A special thanks goes out to Groundshaker for betaing this chapter for me on short notice.
I have been getting a lot of reviews about Remus' silver staff and his dress robes, that little plot point will be addressed in a later chapter.
I would like to thank all of my faithful reviewers for all the wonderful reviews I've been getting. I've been going through a huge bout of writer's block, which has been very annoying, and your reviews have helped keep my spirits up enough to continue trying. Hopefully I'll be able to update more regularly now that my muse has finally decided to make an appearance. Now… on with the show….
Chapter 16: The Dueling Class
Later that day, after Harry and Ginny, as well as the rest of the teachers and prefects who had stayed up the entire night, had finally gotten some sleep, there was a call for the Order of the Phoenix. Harry and Ginny were both soaking in their bath when they felt the phoenix tattoos on their arms tingled and they heard Dumbledore's voice politely ask all who could safely answer the call to Apparate to Hogwarts and meet him in the Chamber of the Phoenix within the hour. Harry and Ginny both sighed heavily, then got out of the bath, and quickly changed into clean robes and made their way out of their room, meeting Ron and Hermione on their way down the stairs. Together, they left the Commons Room. Harry quickly led them all to a picture of a phoenix in flight and touched it with his right hand. It glowed briefly and then disappeared, revealing the Chamber of the Phoenix.
Once they situated themselves in their seats, Harry looked around. All the professors looked to be refreshed. He leaned over to Remus. "What's this about," he asked. "What was so urgent that Dumbledore had to call an emergency meeting? Our next meeting isn't set for another few weeks."
"Dumbledore wanted to inform the Order about the attack, and the new Wards," Remus replied softly, so that only Harry could hear. "He's making it sound as if he and the other teachers have constructed them, not you. He is going to inform them that the Order members can Apparate on and off Hogwarts grounds. Again, he's not going to tell the whole truth to them, just enough for them to believe him, in case we have traitors in our midst."
"Traitors?" asked Ginny, hearing the last part. "Is that possible, I thought Dumbledore said…"
"Peter was a member of the Order," Remus reminded her, "as were your parents Harry. Peter was able to totally betray the Order, which is why Dumbledore is going to be vague, we can no longer guarantee that membership in the Order means that people are totally safe. The Inner Circle will, of course, be told the truth, well those that don't already know, namely the rest of your family Ginny. Oh, that reminds me, Albus wanted me to tell all of you that he wants to speak to the Inner Circle after the regular meeting. He says that we are to meet in the Staff dining room, where we will all be eating dinner together as we discuss everything."
Harry was about to ask Remus another question, but Dumbledore, obviously knowing somehow whom not to expect, rose and started talking. He quickly outlined the attack on Severus, and Harry's rescue, leaving out the part about the Sorcerer's Web. Since the entire Order of the Phoenix witnessed Harry taking out thirty Death Eaters with ease, they were able to believe that he could do the same to fifty without any problems. Dumbledore also talked about the discovery of the Drills, and the holes in the wards, and finally the new wards, and the students who were to be expelled.
When he finished, there were some questions, which he answered, and then everyone got up to leave. They could not Apparate directly to or from the Chamber of the Phoenix, because of the protective wards that the Founders placed around the room, but were able to leave out the door, and quickly Disapparated away to wherever they were going. Harry and Ginny led the other students away, as if they were going to the dorms, but then told them about the Inner Circle meeting and led them to Dumbledore's office. There, they met the Inner Circle, and over dinner, Dumbledore told them what had really happened.
On Monday at breakfast, Dumbledore announced that Hogwarts would be hosting three dances, a Halloween dance, a Yule Ball, and a Valentine's Day Ball. The students were delighted to hear this. Harry had been correct. Their nerves had been shot over the past week and a half, and this was the perfect thing to take their minds off what had happened. Dumbledore also made the announcement about the new Dueling class that would be taking place. He told the suddenly extremely interested students that the new class would take place on Monday's, Wednesday's, and Friday's at seven to nine o'clock after dinner in the new Dueling classroom located in the room at the end of the third floor corridor, the room where Harry, Ron, and Hermione had found Fluffy in their first year.
The next two days went by quickly. Harry had gone to numerous meetings with the Professors, discussing his new class, and making requests from the rest of the Staff. Ginny was not privy to these conversations, nor would Harry tell her anything about what they talked about. He was being very secretive. Harry spent all his free time between Monday morning and Wednesday night in his classroom, refusing to allow anyone else to enter. Many students tried, hoping to get a glimpse at what was going on, but none of them could break the locking charm on the large door which Harry had put up, just in case. Ginny secretly believed that Harry put an Enchanter Level or above charm on the door just in case.
