Chapter one: Muggle Studies
Hermione sat at the front of the increasingly noisy class, beside her worst enemy and fellow Head. Yes, Draco Malfoy. The talking and shouting and constant noise that had been surrounding her was getting on her last nerve. The Professor was late.
Fifteen minutes late, to be exact. And she was very upset. Today they were to learn about media in the muggle world, not that Hermione didn't know how it all worked, but she was interested on the magical world's point of view on the subject. She realized it wasn't so different from the wizard's press and media as she remembered the way the Daily Prophet had slandered her best friend only 2 years prior. But all the same, they should be learning, not chatting and fooling around like they had nothing better to do, because they did have something better to do - learn !
"GIVE IT BACK!" bellowed one student, although they all sounded thoroughly amused.
"Try to chuck it right through that, over there," suggested another.
Hermione rubbed her temples and let out a sigh of frustration. She was not going to stand this for much longer. She looked around the room to try and distract herself. She just had to hold out until the Professor got here, and then things would quiet down, the class would calm and the learning would resume. Learning. Reading. Asking questions. Reading . . . books, oh her precious books. Where on earth was the Professor?
Twenty minutes had now passed.
Hermione sighed as she checked the clock for the millionth time that morning. Distraction . . . distraction . . . Hermione looked around the room. There were many shelves lining all of the walls except the one at the front. A large blackboard was spread across the front of the room, in front of it stood a sturdy wooden desk and a chair only fit for a Professor. One of which was missing from this classroom. The room was deep, and fairly big considering it was only a class of about twenty students. There were rows of two and columns of five. There was a walkway down the middle of the desks. Hermione, of course, sat at the front beside, again, of course, Draco Malfoy. The front of the room was on a small platform, just for the professor's desk. The ceiling was high, and held dinosaur skeletons and models of muggle animals. There were non-moving pictures all around the room, covering every inch of wall that wasn't taken up by shelving units - all of which were filled with books that were stacked precariously.
Twenty-five minutes late.
Hermione peered around the still-noisy room and eyed a couple boys who were rolling parchment, throwing it up in the air, and disintegrating it with a flick of their wands. They ceased immediately upon realizing her glare.
"Calm down, Granger," drawled Malfoy next to her. "Is it just me or has the stick that has been lodged up your ass for six years just go a little deeper?"
Hermione ignored him. Where the hell was their teacher? He was never late! Ever!
"You know what," said Hermione suddenly. "If no teacher has the intention on taking care of this class, then I will have to try, won't I?"
"Oh just sit down and stop acting like you're our mommy, why don't you?" snapped Malfoy.
"We are Heads! We need to set an example, not condone this," Hermione paused to gesture to the out-of-control-class surrounding her, "this type of behavior!"
Malfoy rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Do whatever you want, mudblood, I couldn't care less either way."
Hermione ignored his comment and stood. She was not nervous to address her fellow seventh years - she was not afraid of anything. As she turned and faced her peers, some stopped talking to look at her, looks of annoyance and expectance on their faces. All looked disappointed at her stance except Neville, who finally seemed to retrieve his belongings from a group of Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaw boys who were snickering into their hands.
"Listen up!" Hermione said loudly, addressing the last few students who hadn't stopped talking with the first few. "Now, I am well aware that Professor Frockstoffs is not present, but that does not give anyone the right to act this way. Are you seventeen or seven?"
One look around the room told Hermione that no one was going to say anything. Malfoy smirked at her and shook his head as he leaned back in his seat.
"Just because the teacher is late, it does not mean you have to break out like a bunch of wild Hipogriffs, yelling and laughing and fooling around, playing keep away - " some looked confused, others ashamed "-setting things on fire-" the guilty parties sank in their seats "-or anything else that ridiculous. I'm sure that Professor Frockstoffs will be here soon, so don't–"
"Ah, miss, that is where you would be mistaken," said a male voice from the doorway. Hermione turned, as did the rest of the class. No one was looking at Hermione any longer. Everyone's eyes were on the man entering the classroom now. He walked over to the desk at the front and set down the books that were in his arms and his bag that was slung over his shoulder. He looked up at Hermione. "Lovely speech though. I must say I agree," said the man with a stern look at the class. He looked around the room at the students, most of which were hiding any evidence of their earlier behavior. Well, Hermione noticed, the boys were. The girls couldn't seem to stop looking at the man standing in front of the blackboard. These actions made Hermione furrow her brow in confusion.
