Miles Vorkosigan, Barrayar's newest Imperial Auditor, walked into the living room to an unusual site.
"What are you doing?" he asked, although the answer was obvious.
"Reading," answered his cousin, Ivan Vorpatril, closing his book as he did so. "I do occasionally read."
Miles glanced at the front cover. "Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire," he read aloud.
"Don't you remember? Aunt Cordelia used to read them to us, when we were younger."
Miles smiled in memory. "She said they were a classic on Beta Colony. Required reading in most schools." He wished it had been like that on Barrayar, he would have much preferred reading about Harry and his friends to analyzing more of Vorgrimin's awful poetry, extoling the virtues of the Vor.
"So what house do you think you'd be in?" asked Miles.
Ah yes, mused Miles, the house of the courageous and the occasionally stupid. Ivan would fit right in.
"No need to ask where you'd be," said Ivan. "You were born a Slytherin. Ambitious, with crazy scheming plots that you end up entangling the rest of us in."
Miles gave him a good natured smile in response. "True. Mark is probably a Slytherin as well."
Ivan shuddered. "No question there either."
"He was trained as a deep penetration mole and assassin, and is now running a large enterprise. What more would you expect?"
"Kareen would be a Gryffindor," declared Ivan. "She'd have to be brave to put up with your brother."
"I'm not too sure about that," mused Miles. "Have you ever seen her when she's negotiating a business deal?" He had. If he was still running around as Admiral Naismith, the first thing he would do would be to recruit Kareen and put her in charge of procurement. He estimated costs would go down by around 75 percent.
"Ravenclaw then," said Ivan. "She's much too nice to be a sneaky Slytherin git like you lot."
Miles smirked. "Be careful what you say- you know who else would be a Slytherin?"
Ivan paused in contemplation, before his expression shifted to one of horror. "My mother. And Simon," he said.
This was not whom Miles had been thinking of, but he decided to go with it anyway. "Yes. I'm sure they would both be very pleased to hear you talk about their house like that."
"Your father would be a Gryffindor though," said Ivan, in a vain attempt to change the subject of the conversation. "Maybe your mother too, I'm not sure."
Miles considered this. Yes, he could definitely see his father has a Gryffindor- brave and noble, with impregnable honor. His mother though, he wasn't sure either. She was one of the bravest people he knew, but…
"Maybe Hufflepuff for my mother," he said at last.
Ivan's eyes nearly bulged out of his head. "Hufflepuff? But they're…"His voice trailed off, unwilling to complete the sentence.
"Yes. She's honest, loyal and hardworking. She took on Barrayar, determined to change it, and look at where we are today."
"Hmm, maybe," said Ivan. Then his face took on a devious smile. "What about that mercenary girlfriend of yours- Elli Quinn? Where would you place her?"
Miles waved a hand distractedly. "Oh, Gryffindor. No question." He paused for a moment. "Elena, I think, would be a Gryffindor too."
Ivan nodded in agreement to this.
"I think most of Naismith's men, and women, would probably be in Gryffindor. Or perhaps Hufflepuff." Although he wasn't quite sure about Bel Thorne, and he would definitely place Lieutenant Bone, the accounting wiz, in Ravenclaw.
Ivan laughed. "The Emperor's Own Dendarii Mercenaires. Loyal to the bone to the Barryaran Imperium-not that any of them actually know it. Very Hufflepuff."
"Speaking of Gregor, he'd obviously be in Slytherin."
Ivan shuddered, obviously now further regretting the earlier 'sneaky Slytherin git ' comment, but he made no protest. "Laisa would be a Ravenclaw though."
This time, Miles made no protest. "Quite."
"Duv too," added Ivan. "He had doctorate before he decided to join the Service. You can't get more studious and Ravenclaw-y then that."
"Maybe. Some of the Haut ladies might come close."
Ivan stared at him like he'd gone mad. "What?"
"Genetic engineering takes a lot intelligence, and then manipulate the human genome so very well."
"Yes, but they're Cetagandas. I don't think we could classify a single one of them as anything other than a Slytherin. Do you remember what happened the last time we visited, for the Dowager Empress funeral? Everyone had their own plots with in plots with in plots."
"I wasn't saying that all of them were Ravenclaws," huffed Miles irritably, "Just some. And I don't think everyone of them would be a Slytherin. Do you remember Yenaro ? He would be a Hufflepuff. Not very smart, brave or cunning."
"Oh yes, another Hufflepuff. The house of the leftover pushovers."
Miles burst out laughing.
"What?" asked Ivan, giving him a look that was a mixture between curiosity and concern. "I didn't think it was that funny."
"Nothing," said Miles, "It's just that I've worked out where Bothari would go."
"Gryffindor, obviously," said Ivan, the concern on his face growing.
"No," said Miles, shaking his head. "If Bothari was ever one thing, it was loyal."
With that, Miles walked off laughing, leaving a somewhat disturbed Ivan to turn back to his book.