Disclaimer: HP is not mine.

He is ash-blonde hair and eyes as gray as dusk. I recognized this boy, even before the Deputy Headmaster called out his name for the hall to hear. Even before the hall hushed, sideways glances and not-exactly-friendly murmuring directed towards this slim, slight boy. He is, after all, the image of his father. He stares straight ahead, at me, ignoring the stares and the mutters, and his gait is even and steady. He is strong, the strength that comes with practice. He is used to this treatment, and it doesn't faze him anymore.

But when he lifts me and places me on his head, his hands are trembling.

The first thing I hear is a desperate mantra, "Not Slytherin. Not Slytherin."

For a moment, I am taken aback at how much he reminds me of another boy, decades ago now, a boy with hair like coal and eyes like grass.

"Why not Slytherin?" I ask, searching the boy's mind. I am taken aback by his loyalty- not a typical Malfoy trait- his willingness to fight and die and stand firm to uphold his family. His loyalty to his family, despite all the prejudice and hatred they face, is commendable. And he is every bit as loyal towards his friends, not that he's had much in the way of friendship in his eleven years. But if he were to make friends here at Hogwarts, he would cherish them more than his own life, perhaps because he hasn't made many friendships in his eleven years of existence.

This is a boy who knows what it's like to be on the outside looking in. His resemblance to the other Boy is growing by the second.

There is intelligence in this brain, and kindness, and a degree of bravery and strength usually uncalled for in one so young. He could be great in any of the houses.

And yet...

"Not Slytherin," he is adamant, "Put me anywhere but Slytherin. I'm not ambitious at all. Not Slytherin."

The desperation in his mind is my hint.

There is an undeniable hunger in his heart, to prove to the world that he is more than his family name. A deep, raging ambition, no matter how he denies it, to rise in this world, above the tainted name of a fallen family of a fallen house. Or better yet, to erase the stain and the burden that haunts his father's footsteps. To lift his family up with his own rise to greatness.

His driving force is ambition. He is a Slytherin, through and through.

He just doesn't know it yet.

"You could be great there, you know," I wheedle, "There's a great thirst in you, to prove yourself, to prove that your more than your family tree. Slytherin would help you prove yourself. Why, your father and-"

And that's where he snaps, just like I knew he would. There is defiance and temper in him too.

"I'M NOT MY FATHER," he screams at me, in his mind.

"Are you more than that?" I murmur, and he falls still, for a moment, as he realizes what I am telling him.

"Exactly," I whisper, into the silence. He is more than his surname, and all he wants is the chance to prove it.

This sorting has gone on for much too long.

"Do you understand, Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy?" I am gentle, in a way I rarely am with students. But rarely has a student known the prejudice and difficulty that this boy has, will, face. And I am about to sort him so as to seemingly confirm everyone's worst fears of him, double the suspicion placed on his slim shoulders. But he is a Slytherin to the bone, and adversity only heightens ambition. The difficulty he will face as a Slytherin will only make him stronger. Make him more. Make him great.

"I do," he is serious, and I bellow out his future, and he walks across the whisper-hush hall to his seat. There are stares, and this time, he stares coolly back, his gray-silk eyes confident without being too, too arrogant.

No one can hold his gaze.

He will be great in Slytherin. He will prove that he is the son of Draco, and yet is so much more than the spawn of an ex-Death Eater. He will prove that the house of Malfoy is not rotten to the core, and that the house of Slytherin is the equal of any of the other houses.

He will prove himself. And that is all he ever wanted.

A/N next is Al's sorting! Reviews are much appreciated :)