Nobody had believed it when the hat shouted Gryffindor, least of all Scorpius himself. After a few seconds of shock, he got awkwardly to his feet and shuffled off to the table to a scattered, polite applause and lots of whispering. It wasn’t like he hadn’t heard all of them before: “His father’s a death eater”, “Should be in Azkaban”, “Shouldn’t be allowed into Hogwarts”, but part of him had wanted to leave all that back at home. Wasn’t Hogwarts meant to be homely and a place to belong? Well that’s what Mum and Dad had said anyway. But Scorpius knew that they sometimes lied to make him feel better.
He went and sat at the end of the long table. What was he going to tell his parents anyway? They had been adamant he would be in Slytherin, their house. Many people were leaning forwards, craning their necks, to get a better look at him, Scorpius Malfoy, a travelling pariah. Some other names were called and people quickly lost interest in him as he blended into the background. Then came the moment that people were waiting for, the most exciting moment in the entire sorting. The sorting of the next Potter. Albus looked as uneasy as Scorpius but for different reasons. Every house wanted a Potter or a Weasley child. They were instant celebrities from the moment they were born and if there’s one thing people love, it was a celebrity. The hall was silent and still as Albus made his way to the chair. Sat down. Had the hat placed on his head. Silence.
The table erupted in cheers and shouts, clapping and general chaos. Another Potter. Albus sat across from Scorpius and was swamped with people clapping him on the back and shaking his hand liked he’d just rescued a puppy from a dragon’s lair. Albus looked slightly sheepish until Professor Mcgonagall calmed everyone down. He sorting went on until just Rose Weasley was left, alone in the middle of the hall. She didn’t look ruffled at all though; she practically skipped towards the hat. It was a full minute before the hat spoke, declaring her too to be a Gryffindor. Once again there was a huge cry and food immediately appeared in front of them. Rose sat next to Albus and sighed “I thought I’d be up there forever!” Both of them laughed. Scorpius envied them slightly. Why should it be so easy for them? Several students teemed around them, mainly family judging by the hair, sending scathing looks Scorpius’ way as they passed.
After the feast the first years were frog-marched towards the common rooms. They’d got as far as the Gryffindor boys common room door and Scorpius had just climbed through when he heard it. A voice saying “don’t even know how he got in to be honest. Must have been the hat miss-sorting him.” James Potter was talking to Albus, a brotherly chat, Scorpius supposed. He didn’t really know if that happened as seen as he didn’t have any siblings and most of his cousins were girls.
“Hey don’t be mean, we don’t even know him yet, and I think-” Albus started but James interrupted him.
“Look, all Malfoy’s are the same. You just can’t trust them. Uncle Ron said so. Anyway got to go and check on the lads. I’ll see you later Al.” Scorpius just managed to avoid colliding with James, who was sauntering back to the common room, not even glancing at him. But Albus did and obviously had worked out that Scorpius had heard everything, if his guilt-ridden look was any judgement.
“Sorry about my brother. He can be a bit of an arse sometimes,” Albus grinned apologetically.
“S’alright, it’s not like I haven’t heard it before,” Scorpius shrugged back, making to pass and go up to the dormitory.
“Well you shouldn’t,” said Albus bluntly, looking suddenly fierce. Scorpius didn’t quite know how to react so just shrugged again. Both boys climbed the staircase in silence, until at the top; Albus turned and said “Hey, you wanna be friends?” Scorpius was caught off guard and forgot about the fact that they were supposed to be enemies-from-birth or whatever and so said “Yeah, I would.”
“Brilliant” Albus smiled, lighting up his green eyes. “First, we need to get back at my brother. I already have some plans,” he trailed off with a sly grin which Scorpius found himself returning. Maybe this year wouldn’t be so bad after all.