Chapter 5

A/N: Thanks all for the positive response. You'll continue to be drip-fed for a while...

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"Good morning, good morning, class!" boomed a deep, operatic voice from behind the Baudelaires. "Chop chop now everyone, I've not got all day. That's it – good!"

The long line of Gryffindors followed Olaf's lead, as his robes swept through the door. All looked mildly amused, except the Baudelaires, who exchanged worried looks (a phrase which here means "looks of what could only be described as pure terror") before entering.

Classrooms always represented their teachers, and this classroom was no different. The walls adorned with portraits of many famous dramatists, the room looked highly comical. On the desk at the front lay a large pile of papers, each stamped with a black mark that looked somewhat like an eye, and no fewer than twenty-six hand mirrors – although the students could not be expected to count them all before they sat down.

Olaf cleared his throat. "Hello, class. I am Professor Gorgachio, and I shall be your truly amazing teacher for this year."

The class started to whisper amusedly.

"That is enough, class." the evil Count said in a theatrical stage-whisper. "I will be the one to speak in my classes, thank you."

He cleared his throat and spoke once again. "I am here," he paused theatrically, "to teach you about the Dark Arts." He stopped talking, as though expecting some sort of reaction, perhaps a series of loud gasps, terrified shrieks and melodramatic expressions (a phrase which here means "various ridiculous actions and maybe the odd soliloquy or two, followed by people jumping out of windows, which actually never happens in real life, and certainly did not happen here.").

Looking extremely put-out, he nodded and began to pace. "The Dark Arts and their practitioners are often thought to be..." he paused, as though searching for a useful synonym for the word 'dark', "...darker than their... Light counterparts." He nodded proudly, then looked to the class, who stared back uncooperatively. "In this class, you will be taught the Darkest of the Dark Arts, in an attempt to aid you in your valiant battle against the foulness that infests our world today!" As he spoke, his voice rose, until he was shouting and beating his fist into the air.

"Oh, you have got to be kidding," Ron whispered, low enough for Harry to hear.

Olaf spun around and pointed a finger at the Gryffindor. "YOU!" he bellowed. "Be silent, or you shall never learn the subtle nuances of grace and finesse that will allow you to succeed in the theatre."

Hermione raised her hand almost immediately, her expression showing a mixture of confusion and nervousness. "But, sir, I thought you were going to teach us Defence Against the Dark Arts?"

Olaf frowned, looking around the class of nervous and amused faces. He shifted and stood proudly. "Ten points from... from... your house."

"Gryffindor, sir," she absently corrected.

"Yes, that too," he said, waving a hand dismissively. "Very well then. The Dark Arts."

"The Dark Arts. Yes. The Dark Arts and their practitioners are often thought to be darker than their Light counterparts. In this class, you will be taught the Darkest of the Dark Arts, in an attempt to aid you in your valiant battle against the foulness that infests our world today!"

"To demonstrate this, I will need a volunteer. Klaus Baudelaire! Please step to the front of the class." His smirk seemed only visible to the Baudelaires, as if masked by his flamboyant wave.

Klaus froze, utterly petrified. The whole class looked at him and he could feel their eyes boring into him.

"Don't do it. Don't go." whispered Violet to Klaus, clearly as worried as he was.

"Eku!" cried Sunny.

Finding strength in his legs not there ten seconds ago, he got to his feet. Due to the giggles coming from the girls at the front, Klaus knew that he looked silly, but nonetheless, his face looked resolved. "I must, Violet. Dumbledore trusted us, we must do the same for him."

Olaf's smirk broadened. "Come now, Klaus. The theatre waits for no man!"

Violet's expression became more worried. "Klaus! Don't -"

Before Klaus heard what Violet was about to say, he strode purposefully to the front of the class. The whispers from the girls in front certainly didn't help his resolve, however, and his legs seemed to quaver slightly over the last few paces. "But he's the new boy. How's he supposed to do anything with those old rags on! Why didn't he pick me! I'm much better than some new boy!"

