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Muggle Studies by AC_rules
Format: Short story collection
Chapter 1: iPod Injuries
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CI &thereshegoes @ TDA
Third year class.
It was never easy to be a Muggle Studies teacher. Actually, a lot of the time it was downright difficult: the subject was generally considered an extraordinary waste of time by most students (as well as the wider general public) which resulted in a mixture of stupid and disinterested pupils who couldn’t really give a crap about muggle culture, let alone muggle history. There were the odd strange muggleborns who thought they’d gain themselves an easy OWL and a few even odder muggle-nut students who became very excited and listened almost a little too intently to everything being relayed within the classes - but mostly, you got classes of zombie students who simply did not care.
Of course, Archibald Penrose was one such muggle nut, but even he found the level to which some students seemed to really care about what those mental muggles were doing slightly depressing – it reminded him of when he was their age, and that really was something quite frightening. He could remember full well being sat in front of Charity Burbage (bless her soul) having to reign in his excitement and practically shaking with anticipation for the next question.
He glanced down at his timetable. He was due to have a completely new class of third years – sure to be the same bunch of oddballs, train wrecks and slightly frightening children. He didn’t even really like children, especially not when they were not-quite-children and instead on the verge of being introduced to their own hormones, the opposite sex, acne and such things... All of which only made them more repulsive. He often found himself sat at his desk wondering why the hell he’d decided to go into teaching of all things. It wasn't even like he was good at it.
Some of the older ones weren’t too bad, although usually the ones who stuck it out to NEWT level were the real nutters. The sort who collected pencil sharpeners (disregarding the fact that Archibald Penrose himself actually did have a range of novelty pencil sharpeners hidden away in his office – but they were novelty pencil sharpeners whereas these crackpots just collect regular pencil sharpeners! You could buy those silly things anywhere you liked! There was nothing novelty about them at all).
He hadn’t yet felt the need to depress himself by scanning down the list of new third years, but it probably was best to prepare himself for onslaught of the next hour. If this class was any worse than last year’s class he would, quite possibly, consider leaving the classroom all together and hiding out in the staffroom until the period was over. It wasn’t like any of the students would know who he was: being a Muggle Studies teacher most students hadn’t a clue what he taught or what his name was... and most of the time just seemed to think he was a rather aged student that they hadn’t seen around much before. Or a sort of servant.
Actually, the list seemed a lot shorter than normal. Upon some quick addition he realised with a great sigh of relief that there were only nine students – although in all honesty, he didn’t recognise many of the names on the register: he noted that he had both ‘Hugo Weasley’ and ‘Lily Potter’ scribbled down and, oh yes, he had ‘Herman Goyle’ which he was sure was going to be a truly delightful experience that would probably result in some rather intense counselling.
Then again, he was often rather surprised that his job hadn’t led to a hefty removal to St Mungos. Or why, upon hearing his job decision, nobody had referred him to St Mungos before the real insanity started.
The bell rang and Archibald Penrose looked up at it feeling disgruntled. He certainly was not ready to have the next class in just yet. Admittedly, his job wasn’t half as difficult as say... being a Transfiguration teacher and having to have multiple classes from all year groups, but at least in Transfiguration there were a good deal of average students. No students taking muggle studies were average: either completely bonkers or shockingly stupid.
There was the usual irritating backdrop of hustle and bustle from the corridor outside as masses of students began pushing their way to the next lesson. A student pushed open the door, raised an eyebrow at Archibald Penrose in greeting, and then sat himself down at the very back of the classroom.
Archibald started at the student: a rather arrogant looking third year with too much hair and, Archibald supposed, more attitude than brain cells.
“Name?” Archibald asked.
“Pips,” the boy said, using a chair on the row in front to prop up his feet, “the others are waiting outside.” Kevin Pips said after another moment.
Archibald sighed, pulled himself off his desk and headed towards the door. He threw it open and gestured for the other students to enter the classroom: he countered six, including the Weasley boy and the Potter girl.
He glanced at his watch. Two late, not bad really – for a first attempt.
“Right, I am Professor Penrose your new Muggle Studies professor,” Archibald said, perching on the end of his desk and watching with a vague degree of amusement as the students began fighting for the seats on the back row. Hugo Weasley had set himself down on the second row from the front (an eager beaver – sure to be one of those oddballs) and Lily Potter reluctantly sat next to him and began inspecting her nails with a bored expression. “I don’t know any of you, so if you’d like to introduce yourselves...”
Herman Goyle had managed to bag himself a seat in the back corner, potentially due to his sheer size and his relative degree of intimidation. Archibald considered that he was mildly surprised that Herman had been allowed to take Muggle Studies, before chiding himself for being so judgemental. He introduced himself as ‘Herms’ in a grunt that reminded Archibald very much of a guard troll, except less attractive.
“Johnny English.” The Ravenclaw next to Goyle said cheerfully, and Archibald made a note that he must ask whether the kid's parents were purebloods and ignorant or just a little bit cruel. Either way, he knew what film he was going to show them first.
“Tabatha,” a girl, sat next to Kevin Pips and wearing Hufflepuff robes added helpfully, “Tabatha Street.”
“Goliath Lockhart.” The final boy said and Archibald had to suppress the desire to laugh. Wizards really were appalling at naming their children: he always thought Archibald was bad enough, but to genuinely be called Goliath was nothing short of ridiculous. All this talk of muggle-wizard unity went out the window the second a teenage boy was introduced as ‘Goliath’ where muggles were using names like ‘Cheryl’ ‘Apple’ and ‘Gabbie.’ If he was honest, he couldn’t decide which was worse.
Then again, Goliath Lockhart...
“Hugo Weasley!” Said the ginger kid excitably, his quill and parchment already out on the table dying to take notes. Poor kid had probably been looking forward to this all summer.
“Lily Potter.” The girl said sounding very bored and clearly showing all her teenage attitude in her reluctance to be in the classroom. It seemed liked they’d been some good old fashioned peer pressure to get her into the room in the first place.
“So, that means we’re waiting on a Jessica James and... Franklin Stainwright.”
“I don’t know where Jessie is.” Tabatha piped up.
Archibald was beginning to think the entire register was some sort of practical joke: Jessie James? Johnny English? This wass why wizards needed educating. This was really just unfortunate.
“Well, we might as well make a start,” Archibald said, reaching into his desk and pulling out several items. “Now, if you can all come gather round this front desk.”
No one, bar Hugo Weasley, seemed particularly enthusiastic about the idea. They actually managed to waste about five minutes of the lesson shuffling to the front, pushing each other several times, and generally making an unnecessary fuss about the whole thing. Archibald rolled his eyes and waited for them all to shut up before placing the three times on the desk.
“Now, I want you to take an item each and talk about what they are – work in twos and a three. Oh, nice of you to join us – Franklin Stainwright, I suppose?” The blonde boy nodded and shoved his hands in his pockets, “please tell me they call you Franklin-stein.” Archibald suggested hopefully.
“What’s that?” Tabatha asked, “Franklin-stein.”
“In muggle literature,” Archibald began, “Frankenstein is a gothic story about a man who made a monster out of dead bits of humans.”
“Like an inferi?” Hugo Weasley questioned eagerly.
“Sort of, but all sewn together. Then this monster went and killed everyone this guy loved because he was so ugly...”
“So you’re saying I’m ugly?” Franklin demanded.
“No.” Archibald said, feeling quite taken aback.
“You’re saying I’m a monster?”
“No,” He said hastily, “I was just suggesting that your name reminded me of a muggle book. Its written by Mary Shelley, if any of you want to read it,” he suspected next time he saw Hugo Weasley he’d have his nose attached to a battered old copy of Frankenstein. “Anyway – back to the objects in front of you. See if any of you can work out what they do.”
He had strong doubts about that.
Herman Goyle and Johnny English were joined by Franklinstien, as he would hence forth be known, as they began pressing various buttons on a scientific calculator. They were finding this a little more amusing than he anticipated and he was beginning to suspect that they were seeing what rude words or images they could create by using the different functions – he didn’t mind that too much though, most muggle kids did exactly the same from what he could work out.
Goliath Lockhart and Kevin Pips, or more just Goliath Lockhart as Kevin wasn’t even trying to pretend to be interested, were examining a dog lead. Goliath seemed to think it was some form of torture device and was very entertained by all the potential there was in the elastic. Hugo Weasley and Lily Potter, however, had the iPod.
“Sir, it’s to listen to music too – isn’t it?” Hugo asked eagerly, placing the earpieces in his ears. Lily stared at it, seeming unimpressed, and poked the cool metal unceremoniously, “and... you switch this to turn it on and then... OW!” Hugo shrieked, pulling the headphones out of his ears so hard that one of the headphones ripped into two pieces.
“Don’t turn it on!” Archibald said hastily, “Hogwarts make those things go haywire, oh dear... well, can you hear me?” Archibald asked loudly.
Hugo gaped at him.
“Can you hear me?” Archibald repeated even louder, “CAN YOU HEAR ME!?”
“Obviously not,” Kevin Pips said from the back of the classroom, raising his eyebrows and looking unimpressed.
“Well, will one of you take him to the Hospital wing?” This request was met by a ringing silence. Even Lily Potter stared pointedly at the floor as if to avoid the embarrassment of escorting her cousin anywhere. Fair play, mostly it seemed she was slightly on the cooler end of the scale where it came to her and her cousin. There was no point bringing both of their reps down.
“Right, all of you stay here – okay?” Then he gestured for Hugo to follow him. It was always the keen ones who managed to get themselves injured – idiots.
Hugo was fixed within a minute but was instructed to stay in the Hospital wing until he’d regained his balance – as anti-deafening charms had a habit of making one fall over a lot – and Archibald was back in his classroom a mere ten minutes after he’d left it. Unfortunately.
He realised, upon entering the room, that he might have made quite a big mistake and leaving the students with the muggle articles.
Goliath Lockhart had been tied to his chair by the dog lead, had the broken headphones used as substitute handcuffs and had the calculator shoved into his mouth.
Archibald blinked for a few minutes and stared at the scene. Herman Goyle looked like the only person who didn’t find the scene amusing (probably because he hadn’t noticed anything had happened) and although Kevin Pips was airing an unruffled look he couldn’t help but grin slightly. Tabatha Street and Lily Potter were outwardly laughing. Johnny English and Franklinstien were grinning and Archibald Penrose didn’t know what the hell to make of it.
“Did you know that muggles actually used to have a torture device where someone was tied onto a table and stretched? Some muggles have the death penalty, like the electic chair. Sometimes the police use taser guns,” Archibald continued, realising for the first time that he’d managed to really capture the attention of the class. It seemed blood and carnage were the way forward. “Muggles play this recreational game where they shoot balls of paint at one another from a gun. Some muggles play computer games where they have to shoot nuns and aliens... they have films about spies and shooting and violence.”
There was an awed silence across the room. Archibald relished in it for a second (trying not to remember that he’d had to resort to exactly the same technique last time he had a new class of uninterested third years) and decided that he was going to aim for a long dramatic pause.
“But I can’t teach you about any of that,” he continued, “If you mess around. Now, this is a dog lead and this is a calculator – do any of you know what muggles use these for?”
Goliath Lockhart, who still had a calculator shoved in his mouth, began to nod excitedly. Archibald stared at him. He must be one of those too, no one else got excited about muggles whilst tied to a chair with a calculator shoved in their gob. He’d just been better at hiding it than Hugo.
“Take the calculator out of his mouth, Pips,” Archibald ordered reluctantly.
“My dad wrote this book about muggles,” Goliath began excitedly, “he lost his memories see, so he lived as a muggle for awhile after his memories began to return – and he wrote all about how muggles use calculators to contact people – by pressing the buttons, you see – and aren’t iPods used so that muggles can watch films in their heads and the dog lead are for -”
“For what?” Archibald asked in a bored voice, “for hunting dogs for supper? For riding dogs? For tripping dogs over?”
“No,” Goliath said, his face creasing slightly as if Archibald had been the one to suggest something ridiculous, “for when muggles want to take their pet dogs for walks,”
“Oh,” Archibald said awkwardly, “well,”
The bell rang and the seven remaining students began clambering for their bags excitedly. Archibald crossed the classroom to help the effort to release Goliath from the chair (he wasn’t staying in Archibald’s classroom for any longer than necessary) and was beginning to feel slightly inadequate. It seemed that his students would have actually gone away knowing less about muggle culture, rather than more.
“Wait up, Franklinstien!” Tabatha said, pushing ahead of Johnny English to catch up with him. Archibald felt a small smile creep up at his lips – at least the nickname had caught on. And maybe they would read Frankenstien?
“I may be wrong,” Kevin Pips said, pausing near the door, “but aren’t the things that muggles use to talk to each other called... telephones?”
Archibald sank back on to his seat with a grin, nodding to Kevin as he sauntered out with far too much attitude for a thirteen year old. He gave himself another moments rest before glancing at his timetable to realise that, yes, he had the sixth years next...
An entire hour of Fred and Dominique Weasley who insisted on making it their mission to explain all muggle culture through the medium of interpretive dance, much to the amusement to the two other slackers and the irritation of the resident oddball. The other seven students in that group were too thick to know any better and probably, if Archibald was honest with himself, still– after his months of solid grafting – believed that the bible was a rather extravagant doorstop. Still, watching Freddie Weasley do a one man adaptation of ‘Cane and Able’ followed by Dominique Weasley attempting to pretend to be the Virgin Mary was usually fairly amusing.
Archibald sighed and clicked his novelty biro a couple of times to fill in the silence: it wasn’t always easy, being a muggle nut.
Mostly this happened because I have writers block and I decided writing anything that came into my head would be better than writing nothing. It hasn't been edited, but HEY - nothing like a cheeky one shot to shift some writers block. Hopefully.
I don't own Frankenstien (Mary Shelley does) nor do I own ipods or dog leads or anything else mentioned that I obviously don't own :)
Reviews make my life.
Chapter 2: A Bunch of Crushing Disappointments
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CI &thereshegoes @ TDA
Seventh year class (plus an extra).
Four students (plus an extra).
How bad can it be?
The trouble with Archibald Penrose’s seventh year classes was that it was more or less a concentrated and shrunken form of all his other classes. The usual class dynamic tended itself towards a few muggle-fanatics who lapped up every word Archibald said, a few Muggleborn students who liked to point out that they knew more than he did, a few shockingly lazy students and a few students who were truly and utterly thick.
By the time these students reached NEWT level a large quantity dropped out, favouring to study more important subjects that actually might get them a job. The only exception to the rule was his sixth year class, which remained one of his biggest – although he suspected that was because Dom and Fred Weasley had an innate ability to make every class ‘interesting’ and nobody wanted to miss all the fun. Normally, with his calibre of students, most of his class were either pregnant, in prison or unemployed somewhere other than Hogwarts by the time Seventh year rolled along.
Thus, the register for his seventh year group had dropped down to four pupils. It had begun at six at the beginning of the year, but one girl had unexpectedly and prematurely given birth to twins in the boy’s toilets (Archibald hadn’t bothered to question the location) at the beginning of September and another had dropped out to join the family business of organised criminality.
Ronald McDonald was one of Archibald’s favourite students because his name was so ridiculous and amusing that it kept him truly entertained for hours. It helped that in the entire time he’d taught Mr Ronald McDonald, and this was the fourth year he’d seen his ugly mug in his classroom on a regular basis, the only question he’d ever asked in class was whether he could go to the bathroom.
Victoria Thickey (thicky-Vicky, as Hogwarts had dubbed her after the third time she’d entirely fallen through the trip staircase in her second week of school) was unbelievably dim. She was one of the few students that Archibald would be able to give something of a positive character reference, because it was true that she was a very nice girl with very good intentions – it was just the cogs in her brain seemed to turn so slowly that more often than not people gave up waiting for an answer and had left before she’d had the chance to speak up. She tried hard and worked laboriously slowly throughout all of his lessons, something which he found slightly disconcerting, and continually asked questions until she fully understood everything.
Unfortunately, this meant Archibald sometimes spent entire lessons trying to explain the origins of electricity only to have to back step and explain, once more, how exactly electricity worked. Not that there was anything wrong with that, because he’d could put up with repeating himself like a broken record (Archibald loved muggle idioms) but the obnoxious third member of the group made Archibald feeling like ripping apart one of his novelty pens and throwing the little spring at him in a fit of rage.
Elliot Cooper. The most loathsome student he’d taught. It was a close competition when you factored in Reece Hickenbottom, who’d been perversely interested in bodily functions and had spent a year talking about defecation and showing off his only two talents – burping and farting. That, combined with the complete ignorance when it came to muggle made Archibald dread every the moment he’d next walk into his classroom, surrounded in a cloud of something that usually smelt fowl. In the end, Hickenbottom had reached his demise when he’d been unable to take the end of third year Muggle Studies exam due to being bedridden in the hospital with severe... stomach issues.
It was the singular time that Archibald had ever believed in a God.
(Later, he’d come to different conclusions due to Neville’s sheepish expression and the fact that later that day his Herbology students were studying Skunk’s roots, so called for the odious odour it produced. He’d never mentioned anything. He couldn’t begin to image what the vile creature would have done when presented with bags of dragon manure and told to use it as fertilizer).
Still, Elliot Cooper piped the potty-mouthed toilet-talking Reece Hickenbottom to the post by being a right twit. He was muggleborn and continued studying NEWT Muggle Studies as an extra, unnecessary subject so he had a chance to revel in how he was more intelligent than Ronald McDonald, Thicky-Vicky and Simon ‘Squeaky’ Fawcett.
“Sir,” a voice said from the doorway, and Archibald looked up to see Miss Barbie/Shelly Skively framed in the doorway looking slightly distressed. Miss Barbie was one of his old fifth year students who’d dropped out of Muggle Studies after OWLS to take some more serious, more helpful subjects and Archibald couldn’t think of a single reason why she would be stood in his doorway ringing her hands and looking slightly desperate, “Professor Longbottom sent me to talk to you, I want to take up Muggle Studies again.”
“Why?” A voice asked, and Archibald was quite stunned that he, himself hadn’t said it. And, if he were to guess at the second owner of such a rude statement he would have gone for Cooper... but instead, Simon ‘Squeaky’ Fawcett had been the one to speak (it was quite easy to tell due to his freakishly deep voice; post-puberty, Squeaky’s nickname had become even more ironic).
“Yes,” Elliot Cooper added, and Archibald suspected that Elliot was surprised it hadn’t come from him too, “you can’t possibly have missed it?”
Miss Barbie flushed slightly, her well made up cheeks not quite hiding her embarrassment. “I don’t like Charms,” she said, “and so I was going to... swap.”
“Swap Charms for Muggle Studies?” Cooper demanded, his greasy voice speaking so Archibald didn’t have to. “Are you mad?”
“No,” Miss Barbie said, turning towards Cooper and glaring at him, “is it any of your business?”
Archibald repressed a smile. He loved it when other people found Cooper as annoying as him, it made him feel like he wasn’t simply an irritable woe-filled wrench, but a normal human subjected to extreme frustrations.
“Well you’re interrupting our lesson.”
“Squeaky, do you mind that I’m asking Archie a question during your lesson? Vicky? Ronald? No, so actually the only person I’m bothering is you and quite frankly I don’t care -”
“Professor Penrose.” Archibald interjected.
“You can’t call me Archie,” Archibald said, “Shelly, are you sure about this? You’re a bright girl; you’d probably do very well in charms.”
“Are you calling us thick?” Squeaky demanded. Oh, hell.
“No, not at all Sq... Simon,” Archibald said, “I’m merely suggesting that -”
“-that we’re not clever enough to do charms,” Squeaky said, his face crumpling slightly.
“In his defence,” Elliot Cooper said, “I think what Professor Penrose is trying to suggest is that Charms is usually valued more highly by employers and not that you’re all a bunch of dunderheads sitting around being taught by an incompetent teacher who can’t tell the difference between a netbook and a notebook and no Vicky, I’m not talking about pads of paper.”
“Oh my God,” Barbie/Shelly said, holding out her usual, long fuchsia nails, “these nails are reinforced by three different spells, do you want them in your eyeballs, Cooper?”
“Skively, Cooper – no rude or threatening behaviour in my classroom, please.”
“He’s acting like they’re stupid!”
“Her nickname is Thicky-Vicky, for Christ’s sake!” Elliot Cooper said. “He’s named after an icon for a fast-food joint and -”
“I don’t think you’re stupid, Vicky.” Ronald McDonald said firmly, although Archibald suspected that this comment would only speed up the process of Vicky realising she’d been insulted, rather than making her feel any better.
“Me neither,” Archibald lied (all part of the training). “And Cooper, ten points from Ravenclaw and a detention next Saturday. I won’t have obnoxious behaviour towards other students,” Silently, Archibald added ‘just towards me.’ “And no degrading nicknames.” Archibald added, struggling not to crack up with the irony of that one.
“Sir.” Shelly said, and Archibald was relieved to see her high polished nails were no longer poised for attack (he might have got in the way and he certainly didn’t want any of Barbie’s charm work near his eyeballs – particularly if she was dropping the subject). This and the fact that he’d been given another excellent excuse to punish Cooper for being a little brat made Archibald feel slightly empowered and, for once, good about his job.
Apparently, punishing students paved the path to job satisfaction and a positive mental attitude. Until, of course, the student either didn’t turn up for the detention or Archibald realised that detention meant he had to spend more time in the same room with another moronic teenager.
“Right,” Archibald said, “you four get on with what you’re supposed to be doing and then -”
“-but, Sir,” Vicky said, looking up at him with her wide, slow eyes, “you haven’t set us any work yet.”
“Well,” Archibald said, thrown for a minute, “look over the course outline I gave you a couple of weeks ago... make sure you’re familiar with all the components. Think about which novel you’re going to write an essay on for the ‘muggle culture, entertainment and leisure’ coursework. Okay? Right, Shelly... is it because you’re finding charms difficult?”
“No,” Shelly said, glaring at Elliot Cooper’s head, “I just... I don’t want to study it.”
“Do you want to go into a job where Muggle relations are important?”
“Well then, I’m just struggling to see why you’d want to continue studying it?”
“Don’t you want me?” Shelly said, ringing her hands. Archibald backed away from her nails slightly. It wouldn’t be the first time he was scared Barbie’s nails had been about to pierce his flesh. Students were terrifying, particuarlly when he’d inadvertently offended them (so, all the time – essentially).
