Chapter 6 : Pain and Humiliation
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Oliver woke the next again morning with a banging headache and a very sore back. He struggled to get up from his bed and only managed to do so because he grabbed onto the bedpost. He never realised just how painful falling on people could be.
His schedule for today was completely planned out and, already, he had it memorised in his head, almost like a book. First, he had to teach the fifth years - which would be interesting, as he had heard that they were a complete riot. Then it was seventh years (an even bigger riot) and then he only had to worry about the Quidditch trials for the rest of the day and hopefully get in a few words with the team captains.
He decided to take a potion for his sore back, but rather than face the humiliation of asking Madam Pomfrey for one, he tried to make it himself. It went surprisingly well, considering he was dead awful at Potions back when he was at school - which Snape never failed to remind him. Every, single day.
Needless to say, the effect was instantanious and he felt a lot better as he walked through the deserted corridors to the Great Hall, where most of the teachers were already seated - including McLaggen.
Whoever made up the seating plan here was seriously disturbed. He was always going to be seated to the left of that idiot. Having to put up with him in the Staff Room was bad enough, but while he was trying to eat? Please, just hearing the guys name made him want to vomit!
So, grudgingly, Oliver took his place next to the insufferable child, doing his utmost to ignore the way that he kept shooting looks at his reflection in the back of his spoon. He therefore piled his plate with food, and determinedly stared at it.
That was until McLaggen started an unwelcome conversation.
"So, Wood," he began, not realising that Oliver was completely disregarding him, "Got your classes planned for the day? I have, and I must say they're looking rather good. Who knew I had such talent for teaching?"
He smirked into his pumpkin juice, while Oliver snorted loudly. Thankfully at that moment, the hall had begun to fill with students, and everyone was talking so loudly that McLaggen didn't hear the outburst.
Hermione sat not too far away from the Staff Table, along with Harry and Ron who were both looking slightly disappointed with their classes.
"Oh, for goodness sake," Ron spat, stopping eating for a moment to look at his timetable again, "Double Potions after lunch! Ridiculous ... I can't believe you made me pick that Hermione ..."
Hermione stopped eating too to glare at Ron.
"I didn't force you to take it, you imbecile, but in case you haven't noticed, you need that subject to apply for the Auror Training Program. Isn't that the only thing you want to do? Or can you just simply not think for yourself?"
Ron muttered into his porridge, looking slightly scarlet. Harry just rolled his eyes and gave a knowing look to Hermione. She nodded, and glanced around the hall to find three sets of eyes upon her.
The first, of course, were McLaggen's. She didn't expect anything less, but she thought he could be a bit more subtler about it. He was practically drooling in his eggs, which wasn't the most attractive thing in the world. How she hated him.
After turning from that nauseating image, she found Malfoy's eyes on her also, although his seemed to be glinting more than anything else. He picked up his timetable and pointed to the second column on the top row. Hermione copied him and saw, to her utter dismay, that they had Quidditch second period. She just glared at him before turning away again.
Then she found Oliver's eyes. He seemed more distant than yesterday, blatantly because of the way she had ruined their fun after the feast, but nonetheless, he was looking straight at her. She smiled at him, before resuming her watch on her breakfast, not wanting to get too involved with him again. After all, it was for their own good.
Before they knew it, breakfast was over and all of the students made their way to their first classes as the bell rang loudly. Hermione stood, along with her fellow Gryffindors and trudged their way towards Charms on the second floor.
Oliver shot from his seat, determined not to even look at McLaggen as he left, and rushed to his office to pick up some notes for his first lesson.
He only just made it to the pitch some time later and he saw in the distance at least twenty fifth years gathered outside the entrance, since the gate was obviously locked. As they saw him approach, he saw the boys rapidly turn silent and wait patiently for him to open the gate. The girls, however, giggled amongst themselves unashamedly as he drew nearer.
This was going to be a long day.
He opened the gate and led them to the changing rooms, where he had converted one of them into a classrom - quite successfully, too.
When they had sat down, he decided it was best to introduce himself first, then perhaps take the register for the class.
"Hello, everyone," he began, feeling uncomfortable again as the same group of girls were whispering quietly with one another, "Welcome to our newly founded Quidditch Course, which evidently shall be taken by me. I am Professor Wood and I am sure we will all have a great term together."
The boys were nearly hanging from their seats in anticipation as Oliver called out the register.
"James Avery." A bulky looking boy raised his hand from the back of the class. Oliver nodded.
"Adalyn Baudelaire." A sniggering girl, who was sitting practically in front of his desk, raised her hand, blushing furiously as she caught Oliver's eye. He nodded once more.
