In spite of the unorthodox manner in which he had arrived, and in spite of the berating he and Ron had received upon their arrival, Harry couldn't help the swelling of happiness that burbled in his chest as he slowly rose from his four-poster bed. Gazing slowly around the dormitory, he had to remind himself that he was really there, that he was no longer with his relatives who despised him, but that he was really back at school. Back at Hogwarts. Back home.
There was a groan beside him, and Harry turned, and watched as Ron, Harry's best friend, struggled to untangle himself from the sheets. Rising from the covers, his red hair a matted mop, he blinked blearily around the room, before meeting Harry's gaze. They shared a look, before breaking down into silent laughter.
The night before, Harry and Ron had missed the train to Hogwarts when the barrier to the platform mysteriously closed before they could run through it. They had been forced to use Ron's father's magically enchanted flying car to get to the school. Unfortunately, the pair had landed rather ungracefully. Meaning they had crashed directly into the Whomping Willow, an enormous magical tree, that had bashed the car to pieces, destroying Ron's wand in the process.
Of course, neither of them had gotten away with their little joy-ride, and had been summarily informed that if they stepped one more toe out of line, the pair would be expelled. Even with that threat hanging over their heads, neither Harry nor Ron could keep the giddiness from their faces. They weren't expelled yet, they were at Hogwarts, and it was their first day of classes.
Groans and moans started sprouting up around the room, as the other boys in Harry's dormitory began to slowly wake up. With a renewed sense of excitement, Harry pulled himself out of bed, and set about getting ready for the day. In a few minutes, both Harry and Ron were dressed and making their way down towards the Common Room. Scanning the room, Harry's eyes locked onto the mess of bushy brown hair over in the corner, the owner of the hair was bent over something at the table she sat at. Grabbing Ron by the sleeve, Harry directed the pair of them over to Harry's other best friend, Hermione.
"Morning, Hermione, sleep well?" Harry called, and Ron yawned out a greeting of his own. Hermione looked up from the thick book she had been reading, and smiled at the pair.
"Morning Harry, Ron, I slept well thanks, excited for classes today, I've just been getting a bit of a head start, we'll be starting animal transfiguration this year and it's incredibly complex, oh I'm just so excited!" she greeted back, closing up the large tome in front of her, as she babbled excitedly.
Harry just laughed. Never in his life had he met anyone has excited to learn about magic as Hermione, though he could understand. Hermione, like Harry, had grown up in the muggle or non-magical, world. When they were eleven, they were first introduced to their new world, and it was like a whole new chapter of Harry's life had begun.
The three exited the common room, and made their way to the Great Hall for breakfast, Hermione chattering excitedly about their lessons for the upcoming year, Harry and Ron just nodding occasionally, as they pretended to listen.
Settling themselves down at the Gryffindor table, Harry began piling foods onto his plate. He had barely begun to dig into his porridge, however, when Professor McGonagall, the head of Gryffindor House, and Deputy Headmistress of the school, strode down the length of the table and handed out Harry's class schedule for the year.
He did a quick scan of the schedule, before he had to take a second look, Ron must have seen the same thing he had, because he asked out loud,
"Whose Professor Jackson?" he asked confused, "And why does this say he's teaching History of Magic? What happened to Binns?"
Harry nodded, sharing the sentiment. On the schedule, next to their first class of the afternoon, History of Magic was the name "Professor P. Jackson." Which was strange, because in their first-year, the teacher for History of Magic was Professor Binns. Professor Binns was an old ghost, he had been teaching at Hogwarts for so long that one day, he'd simply died in the teacher's lounge, and his ghost had left the body behind. Binns' class was notorious. He droned on and on about Goblin revolutions, and his voice often put the entire class to sleep.
Glancing up from the schedule, Harry scanned the teachers table at the far end of the Hall. But he didn't see anyone that he didn't recognize, whoever this "Professor Jackson," was, he wasn't at breakfast.
