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Chapter 5: Professor Dire
It appeared Albus didn’t have to tell Dad that James had stolen his Marauders Map after all. When the owls came at breakfast, (Art just sat gaping at it all) a package arrived for him. Everyone was curious at what Albus got, except Art who was still gaping at all the owls.
Albus opened the letter first. It said:
I hope you had a good day at Hogwarts yesterday, send an owl to us saying what house you got put in, your mum is almost dying with curiosity. You can tell us how your classes went also. Tell James I am fully aware he stole my Marauders Map, since it is gone from my desk drawer and I remember catching James in my office about ten minutes before we left for the station. This has brought me thinking, that I don’t really need the Marauders Map anymore since I am no longer at Hogwarts (unless I want to spy on you and James!) so I am going to allow James to keep it.
Albus gasped. He was certain his dad never told his mum, because she would not allow it. He knew his dad was a troublemaker when he was at Hogwarts, but he had never thought he would actually help James make trouble. Albus looked back at the letter and continued to read.
I am certain you are gasping this very second.
Albus scowled. His dad knew everything, even with Al at Hogwarts. He wouldn’t be surprised if his Dad read his mind every night. He shook the thought off and went back to the letter.
Anyway, so I have been thinking of my other objects in my office, and I have decided to send my invisibility cloak to you. I have a very strong disillusionment charm, so I no longer need it. It will be sort of your welcome to Hogwarts present. Try not to make too much trouble with it, though I can’t make you promise since I made lots of trouble with it when I was at Hogwarts. Good Luck!
Albus slowly began to pull the wrappings away. Sure enough, there lied the invisibility cloak. He picked it up off the table. It was unbelievably soft, and seemed almost like liquid. He pulled it over his shoulders and saw that everything below his shoulders were invisible. Lots of people gasped.
“An invisibility cloak!” Rob moaned. “I would almost die to have something like that! I wish my parents bought me something that cool.”
James was so busy gaping at Albus that he didn’t even remember to make fun of him.
“Dad sent you that?” James finally managed to squeak out. Al nodded, and tossed the letter to James. Art just stared at Al’s lower body.
“I didn’t even know invisibility cloaks existed,” Art said.
“Well, you know now.” Al replied, and began to continue admiring his invisibility cloak. By then James had finished reading the letter.
“I actually get to keep the Marauders Map! Excellent!” James cried, almost skipping with glee.
Albus and Rose left the great hall to avoid everyone’s stares. They walked to the common room talking about the cloak the entire time.
“Can I try on the cloak sometime?” Rose asked.
“You can try it on now,” Al said, handing the cloak to Rose. She tried it on and stared at his invisible legs.
“Amazing,” Rose sighed, as she handed the cloak back to Albus. They both continued to walk in silence, with Albus excitedly thinking about everything they could do with it. He could sneak to the kitchens if he figured out where they were, frighten James with the cloak like James had done so many times to him, sneak down to Hagrid’s house in the dead of the night…
Suddenly, Rose, who was walking in front of him, stopped at the end of the hallway, causing David and Art, who they just realized was walking behind them, to nearly run in to her.
“Sorry,” she muttered to David and Art, and then she said, “Do you guys remember which way we go after this hallway? Left or right?”
Albus had no idea which way, he had been too tired last night to pay attention to the route they took to the common room. Albus saw Art and David also had blank stares.
“Er- I think it’s left.” Albus suggested.
“They headed down the hallway, but it looked unfamiliar to him.
“Rose?” Al asked. “I don’t recognize this at all.”
“Looks completely unfamiliar to me,” David agreed.
“Okay then, we took a wrong turn. Lets try retracing our steps,” Rose said.
They tried retracing their steps, but they all couldn’t remember which turns they made, and pretty soon they were in an unfamiliar corridor and had no idea which way to turn.
“I think we can declare ourselves completely lost now,” David declared.
All of a sudden, a little transparent man with funky clothes swooped down on them.
“Oooh!” he cackled. “Are Ickle Firsties lost?”
Albus realized this must be Peeves, the troublemaking poltergeist his parents had warned about. He did not fancy getting made fun of, especially since Albus was a little scared because he was lost in a huge school. Art, however, did not know this and tried to be nice to Peeves.
“Maybe you could tell us which way to go?” Art asked hopefully.
“Ooooh… is little bitty baby Arty trying to play nice?” Peeves replied.
“How do you know my name?” Art demanded. Peeves did not respond and just grinned wickedly at them.
