Chapter 10 : Silence and Reflections
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Professor Prescott Argilla was appalled. Was his birthday really in just 3 days? How could someone like him, someone so young at heart, someone so youthful, be turning 35? But, his calendar didn’t lie. He shut his eyes. Was it truly over 20 years ago that he had been gallivanting through these halls with James and Sirius? Apparently so. He sighed. Shutting his datebook, he leaned back in his chair. He had seen him today; Harry. He couldn’t believe how different he looked now. Yet again, he had only seen pictures of his nephew as an infant. Meeting him tomorrow would be a whole new experience. From what he’s heard, Harry has never heard of him. He never knew about his Uncle Prescott; never even knew that his mother had any other siblings other than Petunia. Even worse, here he was, Lily’s twin. Not identical, of course, but sharing similar qualities. And here he was, Potions professor at Hogwarts, now unexpectedly to be the teacher of Harry himself. And Harry, and all of his friends, everyone expect Petunia and Dumbledore, knew nothing of his existence. He could feel the trouble in this situation, and knew that it would only be days, maybe mere hours, before the problematic topic would arise.
“So you’re telling me that you’ve kept all the notes you’ve taken in every class for every year you’ve attended at Hogwarts?” Ron asked sceptically.
“Yes, in fact I have.” Hermione smiled proudly. “And I believe that they will be of great use to Harry for the first class that he teaches.
“Well, yeah, he doesn’t have a clue on how to teach.” Ron agreed.
Hermione shifted the large pile of neatly folded parchment to her other arm. “You haven’t seen him, have you?” She asked.
“I ran into him on the way to the library this morning when I was doing those bloody rounds; he’s probably there.” Hermione raised her eyebrows at Ron’s response but said nothing.
“Yeah, yeah I know, Harry in the library without being forced. Impossible, right?” Ron smirked. Hermione gave him a smile on the verge of laughter. She was glad to see that the war hadn’t changed Ron too intensely.
“Well, I’m going to see if I can find him. Care to join me?”
“Sure thing.” Ron replied with his lopsided grin.
It was a rare moment for Ronald Weasley to find himself in the presence of Hermione Granger with no one else around. And so, he decided to take this opportunity to use it to its best benefit. The halls were not overly crowded. The majority of students would have classes right now. They walked side-by-side through the school, pupils staring in awe with there every step.
When they arrived in a quieter corridor, Ron began.
“Look, Hermione, I’ve been meaning to tell you something.” Hermione’s train of thought came to a crashing halt. A wave of nerves swept over her; her mind begged Ron that he would not attempt something that would complicate everything.
“I’ve been meaning to say sorry.” Hermione let a wave of relief sweep over her. Ron continued. “I’m sorry for what I did, for the harm I’ve caused you, for the names I’ve called you.” Hermione had to smile. He was being so heartfelt, so sincere, she was touched.
“I just – well, I know I haven’t made things easy for you or Harry. I shouldn’t have abandoned you all in that tent. I shouldn’t have run off with Luna at that point. I should have waited. I should have waited until the war was over, when I could sit down with both of you and explain everything, and figure out everything. But my impatience got the best of me, and I screwed up. I’m sorry.”
Before he knew it, Hermione threw her arms around him and hugged him. Stood there in the middle of the corridor, and hugged him. What he said wasn’t easy for him, but he did it anyway.
“I forgive you, Ron, really, I do.” She smiled to herself at Ron’s sincerity. But what they didn’t know was that throughout this exchange, Harry had left the library and turned the corner into the hallway. And there he stood, in the middle of everything, watching his two best friends. And there he stood, in the middle of everything, with a truly happy smile on his face. Harry now knew, that they would be bickering again within minutes, and that he would just look at them and realize that his life had just gained back a little bit of normal.
It was 2:15. Harry’s first class began in a quarter of an hour, and he was no where near ready. Sure, they were only first years, and sure, they were only Gryffindor, but teaching? He didn’t know a thing about teaching. Hermione had given him her notes from her first year with DADA, and thankfully, they gave him a slight idea as to what to start off talking about. As well, Hermione also informed him that getting the class to be silent at first would be tedious, and he believed it; he was most definitely in for a challenge.
When the time came, Harry had to force himself to stand still. Of course, he wanted to run away from the school and stand in the middle of the Forbidden Forest then do this class, but he had no choice. Lucky for him, Ron had a spare this class. So there Harry stood, stressing out, wringing his hands, and manic, and there was Ron, leaning casually against the wall at the back of the class, loudly munching on an apple and smirking at his best friend.
