Chapter 8 : Chapter 7 – You win them with your Fears
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Riddick was sitting comfortably behind the teachers desk in his new classroom. Once he realized just how many house-elves there were in Hogwarts, he had gotten a couple of them to redecorate the room, so that it fitted what he had in mind. He was rather eager to see his students reactions to the new decor. He leaned back until his chair tilted and came to rest on two feet. Riddick's own feet were propped up comfortably on his desk. He let his gaze sweep the room and grinned. Yep. That's about perfect.
The sound of many feet stopping outside of the classroom told him that the double-class he would be teaching first today – seven year students from House Gryffindor and Slytherin – were standing on the other side and working up courage to enter. Reluctantly he took his feet off the desk and the chair came down with an audible crash.
"Good grief, you guys are pathetic! One would think that you had never had DA lessons before, now just follow me in and …oh!"
The girl with the bushy hair Hermione Granger had entered the classroom, closely followed by her best friends Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley. They were now staring wide-eyed around, before swallowing and taking seats at two connecting tables.
Riddick smirked. Yep. Perfect.
Their reactions were echoed in variations by the other youths filing in. The Gryffindors and Slytherins were stared entranced at the walls and ceiling that Riddick had asked the house-elves to a) paint as black as they could and b) where they had put up magically enhanced and moving pictures of all the dark creatures he was going to teach the kids about this year.
The different beasts were hidden in the black paint and flashing to life only one at a time. The only light in the room came from floating candles near the tables. The illusion was perfect. To the kids it must look like they were going to be attacked out of a perfect darkness by a Sphinx, a vampire, an animated corpse, a Dementor and various other dark creatures, which vanished just as suddenly as they appeared each time somebody tried to get a closer look at them.
Riddick observed the kids for a while more and noticed that once the first surprise had passed, one of them was not looking at the walls anymore. He was looking hard at Riddick and he was smiling a bit as if sharing the joke with him. Not bad, Harry. Not bad at all.
Unbidden pride and love rose in him as Sirius Black looked through his eyes at the boy.
*Of course. Did you think Harry would fall for such a simple plot? Harry has faced Lord Voldemort himself on several occasions. Now stop your little mind-games and get on with the lesson…are you sure you don't want me to do the teaching part?*
That a real question? You got to be kiddin'.
Riddick scowled and stood up. He hated it, when he was reminded that he was not alone in his body anymore. His eyes fell on the black-haired boy. Apparently his scowl had succeeded where the magically modified classroom had failed … the boy gulped, his certainties gone.
"My name is Riddick. Professor Riddick for you. I'm not really used to this teaching thing so I guess we'll have to learn that together. But I am actually rather good at recognizing and killing things about to attack me. I have looked up the sort of beasts, curses and things you kids have done the past years in this class. Interesting stuff."
Riddick's deep rough voice echoed slightly in the black room while his silver eyes flashed from student to student.
The class was so silent that the heartbeats and breathing of forty children grew to something nearly material and expanded and retracted in the room like a separate, invisible entity. A Sphinx flashed to life behind Riddick and without turning around, his wand whipped from nowhere to his hand and shot a red beam at it. The picture froze and did not disappear again, nor did another beast appear.
"Magic. Useful, ain't it. You think you can do everything with magic. Well lemme tell you something."
Riddick took a step forwards, conscious that his tall silhouette must look rather intimidating when he did that.
A round-faced boy in the first row started to tremble, when he realized that Riddick was now standing right in front of him. Then his chin stubbornly trust forward. A dark-skinned girl in Gryffindor robes grabbed her neighbor's arm, a fair-headed Slytherin, for comfort. He shoved her away.
"The other side has got it too. You know that, but I'm just not sure if you really KNOW that, if you get my meaning. That's where I come in. To help you make a difference. Because, believe me, Magic is just a tool. You don't win fights with tools."
Riddick looked around, satisfied that he had captured their attention.
"You win them with your brains. And you win them with your fears."
This statement seemed so far off for them that at once a low muttering began. Riddick heard the red-haired boy whisper into Hermione's ear "constant vigilance", triggering a giggle from her.
He strode down the rows until he came to stand before the boy and leaned down until his eyes were at the same height with the tall red-hair.
"Not bad, Weasley. Yeah, constant vigilance is part of it."
Ron Weasley gulped under the silver stare and slid lower in his seat. His freckles were very visible. Hermione took his arm and squeezed. Harry Potter snorted under his breath. Riddick noticed it all and filed it away for future use. His hand shot forward and he yanked the red-hair out of his chair so fast that Ron forgot to struggle and just hung in his grip in complete surprise. The rest of the class gave the usual various signs of shock like scared exclamations, knocking things over or down, but all of them stayed where they were.
All but three of them.
Riddick looked at the wands of Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the round-faced boy from the 1st row pointing at his heart and smiled for the first time.
"Please put him down, Professor. I think Ron got your meaning."
Harry Potter's voice was polite, but firm. His wand did not waver, nor did Hermione and the other boy lower their wands.
Riddick's smile widened. He carefully put the Weasley boy back on his feet.
"Thirty points to Gryffindor. Sit down. Well done, the three of you."
And with a sardonic smile to Ronald Weasly: "At least somebody has learned to be…constantly vigilant."