"You would know had you been at the feast last night," Hermione scolded lightly. Harry and Ron, used to her behavior, just brushed it aside, "Professor Dumbledore explained it last night." Hermione began, her tone taking on a lecturing note, "Apparently, the School Governors got some letters from parents at the end of last term about Professor Binns. None of the O.W.L. students passed their exams, because Professor Binns hadn't taught them anything that was on the test. They voted unanimously, and they brought in a professional exorcist to properly put Binns to rest. Professor Jackson was hired by Professor Dumbledore shortly after."
"Where is he then?" Ron asked, doing as Harry had a few moments previously, and squinting at the teachers table. "I only see that prat Lockhart."
Hermione looked scandalized, "Ronald!" She hissed, "He's a professor! Don't speak like that about him," Ron and Harry shared a look but didn't say anything. The three of them had met with their newest Defense Against the Dark Arts professor in Diagon Alley during the summer, and they had been far from impressed.
Hermione pressed on, "Anyways, he probably isn't up yet, he wasn't at the feast last night, but Professor Dumbledore said he was coming in late from America."
"He's a yank?" Ron asked incredulously, "Why'd Dumbledore hire an American?"
"Apparently he's highly qualified," Hermione said, "I looked him up last night, he's apparently the leading authority on ancient magical Greece in the whole world! And he graduated at the top of his class from Ilvermorney!"
Ron leaned over to Harry, and whispered in his ear, "Sickle says he's as ancient as Greece too,"
Harry snickered before diving back into his meal, but stopped, and looked back up at Hermione, confusion on his face,
"What's an Illver-thing?" he asked,
"It's the magical school in the United States" Ron explained, "Charlie told me about it once, he had a pen pal there when he was in school. Apparently it's a lot like Hogwarts."
"It's one of the most prestigious schools in the world!" Hermione chattered in excitement, bouncing in her seat, "It's ranked up there with Beauxbatons in France, and Durmstrang in the far north. Oh, I'm just so excited! I've never met a wizard from America before, do you think-"
Knowing that Hermione was likely going to be on a tear for the rest of the morning, Harry dived back into his breakfast, and put the mysterious Professor Jackson to the back of his mind.
So far, Harry could say with confidence, that he'd never had a day of classes as strange and exhausting as he'd had so far. Professor Lockhart had set an entire flock of Cornish Pixies on their class, and then to make matters worse, the new professor had made Harry, Ron, and Hermione catch all of the pixies and put them back. It had taken them so long that they'd been fifteen minutes late to their next class.
By the time they'd gotten to lunch, Harry was so hungry, he could have eaten a miniature elephant. Collapsing onto the bench, he began pulling food towards himself,
"Budge over you lot," Came the familiar voice of Fred Weasley, one of Ron's older brothers, as he pushed his way onto the bench next to Harry. His identical twin, George, took the seat next to Ron on the other side, and their friend Lee Jordan, took the seat on Fred's other side.
"Had History of Magic yet?" Fred asked, as he began pulling food towards himself as well,
"It's our next class, why? Have you had it yet?" Hermione asked, her eyes gaining that excited gleam once more,
"Most certainly have!" George said excitedly, picking up a roll, and biting into it,
"Absolutely brilliant," Lee Jordan said maniacally, "Never had a class like it before."
"Never thought that I'd enjoy History of Magic, but that man is incredible." Fred said,
"Never have I laughed that hard in a class before in my life. He makes history utterly fascinating." George added, before the pair turned to each other,
"Yes, dear brother,"
"Did we just admit to enjoying our academic experience?"
"I believe we just did,"
There was a beat, before as one the pair pretended to faint on the spot, much to the enjoyment of the students around them. They played it off for a few more moments before they brushed it off and sat back up,
"Well, there's only one thing to do,"
As one, the pair stood, Lee Jordan rising just a few seconds later,
"Where you two off to?" Ron asked,
"To see if any of Hagrid's pigs are flying." George called behind him, causing another breakout of laughter from the Gryffindor table.
