Alex went up to the Defense class with Blaise following behind him. They were the first to get there, thanks to the shortcut, and his father was behind the desk reading.

"First day and you're already showing my son the shortcuts, Mr. Zabini?" Severus asked without looking up from the book.

"Yes, sir. He should know them if he's to be a proper Slytherin." Blaise said, smirking slightly.

"Indeed. Since you are the first ones here you should start reading your textbooks. I do hope Miss Granger doesn't show our House up again in this class." Severus said, looking pointedly at Blaise who looked down.

They followed Snape's advice and started reading their books for the fifteen minutes it took the others to get there. Alex was only able to look up at Hermione as she gave him a slight smile when she passed by.

"That's Hermione Granger, she's a muggleborn and one of the best students in the school." Blaise said, noticing that he had looked at her.

Severus chose that moment to enter from his office, which he had disappeared into moments before.

"You have had interrupted instruction in this class ranging from Quirrel, to Lockhart, to Umbridge. I am loath to admit that the only two instructors you have learned anything from would have to be Lupin and the Death Eater impersonating Moody. You must learn to defend yourselves as best as you can for what is waiting out there. Today we will be starting with practical dueling. The spells you may use are all on the parchment on your desks. Find yourself a partner and begin." Severus said lazily, waving his hand and sitting behind his desk again.

"Partners?" Blaise asked.

"Sure. Let's see what spells we can use." Alex said, unfolding the parchment.

The spells accepted during this practical session are:

Accio

Aguamenti

Avis Oppugno

Confringo

Confundo

Densaugeo

Diffindo

Engorgio

Expelliarmus

Flagrate

Furnunculus

Impedimenta

Impervius

Incarcerous

Inflomora

Locomotor Mortis

Obscuro

Oppugno

Petrificus Totalus

Protego

Protego Horribilis

Reducio

Reducto

Relashio

Rictumsempra

Salvio Hexia

Serpensortia

Stupefy

Tarantellagra

Waddiwasi

Wingardium Leviosa

If you do not know some of these spells we will review them later on in the year.

"Wow, that's a lot of curses."

"I don't know most of them." Blaise said, shaking his head.

"Let's start dueling." Alex said, hoping his father wouldn't come over at that moment.

"Rictumsempra!" Blaise shouted.

"Petrificus Totalus!" Harry shouted back, and the two of them started flinging curses at each other. They were disappointed when class ended, but they cheered.

"This is the first decent Defense class we've ever had!" Draco shouted, as the Slytherin side of the room and most of the Gryffindors broke into applause and cheers, Hermione and Alex included.

The class soon departed, most of them having merely been stunned and disarmed instead of hurt. Alex motioned for Hermione to step aside and they slid into the Room of Requirement after everyone had passed.

"Harry, is everything okay?" Hermione asked, worried.

"Fine, and you should start calling me Alex, you know." Alex returned with a cheeky smile.

"You know you really do look amazing like this. Ginny would fall head over heels for you if she knew." Hermione said, looking up into his blue eyes.

"She loved Harry Potter, not Alexander Snape, face it Hermione this is the only chance I'm getting to be like everyone else, I'm taking that chance." Alex said, running a hand through his hair.

"Let me try something." Hermione whispered, kissing him on the lips and pulling back after a minute. "'Mione, what---"

"I always thought you were like my brother and seeing you like this, well I now know for sure that we always will be like siblings." Hermione said, taking his hand.

"No fireworks like when you snogged Ron?" Alex asked teasingly.

"More like the awkward feeling that I had just kissed my brother." Hermione added, joking along with him. "I'll see you later, Hermione, we may have a free period but I'm supposed to be with the Slytherins. They are my House now, too.

"Good luck, Harry, I mean Alex." Hermione said, watching him leave and going off to find some books in the library.

Alex went down to the dungeons and started trying to find the Slytherin common room, but instead got hopelessly lost down several of the corridors. He gave up and sat down, hoping someone would come by and find him when he heard someone crying softly. Alex ran towards the sound and was shocked when he saw a blonde-haired girl huddled in the shadows, crying.

"Are you okay?" Alex asked, walking towards her quietly.

"I d-didn't know anyone was here. I'll go now." She said, but Alex put a hand on her arm.

"Who are you?" He asked.

"Circe. Circe Athene Roberts. I'm one of the few Slytherin muggleborns." She said, lifting her tear-streaked face up to look at Alex who took a sharp intake of breath as he looked at her.

She was beautiful, truly beautiful. Her face was framed by light honey blonde curls and her eyes were a dark green streaked with grey. She had a heart-shaped face and pale skin that was lighter than her hair.

"You-you're bleeding." Alex said, looking at the side of her face which was slowly bleeding and she had a few more scrapes as well.

"I fell down when I was going to the common room after Defense. I can heal them easily." Circe said, taking out her maple wand and casting the various incantations as well as one to remove the blood from her face and some of her hair.

"You're really good at Charms, aren't you?" Alex asked, smiling slightly.

"The only student above me is Hermione Granger and she's only ahead by a few points."

"Are you going to tell me who did this to you?"

"Maybe if you tell me your name and who you are."

"I'm Alexander Snape, sixth year, and I'm Professor Snape's son. I came here recently and my favorite class is Defense and I also like Quidditch." Alex said, studying her intently.

"You'll be one of them, Alex, one of the ones who hurt me constantly. You'll become a Death Eater like the rest of them, you'll hate me and you'll be tortured by your 'Lord'." Circe said, turning away from him as tears threatened to spill from her eyes.

"I won't be one of them, Circe, I promise." Alex said, and before he thought about it he kissed her and she put her arms around his neck, hugging him close.

Since Alex had only ever kissed Cho he was quite inexperienced and that particular kiss had been very wet. This one was the same, since Circe was also crying but it was much more pleasant than his kiss with Cho.

They broke apart and Alex kissed her hand before handing her school bag to her.

"Thank you." Circe said as he handed her the bag, but Alex saw the double meaning behind his words.

"Will you sit with me next class?"

"Of course. I think we have Advanced Potions with Slughorn next, I really hope he's as good as your father." Circe said, smiling weakly at him.

"Why were you in this hallway?" Alex asked out of curiosity.

"Malfoy and his two goons had trapped me here…"

Circe was walking towards the Great Hall when a pair of hands pulled her back. She struggled as they dragged her into an unknown area of the dungeons and she knocked down their hoods to see that it was Crabbe, Goyle, and Malfoy.

"Looks like the little Mudblood needs a lesson taught to her about respecting her superiors." Malfoy drawled, smacking her across the face as the others put her in a body-bind curse.

"Leave me alone, Malfoy!" Circe tried to scream, but it was no use. They had left her silenced as well.

Crabbe and Goyle had smacked and pushed her so she had gotten multiple cuts and bruises and they left her there to fend for herself.

"…I hate those three so much. Gregory used to be nice but Draco's turned him rotten."

"That's why you weren't in Defense this morning, isn't it?"

"Yes, it took an hour for the spell to wear off and they attacked me right before breakfast. By the time the spell was gone it was too late to get to Defense, the class would have been over in minutes."

"I left my bag in my father's quarters this morning and we're about to be late. I don't think Slughorn is going to be nice about this." Alex groaned.

"He might be nice, I heard that he taught your father when he was in school, so he must be good." Circe added optimistically.