Chapter 17 : Back to School
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Shay was moving back home. Well, she always thought of Hogwarts as her real home. It’s where all her family occupied. However, she wasn’t a student anymore. She was 21 now and was going to be responsible for other people’s children. That not only blew her away but also scared her to death.
She brought Sirius with her because for one, he wanted to know where he could find her, and two, she was going to miss him like crazy. Their relationship gained so much strength since they decided to live separately. And it also made the situation a lot easier. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and Shay had become a believer in that.
“It’s so weird that you’re going to be hanging out with Professor McGonagall and Flitwick during your free time,” Sirius said after he flopped down on her new bed, testing out the mattress.
It was like lying on a cloud.
“I wouldn’t call it hanging out, Sirius. We’ll most likely be working on a lot of Order stuff during down time but it’s not like we’re going to be throwing them back every night at the Three Broomsticks,” Shay said and sat down next to him on the bed.
“I would hope to get an invite if that ever happened,” Sirius said and flashed Shay a brilliant smile.
“Look what I have,” Shay said and pulled something out of her desk drawer.
It was a nameplate.
“Professor Calhoun. Can you believe it? I’m going to be called Professor Calhoun for the next 9 months,” Shay said with a laugh.
“Where did you get that from?” Sirius asked and examined the gold plated piece of wood.
“It was sitting in my office but look on the back.”
Sirius read the small engraving.
‘Good luck, Shay. Just remember how it feels to be a student and you’ll do great. –R.J.L.’
“That was nice of him,” Sirius said curtly and gave the item back to Shay.
“Yea it was. I’ve been so busy these past few weeks that I haven’t had a chance to see him at all. It’s nice that he thought of me.”
Sirius was kicking himself for not getting her anything.
“Sirius I would never expect you to get me anything. It’s enough that you’re here with me now,” Shay said quickly.
Sirius grimaced at her.
“I’m sorry. I know you hate it when I read your thoughts. You know I have a hard time controlling it when I’m nervous.”
Sirius had to smile at her. Shay was always so strong and composed, that it was nice to see her feeling a bit vulnerable. It made Sirius want to never let go of her.
“It’s alright, Shay. I know you don’t do it on purpose. Just think how useful that will become during class. You can detect if anyone is cheating. These kids are never going to mess with you.”
“I don’t want them to hate me, Sirius. I’m not a very strict person. Lily would be perfect for this job. She has such high standards for everyone. I, on the other hand, will probably fail all these kids and make them wish that they were born squibs,” Shay said and started pacing.
Sirius couldn’t help but let out a bark of laughter.
“Sirius, this isn’t funny,” Shay said and put her hands on her hips.
“I know. I’m sorry. Shay, you’re going to be just fine. You did great in school and we all know you’re a master of Defense Against the Dark Arts. You held off You-Know-Who for months, I’m sure you can handle a few snot nosed kids.”
“What if I have the Marauders 2.0 in my class?”
“You were always good with dealing with us when we were in school. Now you have even more power. And just remember, nobody is going to hate you as much as they’ll hate Snape, besides those nasty Slytherin of course.”
This made Shay laugh.
“I didn’t even think about Slytherin. I really don’t know what Albus has gotten me into.”
“I’ll talk to Peeves before I leave. He’s always been in my corner, I’ll tell him to keep an eye out for you and not to hold back on Slytherins.”
Shay gave Sirius a small smile and grabbed his hand.
“I’m going to see you every weekend, right?” Shay asked sadly
“Yes and I’d make it every night if I could but I think Dumbledore would catch on after a while,” Sirius said and started rubbing her hand lightly with his thumb.
“I love you, Sirius.”
“I love you too, Shay. I’m not going anywhere. So don’t worry too much,” Sirius said with a small, crooked smile.
“I’m not worried about you leaving me, Sirius. I just don’t want you to be mad at me for doing this,” Shay said with worry written all over her face.
“I would never be mad at you for trying to better yourself. We’re good, Shay. We’re more than good. This isn’t going to disappear anytime soon,” Sirius said and kissed Shay on the forehead.
“I know. I have to go to this staff meeting now. But I’ll see you in a few days. Alright?”
