A/N: If for some reason you can't read the summary, this is a Severitus Challenge fic. As promised, I will continue my other story, but this one will be updated more frequently. There are refreshments available in the lobby. Please enjoy the show.

Sudis, Clavus, Corpus

Chapter One

Mudbloods and Malfoys

A figure lay stretched out on the dark street, face illuminated by a flickering street lamp. It was a boy, and no more than that, for he was small and looked as if he hadn't eaten much for months. His eyes were closed; he was asleep. There was a curious scar on his forehead, shaped like a lightning bolt, and it was glowing strangely green.

He stirred, his face twisted in pain, and rolled over, long strands of greasy black hair scattered around his head. His mouth opened slightly and he began to breathe faster. In moments his eyes shot open and the lightning shaped scar faded back to its normal color.

Emerald green orbs stared into the lightening sky. After a minute he pulled himself up into a sitting position, half-turning to look at the horizon where the sun was beginning to peek over.

He watched the sunrise, clutching his meager, torn clothing to him. It was clear just how thin he was when the material molded against him; his ribs stuck out like knives.

When finally the sun had risen, the boy heaved himself to his feet. He really was small, and looked to be no more than nine, judging by his frame. But looks can be deceiving.

The boy was about to step out of the alley he had camped in when he heard a fluttering behind him. He whirled around agilely, to see a dark shape growing nearer, coming from the sky. He waited for the shape to come into view.

The street lamp flickered on again and the shape was illuminated: it was a bird, a large one, an owl.

The owl flew up to the boy and landed on his shoulder, holding out one taloned foot. There was something attached; a letter. The boy untied it carefully and, the owl still on his shoulder, opened it.

There were two sheets of parchment. The boy took out the first one, and unfolded it.

August 25th

Dear Mr. Potter,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed
a list of all necessary books and equipment.

Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by
no later than August 28th.

Yours sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall,

Deputy Headmistress

The boy looked back up at the date. August 25th. It had taken them three days to find him. And he had one day to return the animal to them.

He dug around in his pocket until he found what he was looking for. A stub of a coal. He turned the letter over and began to write on the back with the coal in very large, messy letters.

Dear Whoever You Are,

Magic isn't real. Here is your bird.

Harry Potter

That should do it, he thought, refolding the letter and placing it back in the envelope. He tied it back to the owl's leg. He didn't have time to close the envelope before the owl soared off. Harry Potter stared after it for a while, then turned and walked out of the alley into the bustling city of London, looking for some odd jobs to do to earn a bit of food.

* * *

Professor Minerva McGonagall, teacher of Transfiguration and Head of Gryffindor House, stormed through the halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, heading for a certain white-bearded Headmaster's office. A letter was clutched in her hand, a letter she had written.

McGonagall halted in front of a stone gargoyle and glared at it. It shrugged.

"Ice Mice." She said sharply. The gargoyle didn't move. "Ice Mice!" she repeated. It rolled its eyes at her.

"Dumbledore changed his password." It said in a dull monotone voice. McGonagall glared.

"Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. Cockroach Cluster. Lemon Drops." The gargoyle swung open. McGonagall marched in and up the stairs.

"Dumbledore!" She yelled as she grew nearer to the door to Professor Albus Dumbledore's office. Before she could plow right through it, it was pulled open, and a kindly bearded face was replaced with it. The face was followed by a body, dressed in a long shockingly pink dress-like thing. McGonagall was wearing the same, only in dark blue.

"Minerva? What is it?" The face asked, twisting in worry. McGonagall stood stock still for a moment, staring at the man's attire.

"Albus - what - what on earth are you wearing?" she spluttered. Albus Dumbledore looked down at his pink robes, then back at McGonagall, smiling.

"I'm feeling particularly bright today. How about you?" he asked, looking at her robes. "Ah, yes, dark. So you're going for the dark and mysterious look, Minerva? I daresay Severus will not be happy that you have taken his style from him."

McGonagall stood flabbergasted for another minute or two, then, tight- lipped, handed Dumbledore the letter. Dumbledore looked at it briefly, then looked back up.

"So I have been accepted at Hogwarts? I am ever so happy." He said, and was rewarded with McGonagall's face going slightly red.

"No, you old fool, read the back!" she snapped. Dumbledore smiled at her and turned over the letter.

"Dear Whoever You Are, Magic isn't real. Here is your bird. Harry Potter. Fascinating." He read it aloud.

