Disclaimer: Just in case you were wondering, I do not own anything about the Harry Potter Universe. I do not own Severus Snape or Hogwarts or anything else in this story. Well except for anything you do not recognize as the work of JK Rowling. So… while I admit to some possible ownership of Flavius Pyrene, most of this stuff belongs to J. K. Rowling. All praise and glory to her…

Severus Snape watched the bustle of Platform 9 3/4, trying to keep his unconcerned sneer in place.

He spoke silently to himself in a mantra like sequence: 'I do not care that I am here alone. I do not want to go home. I do not care that He refused to come to see me off. I love traveling by port key. I do not care…'

He stopped himself suddenly. The repetition was starting to sound desperate.

He was not desperate.

He looked at the big clock on the station wall. The train would start loading in five minutes. Then he would not have to watch any more sad partings, tearful farewells or concerned are-you-sure-you-have-everything parents.

He snarled audibly. "I do not care."

He forced himself to relax by trying to work out which children were first year students, like himself. Not that he cared.

That girl looked like she might be. Her parents kept looking around nervously, Muggles most likely. He sneered in their general direction.

That boy over there maybe.

The platform whistle sounded. 10:30. Now students and their luggage would be allowed on board.

Severus pushed his cart towards the train; slowly as there was quite a crowd. He refused to be concerned that he was only moving very slowly.

Father would have hexed them all out of the way. He was /not/ his father.

He would be calm. He would be patient. He was /not/ going slowly because he was in pain.

He started to take a deep breath. The sharp pain in his chest stubbornly reminded him that people with broken ribs only took short shallow breaths, calmly, rhythmically until they healed.

A sandy haired boy suddenly jostled him in the crowd.

Severus gasped, as shallowly as surprise and pain would allow.

"Sorry about that." The boy said. "Bit of a crush in here, isn't it?"

"Quite so." Severus agreed, mimicking his father's best scathing tone.

"Do you reckon if we wait a bit that the crowd will die down a bit?" The boy asked, apparently unimpressed.

"Perhaps." Severus said.

"This is my first year." The boy chattered on. "Is it yours too?"

"Yes." Severus shot the boy another annoyed look, but he still did not seem to notice."

"Oh, good. My name is Flavius Pyrene. What's yours?"

"Severus Snape." He glared at the boy once again, only to realize that he was holding his hand out in greeting. Severus took the hand lightly for a second before letting it drop.

"I guess you must have lost your folks in the crowd too. I turned around for just a moment and my parents and both of my sisters were gone."

"Something like that." Severus agreed tersely.

"Flavius!" A voice called from the crowd. "There you are, dear." The woman approaching was unmistakably Flavius' mother. "I had just started to get worried about you."

"Mum, this is Severus Snape." Flavius said, brushing his hair from his eyes. "It is his first year too."

"That's nice, dear. Let's get your things loaded onto the train." She smiled absently in Severus' direction. "Coming, dear?"

'Dear?' Severus thought with a mental sneer. He followed the boy slowly, trying to keep from banging his bruised knee on the back of his cart.

The crowd had died down considerably. Severus could see where the baggage was being stowed. Not much further. Flavius Pyrene was just adjusting his trunk atop another in the compartment when Severus reached him.

"Come on, then." Flavius grinned. "I'll help you lift your trunk in."

"Thank you." Severus said, trying not to feel quite so much relief at the thought of help.

"Hello there, Flavius." Boomed a big man directly behind them. "Found a friend, already, have you?"

"Dad! Mum just went looking for you." Flavius said. "This is Severus Snape. We were just about to load his things in."

"Allow me." The big man said. He lifted the heavy trunk as if it were full of feathers and deposited it inside. "All set." He looked down at Severus. "Snape did you say?"

Severus only nodded.

"I knew your father my last year of school." He said grinning. "We were both in Slytherin. Of course we didn't speak much, him being in first year, me in my seventh." He harrumphed a bit. "Still it is a connection of sorts. Say hello to him for me."

"Yes, sir." Severus said politely, doubting he ever would.

"Come on, Flame, let's go see if we can find your mother." The man put his arm around Flavius' narrow shoulders and they walked off together.

Severus caught himself staring longingly at their retreating figures and wrenched his eyes away. 'I do not care that He did not see me off.' He reaffirmed to himself.

He climbed aboard the train and slipped into an empty compartment. He curled up in one corner and pulled a book from his pocket. Severus grinned. /The Hair Raising Adventures of Archibald Eisner, Auror Extraordinaire/ Father would not approve.

Severus had purchased the book, and the others like it in his trunk, with his pocket money.

The pocket money always came. Father did not dole it out himself. He left that to one of the family's three house elves. It was part of the household budget… Unless Severus was being officially punished.

The compartment door slid open and Severus glared at the girl in the doorway.

"Sorry." She said, retreating.

