The Sugar Quill
Author: Ciircee (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: And the Hat said 'Gryffindor'  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: Everybody you know (and at this point that probably literal as well as figurative) belongs to J

Disclaimer: Everybody you know (and at this point that probably literal as well as figurative) belongs to J. K. Rowling.  I owe her much.


Author’s note: Did you ever notice that there are no Hagrid stories out there?


Dedicated: To my Chelle, who encourages me always and to the underdogs…may they all have their stories written one day.


And the Hat Said ‘Gryffindor’


The boy slumped in his chair, legs stretched in front of him.  A bit more, just a bit more of a stretch, and his toes would touch the hearth stones; he stretched.  The empty Transfiguration classroom was boring.  Truth be told, it was good to be bored.  It beat being anxious and frightened.  Anything beat the gut clenching fear that had been wondering and waiting.


The door to the room creaked as it opened.  “Mister Hagrid?”


“It weren’t me, Professor, sir,” Rubeus leapt to his feet and swept his school cap off his head, crushing it between his over-large hands.  “Whatever he says, sir, it’s a lie at worst an’ he’s wrong at best.  It weren’t me or Aragog, Professor Dumbledore, sir.”


“Please sit down, Mister Hagrid.” The Professor’s voice was calm and quiet as he took his own chair behind the desk.  It wasn’t the angry, accusing shouts of grieving parents or the frightened, wondering whispers of the other students and so Rubeus sat, clutching his hat distractedly.


“Sir, please, I know it looks bad, what with Aragog runnin’ off ter the forest, but I can explain everythin’…if anybody’ll listen, I’ll explain it all.”


There was a faint twinkle in the serious eyes of the professor, a glimmer of humor in the midst of such a horrible situation.  “That, Rubeus, is why I am here.”


“Jus’ Hagrid, sir,” Rubeus swallowed at the sound of his given name.  “It’s a bit of a family tradition.  Sort o’.”


Albus Dumbledore dipped his head briefly, “Yes, of course, Hagrid, I’d forgotten that giants reserve given names for blood family. I offer you my sincere apologies for calling to mind your recent loss.” 


It was Rubeus’ turn to duck his head.  “I’m glad me dad’s not here ter see this.  Ter see me getting thrown out o’ Hogwarts.”


“Now, Hagrid, there has been no…”


“Headmaster Dippet won’t believe me, Professor,” he interrupted, eyes shining with furious anger.  “Tom Riddle’s a Prefect and a perfect student an’ I’m Rubeus Hagrid.  I’m a half-giant an’ only middling at my studies and I raise ‘monsters’ un’er my bed.”  He stood, suddenly, and flung out his arms, sending a be-whiskered tea-set crashing to the floor.  “No decision…sure there was, Professor Dumbledore!” Rubeus growled, watching the no-longer spelled rats disappear into a hole in the wall.  “They, some o’ them, were just looking for a good reason ter get me out o’ here.  Because I’m a monster.”


The teacher looked at him with sad eyes, the twinkle gone.  “I cannot argue with you, Hagrid,” he sighed “as much as I might like to.  Indeed, some of my colleagues were not well pleased with your admittance.  I can only offer you the comfort of knowing that to some, your ancestry matters not at all.”


Rubeus nodded.  “Me dad, he was the smartest person I knew.  He was Ravenclaw he was, an’ he used to say ‘Rubeus, you should feel sorry for them that don’t know any better.’”  He nodded again, to himself, to remember to take those words to heart yet one more time.  “I’m sorry about yer tea-set, Professor.”


“Tomorrow’s fifth-years will have it set to rights,” Dumbledore waved away the apology before sitting forward in his chair.  “Hagrid, tell me everything you know about the Chamber of Secrets.”


The boy shrugged.  “Nothin’, Professor, ‘cept the same story everybody knows.  Salazar Slytherin was run out o’ Hogwarts by Godric Gryffindor fer bein’ pig-headed about witches an’ wizards who weren’t pure-blooded.  ‘Fore he left he said that one day his heir would come back and open his secret chamber and unleash the monster inside it and finish off all the non-purebloods.”


Dumbledore sighed deeply.  “A tragic story to be sure, Hagrid,” he murmured.  “But right now we have another tragedy.”


