AN: I'm not sure if I like this, but I had an urge to write HP fanfic very late at night. Let me know what you think. And all the regular disclaimers apply, I don't own Harry Potter or Hogwarts or anything magical. Apart from my imagination. :) And go easy on me, I'm still getting used to this whole fanfic thing. Oh, and italics are the Sorting Hat, but I hoped that was pretty obvious.

All four houses are strong and true,
And I can see what's best for you!

Al had just finished listening to the Sorting Hat's song for that year and it calmed his nerves somewhat. It had done its job for years before now, and it knew where he belonged, which was good because he certainly wasn't sure. Mum was a Gryffindor. Dad was a Gryffindor. Even James was a Gryffindor. But did that make him one too? He didn't think it worked like that. In fact, he knew it didn't work like that, Hogwarts houses weren't in the blood, they were in the mind. He thought back to Dad's words before he got on the train. He guessed even Slytherin wouldn't be that bad. I mean, it's all still Hogwarts, he thought to himself. Since the revolution, House loyalties didn't matter so much anymore, Gryffindors weren't the only heroes that day, and Slytherins weren't the only bad guys. Al had heard the stories enough times to know that there are more important things. The wizarding world was in a state of fragile peace, or that's what he'd heard Aunt Hermione say, and she knew everything.

"Finnegan, Ailish."

What was that? They were already on F? This was going much quicker than Al had imagined. He knew that he should be paying attention, that these people were his future classmates but he was too wrapped up in his own thoughts to even clap politely at the appropriate points. He swallowed and tried to mentally prepare himself for this, like it was some kind of race. He glanced quickly at each of the tables, only able to distinguish them by their colours. On second inspection, he noticed some familiar faces dotted all around the hall, and it was a comfort but also a curse because he knew that his sorting would be one that everyone paid attention to. He knew he had big shoes to fill, being the son of the 'Boy Who Lived'. James was already at the school but everyone claimed that he was more like his grandfather, Harry's dad and his namesake, and Albus was like Harry himself.

"Malfoy, Scorpius."

Al knew he was supposed to pay attention at this point, because his parents would want to know which house the infamous Draco Malfoy's son was sorted into. If he was honest, he knew that the entire hall was certain they knew what was going to happen next, he was a pureblood Malfoy after all, so there seemed to only be one sensible place to put him. The Sorting Hat didn't seem to think it was so black and white however, because it took a few minutes for the awaited and expected answer to be announced, the Hat finally bellowing out, "SLYTHERIN!"

It was barely five minutes later, maybe another three sortings before the moment came that Al had been waiting for.

"Potter, Albus."

"Al." He corrected automatically before realising what that meant. It was his turn. He apprehensively approached the hat and swallowed hard when it was placed on his head, unsure of what he was supposed to expect exactly.

Ah, another Potter, I've been expecting you… I imagine you want to be in Gryffindor, like your father and brother? I've never put a Potter anywhere else…

"I'd be happy wherever you put me sir, I'm sure you know best…" Albus thought, although he realised he wasn't entirely sure if he was talking in his mind or aloud.

That's curious, I assumed you would beg to be in Gryffindor, just like your father. You have very similar minds, you know… Obviously your brother was different, he was just like the first James. I put him in the house where he would cause the least trouble, or at least have the opportunity to be good at making mischief…

"I've been told similar things before, but everything's a little different now, I know that Slytherin aren't the bad guys, even if Dad didn't." Albus thought in response, somewhat proud that he had his father's mind.

Absolutely right, all houses are equal, Mr Potter. The real question is, do you want to make history? I will tell you what I told Harry 26 years ago, Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, is that what you want? To be another great Potter?

Albus swallowed again, unsure if he could live up to that sort of expectation. "I just want to be myself sir."

You're living in other people's shadows Albus, so if you truly want to be yourself, you have to forge a completely different path. You're different to your brother, and even different to your father. Are you ready to make history? You know that this means…

"Slytherin?" Albus thought, smiling a little. He sort of knew it all along, and he was proud to be different.

"SLYTHERIN!" The hat agreed, and the hall burst into a mixture of surprised gasps and raucous applause. At least they were happy to have him Al thought as he slid into the seat next to the silver haired boy he'd seen at the station, glancing over and seeing his brother's gobsmacked and slightly upset face. It seemed that James hadn't realised that his idle threats could become possibility and Al chuckled to himself, before turning back to his own house and starting up an enthusiastic conversation about Potions with Scorpius Malfoy, who seemed to be a lot more friendly than Uncle Ron had said he'd be. Albus didn't know how this was going to turn out, but he knew one thing. He was determined to be happy here.

Read and Review and all that! :) Siriusly, (haha, I'm so witty) I'd love to know what you think, and if I could improve this/my writing in general at all.