As the trio entered the hall, they gazed upon the large staircase, upon which a small tabby cat sat, idly looking at them all. It was mostly brown, but with grey stripes along it’s body and some grey around the muzzle. If you looked closely, the patterns around its eyes might look like spectacles. Unlike many of them, they knew that this was not just any cat. Many first years pointed and looked confused, but just then, the cat transformed into a slender older woman. She wore long black robes, and had her brown hair in a tight bun at the back of her head. She faced the students and said, “Welcome, to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I am Proffesor McGonagal, your Headmaster. Please, follow me so the sorting can begin.” Many of the students stood stunned, but others pushed from behind, and all of them scrambled to get into two lines behind the Headmaster. They walked on like this, into the brightly lit Great Hall, between the Ravenclaw and Gryfindor tables. Overhead, the sky showed a starry, cloudless night. Rose saw her cousin, Albus’ brother, James Sirius Potter, and gave him a small wave, which he smiled at. He frowned when he saw his little brother walking next to Rose with his head down, looking very frightened. The first kids in line halted, as did the rest of the line. Proffesor McGonagal stood on the raised stairs and held a parchment in her hands, on a stool next to her stood a very battered pointed black hat. The Sorting Hat looked out at them all and gave a movement akin to a nod. Proffesor McGonagal called out, “Abbott, Geoffry!”
“Oh! It’s starting!” whispered Rose. “I can hardly stand it! I’m really excited! But, how are you doing, Al?”
“I’ll be fine,” he answered.
“Gryffindor!” yelled the hat. The Gryffindor table cheered as Geoffry went to sit down.
This went on for quite a bit longer, the three friends trembling with a mixture of excitement and fear. Students were sorted into all four houses quite evenly, and cheers filled the hall each time a house name was called. After a while, Proffesor McGonagal called, “XenophiliusLongbottom!” Up at the head table, Professor Longbottom sat up a little straighter, and looked down attentively at his son. The hat was placed on his head, Xeno’s eyes staring intently up to his hairline.
“Gryffindor!” The table cheered, proud to have one of their favorite teacher’s son in their house. Nevill himself looked extremely pleased, and clapped along as well. Albus clapped and cheered for his friend too, and was distracted by being happy for him.
“Potter, Albus Severus!” Al was startled, and looked around confusedly, so Rose gave him a small shove forward. Slowly, in the dead silence of the room, Albus walked forward, up the stairs to the stool. He sat down, feeling sweat trickle down his spine. The hat was placed onto his head, and he felt it take a breath, about to speak.
“Wait!” called Albus in his mind to the Sorting Hat. “Please wait, I am not ready, I don’t know where I belong.”
“Well, well, well. Like father like son, eh boy? Let me guess, ‘Not Slytherin’?” said the hat in a tired tone in his mind.
“Um, no. Well…um, I don’t know. I feel like it should be either Gryffindor or Slytherin, but I feel as if I don’t have the right qualities…I’m – “
“Albus Severus Potter, please, will you trust me? I see in your head here the right place to sort you. I see you will be a great wizard, like your father and namesakes. May I proceed now?
“Yes…I guess so.” The hat took another intake of breath, while Albus held his own.
“GRYFFINDOR!” Albus leapt off the stool, an enormous burden taken from him. He ran to the Gryffindor table to the wild cheers of those in his house. Xeno slapped him on the back, and James ran up and tousled his hair. He looked over at the line where Rose was, and she gave him thumbs up. After a short wait, it was finally her turn.
“Weasely, Rose!” She walked confidently up to the stool and sat down. The hat was placed upon her head, slightly obscuring her vision.
“ANOTHER Weasely I see.” Rose jumped a bit at the voice in her head.
“Uh, yes, now can I be sorted please?” She thought back at it.
“Well, yes, but you are a difficult one.” The Hat intoned. ”Well, obviously you would be an excellent addition to Ravenclaw house, but Gryffindor would do well to have you as an addition as well. And yet…ah, I know where your destiny lies…”
“What!?” Rose was shocked. She sat in the stool, even when the hat was taken off of her. She looked over at Professor McGonagal, who also looked stunned, but motioned for her to go on. The Slytherin table clapped tentatively at her approach. They stared at her, confused, and then changed their attention to the head table, where speeches were being made. “This can’t be happening,” Rose thought to herself. “Me? In Slytherin? My destiny? There must be a mistake somewhere…” Food soon appeared in front of her, but she only pushed things around her plate. Rose was lost in the confusion, anger, and sadness that battled in her mind. “I’m the daughter of two of the Gryffindor’s who helped to save Hogwarts many times, so why am I better off in Slytherin?” Soon came the time for prefects to escort the first years of their house to their new dormitories. Rose saw Albus and Xeno waving to her frantically as they were leaving the hall, but she was too filled with shame to go talk to them. She followed, at the end of the line, not really paying attention to anything. They were led into the dungeons and stopped in front of a blank wall about halfway down the passage.
