YES, DOMINIQUE. "A Hufflepuff was seen as the best student Hogwarts had to offer by a cup that cared nothing about houses and that didn't have prejudices." 200% AGREE. In my totally biased opinion, that has to be one of the best lines I've read in fiction. Made me feel simultaneously ready for war, and warm and happy and fuzzy inside.
I really liked your decision to have Albus talk to Dominique (who is the daughter of one of my favorite female characters, so of course I have to like her as well), because we all know the Next Gen Potter children, and Ron/Hermione's children, and George/Angelina's children. But Dominique isn't featured as much, so it was a fresh take on the wiser, older cousin.
Dominique is so incredibly wise. This conversation is so meaningful, especially since it's shaping the viewpoint and happiness of a sweet eleven-year-old boy, and you absolutely nailed it. I loved the progression from Dominique listing kickass Hufflepuffs to her describing the traits that represent Hufflepuff house. (I especially loved that she pointed out Helga Hufflepuff's complete lack of prejudice in taking in students.)
And at the end, my heart felt so warm, asdkdsghl. Thank you so much for writing this! <3
Oh, my heart. Albus Severus Potter is my absolute favorite character from Next Gen, I think because J.K. Rowling set him up with an interesting question. (Not to mention, the only thing I will accept from The Cursed Child is how sweet his relationship is with Scorpius, but that's a different matter.) My point is, I adore this beautiful boy, and I'm so, so happy you chose to write about him!
I think you wrote his point of view beautifully. He has this innocence that only children have, and all the wonder he experienced, I could practically see it shining from his eyes. I also thought your plot made a lot of sense, especially to a boy like Albus, who's only ever really known Gryffindor. (I can't remember of J.K. Rowling Sorted him into Hufflepuff or not, through her tweets? But either way, it's not technically canon.)
However. As much as I love Albus, I just wanted to sit him down and scold him. Hufflepuffs are amazing. Hufflepuffs are great. Hufflepuffs make up that one kickass house that does secretly awesome things as the rest of the school looks down upon them. (If you can't tell, I'm a Hufflepuff.)
I'm curious to see how Albus adjusts to his new (and bloody brilliant) house, so I'll be hurrying off to the next chapter. You wrote this first chapter well. I really enjoyed reading it. <3
Still here for the child's flurry in the winter wonderland! <3
Omg. I love Albus avoiding his entire family because "BUT HUFFLEPUFF." I get it, I really do, but also, come on, Albus. I love that the family member he bumps into is Dominique, too - she tends not to be depicted as having much of a relationship with Albus in most fanfiction, so this was a really nice way to explore that, especially since she's clearly quite a bit older than him. She's able to use that to really try and give him... I'm not sure if "reality check" is quite the word I'm looking for, but it kind of is, if that makes sense? She's just able to put so much of his anxiety and disappointment in perspective, especially by talking about the people Albus clearly grew up hearing about and idolizing.
And oh, your Dominique is perfect. She's got such a personality, and I love (love, love, love) the way she immediately calls him out when he's like "EVERYONE IS IN GRYFFINDOR" and calls him out in a totally different and much gentler way when he's like "WELL YOUR HOUSE IS A GOOD HOUSE."
Amazing, amazing job. I loved this.
Hey, I'm here for the child's flurry in the winter wonderland! <3
And, omg yessss!
I headcanon Albus as a Gryffinpuff who chose Gryffindor but really probably is more of a Puff overall, so I am totally here for this. :P I love that his major issue really seems to be that he's separated from his family, not that he really identifies with Gryffindor - that's super understandable, but it also kind of subtly ties into the Puff-community-building thing - in some ways, it feels kind of like his issue with his sorting is confirmation that the sorting hat was right, if that makes sense?
Which is not to dismiss how wonderfully you set the scene for the sorting. You capture the pre-Hogwarts anxiety that people from wizarding families must feel so, so well, and I love the dynamic between Albus and James - James teasing Albus about "not being magical enough" and Albus taking him seriously was hilarious, because come on Albus, of course you're magical enough!
Amazing, amazing job!