All that he managed to retain as he went down the register was how similar everyone was in this class. The boys were all extremely excited at the prospect of playing matches against one another, as they were all making bets on who was the better player. All the girls cared about was that they had a good-looking teacher for once, and continually shrieked with laughter everytime he directed a question at one of them, which he found to be extremely irritating.
Finally, once he had calmed them all down, he directed his eyes to the corner of the room and realised that there was someone whom he hadn't registered. It was a frail looking girl, who looked slightly younger than the rest, but who seemed to give off a level of maturity that everyone else lacked. She was also sitting alone and wasn't talking to any of the others.
Oliver managed to grab her attention.
"Excuse me, Miss, err ..." He stopped, mid-sentence.
She stared at him, horrified at being addressed by a teacher and gulped audibly.
"Raeburn, sir," she answered, demonstrating a sweet Scottish accent, at which the other girls laughed at. Miss Raeburn hung her head.
"You lot at the front," Oliver said angrily,"Hold your tongues or you'll be buying yourself a one-way ticket to the Giant Squid. Understand?"
The girls scowled at him and he turned his attention back to Miss Raeburn, who looked as if she were about to cry.
"Miss Raeburn, have you had any previous flying experience?"
She shook her head quickly, not even raising her head. Oliver felt concerned for her, as she looked as if she were about to cry. He had to talk to this girl alone at some point ... she was in a real state.
"Mr Avery," he called across the babble that had broken out, "Here are the keys to the broom cupboard. Please lead your classmates to it and each of you will choose a broomstick and then head out to the pitch. And, no, Mr Stewart, you are not allowed to use your own, no matter what brand it is."
James Avery led everyone from the room, the girls leaving rather sulkily, giving surly glances to Oliver as they walked out. He just smiled to himself, then noticed that Miss Raeburn hadn't left the room and was looking at him expectantly.
He recoiled, wondering why she hadn't gone with her classmates. He went to her desk and pulled a chair over, sitting next to her. She didn't look at him now, but returned her attention to the apparently fascinating desk.
"Now, can I ask you your first name, please?" Oliver asked kindly, folding his fingers and leaning closer to her.
"It's Rose, Professor Wood," she answered timidly, crossing her legs and swivelling away from him slightly, afraid that he might contaminate her in some way.
"Rose, can I be frank with you?" She nodded her assent, still not looking at him.
"Alright," he continued, "It is evident that you do not speak to any of your classmates and it is also evident that you are extremely quiet in their presence. Do you have a reason for that? Do you dislike them?"
"No, Professor, I don't dislike anyone. It's just that they make fun of me most of the time, and it hurts my feelings. That's all."
Oliver scowled, and remembered the girls who had laughed at her accent. That was personal to him too, seeing as he had the same kind.
"Well, are your friends in another class?"
She shook her head this time, and tears welled up in her eyes as she replied.
"I ... well, I don't have that many friends."
Oliver stared in surprise and contemplated on what to say next, hoping to at least give the girl a little self-esteem.
"Oh, but surely you must have some friends? If you tell me where they are, I can transfer you to a different class, if you'd like?"
Rose shook her head once more, screwing her face up and sniffing a little, then taking a tissue from her pockets and wiping her eyes with it. She looked so heartbroken that Oliver found it difficult to look at her. She started to speak again.
"Well .. you see, I only really have one friend. You might know her, actually. Luna Lovegood?"
Oliver nodded eagerly, remembering the name and Harry's vivid description of her. Apparently she was very odd, but now wasn't the best time to mention that fact.
"Ah. She's in seventh year, isn't she? I see."
She didn't need to confirm that to him, but instead she got up from her seat and walked from the room, crying silently. Oliver just sat there, staring at the space where she had vanished, until he realised that he had a lesson to take.
"What an unusual girl," Oliver thought, feeling incredibly puzzled as he made his way to the pitch. When he got there, he found that Rose was missing and that she had gone to the Hospital Wing. However, a number of fights had broken out amongst the students and Oliver rushed in to rectify the situation.
All in all, his first lesson wasn't a sucess. Two boys, one from Gryffindor, one from Slytherin, had tried very hard to beat each other up. Another girl had deliberately fallen off of her broom, hoping that the teacher would catch her. Oliver, of course, conjured a mattress from thin air, and she landed upon it, looking extremely embarassed.
But most of all, Oliver couldn't get Rose from his mind. She was such a depressed person that it scared him a little and her sudden departure had made him rethink his tactics when dealing with emotional girls.
Thankfully, he had next period to look forward too.
Hermione had started and ended first period in a relatively good mood. Professor Flitwick had given everyone in the class homework bar her, as she was the only one who had mastered the Shrinking Charm.
Somewhat smug, she left the classroom in high spirits - until she was reminded that she had Quidditch lessons next. And of course, it was none other than Draco Malfoy who mentioned it, the bane of her life.
