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A/N: I don’t own Harry Potter and wouldn’t particularly care to. I would like a rental agreement with option to buy for Hermione Granger. A short term contract with Nyphadora Tonks wouldn’t be turned down. A Long-term agreement with Luna Lovegood would probably be a whole lot of fun. Any time Padma Patil wants to open negotiations, call me and oh for a weekend with Fleur. Oddly Lavender and Padma’s sister (despite being her twin) Parvarti do nothing for me…   Hobbes of course belongs to Bill Watterson…  Come back Bill, we miss our daily Calvin!

 

Harry and Hobbes

 

Chapter One - Introductions

 

The whole hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song. The ancient bit of haberdashery bowed to each of the four tables and then became quite still again.

 

“So we’ve just got to try on the hat!” The tall red head whispered to no one in particular. “I’ll kill Fred, he was going on about wrestling a troll.”

 

Harry smiled widely. Yes, trying on the hat was a lot better than having to try to make his stick… sorry wand do something.  If only they could have done this ‘sorting’ privately without everyone and his brother watching.

 

Pfft.  Trying on a hat?”  Hobbes was standing beside Harry buffing his claws on his chest.  “What kind of challenge is that?  Now bringing down a Water Buffalo, THAT sorts the Tigers from the cubs!

 

Harry frowned.  “When did you ever bring down a Water Buffalo?”

 

The red headed boy with the brother named Fred looked at Harry oddly.  “I never said anything about water buffalos.”  He subtly moved further away from the raven haired boy carrying the scruffy stuffed tiger.

 

Weirdo!”  Hobbes sniffed.  “I personally haven’t brought down a Water Buffalo, but it’s a given that Tigers can do those things.

 

Professor McGonagall now stepped forward holding a long roll of parchment.

 

“When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted,” she said.

 

“Abbott, Hannah!”

 

A pink-faced girl with blonde pigtails stumbled out of line, put on the hat, which fell right down over her eyes, and sat down. A momentary pause and…

 

“HUFFLEPUFF!” shouted the hat.

 

The table on the right cheered and clapped as Hannah went to sit down at the Hufflepuff table. Harry and Hobbes watched silently as the ghost of a fat medieval monk waving merrily at the girl.

 

“Excitable aren’t they?” Hobbes noted.

 

“Bones, Susan!”

 

“HUFFLEPUFF!” shouted the hat again, and Susan scuttled off to sit next to Hannah.

 

Ohh, that’s one’s kind of cute…  sorta red fur like a tiger!  I wonder if she likes to make with the smooches?” Hobbes asked.

 

“Would you shut up you perverted flea condo?  Do I have to remind you of the bylaws of G.R.O.S.S.?”

 

Hmph!” groused the tiger

 

“Boot, Terry!”

 

“RAVENCLAW!”

 

The table second from the left clapped this time; several Ravenclaws stood up to shake hands Terry’s as he joined them.

 

“Brocklehurst, Mandy” went to Ravenclaw too, but “Brown, Lavender” became the first new Gryffindor, and the table on the far left exploded with cheers.

 

“Bulstrode, Millicent” then became a Slytherin. Perhaps it was Harry’s imagination, but he thought they looked like an unpleasant bunch.  Lots of unibrows and sloping foreheads…  As a whole the denizens of Slytherin house appeared to be the type that spontaneously generated when old sweat socks stay in gym lockers too long.

 

Ooh, I hope you end up on that Team!”  Hobbes said giving the Slytherins his patented predatory stare.

 

“Why?”  Harry asked, dreading the answer.

 

Easy pickings of course.”

 

“Hobbes, we talked about this.  No attacking students!”

 

Harry was starting to feel definitely nervous now. He remembered being picked for teams during gym at his old school. He had always been last to be chosen, mostly because he was no good, but also because he didn’t share in the absurd illusion that winning was more important than having fun.

 

“Finch-Fletchley, Justin!”

 

“HUFFLEPUFF!”

 

Sometimes, Harry noticed, the hat shouted out the house at once, but at others it took a little while to decide. “Finnigan, Seamus,” the sandy-haired boy closest to Harry in the line, sat on the stool for almost a whole minute before the hat declared him a Gryffindor.

 

“Granger, Hermione!”

 

The bushy haired girl who had been nice to him on the train almost ran to the stool and jammed the hat eagerly on her head.

 

“GRYFFINDOR!” shouted the hat. The Red Headed boy groaned.

 

A horrible thought struck Harry. What if he wasn’t chosen at all? What if he just sat there with the hat over his eyes for ages, until Professor McGonagall pulled the hat off his head and said there had obviously been a mistake and he’d better get back on the train?  What if Hobbes told him knock-knock jokes and made him laugh while the Hat was sorting him?

 

When Neville Longbottom, the boy who kept losing his toad, was called, he fell over on his way to the stool. The hat took a long time to decide with Neville. When it finally shouted, “GRYFFINDOR,” Neville ran off still wearing it, and had to jog back amid gales of laughter to give it to “MacDougal, Morag.”

 

Malfoy swaggered forward when his name was called and got his wish at once: the hat had barely touched his head when it screamed, “SLYTHERIN!”

 

Oh, yeah.”  Hobbes purred.  “Gonna get me a taste of that.”

 

Malfoy went to join his friends Crabbe and Goyle, looking pleased with himself. There weren’t many people left now. “Moon”… , “Nott”… , “Parkinson”… , then a pair of twins, “Patil” and “Patil”… , then “Perks, Sally-Anne”… , and then, at last…

 

“Potter, Harry!”

 

As Harry stepped forward with Hobbes under his arm, whispering suddenly broke out all over the hall.

 

“Did she say Potter?”

 

The Harry Potter?”

 

“Why is he carrying a doll?”

 

The last thing Harry saw before the hat dropped over his eyes was the hall full of people staring at him open mouthed.  He was tempted to yell “Take a Picture, It Will Last Longer” at them, but bit the comment back. The next thing he knew he was looking at the black felt inside of the hat. He waited.

 

“Hmm,” said a small voice in his ear. “Oh my.  How very… Odd. I see the courage to go your own way and ignore what others think. Not a bad mind either, when you choose to apply yourself. There’s talent, A my goodness, yes — and a nice thirst to achieve, now that’s interesting… So where shall I put you?”

 

Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.

 

“Not Slytherin, eh?” said the small voice. “Why not? You could be great, you know, it’s all

here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that”

 

Yeah! Slytherin!”  Hobbes voice was suddenly in his head.  “Slytherin would be great.  Lots of fresh meat in Slytherin!

 

“Shut up fleabag!”  Harry thought.  “I told you, no attacking other students!”

 

“…  Oh.  My.  Is there someone else in here?”  The hat asked in a shocked tone of… thought.

 

“That’s just Hobbes.  He’s my tiger.” Harry explained.  “For some reason he’s decided that Slytherins would be good to eat.  Please don’t put us in Slytherin, I don’t want to be responsible for any of them getting savaged by a blood thirsty beast.”

 

“I… see.” The hat’s voice said in his ear. 

 

Oh come on!” Hobbes whined.  “I’ll only eat the small ones.”

 

“Well Mr. Potter, perhaps you should be in the house with the majority of the nature lovers…” the hat shifted from direct mind to mind communication to speaking aloud.  “Better be HUFFLEPUFF!”

 

 

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