The next day, getting ready to leave was a disaster. Fred and George had used magic to levitate their trunks instead of carrying them and knocked Ginny down the stairs. This set Mrs. Weasley off on a furious tirade that woke Mrs. Black who compounded the noise with her usual epithets. Then Mad Eye didn't want to leave because a member of the guard, which Harry found out was solely for his benefit, didn't show. It was ridiculous to have a guard anyway, Voldemort has to lay low and so there was no way he was going to be at Kings Cross. Finally they left for King's Cross with Sirius, who and transformed into his dog shape, and arrived with just enough time to spare.
Harry was about to start looking for a compartment with Ron and Hermoine but they had to go sit with the other prefects. Before then Harry wouldn't have guessed how sad being on the train without his best friends for the first time would be. He eventually went with Ginny and Neville Longbottom and found a compartment with a girl all by herself. This is how Harry met Luna Lovegood. Being polite about it, Harry's first impression was that she was a little odd. She had waist length dirty blonde hair, eyes that looked constantly surprised, and wore a necklace of butterbeer caps.
The day got even worse when after being sprayed by a vile fluid from a cactus Neville had got for his birthday, Cho Chang opened the compartment door. Cho was an extremely pretty girl with long, shiny black hair and Harry had fancied her for quite some time. She was also had gone out with Cedric Diggory last year which made things complicated. After seeing Harry covered in foul slime she quickly said goodbye and left. At that moment Harry was conflicted between wishing he was dead out of embarrassment and wishing Neville was dead for that stupid cactus.
An hour later Ron and Hermione came and joined them. They told Harry who the other prefects and Harry correctly guessed that Malfoy was the Slytherin prefect because that was just the way things were going. When Ron joked about how he'd make Malfoy lines everyone laughed and Luna laughed so loud and long that if it wasn't for her airy nature she would have been making fun of Ron. Then Harry really saw the magazine Luna was reading. Most of the cover was filled with a picture of two men which were probably the same person, it wasn't very well drawn so it was hard to tell. They both were wearing the same thing a black tench coat and one was hunched over leaning on a staff followed by zombies. The other one stood tall and bore a resemblance to that old Superman movie but instead of both hands on his hips one hand held a staff that shown with light. The headline beneath the picture read Special Edition: Defender Against the Dark Arts or Master of the Dark Arts?
"Could I see your magazine" Harry asked Luna eagerly.
She nodded, still gazing at Ron, breathless with laughter and handed it to Harry. The magazine was almost certainly the most bizarre thing that Harry had ever read. It purported to be the life story of Harry Dresden and started by accusing his mother of being an evil witch. She supposedly murdered an entire family in 1968 for muggle baiting and was close friends with vampires and daemons. The rest of the article wouldn't decide one way or another if Warden Dresden was either a hero or villain. While there were plenty of stories where Warden Dresden was the hero like one where he saved a muggle's sanity from an extremely nasty ghost, there were also stories of Warden Dresden blasting craters into buildings in a fit of rage. Although those were just the believable claims. The article got increasingly fantastic, with claims that he is a necromancer that rides a dinosaur into a battle and that armies of Hell itself tried to kill him several times.
"Is this for real?" asked Harry.
"Of course not, its the Quibbler" replied Hermione looking over her copy of Elementary Magic.
"My Father wrote that" said Luna in a much more serious tone,"And I'll have that back."
Hermione immediately went pink and hide her face behind her book.
No sooner then the paper had been handed back when the compartment door opened a third time. To Harry's dismay it was Malfoy and his cronies Crabbe and Goyle who came taunt him a bit before leaving. What was worrying Harry was Malfoy's word choice of dogging. It might be possible that he knew about Sirius being an animargius and letting him tag along to the train station was a terrible mistake. When they finally got to Hogsmead Hagrid wasn't around gathering up the first years. Then the carriages instead of being self propelled were pulled by some sort of skeletal horse creature.. When Harry pointed this out he found that he was the only one to see them. Well everyone besides Luna and Harry wasn't going to let everyone else know that. Sharing a vision of something with Loony Lovegood was far worse then having one by yourself.