“I didn’ kill Myrtle, sir.  I didn’ even know her!  She died in the girls toilet, I heard, and Aragog’s never b’n out of his cupboard.  He couldn’t kill her, even if he wanted to, Professor!  When he’s grown he could, but he’s not more ‘n a baby right now and he wouldn’t hurt nobody.”  Rubeus let it all out in a rush; it felt good to have somebody listen.  Somebody who would believe him.  “He wouldn’t hurt anybody any more ‘n I would.”


“But you did attack Mister Riddle, did you not?” There was kindness in the professor’s voice and when Rubeus closed his eyes, it wasn’t in defeat.


“Not really, sir.  I,” he swallowed, hard.  “I didn’t want to, but when he jumped out…with his wand…I didn’t think, sir.  I jus’ acted.”


There was respect, real and true, in Dumbledore’s voice when he said, “Acting in self defense is hardly cause for regret, Hagrid.”


It was the respect, far more than the words, that made Rubeus flush.  “An’ I sort o’ lost my temper a bit.”


“As do the best of us, at times.” Rubeus smiled as the professor laughed quietly; most people would have been shaken with fear, he knew, at the admission of loss of control from one such as him.  “So, Hagrid, you wrestled with your self control, failed marginally, and now we’re here.  Tell me about Aragorn.”


“Aragog, sir.”  The boy bit his lip, “It started in the Three Broomsticks, durin’ the second Hogsmeade trip.  I was playin’ cards with some strangers…I think they knew--about me that is--and didn’t care.  Anyway, we was playin’ cards and the stakes were gettin’ high.  That’s when one o’ those blokes put down an egg.  I knew righ’ off what it was…me dad gave me the new edition of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ fer Christmas.”


Dumbledore tilted his head to one side, smiling. “An excellent book.  Mister Scamander was an out-standing student.”


Rubeus beamed.  “It’s a great book, sir, really knows his stuff, Scamander does.  And so when I saw that egg, I knew what it was and…I knew why I got let into the game and why nobody was callin’ my hand,” he glanced down, remembering, and began smoothing out his cap as he spoke.  “It was a monster, like me.  But I had me dad’s secret.”  He looked up, eyes suddenly fierce.  “If you love something, it’s not monster.  Ain’t nothing monstrous if you love it.  It…they…know.  They know when you love ‘em and they feel it and they c’n love you.  Monsters, real monsters, they don’t love.”


“Hagrid,” Dumbledore’s look was entirely inscrutable.  “Some things, no matter how much you love them, are dangerous.  It’s their nature.”


“If yer thinkin’ about those werewolf pups…I was training ‘em, Professor.  I had my dragonhide gloves and every time, every single time, one o’ them pups got a good grip I thumped ‘em on the nose.  After I thumped ‘em, I told those pups that people weren’t fer biting.  It’s not the pup’s fault that they carry some kind o’ disease.  Not anymore ‘n it’s the person’s fault fer getting bit.”


Dumbledore’s eyes glowed warmly, “An admirable sentiment, young Hagrid.  But still, you placed your fellows in great danger.”


“Maybe I did, Professor, sir,” Rubeus admitted, staring at his hat, brows knitting together thoughtfully.  “But I think…I think I knew that nobody would mind over-much.  Not the Gryffindors, that is.  They might have been scared…but they’d have un’erstood.”  He looked up, still thoughtful.  “When I came here, I was so scared.  Me dad and me, we didn’t think I’d get in to Hogwarts.  Giants aren’t powerful magical, you see.  So when I got here, an’ I stood in the Great Hall with everybody I thought…I’m not none o’ that.  I’m loyal and hardworkin’ but I’m not real patient.  An’ I’m not ambitious…didn’t know what I wanted to do with life.  An’ I’m not the smartest.  I was thinking ‘if they got a house fer somebody who feels a mite sick, that’s mine’.  I remember that, clear as day.”


“I remember feeling much the same, Hagrid,” the professor agreed softly. 


Rubeus considered that.  “I c’n see that,” he agreed.  “I felt so sick, so scared when I sat down on that stool an’ you put the Sorting Hat on my head.  It hardly fit and then…” he slipped his own cap over his head, “it whispered in my ear.  Said ‘Rubeus Hagrid, what are you doin’ here?  Monster, they’ll call you’ it said.  I got mad and I whispered right back.  Told it me dad’s secret.  Nothin’ is monstrous when it’s loved.  An’ I was thinking about how much me dad loved me, and me mum in her own way.”  He bit his lip and glanced at the professor, noting the kind eyes behind their glasses.  “An’ I thought about how much I liked who I was.  Who I am.  I’m not…not what everybody thinks I am right now.