“Just do me a favor Sirius,” Shay said while walking with him to her door.
“Don’t get into any trouble on your way out,” Shay said with a smile and pulled him in for a kiss.
Shay felt him smile against her lips then pull away.
“I’ll try but I can’t promise anything,” Sirius said before walking away.
Shay felt her heart sink as she watched her support system walk away.
This was weird for Shay. She just walked into a room with many of her old professors and she was now on the same level as them. Shay also felt awkward because she didn’t know where to sit. She didn’t want to intrude by sitting by someone who didn’t want to be near her but she also didn’t want it to seem as if she was playing favorites. So Shay just decided to stand in back, hoping to go unnoticed.
Shay was happy she wasn’t the last person to arrive. Severus walked in about three minutes after her and seemed to have the same dilemma as Shay. Shay tried to look anywhere but Severus. She hadn’t seen him since she recognized him all those months ago and she figured she was the last person Severus wanted to see. Shay watched him out of the corner of her eye and saw that he decided to sit next to Professor Binns. Shay had to keep her laughter to herself. Of course he would sit next to Binns. Shay shouldn’t have expected anything else. Severus Snape always went to safe, unnoticed route.
“Calhoun, quit making everyone else so nervous and come sit down,” Professor McGonagall hollered over.
Shay blushed like mad and went and sat next to her favorite professor.
“Welcome Shay. We’re very happy to have you,” Minerva said quietly and gave Shay a small, quick smile.
“Thank you, Professor,” Shay said quietly.
“We’ve been over this before. Just call me Professor around the students. We’re two of the same now.”
This made Shay beam. It made her feel appreciated and accepted. Maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad after all.
Albus Dumbledore appeared about a minute later and smiled at his staff.
“You all look fantastic!” Albus said with excitement.
Once again, Shay tried to hold back her laughter. She knew she wasn’t part of the liveliest group.
“Another school year is coming upon us and we have some new additions this year. Since Horace Slughorn left us this past year, we have recruited Severus Snape! He will be the Potions Master and head of the Slytherin house. And Professor Donaldson decided to leave us to start a family so I decided to bring aboard Shay Calhoun as the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. I would like you all to help them when needed and work as a team like I know you all can,” Albus said with smile and carried on.
“We all know the ever increasing threat of Tom Riddle,” the whole room tensed up.
“Let’s try our best to keep our students as comfortable as possible. They all are aware of the issues in this world. This school is for learning and for growth. We are responsible for these children while they are here, so let’s make the best for them. I have faith in all my staff to do the best of their ability, which is the best there is to offer. We are, after all, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
Everyone nodded and mumbled in agreement.
“As I promised, this meeting has been short. I’m excited to see you all at the Welcoming Feast in a few days. Until then, enjoy the peace and quiet of an empty castle. I for one can’t stand it. I can’t wait for the mayhem to ensue,” Dumbledore finished and disappeared in a blink.
“Is it like this every year?” Shay asked McGonagall, not sure of what just happened.
“I’ve been teaching here for 25 years now. He seems to get more senile every year.”
Shay gave McGonagall a sideways glance.
“But my respect for him doubles with that.”
Everyone filed out of the room and Shay couldn’t help but follow Severus. She never got the chance to thank him for what he did for her. She was unsure about how she was going to go about this so she followed ten paces behind him. Her mind was racing will all the possible scenarios that could happen in the next few minutes. Maybe he would finally open up to her and they would become incredibly close. However, Severus was actually blood related. So being close to him was probably not in the numbers. Shay guessed that Sev would be angry more than anything. Because that’s how Severus Snape was. Angry was easiest for him, opening up and trusting people was not his strong suit. And Shay knew that she and her friends had not made that any easier for him.
Shay forgot how far away the dungeons were and quickly reminded herself that she was not going to be coming down here often. She was wondering if Severus was just ignoring her or her covert spy skills had increased ten fold. The latter was not true.
Severus quickly turned and briskly walked back towards her.
“What do you want?” he asked rapidly.
Shay was thrown off for a few seconds.
“To say hi,” Shay responded with a nervous smile.
