His body slammed the cold, wet grass mercilessly. Sitting up, he growled in pain and then looked around him. Hogsmeade was dark and quiet already. Not quite the beginning I would have liked, he thought, attempting to right his clothes. It was of no use, however, they were fairly sopping wet. His head was pounding, his body shaking with cold and the after-effects of the attack. He cringed slightly, furrowing his brow deeply, as he attempted to stand up. After a few moments passed, he allowed himself to fall back down to the ground on his knees, huffing and muttering swears under his breath. He put his hand down to theh ground again, in preparation for his second attempt at standing, but instead he was yanked clear off the ground by the neck of his sweater.
"Couldn't manage to just take the train, could you?"
The cold, deep voice cut right through him, before the source of the voice grabbed his upper arm and wheeled him around to face him.
He met the black eyes for a moment, before he was pushed forward towards the path to Hogwarts.
Coming to Hogwarts
The last first year student happily joined the Ravenclaw table to the cheers of her new housemates. Professor McGonagall looked at the parchment most perplexed and then looked back to Dumbledore, her eyes peering over her spectacles.
"We have one more name on our list and no one here that belongs to it," she said catching Dumbledore's attention.
At that moment Professor Snape strode in irritably, slamming the large wooden doors against the wall as he had thrust them open with such force, his black robes spreading out behind him. His eyebrows met in the middle of his face he was frowning so deeply.
"I've found him, headmaster," he announced loudly, to the entire hall.
Everyone turned to stare as a tall boy followed Snape into the hall. He definitely did not look like a first year. He was lean and tall; he had to have been the better part of five and a half feet tall, which was too tall for an eleven year old. He even did not look much like a Hogwart's student. It appeared he hadn't even changed into his robes. He wore a black woolen sweater with a high neck and rather loose khaki pants with cargo pockets adorning them. His black shoes, or rather boots, looked as if they had lost a fight with a puddle.
"Wicked, did you see his hair," bellowed Ron, elbowing Harry.
Harry raised an eyebrow and smiled slightly, not taking his eyes off the stranger.
"Hmm, looks like another Slytherin if you ask me," answered Hermione shaking her head at his appearance. "From the fact that Professor Snape had to find him, I suppose that's where he is likely to go."
She looked away from her friends for a moment and eyed the boy. Too bad, she thought, he is rather cute. She frowned. There would be no way that she could say anything of the sort around Ron and Harry, one hang-up of not having close female friends.
The newcomer quickened to catch up to Snape, who threw him a sneer over his shoulder. Ron had been talking about the boy's jet black hair which had been ladden with frosty bits of blonde on the top, Hermione noted. It certainly was a new sight for Hogwarts students who were mystified by the gel and slightly messy hairdo.
"Didn't Snape wear a sweater like that during our last Quidditch game last year?" Harry asked, trying to surpress his smile.
Ron snickered at Harry's joke and Hermione nodded grinning as well.
"I think he did Harry!"
Dumbledore rose as the Professor and newcomer neared the front. His lush robes spread out around him, making him look even more impressive.
"Ahh good, good Severus you've found him," the headmaster said with a sigh of relief.
Harry wondered why the headmaster seemed relieved. It was not as if the man would be concerned if a student had decided not to come. That was not such a strange occurance. Harry concentrated even more on the situation in front of him.
The potions master turned again to deliver a well placed glare at the boy before he hissed at him, "You will speak with me before you leave." His upper lip curled into something resembling a snarl.
Looking unphased, which shocked most other students, the young boy only nodded, a strange look of confidence playing on his face. "Surely, sir."
Dumbledore smiled slightly at the young man. "Did you arrive okay? We were worried when you did not arrive with the other students."
The boy shrugged in response. "I, er, had one of my, well, things sir. You know." He shifted looking, for the first time, a bit unsure.
All around him he heard mutterings of "Things, what things" and "Bit odd, isn't he?" Snape stared at him, dark and cold as always. He shifted his weight and held his chin up a little higher.
