Harry wasn't a Mind, but the Quicken he had glanded as he took his first step away from the Sorting Stool (which he had, by accidental magic, reduced to twigs) made the walk to the Ravenclaw table a welcome eternity in which to recover from the Sorting Hat's abuses and arguments (and unwelcome wisdom) — and to have a bit of a think. He could review his entire life, read the synopses of every report that Contact had compiled since he'd receive his Hogwarts letter [a small packet of parchment can be made to traverse the galaxy in an instant — wow — he still found that impressive — and he was not easily impressed] and even enjoy the latest ballet-duel from Phage before his bum ever hit the bench. Not that he would be doing all that. He just needed a breather.

He actually understood the Hat's motivations and hadn't really been at all harmed by the telepathic Sorting. Supercomputing sensory-headgear (regardless of the primeval styling and organic materials) shouldn't have fazed him in the least. [Welcome to the new normal.] Harry had, with his own hand, used a bird-feather-stuffed-stick to clumsily access the grid, blasting Ollivander's trade-hovel to Vavatch and back. He simply had to admit that he'd been in a mood to be miffed — and had doggedly refused to process the obvious, the express-by-any-other-name explanation, that the Hat was designed to read his mind. [Volenti non fit injuria, Potter.]

The Hat's observations were valid, of course. (But so were his own.) He had responded (alright, overreacted) in a fashion that was both quite mature and rather childish — in equal measures. But the sight (and stench!) of that troll's innards was still fresh in his memory and he felt entitled to a substantial expression of rage. If nothing else, his feelings about mental privacy were now well-established in everyone's mind. That had to be worthwhile, right? Of course, right. [No real harm done — and honestly, how often does one get the chance to righteously bludgeon and castigate in 3rd Era Galactic Common AND English? Some good clean fun, the locals would call it.]

He had been genuinely contrite when Dumbledore had reprimanded him for his outburst. Lesson learned. Culture people, cocooned in their hypersafe hedonic polity of totally free associations and satisfactions, were terribly bad with managing strong emotions relative to the unknown and uncontrolled (or the intensely meaningful and true, for that matter). [And something of the old wizard's power, both magical and mundane — if one could call the aura of natural human authority and command a mundane thing — had been revealed.] So it was, ultimately, a win for Harry — with regard to his education in the exercise of power. (Even Sma had once been a child with little experience — back in the early stages of cosmic evolution.)

Quite simply: the facts that the Hat had accumulated just plain hurt. That was the truth of it. The shame of the Culture's dealings with the Chelgrian Castes, the Idirans — the horror of the Twin Novae, the wasteful (if elegant) disintegration of one of the galaxy's most beautiful Orbitals — and so much more (along with a passable command of Marain) that the Hat had managed to absorb in their brief intellectual congress. They all challenged his Culture-centric superiority and pride. Not that he, like every other pan-human in the vastness that was The Culture, had not already been slow-walked to that moral insight — but the reality, the affront, the confrontation with irretrievable failure — that stung.

[Oh well. Time to move on — despite the imperfections.]

Objective: Humble pie. [Ew!] He had deeply offended an extraordinary entity that could rival a Mind in its speedy comprehension, that could [did!] understand his values and native environment (for good and for ill), that could rebuke Albus Dumbledore with style (and without fear of reprisal, it was worth noting) — and that [dared he hope?] could provide a magical counterpoise for all that the Minds (and their Culture) had ingrained in him. Not that he was planning to switch his allegiance, or jettison his upbringing — but their was so much of his "magical heritage" that resounded with mystery and meaning that he realized there might be a real benefit to having a thousand-year-old mentor. And Harry really wanted the Hat as a friend.

Author's Notes:

Yes. Harry does have something of the mischievous, pranking gene — but tempered with Culture sensitivities and an interstellar flair. (Fair notice: all puns — astronomical and otherwise — ARE intended.)

No. I will not be any more loyal to Ruskbyte than to JKR or IMB — though I honor him as grand progenitor of the Harry Potter + Banks-Culture Crossover AU.