His mocking gaze rested on Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom while they put their wands away with muttered apologies and sat. Neville's face was very red and Hermione was biting her lip, obviously confused that she had been about to attack a teacher and then had gotten a reward for it.
The noise in the class was cut off again by Riddick's deep, mesmerizing voice.
"See. You never know where the attack might come from. Magic beasts, Death Eaters… or family. A friend. Or a teacher. I've heard about the fake Professor Moody teaching here for almost a year. Headmistress Mac Gonagall has told me everything about the sort of dangerous lessons he's given you. Now lets make it so that there can't ever be a repeat of history here. Coming from him it was sheer cheek teaching you about 'constant vigilance'. Gotta admire the man. I know, he really was just a Death Eater in disguise, but he still got that one perfectly right. Besides the fact that this bad boy was smart enough to to teach here for nearly a year without getting discovered rather proves my point. The man had a goal. He was surrounded by ennemies. But his brains, guts and fear," Riddick stressed the word "-made the difference. Take example. His big mistake was that he hung out around here way too long, there is no beating statistics…"
Riddick noticed the outraged looks around and mumbles of "he's nuts if he thinks I'm going to take some bloody Death-Eater as example to follow…"
Come on, kids. USE your brains for a change. That's not what I said. Think!
Bushy-hair was raising her hand. Not too scared to ask me a question? Good girl.
"Yes, Miss Granger?"
"Please, uhm, professor, what did you mean, winning fights with our fears?
Instead of answering her question Riddick turned to Harry.
Green eyes widened in response.
"Remember the Tri-Wizard-Maze?"
Harry Potter nodded, visibly intrigued at this sudden change of subject.
"Come here and tell us about the Sphinx."
Riddick stepped aside so that the class got a good look at the huge and ferocious looking creature with the lion-like body and the human head on the wall behind him. The sphinx smiled down at them from the wall, revealing very white and sharp looking teeth. Its lion tale swished from side to side.
The boy paled, nodded and slowly came forward.
His tale finished, Riddick awarded him another five points for Gryffindor and send him back to his place.
"You've heard him. No wand, no spell, nothing but his brains and guts while faced with a dangerous riddle. And fear of having the creature gut him before anybody could get him out of there. And most important – he had the choice to walk away. Most times you have the choice to walk away and not face the battle. Use your brains to tell you if you should take that choice, don't let fear rule you. Its your guts that will keep your fear in check while you think it over. But your fears are still very useful. For now, your fears will keep you ALIVE. Without fear you'd do something real stupid real soon and get killed. Get these three in the right balance, brain, guts and fear and you'll develop a nice strong survival instinct…I think that answers your question, Mrs Granger.
Now everybody - take notes."
Riddick waited until the rustles and various noises had died down and all the youths had quills and parchments before them.
"Alas, we can't study a life sphinx as you did with other dark creatures a couple years ago. Neither the ministry nor your head-mistress allowed me to bring one here, even if the teacher of magical beasts, professor Hagrid supported my case with her."
Several youths looked horrified and relieved at their near miss of getting to meet a real life sphinx and somebody muttered "…another monster lover, god save us…"
Riddick tilted his head and stopped speaking until uneasy silence filled the class. As if nothing had happened he continued:
"Shame about that. Sphinxes are a wizard-bred species. They got a lion-like body, a human head and their English is better than mine. They love puzzles and riddles. As they are a little playful and like to toy with their meals for some reason your Ministry has placed these splendid creatures in the category of "dangerous beasts". (Fuckin' stupid paper-stallions.) Sphinxes have been used by wizarding folk for centuries to guard treasures, and take it from me, they get downright nasty when that which they guard is threatened. Even I would not provoke a sphinx on guarding duty without good reason.
I think that the Wizard Bank 'Gringotts' uses a couple of them as guards for some of their vaults. Bet that's a nasty surprise for people who want to get to their gold and aren't as good at riddles as Harry Potter here…"
He waited until the uncertain laughs had died down and continued the lesson. The class was furiously taking notes… except for bushy-hair of course.
Bet she's learned the book by heart before the term started. But I think I still can teach her a few tricks…
Riddick pointedly ignored her outraged whisper to Harry "…a little playful? These monsters? Harry he's worse than Hagrid!"
"…ok, homework for your next lesson: Read the chapter on the sphinx again and write and memorize down everything I told you and I'm gonna test if you have learned to have your wands as ready as Potter, Longbottom and bushy… I mean Mrs Granger here. There is no such thing as security right now. Not at your homes. Not at Hogwarts. Nowhere. I'm gonna rub this lesson in this year and you're gonna learn what I teach. Now get out."
One by one the youths silently filed out of the room again looking both exited about the lesson and relieved that it was over.
Just before closing the door, one of the last kids to file out, a Slytherin boy muttered "…or else" before taking off at a run. Riddick could hear horrified giggles coming from a group of Slytherin girls who had followed him out.
He waved his wand at the wall and the sphinx flashed once before disappearing. It was replaced by a scowling white faced vampire.
He sat back down on his chair and leaned back until the chair tilted. Then he propped his feet back up on his desk.
I could really do with some feedback again... thank you for reading :)
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