When Harry and the other Gryffindor's sat down at their table Harry saw quite a few new faces at the staff table. To Dumbledore's right sat an old man in blue robe and wore a silver circlet, then next to him there was a man in a black robe followed by Professor Dresden and then a girl with blue and pink hair in brown robes.
A few seats from Dumbledore's left was the woman who escorted the first years and there was the toad faced woman from the trial. She was especially noticeable because she was wearing a revolting fuzzy pink sweater over her robes. Conspicuously absent was Hagrid who, being half giant, is never inconspicuous in any crowd. This led to worried conversation with Ron and Hermione about what could have happened. They came to the conclusion that Hagrid must be still on Dumbledore's mission because the alternatives were terrifying.
When Professor McGonagall brought out the Sorting Hat, Harry was pretty sure he saw Professor Dresden mouth out, "What the" and a swear word that would probably cost Gryffindor ten or twenty points if a teacher heard Harry say it. The larger bald man sitting next to Professor leaned over to, Harry assumed, explain what was happening. Then as the hat started singing Professor Dresden's expression from confusion to worry.
The song was strange, instead of the normal description of the house traits, the hat dispensed advice that all the houses should be united. Nearly Headless Nick said that this wasn't the first time this happened and always during dark times. The sorting went as usual and finally came Dumbledore's opening speech.
"To our newcomers," said Dumbledore in a ringing voice, his arms stretched wide and a beaming smile on this lips, "Welcome! To our old hands – welcome back! Now I don't mean to make a speech before our feast but I must introduce our guests! Tonight we are honored by perhaps the greatest men that Hogworts has ever hosted! With great pleasure, I introduce to you Arthur Lengarty, Merlin of the White Council and Ebeneezer McCoy of the Senior Council of that illustrious body! They are alumni of Slytherin and Hufflepuff" Dumbledore gave a slight pause for Slytherin and Hufflepuff to give a quick little cheer before continuing," from the year 1717!" That got many surprised looks. The only person Harry ever heard of was Nicolas Flamel was older then them and he used the Philosopher's Stone and the Elixir of Life. The smile on Dubledore's face widened during the pause and continued before whispers could start up, "They have just made a generous donation of a million galleons" Dumbledore gave another slight pause to punctuate the occasion before continuing "each". That was even more surprising, as two million galleons was probably more then what every old wizarding family combined could simply give away. "Now enough with talk and tuck in!" said, Dumbledore. Then the sumptuous feast sprang before them which Ron dug into with glutinous glee.
After all the students were full and the noise was starting to pick up again Dumbledore rose and silence fell instantly. Dumbledore was explaining the rules to everyone which were the same as always. All though there was an extra emphasis on not entering the Forbidden Forest as Queen Mab's hunting rights in the forest, through legal technicalities, might include students who happen to wander in. Dumbledore was in the middle of explain the rules about Quidditch sign ups when a small but firm, "hem hem". It came from the Umbridge woman and for a moment everyone in the Great Hall looked somewhere between surprised and shocked as no one ever interrupted the Headmaster when he spoke. Dumbledore was the first to recover and allowed her to speak. She then gave a condescending speech which everyone in the room hated for different reasons. The students because they were forced to listen to a speech instead of going to their dormitories. The teachers were offended that someone spoke out of turn and if the teachers didn't like it the two guests from the White Council were so angry Harry could see the veins in their foreheads. But then at three hundred years old probably held tradition a lot closer then most people.
Harry hadn't really noticed Umbridge's voice at the trial but it was high-pitched, breathy and little girlish. Harry took a strong dislike to the woman immediately. The dislike deepened after a few sentences because of her utterly condescending manor, that would have been better suited to speaking with a five year old rather then to students at Hogworts. She then went on and on so by the time she was half way done everyone was either talking to their friends or had the same glazed look they had in Professor Binns' history class. If Umbridge noticed how many people were actually paying attention to her Harry doubted it. In fact Harry was pretty sure she wouldn't have noticed a riot going on. She eventually ended her rambling speech and received a halfhearted applause although some of the teachers simply clapped twice and stopped. The two old men from the White Council crossed their arms and refused to clap at all.
