Chapter 6 : Frying the flag
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Vast numbers of students.
Archibald glanced around the motley crew of students feeling distinctly gloomy; he hadn’t seen this many students turn up to something he was supposed to be controlling since the horrific Halloween incident and he’d blocked most of that out (filling it under ‘disastrous’ in the back of his head), and this time the students were here voluntarily. He should have known that organising extra-curricular activities was a bad idea, but after the charming charms teacher had completely reformed and restructured charms club she’d been given a significant pay rise and if he was going to put a bid on that rather exciting novelty kettle (it lit up pretty colours and actually sang) then he was going to have to raise some money.
As Mundungus Fletcher always told him, muggle artefacts were not cheap and there was plenty of demand for the really unique stuff. He spent half his time fighting off the buyers, but Archibald was his mate and he’d hold off those buyers anytime he had something of interest for him.
Plus, it’s not like he’d anticipated anyone actually turning up. Most of the time it looked like his students had wondered in to his classroom by accident rather than through any real intent and yet the masses had arrived. Even scarier; they were very nearly on time.
“Hugo,” Archibald began miserably, “what did you put in the adverts I asked you to make?”
“Free pancakes!” Hugo piped up happily, pulling out a creased poster from his pocket and shoving it into Archibald’s hands with an excitable grin. Archibald felt his stomach sink as he read the words that Hugo had expertly crawled across the parchment.
Come and have a flipping good time! Celebrate Shrove Tuesday like a muggle. Free pancakes! All welcome!
“Hugo, do you remember what I asked you to do?”
“Yes, you said make adverts the muggle way about Shrove Tuesday and then you said, use lots of black and white and not very much colour to give them a formal feel,” Archibald knew that Hugo wasn’t the brightest of teenagers and yet he had thought that his instructions had been enough to convey the message of how little he wanted any of them to turn up, “but I though a pun would be more fun!” Hugo said with a grin, “and no one would have read the posters if I hadn’t made them all fluorescent yellow by colouring them in with highlighter pens!”
“Wait, Hugo – how many posters did you make?”
“About fifty, I think.”
“You mean to say that you genuinely wasted your time colouring in the background of fifty individual posters? Bloody hell, Hugo – I should deduct points for sheer stupidity.”
“What?” Hugo asked and for a second he looked like he was about to start to cry.
“I mean, er, good job,” Archibald said quickly. He had, on occasion, made a few of the girls cry but making a thirteen year old boy really wouldn’t sound good in the law suit, “really appreciate it.” Then he patted Hugo on the back a bit, reminding himself to wash his hands thoroughly before starting to cook the pancakes.
“Hello Archie!” The charming Charms teacher said cheerfully, letting herself into the already full classroom as Archibald was trying to explain the origins of Shrove Tuesday and not getting much further than ‘Jesus went into the desert for forty days...’ because Fred had decided to restart his campaign of annoying him to death by continually badgering on about the Holy Trinity (so, Jesus is God... but Jesus is also God’s son? So... in a physical sense, what woud that look like?), “I’ve been advertising this to my students all week – do you need a hand at all?”
“Probably,” Archibald admitted, silently vowing not to call her the ‘charming charms teacher’ in his head anymore. Secretly she was the devil incarnate, sending unnecessary numbers of students in his direction. He actually found the level of teenagers in the room quite intimidating. It made him feel that any second now he was about to go through puberty all over again, “more students than I expected.”
“Gosh, yes!” The not-so-Charming Charms teacher said cheerfully. Archibald looked out at the array of students once more and tried to do a rough tally, but gave up rather quickly when he realised that they weren’t even all his students: Daniel Harrison Lawrence and Thomas Hardy (otherwise known as the lit-duo – whom he’d managed to avoid since the whole Halloween-thing) were hanging around with their usual gold chains and the outward experience of being awfully gangster (or ‘G’ as they called it); all the muggleborns he’d ever taught ever seemed to have shown up; the blonde-mob from his fifth year group; Fred and Dom (followed by Lily, who seemed to be more keen to participate now she’d gotten rid of Hugo); all four of his Seventh years and even Merlin help him, some of the students from his God forsaken forth year group.
And Kevin Pips.
“So, I’ve just explained why...” Archibald lied, ignoring as fifth-year-Nina creased up laughing into the back of her hand, “so now let’s start making pancakes. Now, muggles would usually use electric cookers as you all know,” Archibald tried very hard not to take in his student’s blank expressions, “but they don’t really work at Hogwarts and we can’t go down to the kitchens so... well, we’re just going to be using small fires – like you do for potions.”
When was it ever a good idea to let Fred Weasley near fire?
“So, I’ve passed you all round an extract from a muggle recipe book. We’ll be walking around to check you’re all doing it okay and... enjoy.”
Archibald very quickly found himself standing near Dom and Fred Weasley watching stunned for a few seconds as Dom attempted to crack an egg one-handed by throwing it at her other arm, which was in a very dirty looking bandage.
