Disclaimer: The characters in this story and the universe in which they exist is sole property of J K Rowling. This fic is only created to keep its author amused and she receives no profit from its publication.

Chapter 1 – The New Kid

A lone figure sat in silence within a compartment of the Hogwarts Express, watching with dark, fathomless eyes the nearby trees racing the slower moving hills in the distance. He was reminded of his own country whose hills would be covered in thick vines with ripening grapes and his lips turned up slightly at the corners at the memory. It was his first trip alone outside of France and though he was nervous at the thought of going to a new school, leaving all of his friends at Beaux Batons behind, he couldn't deny the excitement of a new beginning. He had always felt some odd affinity with the island across the channel and was happy when his mother finally relented, allowing him to complete his education abroad. He was going to Hogwarts, the best school in the wizarding world and winner of the Tri-Wizard Tournament just two years ago.

The sleek feathered raven in the cage over his head squawked once, titling its head sideways to peer at its master, with its beady, yellow eyes, fluttering its wings in impatience. "I know, Renoir," the new student spoke softly, reaching up his right hand to brush his fingers against the cage, allowing the bird to grasp them with its beak, "I'll let you out soon, I promise."

He glanced toward the compartment door, startled, as it opened and a girl a few years younger peered in, "Sorry," she said, pink faced, "I didn't realize this one was taken."

"Mad--" But before he could tell her that she could join him, she had slid the door closed amidst a flurry of girlish giggles in the corridor. When the door opened once more, he looked up to find a different student of his own age, with what appeared to be two of her friends behind her.

"Sorry, but could we sit here? Everywhere else is full."

He nodded amiably, and gestured for them to come in, offering a small smile to the wavy-haired girl and her companions.

"You're new here, aren't you? I haven't seen you before," the girl noted as she placed her belongings into the storage compartment. As she sat, she introduced herself, "I'm Hermione Granger and these are my friends, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter."

"Julius DeVere, "the new student replied, extending his hand to Hermione, Ron, and Harry in turn. When he reached Harry, he asked the bespeckled boy with curiosity, "you're not, the Harry Potter, are you?" a bit surprised at hearing the name, his swarthy gaze automatically lifting with interest to search for the scar.

"Yeah," Harry said, a bit shy, and lifted a hand to brush his disheveled black hair to conceal his forehead, not really comfortable showing his scar off.

"You're from France?" Hermione queried, changing the subject, seeing Harry's discomfort and noting Julius's accent. "Did you go to Beaux Batons?"

"Yes to both," he replied, nodding with a smile, "but I will finish my education at Hogwarts. Tell me; is it true that it is haunted?"

The red-headed boy, Ron, laughed at his question, "Yeah, but most of the ghosts aren't too bad. It's Peeves you've got to look out for. Bloody pest, that one."

The hours seemed to pass by quickly as Julius acquainted himself with his compartment mates, and as the train pulled into Hogsmeade Station, they all reached for their belongings and shuffled out into the crowded corridor. The cool night breeze rustled the leaves of the nearby trees as the crowded platform organized itself into small groups toward the carriages that would bring the students up to Hogwarts Castle.

"Come on, Julius," Hermione called to the new dark-haired student, clasping his hand in her own. "You can ride with us."

The warmth of her hand enveloped the coolness of Julius's own, and he smiled, thinking that the transition to his new school might not be as hard as he originally thought. Following Hermione, Harry and Ron, they found an unoccupied carriage and settled their things for the last leg of their journey.

Entering the expansive foyer about fifteen minutes later and placing their luggage against the wall, they were greeted by Professor McGonagall, standing near the doors to the Great Hall in her customary green robes, awaiting her most recent batch of first-years. She smiled warmly at her returning Gryffindors and as her gaze drifted to the unfamiliar student beside them, she nodded. "Mr. DeVere, I presume. Welcome to Hogwarts." Turning her eyes back to Hermione, Ron and Harry, she said," into the Hall, you three, the sorting will begin shortly. Mr. DeVere, if you would please stay with me, you will need to be sorted into your new house as well."

Hermione smiled with encouragement, "It isn't that bad, really. Perhaps we will see you later."

"Good Luck," Harry stated as he smiled before stepping through the doors into the Hall.

"Just hope you're not in Slytherin," Ron added with a wink as he followed his friends. "Then I would have to hate you, mate."

Julius smiled and waved to the three Gryffindors, though his stomach churned in its deepest pits. He hadn't given it much thought really, which house he would belong to. He hoped he would end up with a good bunch.