Dumbledore said, "That was quite illuminating".
When Harry asked how that load of woffle could have been illuminating Hermione explained because it laid out the ministry's plan to interfere with Hogworts. As usual Harry and Ron were a bit too thick to see it.
Dumbledore continued with his announcements and finally dismissed the sleepy students to bed. Ron had to be reminded that as prefects he and Hermione were supposed to help guide the first years. Then Hermione had to tell him not to call the first years midgets even if they were short.
When Harry and some others had gotten to the Portrait of the fat lady, he realized he had forgotten to get the password. When for the first time ever Neville came and knew the password, it was the name of the cactus that shot vile mucus in Latin. Inside the Gryffindor common room Harry and the others made for their dormitory while Fred and George Weasley tacked something to the notice board. When Harry got to his dormitory he saw Dean and Seamus sticking their posters to the walls.
"How was your summer Harry?", asked Dean.
"All right, you?" replied Harry.
"Not bad... better then Seamus' anyway." said Dean.
"Why what happened Seamus?" asked Neville.
Seamus didn't answer immediately but eventually he said, "Me Mam didn't want me to come back"
"What?" said Harry pausing while taking off his robes.
"She didn't want me to come back to Hogworts".
Seamus turned away from his poster and pulled out his own pajamas from his trunk.
"But – why?" said Harry astonished. He knew that Seamus's mother was a witch and couldn't understand, therefore, why she should have come over so Dursley-ish.
"Well... because of you and Dumbledore I suppose." Seamus said sheepishly, and quickly added, "Its not like the Warden becoming a professor helped much either".
"She thinks I'm a liar and Dumbledore a fool." said Harry, turning back to his bed and took off his shirt. A few weeks ago that would have set Harry off but the trial, the day worrying if a massacre was about to happen and finding out last night that Mrs Weasley was completely terrified that her family and Harry were going to die, had pushed the accusations out of his head. If fact Harry wasn't sure he had thought about them since the trial.
"Yeah, something like that." said Seamus who at least had the decency to sound embarrassed.
As Harry stuffed his robes more forcefully then was necessary into his trunk Seamus asked, "Look... I just... could you tell me what happened that night... when Cedric died." stuttering a bit.
Harry turned back to Seamus and asked dryly"If you didn't believe me three months ago why would you believe me today?"
"All I heard was from Dumbledore's speech at the end of last term and nothin' else except from the paper" said Seamus his voice was level and slightly plaintive.
"And Dumbledore's word isn't good enough for you!" shouted Harry .
Seamus got a bit red in the face and was probably going to say something right back at Harry but Ron came into the room and demanded, "What's going on here?
"Seamus thinks I'm a liar and Dumbledore is a fool" Harry roared .
"I just want the bloody truth!" roared Seamus just as load as Harry had been.
For a moment Ron looked stricken but then said, "If Harry doesn't want to talk then he doesn't have to."
"I'm not exactly asking for much just what happened! Ron did he even tell you what happened?" said Seamus fiercely.
"Oi! You heard what I said drop it or its detention." said Ron just as fiercely.
Seamus looked between Harry and Ron and with frustration on his face and said, "The Prophet must be true then and I'll make sure everyone knows it"
Harry climbed into bed and drew the curtains as hard as he could. Harry sat in the dark and he was furious. He was furious at Seamus, at the other Prophet readers, and most furious with himself. Why hadn't he just told Seamus what had happened it would have saved a lot of trouble and Seamus would have convinced others. Harry tried but even in his mind he wouldn't form the story only more fury and possibly guilt? Yes, guilt that he was alive and Cedric wasn't. It had been months but Cedric's death still hurt as much as the first few minutes after his death. Harry dwelt on this for a few more minutes before trying to get some sleep. He didn't succeed.
The next morning Seamus was already gone by the time Harry got up. When Harry and Ron went downstairs they waited but they didn't find Hermione. It wasn't until they were halfway through breakfast until she turned up.
"And where have you been?" asked Ron.
"The library" replied Hermoine.
"YOU WERE WHERE WOMAN!?" roared Ron loudly enough that even the house elves in the kitchens could probably hear it.