He was about five feet and nine inches tall with disheveled, dark brown hair. He had some stubble on his face, telling the class that he hadn't shaved this morning, and hazel eyes. He had a straight nose and a warm smile. His teeth looked almost perfectly straight. Somehow he had the feel of intelligence, but his messy, loose look did not push that point to the surface. He had his wand lazily stowed away inside his robes. He had broad shoulders, easily visible by the teachers robes he was sporting. He looked like a mess, still. His robes seemed to be wrinkled and twisted in some spots. Clean, but not taken care of.
Hermione looked up at him. He was still smiling. "Er, who are you exactly?" Hermione inquired, not bold enough to use sharp tones with an adult who seemed to be so certain they were in charge, but confident enough to know she had a right to ask him.
"I am Professor M. Dolop, your new Muggle Studies teacher," said the man simply.
The class broke out in whispers and Hermione looked at him with a furrowed brow. "Where's Professor Frockstoffs? He never said anything about this. Actually, he even told us what he would be teaching us today." Hermione folded her arms. Every girl in the class glared at her.
"Ah, well, Professor Frockstoffs decided to finish the remainder of this school year elsewhere . . ."
Again, the class broke out in whispers. It was, after all, only the third day back.
"So I received a call this morning and here I am, to teach all of you," Professor Dolop continued. Hermione looked at her new teacher with a bit of disappointment. Hopefully he looked like a mess because he had to rush here. Her first impression of this man was not good. How old was he anyway? He couldn't be more than twenty-six years old. Professor Froskstoffs was much older and much more experienced. Was this Professor Dolop's first job or something? Or maybe he was only replacing Frockstoffs until another teacher arrived . . . hopefully.
"Well, welcome to Hogwarts," said Hermione with a smile. She re-seated herself and looked up at him expectantly.
"Alright! Let's get started then, shall we?"
As lunch time arrived, Hermione could be found in the Great Hall with Ron and Harry. The lunch today consisted of sandwiches and fruit and an assortment of juices. Ron was, as usual, in a hurry to overeat and enjoy the pleasant stomachache that he would occur after. He had changed over the summer, his hair had grown longer and his mother had agreed to let it stay that way instead of insisting on a haircut like she usually did. He had grown taller, of course, and his facial features had seemed to even out. His bright blue eyes seemed to jump right out at you compared to his pale, freckled complection and violently red hair. His jaw was far more bold and defined and Hermione could tell that he had Harry must've been practicing Quidditch all summer long, for he looked far more built than she had remembered. Next to Ron, Harry was eating while reading a Quidditch magazine that one of his fellow teammates had given him. He was Quidditch captain and could not be happier, just as Hermione could not be happier for him. His hair was as dark and black as ever. His eyes were more beautiful and entrancing than ever before, for some reason, and Hermione noticed that he looked so much older than last year. His shoulders had broadened and his form was built, more so than Ron's but Hermione would not say that aloud. His facial features seemed far more relaxed now, like he was constantly under the charm of butterbeer. Across from both her best friends, Hermione was also reading, she had picked up a novel or two at the library on the first day back.
Suddenly Ginny came bouncing over to them and took a seat next to Hermione, across from the occupied boys who looked up. She had changed as well, her hair a few inches beyond her shoulders now and her eyes – a soft brown – fit perfectly with her slightly tanned complection. She had already gotten back into the full swing of her popularity and had been with her friends every spare moment she had. So, as she was now with her brother and Hermione and Harry, they were pleasantly surprised – especially Harry, as Hermione noticed he set down his magazine immediately upon her arrival.
"Hey guys!" she greeted cheerily. She then turned to Hermione quickly, beaming. "Oh Merlin, Hermione! Have you seen him?"
"Who?" said all three friends together, Ron's voice with an edge and Harry's with a fake sense of casualness. Hermione nearly laughed at his non-chalant expression, that he was obviously faking, but kept her attention focused on Ginny.
"Oh, I don't remember his name . . . but he's a new Professor! He came to talk to McGonnagal while we were having Transfiguration this morning. Something with a 'D' . . . Da- no, Dru- ah, no!"
