Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the original Harry Potter universe.  The character Geillis Gaerwing is mine, as well as Craban the Clumsy House Elf and the peripheral character of Julius Gaerwing, but nothing else in this chapter belongs to me.

Chapter 1: Turn The Page

     "Ouch!"

     Professor Geillis Gaerwing winced as the book fell off the shelf and hit her on the forehead.  That's going to leave a mark, she thought, briefly annoyed.  She picked up the book--a hefty volume of songspells collected by one "Auntie" Gytha Blackbroom--and, with a sigh, placed it back on the shelf.  Predictably, it flew straight back out again.  She caught it just in time.  "What the…?"

     A mischievous giggle drifted down to her from the shelf.  Well, that certainly explained the book's strange behaviour.  Blast!  How'd that pixie get in there, anyway?  With one fluid motion, she whipped out her wand out of her black robes and pointed it at the pixie.  "Immobilis!" she said.

     She picked up the paralyzed pixie and placed it in a cage.  This was actually quite lucky; her cousin Julius had been looking for a pixie or two for several years.  Merlin only knew why he wanted one, but Geillis wasn't about to ask.  Julius had always been a little odd, anyway.

     She removed the curse after she made certain that the cage was secure.  Carefully packing the cage in a crate--luckily, she still had several about, as she had just that day finished her unpacking and arranging of her rooms--she summoned the house elf who had been assigned to her to help her to settle in.

     "Yes, Professor Gaerwing, ma'am?"

     "Craban, could you please send this to my cousin Julius Gaerwing, of Mumbles?  That's in Wales."  There were pixies in Wales, of course, but Julius wasn't much good at catching anything--except perhaps colds. 

     "Yes, ma'am.  Is there anything else that Professor Gaerwing requires?"

     "No, thank you.  That's all.  But for goodness' sake, Craban, can you please just call me 'Geillis'?"

     Craban's face reflected nothing less than sheer confusion.  "Why is this for the sake of goodness?  Has Professor Gaerwing developed a new weapon against—him--that requires the use of her first name, ma'am?"

     Geillis sighed.  "Never mind, Craban; it's only a figure of speech.  Just go and mail the pixie, please."

     The house elf hurried to his work, tripping over his own feet, as usual. 

     Geillis stood and straightened her robes.  This was the night of the staff meeting where she would meet her new colleagues, and she wanted to look her best.  She brushed the cat hair off of the black velvet--the cats hadn't even been in the office since they'd arrived--and smoothed down her brown hair.  She swirled her best black cloak over her shoulders and placed her favourite hat--black velvet lined with blueberry satin, and featuring two black plumes set behind a black velvet rose--on her head.  The new Songspells professor was ready.  She stepped out of her office, murmured "Well, let's do it, Gaerwing," and disappeared into the night.

***

     She arrived just before Professor Dumbledore called the meeting to order, and she took a place where she could be relatively unobtrusive until the Headmaster introduced her.

     The meeting went more or less as so many other staff meetings had gone at her old posting in Canada.  Rules were discussed, ideas were put forward, and there were a few gasps of surprise when Professor McGonagall revealed that Harry Potter, the famous Boy Who Lived, would be arriving this year.  Finally, Dumbledore said, "Is there any further business before our meeting is adjourned?"  Nobody spoke.  "Then, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce--and welcome--our new staff member, Professor Geillis Gaerwing, our Songspells teacher."

     Geillis rose and bowed, stopping just short of the point at which her hat would have fallen into her tea.  The other staff politely applauded, welcoming her into their ranks—all save for the only other staff member dressed in sombre black.  She saw him staring at her, his dark eyes hard and cold. Unfriendly chap, she thought, as she gracefully sank back into her chair.  Well, I shall have as little to do with him as possible.

***

     Professor Severus Snape, sitting in his usual spot, saw the door open just before the meeting was called to order.  Ha!  She's late.  Tch, tch, tch—that's not precisely the best way to make a good impression on anybody.  Not that anybody, save perhaps Dumbledore, had ever made a good impression on the bitter professor since…

     He shook that thought out of his greasy-haired head.  It would do no good to him if he were to start obsessing over his past sins again.

     It was as Professor Dumbledore introduced the new professor that Snape realized that she was also dressed totally in black, save for the lining of her cloak and hat.  Immediately, Snape was on his guard.  There were few reasons that adults wore black in the magical world.

     Since the woman did not look good in black, he could only assume that either she was in mourning for something, or she sympathized with the dark side--and from the cold look on her marble-like face and the icy grey eyes that met his gaze, Geillis Gaerwing had never mourned for anyone or anything in her entire life.

***

A/N: So, how is it so far?  I'm hoping that this doesn't turn out to be a huge Mary Sue.  I'm no fan of those "stories", and I hope I haven't been guilty of the horrible sin of creating one.  That said, there are a couple of references in this chapter which may need explaining.

There actually is a place in Wales called Mumbles; I looked for odd place names when I was trying to find a location for Julius. 

The name "Craban" is derived from "Thalicraban", the random name which came up when I typed a friend's name into the name generator at http://www.barrowdowns.com/.    Incidentally, that's where my author name comes from as well. =)

I am aware that J. K. Rowling has never specified any reasons why people in the magical world would wear black, but it's pretty easy to notice that a lot of the time, when you do see someone dressed in black they're one of the bad guys (or in Snape's case, assumed to be one of the bad guys).  Therefore, I decided to use that handy little thing called "artistic licence", and I hope it's forgivable.

The chapter title is, of course, the title of a song by Bob Seger. 

Anyway, what do you think?  Should I continue with the story, or remove it before it contaminates fanfiction.net? =)