Everyone in the Great Hall turned and stared at them and Ron turned a shade of red slightly deeper then the Gryffindor scarlet. At first there was silence and then there were whispers and laughter led by Professor Dresden and the girl with dyed hair. Professor McGonagall was decidedly less amused and looked at Ron with pursed lips for causing a ruckus.
"Do keep your voice down Ron" replied Hermione in a calm and rather posh voice, "and I was at the library looking up Ebeneezer McCoy and Arthur Langarty." said Hermione as she buttered a slice of toast. "I had to fight off several Ravenclaws for the year book for 1717 and I had to agree to read it out loud to everyone. They really did graduate from here and received special commendations for joining the White Council."
"Blimey, they're three hundred and have a million galleons to spare, maybe we should try joining the council." said Ron.
"What about them killing your dad?" asked Harry .
"If we don't tell them then no one is the wiser." replied Ron.
Harry was tempted by that line of reasoning as well. After all the ministry must have been using memory charms when those two had graduated and they didn't bring the wardens down on us. But the idea quickly passed when the schedules were passed out and Ron groaned. "Look at this History of Magic, double Potions, Divination, double Defense Against the Dark Arts... Binns, Snape, Trelawney, God I hope Dresden isn't as bad".
Their fears about their first class of History of Magic turned out to be completely justified. Professor Binns was as boring as ever and only Hermione managed to stay awake. After class Hermione threatened to not share her notes to make Ron and Harry pay attention until Ron assured her she was just so much more clever then Harry and himself. Harry suspected that Ron had been sitting on that well crafted complement for quite sometime. Harry smiled to himself and wondered if Ron had a strategic compliment stockpile for such dire emergencies.
Snape turned out to be worse then ever. The first potion of the year was the Drought of Peace an especially fiddly potion. When Harry made a slight mistake by forgetting to add syrup of hellebore to his potion Snape destroyed Harry's potion even though others were far worse then his. Crabbe's had eaten through his cauldron and the some of the floor and was still allowed to turn it in.
When Ron and Hermione were arguing again, it must have been for the thousandth time, during lunch Harry went off on them and asked if they would just give it a rest. Before they could get over their satisfying shock Harry left for Divination his least favorite class after Potions. Tralawney was her usually airy and mysterious self. When Ron came, he told Harry that Hermione wanted Harry to stop taking his temper on herself and Ron. He hadn't really taken his temper out on them. They'd been arguing like cats and dogs he'd just decisively broke up the fight but Ron wouldn't hear it. He was just the messenger and if Harry wanted to talk about it he should do it with her. The divination lesson on interpreting dreams. Harry didn't want to talk about his dreams, because he absolutely knew what the nightmare about the graveyard he had all summer meant. In all there were two upsides to the lesson first it was a single instead of a double and they barely had time to do any analysis. The second was that it was the first time they Tralawney hadn't managed to predict his death to kick of term, which was nice.
When they entered the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom they found Professor Dresden standing next to the teacher's desk. Since Professor Dresden was an unknown quantity everyone kept quite as they entered; he might turn out to be very strict. Harry, Ron and, Hermoine manged to get front row seats in case class turned out to be interesting. From there Harry got a much better view of Professor Dresden then he had at the trial. He was wearing a plain black robe and without his leather coat he no longer had a blinking neon sign over his head which read 'I'm a baddie' but with his height, his broad shoulders, scars, and leather glove on his left hand he was still a man many would cross a street to avoid. His expression wasn't quite a smile but, it definitely wasn't a scowl that Snape always wore nor the thin pursed lips of McGonagall perpetually wore, which Harry thought was a positive sign.
When everyone had taken a seat Professor Dresden took roll before introducing himself himself, "Well class I'm Harry Dresden and I'll be you're D.A.D.A. Professor this year". It was weird to hear a professor speak with an American accent. Wizarding life was much more isolated then muggle life so it was the first time in years that Harry had even heard an American. Then after a slight pause Professor Dresden continued his introduction "I've fought the Dark Arts since I was 16, been a Warden for the last four years, I have fought monsters of every description and I am infamous and feared by people and monsters across the globe. Any questions about who I am? What I've done? Or anything at al you would like to know?". While he was friendly enough, teachers hardly ever just let students ask question, the tone was rather matter of fact for rather dramatic words like infamous and feared.