“Do I want to ask why?” Archibald asked, feeling the corners of his lips twist upwards slightly. He knew that good teachers shouldn’t have favourite pupils, but Archibald wasn’t really a good teacher and the pair managed to exert the exact amount of tongue-in-cheek backchat and, if slightly mocking, enthusiasm for the subject that they were at least always interesting to teach.
“Freddie misread your shiny poster,” Dom said cheerfully, “you should really work on your Rs.”
“So he read... Shove Tuesday?” Archibald asked in a tired voice, briefly wondering why that hadn’t been his first thought (as he was entirely sure that Fred Weasley could misread any word in the dictionary to instigate violence, if he was in the right mood for it).
“Yeah,” Fred said, shrugging deliberately, “I think it was because someone had smudged the letters by colouring it over in highlighter pen. Sir, didn’t you have something better to do that make like, a hundred handmade posters?”
“They were made by volunteer students.” Archibald said, deliberately not looking at Hugo unless the smudge of highlighter pen over his left eyebrow gave him away.
“Hugo did them.” Lily piped up, pushing her geek-chic glasses up her nose and looking up at Dom for support.
“They were nice, Hugo,” Fred said with a grin, “really dynamic use of colour.”
“I liked the pun,” Dom grinned, finally managed to crack her egg and get the contents in the bowl by using the side of Lily’s glasses, much to the third year’s dismay, “can we have a pancake-pun-off?” She asked, a manic grin forming on her features as she turned to Fred.
“Why don’t you just concentrate on your pancakes?” Archibald asked wearily.
“Why don’t you just concentrate on yours students?” Lily asked, glancing at her older cousin for a second (she wasn’t usually so lippy; it seemed there was a serious case of trying-to-impress going on), “cause that girl’s hair’s on fire.”
“Going good then?” An amused Kevin Pips commented loudly, not quite lost among the gradually increasing volume of Dom and Fred’s pun off (‘Oh come on, that was flipping genius!’ ‘I can whip up something better than that!’ ‘Oh, good one – that’ll take some topping).
“It was only a small fire.” Archibald said, feeling as if he was going slightly mad – for some reason his brain seemed to think that Kevin Pips, the only third year he’d ever met who had more attitude than Bellatrix Lestrange, had turned up to a Muggle Studies extra-curricular event and was actually following the muggle recipe in front of him quite successively.
“OH!” Dom yelled, holding an egg above her head with her good arm, “that was a cracking joke! Really cracked me up!”
“I thought you were too cool for this sort of thing anyway.” Archibald commented. He’d been aiming for mocking and sarcastic Professor, but had accidentally wound up sounding like he was jealous – and that really was tragic.
“I like pancakes,” Kevin shrugged, “they taste good.”
“Eggcelent!” Fred called wildly, “hey, that had the word egg and the word lent in – I’m on a roll!”
“You can roll pancakes,” Hugo said, “so that could almost be a triple pun.” Upon turning around Archibald saw that, as he suspected, his comment was completely ignored by the rest of his cousins. Poor kid. Sort of.
“Sir,” Lysander Scamander called, from the blonde area of the room, “is it supposed to be blue?”
After spending so much time with the blonde-mob (otherwise known as his fifth year group) that he rather thought he needed to buy some sunglasses against the peroxide-burn of the excess blondeness and being giggled at by Nina, who always seemed to find something funny, he found himself face to face with Victoria Thickey. As usual, the Seventh Year girl was trying laborious hard but never seeming to get anywhere and, although Archibald had never considered making pancake mixture a particularly complicated procedure, he wasn’t surprised to find that Victoria had achieved naught but a congealed mess.
“You know, Vicky, the sieve usually works better if you use it the other way up.” Archibald suggested, tilting his head slightly to observe her upside-down sieving methods which was producing rather a lot of mess and not a lot of sieved flour ending up in the bowl.
True to form, Vicky turned the sieve the other way up immediately, sending the flour that had been sat on top of the dome of the sieve onto the desk.
“Whoops,” Vicky said, the slow clogs in her brain slowly turning as she processed what had just happened. Watching thicky-Vicky (a nickname not of his own division, this time) think usually made Archibald feel like the aging process had suddenly sped up ten-fold, or that time had inexplicably slowed down.
“Never mind,” Archibald said, waving this away, “the sieving isn’t that important anyway, just... just clean that up.”
“I’m just tossing that out there,” Fred said loudly.
“Don’t you think you’re milking it now?” Archibald called across the classroom.
Dom grinned, holding up the milk bottle in his direction, “joining in, sir?”
“Definitely not. They’re getting worse as it is.”
“Out of the frying pan, into the fire.” Fred said in a sing song voice.
“I could do this for flours, I mean hours.” Dom added.
“You know,” Elliot Cooper said, in his normal snooty I-know-more-about-muggles-than-the-Muggle-Studies-teacher-voice, “sometimes muggles add water to flour to make glue.” Archibald turned, feeling a large quantity of dread bubbling up in his stomach, turning to face where Vicky looked to have added about three table spoons of water to the vast quantity of flour on the desk. A sticky, soup like liquid had now spread across the surface of the seventh year desk: stretching from the edge of Ronald McDonald’s mixing bowl to Elliot Cooper’s perfect pancake batter.