“You’ll do fine, mate. It’s not like they’re 6th year Slytherins. Come on, you were born to do this.” Ron said reassuringly. “Just pretended its Dumbledore’s Army all over again.” Harry’s lips curved into a slight smile at the memory as he nodded nervously.
The class filtered into the room, claiming the desks one by one. Instead of the expected chatter, the room was stunningly silent. When the class was filled, Harry took a deep breath and began.
“Er, well, as I’m assuming most of you know, I’m Harry Potter, and I’ll be your Defence Against the Dark Arts professor for this year. And please, please, please refrain from calling me Professor, or anything of the sort, because it makes me feel old.” Despite his nerves, Harry began to feel more comfortable in front of the class already – it seemed kind of natural for him. All of the students were in pure shock – wait ‘til their parents knew that Harry Potter was their DADA teacher. They’d most certainly be prepared for the dangers that lay ahead, if any.
“Well, I’m as new at this as you are, so I’m going to take my time until I get the hang of this teaching thing, and you’re not going to get ahead of me, because that’d be downright humiliating.” Word after word, Harry’s nerves dissolved; instead of seeing 30 gaping first-years, his feelings morphed until he felt like he was having a casual conversation with Dean or Seamus. He watched as a few of the students’ expressions softened from downright shock to admiration. They knew how lucky they were.
“To start of today’s lesson, I’m going to be talking to you about the very first thing that I ever learned in Defence Against the Dark Arts. I don’t mean a spell, or some common facts that I had to copy down. I’ve decided that I’m going to instruct you all in a more effective way. And we’re going to start off with who you should trust. You should never trust anyone hiding a powerful dark wizard underneath a headdress. Is that understood?” Harry looked up in time to see Ron throw him a thumbs up.
The class continued on as such; Harry had to refer to Hermione’s notes a few times to figure out which defensive spell to begin with, but other than that, Ron was impressed. The Harry that he knew would never have been able to get in front of a class of first-years and start cracking jokes right off the bat. The Harry he knew would be stuttering and stammering from the start to the finish. But obviously something had changed. Obviously, harry knew how important it was for these pupils to get good education in DADA. After all, his knowledge had saved his life more than once. Harry was smart enough to know how important it was to be able to defend yourself. But maybe things would change, maybe everything would be different, once he encountered one of those difficult students; the ones who don’t recognize the man who saved the wizarding world when they see him.
When the class ended, it seemed like the students were glued to their seats. Harry wasn’t sure if any information had been absorbed. Most of them still had blank parchment in front of them. He’d have to do a few hands-on reviews before they started learning anything. And he was perfectly fine with that.
After the perplexed first-years slowly drained out of the classroom, Ron finally had the chance to congratulate Harry.
“You were born to do this mate, seriously! Do you know how much smarter I would be if I had had you as my DADA teacher?”
Harry just grinned and the two of them walked out into the corridor. They had both gotten into the habit of looking both ways before they proceeded. Firstly, in case something like a Basilisk or a Dementor was coming their way. More seriously, it was in case that group of wild fan girls was approaching. Happy to see the coast was clear, Harry and Ron headed over to the Gryffindor common room, as their next class didn’t start for half an hour or so. They entered to see an ecstatic Hermione waiting on the couch for them.
“Guess what!” she exclaimed excitedly.
“What?” Ron asked, confused.
“I finished testing the Expugnolers and they work perfectly!” she beamed.
“That’s fantastic, Hermione!” Harry smiled. Every new development was a step closer to seeing Sirius. He became amused when Hermione’s smile didn’t fade. “What else?”
Hermione seemed pleased that he had caught on that there was other news. “I’ve discovered that your glow is more powerful than I expected. When I was testing it with the Expugnolers, I found that not only could I see through my eyelids, I could see through other things too!” Ron and Harry shared a puzzled glance. “I mean, when I used the glow, I could see through the walls, I could see through the floor. By using the device with Harry’s power, I could see Professor Argilla’s bedroom if I wanted to.”
“Why would you want to see Professor Argilla’s bedroom?” Ron’s eyes widened. He was disgusted at Hermione’s sudden change in expression. “Eew, Hermione, come on. I mean, I didn’t say anything about Lockhart in second year, but now this?”
“I know, I know I’m sorry, it’s just his eyes. There’s something about them…something really familiar.”