“I was shakin’, though, because I knew the other kids…they didn’t know what I was.  I told ‘em all on the train that I was just big…like me mum.  An’ they all accepted that.  There was none o’ the screamin’ and runnin’ like people did when I was just a baby.  They treated me like everybody else.  An’ so I told the Hat, I told it to find me a place because I weren’t going to leave when people were finally accepting me.”


His eyes shone as he met Dumbledore’s eyes squarely.  “And then the hat said ‘Gryffindor’ jus’ as loud as anythin’.”  He removed his cap slowly, eyes still locked.  “An’ I figured out that being brave is nothing but doing what needs doing even if you’re scared o’ what might happen.”


The professor sat back in his chair and focused on something behind Rubeus, it was several moments before he spoke.  “And Gryffindors are brave.”  He shifted, suddenly.  “Tell me how to help you, Hagrid.  Tell me where to find the beast you’ve been keeping…where is Aragog?”


Rubeus shook his head slowly.  “He’s not in the castle anymore, Professor.  That’s why I was down in the store cupboards; I was lettin’ Aragog out.  He was terrible frightened by the real monster.”


“Hargid…” the professor looked so…helpless…that Rubeus Hagrid found himself spitting out his most secret of secrets.


“If you let me into the Forest, sir, I c’n find him,” he said. 


It was the first time Hagrid had ever seen Professor Dumbledore looked stunned.  “The Forbidden Forest?”


With a breath, Hagrid nodded swiftly.  “Aragog, he’s been growin’ and he needed a bigger home.  He couldn’ stay in the school and so I…well, we, me and Aragog I mean, we knew he’d survive, see, because we’d been teachin’ him how to live where it ain’t the jungle, an’ so we planned to get ‘im into the Forest before the end o’ term.”


“Hagrid, surely you didn’t go into the forest?”


“I had to, Professor!” Rubeus winced, knowing that the admission was grounds enough for expulsion.  Things, however, could not get much worse; he slumped down in his chair anyway.  “I had to warn the Centaurs about Aragog.  When he’s full grown, sir, he’d be a threat; they had to know he was comin’ so that they could know to avoid ‘im.  Then the Centaurs said I should warn the Unicorns an’ so I had to go back.”


Dumbledore’s eyebrows disappeared into his hair.  “Unicorns are most difficult to catch, Hagrid.”


Rubeus grinned, “True, that.  If you’re lookin’ for the wrong reasons, I reckon.  When we’d try, some o’ us, we’d never even catch a glimpse o’ hide; but when I went to warn ‘em about Aragog an’ what he ate and how much…they came right up to me.” He rubbed his hands together remembering the moonlight glimmer of coats softer than velvet.  “An’ they showed me how even things that look pretty can do like monsters do and defend themselves.”


“Something that many often forget, yes,” Dumbledore agreed.  “Still, the Forbidden Forest is named such for a reason; safely breaching it twice is not--”


“More ‘n that, Professor Dumbledore, sir,”




Rubeus sank lower in his chair mumbling, “Yes sir.”  The professor’s arched look had him straightening quickly.  “The Centaurs said that there were other creatures needin’ to know.  Jus’ because Trolls are Trolls don’t mean they shouldn’t be warned.  An’ when Aragog’s full grown, he’ll rival that Black that Bernard MacFusty says was released near to the far edge o’ the Forest; so the Centaur’s told me how to sketch out a picture fer the dragon, so it’d know.”  He paused, thinking.  “I reckon I’d like to own a dragon one day; they’re awful smart beasts, them.”


“You’ve navigated the Forbidden Forest…” Dumbledore gestured and Rubeus sighed, knowing what the man wanted.


“All this year, really.  Most o’ last.  Just the edges durin’ first year.”


A knock at the door interrupted before Hagrid could do more than smile hopefully at the stony-faced Transfiguration teacher.  “Albus, we’re ready to finish the proceedings,” the Charms professor, an ancient witch by the name of Figg, announced quietly. “If there is anything…” she trailed off, looking once at Hagrid and then swiftly away.