As he reached the desk, the evil Count swooped on him majestically. His face was now so near to Klaus's that he could smell the putrid breath on his cheek. "No manner of books can help you now, boy." he whispered venomously, his voice nothing like the operatic one used earlier. "And where are your poor sisters? At the back of the class, aren't they?"

Klaus shot a look to his siblings, indeed at the back. He had never felt so alone.

Olaf took a large step forward, and called out dramatically. "All young Mr. Baudelaire here has to do -" another dramatic pause "- is kill me."

Seeing the shocked expressions on the faces of the rest of the class, Olaf smiled broadly. After a long pause, he continued, "But we will not be using magic. Many find this muggle way of fighting archaic in the highest, but I find it very useful. For instance, when I was doing the rounds of the theatres in London, an aptitude in sword-fighting was very important. As Henry V, in Henry the Fifth, by William Shakespeare..." He paused, waiting for recognition of this great role. When none came, looking slightly crestfallen, he continued, "I needed all of my quick wit and -"

"What is it, Miss Granger?" he glared, clearly irritated.

"Well, Sir, we established that you are supposed to be teaching us Defence Against the Dark Arts. While William Shakespeare is certainly the master of the pen (as we can see in his technically astute and moving sonnets, as well as his great dramatic works), is he actually relevant to our lesson?"

The various shocked faces at Hermione challenging a teacher seemed to please Olaf immensely. "Another ten points from Gryffindor!" he cried "I am teaching this lesson, I think you will find!" A wave of his hand seemed to close the subject.

"Anyway, yes, Young Klaus' task. Here, I have prepared two swords." he gestured broadly to the two swords sitting at the side of the room. "Please take your sword, Klaus."

As the class turned back from the gleaming, metal implements that rested themselves against the wall, the Baudelaires heard a few shocked gasps that quickly turned into loud giggles. Klaus was lying on the floor in a crumpled heap, obviously having fainted.

Olaf smirked as he saw the body of Klaus on the floor. "He seems to have fainted" he cried, "and nobody noticed! If one is to faint, he audience need to know that he's fainted, since it usually plays a large role in the plot."

Not listening at all, Violet grabbed Sunny and ran out with Klaus, to the continued jeers of the rest of the class.

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The Baudelaires did not enjoy their first week of Hogwarts. Within hours (quite slow, in fact, for the school), news had spread of Klaus fainting in the lesson. The jeers that were for the Baudelaires' tattered, old clothes, had changed to that of 'Collapsing Klaus'. None of the jibes and jeers were worse than that of the Slytherins, however.

"So, Baudelaire." called Malfoy one morning, when he could see plenty of people were watching.

Klaus looked worriedly back at him, his legs refusing to move. Malfoy continued to sneer. "Or shouldn't I talk to you? Maybe you'll collapse again?" his tone changing to that of fake concern. "Maybe you need Madam Pomfrey?"

The Slytherins started a round of laughter anew. It seemed to cut into Klaus like a knife. He swung round, his legs now able to move, and made a swing for Malfoy's face. Malfoy darted to evade the punch and drew his wand, but this was, as it seemed, unnecessary. Obviously caught on his robes, Klaus had over-balanced, landing at Malfoy's feet, glasses askew, one leg in the air.

"I thought you would have learnt since on the train." Malfoy sneered, and as always flanked by Crabbe and Goyle, he about faced and was gone.

"Klaus!" cried Violet and Hermione together and they walked around the corner and ran towards the crowd. "What happened?"

They didn't seem to care about the jeers circling around, but Klaus clearly did. He darted up and, without putting his glasses on again, lunged at the crowd. Through his blurred vision, he made out clearly one of those jeering.

"RON!", he fumed, but clearly couldn't get out any more words. He grabbed Ron's shoulders and started to shake him, though he was swatted away immediately. Rejected, dejected and defeated, he collapsed to the floor, crying.

"Why does it happen to me?" he sobbed to himself, as Hermione and Violet lifted him up and took him back to the common room, shooting looks of loathing to Ron as the crowd departed. "I don't believe you, Ron.", Ron heard from Hermione before she was round the corner again.