"James Evans?" asked a voice from James's left, his contact presumably. James looked away from the dance floor at the crowded club to the man who had approached him. He was tall and had red hair, as far as James could make out, and therefore met the description of his contact.
He nodded to the boy and led him off to a private booth. He passed by the bouncer with a flash of his tattoo and walked into the plush room he was led to. Seating himself of the duvet he turned to look expectantly at the redhead, who was looking around himself in awe. "You are…?" he asked.
"Ron. Ron Weasley," he managed, turning his awestruck face towards James, taking him in for the first time with decent lighting. James sat in his well-tailored clothes and custom made shoes, looking for all the world like the pureblood he currently lived as, and Ron couldn't help but stare. James could see why, from the frayed look of Ron's clothes they were clearly secondhand.
"Well, Weasley, what do you have to tell me?" he asked, hoping to get this over quickly.
"Your appointment is tomorrow at nine," the gob smacked boy said, reading off a piece of paper.
"That's it? He couldn't have just told me this?"
"I don't know….all it says here is that it was to make sure you had lodgings. You do, don't you?" He asked, looking at James with the beginnings of excitement. "Because if you don't we have room at my house."
"No thank you, I'm staying with the Malfoys currently. Their mansion is sufficient for my needs."
Ron instantly clammed up, a look of barely smothered loathing taking root on his face.
"Is that all?" James asked, hoping to see if the man he'd spotted earlier was still on the dance floor.
Ron nodded jerkily, and James stood swiftly and walked to the door. The redhead followed him out just in time to see him twine himself about a handsome man on the edge of the dance floor. Ron looked away in disgust as the two kissed, the man's hands easing past James's waistline. He needed to hurry back to Hogwarts to make his report, and so he left, disapparating as soon as he was out of the club.
"Really?" Dumbledore asked, pondering over what Ron had told him of James Evans. The name itself was odd, but so far he could nothing but coincidence that it seemed linked to the Potters. Their son, Harry, had been left to an orphanage to keep him out of the war before they died, but the boy had been pronounced dead not long after he'd been left there. The fire had been a tragedy in the muggle world, a dozen children perishing in it.
Dumbledore shook his head, knowing it was impossible that the boy was the same. "So he's staying at the Malfoys' you said?"
"That's what he said," Ron responded, his grimace growing at the name. "Sir, why did you send me?"
"I thought the liaison should be someone his own age, he is about seventeen, I believe. That he knows you is also a bonus for when he needs something he'll go to you, that way we can keep an eye on him."
Ron nodded and excused himself back to the Burrow, the school year having yet to start. Dumbledore sat at his desk for hours yet before allowing himself to sleep, his thoughts covering everything from Fudge's latest bill to the dragon population in Portugal to the boy named James Evans.
It was ten o'clock before Dumbledore finally rose from his seat in Malfoy Manor, having half a mind to hunt the boy down himself. Lucius rose with him in a placating manner and led Dumbledore to the entrance hall where Draco was just entering. The youngest Malfoy looked at the headmaster oddly.
"Sir, may I ask the reason you're here this morning?"
"I was to have a meeting with the young man staying with you. He has, however, yet to show."
Draco looked taken back. "Why would you be waiting? You should have just used the locator he left."
"Locator?" Dumbledore asked, years of practice letting him suppress the anger in his voice.
"Yes, he left it saying to use it if he didn't get home in time for his meeting in the morning. I left it with a note in the kitchen…" he looked to his father enquiringly.
Lucius looked like me was getting a headache as he summoned a house elf. "Is there a note in the kitchen?"
"Yes, sir." It squeaked.
"Bring it." The elf disappeared and quickly reappeared with the note, leaving once it had made its delivery. "It says to squeeze this charm and it will give you a sense as to where he is since he's carrying the matching charm." Lucius handed it Dumbledore.
"Thank you, Lucius, I'll take my leave." The old man left, walking past the gates before disapparating.
Lucius closed the door and closed his eyes, taking in a deep breath. "I really wish you'd come home sooner, Draco."
"Why? How long was he here?"
"Since before nine. I had to keep him company the whole time, your mother escaped to the Zabini's."
"Ah, well I'm sure that James at least had a good time." Draco supplied, smirking. "You know he doesn't stay out for anything less."
"Indeed, I wonder just how long it is going to be before our Lord puts him on a short leash."
The two shared a chuckle at that before heading to the library, Draco asking his father questions about his latest reading.