"Ready to be beaten, Granger," he whispered as he sauntered past her, smirking widely and nudging her. She scowled in return and continued with Ron and Harry down to the grounds, where Oliver was waiting for them all.
"Good morning, everyone," Oliver said, looking slightly distracted for a moment, but then regaining himself as he led them all out onto the pitch, "This morning, I will be testing each and every one of you on your skills, in every aspect of Quidditch. Meaning, beater, seeker, keeper and chaser. So, grab a broom from the cupboard and I'll take the register."
All of the boys ran immediately to the brooms, fighting over who gets what one. The girls stood far behind, all of them with their arms folded and looks of disgust on their faces. Then, eventually, they collected their brooms as well and they then all stood together, huddled in a circle.
Hermione felt physically sick as she wandered over to the rest of the class. Not only was flying incredibly dangerous, but it was the only subject in the school which she could never master. That, and the fact that Malfoy was watching her intently, made the situation ten times worse.
"Okay, just in case you haven't noticed, we are also joined here by the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs. Due to the lack of students returning to Hogwarts, we have decided to join all seventh year classes together." Oliver stated.
Hermione saw Ernie and Hannah beside each other. This made her feel even more nervous. More people! Humiliation in front of the Gryffindors and Slytherins was enough, but now every house had to witness her atrocious lack of skill.
"Okay. The register now. Hannah Abbott?"
Hannah shouted, "Here!" instantly, looking quite comfortable with the broom by her side.
"He - here - s - sir!"
Seamus was bent double with laughter, as was Harry, Ron and Dean, pointing towards Neville cruelly.
Neville, who, despite having gained a fair amount of respect and gratitude after the war, still hadn't mastered the art of the broom. Right now, it was flailing around in his arms, smacking him whenever possible and trying to fly off.
Hermione glared at the laughing boys and turned to Oliver to do something about it. However, he had already taken out his wand and flicked it. Neville's broom fell to the ground instantly and Neville stood with cuts all over his face and hands.
"Neville, go to the Hospital Wing. Perhaps you should leave flying for today."
Neville nodded, and muttered, "Too right,", and he wandered off up to the castle, wincing every few seconds. Oliver turned back to the register.
Hermione looked at him, and he caught her eye. He smiled and shook his head, laughing to himself. And she knew what he was laughing at. The sod.
"Anyway, Neville Longbottom ... is gone to the Hospital Wing. Draco Malfoy?"
"Yes." Draco replied, in a condescending tone, leaning over his broomstick, and looking frightfully bored by this. Oliver merely tutted and rolled his eyes.
"Erm, sir, she isn't here. She ran to the toilets just before class, said she wasn't feeling well. I think she's still in there."
"Yes, thank you, Hannah. Harry Potter?"
"Here, Professor Wood."
Harry was grinning along with the other Gryffindor boys, all of them remembering how strict Oliver had been with his rules and registers only a few years back.
"Shut up, Potter." Oliver replied, his mouth twitching slightly as he continued.
"And, Ron Weasley?"
"Excellent," he stated, vanishing the register and starting to circle the group. He was obviously picking out the ones who looked like they weren't going to be good on a broomstick - Hermione being the most prominent, of course.
"Now, I'm going to split you into groups. I want Harry, Ron, Dean, Seamus and .... ah, Draco in a group."
Draco groaned loudly and gave Oliver a glare as he walked over to the Gryffindors. They all fell silent.
"Now ... Hannah, Susan, Mandy, Lavender and Hermione in a group."
Oliver smirked at Hermione as she passed, knowing full well the damage he was doing. Hannah was the only decent player in the group. Trying to teach the rest of them Quidditch was like trying to teach Ron Arithmancy ... absolutely pointless.
"And that leaves Terry, Justin, Padma, Parvati and Lisa. Now, for starters, get onto your brooms and do a full two laps around the pitch. For a bit of fun, the last team back has to do another lap, understood?"
Hermione was really angry with him. He knew it would be them, and he was just winding her up. She tried to climb onto her broom, and felt extremely lightheaded. What on earth was he doing to her? She whispered furiously to herself as she nearly fell off, and cursed.
Oliver smiled wickedly and turned to face her again.
"Ah, Hermione. You do know it is against the rules to swear in class, don't you? I'm afraid that's a cause for punishment. Hmm ... what should I make you do?"
He put on a face of mock wondering and scratched his chin. Every boy was sniggering with each other, as if knowing what Oliver was going to say.
And Hermione had a disgusting feeling that she did too.
Nice cliffhanger, eh? Ah, well, we'll see what happens next. Will Hermione be humiliated in front of the class or not? R&R please!
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