“Of course it would be a pleasure to have you back again,” Archibald said (ah, today was a good day for dishonesty), “but you never appeared to have any particularly enthusiasm from the subject. In fact, the only lesson you appeared to enjoy yourself was with the space hoper – ”
“Wasn’t my fault,” Shelly said, “Fred pushed me.”
“Shelly, why do you want to study Muggle Studies?”
“You just don’t want another student! You don’t care about us!”
“Skively, if I didn’t care deeply about both my pupils and teaching then there would be little reason for me to remain at Hogwarts. It’s not like anyone is going to thank me for teaching them how magnets work.”
“Yeah,” Shelly said, looking down at her hands again. Although Archibald had to admit that as Shelly was in a class with Dom Weasley she’d probably never had a chance to shine as a mouthy-argumentative-type, but he wasn’t accustomed to have Barbie being quite so on edge. This was the sort of thing that set his teacher-instincts alight... warning him quite clearly to send her back to Neville so she could have her teen-breakdown in his office, rather than in his classroom.
He didn’t want to be the one who had to clean up.
“So, is there a reason?”
“Yes.” Shelly admitted, not looking at him.
“Is it something you’d rather not talk about?”
“Can... can we go outside?” Shelly said, her mouth tilting downwards as she continued to ring her hands. Archibald’s inner alarm system (he usually likened in to smoke detectors in his mind) was screaming in warning, but for some reason he offered her a nod.
“Just... talk amongst yourself.” Archibald told his seventh years, as what damage could two slow students; one lazy student and one horrible student do in ten minutes? Well, he supposed he’d see as no doubt they’d do their best to test out the possibilities themselves.
“Shelly,” Archibald said when they were both outside his classroom (he’d almost forgotten what life looked like outside those four walls, it was quite nice really), “what on earth could be wrong with Charms?”
“It’s the teacher.” Shelly said miserably, putting her hands in her pockets.
“The new charms teacher?” Archibald questioned. “She seems... well, charming.”
“You don’t like her?”
“No, it’s not that I don’t like her,” Shelly said, “I just don’t want her to be my teacher.”
“You can talk to me, you know.” Archibald said carefully, although he wasn’t entirely sure why anyone would want to. Or why he was actually suggesting that they should. He’d always thought the muggle system of having someone employed to deal with these sorts of things had a lot going for it – pastoral care and all that.
“Sir,” Shelly said helplessly, so quietly he could barely hear, “I’ve got a crush on her.”
Well that was new.
Inside, Archibald was flailing in a sea of confusion, a slight desire to laugh and complete bamboozlement. There were too many things to take in at once. The first being that he really wasn’t equipped to deal with these sorts of issues. The second was centred around various ‘soaps’ (and by that, he didn’t mean the stuff you put in the bath) he’d watched back to back during the holidays and was vaguely reminded of some lingering trace of a ridiculous storyline.
“It’s not a big deal,” Shelly said, her face a magenta to match her bright nails or a random Barbie doll’s dress, “I just thought it would be better if I... just, moved out of her class.”
“Er, yes, okay,” Archibald said, “well that’s fine with me then. If you’re sure.”
“Yeah,” Shelly said, beginning to ring her hands again, “can I go now?”
“Feel free,” Archibald said, blinking repeatedly at her retreating black. Dear Merlin, he wasn’t cut out of this. It would have taken years of training to be cut out for this.
Archibald Penrose paused, turning back to his classroom and entered with a degree of trepidation: not even Merlin could predict what the four nut jobs inside his room might have achieved in his absence. Probably some sort of weapon; a nuclear bomb, or something of that calibre.
Elliot Cooper was calmly explaining how ‘The Lord of the Rings’ had changed his life and how he thought that might be an interesting take on the coursework criteria to cover a muggle Fantasy.
Archibald was so shocked he had to sit down for the rest of the lesson. It went against the way of things, for students to actually be productive.
It wasn’t natural.
I'm really intrigued to see how many people are going to be confused by the fact that the new chapter is number two. It’ll be testing to see if any of you have been reading my authors notes, at any rate! I wasn’t expecting to be updating so soon, but I’m really excited about the reception this story has been getting. Thanks everyone for your lovely reviews and feel free to keep them coming! They really make my day :)
Chapter 3: Compulsions and Convulsions
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CI &thereshegoes @ TDA
Thirty three students (+ student 'helpers').
Archibald Penrose had now been patrolling for two hours. He’d practically assaulted the Charming Charms teacher with his eagerness to take over her patrolling-shift, half locking her back in her office as he continued to pace up and down the corridor pretending that he was actually doing something. She was new, so he supposed she might buy the story he’d sold her (really didn’t mind patrolling, walking around helped him clear his head, dreadful migraine, no need for two of them to do it), but mostly she probably thought he was doing something quite illegal and just wanted her out the way.
This wasn’t strictly true. The problem was the Headmistress wanted to see Archibald in his office pronto and the more things Archibald managed to find to do in random parts of the castle the longer it would take for Aurora Sinstra to find him and drag him, kicking and screaming into her office. Then, he suspected, he’d either be presented with another letter of complaint, a pay reduction or would be fired – and he really wasn’t in the mood right now.
He’d have to return to Nottingham and, really, his girlfriend was already irritated enough at him without them having to actually co-inhabit the same apartment. That was bad enough over the summer holidays.
Neville had given him the heads up over dinner and thus Archibald Penrose had hurriedly placed down his cutlery and said something incomprehensible about extra-curricular activities, had taken on three separate teacher’s patrolling duties and had thought of several ways he could pitch Muggle Studies as a valuable aspect of the curriculum that shouldn’t be dropped, just in case.
“Archie!” Michael Corner said cheerfully and Archibald knew that this amount of happiness radiating from one of his co-worker meant he should be aware of where his wand was at all times. And possibly a gun.
“Got to... er, dash.” Archibald said quickly, turning back down the corridor and walking as fast as he could in the other direction. He found himself in the entrance hall and thought, to hell with it, pushed the large double doors open and stumbled outside. He found himself walking to Hagrid’s hut to give him some reason for wondering around the grounds at night. He searched around for something that could determine the reason behind the visit (he really was not a sociable man). His mind settled on the date: first of November. Four days to go. That was a good enough excuse. Bonfire night.
“-I can’t,” Archibald told Aurora Sinistra quickly, “I can’t... there’s... I’ve got lots of things on.”
“What?” The Headmistress asked, raising one of her skeletal eyebrows in his direction and tilting her head dangerously.
“I’m organising a... Bonfire night thing. I was talking to Hagrid about where would be best to build a fire I... I won’t have time.
“Archie,” Aurora began, and Archibald knew this battle was already lost, “there is no way we can give every single student caught trick or treating in front of the muggle villages of Hogsmeade a criminal record. It’s simply not feasible. There were over thirty students. So, the Ministry is demanding an alternative – that alternative is a course of intensive, compulsory Muggle Studies lessons. You are our Muggle Studies teacher. Of course, if you’d prefer for me to find someone more willing to take on the responsibilities of the job...”
Archibald repressed the desire to tell her that yes, actually, he’d be much obliged if she replaced him with some other strange, kooky muggle nut who’d invariably believe that they would be the one to finally make Muggle Studies exciting for everyone. With a set of compulsory Muggle Studies lessons lined up until Christmas, they wouldn’t last a week.
It was bad enough teaching students who’d selected Muggle Studies – the reasons behind the bizarre choice not withstanding – but to teach a bunch of students who’s interested in the Muggles stretched to adopting the Halloween tradition of trick or treating into illegal muggle bating was... well... not appetising.
This was why the Wizarding world needed ASBOs.
Archie was beginning to become quite scared of how vivid the day dreams of hurting Professor Michael Corner and Professor Terry Boot were becoming since they had suggested ‘student helpers’ so innocently. Of course, the students that actually volunteered to help him run these God awful compulsory Muggle Studies lessons were going to be even weirder than the ones who picked Muggle Studies in the first place. He wasn’t sure he was entirely prepared for things to get weirder.
There was the usual anomaly when it came to the number of students from his sixth year group who’d popped along to help out – Dom and Freddie (of course, they always seemed to be involved somehow) along with Borris and Gina, who was looking particularly angsty today. Shelly, it seemed, was still desperately trying to avoid him. A surprising lack of blonde representatives, just the giggling Nina, and then the entire quartet of seventh years. He hadn’t asked the younger students – he didn’t want to single them out for the bullies any more than they were already.
“Watch out, Sir,” Fred said in a carrying voice, “Guy’s on the warpath. He feels like his dementor Halloween costume didn’t really classify as breaking the statute of secrecy, so he doesn’t want to be here.”
Archibald very much wanted to ask who does? But the answer to that was the bunch of loyal misfits who’d turned up to help out, and it would hardly do to offend them too.
“Guy?” Archibald questioned. “As in, his name is just guy. Like the gender.”
“Guy Hamish Fawkes MacFarlan.” Dom added happily.
“His... his name is Guy Fawkes?” Archibald questioned, suddenly feeling quite excited about what he had planned. Then he remembered that the plan also involved fireworks, a bonfire and Freddie Weasley. The excitement waned.
“This is Thomas Hardy,” Dom said brightly, “he’s hard.” She added, flicking her fingers in a way that Archibald rather hoped was ironic. Still, that was Muggle Culture right there – he’d definitely seen a TV show where there’d been lots of pre-teens wearing hoods, lots of gold chains and rather ridiculous hats placed at jaunty angles. Thomas Hardy seemed to be attempting to emulate this chav stereotype: the usual pointed wizard-hat had been crumpled to the point of absurdity and was almost definitely on backwards, his robes had been brought several sizes too big making Archibald want to stand on the edge and see how far he’d could walk away before he tripped over, and his own variety of against-uniform-policy gold chains that probably weren’t gold.
“Daniel Harrison Lawrence.” Thomas Hardy’s friend and partner-in-fashion said, jerking his neck in a way that made it seem like his ridiculously posh name should be impressive in some way. Add in the fact that is voice seemed to be thick with an odd mixture of brummy, cockney and undertones that just screamed of something more middle class... He wished he had a dictionary at hand to throw at him – he rather thought he might need it.
“Thomas Hardy and... DH Lawrence?” Archibald asked slowly, the usual wash of disbelieving amusement washing over him. Wizards really were thick.
“Yeah.” Daniel Harrison Lawrence said, doing the weird neck-jerk again.
“How much do you love your mother?” Archibald asked before he could stop himself.
His face crumpled and creased in quite an alarming fashion.
“It doesn’t matter.” Archibald said, silently and ironically branding them as the lit duo for the rest of time and pointing to their assigned seats feeling particularly grim.
“Who else are we waiting for?” Dom asked, stretching up on her tip toes to glance at the list in Archie’s hand. “Oh, John Jigger’s nice! Katie Price isn’t too bad, I suppose.” Archie decided not to comment on that one. He didn’t trust himself. “Doris Dingle! Ah, Penelope Pilliwickle is always good value.” He had to admit that with surnames like Jigger, Dingle and Pilliwickle it wasn’t hard to understand why some Wizards thought such ridiculous first names were acceptable. “John Watson...” Dom continued.
“Sorry?” Archibald asked, looking back down at the list and trying to find that last one. He’d missed that name on the list; maybe such a beautiful occurrence had been lost amongst the obscure. “I didn’t see...”
The name most definitely wasn’t there.
“Struggling with observations?” Dom offered him a grin.
“You just made a muggle joke.” Archibald said, feeling something akin to pride stirring up in his stomach.
“We’ll make a Sherlock Holmes out of you yet.” Dom grinned.
Archibald shook his head slightly. There was good in the world.
“No, Jigger – don’t snigger at me.” Dear Lord, his rants had succumbed to actually rhyming. That didn’t help the current state of his classroom and as much as Archibald liked to think he could pull off strict teacher he hadn’t bothered attempting it for awhile, and it wasn’t going well.
“Muggles are just thick, ennit.”
“No they’re not. The reason the statute of Secrecy holds up is because every time a moron like one of you lot exposes muggles to magic they have to run around playing catch up and obliviating innocent -”
“- I wish I could obliviate this from my memory.” Guy MacFarlan muttered, to another snigger from John Jigger.
“- meaning their memory is permanently damaged. Does anyone know how severe the effects of memory charms can be?”
“That Goliath Lockhart kid... his Dad had his memories wiped.”
“And look at him.” Freddie put in, giving Archibald a thumbs up as if he was being remotely helpful. He wasn’t. Still, fair point.
“Look,” Archibald said, glancing round the classroom with a feeling of utter distaste, “you need to respect muggles. You can’t just dress up as dementors and pull out your wands in front of them just because you don’t understand. That’s how wars start.”
He glanced round at his student ‘helpers’: Borris had his face crunched up in concentration and was somehow still writing notes, Gina was colouring in the wrinkles in her knuckles nails with her quill, Elliot Cooper was looking obnoxious and smug and a little irritated, Vicky probably didn’t know where she was and both Ronald McDonald and Simon ‘Squeaky’ Fawcett looked slightly vacant and bored. Fred leaned forward and quietly suggested “how about you get the space hoper out again?”
“So,” Archibald continued, trying not to lose heart, “in these lessons you’ll be learning a couple of the differences between Wizarding and Muggle culture, just so your ignorance doesn’t suffocate you completely. We’ll start basic as you’re clearly a bunch of delinquents.”
Archibald dug around in his desk and pulled out a wad of lined paper, a packet of pencils and a pack of cheep biros. “Ink and parchment alternatives.” Archibald said, walking up the row of students and dropping a pen and a few sheets of paper on each desk. “Vicky, why don’t you explain the differences between parchment and paper?”
“Parchment... is thicker.”
“Thicker than what?” James Herriot (Archibald was still woefully amused, but was too scared he was going to get punched in the face to comment on it). “Surely not thicker than you, Vicky.”
“What was your involvement in the events on Thursday night?” Archibald asked sharply, over the jeering and general use of foul language that was being thrown around his classroom. No one insulted the intelligence of his pupils but him – it wasn’t decent.
“I sent a jet of water at a muggle out of my wand,” He said arrogantly, “she needed to cool down.”
“Well,” James said, sending a look round the classroom before turning back to the front, “we went up to her and we said ‘trick or treat’. She said she’d didn’t have no sweets cause she was just walking back from the pub, and that I weren’t dressed up neither. So then I said I’d just take her money and she got angry.”
“You do realise that’s not even trick or treating? I’m pretty sure that’s classified as mugging. Anyway, Herriot, you obviously don’t think you need to be here. That’s fine by me. I’m actually a little insulted that I have to let you in to my classroom. But, you’re lucky that all your friends are just as stupid as you – because if it wasn’t for the fact that the Ministry doesn’t want to embarrass themselves by how little progress they’ve made with muggle relations. But, the point is Herriot, next time you attempt to mug a muggle, you’re going to have a permanent black mark on your record. Then, the next time you perform magic in front of a muggle, they’re going to take away your wand and, you know what? I can’t wait until you walk into your first day at a muggle job, because you can’t work anywhere else and they fire you because you don’t know how to use a muggle pen. For future reference,” he finished, holding the pen in front of his face, “you click the top bit.”
Archibald walked back up to the front of the classroom feeling slightly elated by the absolute silence that had fallen over the classroom. He’d dreamed of moments like this.
“What you want us to do with the paper?” Thomas Hardy asked.
“I don’t know,” Archibald said irritably, “write a lot of whiny poetry? Okay, no... write down five things you used magic for today.”
“It doesn’t smudge.” Penelope Pilliwickle said, sounding quite delighted.
Archibald wanted to engage her in a conversation about the extensive selection of novelty pens in his office, but thought that now possibly wasn’t the time.
“Now, when you’ve done that – although I’ll give you a little longer, I know the English language is complicated for some of you – we’re going to go through and talk about what you’d have to do if you were a muggle. Okay, any questions?”
“What’s the point?”
“Were you just not listening before?” Archibald muttered irritably. “I know none of you want to be here. I certainly don’t want to be here. I don’t care of your enjoying it or not, but you will listen to what I say or you’ll be in detention until you graduate from this place. Unless you drop out to go to prison, in which case I hope you can enjoy dressing up as dementors as much in Azkaban.”
“No,” a slightly tearful looking Doris Dingle said, “I mean, what’s the pointy bit of the pencil for? Just because, I’ve broken the point off mine...”
“Muggle fireworks are a bit boring.” Dom commented, spit roasting her marshmallow over the questionable bonfire. In reality, it was more of a campfire than a bonfire but given he’d given his compulsory-students the encouragement (read: bribery) that those who got top scores on the test could come along to the Bonfire night celebrations and get free marshmallows... well, he’d decided that having a nice, small, controlled fire was preferable.
“I liked them,” Penelope Pilliwickle said brightly, “they were pretty.”
“Watching Penrose try to light ‘em was proper funny.” Thomas Hardy said, in his usual eloquent prose. Still, the Lit Duo had been lured onwards by the promise of food and had apparently jinxed Elliot Cooper and threatened him until he told them everything he could about muggle culture – which, as far as Archie was concerned, was a win on all accounts. He’d certainly impressed Aurora Sinistra with the enthusiasm he’d managed to generate amongst some of his compulsory pupils (although James Herriot had remained aloof and uninterested and despite his greatest hopes, the only question Guy Hamish Fawkes MacFarlan had been able to answer had been about muggle cigarettes). Still, there wasn’t much the promise of a great big fire and some free food couldn’t do.
They should have mentioned that at some point in his training course.
“Well,” Archibald said dryly, “I’m honoured to have amused you.”
“Ignore him,” Miss Barbie said, “he’s just bitter because he’s signed his robes.”
“Good to have you join us, Skively.” Archibald countered with a small smile. He was actually really quite happy. There was something quite nice about sitting round a fire with his pupils – and Hagrid, Neville and the Charming Charms teacher for extra supervision – watching them quite calmly toast marshmallows and marvel over the excitement of Guy Fawkes trying to blow up parliament. Admittedly, Fred had taken the remember, remember the fifth of November chant a little bit too far, but those sorts of things were nothing compared to how truly terrible the daily compulsory lessons had been.
And, yes, he’d had to ban most of his students from using the sparklers but that hadn’t exactly been a surprise. And it was probably for the best that Hugo Weasley learnt that sort of language at this point, rather than stumbling across it in a situation where Fred was available to explain and define what each choice swear word meant. Really, it was healthier this way.
“Well,” she shrugged, “Gina said that you’d delivered some fantastic rants.”
“I heard you made Doris Dingle cry,” Kevin Pips added, with a sort of expression that was like a smile but had a lot more attitude attached to it, “by telling her she was going to go to prison.”
The Charming Charms teacher looked slightly alarmed. No doubt she was the type to tell all her students that they were all going to fulfil their potential and get their dream jobs. And she seemed charming enough that it wouldn’t seem patronising.
“You shouldn’t believe gossip, Pips.”
“But it was totally true,” Lily Potter added in an undertone, “Freddie told me.”
“You shouldn’t believe Fred Weasley either.” Archibald said, glancing over to where Fred Weasley was winding up Hagrid with talk of how dangerous hippogriffs were. Archibald very much thought that Fred Weasley didn’t consider anything to be truly dangerous, but more fun. Like irritating a half giant.
Scorpius, Locran and Lysander were doing something strange and probably blonde-related on the other side of the fire – possibly talking to Neville, who was fond of the peculiar trio. He could hear Nina giggling somewhere. Goliath Lockhart was talking at people. Hugo was annoying Elliot Cooper with lots of questions about the Lord of the Rings. Hardly any of his horrific forth year group had turned up. All together, everything felt rather nice.
A very loud, high pitched, swear word pierced the air.
“Vicky!” Simon ‘Squeaky’ Fawcett continued. “Drop it! It’s on fire!”
Archibald stumbled to his feet to be met with the sight of Vicky rather stupidly staring at the stick she’d been using to melt her now burning Marshmallows, which had caught alight rather spectacularly.
“Don’t drop it on my stuff!” Elliot Cooper yelled.
“Your stuff isn’t important right now, Cooper,” Shelly yelled, “in fact, your stuff is never important.”
“Drop it you idiot!” Simon yelled, knocking the burning stick out of Vicky’s hand and sending it flying towards the blondes, who scrabbled outwards and sent the entire pack of marshmallows into the greedy bonfire flames.
“I’m not an idiot.” Vicky protested.
“You’re all idiots!” Elliot yelled.
“THE MARSHMALLOWS.” Dom screamed. Archibald was going to need an ear transplant after that performance. Ah, melodrama.
“The grass is on fire!”
“We’re not actually muggles you know!” Elliot said, pulling out his wand and sending a jet of water at the singular blade of grass that seemed to have caught fire. His efforts were rather too enthusiastic and had just about doused the entire bonfire/campfire to nothing when Shelly threw something at him.
“Huh,” Penelope Pilliwickle said, blinking rapidly, “I guess we could have done with James Herriot being here,” She looked up at him conversationally, “he’s quite good at water spells.”
“Muggle Studies is fun,” Thomas Hardy commented, “ennit.”
This one contained a lot of references to other things which aren't mine. The "how much do you love your mother" line is referring to Sons and Lovers by D.H.Lawrence. Whiny poetry comment was in reference to Thomas Hardy. I couldn't resist a Sherlock Holmes reference or two (what with RDJ on the banner and all) so obviously that's Conan Doyle's. The name 'James Herriot' is borrowed from a character from 'All Creatures Great and Small'. You can probably only see these things if you squint, anyway, but... well... they're not mine. I just really enjoyed throwing them in there. It's one of those days. I actually just flat out had a lot of fun this one. Hope you guys enjoyed the first chapter of Muggle Studies month? Oh, yeah! TheGoldenKneazle gets credit for the idea of calling a character Guy Fawkes and that they should celebrate Bonfire Night in this chapter. Reviews would be lovely :)
Chapter 4: On Your Bike, Sir
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Sixth year class.
It was nearly the Christmas holidays, something of which Archibald Penrose was acutely aware as he reached the middle of the week: not only due to the fact that his students were becoming either more distracted or more excited, depending on the type of student in question; but also due to how own mixture of exaggerated cheeriness and growing weariness.