"Dolop?" Hermione said, looking back to her book. But the squeal that followed kept her attention far away from her story, and made Ron and Harry jump.
"Yes! That's it! Have you seen him, Hermione?" Ginny said, sporting the widest smile Hermione had ever seen her have. Hermione furrowed her brow.
"Yeah, I just had him for Muggle Studies. What are you–?"
"Oh my gosh! Isn't he gorgeous?" Ginny squealed once more, closing her eyes and smiling.
"Ginny!" scowled Ron, looking affronted as food dripped from his mouth and onto his plate. Harry looked very uncomfortable and seemed to take a sudden interest in his magazine once again.
"What?" said Ginny to her brother. "All the boys can ogle Fleur like she's the meaning of life but no girls can admire a guy with good looks?"
Ron said nothing, he just took a vicious bite of chicken. "Ow!" he yelped. "Bith my tun!"
Ginny rolled her eyes and turned back to Hermione. "So?"
"So what?" Hermione looked questioningly at her friend.
"Don't you think he's . . . he's perfect? Merlin, did you see his gorgeous eyes! And oh-my-gosh! His messy hair and-" at this point Harry looked very insulted as he patted the back of his head "-he's so tall and handsome!"
"Ginny!" Hermione scolded, sounding like Ron. "He's a teacher!"
"Yes he is," Ginny said with a dreamy look in her eyes.
"Merlin, Ginny, he's got to be 10 years older than you!" Hermione said, closing her book and looking disbelievingly at her red-headed friend.
"Well, it'd be worth it! And honestly, I'm sixteen, and if he's only 25 that's only nine years difference, which isn't that bad, there's some people's parents who are 15 years apart!"
"Ginny, come on, you should know better," Hermione reasoned hopelessly.
She shrugged. "You're so lucky you have him. I wish I'd taken Muggle Studies . . ."
"First of all, he's a Professor. Second of all, I don't see the big deal. He looked like a bit of a mess to me, actually," Hermione said. Ron looked extremely proud of Hermione as he patted her on the back and smiled at his sister in a kind of 'I told you so' way.
"Well, Hermione, that's because you are CRAZY!" Ginny said, taking hold of her friend's shoulders. "You can't say that you don't think he's good looking at all!"
Hermione shrugged. "I don't notice Professors that way," she answered truthfully. "And I wasn't really looking."
"Argh!" Ginny moaned out of frustration. "Hermione, being Head Girl has gotten to you! You can think someone's handsome! Nobody's going to appear and snatch your badge away if you admit it!"
"Oh, speaking of that," Harry said, clearly glad to switch to a different subject, "how's Malfoy been?"
Hermione had been very shocked to learn who the Head Boy was, and was even more disgusted to learn she had to share a common room and bathroom with him. It was only the first week back, but they had been fighting every day this week and she couldn't take much more of his cruelty and rude remarks. She sighed. "Way to bring me down, Harry. Thanks," she said as she let her head fall down onto the table.
"Yeah, way to go Harry," said Ginny. She patted Hermione on the back. Harry looked more frustrated then ever. Ron gave him a consoling look and returned to eating and listening to the conversation at the same time.
"But–" began Harry, but Ginny cut across him.
"I don't get it, every guy is so threatened by other girls talking about other guys . . . it's stupid, really. But I mean, how can we not notice him? He's like . . . I mean, he's great . . ." said Ginny. Once Harry looked darkly down to his lunch Ginny turned back to her friend who was sinking into the table. "What's he done now, Hermione?"
"He treats me like garbage," Hermione said, looking up. "He calls me a mudblood every day, too. I think it's become sort of his official greeting now, like a pet name or something . . . and he never buggers off, either. When I'm reading in the common room, he's right there, asking me why I even bothered to return for my last year . . . or how come I don't run off and try and earn some money so I can look 'half-decent once in a while', buy nice things, or help my 'impoverished' family."
"Scum," spat Harry.
"Want us to–" began Ron.
"No, no, no . . . you'll only get into a fight, and things will get out of control . . . thanks, but no."
"Then why do you bother complaining to us, if you don't want us to do anything?" Ron asked, finally finishing his meal.