Wednesday morning, and all throughout classes, people were talking excitedly about the new class that they would be attending that night. Dumbledore had told the students that it was open to all students, regardless of their age or year, and that the entire school would have to go to the first class, to decide if they wanted to attend or not.
Wednesday night, before dinner, Harry was extremely nervous. He did not go down to get anything to eat, but was instead in his newly constructed classroom, fretting over his first class. I think this was a bad idea, he thought.
You'll do fine Harry said Morgana, hoping to reassure him.
Yeah, you've been teaching Ginny wonderfully, agreed Godric, Trust us, we were checking up on you from time to time.
Teaching Ginny in private and teaching the whole school are two totally different things, Harry responded, still nervous.
There's no use worrying yourself sick over it, said Salazar. You've agreed to teach the class, and there's nothing you can do about it now.
So what SHOULD I do? Harry asked, running a hand through his long hair, which he was wearing loose for the night.
Why don't you try getting something to eat? suggested Rowena hopefully. You DO need to eat dear.
If I eat anything, I'll probably puke right now, responded Harry, refusing to heed her suggestion.
Well then why don't you PRACTICE for once asked Thor gruffly. I didn't spend all that time with you, teaching you how to fight for you to forget it as soon as you left Avalon.
I haven't forgotten a thing, Thor, Harry replied, finally calm at the suggestion, which was of course Thor's intent.
Prove it, challenged Thor, and Harry did.
Ginny entered into the new Dueling classroom and stopped dead in the entranceway her mouth dropping open in surprise. Her eyes widened as she watched Harry. He had a staff in his hands, not his own but a plain wooden quarterstaff, and he was twirling it and moving with it expertly. As she watched him, her amazement grew each second. Harry jumped up, somehow using the staff to push himself even further off the ground. He then surprised here even more as he landed SIX FEET off the ground ON HIS STAFF. He stood there for a few moments, perfectly balanced and at ease facing away from her, then flipped off the staff, catching it in one hand as he fell, and landed upside down on one outstretched hand, facing her. Noticing that he had an audience for the first time, Harry easily flipped himself up again, and made his way to her.
"Hey," he said with a smile, not even breathing hard. "Why are you here so early?"
Ginny, snapping out of her surprised stupor, said, "I noticed that you weren't at dinner, so I brought you something to eat," she handed him a stack of sandwiches. When he didn't look as if he would take the food she had so thoughtfully brought him, she decided to take matters into her own hands. "Eat," she ordered. Harry immediately took the stack, selected one, and began eating it.
Why is it that when WE tell you to eat, you fight with us tooth and nail, but when SHE does it, you obey without question? asked an exasperated Rowena.
Because Ginny can throw me out of bed if I argue Harry answered immediately, quickly eating his dinner. YOU can't.
Before Rowena could respond to THAT statement, the students started filing into the room. Ginny, kissing Harry on the cheek in silent support, she quickly made her way to a seat in the front.
Ron and Hermione made their way to the room that they had found Fluffy in that fateful night five years ago. They entered with the rest of the students and looked around, noticing the changes. Harry had obviously been working hard to make this classroom ready for his first class. It had been large before, but now it was huge, easily as large as the Great Hall. Besides magically enlarging the inside of the room, he also created a large semi circle of bleachers, that seemed to have been carved out of the wall with comfortable chairs on them in neat rows to one side of the room. The majority of the room was empty space, although one set of walls had been padded, obviously so that people could be thrown against them and not get hurt. Huge mirrors that reached from floor to ceiling, covering the stones, hiding them from view, had covered the opposite wall. In one corner were several dueling dummies, as they passed it, then noticed another door in between the entranceway and the bleachers, probably leading to Harry's new office; as a member of the Hogwarts' Staff even an member, he was now entitled to it.
"Please come in and quickly take your seats," Harry was calling out, and Ron and Hermione quickly sat beside Ginny on the front row. "The red colored seats in the front middle section have been reserved for staff members." Once everyone had taken their seats, a podium rose up out of the floor where Harry was standing, facing the semi-circle of students and teachers.
"Welcome to Dueling Class," started Harry. "Since most of you have either never had a dueling class, or, worse, had one with Gilderoy Lockheart," here he paused allowing the laughter to subside, "I thought we would start the class off with a bit of a demonstration. Professor Snape," he gestured to the pale man sitting in the first row in between Dumbledore and Flitwick, "Has kindly agreed to assist me."