“Well why didn’t you stop her?” Archibald demanded as the liquid dripped onto Vicky’s robes (it seemed she hadn’t yet thought to move out of the way), “you can clean this up now, Cooper.” He added sharply, feeling immensely stupid as Elliot pulled out his wand and vanished the mixture away.
Smarmy idiot. There was nothing worse than a muggleborn in a Muggle Studies lesson. Sure, there wasn’t as much prejudice around these days but Muggle Studies lessons were the only occasions when the muggleborns reined on high.
Archibald started as he turned around to find Fred Weasley in very close proximity, watching as Vicky tried to brush away the flour-water-paste that still remained on her robes, “that looks sticky, Vicky.” Fred said triumphantly.
Even if he didn’t get a pay rise, Archie thought he should at least get paid danger money.
“Okay,” Archibald said slowly, now everyone’s made their batter -”
“All very egg-citing.” Dom commented.
“Flipping awesome.” Fred added.
“It’s time to start frying,” he said. He didn’t have to ask Trelawney to know that this wasn’t going to end very well at all and he could feel the sense of foreboding in the pit of his stomach, “and then... then everyone’s going to have one chance to flip their pancake.”
“How’s mine looking, sir?” Hugo asked eagerly and Archibald took his time in wondering back over to the Weasley’s desk to inspect his handiwork.
“Much batter,” Archibald said, “I mean, much better.”
“Ehhhh!” Dom called, beaming wildly, “Archie made a funny!”
“It’s Professor Penrose, to you Miss Weasley.”
“Professor Penrose produces pancake puns!” Fred grinned, “now say that ten times faster.”
“Professor Penrose produces pancake pun,” Dom began, “Professor Penrose -”
“– why don’t you save your tongue twisters for afterwards?” The not-so-charming-charms teacher asked sweetly, “so you can concentrate on your pancakes.”
“Yeah, I reckon we can do that.” Fred said, shooting Archibald a look.
Archibald sat on the edge of one of the free desks and thought about this for a long few moments: if Charms Teachers got their way by being charming, maybe all teachers did a similar thing. Maybe Michael Corner was somehow using his potions to control his classes; Terry Boot could be using defensive spells to shield bad behaviour and Neville Longbottom could be burning plants to produce calming-aromas or something.
So what was his plan of action? Become a Muggle?
Hating his job didn’t even cover it.
“So, that wasn’t too bad,” The Charms teacher said, and really she was charming – too charming, “I mean, I think the kids all really enjoyed it.”
By enjoy, Archibald thought she might be referring to the several litres of pancake mixture which were thrown over Goliath Lockhart after he tried to talk about his father again; the fact that Kevin Pips had managed to stick the pancake to the ceiling and the fact that when the Charming Charms teacher had finally managed to unstick it, Archibald himself had been stood directly underneath it.
“Yeah, sir.” Dom said, making a big deal about stuffing her bandaged arm through her robes. Dom and Fred were virtually always the last students to leave the classroom after any given lesson, usually because they always had some smart comment that they want to leave him with – plus, they had a tendency to want to have the last word on things.
So whilst all the other students were heading en masse towards the exit (Archibald could identify the bloody fourth years by the flour-handprints on their backs, which they’d thought was just hilarious; the fifth years by the sheer force of the blonde-levels; the third years by their height and the seventh years by the slow lumbering way they exited the classroom – it was, he decided, a very sad point in his life when he could recognise his students from their retreating backs), Dom, Fred and a few of the other Sixth years who’d seemed to more or less appear from nowhere were still ambling around picking up their things, washing the syrup stains off their glasses and pouring vast amounts of sugar out of their shoes.
“Good to know you enjoyed it.” Archibald said, internally deciding that he’d have preferred it if everyone was as miserable as he was.
“It ended so quickly,” Fred said, “time really crêpe-t up on us.”
Even Archibald Penrose had to crack a smile at that one.
Pancake-centred-puns stemmed from a conversation on the forums/via twitter and I’ve adapted some of them from several people who are not myself. So, pun accreditations are going out to Mihalli1432 (batter/better), MangaGirl (flipping) and Tell_me_what_the_truth_is/Marinahill (‘cracked me up’).
Also, just for the heads up I've finally planned this one out properly and because I could pretty much write this forever as I find it far too entertaining to write I'm limiting myself to twelve chapters - one for each month of the year. Which also means, that some of the chapters aren't going to be posted in chronological order. So, the next chapter I think that will be up might be the November chapter, and so will be the new chapter two. It shouldn’t really matter because, well, I hardly advertise this story on its non-existent plot. You can read them in any order you like, really. SO THERE WE GO. I hope you enjoyed this ridiculous chapter and I’ll see you all soon :D
Please review :)
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