Lavender spoke up first and asked, "I heard a roman... well I heard a story about how you started a war with the vampires is it true?"
What little expression drained from professor Dresden's face as it became a neutral mask. Before he responded he took, what Harry thought was a calming breath, "The Red Court of Vampires took someone I cared about, they thought they created trap that I couldn't get out of. They didn't think, they couldn't understand the simple idea that a person would be willing to cross any line. I loved enough to start war and so I killed every Red vampire in Chicago while under hospitality."
Harry, his eye's wide, stared at Professor Dresden. He had heard teachers telling incredible stories before. Gilderoy Lockhart, Harry's second Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, had done nothing but tell them. Harry hoped, that unlike Lockhart's stories, Professor Dresden's story was true. If it was true it would mean that there were people out there who would bring the fight to evil rather then spend months cleaning a dusty house in London.
Hermione put her hand in the air and when Professor Dresden gave her a nod she asked, "What would you consider to be most dangerous being you've had to deal with."
Professor Dresden considered for a moment, as if the question wasn't straight forward, before he started thinking out loud, "Dangerous is such a relative thing, Mother Winter, the eldest Queen of winter, is the most evil and powerful. But then again she so restrained in her power she's really only going to be able to cut loose during the End of Days. Mab on the other hand has a pretty free hand but she's been trying to recruit me rather then kill" he paused and reached behind him and grabbed a can of coke and sipped it. He still had the can in his hand and continued, "The Erlking has sworn to kill me but he doesn't look to be putting much effort into it. Now Nicodemous and Cowl they have power, drive and, complete lack of morality and sanity to haunt my dreams. So I'm going to go with which ever one of those I happen to trapped in a room with is the most dangerous"
There was a silence that stretched on for a moment before Ron let out a quiet chuckle and with a big grin on his face asked, "Is it true that you ride a dinosaur into battle?". Which got a rise out of everyone in the class.
The levity at the ridiculous question was jarringly ended however when Professor Dresden responded in a voice which bordered on anger, "I do not make a regular practice of necromancy, it was a strictly one time thing". The class was silent until Neville fell over backwards after leaning too far back away from Professor Dresden.
With the silence broken Hermione managed to stammer out "Bbbut you're a Warden that's illegal!"
A wide eyed Seamus responded, "Illegal? That's what you're worried about? Necromancy is the bloody blackest magic there is!"
Professor Dresden cut in before the class could really get out of hand, "Yes it was Black Magic. Yes it was a terrible idea. It was however not illegal as the 5th law only applies to humans not animals because if it was illegal I would have been executed on the spot. I only did it because of circumstances, that I won't go into, I had to have an aura of necromantic energy in order to prevent the death of thousands of people."
"Thousands?" asked Ron who was flabbergasted by what Professor Dresden had.
"Yeah bad guys were going to suck the life out of everyone within a mile or so any other questions before we begin?"
"Can dark Wizards actually come back from the dead?" asked Seamus before adding, "I mean you hear about that kinda thing in stories but usually just means they're runnin' out of ideas"
Harry scowled at Seamus' dig at him and didn't have much hope for Professor Dresden's answer because everyone outside of the Order of the Phoenix had discounted what Harry had said without a second thought.
When Professor Dresden's said, "Sure the Necromancer Heinrich Kemmler was killed seven times by the White Council between the early 19th century and 1965. Although its generally that they don't really die just the body they currently possess dies and they move to a new one via soul swapping, horcrux, phylactery or a half dozen other means." Harry felt quite happy surprise. Not only was it surprising to be believed but this was the first time anyone had even suggested how Voldemort might have come back from death. It was even disconcerting on some level to have learned more about Voldemort in ten seconds then He had all summer. No, thinking on it a little more Harry decided the disconcerting part had been the slightly excited voice Professor Dresden had talking about the means by which death might be cheated it was much too like Professor Flitwick taking about Charm theory. Perhaps Professor hadn't been completely honest when he said had only done necromancy once.