"Ahh yes, ahh yes," the old man mumbled back ignoring the students and rubbing his chin thoughtfully, "Well, no matter, you look none the worse and your delay was only slight."
Dumbledore then rapped on his cup as Snape strode to his place and sat down, "I know everyone is anxious to get to the feast, but I have some things which I would like to address about our newcomer here. As you can tell, he is too old to be a first year, and he is not a first year. He has some, well…" He paused slightly to choose the proper word, "…things… which have made it impossible for him to come here before now. He has been tutored at home and we are going to place him into the 3rd year with whichever house he is sorted into. I hope that you all will make him feel welcome."
A few whispers of "got to be Slytherin" were heard. Then Ron Weasley said, "Even Dumbledore thinks he's a bit odd, and that is saying something. Did you see the look on his face? He didn't even know what to say. The things he's talking about, I mean, do you think he could be a vampire or something?"
"Ron! Really!" Hermione said disapprovingly.
The tall, dark-haired boy looked around, but not betraying an emotion on his face. His thin, but athletic looking frame stood steadfast to the spot. His dark eyelashes framed his intense blue eyes, which were not missing a things going on around him.
At Dumbledore's request he walked up the few steps and sat on the frumpy stool. He felt ridiculus as the sorting hat was put on his head. It felt to him as if the hat jerked around with surprise a few times before speaking to him as if in his head.
"Ahhh! Such power and pure blood. Ancient wizarding families from both Slytherin and Gryffindor. Both a Malfoy," the hat paused, "ahhhh and a Potter…but there is something more that lies dormant…"
The hat continued, "And that third part of your family, the strongest yet, no doubt had an effect on you as well. No mother or father. Hmm. But where do you belong? You give me no easy answer," the hat continued is Sage's head, "Most important is where I put you and I must be sure, Slytherin or Gryffindor. Where will your best traits endure?"
The young man looked towards McGonagall, "Professor, does this usually take this, err, long?"
"Patience, patience dear boy." She assured him.
"It should only be another moment Mr. Malfoy-Potter," Dumbledore said offering an encouraging smile.
Gasps were suddenly heard around the great hall. Draco smirked at Crabbe and Goyle, sticking his nose up in the air like always.
"A Potter, but I thought Harry was the only Potter left. And a MALFOY?" came from the Ravenclaw table and "Malfoy and Potter," heard from the other side from the Hufflepuff table.
The boy's icey blue eyes looked away again and stared forward. He felt like a spectacle and the whispering had not yet stopped or lulled. "Potter??? Malfoy??? Is that even possible?" he heard around him from the Gryffindor table. The hat did not seem like it wanted to continue. He sat transfixed onto the stool wondering what would happen if the hat just did not sort him. What if he had to wear it around until it did? He looked up at Professor McGonagall. He wanted very badly to let some ill-mannered retort leave his mouth, but settled on the fact that it would be obviously far from proper. Instead he growled slightly to himself, folding his arms across his chest. He did not want to invoke the wrath of Professor Snape any more than he already had.
Then the hat moved again. His eyes looked up at the brim just as it burst out, "Gryffindor!"
Everyone certainly was whispering again. No doubt they were surprised. They had his dark haired, light skinned, blue-eyed self destined for Slytherin. After-all he just looked like one: a strong stare, piercing eyes, an aura of cold confidence surrounding him. Had there ever been a Malfoy not go to Slytherin? No one seemed to think so. Draco looked rather shocked. The hat was lifted from his head and he slowly got up looking slightly perplexed. Gryffindor? He, in Gryffindor? His uncle would be far from pleased; the man had thought it much more likely that he be in Slytherin or Ravenclaw.
Feeling rather insecure, but looking rather smug, he ran a hand through his short spikey hair. He was a little put off by the lack-luster Gryffindor applause and the murmurs of the crowd. When he finally reached the table the first years looked at him like he was the plague. Doubtless his appearance was a little scary to them.