After the three left the Great Hall, Ron turned to Harry and Hermione, "Whaddya reckon?"
"If those two enjoyed it," Hermione said, "I'm not sure if I'm excited or terrified,"
Harry and Ron shared a look, before looking back at Hermione, and said at the same time,
Pushing into the room for History of Magic, Harry was a bit taken aback. When Binns had been their professor, the History of Magic classroom had been a dull-looking room. It had been very representative of the teacher, in that it was dry, boring, and thoroughly unimpressive. But that was no longer the case. The room was covered in different fascinating items, each more impressive looking than the last. On the walls were enormous display cases, showing off various magical and non-magical weapons; guns, spears, staffs, and swords and more that Harry couldn't recognize. Covering one wall was an enormous map of the world, small pins and flags embedded in the map on different continents and countries.
In the corner, near the large desk, was another large display of an ornate set of ancient looking bronze armor. There were dents, and scratch marks covering the otherwise beautiful armor. Over the desk were a pair of flags. The first, a large American flag, its corners slightly burned and what looked like bullet holes painting the stripes. The second, directly under the American flag, was bright orange. In the center was the image of a large pegasus, its wings spread out magnificently. In faded black letters over the pegasus was "Camp Half-Blood" in the same faded lettering underneath the pegasus was "Long Island South. -New York-"
"Bloody Nora," Ron breathed out as he stared around the room,
"Oh!" Hermione gasped excitedly, pointing at a display at the far wall, "That looks like a mages staff! And that's a magiglobe! And oh my goodness!" Before either Harry or Ron could stop her, Hermione had bustled over to a nearby corner and began muttering excitedly to herself as she stared at an ancient looking book on a pedestal. Walking over to her side, Harry squinted down at the book. The book was lying open, its pages yellowed with age and looking like it had been dunked in water at some point. The pages were covered in a strange looking script. It was certainly a language of some sort, but Harry couldn't understand what it was. The strange symbols made no sense to Harry but Hermione seemed to understand them a little.
"What is this, Hermione?" He asked,
"It's an original copy of Homer's Odessy!" She squealed in excitement, bouncing on the balls of her feet, "And I think it's even written in the original Greek too!"
"Easy there Granger," Drawled a voice from the entrance to the room, "Get any closer to that thing, and your teeth might accidentally tear the pages," Hot anger pulsed through Harry as he turned to the speaker, though he didn't need to see him, to know who had said it.
Strutting into the room, His bag slung casually over one shoulder, was Draco Malfoy, a pale, sharp-faced boy with white-blonde hair. He and Harry had been enemies since their first year. Malfoy enjoyed teasing and bullying Harry and his friends, and took every opportunity to make a mean comment or antagonize them.
Harry took a menacing step towards the boy, but Ron had beat him to the punch, "Say that again Malfoy," He snarled, pulling his broken wand that he'd tried, and failed, to med with spell-o-tape, and pointed it at Malfoy's chest. "Say that again, and see what happens."
"Ron, no!" Hermione said, her face red, and small specks of tears in the corner of her eyes. Her teeth had always been a point of embarrassment for her. They were a bit larger than normal, and she was incredibly sensitive about them. Reaching out, she grasped Ron around the wrist and dragged his wand away, "It's not worth it," She hissed, "Honestly, it's only the first day and you can't afford to get in any more trouble."
"Better do as she says Weasley," Malfoy drawled, "Would hate for you to be expelled so soon. Especially after that howler your mum sent, sounds like you're not even welcome at your own hovel. Is it possible to have less than nothing? Do write me and let me know, will you."
Ron looked fit to burst, and as much as Harry wanted nothing more than to hex Malfoy into the Hospital Wing, Hermione was right, they couldn't afford to get into trouble any time soon. So he just grabbed Ron and, with Hermione's help, dragged Ron away to a seat near the front of the room.
