Chapter 6 : Classes Begin.
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A lot of the first years found the school confusing. Even Diana got fed up with it sometimes.
“For Merlin’s sake,” she complained to Rose after their first day of classes. “Why can’t anything in this school just stay in one place? Everything seems to move around randomly. How are we supposed to find our way anywhere?”
Rose just giggled. She’d spent seven years in a school where things just stayed in one place and this was far more interesting, she thought. Sure, it meant that they were likely to be late for class quite a bit, but what harm was that? Interesting as she expected some of her subjects to be, they were still lessons. Only swots were bothered about being on time for class!
Diana wasn’t a swot exactly, she supposed, but she did seem a little too worried about making a good impression on the teachers.
“We don’t want to get in trouble our first week,” she worried, as they wandered around Hogwarts, trying to find the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom.
“Don’t worry about it. Hermione can hardly blame us for getting lost, now can she?”
“You’re not meant to call her that at school,” Diana reminded her.
“Yeah, I know, but it’s only you and me here. I won’t say it when the rest of the class are around.”
Nearly Headless Nick floated towards them.
“Shouldn’t you two be in class?” he asked with mock severity.
“We’re lost,” Diana informed him. “Could you tell us where the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom is, please? How exactly am I supposed to address a ghost?” she added to Rose in a whisper.
What she had said appeared to be acceptable, as Nearly Headless Nick immediately offered to show them the way.
“Just follow me. My name, by the way, is Sir Nicholas de Mimsy. And you two young Gryffindors are?”
“I’m Rose Potter and she is Diana Lupin.”
“Really?” Sir Nicholas turned around to face them. “Well, I must say it’s good to see a Potter in Gryffindor again. I was so sorry that we didn’t get your brother. A nice boy, by all accounts. I knew your father well, of course. I suppose he told you that.”
“He did. He thought a lot of you, I believe. Said you saved him from a punishment from Filch once.”
“Did I now? I don’t remember. When one has existed for almost 600 years, one tends to forget some details. Oh, perhaps that was the time, I asked Peeves to create some mischief above Filch’s office. I think it was, as a matter of fact.” He turned to Diana. “And your name is Lupin, she said. Any relation to a Professor we had here at one time: Remus Lupin.”
“He’s my dad,” Diana replied.
“Ah, another Gryffindor. Quite a close friend of your Granddad’s, I believe,” he said, nodding at Rose.
“Yes, he was,” Rose agreed.
“And here we are. That door there. The second one.”
Defence Against the Dark Arts was the class that Rose had been most looking forward to and she wasn’t disappointed in her first class.
Hermione asked why they were late, but accepted it when they said that they had got lost and been shown to the classroom by Nearly Headless Nick.
“Just try not to be late too often, ok?”
“Of course, um, Professor.”
“Take your seats now,” she said, pointing towards the rows of desks. “I was just telling your classmates what we will be studying this year.”
They sat down quickly and listened closely to the rest of what she had to say.
“As I was saying, the purpose of this class is to teach you how to defend yourselves against any dangerous creatures or spells that you may encounter. Those of you from wizarding families will probably already know of some of the dangers which witches and wizards occasionally face. It is less than twenty-five years since one of history’s most dangerous Dark wizards was defeated. I myself was involved in that battle, and, as many of you will already know, he was defeated by the father of one of the girls in this class.
“That, however, is not the point. I am merely trying to make you aware of the dangers which do exist. Before I worry you too much, though, particularly those of you from Muggle families, I must add that these situations are quite rare. For more than twenty years, the wizarding world has been at peace and the chances of walking into dragons, giants or trolls at random are reasonably slim. However it is possible that you could come across one of these creatures or that you could be attacked by an unfriendly wizard, so you should know how to defend yourselves. The chances are probably similar to those of a Muggle being attacked by a mugger. It probably won’t happen, but you ought to know what to do if it does.
“This year we will be dealing with fairly simple spells. I will be teaching you how to disarm an opponent and what to do if faced with mild jinxes. We shall also look at some of the dark creatures you may face, but I shall not be teaching you how to defend yourselves against them for another year or two. I realise that some of you will already know some of what we are going to look at over the first few weeks, but I would ask you to bear with me, for the sake of those who do not know this.