Snape got up and silently walked towards Harry, who tapped the podium with his wand and made it sink back into the ground. As soon as Snape had reached Harry, the two of them turned so that they were facing each other and saluted. As Harry said, "Professor Snape and I are going to duel. First you salute with your wands, then bow to each other," here he bowed. "Now you turn and pace ten paces. I know this seems tedious, but you must 'pay attention to the niceties' as Lord Voldemort once told me," at that name, everyone suddenly focused on the two duelers, the idle chatter that had been breaking out around the room forgotten. "Now once you have paced, turn around and get ready for the duel to begin. Professor Dumbledore, if you would do the honors."
As soon as Dumbledore had spoken, even before he had finished the word, Snape fired off a curse, and Harry quickly sidestepped, evading it saying, "Remember to always dodge if you can. It conserves magical energy since you do not have to cast a shielding charm, and it keeps you just as safe." Evading several attacks, Harry was still speaking, as if nothing were happening, "Always keep moving, it makes it harder for you to be hit, and forces your opponent to react to YOU instead of the other way around."
This went on for a long time with Harry lecturing nonstop as he and Snape dueled to the amazement of everyone present. Harry somehow kept everyone on the edge of his or her seat, hanging on his every word, as if mesmerized.
Finally, the duel ended with Snape stopping, lowering his wand, then bringing both hands to the opposite shoulder and bowing in graceful defeat as Harry said, "The most important thing that you must know is your limitations. If you find yourself outclassed in a formal duel, then admitting defeat is better than ending up in the hospital, or worse, being killed." Harry and Snape returned to their places before the amazed audience, bowed to each other again in mutual signs of respect, and Snape took his seat while Harry called forth the podium again and leaned on it casually.
"Now that you have SEEN what this class is about," he said, noticing for the first time that everyone was hanging on his every word, "Lets talk about the rules of the class, yes that's right RULES. Outside of this room, I am one of the students, a Gryffindor sixth year, a prefect, but INSIDE I am a member of the Hogwarts' Staff, and I expect for all my students to treat me with the respect that the position warrants."
Harry looked around to make sure he still had everyone's attention, and then went on. "My FIRST rule is mutual respect. I will respect you, as long as you respect me. This includes raising your hand when you have a question or a problem, and WAITING for me to call on you. I will not have idle chatter about the goings on around the school during my class time. If you want to talk about something other than the topic at hand, then you may leave. My Second rule is that under NO circumstances WHATSOEVER are you to do any of the things that I am going to be teaching you outside of this room. This class is designed so that you will be able to defend yourselves against Dark Wizards or FORMAL opponents AFTER graduating Hogwarts, should you need to. If I hear about anyone horseplaying around the school and breaking this rule, and I will if it happens, then there will be SEVERE consequences for BOTH people involved, whether or not you are an innocent victim. IS that understood?" Here Harry paused, and when the crowd finally all nodded to him, he went on. "MY third and final rule is the most important. If you break this rule, you will immediately fail my class." Everyone's eyes widened in shocked horror.
"Under NO CIRCUMSTANCE WHATSOEVER are you to EVER…" here he paused dramatically, waiting till he had everyone's attention, "call me Professor, Professor Potter, or anything ELSE with the word Professor tacked onto it." Laughter broke out around the room, breaking the uneasy silence as Harry outlined his rules to them. "And If I ever hear ANYONE call me the 'Boy Who Lived,' or 'Famous Harry Potter,' inside or outside of class regardless of who you are, you will find yourself facing me in a one on one duel, and I will not be pulling my punches like I did against Professor Snape." Here everyone paused, looking at each other silently as they took in the meaning of his words, then one bold Hufflepuff second year raised a hand, and Harry pointed at him, "Yes, you have a question?"
"Yes… if we aren't supposed to call you P-Pro- that word, then what are we supposed to call you?" he asked.
"Harry, Hey Harry, Hey you, you can take your pick," answered Harry with a grin. "You see I hate titles with a passion, probably a side effect of having been the most famous wizard alive since before I can remember," he added in explanation, earning another round of light laughter.
Hermione raised her hand, and Harry pointed at her. "Yes Miss Granger?" he asked, even though he knew what her question would be.
"Are you going to be grading us in this class Harry?" she asked, "And if so, how?"