"If my stupid wand wasn't broken," Ron grumbled angrily as he slammed his stuff onto the table,
Harry just let him fume silently in his seat. But Malfoy didn't give them any reprieve, as he spoke up from his place in the back.
"Camp Half-Blood?" He asked, sounding both incredulous and indignant at once. He scoffed, "Of course, couldn't have gotten a proper teacher, could we? Just wait until my father hears about this one. Binns was bad enough, but this is just-"
"Just what?" Asked a deep voice from somewhere to their right. As one, everyone in the class turned to watch, and for the first time Harry got a look at his new professor.
Ron could not have been more wrong about him. Professor Jackson was about as far from an ancient man as he possibly could get. He was young, maybe in his mid to late twenties, tall, taller even than Dumbledore. He had the build of someone similar to those Olympic swimmers, and looked powerful. Unlike all of their other professors, he wasn't dressed in robes, but rather in a navy blue waistcoat, over a bright white dress shirt and matching tie, with matching trousers and bright cognac brown dress shoes. He had a handsome face, angular and chiseled, with a light coating of stubble on his cheeks and chin.
He strode out of the doorway at the side of the room, looking directly at Malfoy, "Go ahead," He prompted, advancing on the boy, "Finish your thought. Please, I'd love to hear it."
Harry took a certain, vindictive pleasure in watching what little color Malfoy had in his pale cheeks drain away.
"Um-uh-I-that is-um" Malfoy stammered out, looking genuinely terrified as their new professor strode toward him. Approaching the other side of the table, Professor Jackson gripped the edges of the table and leaned forward. Maybe it was Harry's imagination, but he could have sworn that he heard the wood creak under the strain of Professor Jackson's grip.
Professor Jackson leaned forward, so that he was towering over Malfoy, his expression dark, and stormy. His eyes seemingly glowing.
"What's your name?" Professor Jackson asked, his voice soft, and somehow sounding even more menacing for it.
"M-Malfoy, sir, D-Draco Malfoy." Malfoy somehow stammered out, trying and failing to save some face.
"Right," Professor Jackson said, his voice still that low almost growl, "Consider this your only warning. I am a tolerant man and I don't like to discipline my students, but I will. You don't have to like me, that's fine, I don't care, but I am your professor. In my classroom, you will be polite, you will be kind, you will not make fun of your classmates-don't think I didn't hear what you said earlier-and you will give me the respect I deserve as your professor, am I understood?" Malfoy stammered out an affirmative, and ducked his head. "Oh" said Professor Jackson as his eyes glanced down at the symbol on Malfoy's tie and looked back at him, "And ten points from Slytherin."
And just like that, the man's entire demeanor changed. Spinning away from the desk, a bright smile on his face, he clapped his hands together, and stepped briskly to the front of the room. Harry and Ron shared a grin, anyone who was willing to put Malfoy in his place was good in Harry's book.
"Well," Said Professor Jackson, as he reached the front of the room. With a snap of his fingers, a large chalkboard bounced into existence next to his desk. Turning around and leaning against his desk, Professor Jackson addressed the class, "My name, is Professor Jackson." With a wrap of his knuckles on the chalkboard, and his name appeared, "And it is my absolute pleasure to be your new History of Magic professor. My apologies for not meeting you last night at the feast, I was unfortunately held up, and couldn't depart until very late last night."
Pushing off of the desk, he began pacing through the rows of desks, "Now, since this is the first day of class, and I'm new to Hogwarts, why don't I tell you a little about myself." All heads turned and followed him; Harry noticed that all the girls in the class seemed to be paying extra attention.
"My full name is Percy Jackson, I'm twenty-eight years old. Born and bred in New York, New York. I went to school at Ilvermorney in Massachusetts, then, when I was eighteen, I joined the Arcane Marines, a magical subset of the United States military. I served for three years, and then I went off to get my mastery in magical history at Eronmayervos Institution in Greece. After that, I taught for a few years in Japan, before Professor Dumbledore hired me, and here I am." Professor Jackson had made his way back to the front of the room, where he leaned against the desk once more. He tapped his chin, as though in deep thought.