“Okay,” Severus said and turned to walk away.
“Are we just going to pretend like you never saved my life?” Shay asked desperately.
Severus stopped in his tracks.
Shay walked towards him and put a hand on his shoulder.
Snape shook her off quickly.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said and wouldn’t look at her.
“Yes you do. I have my memory back. I know what you and Courtlyn did.”
Severus refused to answer.
“Sev, we don’t have to talk about it now. But when you’re ready, let me know,” Shay said with a soft smile and watched Severus walk away from her.
He would come around soon. She just knew it.
Shay watched her first class from the doorway of her classroom. She had 5th years first and it was Gryffindor and Slytherin. Shay had to steady herself before entering the jungle. She could already tell who was going to give her a run for her money. There was a set of Gryffindor boys that were laughing incessantly. Shay could seem them writing on a piece of parchment and exploring their minds, she could hear that they were only thinking dirty thoughts about some unsuspecting girl sitting in front of them. Shay looked over to the other side of the room where she spotted a Slytherin boy and girl, a couple she assumed, who couldn’t keep their hands off each other. She watched the students around them look completely disgusted. Finally, Gryffindor girl in front of the two turned around and asked them the stop. The boy pulled away from his girlfriend quickly and kicked the chair of the Gryffindor girl.
It was time for Shay to start teaching her class.
She started walking down the main aisle of the classroom and the students chattering died down. Shay walked over to the two Gryffindor boys and snatched the piece of parchment.
“We’ll talk about this after class,” Shay said quietly and the boys looked up at her nervously.
Shay then walked over to the Slytherin couple and stood between them.
“Get your hormones out now. We’re going to be switching seats in a minute.”
Shay made her way to the front of the class and took a deep breath before turning around to face her students.
“I’m Professor Shay Calhoun. As you all know by now, I’m the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor this year. I guess some of you may remember me. I graduated from Hogwarts in 1978. I was in Gryffindor and I still do carry my crimson and gold pride,” Shay said with a smile and got a laugh from the Gryffindors but found dismay from the Slytherins.
“I remember you,” the female half of the Slytherin couple spoke out.
Shay turned her attention to her.
“Your sister was in Slytherin and you were pregnant. I’m sure everyone remembers you,” the girl snidely remarked.
“Both of those things are very much true. What’s your name?”
“Jocasta, do you value Defense Against the Dark Arts?” Shay asked.
The girl just crossed her arms in silence.
“Alright then. We’ll move on. Who knows of the threat that’s endangering all of us right now?” Shay asked her class and hands started slowly going up.
“Who thinks they could fend off a Death Eater?” Shay asked and sat on her desk.
Only one person raised their hand. It was one of the Gryffindor boys.
“Duncan Campbell,” the boy said loudly and Shay could tell he was happy to hear his own voice.
“Ok Duncan, so you believe that you could win against a Death Eater? Explain this to me.”
“I don’t know. I’d disarm them or something. I don’t know what I would do, I would just do it.”
“That plan sounds like it will get you killed. No offense.”
Duncan did not take to well to that.
“Well what do you know? You’re only a few years older than us anyway. Everyone’s been wondering how you even got this job.”
Shay nodded her head slowly. Suddenly the room dimmed and an image appeared at the front of the room.
“This is my grave stone,” Shay said and the whole room went quiet.
“I went missing on May 2nd, 1980 and they pronounced me dead on July 30th, 1980. They pronounced me dead because nobody comes back after a face off with Lord Voldemort,” the whole class cringed with those two words.
“My battle lasted for almost six months. I was captured with a close friend of mine, Dorcas Meadows, during a battle with Death Eaters. I watched her die and then I was tortured everyday until my own sister, who was a Death Eater, saved me. So I know a thing or two about fending of Death Eaters,” Shay finished and turned the lights back on.
None of her students would make eye contact with her.
“But I made it. I made because I was trained well and I’ve been blessed with a few special talents. I want all of you to be able to defend yourselves as well. Has anyone been affected by Lord…” Shay was interrupted by a Gryffindor girl in front of her.
She was the girl that got her chair kicked by the Slytherin boy.