"So I think it has been long enough," and Professor Dresden turned to face the other end of the desk and asked an empty space, "Got them all Grasshopper?"
Harry exchanged glances with Ron and Hermione and was now quite worried that they were being taught by a man with powerful dark magic and now might not even be sane. That is until the empty space at the other end of the desk responded, "Yeah it was a cinch." and a girl appeared out of thin air. She was tall and had proportions that were usually reserved for statues. Harry wasn't sure how old she was but he thought she might have been in the seventh year or a bit older. She'd dyed her shoulder length hair pink on one side and blue on the other and, had even more piercings then Charlie Weasley. The ones in her earlobes were so large that he could have put his pinky in them. She was also the prettiest girl Harry had ever seen, short of Queen Mab or a Veela.
Professor Dresden introduced her saying, "This is my apprentice Molly she'll be doing a lot of the drudge work that comes with teaching and filling in when business calls me away. Also you all just failed your first dark wizard attack"
Hermione asked, "But you didn't say we were taking a test! And how could we have failed a test we've only been asking you questions". She was rather indigent about it as she had never failed any sort of exam in her life.
"Well Miss Granger, bad guys never... OK hardly ever, announce that they're going to kill you. They are too busy arranging your demise and you should be prepared for that. As for how you failed, if you can hurl any amount of magic at me I'll give Gryffindor 500 points" as he spoke he used his height to full effect and loomed over Hermione and his cool detached expression shifted to a more predatory and dangerous smirk. Hermione rose to his challenge and grabbed her wand or at least she tried to because her hand sank right through her wand. Hermione scrabbled with both hands to try and pick up what should have been a solid object as Harry and Ron exchanged looks and reached for their wands as well. With just as much fear and horror as Hermione felt Harry and Ron both couldn't even touch their wands. When professor Dresden chuckled at their predicament Harry looked up and saw him holding a coffee can that had everyone's wand in it. At that moment Harry could feel his eye's widening, his jaw dropping. No one had ever outright said that you shouldn't take someone else's wand but Harry had picked up on it. To see that unspoken rule so utterly disregarded by a teacher, particularly one as intimidating as Professor Dresden, was down right unnerving.
"So at this point if my apprentice and I were malificars you would all either work for me, enthralled or dead and stop worrying you will get your wands back at the end of class" explained Professor Dresden.
Then Molly spoke in quite voice "You know Harry it might be better if we..." she paused and turned a bit green and swallowed as if she was trying not to be sick, "if we mind raped those who wouldn't join instead of killing, a living catatonic victim would instill more fear in the future then a grave". Professor Dresden didn't turn to her but shifted his gaze on her and considered what she said. He replied approvingly to her horrifying plan, "Yeah that would be better for long term evil, good thinking Grasshopper".
Harry felt a knot for in the pit of his stomach as that very fate had befallen Neville Longbottom's parents. He wanted to turn around and see how Neville took it but he had promised Dumbledore that he wouldn't tell anyone what he knew.
"Now why are all of you utterly helpless right now? First of all you didn't simple precautions like" lectured Professor Dresden.
"Precautions?! How were we supposed to stop an invisible woman?" asked Ron indigently.
"How about having a second wand? How about having more then one kind of magical foci? How about not just leaving your only protection on the table but in a holster, up your sleeve or in your bag where it couldn't easily be stolen leaving you to look like a rube?" rattled off Professor Dresden in a even tone that increasingly became a mixture of condescension and disdain with each question. Ron went pink and looked down.
Professor Dresden was about to continue with his lesson when the door to the class opened and a perturbed looking Umbridge came in.
"I'm so sorry that I'm late Professor Dresden, it seems that some one changed what time lesson in my schedule" said Umbridge in a voice that was saccharine as last night but her eyes were glaring bloody murder at Professor Dresden who had morphed in the blink of an eye from a dower serious man to a jovial one.
