"You're small," was the first thing the Sorting Hat said to her.
"Which house do small people go in?" Violet asked.
"And clever, how nice," the hat sniffed.
"What's wrong with Slytherin?" Violet asked the hat.
"There's nothing wrong with Slytherin."
The hat waited. So did Violet. After a while she began to swing her dangling feet. At the Slytherin table, several students snickered. A dark-haired professor shot them a fierce look from the head table and they immediately sobered.
"Would you like to be in Slytherin?" the hat asked.
"Slytherin!" the hat announced.
"Like I was saying..."
"I heard him!" Violet snapped.
Goyle put an arm around her shoulder. "Relax, Mudblood," he reassured her. "We're just trying to help you out."
"Never lie to Snape," Malfoy counseled. "Snape canes Slytherins who lie to him."
"Or misbehave in other teachers' classes," Crabbe added. "So choose your battles."
"Or who pick on littler Slytherins!" came an angry voice from a few feet away. It was Marybeth, her arms folded neatly across her chest under the Slytherin crest on her jumper.
"That, too," Malfoy admitted with a smile, and he led his cronies away. Violet watched him settle next to Montague into the most comfortable sofa by the fireplace. She marched over to him and sat down cross-legged on the low table in front of him, reminding him for all the world of Hermione Granger.