"I will indeed be grading you in this class," Harry responded with a smile. "Most of your grade will be based off of effort, NOT whether or not you perform perfectly. You will also receive points for showing up on time, and not missing any of the classes. The rest of your grading will be decided based off a combination of written and practical tests, which I will be giving throughout the year. But don't worry," he added, seeing the nervous looks at the thought that they would be tested, "There will be lots of opportunities for extra credit to boost your grade if you need to, not that I expect that that will be a problem. Any other question?" he asked.
After a moment, a Ravenclaw fourth year raised his hand, and Harry called on him. "What sort of… disciplinary actions will you be using to enforce your rules?" he asked a bit too casually.
"I was waiting for someone to ask that," said Harry with a disturbingly feral grin on his face. "In most cases, I am going to refrain from taking House points, since students that will be breaking my rules will obviously care more about themselves than they do about the others around them. Instead, I will make you HURT. First offense will be exercising for the remainder of class. Second offense will have you serving a detention with me, which will make scrubbing the dungeons feel like HEAVEN in comparison. Third offense and you will find yourself replacing my practice dummies as the rest of the class throws curses at you repeatedly, and you will NOT be able to dodge those curses. You do NOT want that to happen, since you will spend at LEAST a night in the hospital wing. If we have any fourth offenders, then I will personally put them in the Hospital Wing for a month. They will NOT be excused from classes, however, and as soon as they are back to normal, will be expected to hand in all the work that they have missed to all their teachers and be caught up to the rest of the class. If anyone is stupid enough to attempt a fifth attempt, then they will be put in the Hospital Wing for the REST OF THE SEMESTER and dropped from the class. I've already talked to the rest of the Staff about this, and they have agreed with my decisions in this matter."
Harry had been talking directly to the Ravenclaw student, who had slowly lost all the color in his face as he listened to Harry outline his punishments. "But," Harry added after he had let this sink in. "No one need go through with any of that. All you have to do is follow my rules, and you will find me a quite pleasant person." This seemed to make the students relax a bit; also insuring that Harry would have no problems in his classroom. "Any other questions?" he asked. " NO? OK then, I'll go ahead and dismiss you all early, hope to see you on Friday, class dismissed."
Harry watched as the students silently filed out of his classroom, his heart falling. He had been sure that his first class would be a success, but the way everyone was leaving, not talking, not looking around, he knew that he had been awful. He would be lucky if he even HAD a class on Friday. Harry turned his gaze to his friends as well as Matilda,
Remus, Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape who were still sitting in their seats: they had all agreed to stay after and give their impressions about his first class. As soon as the door closed on the last students and staff members leaving Harry looked at them nervously and asked, "So? How'd I do?"
Ginny surprised him by bolting out of her chair and enveloping him in a tight hug. "Oh Harry, you were ABSLOUTELY WONDERFUL!" she said pride and admiration apparent in her voice.
"Really?" he asked still not sure. "I mean… everyone was quiet when they left, I thought they didn't like-," but Ron broke in.
"Harry you dope, everyone was quiet because they were all struck speechless by your stellar performance. You had us all hanging on your every word. You were perfect," he informed his best friend.
Harry looked around, finally hugging Ginny back. Everyone was nodding to him with a smile on his or her face.
"I believe that you have been holding out on us Harry," said Minerva. "You're a natural teacher, you have a way of capturing an audience that most teachers NEVER achieve."
"Yes, Harry, I must say that you are probably the best teacher that we HAVE on Staff," Dumbledore informed him with a smile. "You're definitely better than those of us here." Remus and Matilda both nodded in agreement, still dumbstruck at Harry's first class.
"I agree Harry," Hermione broke in. "Even though I didn't take any notes in this class I KNOW that I will never be able to forget what you taught us tonight." Ron and Ginny both voiced their agreement to that statement.
Finally, Snape said, "Harry your dueling form is perfect. There is no flaw, no weakness at all. I'm an International Grand Master in Dueling, one of the top ten duelers in the world, and I couldn't even TOUCH YOU," he sounded a bit put off.
"Don't beat yourself up too much Severus," Harry said gently. "Most of the Council of Arch-mages can't touch me either, so you're in good company." At those words, Snape did cheer up a bit.
"How long did it take to make this room?" asked a curious Remus. "It looks wonderful."
"Not long actually," said Harry. What actually took the most time was figuring out how I wanted the room. I came up with and tried out all sorts of different rooms, but I think I've found what I was looking for."
"Are all your classes going to be like THAT?" asked Matilda finally speaking. Even though she had finally found her voice, Harry's godmother was still shocked at Harry's performance, and was looking at him in outright wonder.
Harry grinned mysteriously at her. "Come and find out," he said, not answering her question and leaving them all in suspense.