He’d stuck on ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ to occupy his sixth years, mostly because he thought it was an excellent film – even though he’d had to spend two hours fixing up a magical protector so that the films were watchable. Naturally, he’d already made compatible copies of all his favourite films so that he didn’t get bored during term time, but it still wasn’t as easy as it would have been if he was a muggle.
Still, if he was a muggle he’d probably be out of a job.
He may have to make some more copies over the holidays, as his sixth years had already enjoyed most of his films: ‘Star Wars’, ‘The Notebook’, and ‘Mean Girls’ being his particular favourites (films were the instant-solution to a double period with rowdy students, something which he had learnt well in his time). His copy of ‘Grease' had been worn out by Fred and Dominique Weasley repeatedly watching it so they could learn the dance moves. Now they occasionally performed them to him in the corridors, which he always through was quite funny even though Professor Boot had never quite forgiven him for the time he had wound up with Fred Weasley’s finger up his nose when he’d been a little too erratic during the a recital of the final, fantastical number.
“Sir, this is boring.” Dom complained fifteen minutes into the double period, three days before the term was over. Dom and Fred were his anomalous students – they were always enthusiastic, a little too enthusiastic maybe, but he was entirely sure they didn’t really care about muggles or studying them.
Today, Dom was sporting a pair of elf ears jauntily placed on her head, whereas Fred had opted for reindeer antlers – he appreciated this references to muggle culture, but was slightly unsure whether it was appropriate or not. He often found himself asking that sort of thing around those two.
“Sir, I’ve asked my dad for some muggle drinks for Christmas, I thought we could all have a taster session.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Archibald nodded. Saved him planning a lesson, “wait,” he said after a second, “no – not a good idea.” By the look on their faces he could guess what kind of drinks they meant.
“We’re all of age, sir, so it wouldn’t be against the rules.” Dom added in helpfully.
“When did you turn seventeen?” Archibald asked her curiously. On Fred’s birthday he’d managed to acquire a cake with the face of a teletubby on the front (Archibald was really at a loss of how he’d gotten it – his own collection of teletubbies memorabilia contained nothing quite as exciting as a cake) which had resulted in Archibald having to explain what teletubbies were to an unprecedented amount of people. The strange thing was everyone seemed to think he was more insane for embracing muggle culture after the explanation, although that may have been down to the impression (big hug!).
Anyway, he couldn’t imagine that Dom would have let her birthday slip by without a similar, if not more ridiculous, incident.
“Well it’s in March – but I’ve got my sister’s ID, so...”
“I should report you for that.” Archibald muttered, rolling his eyes and pointedly turned up the volume of the film.
Dom poked the boy in front of her with her novelty flamingo pen (oh, how proud Archibald was); “whatcha getting for Christmas, Xavier?”
Archibald resisted the urge to suggest ‘x-box’ purely because Xavier Boxton hadn’t understood the concept at all, and had threatened to file a complaint against him unless he deceased with the nickname. Bloody spoilt brat. Nobody appreciated geeky muggle jokes anymore. Besides, it wasn’t like muggle children still had X-boxes these days.
Xavier looked up from taking notes in his exercise book (Archibald had mass ordered exercise books for half of his classes. His entire fourth year group had filled in the subject line with ‘doss studies’ and the form line with ‘Archie’s minions’ but Archie had been so surprised by the organisation and the coordination that this must have taken the bunch of buffoons that he still considered this a success).
“New broom.” Xavier grunted. They could blame deteriorating language skills on muggle technology all they liked, but it seemed that even wizarding kids were unable to talk in anything more than elliptical sentences. He doubted Xavier Boxton even knew what a preposition was; let alone how to use one.
“Imma getting a vacuum cleaner – for ornamental reasons.”
“I’ve told you Dom, bring it over to Ron and Hermione’s – they’ve got electricity. Then you could vacuum up Lily and she’d stop being a spoilt brat.”
“I’ve asked for a bicycle,” Gina McLaggen said, Archie looked up feeling startled: Gina usually spent every period of muggle studies angstily colouring in her fingernail’s black with her Raven quill (Hogwarts’ answer to the emo culture – not half as dramatic, Archie thought). Unless she had similar abilities to those groovy extra absorbent muggle sponges, he’d thought the only thing she’d get out of muggle studies was ink poisoning. Yet it seemed she’d remembered something of the four hours he’d spent explaining muggle methods of travel! Finally the forty five minutes he’d spent explaining the London underground felt worthwhile! “To help mum with the washing up, you know, but I don’t think she’ll get one – dad is clueless about things like that.”
Nope. Dreams crushed. Just another day in the life, Archie supposed.
“Aren’t bikes those things with wheels?” Xavier asked, flicking back through the pages of his notebook with an expression which seemed to indicate extreme misfortune rather than confusion about bicycles. He was chubby too. Not his favourite student, all things considered.
“I’ll bring mine in after Christmas.” Archibald said with a sigh.
“You’ve got a bike?” Dom asked gleefully, “Can I ride it?”
“Not after the incident with the space hopper.”
“Fred pushed me!” Whined Miss Barbie from the back row, well technically her real name was Shelly but quite frankly it amounted to the same thing. She was currently painting her nails fuchsia but at least she was listening whilst simultaneously stinking his classroom out. Recently she’d developed a habit of not looking at Archibald in the eye, which Archibald was generally quite glad about – it meant he didn’t have to be scared he’s say something inappropriate about Shelly’s dislike of charms or be terrified of her killer nails becoming a little too intimate with his eyeballs. “It wasn’t my fault the window broke!”
“Are you doing anything exciting over the holiday professor?” Dom asked cheerfully, her elf ears slipping as she cocked her head to one side like an over excited puppy.
“Yes actually, Weasley, my girlfriend and I are going on a muggle tour.”
“Is she a muggle nut too?” Fred asked.
“No, well, not exactly. I haven’t told her about the holiday yet – surprise,”
“She probably won’t like it.” Gina said, drawing festive branches of holly on her arms. Oh no, wait, on closer inspection he was pretty sure that she was attempting to draw barbed wire. She wasn’t very good at art either then. Just angst.
“She’s interested in my job,” Archibald said, suddenly feeling slightly unsure. His mother had often thrust books containing relationship advice in his direction (mostly when he turned thirty five and he still wasn't married) and in the end he had read the ones by muggle authors – primarily to understand more of the culture, of course – and he’d thought that he ticked the ‘being yourself' boxes by inviting her on the holiday-of-a-lifetime. “The tour looks really exciting, too, you’re not allowed to bring your wand and then you have to cook for yourself and you stay in muggle hotels and visit muggle points of interest and -”
“So you’d probably be getting an airport then?”
“Aeroplane, Boxton, but no it’s all in England!”
“Isn’t it going to be cold?” Barbie/Shelly said from the back, blowing on her nails to dry them off. She’d probably whack her toes out in a minute, “does she like freezing to death in rubbish muggle hotels when the central heating’s broken and you can’t turn the gas on so you can’t eat anything warm?”
“Speaking from experience, Shells?” Dom asked.
“My parents decided to get divorced on a muggle tour,” She said sounding thoroughly bored, “and that was the best bit of the holiday – at least after that we were allowed to go home. Well, mum wasn’t – but that’s beside the point.”
“Oh,” Archibald said. He’d whimsically thought they’d be sitting in front of open fires and roasting marshmallows (amongst other things) but...
“Never mind,” Dom said bracingly, “you could always join one of those muggle dating sites.”
“Quirky male, age fifty.” Fred began with a grin.
“Don’t be silly, he’s not a day over twenty five,” Dom grinned, “teacher, dark brown hair, interested in either gender...”
“Probably has commitment issues.” Gina said, looking up from her doodling – now a slightly decapitated santa clause. Poor girl.
“Poor fashion sense.” Miss Barbie chirped up, adding a third coat of nail varnish to her nails.
“Obsessed with computer gaming,” Xavier said grumpily, still writing notes about goodness knows what. It really wasn’t like anything educational was going on at this moment in time – the kid should really learn now to chill out. They were watching a film, for Merlin’s sake, and no one even seemed to be watching that.
“Looking for somebody, please!” Dom finished with a dramatic flourish which sent her elf ears flying across the classroom. They hit Spencer Edgecombe on the head but he was asleep so it didn’t really matter much.
“What’s the difference between a tricycle and a bicycle?” Muggle nut extraordinaire, Boris Belby asked eagerly. He’d been so fixated on watching the film (and a jolly good film it was too) that Archibald hadn’t been continually reminded of his really rather irritating presence, but now it seemed – all too soon – the credits were rolling and he’d missed that terrible emotional ending to such a classic story of love, childhood and naivety, “is it just the number of wheels... or is it the general target audience of the vehicle? And what’s a unicycle? Are they only used by children’s entertainers or...?”
“Why don’t you try work that out Belby? In fact, that’s your holiday homework – I want a page of notes about the difference between bicycles, unicycles and tricycles and whom you might expect to use them, the purpose of them ect... for the first day back! We have a double period, I do believe, and I will bring my bicycle in and the person who has the best notes may get a turn – or maybe not,” he said quickly, because he wasn’t letting Fred Weasley anywhere near his bicycle, “we’ll see.”
Gina scrunched up her face, which was pretty woeful at the best of time, and pouted at him slightly. There was an air of distinct tension about the room. Normally, Archibald Penrose did not set such things as ‘holiday homework.’
“Could we just do a poster instead?” Gina said hopefully, and then everyone seemed to relax – Xavier returned to making notes (was he writing a novel or something?), Dom continued trying to retrieve her elf ears without waking up Spencer, Fred returned to doing not very much and Shelly/Barbie continue doing something complicated to her nails that made them reflective.
“Fine,” Archibald sighed, slumping down on the edge of the desk, “knock yourself out.”
It was sad that he felt the need to add 'not literally' onto the end of that sentence. There was something in Fred Weasley's eyes that made him think it would be unwise not to...
- Again, this isn't edited because I'm terrible but its NaNo but I felt strange not having anything in the queue so... here we go. Chapter two. Enjoy, review, ect :)
Also, just to add - I don't own any of the things mentioned in this chapter. All thoes films? Not mine...
Miracle on 34th Street belongs to 20th Centuary Fox
The Notebook belongs to New Line Cinema based on a book by Nicola Sparks
Star Wars belongs to 20th Centuary Fox/George Lucas
Mean Girls - Paramount pictures
Grease - Paramount pictures
Teletubbies - Ragdoll productions
Bicycles? Also not mine. Damn.
Over and out.
Chapter 5: Squabbles and Squibbles
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Third Years (+ two helping hands + one interruption).
Nine students (+ extras).
Archibald knew when he was close to getting mad and yelling, something which he tended to do about once a term when the pressure of teaching a lot of blithering idiots about life-enriching things that they didn’t give a damn about got too much– and come mid January he was getting very very close. Part of it was because Professor Corner had bet him a month’s salary that Archibald was a hypocrite who couldn’t survive without magic any more than the rest of them – hence during the ill-fated teachers New Year’s party (he wouldn’t have agreed at any other moment in time, but being dumped on boxing day and having to crawl his sorry self back to Hogwarts for the remainder of the holidays had left him feeling rather reckless) he’d stupidly agreed that unless he made it to the first of February without using magic he would cough up an entire month’s pay and wear a T-shirt saying ‘The squibs’ (which were a terrible band) for an entire weekend.
If he won Michael Corner would surrender both his pay for the month (considerably more than his own, not that he was complaining or anything...) and his wand for the weekend.
Archibald was not going to win.
Michael Corner had managed to enlist the help of Terry Boot (fellow professor) to jump out on him in the middle of corridors, presuming of course that he’d pull out his wand and hex them. He’d stopped carrying his wand around him, but knowing that round the next corner a middle age man might be waiting brandishing some muggle artefact and yelling ‘bonsai!’ (why, he’d not asked) was beginning to make him jumpy. They’d tried to enlist Neville Longbottom’s help too, but he was a little useless and the one occasion he’d attempted to surprise Archibald Neville had wound up in the hospital wing with a purple carrot stuck out of his ear. No one knew how.
“What would happen if you put your hand in a toaster?”
“I don’t know, Lockhart, why don’t you just try it?” Archibald snapped, before remembering the ‘how to avoid lawsuits’ part of his three day teacher training course, “you’d probably wind up with a toasted hand and although that might seem all fun and games and first, after the third person has buttered your toasty-palms I am sure it was cease to be amusing. Bringing us swiftly on to... potato peelers. Careful now, as much as I would love to peel off my skin during these lessons I really don’t want to have to explain to the Headmistress why several of my pupils seem to think that they are vegetables.”
Johnny English took one of the counters and seemed to be testing it on his forearm.
“English, if you really do think you’re a potato will you do me a favour and go sit in Hagrid’s vegetable patch instead of wasting time in my lessons?”
“Sarcastic much,” Kevin muttered, raising his eyebrows for a second as he took his own vegetable peeler and prodded it ceremoniously.
“Detention, don’t talk back.” Archibald muttered.
“Seriously?” Kevin demanded, raising a challenging eyebrow.
“No, but well... that’s your last warning. I hope you learn from it.”
“Sure,” Kevin said, dropping his potato peeler onto the desk and folding his arms, “like a Ravenclaw on a Sunday.”
“Is that my post-final-warning-warning?”
“It’s me telling you to shut up, Pips,”
“Are teachers allowed to say things like that?” Tabatha Street asked, blinking up at him.
“It depends how annoying the student in question is, okay – I suppose no one can tell me what you do with a potato peeler?”
“You peel potatoes, sir!” Hugo said, his hand soaring into the air so quickly that he knocked Lily Potter’s geek-chic glasses flying into the air.
“Hugo!” She snapped, folding her arms sassily and making him scramble around on the floor to retrieve her glasses. Right on.
“Wouldn’t they work for most kinds of Vegetables,” Kevin suggested lazily, “sir.” he added as an afterthought.
“Yes, Kevin,” Archibald said, “well done... and you too, I suppose, Hugo,” He added reluctantly. Archibald always felt that he was encouraging Hugo to act like an overexcited geek-show by congratulating him for getting the right answer. He didn’t like to endorse these sorts of things, as there were very few positions in life for which the skill was actually useful.
He was in one of them.
“So, what is this?” Archibald said, picking the microwave up from behind his desk and letting it fall heavily on the desk. The loud noise when microwave met wooden desk was gloriously satisfying and seemed to shut up everyone, even Hugo, for a split second. Then Tabatha Street started to cry.
“Tabby doesn’t like loud noises.” Johnny English said, leaning across the space between her desks and patting her a bit. Last Archibald had heard, Johnny English was been dating ‘Tabby’ (dear Merlin, her name was terrible enough without the addition of an even more ridiculous nickname) and by the look of the serious sexual tension conveyed through that pat on the arm, young love was still blooming.
It had been the charming charms teacher who’d relayed the happy news to him in the Staff room, excitedly chattering about how she’d had to tell them off for holding hands in her classroom. Teenagers sickened him, as did the charming charms teacher (ish). Really, who cared?
“She shouldn’t have picked Muggle studies then, really.” Kevin grinned, stretching out his arms and looking far too comfortable. Were you allowed to give detentions for that?
He decided he probably wasn’t which was, when you thought about it, a damned shame.
“Street,” Archibald said wearily, “do you need to go outside?” Tabatha’s expression, which was still a little crumpled and snotty (ew) disappeared into Johnny English’s arm. Excellent. He could deal with that issue. “Lockhart,” Archie continued, “what would you call this?”
“Roderigo.” Kevin interjected.
“Is your name Goliath Lockhart?” Archibald said, turning his gaze to face Kevin and raising his eyebrows at him.
“No, thank God.”
Amen to that.
“Well,” Archibald said, “don’t answer for him. Particularly with insolent remarks.”
This whole discipline thing would be easier if he didn’t find Kevin so amusing, because as far as grotty slightly gross teenagers went Kevin’s blatant attitude problem was one of the most appealing and smiling-inducing he’d come across – in fact, given Kevin generally had quite good personal hygiene and tended to pick things up a little faster than he let on, usually forcing Archie to questioning him for a good ten minute so on some stupid tangential point before revealing he knew the answer all along, Kevin was usually easier to put up with then some of the others.
It was just on days like this, when he was half expecting one of the teachers to burst in yelling about the blitz trying to shock him into pulling out his wand and hexing their face off, that he really didn’t need all the back chat.
“Lockhart,” Archibald said, turning towards the boy and trying not to wince, “what is this?”
“A mini drinks fridge!”
“No,” Archibald muttered, feeling the oncoming wave of a brutal migraine stirring up in his temple.
“Well,” Archibald said, “in as much as it is a kitchen appliance you are correct, although considering that is this week’s topic I’m not entirely surprised you managed to guess within the right genre, in terms of function… well, I want you to think of what a drink fridge does, and then think of the exact opposite and then you’re there.”
“A mini oven?”
“More or less,” Archibald sighed, “so, have you all recipe plans to hand in?” He was met by a sea of very vacant looks. “You know,” Archie said, “your homework?”
Archibald had absolutely no idea why he submitted himself to such tortures, yet here he was preparing for an hour of pure hell in the name of making his classes more enjoyable for a motley crew of the lazy and the stupid, when they clearly went out of their way to make him as stressed as possible.
“Does anyone know who Jessica James is?” Archibald asked, bored of calling her name off on the register and receiving nothing in response. He’d also asked that question a fair number of times and had spent several hours requesting that she be removed from his register and subsequently his responsibility, but apparently it was more important for it to appear to the governors that she was actually taking the required numbers of courses.
“Jessie’s sick.” Tabatha said.
“Well,” Archibald said, “that’s a shame. So as you know, today we have two house elves coming to help you guys with your cookery project and to ensure that you’re properly supervised. They’ve been given strict instructions not to do all the work for you, so it would be nice if you didn’t cause a House Elf order-confusion breakdown in the next hour.”
“Sir,” Franklinstien said, “as I can’t make chips,” he made a face, “I don’t know how you make apple crumble.”
It had been a categorical no as to whether Franklinstein, or indeed any of them, would be allowed to use a deep fat fryer – even if the things worked in Hogwarts, for which the burn on Archie’s leg was testament to the negative – he wouldn’t have let any of his pupils touch one. Not even ones like Elliot Cooper or his forth years, of whom he often had pleasant dreams about them falling into a humungous liquidiser and irritating him no more.
He wasn’t even going to let them use ovens. They got to participate in the first little bits of cooking, like peeling potatoes and employing that classic ‘rubbing in’ method, before the house elves took over the rest.
“Have you looked it up in the recipe book?” Archibald suggested lightly. “It’s spelt A-P-P-L-E -”
“- I know how to spell,” he muttered irritably, “even if I haven’t read Frankenstein I can spell.”
“Your essay into the basic principles of the statue of secrecy says otherwise.”
“Sir,” Hugo said, blinking up at him with a rather blank expression, “are you… okay?”
Archibald wasn’t sure what was most disturbing about this. For one, there was the fact that the only person who’d asked about his welfare today was one of his thirteen year old odd-ball students and from the levels of weak-minded conversation evident from his eyes Hugo was genuinely worried about him (concerning both on the level that student thought he was on the edge of a mental break down, and the fact that Hugo genuinely diverted enough attention away from the teenage norms – sex and food – to consider the mental state of his Muggle Studies Professor) and when someone as utterly dotty as Hugo was worried about you it was fair to say you were screwed.
“Archibald, miss,” Dettie, one of the House Elves who’d been so eager to volunteer to help him with his class, said eagerly, “are you hungry, Archibald miss?”
Archibald could feel a little more of his resolve crinkling into nothing.
It had been so long since he’d been too embarrassed to face the Staff Table – probably after last Peer Assessment week, actually – that he’d forgotten that, although Dettie was a really lovely and obliging house elf, the gender confusion issue had come out of nowhere.
Archibald had even grown a beard, last October, to try and assert the fact that he’d rather be referred to as ‘Archibald, sir’ but the ‘miss’ seemed to be the sort of thing that had stuck and was difficult to get rid of.
He could feel his pupils preparing the punch lines to a million jokes.
“No thanks, Dettie,” Archibald said, staring straight back at his students as if his gaze could prevent them from finding this funny, “but Goliath Lockhart looks like he’s having some problems kneading his dough.”
“Are you, though, sir?” Hugo said, leaning forwards and looking up at him with wide eyes, “just, you’ve been a bit -”
“Get back to work, Hugo,” Archie said pointedly, “a Victoria sponge won’t cook by itself.”
The last thing he needed, on top of his fellow teachers still ambushing him in more and more creative ways as the month got closer towards the end, and Dettie somehow thinking that he was a female, his current state of homelessness and singleness was his pupils starting to psychoanalyse him.
“He was dumped over Christmas,” Kevin said, loudly, “I heard Boot and Corner discussing it outside the staff room.”
“Thank you, Pips.” Archibald said pointedly.
Dettie the house elf pressed a plate of biscuits towards him with the declaration “for your broken heart, miss.”
Wonderful. Now he had gender confused House Elves prescribing him comfort eating in front of a room of thirteen year old brats trying to bake things Muggle Style.
“I think I’ve cut my finger,” Herman Goyle piped up, staring at where blood was indeed dripping from his finger and into Johnny English’s cheesecake, “it hurts.”
Archibald was just about to suggest that, unless the tip of his finger was not attached to the rest of his finger, Herman had the choice of either manning up or popping along to the Hospital Wing if it was still bleeding in a minute (but either way he was factoring in ‘but heaven’s sake stop bleeding into the cream cheese’), when something rather remarkable happened.
He wasn’t entirely sure why he hadn’t expected his fourth year students to burst into his classroom wearing war paint and brandishing their wands, performing what he only assumed could be their interpretation of the Rain Dance, but he had to admit that the whole thing had taken him by surprise.
Tabatha, who apparently still didn’t like loud noises and had developed a nervous disposition during Muggle Studies lessons, launched herself towards her heroic ‘boyfriend.’ Johnny English, with all the heroics and finesse of a thirteen year old boy was taken by surprise and promptly fell off his chair. During the fall his arms began the classic ‘windmill’ motion of attempting to secure balance (which inherently, it never did) which sent the bowl of crumble flying through the air and raining down that exact mixture of sugar, butter and flour that tasted oh so perfect.