“For the next few weeks, I shall be introducing you to some of the other beasts and beings you may encounter. We share this world with many other species; some of which you will not learn about until your third year. We are only going to look at some of the best known this year.
“One important thing to remember is that not all other magical beings are Dark creatures or enemies. Many of them can be dangerous, but it is equally true that witches, wizards and even ordinary human beings can be dangerous. You need to know how to defend yourselves, but you also need to understand that much of what you may have heard is based on prejudice.”
Diana scribbled something on one of the sheets she had purchased in Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes and passed it to Rose.
I can’t wait to find out about werewolves, she had written. I really don’t think I know enough about them as it is.
Rose put her palm to her mouth to prevent herself from laughing. She didn’t dare look at her friend. Learning about werewolves was, indeed, pretty pointless for Diana, but Rose supposed that it would be a good thing if the other students learned as much about them as possible. There was so much prejudice and most of it was because people just didn’t know the truth.
“I wonder are people in the other houses doing the same stuff in class as we are,” she commented as they left the classroom.
“I guess so. Why?”
“Because the more people who learn what werewolves are really like, the better. It might stop them being so silly.”
Hermione’s speech evidently hadn’t had much effect on certain people, however, as Ceri and Theodora came into the Great Hall that evening discussing loudly what they were going to be learning in Defence Against the Dark Arts.
As they passed the Gryffindor table, they raised their voices even louder.
“We’re going to learn all about dangerous creatures this year, aren’t we, Theodora?”
“Yeah, Dark creatures, like werewolves,” Theodora replied, glancing at Diana.
Rose stood up from the table.
“Diana’s father might be classed as a Dark creature one night a month, but your parents are Dark wizards every day of the month.”
“Ooooh, you shouldn’t say things like that without proof.”
“My Dad’s an Auror. He knows these things.”
“Well, he shouldn’t be talking about my parents.”
“And you shouldn’t be talking about Diana’s Dad!”
Theodora glanced at Ceri.
“I didn’t say anything about the werewolf, did I Ceri?”
That was as much as Rose could take. She stepped away from the table and drew out her wand. Perhaps she hadn’t learned any magic yet, but she had watched her parents often enough, and, unknown to them, Fred and George had taught her some spells illegally. Rose was sure she could manage something that would teach Theodora a lesson.
Before she had a chance to recall any of what she had learned, though, Theodora and Ceri pulled out their wands also.
“Two against one,” Ceri stressed.
“Two against two,” Diana replied appearing behind her friend.
“What is going on here?” a voice asked behind them.
Rose and Diana spun around to see Professor McGonagall standing, watching them.
“Nothing, Professor,” Rose replied quickly.
“Nothing, Professor,” the other three echoed.
“15 points from Gryffindor and 15 from Slytherin,” the Professor said sharply.
Rose was the only one with the courage to argue.
“But, Professor, we didn’t do anything.”
“If you had, it would have been 20 points, so just be grateful I arrived when I did and not five minutes later.”
Professor McGonagall turned away before any of the students could reply and headed for the staff table.
Meals seemed to be Diana’s favourite part of life at Hogwarts, Rose mused, as she watched her friend piling food onto her plate and eating it with obvious relish. Mind you, she could understand why. It was delicious.
Both girls cleared their plates and just as they were about to get up from the table, Rose saw Hermione coming towards them.
“She’s looking at us,” she whispered to Diana. “Do you think we’ve done something?”
Merlin, could Professor McGonagall have told her about their almost-duel with the Slytherins? Maybe Hermione was coming down to tell her off again, just because she was her aunt. If she was, then it wasn’t fair. Why should she get into trouble twice, just because she had a relation working at the school? It wasn’t right if McGonagall told Hermione, and didn’t tell any of the others’ families.
But it was Diana that Hermione was looking for.
“I didn’t get a chance to speak to you after class,” she said. “And there’s something I wanted to ask you. Could you possibly come down to my office for a moment?”
Rose gave her friend a questioning look. Diana shrugged in response, before following the teacher.
“What could that be about?” Rose wondered, as she headed back to the Gryffindor Common room. “Could Diana be in trouble? What could she have done?”
