Chapter 11 : Defense Against the Dark Arts
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“I hear today’s lesson is going to be brilliant!” Harry heard Susan Bones exclaim.
“Yeah,” Hannah answered. “I can’t wait to see what Professor Flitwick has in store.”
The Professor in question came strolling in minutes before class begun. He was a tiny man, full of energy and spunk. Harry always liked him for his perpetual amiability.
The chattering class came to a gradual silence as he took his habitual place in front of the class on a footstool. “Now, now, class, quiet down, quiet down.” He took a deep breath and glanced around the room, grinning. “Well, looks like the holidays certainly agreed with you lot. I know I enjoyed them. But enough about me, lets get on with it.” He replied, with a flick of his wrist.
“Today’s lesson is very exciting. You will learn how to conjure your house mascot.” The class murmured excitedly as Flitwick took in a breath and continued with the instructions. “We’ll have to do it one by one, as I’m sure the only zoo Dumbledore wants on school grounds is in Care of Magical Creatures with Professor Knox. Now, everybody up up, and into lines. Gryffindors over there, and Hufflepuff just there.” As he lined the students up, he continued. “Good, good. Now, Gryffindor, your charm is Gryffinsopia and Hufflepuff is Badgersopia. Let’s get on with it then. Miss Granger, you first.”
“This will be easy.” Hermione whispered, rolling up her sleeves. “I’ve been practicing.”
Ron rolled his eyes. “You should practice something useful; like controlling your urge to gloat.”
She just sent him a suggestive look and promptly pointed her wand forward. Eyes still on Ron, she repeated the charm. “Gryffinsopia!” She didn’t needed to look forward to know it was mastered. Ron stared at her dumbfounded as the smug look she gave him never left her face.
“Well done Miss Granger! Well done! On the first try! Don’t know why I’m at all surprised, though.” Flitwick told her as the class “ahhed” over the Lion standing in the middle of the classroom with its eyes now on Ron.
“Erm, Professor…” he began in the squeaky voice usually reserved for spiders.
“Hm? Oh. Yes, I do suppose I should dispose of him. We don’t want any student deaths this year.”
Ron gulped as a bouncy Flitwick cheerfully chanted the reverse charm. “Please.”
By the end of the lesson, everyone had mastered the charm; even Neville, who usually has difficulty in anything that didn’t involve plants.
Defense Against the Dark Arts was next on Harry’s lesson. And accompanying the Gryffindors were the Slytherins. Harry was ecstatic. Azura was teaching and he knew not even Malfoy could ruin his lesson.
When everyone walked in to take their seats, she watched them with what Harry now realized an inherited McGonagall intensity. She was half leaning and half sitting on her desk, arms crossed, waiting for everyone to take their seats. When every seat was filled, she smirked, almost as if she was sharing an inside joke with herself, causing a wave of uneasiness to sweep through the classroom. Harry couldn’t think of another class that could happen in except for Snape’s.
“Well, looks like we’re all here. I won’t bother with roll call. I’ll learn your names as I need them; and don’t worry. If I never learn yours, you might like me better.
“For those of you who have not met me, my name is Azura Julius, and as I am going to be your DA teacher, it is imperative that you know mine.”
Ron and Harry tried to suppress a grin. Azura, despite her staggering beauty, had presence. And she knew how to use it. There was not one person who was not looking at her.
“This year, things are going to be done differently, including your lessons.” She stood from her desk and began to, what the males in the class would define as, swagger around the room as she continued to speak. She was a woman of confidence, after all.
Xander Knyle raised his hand. “How different?”
Azura just smiled and continued to stalk the room. “I want you to picture yourself dueling with a witch or wizard of your choice, bad or good, because I know some of you don’t exactly have a heart of gold.” She gave Malfoy a personal stare as she said this. In return, he began to scowl, but decided to change his mind. Millicent tried to suppress laughter.
“Chances are, if you’re in heavy battle at one point or another, the other witch or wizard will eventually have disarmed you. They may or may not have caught you off guard with a spell that leaves you defenseless. So arises the question. What do you do if you don’t have your wand? Or think of a counter curse quick enough?