"Albus, the students are arriving in one hour. He doesn't believe us, and he won't come. But he has to come. Lily and James's son has been on the list since before he was born. You know that." She said almost desperately, trying to convince him.

"What do you expect me to do?" he asked.

"Apparate to where he is staying with the Dougleys, or the Dummy's, or whatever their name is!" She cried, exasperated. Dumbledore seemed to consider it for a moment, then nodded.

"Alright. I will Apparate to the Dursleys. If, for some reason, the students arrive before I do, you must give the beginning of the year speech. Understood?" he said gravely. McGonagall nodded. "Very well. I'm off."

And with Albus Dumbledore swept past McGonagall and down the stairs, through the corridors and across the grounds, to the edge of the anti- Apparition wards. And then he disappeared.

* * *

The Dursley family of Four Privet Drive was surprised when they heard their doorbell ringing after sunset. They were shocked to see an old man dressed in pink. And they were furious when they realized what he was.

"Get away from my house! I won't have your sort tainting my son or my wife!" Vernon Dursley roared in the man's face, his great cheeks turning purple. The man only smiled.

"I have come to take Harry Potter." He said.

"There is no Harry Potter here!" Vernon screamed.

"There is not?" the man inquired, obviously confused. "Are you not Vernon Dursley?"

"Yes I am! That brat ran away a year ago! We haven't seen him since! Now get away from my house!" And with that, Vernon Dursley slammed his door shut on Albus Dumbledore.

"Harry Potter does not live here?" he murmured to himself. After a quick check for any nearby muggles, he drew out a long stick; his wand. He waved it around once, muttering a strange Latin incantation before whispering 'Find Harry Potter' and closing his eyes.

* * *

Harry Potter had wandered into a little shop, clutching a few coins tightly in his hand. He was looking for some cheap food, and had found it. Two loaves of stale bread, one of slightly moldy cheese, and a small jug of sour milk. He gave his money to the shop owner and, shoving the food and drink into pockets of his huge clothes, exited the store. It was dark outside already, and he needed to find a place to spend the night. His normal alley was already occupied.

Therefore he was extremely surprised when a set of shockingly pink robes and a long silver beard appeared in front of him. He stumbled backwards.

"Harry? Harry Potter?" an old, kind voice asked. Harry stopped in his tracks.

"Yes?" he said, his voice hoarse from minimum usage. The strange man seemed to be looking at him; this was confirmed when Harry saw a pair of twinkling blue eyes glowing at him from above the silvery beard.

"Harry, I believe you received a letter a few days ago, carried by a bird. I am correct?" he said. Harry nodded slightly before realizing that the man could not see him.

"Yes."

"Accepting you to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?"

"Yes."

"It's real Harry, magic is real. I came to bring you to Hogwarts, as the Starting Feast will be beginning in . . ." the man's twinkling eyes disappeared for a moment, then reappeared. "It started ten minutes ago. The Sorting will be over in a few more minutes. We must hurry."

"I don't know what you are talking about." Harry said defiantly.

"What about?"

"Magic isn't real!"

"Yes Harry, it is."

"Show me."

The man sighed and a moment later the streetlight flickered on. The yellow light spilled across his face, revealing very old skin, a kind smile, and a hand pointing a stick at the streetlight.

"Coincidence." Harry dismissed it. The man pointed the stick at his pink robe and whispered something. The end of the stick glowed red, and then a beam of fire shot out of it and onto his robes, catching them on fire. Harry was well aware that his mouth was hanging open, and when a stream of water snuffed out the fire, it was still hanging open.

"Coincidence?" the man smiled. Harry closed his mouth. "Come along Harry, the Sorting is over, and I've left McGonagall in charge. We must hurry. Will you trust me?"

Harry was about to say no and run away, but his eyes met the man's and he nodded. The man placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, and Harry flinched away, but colors were suddenly swirling around him, faster and faster, and he latched onto the hand to keep from falling away into the oblivion just below his dangling feet.

* * *

Blaise Zabini had just been Sorted into Slytherin. She wasn't thrilled. Slytherin looked by far the meanest of the four Houses, and she was timid. But she sat down at the far end of the table with her head held high anyway. The witch with the tight black bun had taken away the stool and Sorting Hat, and there was a few moments of uncomfortable silence. Blaise looked at her Housemates briefly, then turned her dark eyes to other tables. Another first year, with bushy hair, who sat at the Gryffindor table, had locked eyes with her and now they had engaged in a staring contest. Blaise was not fazed and she kept up her side. The Gryffindor turned away quickly.

