Hagrid was there to greet them as the train came to a stop at the platform. "First years, first years this way! Your stuff will be brought up to the castle for you! That's right, first years this way!" Albus migrated towards Hagrid without any trouble, most of the students that had seen the episode on the train were giving him a wide berth. Albus pretended to not notice as he followed Hagrid to the boats.
As he clamoured in, Rose at his side, Scorpius right behind them, the boats lurched to life. Albus swallowed the lump in his throat as he looked into the depths of the inky black lake. His brother had told him stories about the lake and the creatures in it, and from what he had heard his father say, not too many of them were lies.
He heard gasps and immediately looked up, half expecting to see some frightening creature, but what he saw was not that, but it was a sight that did indeed take his breath away. As they travelled closer, stories, all kinds of crazy began to unravel, the buzz of anticipation was getting more and more prevalent. "I want to be in Gryffindor- like Harry Potter!" shouted one boy in another boat.
Albus was beginning to feel more and more sickened at the thought of the ceremony. His heart sank, he could only picture the disappointment on his parents' face as they opened his letter, telling them that he had been put into Slytherin. "Why so glum Albus? You know, it doesn't really matter what house you're in." Albus could tell Scorpius was lying. Of course it did, it meant everything and even if it didn't, it meant something to him and surely that had to count. The great doors of the castle swung open, and a warm light spilled out onto the stone steps that led up to it. As soon as the light touched him, he felt engulfed by the warmth of the school, it felt like home.
Albus looked around eagerly as he walked into the castle, from the brilliant marble floors to the flickering flames held at the top of the pillars that emitted the warm glow that surrounded them. Within moments they were greeted by a lady that looked strangely familiar. "That's Cho Chang- you know? From Dumbledore's Army!" Rose said, prodding him. "I wonder what she teaches? Mum said that Professor McGonagall used to bring the first years into the sorting ceremony, but she's headmaster now, so, I guess that doesn't really surprise me. Could you imagine?" Rose turned to look at Albus, but he had stopped paying attention to her as soon as she had identified the teacher in front of them.
"Ahem!" Professor Chang, cleared her throat, to get their attention. "The sorting ceremony will begin momentarily, once inside, I will call your name, you will sit down and I will place the sorting hat on your head and then you may join your new housemates. Any questions?" Not a word was spoken and with a quick nod, the first years made their way into the hall. As he looked to his right he found James, who nodded and gave his younger brother a reassuring look. Albus then looked to the left, where he could see the Slytherin table, their black robes and green accents looking dark and gruesome amongst the other houses. And then the ceremony began.
"Appleton, Shirley." Professor Chang called out. A skinny girl with black hair stumbled up to the stool. Albus watched, holding his breath, his eyes wide as the hat was placed on her head. The hat moved around a bit, it was a strange sight and then, seemed to grow a mouth and shout out loud enough for Albus to nearly cover his ears.
"Ravenclaw!"The girl bounded happily over to the table where Ravenclaw's of all years were cheering. The list went on for what seemed like eternity.
"Malfoy, Scorpius. " Scorpius, looked over at Albus who gave him a reassuring nod. Scorpius, walked confidently up to the stool and within moments of the hat being placed on his head, it once again grew it's mouth and shouted.
"Slytherin!' A smile spread across Scorpius' face, he turned and gave Albus a quick thumbs up and then dashed off towards the cheering Slytherins.
Now, it was finally his turn. "Potter, Albus." That had done it. The hall was now full of whispers as Albus moved through the remaining first years and onto the stool. Professor Chang gave him a warm smile and placed the hat on his head. He jumped as a voice started talking to him.
"Not Slytherin, not Slytherin." Albus began to chant under his breath.
"Not Slytherin eh? Well, where to put you? I see you're clever, yes, Ravenclaw, may suit you, ah, but loyal you are indeed, wouldn't let anyone tear you apart from your loved ones, so maybe Hufflepuff? No, no, the courage there, the heart! Surely that's a sign of Gryffindor? Ah, but Slytherin, you know, you need not be bad if you're put in Slytherin, you could… break the stereotype."
"Not Slytherin, not Slytherin." Albus repeated, panic setting in. The hat continued on for longer than the hat had ever before, the teachers were starting to look concerned, surely the sorting hat had an answer, surely. Albus looked over to James, who was watching intently, and then over to Scorpius, who was watching with as much anticipation as the rest of the students. The hat rattled on a little longer asking itself questions and then answering them with another. Then Finally, the hat came to it's conclusion.