“Being part muggle, and having a military officer for a father, I grew up with the muggle way of fighting and self defense. In my class, not only will you learn defense spells, but also how to quickly resolve worst-case scenarios; more specifically scenarios where your wand isn’t present. It will be fun, but also strenuous. I will teach you how to be both physically and mentally prepared. And I will not under any circumstance tolerate any clowning around in my class, is that understood?”
When she had everyone’s agreement, she gave one of her infamous grins. “Let’s get started.”
She arranged the classroom into an empty circle, and asked for a volunteer. Before Hermione could raise her hand, Malfoy’s shot up. “I’ll do it.”
Azura grinned again, and toyed with the end of her wand. “Excellent. You’ll be a perfect…erm, example. Okay, Mr. Malfoy, I’ll warn you about the first spell, but I want to test your reflexes, so the next one will be a surprise.”
“No problem.” He arrogantly replied.
“Okay, the first spell is a disarming spell. No funny business, or I’m turning you into a toad. Expelliarmus!”
Malfoy’s wand flew out of his hand, and before he could think, Azura threw the next spell at him. "Tarantallegra!” He was now dancing, very badly, uncontrollably.
The whole class burst in a fit of laughter as an unhappy Malfoy rumbaed around in a circle.
“Certainly no Broadway star.” Hermione commented, as tears of laughter ran down her cheek.
“What?” Ron asked.
Hermione and Harry just exchanged a look. Azura, who was trying her best to wipe off an amused smirk, gave a nonchalant wave of her wand. “Finite Incantatum.”
Malfoy stood still in front of a laughing class, growing redder by the moment.
“Sit down, Draco.” Azura ordered.
She didn’t have to tell him twice. He scurried to the back, next to Crabbe and Goyle.
“That was obviously a dancing charm.” She began as the class started to quiet down again. “If I really wanted to hurt him, I would have. Clearly there are more serious spells than Tarantallegra and you need to be prepared for them. Now, what should have he done? Hermione?”
“Well, any unarmed wizard-any intelligent unarmed wizard- should have dodged out of the way instead of standing there like an idiot.”
“Correct. Ten points Gryffindor.”
Malfoy was in the middle of mocking Hermione when Azura awarded Gryffindor their points. He all but ground his teeth to dust.
“You lot need to be prepared for the worst. Unfortunately, not all of you were born with a brain, so being able to move swiftly and dodge spells will help you in a battle. I want all of you to get on the floor and practice rolling. Yes, even you, Humpty and Dumpty.” She was, of coarse, referring to Crabbe and Goyle.
For almost half the class, she had them rolling around, dodging spells from her, as well as other students. And from Harry’s observation, they all seemed to be enjoying it.
Finally. He thought to himself. Lupin wasn’t the only one who knew what he was doing.
For the last part of the class, Azura had them doing bookwork on new spells and curses while she graded parchments from the previous class. She didn’t have to glance up to know Draco had walked to her desk. She felt his presence when he stood from his seat.
When she did look up, she sent him one of her bored looks she often gave rejected men. “Can I help you, Draco?”
“Guess you know my name already, huh?” He began to laugh, but when he noticed she wasn’t amused, he cleared his throat. “I, erm, believe we started out on the wrong foot. Maybe we should get to know each other a little better. You know, you, me, study hall-"
“Oh, I’m sorry.” She interrupted, feigning surprise. “Did I look interested?”
Unperturbed, Malfoy leaned closer. “Do you know what I want to do to you?”
Azura leaned in even closer. “And do you know what I can do to you?”
It wasn’t the response he expected, and Malfoy’s cool smile turned to puzzlement.
“You forget, Draco, that I am your professor and hold the fate of your house points, not to mention your grades, in my hands. I’d mind my tongue if I were you.”
She drew back and continued to grade parchments, giving Malfoy the hint the conversation was over. He straightened his robes, and swiftly took his seat.
Harry noticed the little display and had to bite down on his knuckles to keep from laughing out loud.
Ron, who was having just as hard time from bursting, scribbled something on a piece of parchment and passed it to Harry.
He opened it and grinned. Bloody good year this year.
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