With a lot more confidence than the average first-year, Lily made her way up to the stool where Professor McGonagall stood with the Sorting Hat. She could feel eyes on her from all directions and hear her name echo around the room as people whispered, speculating over which house the daughter of the famous Harry Potter would end up in.
She didn't mind the attention, if she was honest. She'd even go as far as to say she liked it. As the youngest cousin, she often felt overlooked. Nothing she did was unique or special; somebody had always done it before her. So she craved the attention, even obsession, that she got from people outside the family. That didn't mean she was satisfied though - sometimes she longed to do something unexpected, something radical, something which would set her apart from the rest of the family forever. But she never quite managed to seize the opportunity.
Coming from a large family had its benefits, though. Lily didn't experience those butterflies that most people got before their Sorting; her cousins' stories had been recounted to her so many times that she knew exactly what to expect. She saw no reason to be nervous.
She was curious as to which house she'd be put in, however. She didn't really fancy Gryffindor. It wasn't like she'd be disowned or anything if she wasn't. Victoire and Molly were Ravenclaws when they were at Hogwarts, and Louis was a Hufflepuff.
Reaching the stool, Lily sat down to face the eager eyes of the waiting audience as the Sorting Hat was placed onto her head. It wasn't designed for an eleven-year-old; it slipped down over her eyes and for a second she was immersed in darkness, before she pushed it back up again. This was a weird sensation: she hadn't been nervous at all, but she could feel the tension as she waited for the hat to begin speaking.
"Hah, another one of those redheads," it commented finally, and Lily flinched at how close to her ear the voice sounded. "There seems to be one every year." It paused. "Oozing with confidence, you are, aren't you?"
Lily wasn't sure if she was meant to answer it or not. It seemed a bit weird to speak to a hat. Especially one that could see into her head. She sighed, thinking that maybe she was destined for Gryffindor, after all. That was where all the outgoing ones went, wasn't it?
"You're not like the rest," it stated after a while. "Don't get me wrong - I can see your parents in you. Your mother's fire; your father's drive and ambition. But... you don't want to be like them, do you? You've got that other side to you. The side that wants to stand out, to prove yourself. Interesting."
Lily wished that the hat would stop all these mysterious silences and get on with its decision. It was quite annoying, really. The faces of the people around her were looking more and more curious; this was taking longer than it had for anyone else.
"I could put you anywhere, really," the hat told her lazily. "Of course I could put you in Gryffindor, but that would be the easy option, wouldn't it?" Lily's heart thudded in her chest - what's that supposed to mean? "And you don't give up; you're a hard worker. Not a bad brain, either, but with your family that's not exactly surprising."
It stopped speaking again, and all Lily could hear was her heart thumping and the students, even some of the teachers, whispering rapidly. Was Lily going to become one of those infamous Hatstalls? Would she be sitting there forever?
"No," said the hat suddenly. "I know where I'll put you. SLYTHERIN!" it announced.
The hall fell silent. The shock was evident on everyone's faces. The only daughter of Harry Potter, the one who almost gave his life to fight Dark forces, in Slytherin? Lily searched out her older brother's face; you couldn't find a prouder Gryffindor than James Potter. His face was unreadable.
Lily didn't think anyone in the hall could be as surprised as herself, though. The possibility of being Sorted into Slytherin hadn't even crossed her mind. Of course James had teased her about it that morning before they got on the train, but she had laughed it off, thinking, like everyone else, that because of who her father was, she could never be put in Slytherin.
"That's it, over to your seat, Miss Potter," Professor McGonagall prompted, seeming a bit dazed as a smattering of applause broke out across the room. Lily got up, removed the hat from her head, and started to walk down to the Slytherin table.
Something changed in that moment. Lily could feel the eyes on her again, but this time, everyone was seeing her in an entirely different light. What does Lily Potter have that her cousins don't? she could almost feel them wondering. As she approached the Slytherin table, Lily felt an overwhelming sense of belonging. She felt like she was arriving home for the first time.
This was the opportunity she had been waiting for, for all of her life. An opportunity to stand out from the crowd. An opportunity to be her own person. She was going to welcome it with open arms.
A/N: This is for the Legacy Effect Challenge on HPFC. I've always liked the idea of a Slytherin!Lily. I think that Harry definitely has some of his own Slytherin qualities other than the ones that come from the piece of Voldemort's soul living inside him - for example, I think the hat refers to "a thirst to prove himself" - and I think that he could easily have passed some of these on to Lily. And I definitely think that she would want to stand out from the rest of the family. Thoughts?