Dumbledore looked at the club he'd arrived at warily. It was now noon for him and one o'clock where he'd arrived in France. Tonks looked around the area from behind him looking intrigued, she being one of those he'd asked to help him on his chase. And a chase it had been as he had visited no less than eight different countries in the past two hours, each time spending time searching for James before just missing him and having to travel somewhere else.
This suspect location was not, however, the worst of where the charm had led them. It was actually quite a step up from some of them, though that did nothing to bely the dark nature of the club. "Let's go," he ordered the handful he'd brought with him.
"What does he look like?" asked Kingsley as they stepped into the packed club complete with blasting music and flashing lights, people dancing everywhere.
"From what I've been told he has black hair to his shoulders and luminous green eyes, other than that I don't know."
The auror nodded and headed into the mass of people that constituted the occupants of the club. Dumbledore himself remained by the door, hoping to catch the man if he chose to leave again. He watched as Kingsley gave the others his description and they headed off in different descriptions.
From his position Dumbledore had a vantage point of the club and spied various black haired men, some who had longer hair. His eye caught on one that dancing quite provocatively with another man, the two engaged in an energetic lip lock. He watched the two of them from the corner of his eye as they left the floor in favor of a table. As they moved the black haired one cast a glance around and Dumbledore saw a flash of green eyes as he left with his partner.
He quickly signaled Kingsley that this was their target, who signaled the rest so that they all began to make their ways over to the youth. The boy in question was currently straddling the other man's lap, the two once again kissing. Dumbledore inwardly sneered at the overt display of affection as he stopped behind the boy and placed a hand on his shoulder.
The reaction was instant: the boy twisted out from under Dumbledore's grasp and stood facing him in a dueling stance, wand aimed unerringly at the headmaster's heart. Piercing green eyes took in the shocked man in front of him before lowering his wand and calmly straightening up. He walked back to man he'd been with and whispered something in his ear, the man's expression going from shock to resignation before he stood up and left.
"Come with me," James said, heading to the VIP booths just as he had with Ron the night before. He flashed his wrist at the bouncer and was promptly led to a luxurious sitting room predominantly decorated in emerald silk. "So you're Dumbledore?" he asked, staring at the headmaster who'd chosen the armchair directly across from him.
"Yes, I believe we had an appointment," he pulled out a watch devoid of actual time telling mechanisms, "three and a half hours ago."
"Yes, I was unable to make it, I had some business in Madrid. I left instructions with Draco on how to find me."
"Yes, well even once he had informed us of such we still spent another two hours searching for you."
"Well, shame for you then," James said, smoothly ignoring the rather poorly veiled command to apologize. "Your entourage can sit if they like," he invited, waving his hand lazily at the assortment of seats while he stared at Dumbledore expectantly.
"Well, I wanted to meet you to discuss the matter of Neville Longbottom." At James's stony stare he continued. "I was hoping to take you on as the Defense Against the Dark Art teacher for the year."
There were a few startled gasps from behind him, revealing that those he had brought with him had known nothing of this arrangement beforehand. "And why would I want to teach children?"
"You would be teaching Mr. Longbottom either way, and since I have not yet been fortunate enough to find a professor to fill the post I believe that you are the only logical alternative."
"You want a child to teach our children?" Questioned Arthur Weasley. "You really think that's wise? He doesn't seem to have much in the ways of public decency from what I've seen!"
James turned to stare at the redheaded man, evaluating him before his eyes zeroed in on his face. "You'd do well to consider who you insult, Weasley. You think he's offering me this out of goodwill? It's because I do have the qualifications to back it up, even if you are so ignorant to not know that." He smirked slightly at the expression on Arthur's face. "And while you call me a child, consider that I am of age, even in this country of yours." His smirk grew at the color rising in Arthur's face. "Also, you would do well not to forget that your hero, the one who you expect to save you from Voldemort is a child. Barely more than seventeen himself, I believe…" he trailed off at the look of outrage on the man's face, his own smirk as prominent as ever.
James turned back to Dumbledore again once he was done. "Now, why would I want to teach these children? I would be unable to focus on the Longbottom boy."
"You would be teaching him privately as well, but to soften your burden I will allow you to not have to do anything other than teach the class. All of the homework you choose to assign will be graded by Severus Snape," he motioned to the man who had been silently observing the meeting the whole time.
"Oh, hello Severus, I hadn't noticed you there, you blend in so well…" Harry chuckled a bit at that, noting that he saw the sallow man's mouth twitch as well.