If Harry wasn’t so modest, he would have most definitely shown the smile he was containing within him; this had to mean something, didn’t it?
As Harry lay awake in bed that night, he had to admit that he had had an absolutely fantastic day. Yes, he himself could go to sleep at night with a smile on his face for the first time in quite a few years. He was still extremely surprised at his natural ability to teach. He couldn’t believe how easy it had come to him. And Hermione! Harry was still on a buzz since that Expugnolers incident.
Argilla had emerald eyes. Eyes almost identical to his. So identical, that it actually made Harry wonder. Tomorrow was his first potions class of the year. Tomorrow, he would see what made the professor so special.
The darkness of the night was so velvety that nothing could prevent it from enveloping the moon’s hazy shine. Harry’s illuminated wand flickered over the aged parchment of the Marauder’s Map, causing the room to be lit with the warm, flame-like glow that the wand provided. It was chilly for a September night; the large furnace heater in the corner of the room rattled as it struggled to maintain its heat. He traced the slow footsteps of the exhausted Ron, as he edged his way back to the Head Dormitories. Ginny had apparently already finished hers, as she was already in her dormitory; then again, she may have just neglected to even attempt her night-time rounds. Harry examined the Gryffindor Common Room. It was surprisingly empty; no first years scrambling to finish procrastinated homework. Yet again, the year had just begun, and there was no Snape to assign homework within the first two days of school.
Harry was pleased to see that Hermione had been given her own dormitory as well. He wouldn’t have been too pleased if he was the only one out of the trio that had been given a private room. He noticed that Hermione wasn’t asleep either. She wasn’t even in bed. He watched as she walked around her room. She seemed to be pacing; she’d walk from one wall to another, back and forth, back and forth. Harry could feel his heart mimic her steps with its beat. One-two. One-two. Until she stopped in the middle of the room. She stood like that for a long while, Harry noticed, until she moved to the spot that was supposedly her bed, and retired for the evening. “Mischief Managed.”
Even after he put the map away couldn’t help ponder what Hermione had been thinking about. What was troubling her so much that would cause her to pace around her chamber for an hour?
Harry, Ron and Hermione walked to Potions together that Friday. That Friday, Harry thought, that his world would change. And that Friday, was today. The dungeons were still as dingy as ever, Harry took comfort in that. But, he had to remind himself that it was fake dingy. It wasn’t the same grime that had been there in 4th year when Draco had taunted Hermione. It wasn’t the same grime that had been there at the end of last year, when they all went searching through Snape’s filing cabinet. No, this was a different grime. It was a grime that couldn’t be seen; the dirtiness that you would expect to find in a dark, damp dungeon.
When they all filed into the classroom, Harry, Ron and Hermione claimed the seats that they had been sitting in since first-year. It was routine – everyone in Hogwarts had a spot in every class that was theirs. As everyone took their seats, Harry looked around. Everyone looked suspicious. All of the students in this class had had Snape as Potions teacher, and then for their 5th and 6th years, they had had Slughorn. Compared to Snape, Slughorn had been an improvement. Harry sensed that most of his classmates though that they had gotten lucky though; Professor Argilla could be meaner than Snape for all they knew.
After a few moments, the door swung open as Professor Argilla entered, his bottle green robes fluttering behind him. Harry was shocked to see how emerald his eyes really were. They portrayed such sparkling emotion even in the dim light of the dungeon and they were mesmerizing; Harry found it hard to look away. Even at his age, the female students still found it appropriate to squeal amongst their friends after his entrance. Harry could tell Hermione was trying not to show her admiration for the teacher as well.
“Good afternoon everyone!” Argilla announced politely. “As your Headmistress introduced me a few nights ago, I feel no need to tell you all that my name is Professor Argilla.” He smiled. Harry could hear some girls behind him giggle. Even Ron chuckled.
“Now to start things off, why don’t we go around the class and you can tell me your name so I can get to know all of you.” He suggested. Harry could already sense that this class had taken a turn for the better.
They went one by one around the room, the lazy people mumbling their name, the girls saying their own rather flirtatiously. When it came to him, Harry was nervous. He knew he couldn’t just get by bye introducing himself as Harry Potter and not getting any reaction.
Harry cleared his throat. “Er- I’m Harry Potter.” He said, trying not call too much attention to himself. The class rustled at this announcement. Anytime the name Harry Potter was mentioned, it was guaranteed that someone would mutter something to the person sitting next to them.