"Let's see, what else, oh!" He snapped his fingers, "My favorite color is blue, I have a pet dog, and I love long walks on the beach," he finished with a wink, and the room laughed, though some of the girls laughed a little louder than was strictly necessary.
"Now then," he said, and suddenly there was a wand in his hand, Harry hadn't even seen him draw it. With a small flick, a large number of papers appeared and began flying at the students, until a piece of paper landed in front of them.
"That's the syllabus for the year, and I know, I know," He said, as the room burst into groans, "It looks like a lot of reading, but don't worry, I don't think we'll reach all of it, I purposely structured this class so I could remove excessive readings, and the syllabus is subject to change if I don't think we'll get to something." He began pacing again, "As you are no doubt aware by now, this class will be very different to what you're used to. I've been briefed on your previous professor, so I know that this class was little more than nap time in the past, and as much as I respect and love having a good post lunch nap, that will no longer be the case." Once more, there were some good-natured groans and muttering. To which Professor Jackson chuckled good naturedly.
"I know, Gods forbid you actually have to learn something in one of your classes." That got a chuckle from the students, as Percy began wandering between rows of desks,
"I was where you were, a very long time ago, so I know what you're all thinking. You're thinking 'who cares about what a bunch of dead people did hundreds of years ago? It's not like it's ever going to show up on a job application.' And you'd be absolutely correct. Most of the knowledge you'll learn over the next several years, will likely never be useful in a strictly practical sense." He paused then added as an afterthought, "Well, it's good as an ice-breaker I suppose,"
Ron snorted, as did many others.
"Regardless, I highly doubt many of you will ever need to know much of anything about the impact of the Herero Revolution of 1905 on international magical colonial relations, and that's fine, that's not what I want you to take away from this course."
There was a lot of confused muttering at that pronouncement. Harry shared a perplexed look with Hermione. They'd never had a professor tell them that their subject was…essentially worthless.
Professor Jackson chuckled, and raised his hands in the air, "I understand, I understand. Allow me to explain. I don't care if you never use what I teach you outside of you O.W.L.'s, I don't care if you don't even use it then. What I care much more about, is about teaching you how to think critically. I care about teaching you real, practicable skills that will help you in the real world. When all is said and done, I hope that when you are done with my course, you are the most well-rounded individuals possible. I hope you are people who are able to think freely, and critically. To consider multiple perspectives, and to form your own opinions, and if you happen to fall in love with the discipline, learn something along the way?" He shrugged, "Then all the better for it,"
Professor Jackson had once more stopped at the front of the room, and perched himself on the desk,
"With that being said, why don't we start today's lesson with a question." He gazed around the room, "What is history?" he asked.
Nobody said anything, or even raised a hand. Not even Hermione.
"It's not a trick question, I promise you." Their professor laughed, "Come on, what is history, yes, you, what's your name miss?" He asked, as Hermione tentatively raised her hand in the air.
"Hermione Granger, sir," She said, and after Professor Jackson nodded at her, she said, "History is the chronological narrative of events that happened in the past."
Professor Jackson laughed, though not unkindly, "Take a point to Gryffindor, Ms. Granger, for a perfect word-for-word definition from the textbook." Hermione reddened slightly, but still smiled, "And while that is true, it's not quite what I was looking for."
No one else seemed brave enough to raise their hand after that. If Hermione hadn't been able to get the right answer, then what chance did the rest of them have?
Professor Jackson pointed to a hand near the middle of the room, and Harry turned in his seat to see a dark-haired girl in the green and silver robes of Slytherin meekly raising her hand. Harry recognized her, but couldn't quite remember her name.
