"Potter, Albus."

The eleven-year-old took the shaking steps up to the stool and sat down, shutting his eyes against the thoughts of the watching students.

"You've quite a sharp mind, and certainly you're quite kind… but I think I know the best place for you."

"Let it be Gryffindor," muttered Albus.

"Slytherin!" exclaimed the Hat.

"What?!" yelled Albus. "I thought it was your choices that determined where you were placed!"

He could see James, doubled over with laughter, in the crowd… His parents' disappointed faces…

He eyes flashed open, and he realized that it was just a dream, after all.