“Peevsie does not play nice!” Peeves cackled. He took out a squirt gun of black ink and began to squirt out ink. Black ink began to fall onto Al’s clothes, and he was just about to turn and run, when David pulled a bottle out of his pocket. Albus stared at it, and eyed the label. It said: Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder. Albus knew immediately that it was a product from Weasley Wizard Wheezes, because he had seen it in the store. David threw some powder up into the air, and everything instantly went black. Albus had been in cases where it had been very, very dark, but their was always a little bit of light, even if it was just pinpricks of stars.
This time there wasn’t any light at all; it was darker than when Albus closed his eyes. Rose and Art let out cries of shock, since they did not know what happened.
“Peruvian Darkness Powder!” David yelled to the area he had heard Rose and Art’s shouts. “Get out to light!”
Albus heard footsteps and assumed they were running out. Al ran blindly, and nearly ran into the wall. Finally Albus got to the end of the corridor, where there was light. David was already out.
“Are they others coming?” David asked him.
“No idea,” Albus replied. Art came only ten seconds later, but Rose took about a minute later.
While all four of them were catching their breaths, Art asked, “What was that?” David held out the bottle.
“Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder. Pretty cool actually. Got it from Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.”
“I think that created a lot more trouble than Peeves,” Albus commented.
“At least we got away from Peeves,” Art pointed out. Rose suddenly looked at her watch.
“We’re going to be late for Herbology!” Rose exclaimed. “I don’t want to be late on our first day!”
Somehow, Albus wasn’t sure exactly how, they found their way to the common room. Marc and Rob where just walking out.
“Where have you been?” Rob asked. “You’re going to be late. And why are there ink on your robes?”
“Don’t remind me,” Rose groaned.
"See you.” Rob said, and then he and Marc took off.
The four of them got ready at a record speed, even though they had to change their ink-splattered robes. Still, they were late once they got to Herbology, but Professor Longbottom, the Herbology professor, was very kind about it. Since he was one of Albus’s parent’s friends, Albus had seen him at his house. It felt very odd calling him Professor Longbottom when Albus had known him as Neville.
Herbology was in the greenhouse, a warm and sunny place, with fascinating plants. The first thing he did was take role. Professor Longbottom gave Albus a small wink when he reached his name. They had Herbology with the Hufflepuffs, which turned at to be a reasonably nice bunch. They started out with Professor Longbottom showing them assortments of very odd plants. Art gaped at almost everything Longbottom showed.
“Amazing!” Art cried out whenever Professor Longbottom held up a plant. “The most interesting plants at our house are like, tomato plants.”
“We have a few magical plants,” said Albus. “But none as odd as these.”
“Odd? ODD? They’re amazing!"
“You’re saying that about everything.” Rose butted in.
It was true. Art had gaped at everything in Hogwarts that morning, from mail arriving to the portraits.
“You even gape about mail,” David said. “Really, what do you find interesting about mail?”
“Muggles don’t get mail through owls. They use mailboxes, and people deliver-“ Rose suddenly elbowed Art in the ribs.
“Will you shut up? I’m trying to listen.” she tossed her reddish-brown hair away from them and faced Professor Longbottom.
It suddenly occurred to Albus that she was holding a notebook. Glancing at it, he looked at what she had written:
Mandrake- used to create a potion that revives petrified people
Devil’s Snare- wraps around you the second you touch it, hates sunlight
Abyssinian Shriveling- used in Shrinking Solutions
Fanged Geranium- a flower with sharp fangs
Puffapod- has large pink seeds that instantly grow into flowers
“You’re taking notes!” David exclaimed. “It’s only the first day.”
Rose cast David an evil look and ignored Albus, David and Art all class.
“Blimey,” muttered Art. “She’s a bit sensitive.”
All the plants Longbottom showed them were interesting, but he didn’t let anyone near them. Al hoped the next few classes would be more interesting, because after he showed them the plants, he droned on and on about Herbology safety rules, and then gave them dragon hide gloves.
“These are real dragon hide gloves?” asked Art, gazing at them in wonder.
“No, they’re a raccoon’s hide,” David said sarcastically. “What do you think?”
“I used to think dragons were mythological creatures!”
“If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll meet one someday.”
Overall, class went pretty well. Once they got hands-on-experience, as Rose liked to call it, Albus was pretty sure Herbology would be one of his favorite classes. Rose marveled at the fact that Professor Longbottom was such a good teacher even though it was only his first year of teaching.
History of Magic was dreadfully boring. Perhaps if they had a different teacher it would be okay, but Professor Binns spoke in a blank tone and only talked about history, so that even Rose had trouble listening. Binns never even gave out worksheets. He was the only ghost teacher at Hogwarts, a fact that Art was awed by.
“He’s still boring though, even if he is a ghost,” Art commented.
“Easily,” Albus and David agreed.