“Well of course you are! An honour to meet you by the way.” Argilla winked at Harry as he turned to face Hermione. “And you must be Ms. Granger then, right?” Hermione nodded, a thoughtful smile gracing her features. “And you, Mr. Weasley! Well class, isn’t this great, you all have the saviours of the wizarding world in your Potions class!”
The class buzzed with excitement at this prospect. Not matter what age; you were bound to be enthusiastic if you had the chance to be in the same classes as Harry, Hermione, and Ron.
When they finished, he set them all their first assignment. “I’m not going to assign any homework today. You have the rest of the period to make a simple potion that you have previously learned. When you’re done, place a sample in a vial and put it on my desk, alright everyone? I want to get a good idea of your ability so I know how to start preparing you for you’re N.E.W.T.S. Get to work!”
Everyone stood up and bustled over to the cabinet to retrieve the ingredients they needed and returned to their table to get to work. Hermione had already returned to her desk with her ingredients before Harry and Ron could even stand up to go get theirs.
“What are you making?” Ron asked Hermione, hoping for ideas on what he should do himself.
“The Befuddlement Draught.” Stated Hermione simply. “It’s rather difficult. I had trouble with it last time, and I’m hoping that I can get it right today.”
Harry took out his textbook, looking for something that he’d gone over before that he could reproduce today. He stopped on page 36, at the Hiccupping Solution. It seemed rather simple, and he distinctly remembered Malfoy attempting to brew it back in 6th year.
As Hermione emptied vial after vial into cauldron, stirring and sniffing and pausing after each completed step, and Harry prepared his ingredients. Ron watched with envy; his hastily made Draught of the Living Dead was bubbling a noisy orange and releasing a putrid stench. He shuffled over to the basins to empty his cauldron and start again.
Harry’s concoction was still under control, surprisingly. His ingredients had mixed together to form a pale pink translucent liquid, exactly what the picture in the textbook depicted. Harry smiled in spite of himself.
Half an hour into the period, Hermione had already completed her draught and had handed it in. Argilla was obviously impressed at her diligence. Hermione leaned over to examine Harry’s cauldron.
“Hiccupping Solution.” She concluded.
“Know-it-all.” Harry smiled. She swatted him playfully on the arm.
“Hey!” she exclaimed, laughing. “Not funny!” It seemed that when Hermione stopped laughing, the room went silent, except for the quiet chatter between the other tables. Harry cleared his throat and got back to work, ridding the atmosphere of all awkwardness.
Harry surveyed his potion. It was almost complete, and to his disbelief, it was practically perfect. He peered into his cauldron. The liquid had lost all colour, it was clear and pure now, just as it was supposed to be. Harry felt the table shake as Ron banged the table in frustration. The bang caused Harry’s glasses to slip off his face and land with a plunk in the solution. Yet Harry didn’t pay it any thought, nor did any one else notice.
Harry faintly heard Argilla say, “Control your temper Mr. Weasley.” And could sense a smile in his voice. Harry’s attention was refocused on his potion. He could see his reflection. After all the stress that he had been under all his life, he still looked rather youthful, he concluded. His untamed hair, raven and unruly, still remained the same. He looked different without his glasses; more exposed. The lighting in the dungeon allowed him to see his colouring, too. He could see the green, that striking emerald encased in his eyes. He saw what Hermione was talking about. Harry looked deeper into the mirrored image. He tried to took past the rippling solution, tried to see emotion. That was when he saw it. He saw the pain, the suffering, his past, flecked in his eyes. He saw what Hermione saw, what Ron saw. He saw himself, yet scarred and bruised, weathered by wild emotions. He backed out of his eyes. And then it was just Harry, just Harry, looking at himself through his reflection in his Hiccupping Solution. He lifted his head up, and he was brought back to reality. Ron was struggling with his potion, girls behind him were gossiping about this and that. And Hermione. She was silent.
Harry turned his head to face her. She was looking right at him; right into his eyes. He wondered how long this reflective moment had lasted, how long she had been watching him. Harry couldn’t look away from her. He barely noticed when she wiped the unnoticed tear from one of his eyes, ready to fall. He barely noticed when she reached into his cauldron and removed his glasses and dried them off. He barely noticed when she slid them back on his face.
Harry just looked at her, and she looked back, and the world kept turning. She went back to her nearly-finished Charms essay, and he went back to his potion. And that was that.
A/N: I hoped you enjoyed this chapter…more exciting things to come, trust me! Please review! :]
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