He met another glower from Snape and a smile from both Dumbledore and McGonagall before the food thankfully rescued him from stares.
As the students clammered out of the hall, he could hear a tall red-haired Gryffindor boy yell, "Gryffindors this way, follow me and do try to keep up." He winced, the voice was the epitome of annoying. If that kid said a word to him, he was likely to lose it. The boy seemed to think himself utterly important.
He stood with his hands shoved into his pockets and leaned against the table while the last few students left and the footsteps faded away into various directions. Once they were gone, he looked up towards Professor Snape, who had told him not to leave. He offered him a slight smile, laced with undertones of conviction. Then he reflected that he had never been around this many people before. It wasn't so bad, even if they were staring, pointing, and talking about him as if he were both blind and deaf. Snape waved him over while staring at him critically. The man's thin, pale lips were drawn tightly in what was probably frustration. Again the young man walked up the stairs, but this time stopping before Snape. He felt like no less of a spectacle than he had before. Professor Snape's eyes held more potence in them than the entire student body of Hogwarts. It would be disrespectful to look away, so he didn't. He did, however, self-consciously pull his hands out of his pockets.
He looked incredibly easy for being in front of Severus Snape. Anybody, even if they did not know him well, was intimidated by him. The sight of him was enough to inspire intimidation. The man was tall, sneering, and had a glare that could make someone pass out. Well, if that someone was Neville Longbottom.
"Get rid of that hair," he ordered and as always Snape's voice commanded attention.
The young man shrugged, but he tested the waters carefully, "You don't like it then, sir?"
Professor Snape grabbed him by the collar nearly pulling him over the table, "It's improper. I said get rid of it. Dye it, trim it, or I'll cut it off for you!"
Sage let out a huff of air as his stomach hit the edge of the table, nearly knocking dinner right out of him.
"Severus," exclaimed a plump witch to his left in admonishion.
Snape flashed her a look that jammed her up midsentence. He was not about to ease his grip on the boy's collar. The boy might not have ended up in Slytherin, but he needed a Slytherin hand and Snape was not in the business of tolerance. The boy was talented and testy, and Snape already had it in his mind that those talents would not waste away in his least preferred house.
The boy, however, seemed fairly calm at the potion master's display, "I will change it straight away, sir."
"Good." Snape muttered releasing him from his grip, but not releasing him from his glower.
The boy stood there with a tight look on his face, definitely rivaling Snape's. He reached up to his hair with a pale hand, moved it back and forth over his head twice, and from root to tip his hair changed straight back to being ebony black. Suddenly everyone at the head table was staring at him and not at Snape, as they had been. Self-conscious, he shoved his hands back into his pocket and his face went completely blank.
"I'm sorry," he said, "Am I not supposed to do stuff like that?"
Snape looked as if he was about to tell him off again, but Dumbledore interjected, his eyes twinkling, before Snape had the chance. "No, no quite all right, Sage. That is why you are here afterall, to learn how to use what gifts you have. What kind of a school would we be if you could not use those talents that you already possess."
Sage looked hesitantly at the tall, pale, black-haired man. He feared he was still in danger of receiving a strong lecture. They shared eye contact for a few moments before they were interrupted. It was communication enough however, for Sage to know that he ought to be more reserved.
"Brilliant!" Professor McGonagall said looking at the boy warmly.
Snape cast her one of his poison glares as well and one back to the thin boy standing in front of him for good measure. Severus Snape was not one to treat anyone specially because of what they were, and he certainly hated it when others did so despite him. Sage might be special but he merited no special treatment, just like Prince Potter merited nothing he received either.
"Do not forget, Headmaster, these powers that he has are very advanced for him to handle and he is dangerous," Snape put in, verbalizing his irritation, and giving Dumbledore his least severe sneer. "Which is why he could not come here before now. I am not enough convinced that he truly should be here now. Take care to remember that he is not that advanced with his powers." His tone was deep, strong, and reverberating.