Lily Potter shrieked and dove for cover under the desk, whereas Hugo got a face-full and didn’t seem too bothered about it. Dettie and her partner in crime, Winky, switched over to major clean up mode almost instantaneously and through all the commotion Archie was vaguely aware that his forth years were still prancing around his classroom, that Corner and Boot were stood in the doorway laughing, that he hadn’t got a clue what was going on with Lockhart and Franklinstien and that Herman Goyle hadn’t noticed anything had happened because he was still inspecting his marginally bloody finger.
“SILENCIO!” Archibald yelled.
Everyone shut up.
It took a split second for Archibald to realise that he didn’t have his wand on him. Around three seconds to consider the possibility of him having mastered wandless magic and then discard it, and another two to come to the unsaleable conclusion that, finally, the stress had gotten to him and had caused his eardrums to spontaneously combust.
He had gone deaf. It was the only explanation.
“Er,” Kevin Pips said, raising his eyebrows slightly, “don’t you erm… need a wand for that to work?”
More astounding than deafness! He’d simply shocked the inhabitants of the classroom into silence.
“Are you a squib?” One his forth years asked loudly.
“No,” Archibald said, frowning at him.
“Show us some magic then, Sir.”
“I haven’t got my wand on me,” Archibald said, blessing the fact that he’d had the peace of mind to lock it away in his office in the name of winning this bet.
“Borrow mine,” Corner said, grinning as he stepped into the classroom and held out the stick.
“Shouldn’t you be in class?” Archibald muttered, not taking the wand and folding his arms over his chest. It wasn’t like his wage was really worth all that much, but ‘The Squibs’ really were a terrible band. Anyway, Archibald would not give in. After such a long month he would not cave.
“It’s okay,” Hugo said, “if you are a Squib sir, none of us would mind.”
That, he very much doubted, he was sure that if he was known as a squib his teacher-cred was sure to drop several more octaves, and it was already in a state so low that deep sea diving equipment was needed to squint at it.
“Is that why you’re a Muggle Studies teacher?” Lily Potter asked, flicking her hair out of her face sassily.
“No,” Archibald said, “now… get back to work.”
“I really think,” Dettie said, her eager voice looking up at him, “that you should have a cookie, Archibald, miss.”
He could hear his fourth years absorbing this new information (it sounded like a lot more sniggering) and Michael Corner was looking as though Christmas had come eleven months early, but Archibald had reached saturation point: considering, right now, there was almost nothing he could do contain the rumour that he was a Cross dressing Squib teacher (his fourth years were notoriously good at spreading things and with the help of two Professor confirming such rumours, it was practically factual) he thought he might as well admit defeat and eat the cookies.
Sometimes, even cross-dressing-squib-teachers needed to comfort eat.
Update time at last! I'm dead chuffed about Muggle Studies winning best OC over at TGS and being a finalist for comedy and being nom'd in the Dobby awards too. You guys are the bestest! And hopefully this filled the Archie shape hole in your heart :)
Chapter 6: Frying the flag
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Vast numbers of students.
Archibald glanced around the motley crew of students feeling distinctly gloomy; he hadn’t seen this many students turn up to something he was supposed to be controlling since the horrific Halloween incident and he’d blocked most of that out (filling it under ‘disastrous’ in the back of his head), and this time the students were here voluntarily. He should have known that organising extra-curricular activities was a bad idea, but after the charming charms teacher had completely reformed and restructured charms club she’d been given a significant pay rise and if he was going to put a bid on that rather exciting novelty kettle (it lit up pretty colours and actually sang) then he was going to have to raise some money.
As Mundungus Fletcher always told him, muggle artefacts were not cheap and there was plenty of demand for the really unique stuff. He spent half his time fighting off the buyers, but Archibald was his mate and he’d hold off those buyers anytime he had something of interest for him.
Plus, it’s not like he’d anticipated anyone actually turning up. Most of the time it looked like his students had wondered in to his classroom by accident rather than through any real intent and yet the masses had arrived. Even scarier; they were very nearly on time.
“Hugo,” Archibald began miserably, “what did you put in the adverts I asked you to make?”
“Free pancakes!” Hugo piped up happily, pulling out a creased poster from his pocket and shoving it into Archibald’s hands with an excitable grin. Archibald felt his stomach sink as he read the words that Hugo had expertly crawled across the parchment.
Come and have a flipping good time! Celebrate Shrove Tuesday like a muggle. Free pancakes! All welcome!
“Hugo, do you remember what I asked you to do?”
“Yes, you said make adverts the muggle way about Shrove Tuesday and then you said, use lots of black and white and not very much colour to give them a formal feel,” Archibald knew that Hugo wasn’t the brightest of teenagers and yet he had thought that his instructions had been enough to convey the message of how little he wanted any of them to turn up, “but I though a pun would be more fun!” Hugo said with a grin, “and no one would have read the posters if I hadn’t made them all fluorescent yellow by colouring them in with highlighter pens!”
“Wait, Hugo – how many posters did you make?”
“About fifty, I think.”
“You mean to say that you genuinely wasted your time colouring in the background of fifty individual posters? Bloody hell, Hugo – I should deduct points for sheer stupidity.”
“What?” Hugo asked and for a second he looked like he was about to start to cry.
“I mean, er, good job,” Archibald said quickly. He had, on occasion, made a few of the girls cry but making a thirteen year old boy really wouldn’t sound good in the law suit, “really appreciate it.” Then he patted Hugo on the back a bit, reminding himself to wash his hands thoroughly before starting to cook the pancakes.
“Hello Archie!” The charming Charms teacher said cheerfully, letting herself into the already full classroom as Archibald was trying to explain the origins of Shrove Tuesday and not getting much further than ‘Jesus went into the desert for forty days...’ because Fred had decided to restart his campaign of annoying him to death by continually badgering on about the Holy Trinity (so, Jesus is God... but Jesus is also God’s son? So... in a physical sense, what woud that look like?), “I’ve been advertising this to my students all week – do you need a hand at all?”
“Probably,” Archibald admitted, silently vowing not to call her the ‘charming charms teacher’ in his head anymore. Secretly she was the devil incarnate, sending unnecessary numbers of students in his direction. He actually found the level of teenagers in the room quite intimidating. It made him feel that any second now he was about to go through puberty all over again, “more students than I expected.”
“Gosh, yes!” The not-so-Charming Charms teacher said cheerfully. Archibald looked out at the array of students once more and tried to do a rough tally, but gave up rather quickly when he realised that they weren’t even all his students: Daniel Harrison Lawrence and Thomas Hardy (otherwise known as the lit-duo – whom he’d managed to avoid since the whole Halloween-thing) were hanging around with their usual gold chains and the outward experience of being awfully gangster (or ‘G’ as they called it); all the muggleborns he’d ever taught ever seemed to have shown up; the blonde-mob from his fifth year group; Fred and Dom (followed by Lily, who seemed to be more keen to participate now she’d gotten rid of Hugo); all four of his Seventh years and even Merlin help him, some of the students from his God forsaken forth year group.
And Kevin Pips.
“So, I’ve just explained why...” Archibald lied, ignoring as fifth-year-Nina creased up laughing into the back of her hand, “so now let’s start making pancakes. Now, muggles would usually use electric cookers as you all know,” Archibald tried very hard not to take in his student’s blank expressions, “but they don’t really work at Hogwarts and we can’t go down to the kitchens so... well, we’re just going to be using small fires – like you do for potions.”
When was it ever a good idea to let Fred Weasley near fire?
“So, I’ve passed you all round an extract from a muggle recipe book. We’ll be walking around to check you’re all doing it okay and... enjoy.”
Archibald very quickly found himself standing near Dom and Fred Weasley watching stunned for a few seconds as Dom attempted to crack an egg one-handed by throwing it at her other arm, which was in a very dirty looking bandage.
“Do I want to ask why?” Archibald asked, feeling the corners of his lips twist upwards slightly. He knew that good teachers shouldn’t have favourite pupils, but Archibald wasn’t really a good teacher and the pair managed to exert the exact amount of tongue-in-cheek backchat and, if slightly mocking, enthusiasm for the subject that they were at least always interesting to teach.
“Freddie misread your shiny poster,” Dom said cheerfully, “you should really work on your Rs.”
“So he read... Shove Tuesday?” Archibald asked in a tired voice, briefly wondering why that hadn’t been his first thought (as he was entirely sure that Fred Weasley could misread any word in the dictionary to instigate violence, if he was in the right mood for it).
“Yeah,” Fred said, shrugging deliberately, “I think it was because someone had smudged the letters by colouring it over in highlighter pen. Sir, didn’t you have something better to do that make like, a hundred handmade posters?”
“They were made by volunteer students.” Archibald said, deliberately not looking at Hugo unless the smudge of highlighter pen over his left eyebrow gave him away.
“Hugo did them.” Lily piped up, pushing her geek-chic glasses up her nose and looking up at Dom for support.
“They were nice, Hugo,” Fred said with a grin, “really dynamic use of colour.”
“I liked the pun,” Dom grinned, finally managed to crack her egg and get the contents in the bowl by using the side of Lily’s glasses, much to the third year’s dismay, “can we have a pancake-pun-off?” She asked, a manic grin forming on her features as she turned to Fred.
“Why don’t you just concentrate on your pancakes?” Archibald asked wearily.
“Why don’t you just concentrate on yours students?” Lily asked, glancing at her older cousin for a second (she wasn’t usually so lippy; it seemed there was a serious case of trying-to-impress going on), “cause that girl’s hair’s on fire.”
“Going good then?” An amused Kevin Pips commented loudly, not quite lost among the gradually increasing volume of Dom and Fred’s pun off (‘Oh come on, that was flipping genius!’ ‘I can whip up something better than that!’ ‘Oh, good one – that’ll take some topping).
“It was only a small fire.” Archibald said, feeling as if he was going slightly mad – for some reason his brain seemed to think that Kevin Pips, the only third year he’d ever met who had more attitude than Bellatrix Lestrange, had turned up to a Muggle Studies extra-curricular event and was actually following the muggle recipe in front of him quite successively.
“OH!” Dom yelled, holding an egg above her head with her good arm, “that was a cracking joke! Really cracked me up!”
“I thought you were too cool for this sort of thing anyway.” Archibald commented. He’d been aiming for mocking and sarcastic Professor, but had accidentally wound up sounding like he was jealous – and that really was tragic.
“I like pancakes,” Kevin shrugged, “they taste good.”
“Eggcelent!” Fred called wildly, “hey, that had the word egg and the word lent in – I’m on a roll!”
“You can roll pancakes,” Hugo said, “so that could almost be a triple pun.” Upon turning around Archibald saw that, as he suspected, his comment was completely ignored by the rest of his cousins. Poor kid. Sort of.
“Sir,” Lysander Scamander called, from the blonde area of the room, “is it supposed to be blue?”
After spending so much time with the blonde-mob (otherwise known as his fifth year group) that he rather thought he needed to buy some sunglasses against the peroxide-burn of the excess blondeness and being giggled at by Nina, who always seemed to find something funny, he found himself face to face with Victoria Thickey. As usual, the Seventh Year girl was trying laborious hard but never seeming to get anywhere and, although Archibald had never considered making pancake mixture a particularly complicated procedure, he wasn’t surprised to find that Victoria had achieved naught but a congealed mess.
“You know, Vicky, the sieve usually works better if you use it the other way up.” Archibald suggested, tilting his head slightly to observe her upside-down sieving methods which was producing rather a lot of mess and not a lot of sieved flour ending up in the bowl.
True to form, Vicky turned the sieve the other way up immediately, sending the flour that had been sat on top of the dome of the sieve onto the desk.
“Whoops,” Vicky said, the slow clogs in her brain slowly turning as she processed what had just happened. Watching thicky-Vicky (a nickname not of his own division, this time) think usually made Archibald feel like the aging process had suddenly sped up ten-fold, or that time had inexplicably slowed down.
“Never mind,” Archibald said, waving this away, “the sieving isn’t that important anyway, just... just clean that up.”
“I’m just tossing that out there,” Fred said loudly.
“Don’t you think you’re milking it now?” Archibald called across the classroom.
Dom grinned, holding up the milk bottle in his direction, “joining in, sir?”
“Definitely not. They’re getting worse as it is.”
“Out of the frying pan, into the fire.” Fred said in a sing song voice.
“I could do this for flours, I mean hours.” Dom added.
“You know,” Elliot Cooper said, in his normal snooty I-know-more-about-muggles-than-the-Muggle-Studies-teacher-voice, “sometimes muggles add water to flour to make glue.” Archibald turned, feeling a large quantity of dread bubbling up in his stomach, turning to face where Vicky looked to have added about three table spoons of water to the vast quantity of flour on the desk. A sticky, soup like liquid had now spread across the surface of the seventh year desk: stretching from the edge of Ronald McDonald’s mixing bowl to Elliot Cooper’s perfect pancake batter.
“Well why didn’t you stop her?” Archibald demanded as the liquid dripped onto Vicky’s robes (it seemed she hadn’t yet thought to move out of the way), “you can clean this up now, Cooper.” He added sharply, feeling immensely stupid as Elliot pulled out his wand and vanished the mixture away.
Smarmy idiot. There was nothing worse than a muggleborn in a Muggle Studies lesson. Sure, there wasn’t as much prejudice around these days but Muggle Studies lessons were the only occasions when the muggleborns reined on high.
Archibald started as he turned around to find Fred Weasley in very close proximity, watching as Vicky tried to brush away the flour-water-paste that still remained on her robes, “that looks sticky, Vicky.” Fred said triumphantly.
Even if he didn’t get a pay rise, Archie thought he should at least get paid danger money.
“Okay,” Archibald said slowly, now everyone’s made their batter -”
“All very egg-citing.” Dom commented.
“Flipping awesome.” Fred added.
“It’s time to start frying,” he said. He didn’t have to ask Trelawney to know that this wasn’t going to end very well at all and he could feel the sense of foreboding in the pit of his stomach, “and then... then everyone’s going to have one chance to flip their pancake.”
“How’s mine looking, sir?” Hugo asked eagerly and Archibald took his time in wondering back over to the Weasley’s desk to inspect his handiwork.
“Much batter,” Archibald said, “I mean, much better.”
“Ehhhh!” Dom called, beaming wildly, “Archie made a funny!”
“It’s Professor Penrose, to you Miss Weasley.”
“Professor Penrose produces pancake puns!” Fred grinned, “now say that ten times faster.”
“Professor Penrose produces pancake pun,” Dom began, “Professor Penrose -”
“– why don’t you save your tongue twisters for afterwards?” The not-so-charming-charms teacher asked sweetly, “so you can concentrate on your pancakes.”
“Yeah, I reckon we can do that.” Fred said, shooting Archibald a look.
Archibald sat on the edge of one of the free desks and thought about this for a long few moments: if Charms Teachers got their way by being charming, maybe all teachers did a similar thing. Maybe Michael Corner was somehow using his potions to control his classes; Terry Boot could be using defensive spells to shield bad behaviour and Neville Longbottom could be burning plants to produce calming-aromas or something.
So what was his plan of action? Become a Muggle?
Hating his job didn’t even cover it.
“So, that wasn’t too bad,” The Charms teacher said, and really she was charming – too charming, “I mean, I think the kids all really enjoyed it.”
By enjoy, Archibald thought she might be referring to the several litres of pancake mixture which were thrown over Goliath Lockhart after he tried to talk about his father again; the fact that Kevin Pips had managed to stick the pancake to the ceiling and the fact that when the Charming Charms teacher had finally managed to unstick it, Archibald himself had been stood directly underneath it.
“Yeah, sir.” Dom said, making a big deal about stuffing her bandaged arm through her robes. Dom and Fred were virtually always the last students to leave the classroom after any given lesson, usually because they always had some smart comment that they want to leave him with – plus, they had a tendency to want to have the last word on things.
So whilst all the other students were heading en masse towards the exit (Archibald could identify the bloody fourth years by the flour-handprints on their backs, which they’d thought was just hilarious; the fifth years by the sheer force of the blonde-levels; the third years by their height and the seventh years by the slow lumbering way they exited the classroom – it was, he decided, a very sad point in his life when he could recognise his students from their retreating backs), Dom, Fred and a few of the other Sixth years who’d seemed to more or less appear from nowhere were still ambling around picking up their things, washing the syrup stains off their glasses and pouring vast amounts of sugar out of their shoes.
“Good to know you enjoyed it.” Archibald said, internally deciding that he’d have preferred it if everyone was as miserable as he was.
“It ended so quickly,” Fred said, “time really crêpe-t up on us.”
Even Archibald Penrose had to crack a smile at that one.
Pancake-centred-puns stemmed from a conversation on the forums/via twitter and I’ve adapted some of them from several people who are not myself. So, pun accreditations are going out to Mihalli1432 (batter/better), MangaGirl (flipping) and Tell_me_what_the_truth_is/Marinahill (‘cracked me up’).
Also, just for the heads up I've finally planned this one out properly and because I could pretty much write this forever as I find it far too entertaining to write I'm limiting myself to twelve chapters - one for each month of the year. Which also means, that some of the chapters aren't going to be posted in chronological order. So, the next chapter I think that will be up might be the November chapter, and so will be the new chapter two. It shouldn’t really matter because, well, I hardly advertise this story on its non-existent plot. You can read them in any order you like, really. SO THERE WE GO. I hope you enjoyed this ridiculous chapter and I’ll see you all soon :D
Please review :)
Chapter 7: Charming Assessments
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Fourteen students (plus a Charming Charms teacher).
Archibald Penrose had actually left his classroom during his free period, which was something that he rarely felt the need to do. Usually he was more than happy to spend the hour, or more if it was a good day, sitting with his feet up and engrossing himself in another novel (muggle, of course) and ignoring everyone who happened to try and disturb him in every way.
He attended dinner with the rest of the staff, showed his face in the staff room (and usually his efforts resulted in merciless laughter and mockery) and even joined them in the Three Broomsticks at the weekends – which he thought made him classify as sociable, but for the third time this month Terry Boot and Michael Corner had ganged up on him and declared that he was a recluse and thus Archibald was making the trek towards the Staff Room.
“Well,” Archibald heard the Charming Charms teacher say down the corridor, “I’m obviously going to be reporting you to your Heads of house -”
“How?” Another voice demanded, one that Archibald remembered only too well. The sort of voice that haunted his nightmares continually, particularly whenever Neville Longbottom had made him one of his cups of herbal tea. “You don’t know our names, so how can you report us?”
“You’re going to tell me your names.” The Charming Charms teacher said, falling just short of the authoritative tone that she was attempting. Normally, Archibald rejoiced in other teachers flailing along and messing up but the Charms teacher was both charming and new – and Archibald couldn’t help but feel slightly sorry for the woman.
“So whatcha gonna do?” The other demanded.
“A simple description would probably suffice,” Archibald commented, walking down the corridor to stand side by side with the Charming Charms teacher, “two imbeciles with limited job prospects, stupid hats and even more ridiculous ‘g’ accents covering up an even more ridiculous middle class Bristol accent. Advice, Lawrence, if you really are attempting to replicate the Muggle ‘Chav’ do change your name from Daniel Harrison – it doesn’t fit with your image. These two would be Daniel Harrison Lawrence and Thomas Hardy, Professor Scrivenshaft. Seventh years. What have they been doing this time?”
“Graffiti,” she answered, “they appear to have attempted to paint some sort of symbol on the wall outside my classroom.”
“I’d ask if it meant anything, but I’m not entirely sure they’ve quite grasped the ability to write – ironically enough.”
“Students of yours, Professor Penrose?”
“Oh, no,” Archibald returned with a smile, “they didn’t seem up for a subject as rigorous as Muggle Studies, I had the pleasure of teaching these two students in remedial Muggle Studies after the unfortunate Halloween incident.”
“Hardy, Lawrence, off with you,” The Charming Charms teacher said, “but rest assured, your Head of Houses will definitely find out about this.”
“Slaters!” Archibald called after them in his best mocking tone, feeling rather satisfied with his decision to leave the classroom – he did love a chance to insult students and mock them for being ridiculous.
“I’ve been here over half a year, and still...”
“I’d like to say it gets better,” Archibald said, “but I’ll have to get back to you on that one.”
“You’re very good at remembering names,” The Charming Charms teacher said, smiling in that usual friendly way of hers, “I’m hopeless.”
“Well, those two are easy,” Archibald said, “DH Lawrence and Tom Hardy are both muggle authors, quite famous ones really, so... well, I refer to them as the Lit Duo.”
“A bad habit of mine.”
“Better than a lot of bad habits.”
“One of many, I assure you.”
“Do I have a nickname?”
“Go on.” She smiled, flashing her row of straight white teeth. Archibald hated to admit these things, but he could see where Miss Barbie was coming from – for a charms teacher, she was very charming.
“You’re... the Charming Charms teacher.” Archibald admitted, wondering whether or not he should be mortally embarrassed or not – a question that he asked himself at least four times a day. If Dom or Freddie were around, this was to be multiplied by the number of caffeinated drinks they’d had that morning.
The Charming Charm teacher blushed.
If Archibald was honest (which was something that he didn’t do very often as a teacher) the reason he’d wanted to be sociable was purely down to peer assessment week: where every teacher was to be partnered up with another teacher, observe the other teachers classes, be observed and offer formal feedback. It was some bizarre idea enforced by the Ministry to ensure that teachers continued to learn after the fourteen day training course he’d been required to take before taking the job.
As Archibald could hardly consider himself as one of the ‘it teachers’ that were popular amongst their peers – he was more of a joke than Neville, for God’s sake – he’d thought it wise to immerse himself into social situations before the pairs were released, but given all he’d managed to achieve was making the lovely Dionne Scrivenshaft embarrassed and causing Terry Boot and Michael Corner to laugh at him until he thought his ears were going to start bleeding, it didn’t seem like the most successful endeavours.
Peer assessment week was brutal. It was Hogwarts tradition that when you were ‘observing’ you had to cause as much physical embarrassment to the other teacher as possible: one year Terry Boot had once suggested that Archibald’s love of muggles was sometimes borderline inappropriate in front of his group of fifth years, another Archibald had told a whole class of first years about Michael Corner’s divorce and on the year Archibald had been partnered with Professor Trelawney – who famously didn’t join in with anything – she’d loudly and persistently had ‘visions’ of all Archibald’s students failing due to his incompetence.
Given this year, at that dratted new year’s party, Archibald had been goaded into tell the entire population of Hogwarts teachers the gritty details over why muggle cruises end in fantastical break ups (right before he’d agreed to that bet about not doing magic for a month), he very much suspected that by the end of peer assessment week every one of his students would be able to resite the story by heart.