Harry's class was soon the most popular class in the school. When Harry entered the Great Hall the next morning, the entire student body stood and gave him a standing ovation in response to his class the previous night. Throughout that day and the next, practically every student in the school came up to him and assured him that they would be attending his class. On Friday, Harry began teaching in detail the rules, and customs of dueling, somehow keeping everyone's attention glued to him the entire time. He was able to answer all questions, and somehow was able to address each student individually, making sure they understood what he was telling them, and if they did not, he somehow knew the exact thing to say for them to REACH that understanding.
Soon people were coming up to him outside of class, asking him to explain something or another for OTHER classes. After the fiftieth or so time this happened, Harry went to Dumbledore and received permission to organize a study session for the rest of the school. He informed the school that he would be free for help in any subject, in any year, during the last elective period before dinner each day, Harry had dropped Divination since he was now teaching a class, much to his enjoyment. He also declared that he would be available in his classroom from seven to nine on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as all afternoon on Sundays for those students that wished help in their classes.
Harry and Ginny were soon tutoring the entire school. Everyone at school turned up for his sessions on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday and many of the students turned up during the elective periods as well. Seeing how much they worked, the teachers decided to not assign homework to both Harry and Ginny, who was helping Harry tutor the sixth years and below.
The Staff was happy to help the young couple out, since grades in the school were at an all time high. Ron had been indignant when he heard that Harry and Ginny did not have to turn in homework anymore, but quickly calmed when Hermione pointed out that, between tutoring and dueling classes (which Ginny was also assisting Harry with), the two of them did more work than any student does for homework each week.
Harry and Ginny now attended the daily Staff Meetings, which were held at nine thirty at night, allowing the two of them a half hour to wind down and relax after their tutoring sessions, or Harry's class. They were currently present in one such meeting, and the Staff was discussing the student's progress in recent weeks.
"It's been a month and already we've noticed the difference in the students," Professor McGonagall was saying. "They're all working extremely hard, and I can't seem to find much to fault them with at all."
"I agree," said Remus. "In fact, I think that the students deserve a bit of a reward."
"I think so too," piped in Harry, making the staff look at Harry and Ginny, who were curled up comfortably in a chair together. They had just finished Harry's Wednesday Dueling Class. "I think I have the perfect idea for their reward."
"Oh?" said Dumbledore. "What do you have in mind, Harry?"
"Well, next weekend is supposed to be the first Hogsmead weekend isn't it?" he asked. When Dumbledore nodded, he went on. "Well, why don't you make the Halloween Dance a costume ball, and have another Hogsmead weekend the weekend before the Dance? That way, students will be able to look around this weekend, and decide what they want to be and be able to purchase their costumes right before the Ball."
Everyone seemed to like this idea, and the staff quickly decided that this plan would be put into action. They discussed some other things, like decorations and what not, finally Matilda and Remus were charged with handling it, and simply handing Harry the bill for everything. Finally, Dumbledore brought up the real reason why they were there.
"Harry, the rest of the staff and I have been talking, and we wish to make you and Ginny full, official members of the Hogwarts' staff," he informed the two stunned teenagers. "This will mean that you the two of you will be paid like the rest of us, as well as HAVE quarters in the Staff section of the school, although if you two wish to remain where you are during the remainder of the school year that is completely understandable."
"You'll be able to attend, or NOT attend whichever classes you wish, which will give the two of you more freedom," added Remus. "Hell, you two can TEACH most of the classes, anyway, so we don't see the reason wasting your time keeping you cooped up in class all the time when you already know what we are going to 'teach' you."
"The two of you will also be able to 'officially' remain here at Hogwarts during the summer Holiday," McGonagall informed them, making it clear that she meant that they could use this as a cover to go to Avalon without anyone knowing. Since others were in the room that did not know the whole truth about Harry and Ginny, she did not go right out and say it. "You two as well as anyone ELSE you wish to invite."
"What's the catch?" asked Harry finally, liking the sound of what he was hearing, but knowing that it was be too good to be true.
"The public will know," replied Snape immediately. "Once we make you two official members, the press will find out, probably within the hour."
Harry looked at Ginny, who shrugged and said softly to him, "I'll agree to go along with whatever you decide." You do the most work anyway love, so it should be your decision.
Harry looked around the room, making his decision. "We'll do it," he informed them, and everyone began to smile at him.
"Wonderful," said Dumbledore, his twinkle going onto overdrive. "We'll make the announcement at the Halloween Ball."