"Tracy Davis, sir," The girl, Tracy, said, "Um is it just the dates of people, places and things that happened in the past? Um, kind of like, knowing important dates of things that happened in the past?"
"Another good guess, Ms. Davis, take a point to Slytherin." Professor Jackson said nodding, "Ok so far, we have that history is the chronological narrative of the people, places, and events that took place in the past, usually of some importance. Or, more simply put, you are suggesting that history is the who, what, when, and where. Do I have that right?" As the professor spoke, he tapped the chalkboard with his wand, the words "Who, What, When, and Where" appeared on the blackboard. There was some murmured agreement, and Professor Jackson nodded, and looked at the chalkboard.
Pointing at the chalkboard, and then pointing at the crowd of students, he asked, "What seems to be missing here?"
"Why and How," Said Pavarti, before she could stop herself or raise her hand. She flushed scarlet and Professor Jackson just smile encouragingly at her,
"P-Patil, Pavarti Patil" She squeaked out.
"Very Good Ms. Patil, take a point as well," Professor Jackson then laughed happily, and smiled merrily, "This points thing is fun by the way, feels kind of like I'm a game show host," With another large smile, he grinned wolfishly at Patil, who turned a deeper shade of scarlet, "Double or nothing Ms. Patil, can you explain why those two words are so important?"
Pavarti's eyes screwed up in concentration as she thought, but she couldn't seem to find the answer. Taking pity on the girl, Professor Jackson pointed to another Slytherin girl that Harry recognized but couldn't name,
"Yes, you Ms.…"
"Daphne Greengrass, sir," She said, her voice soft, yet firm, "History is not just the who, what, when and where, but it's much more about why the events of the past occurred, and how those events impact the present."
Professor Jackson clapped his hands together in excitement, a large smile on his face, "Precisely! Miss Greengrass, very well done, take ten points for Slytherin." Daphne smiled softly, a pleased look on her face. Professor Jackson rapped the chalkboard again, and the same words Daphne had said appeared on the board.
"Yes, that is exactly what I was looking for. History is so much more than dates and names. History, is the study of what happened in the past, why it happened, and how those events of yesterday, have shaped the world we know today." He tapped the board again, and the previous words disappeared, and those words appeared in their place. "By the way," He said, "If something appears on the chalkboard, you might want to write it down, it might be on a test. Hint, hint, wink, wink." There was a sudden rustling of papers and quills as everyone scrambled to get their notes together. For Harry's part, he began scribbling the words down on his own parchment.
"This might seem like common sense, right? I mean, of course what happened in the past shaped the events of today. But how much do we actually think about it? How much do we really consider how the events of the past, impacted the world we live in? How about this, how many of you have heard the phrase, 'Those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it?'"
There was a scattering of hands, "It's a very common phrase, would anyone care to give it a try and explain exactly what those words mean? Yes, you Mr.?"
"Dean Thomas, sir" Dean said, "Doesn't it mean, that if we don't learn from the events of the past, those same events will happen again?"
"Almost like a prophecy," Lavender Brown said softly to Pavarti. Professor Jackson must have heard it though, because he twitched slightly. Which was a confusing reaction.
"Correct, Mr. Thomas, take a point and not quite Ms.…"
"Brown, sir, Lavender Brown," Lavender replied, her face reddening a little.
"Yes, Miss Brown, but it's not like prophecy. What that phrase means, is this; if we don't understand the past, and we don't understand how and why those events came to pass, then similar circumstances will occur again. How about an example, one I'm sure you're familiar with. You spent all of last year discussing the Goblin Rebellions, correct? Well, do you know why those rebellions kept happening?"
No one answered, and Harry felt a flush creep up the side of his neck, embarrassed that, in front of his new teacher, he was as good as admitting that he hadn't paid any attention to Professor Binns.