"Oh Severus, he is just a boy. If he doesn't use them, he will never be able to control them," Dumbledore answered in a chidding voice.
Sage looked from one to the other as Snape tried to keep himself from looking outright ravenous. But, as always, Snape was not done with his tirade yet.
"At the least, he should not use them haphazardly. Whatever he has learned, he has learned under a focused and controlled environment. Hogwarts is neither focused nor controlled. We wouldn't want any of his fellow Gryffindor's to get hurt." Snape said these last words with a sour and fake sincerity.
Dumbledore looked over his half-moon spectacles as he usually did to make a point. "And, with you having taught him all that he knows, Severus, I am sure he has the sense to know when to use them and when not to use them?" The words were placed together carefully and slowly.
Snape crossed his arms and scowled loudly. With this Dumbledore looked to Sage for an answer to his question.
Sage, quite unsure of where his loyalties should lie, looked back to Professor Snape. He was quite sure his loyalties lied with the man who had taught him, but he did not want to upset Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard alive, on his first fay at Hogwarts. Sage could not catch his mentor's glance, however, as Snape was involved in a staring contest with the headmaster. Snape let out an angry huff of air towards Dumbledore and finally also looked at Sage.
All eyes now staring at him, Sage shifted uneasily, but still keeping his face calm and composed. Something he was well practiced at.
"Well?" Dumbledore asked him again, a smile playing on his face.
Sage put his hands in his pocket once more, "Er, Professor Snape has taught me very well, sir. I can only say that my intention is to live up to his expectations," He looked cautiously to Professor Snape and then corners of his mouth turned up slightly with satisfaction.
With this answer Dumbledore laughed heartily, his beard bouncing on his chest. Snape glared at him and looked ready to blow smoke out his nose. It seemed as if the old wizard was making fun at his teaching skills. He had not thought the boy's answer so funny. Snape had thought it quite proper for once. After having to tutor the boy for the last years at the request of the ministry, Severus knew that Sage's mouth leaned toward impropriety with some frequency.
"See Severus!" Dumbledore exclaimed once he stopped laughing, "I will have no more of you telling me he could do better. He came up with the one answer which would make both you and I happy. Sage, hmm, you quite live up to your name boy," Dumbledore chortled, "wise, intelligent, and clever. He is quite academic as well, very easy to see that you have invested much effort in teaching him, Severus."
Snape crossed his arms at once, pissed that Dumbledore had noted the irony in Sage's answer that he had not. He did not notice the compliment that the headmaster had paid him as a kind of token prize.
That night was no better for Sage. By the time he had managed to escape the professors, who had insisted upon having many words with him before he was shown where the Gryffindor dorms were, everyone else was unpacked and sitting comfortably around the common room. It was not exactly what he had wanted to see, tens of pairs of eyes watching him, when he walked in with McGonagall closely following him.
"You are to have your own room for, well, obvious reasons," she told him while glancing around at all of her students. She was trying to discourage them from trying to evesdrop.
Obviously, he thought, no one quite knows how to talk about anything pertaining to me. Everybody is going to think I'm a freak with the way all the professors talk all secretively about me. Of course, he knew the reasons why he had to have his own room.
McGonagall continued, "You'll be to the left. You will find all of your things there already. Class schedules will be handed out tomorrow at breakfast. I believe you've picked out your extra classes, so you should be all caught up. Have a good night dear." Then she left him standing there with a room full of faces that were trying not to stare or who were staring but were trying to look like they were not.
Ron was peering around the corner of his Chudley Cannons "Players and Statistics Through the Times" book. Harry was pretending to polish his Nimbus. Neville was poking Trevor the toad. And Seamus, of course, was trying for the millionth time to turn water into Rum. Hermione, however, walked right up to him and held out her hand. Sage, not too sure of it, took it reluctantly. It would not be right to be rude to the girl.