Five more times the door slid open and shut. The sixth time, Severus looked up with his usual glare to see Flavius.

"Hullo, there you are!" Flavius said, then laughed aloud. "Nice glare. No wonder you still have a compartment to yourself. The train is filling up fast."

Flavius entered and slid the door shut behind him.

Severus looked back at his book, sighed and marked his place. "Hello again, Flavius, or is it Flame?"

Flavius coughed and reddened slightly. "Flavius if you don't mind. Only Dad calls me Flame." He paused a moment then grinned conspiratorially. "Its because I blow things up. I caught the carriage house on fire once."

"Fascinating." Severus said, reluctantly slipping the book back into his pocket.

"Dad and Mum won't let me make too many magical explosions, but I have researched lots of non-magical flame starters. Dad has put up all sorts of anti-burning and flame freezing spells all over. Recons I could be dangerous if left to myself I suppose."

"I don't doubt that." Severus smiled faintly.

"Oh, but I am always very careful." Flavius said, trying to look as innocent as possible.

The door slid open once again, revealing a tall, older boy with long blonde hair.

Severus stood. "Lucius Malfoy. What a pleasure." He said with as little inflection as possible.

"Ah, the Snape boy. Father told me you were starting this year. Hope to see you in Slytherin." Lucius' gaze turned to the other boy. "And who is this?" He smiled coldly.

"Flavius Pyrene." The sandy haired boy grinned.

"Pyrene. Ah, a good family." Malfoy nodded at Severus. "See you at school."

Severus scowled at the door after Malfoy had left and slowly sank back into his seat.

"Someone you know?" Flavius asked eventually.

Severus nodded. "Our fathers are friends. We have met."

"But you don't like him?" Flavius pressed.

Severus treated him with his coldest, most malevolent stare. "I do not like anybody." He said quietly.

Flavius finally looked a bit taken aback. "Ah, I see, well…" He raised his eyebrows slightly. "Um, do you mind if I sit in here?"

"No. I do not mind." Severus relaxed back into his seat.

"Are you always so… grim?" Flavius asked after a while.

"Yes." Severus said, baring his teeth in a parody of a smile.

Flavius only laughed. "Good, well, so long as you understand that I am very rarely solemn we should get along fabulously."

Severus snorted incredulously.

Just then two sandy haired girls opened the compartment door. Both of them were already dressed in their Hogwarts uniforms. If he read the colors correctly, the elder was a Ravenclaw, the other a Hufflepuff.

"Oh, good, there you are, Flame." The taller of the two grinned as she spoke. "Mum was worried you might wander off the train when you took off again."

The other girl swept over to the window and opened it.

"Mum," She yelled, leaning out. "Don't worry, he's on board. See you at Christmas!" She ducked back into the compartment and caught sight of Severus. "Who is this, Flame?"

"Only your father calls you Flame?" Severus said with a wry grimace that was almost a smile.

Flavius blushed. "Well, only him and my sisters, and the kids from the village…"

"And everyone." Said the taller girl, giggling. "I'm Koral Pyrene, and this is Helena. We are guessing that you already know Flame a bit."

"Flavius and I have become acquainted." Severus said, emphasizing the name. "I am Severus Snape. Honored and all that."

Flavius smiled gratefully at him. "I was just about to tell Severus here about black powder. It makes the most satisfying explosions. Did you know that when it was first introduced into Europe that the Muggles thought it was magic?"

"How very interesting." Snape replied cordially.

"The recipe is fairly simple too…"

"Stop!" Helene howled. "Speak of something remotely more civilized, if you please!"

"Did you know," Severus said expressionlessly, "That the venom of a snake can often be used to concoct the antidote to the same snake's poison?"

Both girls groaned. Just then the station whistle blew again and the train lurched forward.

"Oh, good." Koral said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "The train is moving. I don't think he can get too lost now, do you?"

"Certainly not." Helena agreed. "Sally and Marie were heading for the front of the train. I'll see you all at school."

"Bye, boys," Koral said. "Do be careful not to blow up the train, will you."

She gave them a little wave and then left, leaving Severus and Flavius alone once more.

"Care for a game of Exploding Snap?" Flavius asked into the resulting silence.

Severus grimaced slightly. "Why not Wizards Chess instead?"

"All right," Flavius agreed. "That's almost as good." Each boy drew out a set and Severus set up his playing board.

The sky was clear, but fierce winds stirred the lake into white capped waves.

'I am not seasick.' Severus told himself sternly. 'I do not get seasick.' He winced as the motion of the boat jarred his ribs. 'I am not in pain. I must not show discomfort. Flavius will /not/ see my weakness.'

The two boys sat side by side and a girl who had introduced herself as Lily Evans sat behind them.

"Ah." Severus gasped aloud as a particularly violent wave pitched his sore knee into the side of the boat.