“Indeed, Charlotte, I think there is something to help our young Mister Hagrid’s case,” Dumbledore rose and patted Rubeus on the shoulder as he came around his desk.  “Somewhere in the forest is the beast that Hagrid released and once we track it down and…”


Rubeus barely heard the professor stop talking as his own face when to ash.  “You won’ find ‘im, Professor.  Not unless I look for ‘im.  Aragog c’n speak an’ understand human.  I told him to hide if he ever heard a wizard who weren’t me.”  He looked at Professor Figg and knew she saw him not as a student.  “I’d have to go into the forest…an’ nobody’ll let me do that anymore than they’ll believe an Acromantula c’n live anywhere but Borneo.”


“An…acromantula?” Professor Figg looked ready to faint.  Rubeus nodded.


“He was deathly afraid o’ whatever killed Myrtle and Petrified all o’ the others.”


Dumbledore’s eyes widened, but he said nothing. 


“Sir?”  Rubeus stood, too, knowing that he’d not be allowed to stay at Hogwarts.  “I know it’s a bit to ask, but…me mum left a long time ago an’ I don’t know how or where to find her.  I was hopin’ that you could find out if there’s a…what’s that place Riddle said he lived in…orphanhage…if there’s one fer magic folks.”


“I shall do my very best, Hagrid,” he said solemnly before shutting the door behind him.  


Hagrid sat down to wait again, thinking.  He stretched, trying to see how far beyond the hearth he could reach.  He hoped there was an orphanhang or whatever.  The only other option he had, really, was work.  There were plenty of places that would take him based on his strength, he knew; such places had offered his father large sums of money for him.  His inexperience would make him…docile.  But it was his only option.  He was…alone.  He closed his eyes, tiredly, and continued to wait, hoping for boredom to come quickly.


“Hagrid?” Dumbledore shook him awake and it was only then that he realized he’d fallen asleep. “Come with me, you’re not to return to your Dormitory.” 


He rubbed his eyes, blinking.  “Sir?” he asked, following Dumbledore out of the classroom and down the hall.


“You have been expelled.  Tomorrow, today, rather, you’ll hear that official declaration from the Board of Governors.  I could not,” the professor frowned heavily, “convince them of listening to your story.  I am most sorry.”


“It’s all righ’, Professor,” Rubeus said, wondering where they were going.  “I knew they wouldn’t.”


“As that may be,” Dumbledore scowled briefly and then shook his head.  “I have, however, managed to convince Headmaster Dippet that you meant no harm to anybody and that, considering your circumstances, other arrangements might be made.”  His voice conveyed a barely restrained bitterness as he pushed aside a tapestry that Rubeus had never seen before, leading him down an unfamiliar corridor to a large door.  “Those arrangements are what have kept me so long, I’m afraid.  Here we are.”


Rubeus tried to listen but it was all too much.  Alone, being tossed out to the world because of his half-giant blood; he suddenly felt very, very young.  “If I could jus’…jus’ get my things, Sir, I’ll be goin’.”  He stepped through the door the Professor had opened and found…not the grounds as he’d expected.  He was in a rather large room, just off the kitchens by the smell of it.  It was empty, save a large bed and a small bureau.  “Professor Dumbledore?”


“You’re to begin an apprenticeship to Ogg, our GameKeeper,” Dumbledore explained.  “He’ll fetch you directly after your expulsion.  You’ll sleep in this room and eat in the kitchens until the end of Term.  Once the students have left we’ll puzzle out a more permanent solution.”


“I…” he could hardly believe it.  “I c’n stay?”


Dumbledore nodded kindly.  “You won’t attend classes, Hagrid,” he said softly.  “You won’t be allowed to use any magic.  It will be very hard, demanding work.  Probably most demanding, I might add, will be seeing your classmates go on with their studies and become fully trained witches and wizards without you.”


Rubeus thought of that, of what that would be like.  He then thought of the only other option; the only option that most anyone other than Professor Dumbledore would have left him with.  His throat tightened. “The Hat,” he said at last, “said ‘Gryffindor’.”  Dumbledore smiled, squeezed his shoulder, and left him to himself.  Rubeus Hagrid sat down on his new bed, in his new life, and was brave.

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