“Salazar Slytherin,” said the prefect. Then, the wall opened, to revel the opening to their common room. It was lit with candles, and a small chandelier. There were many comfortable looking armchairs, a large fireplace, green and silver hangings, and other bits of furniture sitting about the room. Girls were headed up one staircase, so Rose followed, still in her trance of self-pity. Once up in her dormitory, she found all of her belongings sitting neatly on one of the four poster beds. Other girls were unpacking, and generally making themselves at home. Rose opened her trunk, and the first thing she saw was the large, homemade quilt her Grandma Weasely had made for her. It was red and gold, and emblazoned with a rearing Gryffindor lion.
“Argh!!!” yelled Rose as she picked it up and threw it to the floor. Just for good measure, she stomped on it. She then fell heavily onto her bed, tears springing to her eyes. In the corner of her blurred vision, she saw three of the other girls approaching her.
“Um…hi. Uh, it’s going to be okay. We, uh, we didn’t think we’d be placed in Slytherin either. See?” The girl held up a yellow and black stripped scarf. My name’s Linda. Linda Bobbin. My family has always been in Hufflepuff, I am about as confused as you are.”
“My family has been mixed, but never in Slytherin.” said the second girl. “My mom was in Ravenclaw, and her sister was in Gryffindor. They know your parents if I am not mistaken. I know you. You’re Rose Weasely.” Rose looked up into the face of the second girl, who was of a darker complexion.
“Who are your parents? Why do you know me?” she inquired.
“Well, they both married, but back in school, they were Padma and Parvati Patil. Padma is my mom. I’m Jasmeen Singh. And, everyone knows your family.” replied Jasmeen. The third girl then stepped forward.
“Yeah, you guys are practically famous.” piped up the third girl, who had been quietly listening. “Your mom and dad are the heroes, Ron and Hermonie. And your aunt, Ron’s sister, is Genevra, or Ginny, who is married to The Boy Who Lived himself: the famous Harry Potter!” Rose stared at her, and blinked.
“That is very accurate…and rather creepy. Not many people know Auntie Ginny’s whole name. Who are you?”
“Oh,” the third girl looked down sheepishly, “My name is Amanda Hillsford. I’m Muggle-born. As soon as I got my acceptance letter, I studied all I could about the wizarding world. I asked so many questions when the man from the Ministry came to talk to my parents. Once I went to get my books, I studied all the histories, even the more recent ones, which is how I know so much about your family. And, why I am confused as to why I am in Slytherin. Usually, they aim for pure blood.” At this, Rose, true to form, raised her head knowing that she knew something someone else didn’t.
“After the fall of Voldemort, it was noted that the Sorting Hat had started to turn away fewer and fewer Muggle-borns and mixed bloods. Nobody knows why, but I guess that would explain it.” Rose looked less sad, and had a gleam of understanding after she realized what she had said. “But still, I think I want to appeal to the Headmaster in the morning after breakfast. Uncle Harry told me that the Sorting Hat spends the year in her office, so that is where I will start. You three are welcome to join me.” The three girls had started to nod their heads, when another voice piped up. They had forgotten the fifth person in their room.
“And what is so bad about being in Slytherin? My whole family has been in Slytherin. I know for a fact, that one of your cousins was named after a Slytherin Headmaster. Isn’t that right Weasely?” Rose turned her head to look at the girl sitting on a bed at the far end of the room. She had long black hair, and a pale face. She looked at them from dark eyes down a pointed nose.
“Well, yes. What of it?” said Rose incredulously. “He’s also named after Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, who it has been debated as being the best headmaster of all time, and he was in Gryffindor. Severus Snape wasn’t Headmaster for very long. But yes, they were both great men, and are regarded as such; especially after Uncle Harry told their stories to the wizarding world. And who are you anyway?
“I’m Lucrecia Pucey, but I go by Lucy. I take offence to you four for not wanting to be in Slytherin and apparently thinking it is something awful. My parents are good people. Not all Slytherins from before the battle at Hogwarts nineteen years ago were bad people you know.” Lucy turned away and faced the wall. “Many people were hated and ridiculed after the battle for having been in Slytherin. My parents had a hard time finding jobs and raising me. Just think about that before you judge.” At this, Rose remembered her mother’s advice.
“Lucy, look, I’m sorry. I don’t mean it to be like that, honest. I’m just, surprised is all. I still am going to make my appeal, but I don’t do it for those reasons. I want to do it just to be sure that this is to be my path in life, okay? I don’t mean to judge.” Lucy rolled back over and smiled at Rose.
“Okay, but I don’t think you guys will be switched. It’s unheard of.” she said more jovially.
“I only want to understand.” Rose and the other girls continued to make their beds and climb into them. Rose turned over in her bed and looked at the Gryffindor blanket folded on her table. If only she got a good reason and began to understand would she accept this destiny. Soon, she fell into a dreamless sleep.