She waited impatiently until Diana returned about twenty minutes later.
“What did she want you for?” she asked, rushing over, as Diana entered through the portrait hole.
Diana grinned, so she obviously wasn’t in trouble.
“She said we’re going to learn about werewolves in our next lesson and she wanted to ask me if I’d tell the class, and maybe even the other first year classes, about Dad. You know, to let them know that he’s just an ordinary Dad most of the time.”
“Will you do it?”
Diana shrugged. “I might as well. Everybody’s going to know he’s a werewolf, anyway. If Ceri and Theodora know, they’ll make sure everybody else does, and I’d rather explain it myself than let them do it. I don’t think their explanations would be all that fair, do you?
Rose had to agree that that was unlikely.
“I don’t really think I want to stand up in front of the Slytherins, but I could hardly agree to talk to the other classes and not them.”
“Why not?” Rose asked. “I bet Her…my aunt would understand.”
“Yeah, but then they’d just say that I was scared of them or that it was because they knew the truth about werewolves or something, so I’ll do it. It’s only for a few minutes at the end of class anyway, and it means I’ll get out of a couple of our classes, maybe.”
Even though Rose already knew a good deal about werewolves and doubted that Hermione was going to tell them anything that she didn’t, she was still looking forward to their next Defence Against the Dark Arts class. It would be good to hear werewolves being discussed fairly, instead of the kind of nonsense that she sometimes came across in textbooks on the subject and stuff like that. She didn’t care about the classifications. Remus Lupin was no monster, and he wasn’t a beast either.
Not all of their classes were as interesting, however. History of Magic was probably the most boring subject that Rose had ever studied; even more boring than Geography which had been her least favourite subject in primary school. Professor Binns was already dead and it showed. The only interesting thing he ever did was floating in to the classroom through the blackboard, and even that got boring after you had seen him do it two or three times.
Rose and Diana spent most of the lesson, passing notes back and forth. They didn’t even bother using the Unnoticeable Notes they had bought in Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes. Binns was so oblivious that it would have been a total waste of them. He took no interest in what his students were doing anyway, and continued to rattle on about Goblin wars regardless of whether or not anybody was listening. They usually weren’t.
Transfiguration was another class that was usually a waste of time, in Rose’s mind. The subject itself was important enough, she supposed, but Professor Leaming was an idiot and it was so easy to get her off the subject. It was obvious that she greatly admired Rose’s father and that, whenever they got bored of the class, all Rose had to do was mention him, and Professor Leaming would listen intently, asking all kinds of questions and forgetting completely about what she had been teaching. Sometimes Rose would make up anecdotes, just for the laugh.
“Rose!!” Diana giggled after class one day. “Your father did not arrest a group of five giants who supported Voldemort in one go!”
“So what? It stopped her from checking my homework, which I didn’t actually do, didn’t it?”
“Just as well, as I was next in the row and I didn’t have mine done either.”
The two girls burst out laughing. Transfiguration with Professor Leaming might not be the most educational class they had, but they both had to admit that it could be a lot of fun.
The class that Rose was most looking forward to, apart from Defence Against the Dark Arts, however, was flying.
“I wonder when we’ll have our first flying lesson,” she complained in the dormitory. “Not that I need to learn or anything. I’ve been flying a broomstick since I was a tiny kid, but I haven’t had a chance to fly since we started here and I miss it. I wish we could just get started.”
Megan was looking more and more uncomfortable as Rose continued. She turned to whisper something to Niamh.
“Oh, don’t mind her,” Diana put in, giving Rose a little push. “You’ll be fine, Megan. There are plenty people here from Muggle families and they do fine.”
“I didn’t say she wouldn’t! I didn’t mention her at all. Anyway, my Dad was brought up by Muggles and he was so good at flying that he got a place on the Quidditch team after just one flying lesson. So it doesn’t matter, Megan.”
“Well, stop going on about how much you’ve done. Nobody cares anyway.”
Rose was about to argue; then decided she couldn’t be bothered. She was too tired. Life at Hogwarts was fun, but it did get busy, and she was usually glad to get to bed at the end of another exciting day.
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