“Please don’t say his name again,” the girl begged and was visibly shaken.
“What’s your name,” Shay asked softly.
“Clare Dearborn,” the girl replied softly.
“You’re related to Caradoc, aren’t you?”
“Yes. He’s my cousin. He went missing too but he hasn’t come back yet,” Clare said and Shay could tell she was trying to not get emotional.
“I fought along side Caradoc. He’s a good man, a good friend and we’re still waiting for him to come back home,” Shay said with a soft smile.
“Has anyone else lost somebody to this war?”
Two other kids raised their hands.
“Professor, have you lost anyone?” Clare asked.
“Yes I have. I’ve lost a lot of friends and their families. Death Eaters murdered my brother about four years ago. Three of my closest friends have lost their parents. And a year and a half ago Death Eaters murdered my son and one of my best friend while my boyfriend and I were out to dinner,” Shay finished and let her life sink into her students minds.
“But yet you still decide to fight,” the boy sitting next to Duncan said suddenly.
Shay opened her mouth to ask him his name but he bypassed her question.
“Sean O’Connell,” he said with a thick Irish accent, much like her own.
“A man from my own country,” Shay said with a smile and continued.
“Yes I still fight. Losing all these people that I care about the most has made me want to fight even harder. After I lost my son, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. My world was completely turned up side down and everything was in shambles. But I don’t want anyone to die in vain. And this is why I want to make you all the best. If you all let me, I will teach you what you need to know to defend yourself and your family because these days, you don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring.”
The class ended up speeding by and as Shay promised she asked Duncan and Sean to come to the front of the classroom as everyone else filed out.
“So this picture,” Shay said and set the inappropriate drawing on her desk.
“It was just supposed to pass the time. It’s a harmless picture,” Duncan replied.
“It’s harmless to you but what about this girl? What if somebody got a hold of this a spread it around? How do you think she would feel?” Shay questioned.
“Sorry Professor. I guess we just weren’t thinking,” Sean answered and Shay saw that he was pretty bashful.
“I’m going to pretend like this never happened but if I see this or hear about this again, it’ll be points for both of you, no matter how much I want Gryffindor to win the House Cup,” Shay finished with a smile.
“Yes, Professor,” they said in unison.
“Do you guys need anything else?” Shay asked as she noticed them hesitating by her desk.
“Professor, we’re both on the quidditch team,” Sean started and looked to Duncan to finish.
“Really? What do you guys play? I absolutely love quidditch. Used to play for Gryffindor myself.
“We know that and that’s why we want to ask you for help,” Duncan said quickly.
“What do you mean help?” Shay asked.
“Our team is going to royally suck this year. Slytherin has won the past two years and we can’t stand to see them win again,” Duncan said with a pained expression.
“I’m not sure what you two want me to do. Professor McGonagall is your Head of House and she was a great player herself and don’t you guys have a team captain?”
“Professor McGonagall wants us to win of course but it’s not like we’ll get her to fly around with us. And our captain is no James Potter. We both remember how good the team was back then. We were first years,” Sean said.
“I mean, I’ll have to run it by Professor McGonagall and the Headmaster but I would love to help you guys with some training. I have to warn you though; I’m a bit rusty. I haven’t played since my 7th year,” Shay said.
She was actually pretty excited about this possible opportunity.
“That’s great! Can you let us know as soon as possible? The whole team is hoping this will happen. Like I said, we can’t bear to lose another year,” Duncan said and was almost jumping up and down with excitement.
“All right boys. I’ll let you know. Get out of here. I don’t want to be responsible for you being late,” Shay said with a smile and motioned her head towards the exit.
“Thanks, Professor! You’re the best!” Sean exclaimed as he and Duncan fled out of the room to make it to their next class.
Shay smiled to herself and spun around in her chair. Her first class went surprisingly well. Maybe, just maybe, she was going to be good at this whole teaching thing.
***I really enjoyed writing Shay at Hogwarts. I forgot how easily it came. It reminds me of writing the first part of this story (which was about 4 years ago now). I really hope you guys enjoy this chapter because I plan on writing a lot more like this. I think it's a good change of pace from the story since we all know the end is nearing.
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