed didn’t they? They found your stuttering ‘cute’ and ‘adorable’. They didn’t sense your desperation. They didn’t lend you a helping hand. Didn’t stop to make sense of your jumbled words. They just made you chase after them; them and their unrelentless pace. When you fell down, you had to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on running after them. When you realised screaming after them and telling them to wait was futile, you stopped and quietly continued, urgently chasing them, on a road that seemed never ending.
Why won’t you stop chasing them? Why won’t you make your own path? Instead of stepping in footprints you will never fill? You will only kill ‘yourself’ in the end. You will tire and you will collapse and the only thing you will have accomplished is running on a very well-worn track.
In Gryffindor, you will be trampled by them. You will never grow. You will never change. In Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, you will be pushed aside by them. Still chasing after them but on a different road. A road that still ultimately leads to their backs.
No! No. No. No!
You are like a plant that cannot find the right soil to grow in. Cannot find the right place to bloom. In Slytherin, you will find everything you need.
No. No. Shut Up! Shut up! I just want to exist! That is enough. That will always be enough!
Is that all you want to do? Exist? Or do you want to be great? Make them chase you? Make them stop and look on you with awe?
I am not a Slytherin! I will never survive there!
Slytherin is not as harsh as its reputation. The house believes in survival and fraternity above all else. They will push you. They will make you fall. And they will pick you up, dust you off and send you soaring.
Liar! Lies. All Lies. Shut Up! Shut Up! Go away! Go away! Please, just go away.
My decision is final.
I hope that made sense. I dunno. I'm a bit tired. Anyways. Leave a comment :) it will really make my day!
Note: sorry about the speed the chapters are coming out. It's summer and it's really, really hot.