Blaise looked back at her own table and stared at her plate. It was a pretty silver color, but it was empty, and she was really hungry. She longed to touch the silver, but she knew better and kept her hands folded neatly in her lap. She still gazed hungrily at her plate.

The strict-looking witch returned and made her way to the front table. She took the seat to the left of the main seat, which was empty. Blaise stared at the open space there now. Where was the Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore?

They sat in silence for another moment, until the witch stood up and cleared her throat. There was really no need for that though; every one was already looking at her.

"Since Professor Dumbledore is attending to important business, I will give the beginning of the year speech.

"Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts. There are a few start-of-term notices that I will get out of the way now. First years please note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. No magic is to be used between classes in the corridors. Quidditch trials will be held the second week of term. Anyone interested in playing for his or her team will contact Madam Hooch. And, finally, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds this year to anyone who does not wish to die a painful death."

Murmurs broke out at the last comment, but were drowned out by cries of glee as the plates filled with food.

Blaise looked at her own plate for a split second before filling her plate and digging in.

Right in the middle of a bite of particularly good-looking beef, the doors slammed open. Fork halfway to her mouth, Blaise looked up to see who it was, along with the rest of the Great Hall.

* * *

Harry Potter stepped into a grander, bigger place than he could ever have imagined in his entire life. He followed the man obediently, looking around the giant room in awe, mouth slightly open. He was so enraptured by the things around him he nearly plowed into the man's back when the man halted.

"The Sorting has already ended, Minerva?" the man asked. A woman in dark blue robes like the pink ones the man wore stood up, eyes immediately drifting to Harry. Harry returned her stare stoutly.

"Yes I'm afraid so. Is this . . ?" She trailed off when the man nodded. She seemed to pale slightly as she looked back at Harry, at his tattered clothes, his long greasy black hair, and his ribs that stuck through his shirt. "I-I'll go get the Sorting Hat." She stammered and hurried off again.

Harry felt the eyes of hundreds of people on him, and although he was quaking in fear inside, he returned their stares equally.

He was very relieved when the woman returned with a stool and an old hat.

"What? What's this? The sorting is over." A voice said. Harry looked for the voice quickly, but no one was speaking. When his eyes ran over the hat he stopped dead. A rip in the brim of the hat had opened, and two eye- socket like things had appeared. His mouth dropped open as he realized the hat had spoken.

"All you have to do is put the Sorting Hat on, Harry." The man told him. Harry, too dumbstruck to speak, just nodded.

"Potter, Harry." The woman called out in a slightly weak voice. Instantly whispers broke out.

"Harry Potter?"

"As in THE Harry Potter?"

"Is she joking?"

"THAT'S Harry Potter?"

"No way!"

"He looks like he hasn't taken a bath in a year!"

But Harry had sat on the stool and the hat fell over his eyes.

/Ah, Harry Potter, I see why I was awoken. Interesting, yes, you are an extremely hard worker, but no, you are not a Hufflepuff. You are clever but not enough for Ravenclaw. You would make an excellent Gryffindor, but an equally good Slytherin. It's all here in your head./

'I don't care where you put me, just put me somewhere.' Harry thought to the hat.

/As you wish. I shall put you in . . . SLYTHERIN!" the last word was yelled loud enough for the whole hall to hear, and hear they did. As the hat was taken off Harry's head and he was directed to a table, whispers broke out again.

"Unbelievable! Harry Potter, a Slytherin?"

Harry scanned the table briefly. There was an empty corner, save for one girl, who had returned to her food. He sat there, across from the girl. She stopped eating and looked up.

"Why are you sitting here?" she asked. He glared in return.

"Because I feel like it."

She shrugged and finished eating her roll.

After a moment people had returned to their own food and friends. Harry glanced at his own plate before remembering the food he had bought. He withdrew it from his pocket and put it on his plate. The girl looked up from her own to see his food, and her nose wrinkled in disgust.

"You're not going to /eat/ that, are you?" she asked. Harry stared at her as though she had come from another planet.

"No, I'm going to wear it as underwear." He said sarcastically. It was the girl's turn to stare.

"You are?"

"No!"

"Oh. So you're going to eat it?"

"Of course I'm going to eat it!" he replied, exasperated.

"Why?"

"It's food."

"But there's food all around you."

"It's not mine."

"It is now." And it was, for she had plopped some pudding on his plate. He looked at her as though as though she'd gone mad.

"Are you crazy?" He whispered fiercely. "That's stealing!"

