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"Yes, very well." You say dismissively. You're fairly sure of what the outcome will be no matter the means of division, but it seems that Tradition is a powerful motivating factor here, and you can appreciate such things. Aside from that, it wouldn't really do to antagonize your employer before you have been paid in full.
Marisa gawks childishly at the interior of the castle, rather different architecturally to what she's more normally used to, and has to restrain herself from fiddling with the paintings, some of which attempt to include you in their discussion as you pass. Albus generally has a pleasant greeting or two for them, but refuses to get embroiled in conversation as you continue on, and it's not long before you are in the office, and Marisa's attention is captured by the whirling, shiny noisemakers and trinkets. You give her a warning look, and she grudgingly comes no closer to the small, pocket-able items.
"And here we are. Now, it should only take a moment for the Hat to do its work." Albus says.
"I should hope, Headmaster, that you do not expect me to sing." The hat drawls slowly. Tsukumogami, you almost automatically classify it, before reconsidering. Certainly enchanted to fulfill a purpose, in any case. The question would be whether the personality it is beginning to display is artificial or genuine.
"Well, perhaps you could just hum a few bars?" Albus says in a jesting tone.
"Hah. I think not, Headmaster. Enough to put on such a production once a year, if you want musical theatrics from me now then I shall of course comply with your demand. However, the children shall have to do without at the feast."
"Ah, very well then. I suppose it can wait. In any case, the Hat is a noted artifact of the Founder's time, and remarkably accurate at its work. Simply place it on your head, and it will do the rest." Albus says.
"Like this?" Marisa says, already putting it on in place of her own absent hat before you can begin to stop her.
"... Hm, yes, very interesting." The hat mumbles, soft but just audible. Probably not within Albus' range of hearing, though, but you don't doubt that Tewi hears it just as clearly as you yourself do. "Plenty of bravery. Oh yes, girl, bravery you have in spades. You almost couldn't lack it, with such daring escapades and battles. My word. But the defining facet... no, I think Gryffindor will not quite do. No, you would make a good enough lion, and a decent raven. Knowledge, in whatever form, is something you hungrily seek and thirst for as water, after all. But there is a better place. Yes, a better place indeed." It murmurs, then raises its voice to a normal speaking tone. "Hufflepuff, were you a student, is my verdict."
"Oh, very good!" Albus says, clapping lightly, though Marisa is frowning as she removes the hat.
".... It gets inside your head." She warns. "All the little bits, the secret thoughts and feelings-"
"Oh, you've no need to worry on that account, lass." The hat says. "The founders would not be so slip-shod as to leave in such a potential means to breach confidentiality. From the beginning, I have been enchanted with an automatic self-obliviation charm, set to go the moment I have declared a verdict, removing all trace of everything I learn from your psyche. I can't recall, even now, anything from a moment ago. Though I suppose if I've called you a 'Puff you must be a very hard working and loyal girl indeed, young miss."
"You never mentioned this before." Albus notes.
"Ah, I would not have indeed Headmaster." The Hat allows. "Watching people fuss about and work themselves into a frenzy trying to extract the foolish childhood secrets and traumas of students which have gone on to enter positions of power is one of my few amusements. Though you're rather less than forthcoming, on that note."
"My word, would previous Headmasters really have made such questionable attempts?" Albus says, seeming startled.
"Oh, unhesitatingly, Headmaster. I recall Phineas, there, simply for example made at least a dozen attempts a year."
"Blasted bit of dusty leather." A portrait all but spits. "I suppose you were chuckling to yourself the whole time, then?"
"Oh, indeed Phineas. I believe you worked yourself up to frothing at the mouth, a bit, in several of your attempts. It was simply magnificent to watch, knowing the futility of it." The Hat says smugly.
"Pah. A pox on your stitches, may they molder and fall out." The man says in response, standing and walking out of the frame in a dark mood.
"Dramatic." You say flatly. "If we might continue?"
"Yes, yes, do go ahead my dear." Albus says, waving you on. You collect the hat from Marisa and settle it gently on your head.
"Hm... interesting, yes." The Hat muses in your ear, shifting lightly about your skull as you feel it brushing gently against your mind, just tasting carefully at your persona and glancing quickly through your years of collected memories. "Older than you seem, and that's simply for a start. Hm... you would not make a bad Slytherin, I think. Yes, you have a certain... disregard for inconvenient things such as laws, or moral concerns, when they prove problematic to your goals. Never to the point of outright cruelty, I think, but you would fit in very well. But ambition... ah, ambition. You have no real, large scale ambition. Or rather, what ambition you have has already been fulfilled, and so long as you remain on good terms with that friend of yours, there is no cause to believe it will be plucked away from you. No, even smaller ambitions are for the most part simple extensions of that primary, fulfilled goal. Some measure of cunning and craftiness, but no real drive to manipulate others into pandering to your whims, simply to have them pandering to your whims, you limit that only to pursuit of specific goals and do not bother otherwise. Yes, you could be a decent enough Slytherin, if given cause. But it is not for you.
