Team Free-Will and the Sorting Hat

Sam and Dean glanced at each other in awkward apprehension as they stood in front of a bright blue door in a little suburban neighborhood just outside Topeka, Kansas. With a committed sigh, Sam leaned forward and decidedly rapped the door three times.

Sixteen hours earlier they were in St. Paul, Minnesota, having just wrapped up a case involving a vengeful spirit and a box of cursed sex toys. Though tired, an urgent text from Charlie Bradbury had them back in the Impala to the address where they now stood. The front lawn was decorated for Halloween, with jack-o-lanterns and half-exhumed skeletons reaching out of the ground. It was, in fact, October 31st.

The blue door swung open almost instantly, revealing a bright, smiling ginger in black robes with a knit blue and silver scarf wrapped loosely around her neck and a tall, pointed hat covering her head.

"Hi!" she exclaimed happily, looking back and forth between the two of them. "Wow you guys are fast! Come on in!"

Before they had time to say anything, the two brothers were ushered into the house. For a split second, Sam thought they had walked into the Halloween special of 'Better Homes and Gardens'.

"It looks like the Pumpkin King threw up in here." Dean remarked, glaring around at what was indeed an orange, pumpkin filled explosion of autumn décor.

A light pink colored Charlie's cheeks. "I know. It's a bit much, but Halloween is my favorite holiday and I like to go all out. So." She shut the door behind them. "Cas is already here and-"

"Wait, wait, wait…" Sam interrupted suddenly. "Cas is here?"

As if on cue, Cas appeared under an arch that seemed to lead into a living room further decorated with Pumpkin King puke. He had a long, black and yellow scarf similar to Charlie's resting over his trench coat. "Hello, Sam. Dean," he greeted them in his awkwardly formal, casual way.

"Hey, Cas."

"Hey." Dean said, his greeting overlapping with Sam's.

Charlie looked back and forth between the Winchesters and the angel with an almost painfully exuberant grin set into her jaw. "Well, party's this way!"

The boys followed her and Cas into the living room where a large flat screen hung on the wall and a kitchen loaded with candy and baked goodies could be seen in the corner. Black and orange streamers were draped over curtain rods and stand-up cardboard cutouts of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter characters were literally everywhere.

Dean couldn't repress the boyish grin that spread across his face. "Okay, this is pretty awesome!"

Excited to see a positive response, or any response really, Charlie's painful grin relaxed. "Thanks! This was my home when I was a kid. I decided since, yanno…" a fleeting frown crossed her face before returning to the present. "I figured I'd come back and make it home again, since I technically own it through inheritance."

"That's really great, Charlie." Sam smiled. "Did you make your Ravenclaw scarf?"

Charlie reached up and tugged on the scarf a little, almost as if just realizing it was there. "Yeah, actually! I made Castiel's scarf too. I figured him a Hufflepuff. We took the Pottermore Sorting Quiz and turns out I was right!"

It went quiet for a moment before Cas said, "Charlie told me about this 'Sorting Hat'. While it is an intriguing concept, it's difficult to imagine separating people by only 4 characteristics… Bravery, wisdom, cunning, loyalty- anyone could have all of them or none and aren't there other qualities of equal or even greater importance? I also do not believe 11-year-olds are developed enough personality-wise to truly be able to decipher who they will be in years to come."

While Dean and Sam were struggling to maintain composure but laughing internally nonetheless, Charlie looked downright offended. No one had to say a word before Cas realized he had said something wrong. "Sorry…"

Dean chuckled. "Your fine, Cas. Don't worry about it."

Charlie's fiery gaze turned to Dean as if to say, Ex-friggin-scuse me?

Shrugging, Dean gestured toward Cas as if it should just be obvious that there was no fight there. Charlie must have agreed because her smile was back and she said, "I made you guys scarves too!" She darted back into the hallway and they could hear a hollow pounding as she ran up the stairs and back down again. She returned to living room baring 2 beautifully crocheted red and gold scarves. "Obviously you two would be Gryffindors!"

"Of course!" Cas exclaimed as Dean and Sam were donning their new scarves. "For their bravery." Charlie nodded her approval emphatically, stepping back to appreciate her work as worn by their new owners. Dean was like a school boy with a new toy. Sam, on the other hand, looked almost embarrassed.

"Thanks, Charlie. Their beautiful… But the truth is, ha…" Sam scratched the back of his neck nervously. "I've taken the Pottermore quiz-"

"Nerd." Dean coughed.

"I'm actually a Slytherin."

Dean's head whipped around and looking up at Sam so fast his neck popped. "No!" he said in disbelief. "Slytherin are the bad guys, man!"

"Not necessarily true." Charlie interjected. "Slytherins are known for their ambition and cunning. Though, of course, as Cas said…" She cast a furtive glance at the angel on the couch. "Anyone can exhibit traits of any of the houses. Whatever house you're sorted in is often just what you value most about yourself."

Dean shrugged and nodded. "Okay… Do you have any-?"

"Yes!" she interrupted as if she had been waiting for this question. "Red cooler on the kitchen table."

After a brief, internal pause, mostly being surprised at Charlie's apparent telepathic skill, Dean came back with, "Thanks," and wandering off to the kitchen table.

"I'll make you another one." Charlie said, turning back to Sam and smiling apologetically.

"Oh no, don't worry about it. It's fine." Sam replied, already kind of attached to his new scarf. He liked being thought of as brave.

"Wanna play a game? I have Harry Potter Monopoly!" Charlie asked, some of her excitement returning from earlier.

Before Sam or Castiel could respond, Dean's voice could be heard from across the room. "What the hell is Butterbeer?"