As the first-years made their way toward the doors to the Great Hall, he felt out of place. They all seemed so young (had he ever been that short?). He felt like Gulliver amongst the tiny Lilliputians.

McGonagall finished giving instructions on the sorting and the large oak doors to the Great Hall swung open silently upon their well-turned hinges. Julius was nearly floored by the grandeur of the cavernous room, and found himself goggling like the rest of the first-years at the ceiling above, as they were guided like sheep down between the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables. Only at Hogwarts could a student expect to see the moon casting its silvery light down upon their heads from the rafters of the roof, gliding between nebulous clouds. The staff table loomed as they approached the dais, a lone stool with a dusty, battered hat sitting a few feet in front of the line of professors.

As they gathered before the chair, shuffling , unnerved from all eyes watching them, Professor McGonagall began, "When I call your name, you will sit on the stool, place the sorting hat upon your head and learn to which house you have been assigned. Your house will become your family for the rest of your stay at this school." Adjusting her square-rimmed glasses, she peered down to the list and called the first name.

Julius used this time to steal glances at the students at the four tables that ran the length of the Hall. Hermione, Harry and Ron were all seated at the table at his far right, cheering for the latest addition to their fold: a thin blond girl named Amanda Pierce. They must be Gryffindors, he thought quietly, for that was the name that the hat announced. His dark eyes traveled to the table to his far left where a surly lot jeered the young girl, making some rather rude gestures. A frown slid along his lips as he realised that it was the Slytherin table and understood now why Ron would hate him if he was chosen for that lot. He didn't care much for them either at first glance.

The sorting of the first-years was completed quite quickly and McGonagall gestured for Julius to stand beside her. "I would like to introduce a new student who is joining us from Beaux Baton Academy in France, Mr. Julius DeVere."

At the sound of the name a bit of a mishap occurred as one of the professors spilt coffee on his long black robes. With haste the man with inky, black hair and a hooked nose mopped up what he could with his ebony wand, muttering a curse to himself and motioning for McGonagall to continue with a deep scowl.

McGonagall raised her brows in amusement at her colleague and turned back to the assembly of students, clearing her throat. "Mr. DeVere is a sixth year student and will be completing the last two years of his education here at Hogwarts. Please make him welcome." The stern deputy headmistress gestured for him to sit on the stool and placed the tattered hat upon his head, looking over his shoulder to shoot a glare at Professor Snape.

Julius felt like a fly under a microscope as the hat muttered inside his head, picking apart his talents and personality. The students at all four tables were craning their heads over each other, watching him as well, wondering which house he would be allotted to and what kind of person he was. But nowhere did he feel more watched than from behind him, a prickling sensation coursing up his spine, which he fought off as best he could.

Severus Snape watched the boy before him with undisguised interest, his murky eyes boring into the back of the boy's head as he rubbed his leg where the spilt coffee burned, his temper smoldering.

"Ravenclaw!" the hat exclaimed. A cheer rose from the table to his closest left and Julius rose to greet his new housemates. Harry, Ron and Hermione were applauding as well, smiles on their faces as he turned to look at them, so he figured that meant they could still be friends. He was surprised at the welcome he received and was quickly engulfed in conversation with his new family.

"Aren't you the popular one," said Bradley, the Ravenclaw Quidditch Captain, nodding towards the Hufflepuff table behind Julius. The new sixth- year turned with a measured nonchalance in the direction Bradley noted and his eyes met a group of fourth-years who suddenly blushed and giggled, caught staring. Giving them a bright smile which only encouraged them further, he turned back towards his own table to find the others rolling their eyes in mirth.

"We'll have to start calling you Casanova," chimed Anthony Goldstein to the laughter of his friends as he chose a pork chop from a plate, reaching in front of Bradley.

"Say, you don't play Quidditch, do you DeVere?" Bradley queried, playfully pushing Goldstein away and looking with hope to his new housemate. "We lost Roger Davies, our old Captain to graduation and could use a new Chaser."

"I used to play for my old school," Julius replied, excited that he might be able to continue on with the sport, "I'd love to give it a go."

"Great!" Bradley smiled. "Tryouts are this Friday at 5pm sharp. Make sure you're there."

"I will be," Julius returned, and allowed his dark-eyed gaze to travel up once more to the head table. He noticed another swarthy gaze that had been aimed at him moved away immediately, its owner turning to speak to a professor of short stature and white balding hair. Leaning towards Michael Corner, he asked, "who is that professor, the one at the end on the left, talking to the short one?"