“Shut up you two. I’m taking notes!” exclaimed Rose, almost yelling at them in frustration.
“Blimey,” David muttered. “I’m not sure I’d want to be friends with her.”
“She’s nice.” Albus replied. Watching her scribbling furiously, he muttered, “Outside of school."
Albus thought Potions was also immensely interesting. Their teacher was named Professor Fawley, and he was decent, but Albus thought he was little too cheerful. Surprisingly, attendance was very interesting. Professor Fawley winked when he reached Al’s name, and David was very witty.
When Fawley called David’s name, he called out, “Here physically but not mentally.”
That got quite a few laughs from everyone, except Professor Fawley who gave him a scowl and a point from Gryffindor. Like Professor Longbottom, Fawley showed everyone odd potions. Albus wished he had those potions, for they did amazing things. He showed them simple potions, like Cure for Boils, and harder ones that they wouldn’t be able to make for years, like Love Potion or Weakness potion.
After Professor Fawley showed them some potions, and talked about potion safety, they got to brew the simple potion for curing boils. Albus felt an odd kind of happiness as he brewed the potion, and to his surprise, he was the first one done. Professor Fawley said it was perfect and showed it to the class. Even Rose’s potion wasn’t quite as good as Al’s, a fact Rose was very angry by. He guessed he just had natural ability.
Defense Against the Dark Arts wasn’t bad. The teacher, Professor Fuchs, spent most of the class talking about curses, and in specific, the unforgivable curses. Fuchs admitted he had never had any of them put on him, but he went into a long description on what they were like.
Professor Selwyn was their Charms teacher, and she was very nice. She began class with knowledge about basic charmwork, and she was very sweet and didn’t mind if a person got an answer wrong. For the rest of the class, she talked about the spells they were going to learn that year. She even had them start working on the lumos charm, which gave off light.
Professor Sinistra was the Astronomy teacher. As she explained, what they were going to learn was the locations of the planets, moons, and stars. Albus believed this was a waste of a class; if he wanted to know the locations he could just buy a star chart instead of going out on the Astronomy tower once a week.
David moaned afterwards, “It's stupid! What is the point of learning all of the positions of the stars? When, may I ask, is it going to come in handy? NOWHERE, that’s where!”
Rose simply replied, “It will come in handy if you take divination, since you might need to know the locations of planets to be able to predict-“
“I’m not taking Divination, I heard Professor Trelawney’s a fraud,” David interrupted.
Rose shrugged and muttered, “Suit yourself, those are just rumors.”
Albus thought Transfiguration would be his dreaded class. Professor Dire, the Transfiguration teacher, was horrible. Professor Dire asked them questions about basic Transfiguration, even though half the kids hadn’t even opened their books yet, including Albus. During class, everything was very quiet and tense, since it was very clear that Professor Dire was a strict teacher. While he drilled them on ‘basic’ transfiguration, as Professor Dire called it, he paced the room, and whenever a person got a question wrong, he pierced them with his stare.
When Albus looked around he realized that Professor Dire was only calling on people whose hands were down, and looked scared. So naturally, almost every single answer was wrong. That annoyed him so much. If you want to know the answer, you ask someone who knows the answer. Duh!
“Albus Potter?” Dire said suddenly.
“Um, yes sir?” Al managed to get out.
“Well? What’s the answer to my question?”
Al thought hard, and wondered what Professor Dire had asked. What was the question? Wasn’t it something about the wand movement to Transfigure? But he had absolutely no idea what you did to Transfigure an object. Well, he had to answer someday.
“A circle and flick?” Albus guessed, barely getting the words because he was trembling so hard. He trembled whenever he was nervous, which was odd because no one else in his family did.
He knew he had gotten the answer wrong, because Dire pierced him with one of those stares. It was frightening, since he had a look of utmost disgust on his face. His dark brown eyes seemed to burn right through Albus, through his heart, all the way through his soul….
Al stared back at Dire into those cold, brown eyes, sending a message that he wasn’t scared of Dire, although he really was. Finally Dire turned away and called on another student. Albus breathed a sigh of relief. But it didn’t last long, because the student he called on was Art. Art was as pale as a sheet, as he stammered out a response, so quietly it could have come from a mouse. Albus squeezed Art’s hand under the table letting Art know that everything was okay.
Twenty minutes were left in class, and Albus started a mental countdown. Dire called on him five more times in class, and each time he didn’t know the answer. Dire gave him one of those stares so often that now David and Art were both squeezing his hand. Rose was too busy raising her hand.
Finally the clock ticked down, and everyone could leave. As he gathered his books and walked out the door, Albus could feel Dire’s stare from behind.
Thanks to MargaretLane for reviewing!
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