Hufflepuff... no, not Hufflepuff. Not at all. You simply have too much raw talent: Magic has always come easily and naturally to you, and you have never put yourself to many other tasks outside its scope. You have worked for things, but never had need to put more than a certain amount of effort into anything. For loyalty... Hm, you aren't a friendly person at all. You are friends with that one, of course, but it is more a matter of mutual convenience: never do you forget the effort she has put in to try to get a taste of your throat, and always you are prepared to rebuff her should the mood take her again, with as much force as it takes. Your loyalty, primarily, is to yourself. No, though you can be stubborn as any badger I've ever seen, you would not make a good Hufflepuff.
Bravery... Ah yes. You have no fear of her fangs, do you? You sleep well at night, every night, knowing that at any time she may decide to try to catch you unawares, in your slumber. You are prepared to fight her off, if it comes to that, but you do not fear that this situation may come to pass. It would take much, I think, very much indeed to give you cause to balk. If I did not know better, I would suspect that you simply do not comprehend the human concept of 'fear'..... But yes. You would do quite well in Gryffindor. Quite well indeed.
But then, you haven't had a doubt about the outcome from the beginning, have you?" The hat says in your ear, amused, before raising its voice. "Ravenclaw. Most certainly, a Ravenclaw Rowena herself would take some pride in, Headmaster."
"I did suspect as much." Albus admits cheerfully. "And I suppose that that is that. Let's put you back on your shelf, shall we?"
You start to reach up, but Tewi has already lifted the hat from your head, getting a closer, curious look at it before it gets put away.
"Slytherin." The hat declares, simply, without needing so much as to brush the top of her head, or hold even the shortest of conversation, determining her place with only the merest contact with her. Albus' eyebrow arches.
"Huh. Snake house, right? Neat." Tewi says. "... Can't say I disagree, I've bedded down in a den of serpents a time or two. Things work out okay, so long as you keep in mind that while their tongues can be silver, their bites are poison."
You shrug, and Albus simply collects the Hat and sets it back in its place.
"By any chance, has the librarian arrived yet?" You ask calmly. "I would very much like to collect that inventory listing."
"Of course, of course." Albus says. "If you wish, I can simply give you directions to the library from here, or lead you to her personally and introduce you, as my morning is rather empty today. It's really this or pay a visit to certain of my acquaintances. I imagine dear Remus must be rather at his wits end by this point, keeping his friend entertained in that old house, and should stop by soon in any case, as it's not like the poor fellow can come and go from his estate as he pleases."
"Illness?" You venture, and Albus blinks.
"Ah, the young man's predicament is something like that, and I can certainly say he is in nothing like a healthy state. In any case, he cannot really leave his home, and it rather chafes at him. He was always something of a boisterous lad. I should, perhaps, introduce you to them at some point, but not, I believe, today. No, you will likely be far too busy for such social introductions."
"If these acquaintances happen to be instructors as well, then such a meeting could be taken as business." You point out, indifferent either way, and Albus makes a considering noise.
"... Well, Remus did fill the position you hold at one time, that is true." He says after a moment. "And it is possible that Severus might be in the area."
"The potions instructor?" You ask.
"My, yes. Something of a taciturn and moody lad though, I'm afraid." Albus says. "Particularly in that household, for various reasons. I suppose I could arrange a meeting with Remus, however, though I will have to speak with some people to determine if I can secure an invitation for you, as it is naturally not my house, and I cannot simply bring you in without warning."
"Of course." You reply, and Albus pops a lemon candy of some kind into his mouth.
"... Well, of course, I recall you had young Alistair with you, before. Charming young man. Such a shame about... well, that's neither here nor there, really. It might be possible to arrange a meeting with Remus in his household, as it happens. They are... not on particularly friendly terms, but are at the least nodding acquaintances. They move in a similar social circle, so to speak."
"Remus is a werewolf, then." You say bluntly. "And of a different 'pack', to put it in simpler terms. Will having them in close proximity not bring up the subtle hostilities of hunters which do not hunt together?"
"... I suppose that it would not be out of the question to say that that is a possible outcome." Albus admits, after a moment. "Though Remus assures me that the instinct is quite controllable, so long as neither of the parties in question have any personal enmity or grudges against one another. Being in the same immediate area for a brief duration should not have any unfortunate repercussions, I believe."
[ ] What do you do?