"It's all right, I didn't really expect you to. Essentially, the magical community-meaning witches and wizards-were subjugating goblins. Refused to allow them voices in the political landscape, segregated their communities, refused them access to education, and there were even attempts at enslavement. Goblinkind, was, and is, very powerless in magical Britain. Eventually, goblins felt enough was enough, and rebelled. The wizards won the war. But didn't do anything to solve the problems that caused the rebellion in the first place. Then it happened again. And again. And kept happening, all throughout the 17th, 18th, and even up to the 19th centuries."
"So, because they didn't learn anything about the reasons why the goblins were rebelling, and didn't do anything to fix the problems that caused the wars, they kept happening?" Harry asked, then felt his ears burn when he realized he hadn't raised his hand.
Professor Jackson just smiled encouragingly on him, and nodded, "Your name, son?" He asked kindly,
"Harry Potter, sir." And to Harry's immense surprise, Professor Jackson's eyes didn't jump to the scar on his forehead, a habit that he had grown immensely and uncomfortably familiar with, and felt himself smile a little on the inside, though he didn't really understand why.
"Very good, Mr. Potter. Take a point for Gryffindor. Yes, that is absolutely correct. This, is exactly why it's important to understand history, and I know, I know that's a contradiction with what I told you earlier but just bear with me, if for no other reason than I control your grades." That got another burble of laughter from the class, but it was cut off abruptly, as the bell to the classroom suddenly rang.
"Unfortunately, that's all the time I have for you today, for Thursday, please read through the first assignment in the syllabus, and be prepared to discuss it in class. All right, that's it, have a good rest of your day, Mr. Weasley, Mr. Potter, stay after a moment please." Harry and Ron shared a concerned look, before shrugging at Hermione, when they'd seen the look she shot them. After reassuring her that they'd catch up, both Harry and Ron sat back down. Professor Jackson just stared at them for a few moments, his expression neutral.
Harry felt the prickling of anxiety burble in his chest, he was certain that they were about to get another scolding.
Finally, when he spoke, he sounded concerned, "How're you boys holding up?" He asked, "I heard about your little mishap in arriving to the castle last night. And between that and what I heard in the teacher's lounge this morning, I just wanted to make sure you were ok."
Harry blinked, his mouth dropping open in astonishment. He shared a look with Ron who, judging by his expression, had been expecting to lectured as well.
"We're, um, we're all right I suppose sir," Harry finally managed to say after a few moments.
Professor Jackson snorted, "Somehow I doubt that, but it's fine," he said, waving it off, "Listen, I'm sure you've been getting the third degree from all of your professors today. I just wanted to let you know that if you wanted someone to hear your side of the story, I'm open to hearing it."
Harry was confused, "Sir?" He asked, unsure of what to say,
"I'm saying that I would like to hear what happened, in your own words,"
Harry and Ron shared a look, and then Ron spoke up,
"It was the barrier to the platform sir, when we tried to go through, it was closed. We panicked, we had no idea what to do."
"Yes sir, we were scared, and we didn't want to not be at school, we thought they'd expel us." Harry added quickly, jumping at the chance to be able to tell their side of the story.
Professor Jackson nodded in understanding, "I can certainly relate to that," He laughed,
"Sir?" Ron asked, sounding confused,
Professor Jackson just shook his head ruefully, "Honestly, it's like the people in this castle forgot what it was like when they were twelve," He said under his breath, before looking back up at the pair, "I'm guessing the two of you never even considered just waiting for your parents to come back through the entrance?" He asked, and Harry and Ron went scarlet in embarrassment. They had not considered that. They'd simply panicked, and did the first thing that came to mind.
Once again, Professor Jackson just laughed, though not unkindly. It was a warm, and inviting sound. Comforting.
"Relax boys, I'm not here to grill you. We all do stupid things when we're young. Most of us continue to do stupid things after we're full grown. Hades below knows that I was expelled from almost every school I ever attended."
Both Harry's and Ron's mouths dropped open in utter bewilderment.