"Ah, DeVere, my boy. Meet Professor Snape, our illustrious Potions Master. Doubt you'll ever find anyone nastier in your life than he."

"That's for sure," added Goldstein, between mouthfuls. "Can you believe he gave me detention once just for saying 'Good Morning'?"

"Yeah, and he'll take points off your house for just breathing in the wrong direction," said Bradley. "Watch out for him. Best just to keep to yourself, not speak unless you're spoken to and all that rot."

"I'll have to remember that," Julius replied, his attention once more upon the dark-haired man, only to find him yet again looking his way. Snape's eyes did not move this time, however, and merely answered Julius's glance with a glare and scowl."

"These guys aren't giving you any trouble, are they?" said a voice from behind the new Ravenclaw.

Turning to look about, Julius smiled and was about to say 'hello' when one of his table-mates called, "Well, look who it is, the infamous Gryffindor trio. Come to surrender the Quidditch Cup already, Harry, Ron?"

Harry, Ron, and Hermione laughed, smirking, and sat down in an empty spot at the table next to Julius. "Not without a fight, Bradley; we expect another winning year. Guess you're looking for someone to replace Davies, huh?" asked Harry.

"Yeah, but we have some great prospects. Seems your friend DeVere here was a seasoned player from Beaux Baton's," Bradley announced, gesturing to Julius.

"You play?" asked Ron, with wide eyes. "Cool!"

"We'll have to come watch you try out!" Hermione exclaimed with a heartening smile.

"You may have to fight for seats in the stands," remarked Goldstein, "Casanova here already seems to have a fan club."

They all laughed and talked until the feast drew to its end nearly an hour later when Ron and Hermione excused themselves to escort the first years to Gryffindor Tower. Harry said his good-byes shortly after, leaving Julius to be shown to his quarters by his housemates. All in all, Julius was happy he had come.

A knock sounded upon the large, ornately carved door to Professor Dumbledore's office early the next morning and before the headmaster could say 'Enter', the tall dark figure of Professor Snape strode within, his shadowy robes swirling about him like a black tornado. The Potions Master's mood had not improved from the previous night and as he moved towards Dumbledore's desk, the headmaster could see the anger reflected in his eyes. "Now Severus..." the older man began, only to be cut off by the younger.

"Why wasn't I told?" Snape stormed at his superior, forgetting his usual deference towards the headmaster, his fists clenching at his sides as he paced in irritation. Long articulate fingers combed through the greasy- looking strands of his hair as he finally sat heavily into a chair, his customary cool collectedness thrown by the wayside. "Why is he here?"

"Severus, if you will just... "

"I sent them away," Snape continued on, his voice trembling with fury, his right elbow propped against the armrest, his hand covering his eyes, "to be safe; to be away from me." With a look of disgust upon his ashen features, he added almost as a whisper," away from what I am... and what I do."

"What you were... and did," replied Dumbledore, his blue eyes casting a gaze of consolation towards potions professor.

"What I am, "dark eyes glared with menacing finality towards the old man behind the desk as Snape's hand dropped to his lap. "My master may have changed, but I have not. Why is he here?"

The headmaster rose from his chair behind the desk and made his way around towards the other side, sitting in the twin of the one Snape currently occupied. "With Voldemort at large once more, "Dumbledore began, "Alessandre thought it best that he come to Hogwarts. She thought he would be safer..."

"Safer..." Severus muttered to himself, shaking his head in dismay. "Sending him into this hotbed of hatred-- "

"Alessandre," Dumbledore intoned, looking down at his aged hands crossed in his lap, "your wife, is dying, Severus." The old man let his blue eyes lift to the fathomless dark pools of his colleague.

"Dying... "Snape was too shocked to say anything else, his ashen face that usually hid his emotions so well, betraying him with his concern.

"She had no one else to entrust him to, Severus. You can see why now, she thought it best to send him here. He does not know that you--"

"That I am his father?" Snape finished, his anger slowly subsiding to be replaced tiredness, acceptance of the circumstances, and concern. "It is far better for him that he not know. The Dark Lord is not aware that I have a living son, and if he did... " He sighed then, saying more to himself than anyone else, "I haven't seen my son in fifteen years. Julius was just over a year when the Potters were killed and I sent them to France. He is a stranger to me in all but blood."

"I know it has been and will be difficult for you, Severus," the headmaster confided, his fingers steepled before his lips. "He cannot be treated any differently than the rest of the students."

"I will not treat him differently," the potions master replied. As dark eyes glazed over with memories of his own days at Hogwarts, he added, "I just hope that the other students won't."