"Hello, I'm Hermione Granger. I am in third year too."
He stared at her momentarily. She looked so young, but very sincere. Sage was not used to such an innocent look. He was not used to girls either. He released her hand hurriedly, jarred by the touch.
"Sage, uh, Malfoy-Potter," he replied hastily, but with a touch of disfamiliarity.
Hermione looked up curiously, but obviously, to shy away from the topic of his last name. She frowned, her eyes peering at his hair, "What happened to your hair. It wasn't all black earlier tonight. It was quite, well, different."
Sage shrugged roughly, "Professor Snape didn't like it. Or my earring for that matter. He told me to get rid of the frosted hair or he would cut it all off."
He seemed very uncomfortable, she noted. His movements had seemed very fluid earlier, and now seemed rather forced and jerky.
"You dyed it that quick then?" She said confused.
Sage shifted uneasily. His heart began to beat faster, but then he forced it to calm down. He was in control and he did not have to reveal anything that he did not want to. There was no reason for her to know the answer to that question, and she also seemed to be rather pushy and nosey. Sage was not used to questions, especially ones of a more personal nature.
"Er, not exactly… I have some work to do, so I'm going to go find my room and get some of my things." With that he started walking toward the stairs on the left-hand side.
His heart started to beat softer as he walked away. He inhaled through his nose and felt his muscles relax. He was thankful to be away from conversation.
"We haven't even had classes yet. How can you have any work?"
He turned back, his face colder and his words sharper, "Why don't you tell Professor Snape that then, when you have never had a potions class in your life and have been taught from home, he doesn't really care if it's summer or not."
He stalked off upstairs. He wondered exactly why he had lost it a little, but he guessed it was because he was not used to 20 questions and had never been that used to other people his own age or even been around many people his own age. He had lived a very solitary life and was not used to people being overly social. People of his background were not generally conversationalists.
"You don't have to snap, you know," she called after him.
She sat down next to Ron, who put down his book, and Harry who put down his polish. They did not need to pretend that they were not paying attention anymore. Harry raised an eyebrow. This boy might be related to him? If he was, Harry was not in a hurry to find out, especially after his harsh words had smacked Hermione straight across the face. The boy had definitely declared an extreme amount of independence that Harry was not in a hurry to violate.
"Well, we know he's got more Malfoy than Potter from that," Ron volunteered, interrupting Harry's thoughts.
Hermione shrugged, "You two should both know what it's like to have Professor Snape breathing down your back. And you'd be a little crabby after that too."
"Ohh give over Hermione, he should be in Slytherin. I mean, a Malfoy in Gryffindor? That's just crazy. A Malfoy, for Merlin's sake. He'll be cursing half of us by next week."
"The hat can't be wrong, Ron. Anyway, he is related to Harry. He cannot be as bad as Malfoy."
Harry finally joined the conversation, "I don't see how we can be related, I mean, I only have the Dursley's, I haven't heard of any other relatives. If I had wizarding relatives Dumbledore surely would have stuck me with them. He cannot be related to me. Do you really think any Potters would marry Malfoys. Maybe it's a different Potter?"
Ron chuckled, "Yeah, I'm sure there are lots of pureblood Potter's out there that aren't related to you! Come on now, Harry."
"Ron's right, Harry. You should know that there are not many shared last names in unrelated people in the wizarding world. It isn't like the muggle world. Maybe you should ask him, Harry," Hermione piped in. "He's new afterall. We shouldn't just assume what his personality is like."
"We all saw what happened after you asked him a few questions. Almost bit your head of like Snape does. That's evidence of being worthy of Slytherin to me."
Harry laughed at Ron's statement and nodded to Hermione.
"It does not mean he is not a person, Ron. Perhaps he is not used to being around so many people."