"Oh don't give me that," Professor Jackson laughed, "Professors are people too, you know." He leaned back, his hands resting on the desk as he looked off into the distance, lost in memory, "Oh yeah, I remember one time, I accidentally managed to fire off this old canon. Totally obliterated the inside of the museum, we were lucky no one was killed. Got expelled for that one, and that's in spite of the fact that there was no conceivable way that a ten-year old would know how to uncork, load, prepare, and fire a two-hundred year old cannon."
Ron laughed, unable to help himself, and even Harry felt himself unable to suppress his giggles.
He was also astonished; he couldn't believe that their Professor had been expelled before! He couldn't think of anything worse than expulsion, but Professor Jackson had made it through alright, which comforted Harry considerably.
"People like to forget their own mistakes, makes it easier to pretend they're infallible. Mistakes happen, especially when you're young. It happens, and it's going to happen again. You're going to make more mistakes; you're going to screw up. It's part of being mortal. The difference comes in how you handle those mistakes when you make them. That'll be the difference between being a boy and being a man." His expression turned a little more serious,
"Though perhaps you both should send an apology to your father Ron. It's the least you can do."
The boys ducked their heads a little but nodded, and Harry felt a weight he hadn't really noticed start to lift off his shoulders. His guilt towards all the people he'd inconvenienced had been bearing down on him all day, and he hadn't known how to deal with it, but Professor Jackson had gone a long way towards making him feel better.
"Good," Professor Jackson nodded happily, "Now what class do you have next, you're fairly late, so I'll walk you to it."
"Transfiguration, sir," Harry said quickly,
Professor Jackson nodded, and extended a hand towards the door. "Lead the way."
The trio made their way through the castle, Professor Jackson passed the time by telling Harry and Ron stories about when he was their age, and the kinds of trouble he'd gotten himself into. Harry hadn't felt himself laugh so hard in his entire laugh. Professor Jackson was a wonderful story teller, and he had a way of making Harry feel comfortable. Like he'd known the man for years, rather than hours. By the time they reached the transfiguration room, Harry's face hurt from the laughing, and Ron had to wipe tears of laughter from his cheeks.
Before opening the door to the room, Professor Jackson held the two aside, "I have an open-door policy boys. Whether it's questions about school, life, or just what you should have for dinner, I want you two to know that my door is always open. Alright?" The boys nodded and Professor Jackson smiled back at them, before opening the door.
"Sorry for the interruption Minerva," Professor Jackson called out, stopping Professor McGonagall mid-lecture, "Wanted a quick word with the boys here, nothing bad, just sharing some wisdom, trouble-maker to trouble-maker you know," He added with a conspiratorial wink to Harry and Ron,
"Right," said Professor McGonagall, looking terse, "Thank you for seeing them to me Professor Jackson. Mister Potter, Mister Weasley, take your seats."
As Harry sat down in his usual place beside Hermione, he couldn't wipe the smile off his face. In spite of the strange and terrifying start to the new year, his future had never seemed brighter.
AN: Ok, so I've been a bad boy, and I'm well aware of that. I've been trying to do some writing for Argonaut, and I even have two chapters written! But I've been on a Harry Potter kick and this idea has been driving me crazy and so I just had to write it because I'm a 25-year-old man child with no self-control. I have some chapters written for this, I think it's fun and a vast departure from the other stories of this type that are out there. As with all my other stories, no, I'm not going to just up and tell you everything about Percy in some large exposition dump. This is a story from Harry's perspective where you learn about Percy as Harry does. I got some cool stuff written for this that features a more mature, battle-hardened Percy. He might seem OOC but that's because he's like a decade older than when we saw him last in cannon, and you know, people change. Additionally, don't be surprised if there aren't immediate changes to cannon. Percy's impact will be minimal at first, and as he becomes more and more important in Harry's life, his impact on cannon will become more apparent, so just bear that in mind moving forward. Anyhoo, hope you guys enjoyed this, it's good fun I think. As always let me know what you think, and if you enjoyed it. Stay safe, love you all!