He’d been prepared for this since the first of January, when the full consequences of his actions had really hit home (along with mild nausea and a killer headache – bloody teachers parties). Still, he could only imagine what his students would do with that sort of knowledge.
And it wasn’t pretty.
“Who are you hoping for, Archie?” Neville asked, his round face clearly showing that he, too, knew that the worse was coming.
“Not Boot or Corner,” Archibald muttered in response, “I hope they get each other and slowly tear each other apart.”
“I want Trelawney,” Neville said feebly, “she’d just tell everyone about how I used to be clumsy.”
“This is Scrivenshaft’s first year,” Terry Boot said, sitting down next to Archie (internally, Archie swore) and joining their conversation seamlessly, “she doesn’t know about the tradition.”
“Whoever gets our favourite charms teacher,” Michael Corner continued, as where there was one there was always the other (the epitome of a bromance), “will be very lucky indeed.”
“The classic don’t humiliate them until the last lesson approach.” Terry nodded.
“She needs to learn, after all.”
“And who wouldn’t want to spend hours observing Dionne Scrivenshaft?”
Archibald fought a smile at this and exchanged a look with Neville (who, as Miss Barbie’s head of house had been informed about her little situation). She really was charming.
“I’ll make it my personal mission to get back at whichever lucky idiot gets Miss Dionne Scrivenshaft.” Michael finished.
“So,” Dionne Scrivenshaft said, walking around Archibald’s empty classroom as they waited for the students to actually turn up, “what am I letting myself in for?”
“Well,” Archibald said, pushing his register towards her with a grimace, “you’re in for a treat: my fifth years, otherwise known as the blonde mob.”
“Are they usually this late?” Dionne asked.
“Yes,” Archibald muttered, “they’ll be doing their hair. Ah, Scamander!” Archibald declared as Locran/Lysander (Archibald neither had the time nor the inclination to work out which was which) pushed open the door with Scorpius in tow. “It’s my general opinion that the reason these three are friends is because it’s aesthetically pleasing and because they understand the woes of being platinum blondes, but there you go. Miss Scrivenshaft is observing us today. I assume you know her.”
Chelsea and Shantelle were the next to arrive, and Archie introduced them with a gesture to their questionable blonde hair and the comment, “fake blondes.”
They were muggle born cousins, but rather than being in Muggle Studies to show off their supreme muggle knowledge, they were actually just too stupid to take any other classes. Archibald often thought that they’d been sent Hogwarts letters by accident and no one had the heart to tell them of their mistake. He’d never seen them perform magic, in any case.
The usual stream of blondes followed, trickling in over a period of ten minutes – which was quite good for his fifth year class. Then again, the students knew the Peer assessment week traditions as much as the teachers did. They’d be waiting for the habitual humiliation to begin.
“Nina as a resident brunet,” Archibald said as the ever-giggling-Nina arrived and took her seat by the almost-normal Emma, “Francis never turns up, so we might as well start.”
“Today we’re continuing our study of Muggle medicine, now, who wants to tell Professor Scrivenshaft what we’ve covered so far? Malfoy?”
Scorpius Malfoy had, from what Archibald could assume, picked Muggle Studies as a sort of rebellion. And as, the three platinum blonde boys couldn’t possibly be apart, he’d landed both Locran and Lysander too. Still, they were eager enough and just fine – providing you’d brought your sunglasses.
“Muggle Healers are called Doctors,” Scorpius muttered, “and the inject people with things.”
“Vacuums.” Lysander nodded.
Nina began to giggle. Damn muggle born students.
“Vaccines,” Archibald corrected, “and does anyone remember how they work?”
“They inject you with a sort of... mild version of the illness and then your body sort of learns how to kill the illness?”
“Near enough,” Archibald said, “so, today we’re going on to -”
“Can we try injections on each other?”
“As tempting as it is to say yes, it would be quite awkward for me to explain if you all died. Particularly with Professor Scrivenshaft as a witness,” Archibald said, rummaging around on his desk and pulling out a wad of sheets. “Answer the questions on these sheets in pairs, and we’ll feedback in ten minute.”
“Have you got a needle, sir?” Scorpius asked, his blonde eyebrows knitting together. It didn’t matter whose child the teenager was, or what they were interested in, or how clever they were – no student could resist the backchat.
“I wish,” Archibald muttered, “get on with the sheet, Blondie.”
“They are very blonde,” Dionne said quietly as the fifth years resumed their chatter about a number of subjects that Archibald was sure wouldn’t have anything to do with muggles, “I guess your nick names are all quite accurate then.”
“I do my best.”
“Dom Weasley?” Archibald asked, looking up sharply to see Dom sat at the back of the classroom in a baseball cap trying to look inconspicuous. “Weasley, get out of here. Go study for your NEWTs or something. How did you even sneak in here?”
“Right,” Archibald said, “figures.”
“We need to talk Archie,” Terry Boot said, appearing in the middle of the corridor, “it’s four days into peer assessment week and you’ve done nothing to humiliate Scrivenshaft.”
“Well, Dionne hasn’t done anything to humiliate me either.”
“Because she doesn’t know the tradition!” Terry exclaimed. “Don’t let me down here, Archie, I know we clipped the wheels of your ridiculous bicycle – but it’s all in good humour! You were only in the hospital wing for ten minutes. Archie, come on, let me help you destroy her.”
“You put Skunk’s roots in Neville’s boots,” Archie said levelly, “that’s hardly destruction.”
“Oh,” Terry grinned, “but I haven’t finished yet. He thinks it’s over. He doesn’t know about the events I’ve organised for his last observed lesson. Come on, Archie my man, let’s do this together. I’ve been digging and she got kicked out of the Leaky Cauldron for -”
“No,” Archibald said firmly, “it’s a stupid tradition anyway.”
“You’re going to regret that.” Terry added ominously.
Archibald didn’t doubt that.
Despite Terry Boot’s threat, Archibald felt like he’d had the best peer assessment week of his life. For once he’d made it through the entire Monday-Friday period without feeling so embarrassed that he considered handing in his resignation and becoming a Muggle. Admittedly, the usual horror of the teacher he was forced to observe was a fair consolation prize, but he was not in a position where he’d ever managed to win.
Now, he was about to walk into his last observed lesson – sixth years, this time – and he was safe in the knowledge that the charming charms teacher had no idea she was supposed to do something terrible and horrifyingly embarrassing at Archibald’s expense.
And he was perfectly okay with that.
Plus, he liked the woman and she’d gone up in his estimations as one of his favourite work colleagues (not that this meant much, as he hated just about all of them) and, altogether, he was feeling rather positive as he pushed open the door to his classroom.
His apologise for being slightly late died on his lips as he took in the scene.
Dom had pulled her knees up to her chest and was shaking with silent laughter, whilst Freddie was in tears of mirth. Even Gina, who Archibald often considered to be the personification of teen-angst, was smiling. It was not usually a good thing to have so many cheerful students, particularly in peer assessment week.
“And then,” the charming charms teacher continued, he eyes sparkling as she saw Archie standing in the doorway, “She said ‘it’s like you’d rather have a romantic dinner with your toaster.”
Archibald felt his heart sink slightly, stepped further into the classroom and shut the door behind him. He should have known better.
“And Archie, sorry, Professor Penrose, told her that he genuinely thought the toaster was more interesting than listening to her rants about her mother.”
“Nice break up line.” Dom muttered breathlessly, pressing her fists against her jaw to suppress her laugher.
“Yes,” Archibald interrupted, “then she blew up my microwave.”
Apparently, this was the limit for Dom who finally let the loud peals of hysterics through her lips, followed by several of the usually quiet members of the class joining in the chorus of undiluted mockery.
“If it helps,” Spencer – and, by God, he was conscious – “by the look of the picture in your office, she wasn’t much of a looker.”
Archibald considered it best not to ask whey Spencer had been in his office, or point out that the picture in his office was of his mother.
“Sorry,” Dionne Scrivenshaft, the not so charming charms teacher, smiled, “Terry and Michael talked me into it.”
“Of course they did.” Archibald muttered, sitting down next to her and watching his sixth years laugh.
At least, for once, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. And as Archibald observed (it was still peer assessment week, after all) Dionne’s wide smile, he decided that – to hell with it – he was enjoying himself too.
I couldn't help it. I just started shipping them together. I don't even know where she came from. Reviews are lovely :)
Chapter 8: Regular Dom-foolery
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April Fool's Day.
Too many students.
Although his life was generally in a state of perpetual hell and mockery, there were some days that were much worse than others. This was rated fairly highly on the disaster scale.
The door of the broom cupboard creaked open, causing Archie to look up from his rubix cube with the usual sense of growing dread. Instead of the angry mob he’d almost been expecting, Archibald Penrose found himself taking in the confused looking Dionne Scrivenshaft (which, really, was much more than that man could have ever hoped for given his current situation). The thrill of horror that had crept up his spine upon seeing the chink of light lessened quite significantly: not an angry mob, nor one of his students nor Michael Corner and/or Terry Boot. Instead, this was replaced by a resigned embarrassment - he had, after all, been found sitting on the floor of a broom closet. Worse, it was self-inflicted.
“Er… Dom Weasley said there was some sort of vicious animal in here?” The charming charm teacher questioned, looking as amused and charming as ever.
“That would be me,” Archibald said, “watch out for my vicious talons. Damn, knew she’d seen me.”
“Any, erm, reason why you’re hiding in a broom cupboard?”
“It’s April Fool’s Day,” Archibald said, “and I usually end up as the fool.”
“Ah,” Dionne Scrivenshaft said, her eyes sparkling slightly, “Gryffindor?”
“Ravenclaw.” Archibald returned, “with an unhealthy academic interest in Muggle Studies. You?”
“Hufflepuff,” She said, frowning slightly, “so you’re hiding from…?”
“My students,” Archie supplied, “And Corner and Boot. Just until midday,” Archibald sighed, “I did have a three point April fool’s plan, but then Dom ran at me holding what I think was a makeshift bow and arrow, if the screamed Robin Hood slogans were anything to go by, and I panicked. Normally, I lock myself in my office… but this was a bit quicker.”
“it’s er… Muggle thing. Well, sort of… actually quite a few articles suggesting Robin Hood was a wizard, but it's -“
“English folklore. Nottingham, right?” Dionne asked, tilting her head slightly. “I dated a muggle once.” She added by way of explanation.
“How did that work out?”
“Badly,” Dionne said, “he had a child and there was… an incident with a Space Hopper.”
“Story of my life.” Archibald returned.
“How bad can it be?” She asked. “There’s no one out here now, I reckon you make the daring escape to your office.”
“Do I have to?” Archibald asked, making a face, “why does April have to come so soon after Peer assessment? My nerves haven’t recovered.”
“Do you still think I’m charming after that?”
“Once a charming charms teacher, always a charming charms teacher, Professor Scrivenshaft.”
“Well then, Professor Penrose, how about I charm you out of this broom cupboard and I’ll tell you about that Space Hopper incident in the safety of your office?”
She held out her hand to help him up. Archie, who wasn’t entirely sure how the scheduled day of hell (wait, weren’t they all scheduled that way? Whoever had given him a double period with his forth years right before a double with his sixth years was clearly in on a conspiracy theory to insure a complete mental breakdown) was suddenly taking an upwards turn, reached out and to take it… precisely as an invisible force pushed the Charming Charms teacher into the broom cupboard.
Dionne Scrivenshaft stumbled forwards, the door swung shut and the pair of them were plunged into darkness. Then, a click of a lock, a burst of mad maniacal laughter, running footsteps and a ringing silence.
“Well that’s original,” Archibald commented, relighting his wand to continue trying to solve the blasted rubix rube - he was two squares off having the damn thing perfect.
“We appear to be locked in a broom cupboard.” Dionne said, raising her eyebrows before gingerly taking a seat on the floor.
“So it would seem.” Archie agreed. “At least,” Archie said, “we’re relatively safe in here.”
And that was when the first dung bomb went off.
“I’m not sure there are enough cleaning spells in an existence to make me feel clean again,” Archibald commented dryly, pulling off his robes and wondering whether it was too much to ask the House Elves to have it dry cleaned at the earliest opportunity. Frankly, after spending a grand total of forty seven minutes locked in a broom cupboard with an unsociable number of dung bombs he thought his sudden slightly obsessive need for cleanliness was justified – his nostrils had well and truly been assaulted.
Well, the charming charm’s teacher’s quick thinking bubble head charms had prevented them both from passing out due to the smell, but she’d been slightly too late to avoid the stench completely and the following forty six minutes following the bubble head charms were spent attempting to communicate and occasionally knocking bubbles together then laughing like slightly awkward teenagers.
God damn April Fool’s day.
“I think,” Dionne said, smiling slightly, “You’d be better off with some sort of charm.”
“Charming,” Archibald said, as she tapped his robes with her wand, “as always.”
“I hope you don’t mind citrus. My mother used to be able to make everything smell of roses, but I haven’t quite for the hang of it.”
“I’ll skip the roses,” Archibald said, inhaling the now most definitely citrus sent that hung around his robes. Infinitely better. “And preferably the rest of the day. I have my sixth years. Unfortunately, Freddie Weasley takes the fact that April Fools is his namesake’s, and of course his father’s, birthday a little too seriously. Those were definitely Weasley Dung bombs.”
“You can tell?”
“It’s the burn at the back of your throat,” Archibald said, “the way the smell makes you feel like you’re going to throw up.”
Archibald wasn’t exactly proud that one of his many talents was an ability to differentiate between the slight variants in branded dung bombs, but having taught Dom and Fred for three years and having had all sorts of wannabe troublemakers and general hooligans sat behind the desks in his classroom, he’d developed a bit of a knack for it. It had now gotten to the point where he could work out which of his rather uncreative and frankly hellish forth years had been the one to put the dung bomb under his chair due to which particular brand they used – a surprisingly useful talent, actually, and he was not above boasting any talent to Dionne Scrivenshaft given how utterly charming she was. And it wasn’t like he had many options of which talent to plug, he was largely a talentless oaf.
“Yes,” Dionne said, one of her hands reaching for her throat, “I know what you mean, actually.”
“Teach a subject as unpopular as Muggle Studies, and you’ll have the difference down pat within a week.”
“Really?” Dionne asked with one of her wide smiles.
“And how does payback usually work?”
“Vaguely sarcastic nicknames? The occasional chance for humiliation? Causing all my students to fail? Okay, that’s not true – well, not really. Hopefully.”
“I realise that, fairly recently, I conspired against you Archie but… are you at all interested in co-conspiring?”
“I enjoy conspiracy as much as the next jaded Professor,” Archibald said, “but I’ve rather given up with my sixth years.”
“You might have done,” Dionne smiled, “but they’ve pulled me into their games, Professor Penrose, and I haven’t given up on winning just yet.”
“Teacher’s don’t win,” Archibald said, glancing at her, “I’m not entirely sure there’s a way to win.”
“I have an idea.”
Changing the clocks by five minutes had been a stroke of undeniable genius from his colleague (in both teaching and, now, treachery). Of course, all of his students were so used to stumbling in late that they were nonplussed that he’d effectively changed time and with a few exaggerated sighs and glances at his watch, they seemed to have gotten the message that they were ‘late’ which meant everything was going perfectly.
Archibald made a vague note to ensure an on-going relationship with Scheming Scrivenshaft. His plans largely had self-humiliation in a starring role; whatever he attempted to do, it always seemed to turn inwards and result in further catastrophe.
“All right, guys,” Archie said, just as the tampered with clock stated that it was twelve, “before you all head off, I’ve got a bit of an announcement.”
“You’re coming out of the closet!” Miss Barbie declared.
“He literally came out of the closet earlier today.” Dom interrupted, grinning.
“I’d avoid saying too much about that, Weasley,” Archibald interject, “given you obviously had nothing to do with that unfortunate string of events. No. I’ve got to… there’s no easy way to say this guys, but… After next week you’ll be getting a new Muggle Studies teacher… Professor Chitty.”
“As in, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?”
Archibald smiled slightly. There were many people, including his ex-girlfriend and his late mother, who’d tried to convince him that teaching Muggle Studies to a bunch of children who were snotty, smelly and – worst of all – uninterested was a very bad idea. For the large part they were both completely and utterly right, but then there were moments like this when payback was just around the corner and, better yet, Boris seemed to have absorbed something of his ‘culture’ section about musical and remembered Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Or at least, the title of it.
“Yes, Boris, exactly like that; he’ll be taking over from next week. I’ll miss you guys, you’ve been a good class, but… I’ve got to go.”
“Headmistress Sinistra deemed Professor Scrivenshaft and I being found in a broom closet together inappropriate.”
“Is she going?”
“No, but Professor Scrivenshaft has a cleaner track record. I think the Space Hopper incident is still counting against me.”
“But that’s our fault?!” Shelly said, looking up from her vivid orange nails looking oddly horrified.
“I don’t want you guys to blame yourself,” Archibald said, “it’s a number of things, but the fact is I don’t think I’m going to be your teacher for much longer. But it’s been fun… I’ll miss you lot.”
There were a few seconds in which the classroom was utterly silent, starting at him with expressions of genuine horror. Shelly, in particular, looked like her painted-on expression was about to give way due to the contortion required to reach that particular appearance of dismay.
“We’ll tell Sinistra,” Dom said, suddenly, “who’s with me? We’ll tell her it was us. We’ll just get detention. Let’s save Archie’s job!”
“It’s Professor Penrose to you lot,” Archie added.
“Charge!” Fred agreed, standing up so suddenly that his chair fell to the floor with a loud crash. Dom followed suit, hand on hip as she stared down the rest of the class. Her chair didn't fall, so she kicked it over with her shoe for that dramatic effect.
“We can get Hugo to make posters!” Dom declared. “He’s got such an excellent eye for punnery and the use of colour!”
Shelly glanced at the clock, which now displayed the time four minutes past twelve, which meant he had exactly one minute before he had to stop lying and let the event take its course. “You’re serious?”
“I’m always serious,” Archibald said, which wasn’t true. Always sarcastic was probably more accurate.
“For Professor Penrose,” Boris said, somewhat solemnly, as he stood up too.
Shortly after that, things got out of hand. In a rush of limbs and quickly pieced together tag lines, his sixth years seemed to assemble themselves into a legitimate group of protestors and burst out into the corridors yelling things about the freedom to use Space Hoppers and occupy whatever broom cupboard they wished to occupy.
By the time he’d left his classroom twenty minutes later, there were a number of felt-tip coloured in posters (which simply smacked of Hugo Weasley) reading ‘ARCHIE FOR EVER’ and ‘PENROSE FOR PRESIDENT’ – presumably, this time Hugo’s posters had been magically reduplicated rather than created individually, because whoever had put up the posters had slapped them over doorways and hinges and windows indiscriminately.
“Sir,” Thomas Hardy said, running up to him in the corridor, “sir, are you really in trouble with Sinistra?”
It was past twelve but, frankly, Archibald Penrose had spent the entirely of his life with the joke being placed on his shoulders and he wasn’t about to give up this sudden elation of actual success just because of the convention of time.
Archibald put on his best world weary expression (decades of practice, finally worth it) and nodded grimly.
“That’s raving,” Lawrence declared (Archibald assumed, from the tone of his voice, that ‘raving’ meant something similar to ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’ but he tended to feel like he needed a translator whenever he was talking to the Lit Duo). “We’ll tell her that it was us that planted and set off them muggle fireworks, sir!”
Archibald actually hadn’t realised that was them. He’d honestly thought it was Kevin Pips, or possibly one of his fourth years, but the resulting fire (and the loss of half his collection of fine muggle literature – including his entire collection of Mills and Boons books) had earned him a stern telling off and a warning.
Apparently the idea that Archibald would keep Muggle, and therefore extremely volatile, explosives in his office was a little too believable for Sinistra to dismiss.
“We got your back, Sir.” Thomas Hardy said, snapping his fingers at him before half running down the corridor to go and own up for his misendeavours.
“So that wasn’t you,” Dionne Scrivenshaft said, grinning as she stepped into the corridor, “word in the staff room is that Sinistra owes you about six apologies due to students confessing to framing you.”
“Currently, Miss Skively and Mr Weasley are attempting to convince Aurora that a legendary incident involving a Space Hopper was actually their fault, rather than yours.”
“This has been somewhat more successful than I suspected,” Archibald said, holding back a grin, “who knew teenagers had the ability to be so forthcoming?”
“You’re a hero, Archibald, and I should think everyone is very eager to buy you a drink.”
“Well, Professor,” Archibald said, glancing over at the charming charms teacher, “as the brains behind the whole operation, how about I buy you a drink?”
“That sounds acceptable.” Dionne said, offering him one last wide smile before disappearing in the direction of her office.
Well, Archibald thought as he regarded one of the posters (Hugo seemed to have drawn him with green hair and a rather orange face, and breasts – but you couldn’t have everything), that was an exceedingly good day.
It's been a long time and, for this, I am greatly sorry. I've missed Archie though... and for once, things went his way! Shocking ;)
I don't own Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which is in fact a musical based on a novel by Ian Fleming and most definitely nothing to do with me.
Chapter 9: A Good sport
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Accidental school-wide event.
Good God, why?
“Archie!” Neville said cheerfully, beckoning him over to the particular unpopular corner of the staff room with an over enthusiastic wave. Archibald Penrose repressed a sigh and resigned himself to joining the man: as much as Archibald thought Neville was a great person and should be admired – particularly because Neville was a genuine hero – his hatred of people in general usually won out. Plus, there was only so much Archie could take of Neville getting slightly giddy over guddy roots and going on and on about his silly plants. How excited could you get about cucumbers? “Haven’t seen you around?”
He’d been hiding from Sybil Trelawney, the old bat. They’d been midway through a somewhat heated debate about the muggle zodiac versus wizarding clairvoyance at the pub (although Trelawney was as mad as a hatter, she was significantly less likely to mock him and was therefore a slightly better conversational partner than Terry Boot or Michael Corner ) and he happened to catch a glance at her bracelet. He’d had a strong suspicion that the bracelet was of muggle origins, having seen a similar one in a muggle magazine a week previously, and had agreed that Sybil could tell his fortunate if he could have a look at it.