Sage looked around his room. Four poster bed with scarlet sheets and covers. He found his trunk on the other side of the bed and a bunch of clothes beside it. He chuckled to himself about the scarlet and gold tie and the Gryffindor patch on his school robes. Gods, Gryffindor! I bet my uncle is having a heart attack right about now. He opened the trunk and removed a few books, notebooks, and a black leather shoulder bag. Quickly, he found a very thick, very old potions book and stuffed it in the bag with some parchment and a notebook. Next, "Advanced Latin for Wizarding" was tossed into the bag. Satisfied, he picked up the bag and went downstairs to the common room to find somewhere that had a little more light.
Nobody was at the study tables, as no one had anything to study but him. He let the bag down onto the table with a thump and took out the contents of the bag, being careful not to get ink all over the place. Gryffindors all around were staring at him. Especially the boy with the odd glasses and the red-haired kid that had made a comment on his hair that he had overheard in the Great Hall. He had a lot of work to do before tomorrow.
He probably should not have spent so much time in Diagon Alley, and he definitely should not have gone into muggle-London afterwards. His uncle had made it quite clear that muggle territory was off-limits to him and he usually listened to his uncle, but even he got bored sometimes doing nothing but studying.
The first time he had decided to sneak off and go into muggle London, it was not hard to meet some people and make friends. When he had come home quite inebriated and high to find his uncle staring at him the second he apparated, he had been absolutely mortified. Not to mention convinced that his uncle was going to curse him into the next century. Now, his uncle had trusted him to go to Diagon Alley by himself to gather some money and buy his school things, and he had violated that trust. He shouldn't have done it either, this time, he had ended up convulsing in a gutter because of his desire to get away for a little while. His uncle would certainly be given him a stern lecture the next time they were alone in a room together, but now that he was at Hogwarts perhaps he could avoid that for awhile.
Coming back to reality, he had a sneaking feeling that Professor Snape knew that he had transgressed by going into muggle London instead of staying in Diagon Alley. Afterall, Snape knew him well, he had tutored him since he was seven years old. While in London, he did have an attack (one of his things as he had told Dumbledore), and he knew that Snape would know from the state he was in when he found him that he had been telling the truth. But, Snape always had a way of knowing all matter of things, and he had helped him figure it all out by getting his hair dyed and his ear pierced while there. Those were not common wizarding things to do, so there was a slim to none chance that he had those things done in Diagon Alley. There would be no hiding his little infraction from the potions master. In addition, confounding everything, he had not finished the work that the professor had demanded of him the week before and he would be in trouble if it was not done.
No sooner had he opened the advanced latin book, than he felt a presence over his shoulder. He looked up. That same bushy haired girl from before. Great, I'll have to stay up all night to get this done with her questions.
"Latin, but we don't take that here," she said.
Sage grimaced and bit back his tongue slightly. He needed to work, not talk, and he had never had that problem before.
"Well, I still have to study it, regardless of what they feel is compulsory here. My uncle believes that you cannot be a well educated wizard without being extremely proficient in the language," he answered, not looking up from the book.
"But who assigned that to you," she persisted as only Hermione can.
Sage stared at her with his piercing eyes, blue though they were.
"All right, fine, I'll play the little questions game." He slammed the book shut. "Professor Snape assigned it to me. He has been tutoring me from my home since I was a child, seven to be exact, at the request of the ministry. My parents are dead. I don't have the time to go into my life history so that you'll understand. Except for potions, I'm really quite versed in all areas of magical learning. Professor Snape is no easy teacher, as I'm sure you know, he's quite demanding. If I do not have this weeks work done tomorrow, he'll give me days of torturous detention since he now has that ability over me. So, if you'll excuse me. I'm in quite a foul mood and don't mean to be, but I have three days worth of work to do and only one night to do it in." With that he opened the book and stared back down at it, picking up his quill. Then he muttered under his breath, so that only he could hear, "I have no time for silly little girls."
Hermione closed her mouth, which had opened in shock, and walked away.