"How unfortunate Lola," said Professor Dresden consolingly and then he brought his right to his mouth in a contemplative gesture, "My highly attuned investigative instinct tells me it was probably Peeves, only he would be so childish and brazen as to pull a prank on you Lola" said Professor Dresden with the sort over serious bad acting normally reserved for episodes of Star Trek.
"Oh that reminds me," said Molly, "here's your lock picks Harry"
"Why thank Molly, I was afraid that I left them somewhere incriminating"
There was a pause and Professor Dresden and Molly stared straight at Umbridge. Harry just couldn't believe what he was seeing a teacher as good as publicly admitting to pulling a prank on a government official. Dresden seemed friendly enough but this beggared the imagination. As the silence stretched on Ron started laughing. Professor Dresden rounded on Ron with an expression, still more overly dramatic, of hurt innocence that only extremely guilty can possess. He had seen such an expression many times on Fred and George and it may have even graced his own features once or twice.
"Are you trying to insinuate something Mr. Weasley?"
Ron managed to contain his laughter and said, "No sir I was thinking about something else Peeves did last year" with as much seriousness as he could muster which quite frankly wasn't very much.
"Good, 'cause I'd have to give you week's worth of detention if you were implying something" said Professor Dresden comically serious.
Umbridge spoke up in a much harder and curt then Harry had heard before, "Professor Dresden what exactly are your qualifications for teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts?"
"I'm sorry Lola but I've already covered that but if you aren't late again, there's another showing tomorrow"
She looked like she was going to insist until her eyes found the coffee can "Are those the children's wands on your desk?!"
"Yes, I had Molly secretly collect them as a lesson that danger is everywhere. they will get them back at the end of the lesson"
"That's a terrible thing to do Professor Dresden, you'll frighten the children"
"Good" said Professor Dresden flatly and turning to the class he said, "You all should have a healthy amount of fear. Like pain only the dead don't feel fear."
Umbridge regained her composure and started back on her previous train of questioning, "What exactly are you planning to cover this term?"
"If you didn't keep interrupting and observe, like that decree states, I'd be able to tell everyone." Professor Dresden said exasperatedly. Umbridge shook with a silent fury which Professor Dresden took as assent to continue and turned back to the class. "This term you will learn ward construction, develop situational awareness, proportional threat responses, more advanced techniques against mind magic, how to escape or evade pursuers and, since Dumbledore is rather insistent, things that are actually on your owl exam."
"What could you possibly find objectionable about about the O.W.L examination Professor Dresden?" asked Umbridge and she had enunciated each letter in the exam's acronym as if finding something to correct Professor Dresden on was a small but important victory. "They are crafted by the Ministry and contain everything one needs to know." said Umbridge with sycophantic pride.
"Oh there are far too many things wrong with it to go into here, I've decided to write a book." responded Professor Dresden and assured, "Don't worry though, I'll make sure you get a signed copy". Harry smiled and tried and failed to think of things Umbridge would like less then a copy of Professor Dresden's book. Umbridge, her cheeks pink, her lips pressed in rage said nothing but began scribbling furiously. She barely managed a sentence before breaking her quill. A second quill didn't last much longer then the first but the third one managed to stay in one piece.
Professor Dresden then began his lesson on magical wards. It was an incredibly detailed and difficult to fallow at times but Professor Dresden was rather good about explaining things. The only problem was when he made an analogy about ley lines and power lines and that handling either was not the best idea. Harry, Hermione and Dean being the only muggle born in the class knew what he was talking about, the rest of the class was obviously confused. Molly chimed in with the analogy of trying to fill a cup with a raging river and cautioned that if things went wrong while working a ley line, the results would be measured as a blast radius was much more understandable.
When the lesson came to an end and Molly started walking around with everyone's wand Professor Dresden said, "OK so for homework I want an essay on what you believe is dark magic using the seven laws a guide posts and point out some loopholes in those laws and compare and contrast your own personal beliefs of right and wrong with them."
"Is that all" said an incredulous Ron who was upset with their work load since divination.
"I have high standards Mr. Weasley and how can we have a discussion of about the Dark Arts if you don't know what they are?"
They packed their bags and left with Ron still grumbling about how much work they had. While it was by no means a great day but for the first time in a while Harry could say he was optimistic.