It had been solid gold and branded with a well-known wizarding goldsmith and he’d been avoiding the woman since. Even if that did mean spending his free periods in empty classrooms and sending Hugo to fetch him meals.
“How are the muggles going?”
“Very well, thanks,” Archibald nodded, trying not to think about the last muggle studies lesson he’d just waded through – the forth years had been particularly difficult today and had given him another new and unimaginative nickname before claiming they needed to do a mock muggle ‘fire drill’ to really get a feel of the muggle tradition. He had a feeling one or other of them had been conversing with the Weasley duo. Still, considering Neville spent the entire day getting excited about deformed carrots he was finally in a position where no one could judge him and oh was it refreshing.
“Archie! Where’ve you been hiding? Gone on another muggle cruise?” Michael Corner grinned, Terry right behind him.
Well, it was been nice whilst it lasted, Archie decided, resigning himself to another round of muggle-lover-bashing. Nobody seemed to appreciate that muggle studies was a very valuable part of the curriculum… Admittedly, he’d spent the last two lessons allowing his NEWT students to try and play squash with Quidditch balls, and the only reason he hadn’t been fired was because the faithful sixth years promised to tell the nurse that the subsequent four hospitalisations were strange and unusual unrelated accidents. With characters like Dom and Fred involved, that was entirely believable (and it wasn’t really his fault – Archie certainly hadn’t suggested that particular charm). It was a slight added bonus that the effects of April fool’s day hadn’t quiet worn off, meaning everyone was slightly reluctant about getting him into trouble.
At some point he was sure it was going to swing back the other way and his students would land him in very deep water but, for now, everything was fine.
“Have you got anymore guddy roots growing, Neville? I’m running a little low,” Michael said sitting down.
“Where have you been Archie?” Terry asked, taking a seat on his other side and looking, for a moment there, mildly concerned, “you didn’t impale yourself on another electric whisk, did you?”
“Nope, it was my outstanding ability to interest students in the mundane this time. Lots of extracurricular activities. Fred Weasley wants to organise a basketball tournament..”
“Who’s he going to play against?” Terry laughed, “surely you don’t have enough students to scrape together two teams?”
“But that’s a great idea!” Neville said excitedly, “I was thinking, Archie, we could set up a joint project. I was reading about those muggle things, you know, when you rent out a garden -”
“Allotments?” Archibald suggested warily. He had no intention of letting Fred Weasley anywhere near a basketball, no matter how good a beater he was – and now he’d mentioned it in front of Neville the idea he’d go on about it until it was, not only implemented, but a national phenomenon. Neville was just so committed.
“Yes! I thought it would be really good for the students if they could actually grow stuff themselves – let them grow things the muggle way, you know, fertiliser and plant food... with spades and compost!”
“Yes, I suppose -” Archibald began.
“-I just think its fascinating the way muggles plants are dictated by seasons and the weather, and farming machinery –“
“Actually, Neville, I’ve got a lot on at the minute. Huge third year class, really, so I don’t think -”
“Ploughing, harvesting, sowing the seeds – it’s such a complicated process!”
“Like I said, Neville, -”
“And the farming revolution! All because of the industrialising revolution,”
“Actually, Neville, it was the industrial revolution and that wasn’t the only thing – there were lots of factors that contributed to the end of -”
“I know, you leant me that book all about the fences, and why muggles farm in patchwork shapes,” Neville said brightly, his round face beaming with pleasure. Archibald could practically hear Terry and Michael surprising the desire to mock and release a torrent of poor witty comments, “so we could set up our own Hogwarts,” Neville’s face screwed up in concentration for a second, “alopements?”
Archie smiled wearily, pulled one of his novelty pens out of his top pocket (a rather groovy number that glowed in the dark and had little glitter stars sparkled over it. He’d brought it because it had the declaration of ‘it’s like magic’ on the side and he appreciated the irony) and began clicking the lid to vent his frustration at the world.
“Oh, and Archie,” Michael grinned, “I’ll help out with the basketball tournament anyway I can.”
Archibald hid the grin that was beginning to form and nodded solemnly. Michael corner was going to regret the day he ever said that.
“Archie,” Aurora said, raising her thinly plucked eyebrows at him, “whilst I understand and admire your evident enthusiasm for the project,” Archibald was slightly alarmed to see that Aurora wasn’t being entirely sarcastic in mentioning this enthusiasm, which was entirely fictitious and had died somewhere in the midst of puberty, and seemed to have actually formed a belief that Archibald Penrose legitimately intended to organise a Hogwarts Basketball tournament, “but given what happened on April Fools… I am unwilling to allow it.”
Archibald nodded. Somehow, he’d gotten out of the whole situation unscathed. Perhaps, since April Fools his luck would continue to run on this all-time somewhat giddy high whereby offhand comments to Neville didn’t result in weeks of extra work and, likely, several contentious injuries – mental and physical – that would continue to haunt him into his old age.
“If that’s what you think is best,” Archie said, nodding slightly. He needed to at least appear somewhat upset by the failure of his plan.
“Dionne,” Aurora continued, “the same to you. I’m continually astounded by the amount of effort you put into the education of our pupils, but… basketball. I just don’t think it’s a sensible call.”
He’d dragged the Charms Professor into the proceedings the second Neville had mentioned it in front of the headmistress, insisting that it was her own fault for being so successful the previous month and that she was obviously the good luck charm he’d been missing since the day of his untimely and questionably regrettable birth. And now, they were both in the clear.
“It’s a shame,” Archie said, raising an eyebrow in her charming direction and smirking slightly.
“Yes,” Dionne said, also smirking, “I know how Archie was looking forward to it.”
“Well, it’s always a pleasure to work with you, Professor Scrivenshaft.” Archibald returned, a small smile playing at the corner of his lips.
“Likewise, Professor Penrose,” Dionne returned, “Although, of course, I meant the project in itself.” Dionne turned back to the front. “Archie was planning a whole host of Muggle sporting activities. He’s hiding the disappointment well.”
“Well…” Aurora Sinistra said, her eyebrows dipping down her face – looking almost detached from her eyes – and slanting alarmingly into an expression of thoughtfulness, “maybe…”
“No, no,” Archie interrupted, “I quite understand, Headmistress, my students… they’re not fit for extra circular activities.”
“The pancake day wasn’t a complete disaster,” Sinistra said, “okay, Archie, it’s a go ahead for the Muggle Sports day. Providing we make this into a castle-wide situation. We don’t do enough to really engage the students at a community level. I’m talking year events, house events, class teams – this could be really good for the unity of our school. I’m going to let you organise this, Archie. Is next week too soon? Friday?”
Archibald felt like he’d gone into a state of apparent shock. There were several words jumping at the forefront of his mind, most prominently ‘castle-wide’ and ‘sports day’ and ‘unity,’ but none of them seemed to make a great deal of sense: surely, his good luck hadn’t taken such a turn that he was being asked to run a whole school Muggle community project.
“Friday?” Archie questioned.
“Glad you agree,” Aurora said, “thank you, Archibald, Dionne.”
Professor Scrivenshaft pulled him up by the arm and towards the door, as his grasp on the whole concept of movement seemed to have dissipated somewhat leaving him staring, slack jawed at his boss. Castle wide.
“I’m so sorry,” the Charming Charms Professor said, ringing her hands, “I didn’t expect her to jump on the idea like that… I’ll help you with the Sports Day. Your students will help… it won’t be that bad. I’m sorry Archie.”
Good God this was actually happening. He’d gone from fictional basketball tournament to organising a Sports day involving hundreds of students. Half of him wanted to write and tell his mother that he’d landed himself with such a huge project… at least Sinistra seemed to actually trust him to pull this off (in nine days) which clearly indicated that she was absolutely insane, but at least then he wasn’t the only one.
And Dionne Scrivenshaft had not let go of his arm.
“I suppose you can’t help being so Charming,” Archibald said, shaking his head slightly, “well, I think I need to find Hugo. He’ll be devastated if he’s not in charge of the poster campaign.”
“I think…” Dionne looked worried for a split second, “you might need several student volunteers.”
“It’s a good job I have such a bunch of dedicated students.” Archibald said, thinking fleetingly of trying to convince Elliot Cooper to help him out, before regretting it: no thought process could possibly be improved by thinking about Cooper, unless perhaps a very violent one.
“Do you have any blackmail material?”
It seemed Dionne Scrivenshaft was most definitely well on the way to understanding what it was like to be a teacher.
“Not enough for this,” Archibald said, frowning at the castle walls, “if there was a way of getting the other teacher’s involved…”
“I used all my material in Peer Assessment,” Archibald frowned, “which leaves me with only one form of leverage.”
“I don’t follow…”
“The opportunity to humiliate me,” Archibald said, “either I lead them to believe that they will be instrumental in humiliating me and somehow pull out of the humiliation at the last moment, or I just need to grin and bear it. Sadly, I don’t think there’s quite enough time to perfect the plan.”
“So now you’re a martyr?” She questioned, offering a flash of white teeth as she smiled at him. Really, Archibald was trying to dredge up some sort of slow-burning irritation at the woman who’d plucked him from a barely-simmering frying pan and into a fully-fledged forest fire, but it was quite difficult to work up anything more than a grim appreciation of her charming abilities.
It seemed the woman could persuade anyone of anything. It was quite disconcerting, actually.
“For my students, Professor,” Archibald said, “in the name of closing the gap between Wizarding and Muggle culture for the generations to come.”
“How nobel,” Dionne said, smiling again, “well, I’m on hand to help.”
“Of course you are,” Archibald said, still not quite irritated but more than a little bemused, “you, Professor, are the champion of extra-circular activities worldwide. Charms club, Bonfire night, pancake day…”
“No,” She said, all charm and smiles, “Given its slightly my fault, I’d have to help anyway. But, more to the point, you definitely have blackmail material on me.”
Archibald narrowed his eyes at her.
“No one has anything on you…” he said. As he’d been assigned the task of introducing the Charming Charms teacher to the joys of Peer Assessment week, he’d had the whole staffroom cheering him on and trying to dig up something that could possibly cause some embarrassment. Or, at least, to raise a slightly blush. There had been nothing. Absolutely nothing.
“Well,” Dionne said, smiling slightly, “I certainly didn’t volunteer for all those extra-circulars to spend time with Elliot Cooper.”
Well that was a turn up for the books.
If Archie had ever doubted his career choice (which he did, seriously, several times a day) there was something slightly incredible about these few moments of affirmation. Although it was admittedly very far from perfect, and according to his Filofax he was still on odd numbers for the three legged race (the odd number being three) and had only half a football team. His sixth years had turned their posters on how-to-Muggle Sports into mass produced leaflets for the whole population of Hogwarts (with the help of Hugo Weasley, naturally) and, gradually, the numbers of those offering to help him was increasing.
He’d had to promise all students involved in organisation would be able to mention it on their resume, along with a flattering reference – even Eliot Cooper – along with several other perks (including a ‘get out of homework free’ card, straight from his let’s-explain-muggle-economy-to-wizards-monopoly set).
Still, he felt good about this. He’d cleared it with Sinistra for each dormitory to have at least one participant for the event which had helped, but even with the promise of house points, muggle sweets and eternal glory for winners and participants (well, losers, but as a teacher you couldn’t call anyone that) alike he’d still overheard several students who seemed less than keen.
As in, students who’d referred to the act of volunteering for the mass sports day a ‘sacrificial act’ and held a variety of amusing competitions and draws to work out who would be ‘volunteered.’
He’d made a note to try and get another copy of ‘The Hunger Games’ to be added to the muggle fiction section of the library (which he’d spent his first year of teaching continually campaigning for), with the idea of slipping some of them a copy… then again, it would probably be wilfully misconstrued as a threat. He could do without being accused of threatening to lock his students in an arena and forcing them to kill each other. Plus, last time he’d read the series he’d had a repeated nightmare in which he was trapped in the arena with his students and had continual flashbacks of his students trying to kill him. It had taken three weeks for him to be able to sleep properly and he still couldn’t look at his fourth year group in the same way…
“Sir?” A voice asked from the doorway, and Archibald was surprised when he looked up to find himself face to face with James Potter.
He hadn’t really come in contact with that particular part of the Weasley/Potter unit (a force onto itself, really), which he generally considered as quite a blessing – he’d heard enough about him to know that he was a sporting superstar, cheeky, loud and a bit of a handful.
“Potter,” Archibald said, stepping round his desk to cover up the fact that he was midway through a Sudoku to save the effort explaining, “to do what do I owe this intrusion in my office?”
“It’s about the basketball game, Sir,” James said cheerfully, “and your bet with Professor Boot.”
The bet was instrumental. He'd earnt himself another month wearing propaganda for 'The Squibs' and the first round of staff-drinks until he literally starved to death due to lack of funds, but it was the only way.
“Which you know about because..?”
“Common knowledge,” James grinned, “Corner leaked it to the student Newsletter. Dom’s been selling T-shirts and general propaganda.”
“Your point, Potter?”
“I’m willing to play for your team.” James said, with another of those grins.
“Assuming,” Archibald began, “you’re meaning in the basketball match, rather than an absurd, disturbing and inappropriate euphemism, then… why would you want to do that?”
“Don’t you want the school’s star chaser on your team?” James asked, eyebrows raising behind his glasses. “I’m a good player, Archie.”
“Professor Penrose,” Archibald corrected automatically, “what are your terms, Potter?”
“I’m allowed terms?” James asked, voice overly bright and a little too forced.
“Now, now,” Archie said, smiling slightly, “I have no influence over you and you have absolutely no reason to help me out. I’m neither naive nor idiotic. What does Boot want and what is he offering you?”
“The latest scoop, Professor,” James grinned, taking a further step into the office, “Boot has offered me the juicy details about you and Professor Scrivenshaft.”
Archibald frowned slightly. He hadn’t actually been aware there were any juicy details about him and the Charming Charms Professor and, as much as he wasn’t remotely opposed to the idea, it seemed a little early on in the proceedings for there to be rumours going around. It might account for the fact that a larger than normal number of students seemed to actually know who he was… but, still, he hardly though Terry Chocolate-Orange Boot would know anything more than he did.
Frankly, that would be really quite disturbing.
“And you care because?”
“Oh,” James said, “call it self-serving interest. This girl I’m seeing runs the student newspaper, and this is the biggest scoop since Sinistra started going bald.”
“So,” Archibald said, glancing at the ceiling, “Boot has you volunteer to play on Team Muggle, you ensure he wins, he gives you the gossip and your girlfriend gets her story?”
Archibald briefly considered that he should have worked in espionage rather than teaching, because there would be a great deal less of double crossing. He wasn’t in a wizarding school; he was traipsing around the set of bloody Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
“And you think that’s the best way to get your story?”
“No,” James said, grinning, “which is why I’m here.”
“I tell Boot you didn’t suspect a thing, he’s lured into a sense of security over winning the bet, you tell me the deal with you and everyone’s favourite Professor, Ms Scrivenshaft, I tell Opal and everyone’s happy.”
“Alright, James Bond –”
“– the name’s Potter,” James said, looking somewhat confused, “James potter.”
Why did he even bother?
“My mistake,” Archie drawled, rolling his eyes at the ceiling, “and why would I offer personal information for your girlfriend to practice her journalism skills on?”
“She’s not my girlfriend.”
“I’m really not interested in teenage dating habits,” Archibald said, “I don’t see why winning a bet with Boot is worth appearing in that trash for.”
“Well,” James said, “no offence, Professor, but the last time you appeared in the paper was after the Space Hopper Incident. You’re a bit of a running joke,” Archibald could have guessed that, really he could. “And Dionne Scrivenshaft had been voted as Hogwarts Hottest Professor –”
“– are you allowed to write that about your Professors?”
“Corner overseas the content,” James shrugged, “point is, Sir, you could do with a reputation boost. That April Fool’s day joke… you could be one of the most popular teachers in this joint. Think of the respect.”
“I teach Muggle Studies.”
“Could sell it as an endearing quirk? I don’t know. I’m not really involved. Except with a couple of the writers, if you get my drift.”
“I’d rather not,” Archibald said, “ah… in for a penny, in for a pound -”
“- what’s a penny?” Archibald stopped mid thought, ready to banish James from his office to cry. “Nah, I’m only yanking your toilet-flushing-device. So you’re up for it?”
“Tell Professor Boot that I saw through his plan and refused to let you on the team. I’ll give you your scoop after you’ve thrown the game in my favour. Okay, Potter?”
“I’m going to need some advance details,” James said, “to prove I can trust you.”
“Fine. I’ll talk to your reporter right before the game.”
“Pleasure doing business with you, Professor.” James said, grinning and offering a salute before exiting the office.
Archibald began to realise that he now had the somewhat mammoth job of convincing Dionne Scrivenshaft that him leaking details about their non-existent (but maybe not for much longer?) relationship to a student newspaper was actually a good thing, shook his head and decided that was most definitely an issue for future Archibald.
He settled back down to his puzzle book and briefly wondered whether he was throwing his game.
But, damn, he didn’t want Boot to win this time.
Dionne Scrivenshaft was holding a copy of the ‘Hogwarts: a Commentary’ (Hogs, warts and all!) and was looking decidedly amused.
“Archie,” Dionne said, lips pursing as she turned towards him, “I hadn’t realised we were married with several children.”
“Should I have informed you?” Archibald questioned, turning to smirk at her over the plate of buttered waffles.
“Or that we kept our eternal love a secret because my vicious pureblood parents couldn’t stand the thought of my marrying a Muggle Studies teacher.”
Archibald glanced back down at the paper feeling distinctly amused. Their epic love story – ‘PROFESSOR PENROSE’S PERPETUAL PAIN’ – was upstaged only by the lengthy story of how James Potter, the superstar of Hogwarts Quidditch, was utterly incapable of running in a straight line without falling over and that, had it not been for the rest of the Gryffindor Quidditch team playing on Team Wizard, Team Muggle would have been victorious.
“We made the front page,” Archibald shrugged, “as far as I’m concerned, everybody won.”
“Even James Potter?”
“His girlfriend loved the story.”
“Which is, of course, why you laid it on so thick?” Dionne said, a little closer than was probably necessary, wide smile sparkling. She really was quite, quite charming.
“In the name of love,” Archibald agreed.
“I never knew you were so emotionally invested in your student’s relationships.” She added dryly.
“I never realised they were so interested in mine.”
“You’re too engrossed in your Muggles to notice outside interest.”
Archibald was vaguely aware that most of the school was watching the pair of them sit at the Staff table and amicably eat breakfast (including Terry Boot, who seemed unsure whether he should clap Archie on the back or vandalise his bicycle again).
“I’ll put on some binoculars and watch out for it,” Archie said, wondering whether or not it would have been possible to factor in the other Quidditch players and the opportunity to avoid losing that damn bet.
“Don’t bother,” Dionne said, smiling again, “some short sighted glasses would do the job.”
Then she kissed him on the cheek, smiled, stood and left him watching her walk away.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a Spy Novel by John le Carrte (which I don't own). The Hunger Games are a series by Suzanne Collins and are not mine. I also don't own James Bond, which I made reference to (he's the property of Ian Fleming). The quote 'the name's Potter, James Potter' was a paraody of a well known quote from James Bond.
Also, can I draw attention to the pun in my summary? I get really excited over puns and I'm grinning my head off over that because this is the MAY chapter and it's about a MATCH in both sense of the word... okay, I'll admit it wasn't that exciting.
AND THIS IS ME OUT.
Thanks for reading :)
Chapter 10: Parashoot-me-now-please
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Generally, Archibald Penrose thought that Aurora Sinistra was a very good Headmistress. She was really quite fair (although sometimes he wished that she wasn’t so fair, as he might have deserved several of the telling offs he’d gotten as of late, but he certainly hadn’t enjoyed them) and was thankfully very forgiving. She had, after all, seemed to have gotten over the Space Hopper incident, when he’d been the cause of her nearly having a heart attack, the more recent incident when half a year group had threatened rebellion after a rather spectacular April Fool’s day prank and, just two weeks ago, after the events of his unfortunate attempt to make basketball exciting to wizarding children.
And Archibald could probably concede that, this time, he might have pushed her a little further than he should have done (not, he thought wearily, that this is what he’d intended to happen – it was just that he should have known better and prevented the series of events that led to the catastrophe), but the woman was astoundingly ignorant when it came to Muggles.
She was probably the reason that he was in this job, because it astounded him to come across wizards who were so bizarrely ignorant about Muggle culture that Muggles might as well have been alien. To be fair, Aurora Sinistra wasn’t very thick, very lazy, or scarily enthusiastic, so he’d have been utterly shocked if she had taken Muggle Studies; instead she was just a pureblood astronomer come Headmistress, who was staring at him as though he’d grown several extra heads out of his eyeballs.
“I didn’t tell them to jump off the astronomy tower.” Archibald said, sensing an oncoming sense of doom that was entirely connected with Aurora Sinistra’s finely plucked eyebrows – the more expressive they became the surer he was that this time it was, finally, farewell Archie.
He’d had a good run. He could always skip ahead to his retirement plan and actually become a muggle, which would really save him having to do with clueless specimens like his boss.
“Parachuting,” Archibald began again, “it’s… a muggle sport.”
“Sport?” Sinistra repeated. Her eyebrows looked like see-saws. Bad news.
As normal with incidents of this calibre, it was entirely Fred Weasley’s fault.
The Leisure and Tourism module of the seventh year syllabus was turning out to be a bit of a flop, as Vicky was a little too confused by the whole concept of a cinema to move onto any other electronic entertainment and, as far as Archie knew, most Muggles had stopped leaving the house after the invention of the Wii sport (okay, that was a slight exaggeration – there were still children hoping around on Space Hoppers, thank God) and was at a loss of where else to progress.
He wanted to steer away from any sports that any student could feasibly suggest a physical demonstration for after the disaster in May and had ended up chatting on endlessly about National Trust houses and Art museums until Elliot Cooper had kindly informed him that his information was outdated and very, very middle class.
“Well,” Archibald said, his voice slightly strained from all the tension that he would gladly start screaming out into the corridors if only his silencing charms held for noises that piercing (as much as Dionne had attempted to teach him superior silencing charms, it was just one spell he’d always had troubles with: no doubt it was for the best, as if he could adequately silence someone with a flick of his wand then the temptation to shut up idiots like Elliot Cooper or Boris or Hugo would be just so tempting), “as our resident Muggle born, why don’t you tell us what you used to do in your free time?”