"Severus, are you all right?" Flavius asked. "You look a bit green."

"Never been better." Severus gasped. "I think they are trying to kill us off before we get the chance to blow up the school." He offered weakly.

Flavius laughed and clapped Severus on the shoulder.

He gasped again and could not suppress a grimace of pain.

"What?" Flavius asked.

"Just no sudden moves until we get inside," Severus said weakly. "All right?"

The boats reached the shore and the students were led up to the imposing castle.

Just like home, Severus thought. He took three precise, shallow breaths to calm his nerves and followed the throng inside, and to a small room.

They were met by a young witch with a stern look on her face.

"Welcome to Hogwarts." She surveyed them calmly.

"I am Professor McGonagall. In just a moment you will go through these doors and be sorted into your houses. They are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Be proud of your placement, because each house has a long and noble history.

"Your house will serve as a sort of family while you are here. Your behavior, whether good or bad, reflects upon your house, as it can cause you to earn or loose points towards the house championship which is awarded at the end of the year.

"Please wait quietly while I see if we are ready for you. Some of you may wish to freshen up a bit while you wait." She disappeared through the doors.

Severus looked around at his year mates. Some seemed very nervous. Several girls were running combs through their hair. Flavius caught his eye and grinned encouragingly. He nodded back.

"Very well." Professor McGonagall said from the doorway. "Form a line if you please, and follow me."

They were led to the front of a large hall, past the rest of the students at the school. There was an old, battered hat atop a small stool. The whole hall waited in silence for something and then…

The hat sang.

"When I call your name, step forward and be sorted. Ashcroft, Emily…"

Severus relaxed as he saw what was being done. Sit, wear the hat, and it tells you which house to be in. He sighed. It was more out of his hands than Father had led him to believe. It would not be his fault if…

The sorting continued, "Black, Sirius…" became a Gryffindor.

Severus watched his classmates, waiting to see where "Pyrene, Flavius" would end up.
Gryffindor, oh, no. Severus watched sadly as Flavius grinned at him before heading to his house's table.

It seemed to take forever for McGonagall to get to "Snape, Severus."

Severus walked forward slowly, solemnly. He tried to clear his mind of conflicting emotions as the hat was lowered onto his head.

"So," Whispered a voice into his mind. "Young Master Severus, where shall I put you?"

'Don't call me that.' Severus thought back. 'And I do not care where you put me.' He tried hard to keep the hat from seeing anything of his conflicting desires.

"Somehow I do not believe that is true." The hat countered. "You are brave, that is the defining Gryffindor trait."

'No!' Severus broke in, 'Father would kill me.'

"You have a certain stoic quality that is hard to evaluate. You are fair-minded and… what is this, fiercely loyal to your beliefs. A hard worker… Hufflepuff, maybe?"

'No. I would never hear the end of it.' Severus shook his head.

"Yes, definitely a hard worker and no stranger to pain, either…Pain! You belong in the hospital wing, boy. Promise to have those ribs seen to. One of them may puncture a lung if you are jostled again."

'Perhaps,' Severus said, hiding the knowledge that his father would be livid if he heard of it.

"You have a thirst for knowledge. That is a good Ravenclaw trait, but somehow it doesn't quite fit the rest of your personality. Are you sure you don't want Gryffindor?"

Severus refused to think of Flavius, he was not even sure he liked him, anyway. 'Not Gryffindor. I value my life, thank you.'

"Ah, I see. Well, you have a driving sense of ambition. And quite a healthy dose of determination to be better than… your father, is it? What about Slytherin?"

'That would please my father too much.' Severus replied. 'I would rather avoid that.'

"Yes, a very difficult placement. There seems to be a good argument against every house."

A warm hand descended onto his shoulder. He looked up into the face of Professor McGonagall.

"Do not fight it, Severus. Open your heart and accept." She smiled faintly. He could suddenly hear whispering in the hall before him.

Severus closed his eyes. 'You choose, hat. Although, Gryffindor is likely to get me killed.'

"Very well. You may be right. It really had better be SLYTHERIN." The last word was shouted aloud.

"Well done, Snape." Said Lucius Malfoy as he made room at the Slytherin table. "Too bad about Pyrene, though." He added, watching carefully to judge Severus' reaction. "He would have been an asset as well."

Severus' expression did not change. "He rather attached himself to me on the train. A bit annoying with all that talk and cheerfulness."

Malfoy nodded, satisfied, and turned to the person on his left.

The prefects were leading their houses away from the Great Hall when Severus was stopped by Headmaster Dumbledore.

"Come with me, if you please, Mr. Snape. I will escort you to your dormitory after we have straightened one thing out." Dumbledore smiled serenely.

"Certainly sir." Snape agreed. He followed the man in what he assumed to be the direction of the hospital wing.

When they were alone in a hallway Severus added. "The hat told you something?"