"I regret to inform you that I've been here the whole time, James." He knew that James had noticed him at once, but appreciated the joke none less.
"You two are acquainted?" Dumbledore asked, glancing between the two.
"Oh yes, I've met Severus several times while staying with Lucius and Narcissa."
"So will you take on the job?" The headmaster asked, filing away the boy's connections for later. After all, if he was calling the Malfoys and Severus by their first names, who knew who else he was acquainted with.
James sighed. "I guess, it's not as if I have much else to do right now. But I want to be able to come and go from the castle at my leisure, I do have matters of my own to attend to."
Dumbledore considered this briefly before nodding. "That's acceptable. Well then Mr. Evans, I shall see you on the first of September."
James waved his hand at them lazily, a gesture undoubtedly meant as a dismissal. The group left, each mulling over the encounter with the black haired youth.
The Hogwarts Express was standing in the station when James arrived with the Malfoys. With a nod from his father and kiss from his mother Draco left to secure a compartment while James stayed and exchanged last minute words with Lucius and Narcissa.
"And if he needs to reach me he can just send a letter, Ventus will always know where to find me."
"Just a simple letter? I'm pretty sure the Dark Lord prefers a message to have a more dramatic flair to it than that."
"A simple letter will do, thank you Lucius," James replied drily, imagining what the corpse of a 'message' might look like.
"Good luck dear," Narcissa said, sweeping a stray lock of hair behind his ear. "You know how Dumbledore can be, and those Gryffindors…"
"I'll be fine, Cissy, you worry too much. Save that for Draco, he always seems to get into something while at school, especially if that Longbottom boy's involved."
They exchanged exasperated smiles before James left to find Draco and settle himself in for the ride. He found him quickly enough and picked a seat near the window, propping his feet up on the seat opposite him. "Draco?"
The blonde hummed from where he was looking for something in his trunk.
"Can you let Wyn out of her cage, I believe she's had quite enough of being confined."
Draco turned to stare at him, eyes sparkling. "Of course." The blonde crossed and quickly unlatched the door to the wicker carrier James had brought, holding the creature inside tenderly until she was safely ensconced on James's lap. "I never knew dragons could be that gorgeous until I saw her…"
James laughed, lightly patting little pearly white dragon in his lap. "If you think her gorgeous at only two years, imagine her at fifteen."
"At fifteen I won't be able to sit in your lap anymore," Wyn commented. Dragons were closely enough related to snakes that they communicated in parseltongue, and James had always spoken to dragons in such a manner once he found out he spoke it.
"True, but then I'll be able to ride you while you fly," he hissed back at the little dragon.
Draco stared at them enviously. "I wish I could talk with dragons."
James was still laughing when the compartment door slid open to reveal Draco's friends. He surveyed quickly before dismissing them, leaning his head back on the seat and closing his eyes.
Blaise stared at him for a moment before he entered, ignoring James just as that worthy was doing to him. "Who's he?" he asked when they were all situated in the compartment.
"He's new at Hogwarts this year," Draco said, being intentionally vague, knowing his friends would assume he was another student. James hadn't wanted to deal with people beforehand, or at all, actually. But for now he was simply getting the rest he could, so Draco dutifully steered the conversation away from James and towards the coming school year.
The train ride passed quickly enough, the only disturbances being when Pansy discovered Wyn and when Longbottom had ambled past. It was dark when they arrived in Hogsmeade, and James finally opened his eyes once they'd rolled into the station. He shrunk his luggage and the wicker basket with a flick of his wand, placing them in his pocket before settling Wyn across his shoulders for the trip up to the school. She curled about his neck in such a way that she resembled a shall to those not close enough to see her scales.
James ignored Pansy, Blaise, and Draco through the carriage ride, merely stopping before and afterwards to pet the thestrals. Once in the Great Hall he ignored the calls from the group and confidently made his way up to the teacher's table, taking the empty seat next to Snape.
"James," the man acknowledged. "How was the train ride?"
"Interesting. I pretended to sleep and listened to Draco gossip with his friends. Is this Longbottom boy really as inept as they make him out to be?"
Snape's lip curled. "Unfortunately."
"I see. Well, this year should prove entertaining at the very least."
*Wyn is Welsh for White, playing on her coloring. I already know what type of dragon she'll be, it simply didn't work its way into the chapter.
A/N: I know some aspects have been done before, but I simply got an idea and had to try my hand at it. Please let me know what you think and any pointers you have!