Harry thinks he has found a Horcrux...
On their last evening at Hogwarts, Harry, Ron and Hermione were sitting in the Gryffindor common room, trying to figure out together what the Horcruxes might be. Harry was once again recounting his trip into the Pensieve where he had witnessed Voldemort trying to get a job at Hogwarts. As he was mentally looking around Dumbledore’s office, his gaze fell onto the Sorting Hat…and then it hit him. It hit him so hard he stopped talking and just sat there, mouth hanging open and eyes misted over.
“Harry?” Hermione asked cautiously.
“The Sorting Hat is a Horcrux,” Harry thought, dumbstruck. “Yes, of course, it is,” frantic excitement was rising in him now, “why didn’t I think of it before? It’s a relic, not of one, but of all four of the founders of Hogwarts, and it would have been easier to lay hands on than Gryffindor’s sword. Yes, that’s it! Didn’t someone say that the best way to hide something was to put it in plain view?”
“Hey, Harry, where are you going?” Ron called after him as he leapt from his armachair, bolted toward the portrait hole and climbed out, but Harry didn’t even hear. His mind was fixed on one thing, and one thing only…
Having reached the gargoyle, Harry realized that he didn’t know the password, but it only took him about fifteen seconds to guess it, and then he was sprinting up the moving staircase, finally reaching the oak door. Not bothering to knock, he simply pushed it open with his shoulder and burst into the Headmistress’ office. McGonagall was there, as was Rufus Scrimgeour and some other Ministry officials. They appeared to be in the middle of discussing something and looked up in surprise.
“Harry, what – ” McGonagall started, but Harry didn’t pay the slightest attention to her or anyone else in the room. He headed straight for the Sorting Hat, grabbed it from its shelf and started ripping it apart.
“HARRY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” shrieked McGonagall, but Harry just went about his business, laughing like a maniac.
“Ah-ha-ha, how d’ya like that, you dirty little Horcrux!” he said as he tore another chunk from the squealing Hat. “Thought no one’d find you, being in plain view and all? Well, guess what – you were WRONG! Wrong, wrong, wrong!” And, under McGonagall and the Ministry people’s astonished stares, Harry sunk his teeth into the unfortunate Hat and tore off its tip. Soon it was all over. The Sorting Hat that had sorted Hogwarts students into their Houses for a thousand years was now a small pile of shreds lying on the floor at Harry’s feet. Harry was staring at it hungrily, expecting the fragment of Voldemort’s spirit it had contained to manifest itself somehow before it was obliterated, as the case with Riddle’s diary had been, but nothing of the kind happened. After a while Harry became aware that there were other people in the room who were staring at him just like he’d stared at the Hat, only they looked petrified and not expectant. The fact that he had made a mistake began to dawn on Harry. Now that he thought of it, he saw that the Sorting Hat could not possibly have been a Horcrux…he’d gone and made a fool of himself (to put it mildly). A deep flush suffused him from collar to hairline. How on earth was he going to explain this? Harry cleared his throat.
“Erm,” he said, avoiding the others’ stares and making indefinite gestures with his hands, as if not knowing what to do with them, “erm, ah – sorry about that. I, um, made a mistake. I, uh, guess I’ll just – er – go.”
And without another word he turned and left, closing the door quietly behind him. He thought he could feel the stares of McGonagall and the Ministry people following him all the way to the Gryffindor common room.
Things were definitely going to change at Hogwarts next year.