“Art Museums and National Trust houses,” He said pointedly, “but then I am middle class.”
Ronald McDonald was absently watching a spider running over his desk, Simon ‘squeaky’ Fawcett was at least looking in his direction and Vicky looked like she was about to ask what ‘middle class’ meant and, frankly, the lesson was going slowly enough without a deviation into politics. He was fed up of Cooper contradicting all his muggle-political views, cohering him into an actual debate and then reminding him that, as a teacher, it wasn’t allowed for him to be biased about politics just as he was about to win the argument.
“What did the peasants do then, whilst you were wondering around the Tate Modern?” Archibald asked pointedly.
“I don’t like modern art,” Elliot Cooper added, and there wasn’t really anything surprising about that, “extreme sports.”
“Okay,” Archibald said, trying to remember if he knew much about extreme sports – he’d been paintballing, once, but he wasn’t entirely sure if that fell into that category – and he knew buckets about break dancing, which he thought was pretty darn extreme, but the look on Cooper’s face didn’t look very forgiving and he wanted to be absolutely sure, “so… say, parachuting.” Archibald said definitely.
“Base jumping.” Cooper corrected.
God, he was a heinous excuse for a muggle (born). This was the reason for the statute of secrecy – to stop muggles being all superior about all their knowledge. It was really irritating.
“What’s parachuting?” Simon asked.
Giving an explanation made him feel sort of nervous: although he had to admit that he didn’t think this was the personification of knowledge being dangerous, given the lack of get up and go in his seventh years, but it was the sort of thing he’d denied even existed to the likes of Dom Weasley.
As a result, it was a rushed explanation about jumping off buildings with bits of cloth.
“Professor,” Vicky said, when he’d finished and he rather dreaded going into more detail, lest it stick in their brains and they mention it to someone who could possible tell one of his more ridiculous students, “you know how you said… obesity is an epidemic? Well, we can cure lots of muggle diseases, can’t we? So why don’t we just cure all the muggles?”
“What,” Elliot Cooper laughed, “send shrinking spells at them? Incendio all the local McDonalds? Killing curse at their stomachs?”
“Vicky,” Archie said wearily, not even caring that he’d inadvertently dissolved into using first names, “it’s not… obesity isn’t actually a disease, as such. It’s not contagious, it’s just…”
Well. At least he didn’t need to go into any more detail about the parachute.
“With due respect,” Archibald said evenly, “Quidditch is probably more dangerous.”
“More dangerous than jumping off the top of the astronomy tower?” Aurora countered, leaning over the table slightly with an expression of distinct disbelief. “With a bed sheet.”
“It’s… a matter of aerodynamics,” Archibald said weakly, “Muggles… also have a variety of dangerous sports, like Quidditch, and then… release adrenaline and noradrenaline as a…flight or fight instinct and…”
“Archie,” Aurora said pointedly, “explain.”
“Moving away from the physiological response,” Archie said, frowning, “Muggles jump out of planes – ”
“Aeroplanes,” Archibald said, “you know, big metal things you see flying? In the sky? Transport Muggles from place to place? Airports? No, not ringing any bells?”
Archibald mumbled something else about parachutes being used in wars, that story he’d heard about a bloke trying to parachute off a pylon (although that in itself had led to a deviation into explaining electricity, apparently the Head Mistress of Hogwarts thought that pylons –and or transmission towers, depending on how technical you wanted to get about things – were statues to pagan Gods, or something) and terrible impression of an aeroplane. It largely fell on deaf ears, although that was more or less expected.
“Sir,” Kevin Pips demanded when he walked into the classroom, “is karate a form of magic?”
It was a mark of how tired Archie was that it took him a few minutes to pinpoint that it was a martial art, which was a bit like a sport but for some reason described as an ‘art,’ and had flailed a little bit trying to explain how muggles were able to break through brick walls with their arms. Karate was one of the things Archibald often used to make particularly disinterested pupils sit up and listen – everyone had to admit that it was damn cool, really, and he often enlisted the help of snippets of footage from various films and a fair proportion of ‘Kung Fu Panda’ to help solidify the point, but his projector was on the blink (despite the hours he’d spent ensuring it was compatible with magic, overuse meant he still had to acquire a new one every few months).
Then, his world stopped slightly, because he remembered that the last time he’d mentioned karate had only been a few days ago, when a lesson that had started out with extreme sports had ended up with him having a very intense verbal battle with Elliot Cooper who’d confused the whole damn class by claiming there was a huge difference between taekwondo, karate and jujitsu - which may have been true (Archibald wished people would accept that he didn’t know everything – he was a dense pureblood wizard whichever way you look at it), but given that Vicky was still confused about what a TV was after he’d brought one in, shown pictures of one in action and had even offered to take them to the cinema during the Christmas Holidays and neither Ronald McDonald or Simon Fawcett could pronounce ‘jujitsu' he’d deemed it unhelpful to get into the gritty technicalities.
But that had also been the lesson that he’d mentioned parachutes and the subsequent nightmares had haunted him like a vaguely traumatic incident from his childhood, causing him to regularly reassure himself that it hadn’t happened and he was not going crazy by inventing memories.
There were enough incidents of regret without making up potential ones – with a set of students like those in his care, he’d have driven himself into an early room in St Mungos in under a fortnight. More so if he factored in what Dionne was likely to say about the whole thing.
“Pips,” Archibald frowned, “have you been talking to Fawcett or McDonald?”
“Yeah,” Kevin said, shrugging his shoulders out in that casual way of his that was entirely too full of swagger for a thirteen year old male – he should still be trying to pick on girls he fancied and out man his peers by eating competitions, “and what?”
“And did they tell you about Karate?” Archibald asked, feeling the beginning of what would likely to a really long headache, which would no doubt require at least a week of pain medication from the hospital wing.
“That it’s not the same as juditsu and that is less extreme than parachuting but more extreme than crazy golf.” Archibald could feel the moment coming on, creeping towards him like a train snaking its way down the line; his eyes connected with Kevin Pips, and internally he was begging him not to ask that question and Kevin must have understood the utter desperation because… “What is a parachute,” there was a beat in which Archibald’s heart stopped working altogether, “sir?”
“I’m not interested in a he said she said bonanza, Archie. I want to know why six students jumped off the astronomy tower holding their bed sheets and expecting not to die thanks to some muggle mumbo jumbo.”
And that, really, was the whole question of the thing.
Except the answer to that was, really, the names of the students in question: Fred and Dom Weasley, Lily Potter, Kevin Pips, Scorpius Malfoy and one of the Scamander twins (who really cared about which one it was – all three of them were blonde twits anyway). It was a surprising moment of unity from the general population of his students – had he known that they could all band together in such a way he’d probably have been dealing with the disconcerting fact that a mutiny was actually possible, but he supposed it didn’t matter now as having a large quantity of his students making death defying leaps of the castle turrets didn’t scream promotion. There’d been spectators, too, and several other brave volunteers who’d been just as ready to jump after the first round.
“They didn’t… die.” Archie said, his mouth feeling slightly dry.
Freddie Weasley was looking ominous. Normally, he was fairly intimidating due to his bizarre uniqueness – the ginger hair and dark skin seemed to suit him a little too well and Archie was always mentally questioning whether or not he dyed it ginger or not – but when his eyes possessed their most mischievous glint Archie could feel his blood threatening to clot.
Call it a premonition, or maybe he just knew life too well, but Archibald Penrose was entirely sure that something was going to happen, that it was going to be in some way related to a parachute and that he was definitely going to get into trouble for it.
“So,” Freddie said, his fingers tapping merrily against the wood of the desk, “what’s a parachute?”
The room seemed to be able to sense the tension: Boris looked up from his notes, Gina looked slightly less moody than before (although still very much the picture of teen angst), Shelly – who’d been applying more mascara than Archie had previously thought possible – glanced up from between her very thick lashes and Dom was almost shaking with the anticipation of the thing. Spencer, of course, was still asleep, but even he seemed slightly less unconscious than he normally was.
Archibald was mentally trying to decide whether he was blaming Hugo or Lily for the relaying of this information – Hugo was more likely to just ramble on about how interesting he found the whole thing and accidentally drop Archie into the depths of a boiling cauldron, whereas Lily was more likely to have suggested the whole thing in an attempt to ensure she’d received a bit of positive attention from her frankly much cooler, older family members.
And so Archie had to tell them. And he had to explain how the parachute worked in detail because, otherwise, if they tried it they’d definitely die.
“The only reason,” Professor Sinistra began, “that your students are still alive is Dionne Scrivenshaft.”
He was glad that none of his students were dead, as it would probably be difficult to find another teaching position with manslaughter penned across his resume in blood, but he did wish that someone else could have seen James Potter wondering around the grounds with his broomstick. And he wished that James Potter might have said something other than “I’m the back-up system if Freddie’s Muggle Studies experiment doesn’t work out.”
And then, when questioned, it would have been really really convenient if James hadn’t said “oh, well, Professor Archie told them about this muggle sport called parachuting, so Fred’s about to jump off the astronomy tower.”
Instead, he hadn’t worded it differently, Dionne was as charming and quick minded as ever, signalled that there was a serious emergency and was able to cast several cushioning spells that were slightly more efficient than James Potter circling below this his broom.
Fred had assured him that his parachute worked perfectly, which had made him feel better, until he’d added the fact that he’d enjoyed floating towards the ground whilst seeing two blurs of blinding platinum blonde hurtle towards the ground. Still, the whole thing wouldn’t have had an entirely dreadful mortality rate.
Not great, but they’d probably have only been one death max. And James might have caught that body. And surely someone would have thought to immobilise the crap out of the falling body. And wizarding bodies were stronger than muggle bodies (although, saying that, he wasn’t really sure if half of them were actually muggles for all he’d seen them perform magic).
The fact remained that Dionne would likely be defying the title ‘charming’ for a little while and Archie was completely in the dog house as far as that was concerned. As much as he liked to think that it was something that they could laugh about one day (‘remember that time when six of your students jumped off a really high building?’ ‘I never thought my lessons were that bad), but it seemed quite a long way off.
And he felt terrible.
There was this outside chance that someone could have died and it would have been almost-sort-of-his-fault. He’d told them not to try it. Flat out forbid them from even thinking about it, but he’d know they would and now…
Archibald was going to be fired. Surely. He’d fire himself. If he was Sinistra, he wouldn’t have wasted the past three hours trying to understand what a parachute was.
“So,” Sinistra said, eyebrows thinning further, “a parachute is some sort of muggle game.”
“Yes.” Archibald said.
“Which you told your students to try.”
“No,” Archibald countered, frowning, “I told them not to, which more or less accounts for the same thing anyway when you think about it – the result was the same.”
“And they… strapped their bed linen to their robes and…?”
“No, no, muggles don’t usually use their bedding. They have special equipment and it comes in a backpack.”
“It’s like a pack you… wear on your back.” Archie finished, somewhat lamely.
“Really?” Sinistra said. Ah, sarcasm. Bad sign.
“They do it in controlled... I mean… they don’t just… look, Aurora, I’m really -“
The door burst open and Archibald breathed a sigh of relief. The explanation was, frankly, getting a tad ridiculous. He just wanted to be fired and put out of his misery. Then he could go home – oh, wait, he used to live with his girlfriend who then exploded his microwave and became an ex-girlfriend – so, he was technically homeless and one tiny interruption away from being unemployed too.
And, judging by the look on Dionne’s face, he wasn’t quite thirty minutes away from being a bit dumped (again), but it was more or less a close run thing. Forty minutes? She might help him pack up his novelty pencil sharpener collection before washing her hands of him. Actually, that was a stupid idea; it would take at least an hour to sort out his novelty pencil sharpener collection.
“There was a levitation charm on the bed sheets,” Dionne Scrivenshaft said, smiling slightly with a hint of her usual charm gracing her face, “and four different cushioning spells already on the ground.”
“What?” Archibald asked, feeling his brain kick into a less depressing gear.
“As it turns out,” Dionne Scrivenshaft continued, “it was all a big ploy.”
“Sorry?” Aurora asked, turning towards Archibald with her eyebrows so expressive they were practically an expression all on their own.
“Elliot Cooper just came to confess; turns out, after Archie’s April fool’s day prank they’ve all been plotting. They were never in any danger. It was just…a prank.”
“A prank?” Aurora asked.
“Freddie Weasley says he’s sorry for almost making you lose your job. Again.”
“Right.” Archie said, still feeling mildly stunned but feeling his stomach thaw out slightly. So, he hadn’t actually been the cause of a group of his brainless students accidentally committing suicide – or he had, but not quite in the way he’d thought. “That…” Archibald thought back to the almost seamless way ‘parachute’ had become a buzz word, the fact that he’d thought he could hear people whispering it I the corridors (with Dom around, it was likely he had) and the all too smug Elliot Cooper, “that actually makes a lot of sense.” Archibald conceded, pressing his fingers to his forehead and considering booking himself in for some counselling sessions.
Forget danger money, at this rate he’d need compensation for a job related break down by the end of next month.
Sorry for taking such a long time to post the next chapter! I have three half chapters of this written and just haven't polished any of them off (the January, the April and the July), but Deeds 'Muggle Studies' challenge meant I had to get this one written. For the record, 'Kung Fu Panda' belongs to Dreamworks and not me and the summary for this was vaguely based on Cheryl Cole's 'parachute' just for the sake of my own amusement.
Also, if you didn't noticed there was a new chapter added out of order before (chapter three) which currently has a lower read count than the others significantly - so, if you didn't see it before, just to let you know it is there. And, finally, I wrote a spin off for this story agggesss ago too but I haven't updated since.
And sorry for rambling!
Chapter 11: Don't stop the partaay
[Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]
Nearly the end of term.
One day in the very near future, Archibald was going to give up on the lot of his students. Hopefully that day wouldn’t come until after the school year finally finished and the next lot of students had gone through their exams without further incident, but having accidentally taken on extra work again he thought it incredibly likely that he was going to explode before Friday rolled around.
One week until the school year was over. One week.
“Cooper,” Archibald said, trying to repress the intense dislike enough that it wasn’t blatantly obvious in his voice, “you’ve got a topic for your extended project?”
After this week, he’d never have to look at Elliot Cooper again. And he’d have a whole summer of not having to deal with a bunch of acne-inflicted, hormonal, dead-beat students who’d rather poke muggles with sticks than learn about them... a whole summer free of trying to scrounge together vaguely interested lesson plans (with minimal resulting injuries).
Yes, he was still a bit homeless and slightly scared about contacting his ex-girlfriend to ask what she did with all of his stuff, but that was nothing compared to listening to Neville’s growing excitement over summer-plans and facing the Corner-Boot duo every morning for breakfast.
And Elliot Cooper. He was so done with Eliot Cooper.
“Yes,” Cooper said, “although...”
“What?” Archibald asked, rolling his eyes deliberately.
“I suspect it might be too complicated,”
“I’m sure the people on the Muggle Bureau can keep up with your intellect, Cooper.”
“It’s not them I’m worried about,” Cooper said, smug expression twisting up into a sneer.
“Oh, burn,” Simon ‘Squeaky’ Fawcett interjected, grinning as he dealt another hand of cards to Ronald McDonald, Vicky and Shelly (the accidental extra to his seventh year quartet).
“Pipe down, Squeaky,” Archibald muttered, “and Vicky, I know the concept of deceit is mostly above you, and I’m not expecting a Poker Face here, but you might do better if you stopped showing McDonald your cards. What’s the topic, Cooper?”
“Thermodynamics,” Cooper said, turning round his pad of paper to reveal a series of equations that made frankly no sense to Archibald whatsoever. He squinted at the paper.
“I’ll read up on it,”
“Don’t bother,” Cooper said, “stick to your Texas hold’em,”
“Oi,” Shelly said, turning an irritated glare at Elliot and flexing her nails slightly, “just because you decided to take on this extended project and therefore still have work whilst we’ve all finished, doesn’t mean you can take out your angst on Archie,”
“Skively,” Archibald said, wearily, “I said you could join the class if you promised to shut up,”
“Three of a kind,” Ronald McDonald said, placing down his cards with a satisfied smirk.
Miss Barbie and Squeaky were, apparently, dating. Of all the students he’d given nicknames, and of those there were a lot, he’d least expected Shelly Skively and Simon Fawcett to wind up together, but there it was. And Dom and Freddie had insisted on telling Archie the long story about how Muggle Studies had bought them together, which had led to them referring to him as Cupid for two hours before Archibald had threatened them with another modern adaptation of Shakespeare.
There was a part of Archibald that wanted to have a discussion with Shelly about the whole incident earlier on in the year, but the larger part was far too terrified of Shelly’s nails to even think about asking. Well, never mind.
“Fine,” Shelly said, “take my chips, bleed my soul dry – see if I care.”
“Aren’t chips supposed to be made of potato?” Vicky asked, forehead creasing as she pushed over the rest of her poker chips in Ronald’s direction. Vicky was losing which, frankly, wasn’t all that surprising. He’d spent a good twenty minutes trying to explain the four suits, without getting onto the intricate rules of poker.
“They are,” Shelly said, “I dare you to eat one, Vicky. With ketchup,”
“Professor,” Elliot Cooper said, voice full of evident distain, “my extended project?”
“Right,” Archibald said, “I’ll look at this over this before our meeting at lunch time. You can... well, do whatever the hell you like,” Archie shrugged, “provided no one get’s injured or emotionally harmed. And Vicky, do not eat the poker chips.”
He wasn’t teaching anymore. He was babysitting.
Still, the exams were finished and the scheduled lessons were not. He had to give them something to do, or they’d probably start eating one another.
“What is thermi... therm... thermal -?”
“Thermodynamics,” Eliot said, glancing over at Vicky with his usual superior expression, “it’s the scientific study of heat and it’s relation to work and energy,”
“Sounds like an extract of Archie’s love life,” Shelly said, “How is Professor Scrivenshaft?”
Archibald decided, on the whole, it might have been easier to become a baby sitter than a teacher; there would, at least, be less back chat.
The large majority of Archibald’s students had finished their exams now, which was a relief. He had a tendency to get more stressed out about his student’s inevitable road to failure than his own (he’d passed through fifth and seventh year in a breeze of over confidence, reading fine muggle literature all night and barely studying for any of his other exams; thus leading to the point in his life where this was his job), because he felt he should have been able to do something to prevent his students from replicating his mistakes. Not that he was given much to work with –because honestly some students were beyond the realm of his help – but, all the same, he’d rather the excessive amount of time his students spent in his classroom wasn’t utter useless.
Unfortunately, his tendency not to let himself take the easy route had led to him stumbling across a project where by students received an additional qualification in ‘Muggle Knowledge and Understanding’ which showed up on their CVs as a set of Muggle GCSEs... thus giving the opportunity to work in an actual Muggle Job should they wish too. Looking back on it, he decided that his brain cells must have been severely affected by the beginning of his relationship with the Charming Charms teacher, because – if he was sane – he would have thrown away the details about the extended project and let it rot in his waste paper bin with the discarded and half finished Sudoku.
“Archie,” Dionne Scrivenshaft said, leaning on his desk with her white teeth on show, “don’t you think this might be a little beyond the call of duty?”
“Undergraduate level physics?” Archie questioned, pouring over the textbook in question and squinting at the words, not entirely sure whether they were English or not, “this isn’t a matter of duty, it’s a matter of pride.”
“Cooper thinks he’s bested me,” Archie said, privately adding a few choice words to describe Cooper that he wasn’t allowed to voice out loud for the sake of his career. And his relationship.
“He’s Muggle born,” Dionne said, fairly, “he was bought up with this knowledge,”
“Oh, I am highly aware of that,”
“How many students are doing this extended project of yours?”
“Four,” Archibald said, “Elliot Cooper, Boris Belby, Dom and Gina,”
“She’s writing her extended project on Twilight,” Archibald grimaced, “and how the supernatural is portrayed in sensationalist young adult novels.” Archibald gestured to the stack of Vampire teen fiction with a slight shudder; for the large part, he was trying to block out how compelling he’d found the first four chapters of Twilight almost as much he was trying to block out the rest of the saga. Along with the several pages of fanfiction Gina had found on the internet. And the six other books she’d referenced.
He was somewhat impressed at her ability to conduct muggle research (one of the marking criteria of the extended project), but that most definitely did not eclipse (excuse the pun) how horrific he’d found having to read stories marketed at early-teenage girls.
(It was a good job his fellow Professor where so clueless about muggles, but he wasn’t entirely sure how he’d explain away his choice in reading material to Michael Corner).
“The London Underground,” Archie said, gesturing to the map that was currently stuck on the ceiling of his office. He’d ran out of wall space, what with the display of his stamp collection.
“Yes,” Archie said, pressing a hand to his forehead, “well, no, it’s about the muggle feminism movement, but after the third page I realised she’s tried to put in as many sheep puns as possible. Look at this... ‘I must lamb-ent the fact that the portrayal of sheep across fiction is a ram-pant display... we should be sheepish in offering such woolly facts...people flock towards this association... publishes are fleeced... people mince their words... the story line moves choppily... the shear extent butchers the perception...”
“Dom is...” Professor Scrivenshaft trailed off.
“I’ve been trying to work out the end of that sentence for three years,” Archibald muttered, dropping the document down onto his desk with a grimace, “And I think Freddie is dropping Muggle Studies after this year, so the sixth years have talked me into throwing a Muggle party,”
“Am I invited?” Dionne asked, raising hey eyebrows with a smile.
“I wouldn’t wish that upon you,” Archibald said, “but if you want to hang out with Xavier Boxton and Boris Belby then that’s your choice. As soon as I’ve finished reading about the laws of thermodynamics I’ve got to start making the pass the parcel,”
“Thermodynamics seems a tad dry,” Dionne said, idly turning over a page in the text book.
“It’s... surprisingly relevant,”
“This disaster,” Archibald said, “the second law of thermodynamics – things tend towards disorder,”
Hugo had been responsible for the posters, but the budding relationship between Simon Fawcett and Shelly Skively had been the reason the posters were necessary; Shelly had told Simon about the super-cool-end-of-year-muggle-studies-party, and suddenly his quartet of seventh years all wanted in.