Dumbledore only nodded.

"I fell at the station." Severus said evenly.

"Of course." Dumbledore said mildly, and gestured to an open doorway.

"Clovis," Dumbledore addressed the nurse as soon as they entered. "This boy sustained an injury on the way to school."

"Ah," Said the nurse, looking Severus over, and waving her wand a bit. "How would you describe the ailment, boy?"

Severus mentally catalogued his aches before mentioning only the major ones. "At least one broken rib," He touched the left side of his chest. "A bone deep bruise on my right leg, around the knee, a dislocated left thumb and a glancing blow to the head, just here." he pointed to his scalp, high on the right side. "I think it may have bled a little."

The nurse frowned, looked at Dumbledore and then back at Severus. "I suppose you really ought to sleep in your dormitory on your first night here." Dumbledore nodded a little. "Well, then, I will want to tape up your ribs. Strip your chest bare. So I can apply the bandage. I will check to see that the potions I wish to give you do not counter each other."

She bustled off to consult a large tome by one window.
Severus studiously stared at the floor while he removed his robe and shirt. He forced himself not to respond in any way to the man's gasp at the sight of his bare back. He steeled himself for the compassion he knew would be in the man's eyes and straightened to meet his gaze squarely.

"I am exceptionally clumsy, sir." Severus said calmly, keeping his eyes steady. "I fall down a lot." He was well aware of how the numerous bruises would appear.

"The dislocated thumb?" Dumbledore asked, eyes flashing.

"Got caught on the handle of my trunk as I fell." He maintained eye contact resolutely. "I am lucky it did not break."

"I see. And this long scar on your back?"

"I got caught on a Muggle wire fence, sir."

"Yes, I can see how that could happen."

The nurse returned, armed with a tray of bandages and medicine bottles.

"If you will hold up your arms?" Madame Medora instructed, "I will arrange this. If you were staying the night, we wouldn't bother, but under the circumstances…" She lifted her wand and the bandage wrapped itself firmly around Severus' ribcage.

"Now," She continued. "Drink this potion which will help both the ribs and the thumb."

Severus took the proffered bottle and drank down the vile brew without comment or complaint.

The witch inspected his hand next. "I think I want to bind this too. Whoever set it did a good job."

"Thank you. I did it myself." Severus replied as she wrapped it.

She gave him an odd look. "Both should feel fine in the morning and you will be able to remove the bandages. Let me know immediately if either still hurts." She held up a small jar. "This is for your bruise." She looked at him again before correcting herself. "Bruises."

She lifted her wand again. "Accio." She said, and a larger jar zoomed into her hand. She handed him the larger jar without comment.

"Now, just let me look at your head and we will be through."

She looked at his scalp and into his eyes before handing him another, tiny bottle.

"Drink this, and put some of the ointment on the lump." She looked up at the Headmaster. "Dumbledore, if I may have a word please."

They walked some distance away, but Severus could still hear them. He heard exactly what he was expecting to.

"Someone has beaten him, haven't they?" Dumbledore began.

"Often." Madame Medora agreed. "We might have the Ministry look into his family life."

"I will see to it. Discretely. His father is highly placed." Dumbledore sighed. "We will see. At least he is here now."

Severus busied himself with the ointment as he listened. He daubed it on the most painful of his bruises before replacing his shirt and lifting his trouser leg. The cool cream eased the ache immediately.

'Funny,' he mused to himself, 'how you don't notice how painful something is until it stops hurting.'

Flavius stopped Severus in the corridor two weeks after classes started.

"So, apparently, with this whole rival house thing going on, we are not destined to be best friends." Flavius observed awkwardly.

"That is indeed the way it seems." Severus said solemnly.

"I guess we'll just have to settle for 'sworn enemies' then." Flavius grinned.

"I think we could manage that." Severus agreed, nodding slightly. "I shall begin by commenting upon your abnormally large nose." Neither face nor voice betrayed any emotion.

"I shall continue by observing that your own nose would be more suited to a bird of prey." Flavius said calmly. "And by advising to wash your hair at the earliest opertunity."

"Oh, so close to home." Severus placed a calm hand over his heart. "Shall I move on to insulting your family, or shall we call it a day?"

"I think we had better quit while we each think we are ahead." Flavius decided, visably trying not to smile.

"Hey, Flame!" A voice down the corridor called.

Both boys winced.

"Come on, Flame, or we will be late to class." Another voice called.

"Coming, James, Peter. Just insulting a Slytherin." He gave Severus one last grin before rushing off.

Severus watched them go with churning emotions, although his only expression was a slight upward tilt to the corner of his mouth.

Author's note: I am not planning to do much more in their first year. This was intended as a flashback for The West End of Reasonable, but it sort of got longer. I am planning more Flavius and Severus stories. I am new to all this so please review to help me make it better. Please.

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