Hermione scowled at her clueless friend.
"Because it's probably nice to have some understanding Ron," interjected Ginny. Harry nodded, not wanting to make anyone else mad or upset, while Ron mouthed the word, "oh".
Hermione looked up to Ron. "Besides, he's really not worth you getting detention, or endangering your position on the team, or getting hurt," she reasoned. She gave Ron a significant look, which he obviously noticed because his face tinged with pink spots and he looked back down to his breakfast mumbling something incoherent to Harry.
Meanwhile, at the Slytherin table, the topic of discussion was also Professor Dolop.
"Pansy SHUT UP!" shouted Blaise. "No one cares about how good looking the damn teacher is!" The dark haired, tanned boy rolled his eyes and narrowed them at the pug-faced cow who would not stop blubbering about the new teacher. He slammed his fork down in annoyance.
"He's not as half as good looking as you are, Draco, of course," cooed Pansy to Malfoy. He rolled his eyes and shook her off of his arm.
"I don't think he's a big deal. He walks in with his robes worth about a knut and a half and acts like he's the king of all of everything or something . . . I think he looks like a poor old hag or something. I don't see why all these girls can't stop talking about him," said Malfoy as he took another bite of his food. He was already in bad mood because of Granger, and did not need his friends acting like idiots when he was trying to eat his lunch, too. Hermione had yelled at him for ordering a house elf to make him breakfast this morning, because he was running late for class. Given that he had made her trip over the rug in their common room first . . . but that didn't matter, she was not in charge of him. And she was getting on his one and only nerve. He did not put up with filthy mudblood trash the way she apparently assumed and he was going to do something rash if she did not just bugger off pretty soon with all of her nagging. But, and he smirked at the thought, she did get so upset when he interrupted her reading. Her nostrils would flare and she would purse her lips . . . it was quite amusing when she thought she was tough.
"Draco?" Blaise said to his friend. "So?"
"What?" he snapped.
"Do we have Quidditch practice today?"
"Idunno, leave me alone, Merlin," he replied, unnerved.
"So Draco," began Blaise with a smirk. "I saw Granger the other day with the blood traitor scum down by the lake," he raised his brows. "She seems to have filled out a little bit in this area." Blaise held his hands over his chest and snickered.
"Like I'd really give a damn," Malfoy said. He was immediately disgusted by his friend's observation.
"Seen anything worth telling about, then eh?" asked Blaise.
Pansy's head snapped in Draco's direction, waiting to hear his reply. "It's a mudblood. There's nothing worth telling about. Nothing worth even looking at."
Satisfied, Pansy turned away once again while Blaise raised his eyebrows and continued eating. Crabbe nudged Malfoy and pointed up to the front where Dumbledore had stood.
The entire hall fell silent immediately.
"Good afternoon, my students," began Dumbledore. "I assume you have noticed our change in Professors in the subject of Muggle Studies. Professor Frockstoffs has decided to leave our school, regrettably, but be assured, his replacement is more than capable of filling his shoes. Please welcome our newest addition to our Hogwart's staff, Professor Dolop."
Dolop stood, inclined his head shortly with a quick, warm smile, than sat once more. The hall erupted in applause, mostly from the females.
"Ah, I'm glad to see that our school is as welcoming and friendly as ever," continued Dumbledore. "Thank you for you attention. Now, back to your plates. I hope your lunch is all that it should be."
With that, Dumbledore sat with a smile. Blaise turned and grinned at Draco, followed by Crabbe and Goyle who were also grinning stupidly.
"Yeah, he's definitely getting old," said Blaise with a smirk.
"Yeah," agreed Malfoy. "I think he's taken on one too many stunners, if you ask me."
"Maybe your brain just kind of leaks out your ears after a certain point," Blaise commented with a shrug.
"Yeah, or maybe you'd need a brain to start out with," said Malfoy.
"So, really," said Blaise in a whisper to his blonde friend. "Tell me, Granger got a nice rack?"
Malfoy glared at his friend. "Find out for yourself, dammit, I don't care."
"Okay, okay, don't get yourself all in a dither there Draco," he said. He sat back, looking deep in thought. Malfoy looked down to his plate but pushed it away. Who could ever find that mudblood worth looking at?