He wasn’t sure how the invitation had ballooned out to encompass the blonde mob too but, Archie supposed he’d hopefully be losing at least half of them over the course of the summer (it wasn’t possible that all fourteen of them could want to continue onto NEWT level – he hadn’t made the classes that interesting to ensure that), so it seemed polite to invite them.
Then he’d ran into the lit duo vandalising Terry Boot’s classroom, and they’d asked whether there was anything ‘going down’ with the ‘Muggle crew’ and Archie – who’d been a little too amused about the obscenity branded on Boot’s Classroom – had invited them along too.
“I’m so ready to shake it like a muggle,” Dom said, shimmying into the classroom a good ten minutes early, using a packet of muggle crisps as a makeshift maraca and positively beaming, “our Hugo’s getting pretty good at posters, eh Professor Penrose?”
“You can’t say he hasn’t learnt anything from my classes,” Archie said, “how many of your classmates are coming, Weasley?”
“All of them,” Dom said, cheerfully.
“All of them?”
“Oh yeah,” Dom said, “I told them all about musical chairs and the return of the Space Hopper and they all promised they’d be here,”
“Oh yeah,” Dom said, shaking the bag of crisps to another imaginary beat, “and some of the people from Halloween. Not Guy Hamish Fawkes MacFarlan, but I think Katie Price is coming along to throw some shapes,”
“I hate to think what sort of shapes Katie Price will be throwing,” Archibald said, grimacing slightly, “I suppose you’ve persuaded the third years, too?”
“Oh yeah,” Dom grinned, “and the fourth years,”
She couldn’t be serious. Not his fourth years for the love of all that was holy. His forth years couldn’t possibly be coming along.
“But,” Dom said, just as Freddie arrived (alarmingly topped with a paper party hat), “don’t worry, Goliath Lockhart offered to be the piñata.”
Archibald had been damned sure that everyone was coming out of a sense of irony, but it seemed slightly odd that there were so many willing to act on such a ridiculous impulse. He had a hard time getting his students to show up to his lessons at the best of times, so the idea that they might all turn up to a Muggle Party was just absurd.
The blonde mob pushed through the doorway; not only the Malfoy-Scamander trio, but Chelsea, Shantelle and the others too. Nina walked in behind them in positive hysterics, glancing up at the banner Archibald had half heartedly erected before near-collapsing with mirth.
“I’ll get the beats,” Daniel Harrison Lawrence said, stepping into the room with Thomas Hardy and – good God, was that James Herriot? – which meant that, somehow, they’d become a literary trio. All he needed now was for them to adopt second year Connor Doyle and his life would genuinely be complete.
“No inappropriate language,” Archibald said, “and it has to be muggle,”
“Chillax, Penrose,” Thomas Hardy said, flicking his fingers in that chav-esque way of his, “we got this covered.”
He hadn’t realised that got this covered meant that a rather emotional power ballad from Whitney Houston. He stopped short and stared at the pair of them – surely, surely, he should have been expected something a little more... well, frankly, Archibald had been expecting hip hop at the very least. He’d been counting on some sort of explicit rap but... no. Whitney Houston.
“Sir,” Tabatha Street said, hand wrapped tight around Johnny English’s arm (were they still ‘dating’?), “sir, this is Jessie James,”
Archibald turned around feeling slightly wrong footed. Jessie James had yet to turn up to a single of his classes and had, for the most part, been utterly impossible to track down over the course of the year.
“Tabatha said there was food,” Jessie said, glancing up at him with such obvious indifference that Archibald was surprised the glare didn’t actually dissolve him into nothingness.
“Help yourself,” Archibald said, watching as his mystery – or not, as it turned out – student headed towards the snack table.
“Archie,” Dionne Scrivenshaft said from the doorway, stepping into the frankly rather full classroom with a smile (casually ignoring the wolf whistle, which had become a regular fanfare ever since the follow up article in the school newspaper which branded them as a new couple), “I’m not entirely sure you put enough layers on the pass the parcel,”
“No,” Archie agreed, “and we might need a few more chairs,”
“Can we play musical statues?” Hugo asked. Archibald wasn’t entirely sure when Hugo had turned up, but - unfortunately – he had. As much as Archibald wanted to suggest that Hugo play musical statues all by himself in a different room, he had a worrying suspicion that he actually would and that was too tragic to consider.
“You want to play sleeping lions, Edgecombe?” Archibald asked a bizarrely conscious Spencer, “Surely spending so much time vertically is a bit of a shock to your system?”
“How’s about a bit of parachuting?” A voice suggested. Archibald turned around to see James Potter and his reporter-not-girlfriend leaning against the drinks table (a selection of Archie’s favourite carbonated drinks –always a crowd pleaser) and began to worry.
There had to be something going on here. He didn’t think he’d ever seen such attendance to anything in his life... Franklin-stein, Herman Goyle... even Kevin Pips, who should be all rights stinking up some corridor with the pungency of his bad-boy attitude, was actually there (and talking to Freddie Weasley about something, which was definitely another point of concern). There was something distinctly not normal about the whole situation.
Seriously, he’d been trying to convince people that pogo sticks were the best things since sliced bread (another excellent muggle idea, thank you very much) for a long time, but he didn’t think Hugo’s artistic attempt to draw Archibald on a pogo stick had been particularly alluring.
“Maybe not,” Archibald said, “although maybe Xavier could talk you through the joys of muggle gaming. He’s rather fond of the x-box.”
It was too late in the year for Sinistra to take any more complaints from Xavier’s humourless parents seriously; besides, he was particularly proud of that nickname.
“Oh, Sir,” Dom said, cheerfully, “the summer will be long and dull without your fine sense of humour,”
“Right, Weasley,” Archibald said, “why is everyone here?”
“It’s the milkshake, Professor,” Fred said from the vicinity of the drinks table, “your milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.”
“Damn right, it’s better than yours,” Archibald quipped back, rolling his eyes and wondering why he’d ever thought that was a good idea. It had not been a good idea. “Well, I suppose we might as well start the games... although, I don’t know how you’re all going to fit on the twister mat – ”
Archibald stopped quite abruptly, because Ronald McDonald was stood on the table.
He was entirely sure that, if frighteningly quiet and named ridiculously, Ronald McDonald was actually quite normal. He sat through lessons without making the usual odd jokes and joining in with the usual pranks and madness. If it had been one of his other students stood on a table, he probably wouldn’t have even blinked but Ronald McDonald...
“We are gathered here today –“
“– in the sight of God!”
Another terrible idea for a lesson plan, that one.
“– to present Professor Penrose with an award,” Ronald McDonald said, before promptly stepping off the table and returning to eating his way through the large bowl of jelly tots.
“The public has spoken,” Freddie said, his tone feigning seriousness, “and you, Archibald Penrose, have been voted as this year’s Professor of the year!”
Archibald stared at the lot of them.
“Is this some sort of joke?”
“No,” James Potter’s reporter not-girlfriend said, stepping forward, “you won the poll by a wide majority, Professor. The readers of ‘Hogwarts: a Commentary’ have been nominating and voting over the past couple of weeks,”
“You get a trophy,” Dom grinned, pulling out an actual trophy from under the jenga box (which begged a serious question as to where all his jenga blocks had gotten to, but that was a different issue all together).
“To commemorate your success in winning Professor of the year,” The reporter girl said, expression still blank.
“No,” Archibald said, “I understood that. I mean why... why am I this... why did I win?”
Shelly Skively pulled out a piece of parchment from her pocket and coughed.
“Archibald Penrose,” She read, glancing through her ridiculous eyelashes (and they had to be fake today, he was sure of it) to look round at the motley crew of students, “the previously innocuous Muggle Studies Professor, has been making the study of bicycles and electricity slightly less mind numbingly dull for a number of years. With sparkling wit, sarcasm and a number of questionable nicknames, Professor Penrose has become quite the figurehead over the course of this year. We all, of course, remember the legendary April Fool’s day prank in which Penrose convinced a large number of his students to campaign for him to remain in his teaching position (which was quite secure, as it turned out) – a feat which, we at ‘Hogwarts: a Commentary’ don’t believe many teachers would have been able to achieve. Archibald successfully tricked the reporters at this paper into printing an artfully fabricated history between himself and Professor Scrivenshaft (second in this poll) and, allegedly, took the revenge-prank from his students surprisingly well.”
Archibald supposed, by taking the revenge-prank surprisingly well, they meant he hadn’t put the lot of them in detention for the rest of the year... that wasn’t a mark of sentimentality, though, but sheer relief over the fact that they hadn’t genuinely jumped off the Astronomy Tower because of something he’d said.
“Beyond the humour, Professor Penrose has put on a variety of extra circular activities this year: from the school wide sports day, to free pancakes and fireworks, it seems clear that the Professor’s borderline inappropriate love of muggles is still ongoing and a real motivation for his actions. One of Professor Penrose’s students said ‘Archie’s a loveable idiot – the fact that we all know his girlfriend dumped him over a microwave and that he’s probably a squib just makes him more likeable’ whilst another reported that ‘he’s probably the only reason to pick Muggle Studies. It’s a terrible subject.’ Professor Penrose’s popularity peaked after his new relationship with charms Professor, Dionne Scrivenshaft. “She’s blatantly too good for him,” says sixth year, Shelly Skively, “but we’re rooting for them all the same.” Muggle Studies is one of the least popular subjects offered at Hogwarts, but perhaps after this success the department may be set to grow next year. Congratulations, Archie!”
Archibald stared at the lot of them for a few minutes feeling slightly dumbfounded.
On the whole, he wasn’t sure whether or not any of the above had been a compliment or merely a string of insults masquerading as something positive.
“Did you just vote for this,” Archibald began, “so I’d have to deal with more students?”
“One more thing,” Kevin Pips said, stepping forward, “we – ”
“No,” Lily Potter hissed, grabbing hold of his robes and pulling him backwards, “it’ll be better if you don’t tell him...”
“What is it, Pips?”
“I’m not dropping Muggle Studies!” Fred Weasley declared, throwing out his arms with a worrying grin. Kevin raised his eyebrows. Archibald had a sneaking suspicion that Kevin Pips had not been about to declare Fred’s intention to continue studying his subject, but it wasn’t like there was much he could do about that.
“We bought you a present too,” Hugo Weasley said.
“Here,” Vicky said, stepping forward and pressing something into his hands.
Archibald accidentally caught Elliot Cooper’s eye. He didn’t look remotely impressed but, then again, Cooper was rarely impressed by anything. Even Archibald’s mad in depth knowledge about thermodynamics.
He unwrapped the present clumsily.
“A ruler,” Archibald said, glancing up at them.
“A novelty ruler,” Dom corrected, “it’s scented.”
As much as the situation was utterly bizarre, what with ‘I wanna dance with somebody’ blasting out in the background, Nina laughing so much the girl was probably doing her lungs genuine damage, Gina looking cheerful for once, Spencer Edgecombe actually awake and Jessie James actually here... well, the whole thing was actually making him feel a little bit emotional.
Archibald decided to blame the whole thing on too much exposure to the Twilight books.
Things that I do not own and yet were referenced within this chapter of Muggle Studies:
Twilight, which belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
This quote “Your milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” and “Damn right, it’s better than yours,” are referencing the song ‘Milkshake’ by Kelis.
The song ‘I wanna to dance with somebody’ which is Whitney Houston’s.
A scented ruler (although the shop where I work sells them).
And with that I give you the almost final chapter of Muggle Studies. The next chapter is going to be set during the Summer holidays (because no one wants school in August too) so it’s going to be pretty short and only have a few characters in... but there we go. Also, as a side note... because I’m an idiot and haven’t been updating in order there’s a possibility that you missed some of the new chapters (I only say this because there’s discrepancies of a couple of hundred reads in the read count) sooo... the newest chapters are number eight and number nine. Thanks for reading!
Hope you enjoyed it :)
Chapter 12: Summery and Summary
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As much as Archibald hadn’t appreciated being woken up by Professor Sinstra’s owl tapping incessantly on his newly-installed triple glazing (brilliant stuff that had really improved the instillation in his newly purchased house in Devon, but apparently didn’t block the noise of very determined owls completely), the content of the letter had been a huge relief.
Aurora had stated that she was ‘impressed’ with the results of Archibald’s students (the ‘considering what idiots the lot of them were’ was left unsaid, but obviously there), but that didn’t mean much compared to the actual results.
True, several of his blonde mob had failed, but not as many as Archie had been expecting. There had been no Ts (and from what Sinistra said, it seemed some of his students had achieved straight Ts in the rest of their OWLs) and only a couple of Ds; quite a few Ps, he had to admit, but more As than he was expecting. Nina had, of course, achieved an O, but she wasn’t the only one… There were lots of Es too, which made sense – they’d definitely exceeded his admittedly low expectations.
So that was good.
Best of all, was the fact the nightly individual coaching with Vicky had managed to scrap her only NEWT pass which, for someone like Vicky, would probably be the highest level she’d ever achieve. The acceptable scrawled next to her name genuinely made him happy enough that he was tempted to pull out his home karaoke set and start singing some cheery 90s hit (he no longer had any neighbours who could complain about his awful singing, and it made the whole karaoke experience a lot more liberating). Both Ronald McDonald and Simon ‘Squeaky’ Fawcett had ended up with Es, which he knew they’d be happy with (or as happy as he’d ever seen Ronald McDonald, which wasn’t very if he was brutally honest).
Elliot Cooper had gotten his O, which was a little irritating, but you couldn’t have everything.
So, he’d decided to celebrate by hitting some of the tackier muggle tourist shops in Muggle London.
Since the admittedly unexpected purchase of his own house, Archibald had decided that he didn’t have nearly enough muggle junk to fill up the newfound space; beyond the walls taken up by his teletubby paraphernalia and his collection of tin cans, he’d found that you could see an alarming amount of his wallpaper (which, in retrospect, he shouldn’t have attempted to apply himself, in the muggle way, without his wand, because it look awful). Now, two hours after finding this particular muggle street, Archibald was slightly exhausted – he’d had to drag himself away from a variety of merchandise embellished with rather poor quality photos of the royal family, which he thought might look nice strung up around the bathroom before he remembered that Dionne had objected to the beanie baby collection in the bathroom because it was ‘creepy’ and he doubted that a life sized image of the royal wedding printed on a towel would be deemed any less creepy.
What with his newfound popularity (which Archibald found himself somewhat amused by at least three times a day, glancing over at his ‘Professor of the year’ trophy and remaining unsure whether or not he should be alarmed or pleased about the whole thing), he was trying to avoid another microwave incident.
There was only so many explosions his pay packet could allow for, anyway.
“Grande Cappuccino,” Archibald told the bloke in the muggle coffee shop, pulling out a wad of muggle cash and wondering whether or not it was acceptable to pay with a fifty pound note, and deciding not after the alarmed look on the cashier register’s face.
“It’s not bloody Starbucks,” The cashier said, “we have regular or large.”
“Large,” Archibald said, pulling out his mobile phone feeling particularly muggle. He frowned at the lack of messages and decided he’d probably just left the thing to close to his wand and had accidentally disrupted his own signal. Either that, or the only person he had on his contact list (Dionne, which – he suspected – had been out of a weary amusement rather than any real desire to experience the romance of connecting in the muggle way), hadn’t felt like texting him.
Archibald paid, making a note to pay in the correct change to prove that he wasn’t one of those wizard-idiots who didn’t know how to use a legitimate tender in their own country (and accidentally overpaying the guy thirty seven pence by accident) before wandering over to one of the free tables and sitting down heavily.
Really, life was good. The Charming Charms teacher was a lot more understanding about the ‘muggle-fetish’ (as it was stated in ‘Hogwarts: a commentary’ which Archibald felt was a little unfair) than any of his previous girlfriends. When Archibald had explained that he’d made both of them as separate families on the sims and then had set his simulation-self on a blind date (because he felt it would be an unrealistic portrayal of their lives if they were the first person the other dated), he’d paid top (simolen) dollar and wound up on a blind date with the sim version of her, which basically meant they were like simulation soul-mates… instead of backing away slowly, she’d just laughed at him and requested they purchase a simulation-cat together. Now, that was the basis for a healthy relationship; the sort of relationship which didn’t end in blown-up microwaves and derogative comments about the other’s mother.
He had a nice house. He’d managed to prise most of his belongings out of his still-rather-annoyed-ex’s grasp and, best of all, the Professor of the year award had pacified his mother slightly. Apparently, a little recognition from his student was enough to convince Mrs Penrose that Archibald’s whole life hadn’t been one humungous mistake. And to top it all off, he still had weeks until he had to face any of his grimy-faced, snot-nosed, acne-infested students.
“Professor,” a voice said, and Archibald’s head jerked up from his coffee in alarm. Running into your students in public was a professional hazard that came along with being a Professor, and usually Archibald tried to twist the situation to his favour by aiming to embarrass the student as much as possible; asking if his students were out on dates when he saw them together, introducing himself to their parents, and generally being slightly cringe worthy and a little bit awkward. However, this was different. Archibald was out in Muggle London supporting one of those summery Hawaiian T-shirts, a pair of pin stripped suit-trousers, his favourite novelty socks (because sponge bog square pants was severely underrated) and a pair of rather suave gladiator sandals, he’d spent the day browsing for further additions to his muggle-tourist-thimble-collection and he was categorically nowhere near the leaky cauldron.
“Pips?” Archibald asked, staring up at the just-about-teenage with his eyebrows hitting his hairline. It was another moment before he registered that Kevin Pip was delivering his coffee, and another still to note that Kevin Pips was wearing the same uniform as the cashier.
“Nice shirt,” Kevin said, eyes raking over the Hawaiian T-shirt with a barely disguised smirk.
He knew the shirt was slightly gaudier than the average thing in his wardrobe, but that was what Muggle men wore during the summer. He was being authentic like the muggle nut he was.
“Do you work here?” Archibald asked, trying not to sound as confused as he currently was, whilst self-consciously hiding the bag of thimbles. Peer-assessment week was a very long way away, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t already nervous.
Kevin looked down is apron with an obvious ‘duh’ expression.
“Aren’t there laws about that sort of thing?” Archibald asked, still exceedingly baffled, “Working minors?”
“You gonna report me?” Kevin asked, head tilting. Good God, in all his years of teaching he’d never met someone who was such a concentrated ball of sass. Kevin Pips had a serious attitude problem and the likes of him certainly wasn’t going to be able to dent it.
“This is a Muggle coffee shop, Pip,”
“Yeah?” Kevin said, which Archibald roughly translated to ‘and what are you gonna do about it?’ “S’my Dad’s shop,” Kevin said eventually, “I’m helping out because one of the waitresses is sick.”
“Your Dad… owns a muggle coffee shop?”
Kevin grinned, kicking out the chair across from Archibald and taking a seat.
“I’m muggle born.”
Archibald stared at him. He was suddenly reminded of the moment when Kevin had nearly announced something in the middle of his Professor-of-the-year award-party and the there was a rush of moments when Kevin had always inexplicably known the answer to any question posed to him… he’d chalked it up to the boy having an ounce of common sense but… no, muggle born would do it.
God damn. The whole school had been laughing at him all year and, like Cooper, Kevin would have picked up every single mistake he’d made about Muggle culture (of which there would always be some, because he was an ignorant pureblood wizard after all…) and had simply been hiding his knowledge behind his obese attitude.
“Fred Weasley got to you,” Archibald said, eyes narrowing at his coffee, “how much did he pay you?”
“Ten galleons,” Kevin grinned, “but it doubles for every year you’re in the dark.”
Archibald closed his eyes for a second.
“What’s my cut?”
“Your cut?” Kevin asked, frowning at him.
“You seem not to have inherited the business gene,” Archibald drawled, glancing at the counter, “I’ll pretend I think you’re of wizarding origin, your class continues to laugh at me behind my back, you get the money and then you split it,”
“Deal,” Kevin Pips said, grinning.
“Looking forward to the new school year?” Archibald asked, taking a sip of his coffee and glancing up at his new co-conspirator (he would best Fred Weasley yet) with a smile.
“Probably not as much as you,” Kevin said, kicking back the chair, quirking up his eyebrow and disappearing into the back of the shop.
Yesterday, Dionne had received her new register and had informed him – through her laugher – that she had a ‘Harry Porter’ and a ‘Larry Potter’ in her first year class this year. They’d spent twenty minutes debating whether or not their parents were cruel or just muggle (Archibald suggested just muggles, but it was pretty hilarious whatever way you looked at it) and then they’d started discussing their plan for peer-assessment week and the top thirty ways to mess with Terry Boot and Michael Corner.
Well, the prospect of the next year could certainly be much worse.
Kevin had reappeared out of the back of the shop, this time with what looked to be one of those fancy gadgets that combined the function of a phone and a music player and a camera all at once…. But his thought was cut off as Kevin held the thing up and snapped a photo of Archibald in his Hawaiian T-shirt, SpongeBob square pants socks, sandals, pin stripped suit trousers, half trying to hide his bag of thimbles and half trying to act like he wasn’t trying to hide his bag of thimbles…
“Please, Pips, don’t put that all over myplace,”
“Myplace?” Kevin questioned.
“My something,” Archibald said, “the social networking website? Myplace Myface? Don’t spread it all over Myface.”
“You’ve got stuff all over your face all on your own, Professor,” Kevin grinned, rolling his eyes before he disappeared again.
Archibald reached up tentatively towards his upper lip and realised yes he’d managed to walk away from the whole situation with a cappuccino moustache. And social networking aside, that photograph was almost definitely going to wind up in ‘Hogwarts: a commentary.’
Archibald Penrose dropped his head into his hands and swore.
It was going to be a long year.
As per, there are references to things that I don’t own or have any rights to.
The Teletubbies are property of Ragdoll Productions.
Beanie babies are owned by TY
SpongeBob square pants belongs to Stephen Hillenburg.
Sims is owned by EA games
I can’t believe the lovely response I’ve had this story, because it has essentially been pure crack.
(I also can't believe I managed to write like a whole twelve chapter 12+ humour story...)
I’ve had a really great time making up stupid names and writing about stupid scenarios and I sincerely hope I’ve entertained you at least a little bit! I was originally going to say farewell from all the characters within this story, but I wrote a list and it was a looooot longer than I was expecting it to be. I’m sorry again for not having a plan at first and therefore uploading it all in the wrong order (I realise that must have been so annoying!) and thank you once again for reading. Oh, thanks for the Dobby Noms, the Golden Snitch win and the two diadems! You’re all awesome :D