"What?!"

"I didn't pay for it! It isn't mine!"

"You don't have to pay for food! It's free! Have you ever heard the word /free/ before?!" she cried. Harry didn't answer for a moment.

"So . . . it's really mine?"

"Yes!"

"Oh."

He took his spoon up and hesitantly scooped up the pudding, putting it in his mouth and swallowing. The look on his face told that he had not eaten anything decent in a long time; he looked like he was in heaven.

"That is really, really good!" He said once he'd swallowed. He looked at the girl, who was grinning.

"If you think that was good, wait until you try to the beef." And she dropped some on his plate. As he devoured it she chuckled. "I feel like a mother feeding her son."

* * *

Up at the Staff Table, Severus Snape was staring at Albus Dumbledore in apparent shock.

"How did this happen? How did James Potter's son get into Slytherin house?" he asked. Dumbledore looked up from his pork chops.

"Try not to look as though the end of the world has arrived, Severus. You're scaring the students." He teased. Snape did not seem to have heard.

"But how did that happen? Potter and Lily both were Gryffindor. How?"

"Oh, Severus, it won't be too bad. You will survive."

"But how? How did it happen?"

* * *

Blaise Zabini had finally been able to stop putting food on Harry Potter's plate because the boy was now reaching on his own for anything and everything. Blaise, having suddenly lost her appetite, was now just watching him. She liked his emerald colored eyes. They were pretty. His hair, however, was a VERY different matter. She supposed she'd have to show him to the washrooms so he could shower.

Finally he seemed to be full and leaned back in his chair. He looked up at her with those green eyes.

"Who're you?" he asked.

"I'm Blaise Zabini." She answered. He nodded.

There was a silence. Blaise suddenly felt oddly nervous as his green eyes bored into her. Her dark eyes returned the stare, and she felt a sudden weird thrill. A real staring opponent. She narrowed her eyes slightly as she stared him down.

They stared at each other for a long time, gradually becoming aware that the other was not about to give up. Blaise's eyes widened as she realized this contest would not be over for a long time.

Finally, a welcome distraction allowed the two to blink and look behind Harry.

Or perhaps not so welcome.

A pale boy with a pointed, sneering face and slick white-blonde hair was standing behind Harry. Blaise recognized him as Draco Malfoy, the son of Lucius Malfoy, who was known in her family to be one of the few Death Eaters ever to be in the former Dark Lord's inner circle. Although Blaise's family had strove to be invited into the inner circle, not a member had achieved it.

"/You're/ Harry Potter? You look you haven't heard the word, 'shampoo' before in your life." Malfoy sneered. Harry stared at him until he looked away. His eyes happened to land on Blaise. "Making friends with Half- bloods?"

Blaise snarled at him, and for a moment both he and Harry looked taken aback; Blaise looked downright scary when she snarled.

"Sucking up to Harry Potter, Malfoy? Trying to be friends? If you'd have read anything about him you'd know he's as much of a half-blood as I am!" she snapped. Malfoy scowled at her. "Truth hurts, doesn't it Malfoy?"

"No more than looking at you." He retorted. Blaise feigned confusion.

"Oh, so you don't care."

It took a moment for Malfoy to work through what she said. She rolled her eyes.

Malfoy glared once more at her before turning back to Harry.

"You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there." And he extended a hand.

The whole school fell silent to watch.

* * *

Harry had only just met this Malfoy boy, as Blaise had called him, and he already disliked him. When Malfoy had insulted him he'd been angry. When Malfoy had insulted Blaise he'd been furious. When Malfoy had held out his hand that had been the last straw. Harry looked at Malfoy's outstretched hand, and placed his own in it. The whole school seemed to gasp as one. Malfoy looked extraordinarily pleased with himself. But Harry's stare had turned ice-cold and his grip tightened on Malfoy's hand. Malfoy had a split second to look shocked before Harry jerked the boy toward him and whispered in his ear quite loudly.

"You'll do well not to insult me or any one I know while you are here, Malfoy. Remember that." And he released Malfoy's hand. Malfoy staggered back and fell on his rear, still staring, shocked, at Harry. "You don't REALLY think I would want to be friends with YOU?" Harry said, feigning an incredulous look. Malfoy glared at him before pulling himself up and returning to his seat after a last contemptuous look in his general direction. Malfoy taken care of, Harry turned back to look at Blaise, only to find her laughing silently.

"That was great." She said. Harry watched her for a moment before doing something he hadn't done since he was a year old: he smiled.