"And now, I would like to announce your new Defense Professor," Albus Dumbledore said, standing in front of his seat at the staff table. "He has, by far, the most Defense experience of any previous teacher, and he even offered to undergo Veritaserum testimony in front of myself and the Heads of Houses. This was done to prevent any repeats of last year," Harry, who was seated in the audience, winced. "I would like to introduce you to Professor Evan Nigellus… a distant relation of the Nigellus family, and incidentally, also of former Headmaster Phineas Nigellus."
A man of average height stood up from his seat next to Snape. His hair was sandy brown, windswept, and hung down to his shoulders; his eyes were a soft dove-gray in color, and he wore a pair of oval gold wire spectacles. He was rather young in appearance, though his eyes seemed far older. He wore a pair of gray robes made of the finest wool, with gold embroidery at the edges of the sleeves, lapels, and hem. He wore his family crest on the left breast of his robes.
He sat down again as Dumbledore continued speaking. "Professor Nigellus has dedicated his life to the study of and defense against the Dark Arts. He has fought countless dark wizards in his travels, and has agreed to duel me in a friendly competition. This duel will be held on Saturday, and attendance is mandatory."
Several people in the audience began to whisper. No one had dueled Dumbledore in a friendly competition since years before his defeat of Grindelwald.
- - -
Evan entered his bedchambers and re-cast his aura masking spell. With any luck this would confuse the Marauder's Map. He couldn't afford to make any mistakes.
He carefully removed his robes and tossed them onto a chair. He tugged at the laces of his old-fashioned shirt, allowing him to breathe easier, and he collapsed onto his couch with a sigh.
He wore a pair of dark gray trousers, and knee-high glossy black boots. He was the picture of elite Wizard fashion… and he hated it.
"What I wouldn't give for a decent pair of cargo pants, combat boots, and a tee-shirt," he groaned. "Ah, well, you can't have everything."
He stood and walked over to the mirror above the fireplace. He ran a hand down his face, learning the lines of it. Muggle plastic surgery had done wonders for him. It even removed his many scars.
His eyes were covered with never-fall-out contact lenses (one of his own inventions), and his glasses were merely for show. The gray color of his lenses hid his own natural color easily. Hair dye was an easy purchase in the Muggle world, and even easier to maintain with magic.
The only thing he couldn't change was his height and build, and he had worked too hard to get where he was now to want to change it.
He turned away from the mirror, and walked over to his drink cart. He poured some Scotch in a tumbler and downed it. Minerva was kind to give him a bottle for his last birthday. She had introduced him to it several years before, and he found it was far more enjoyable than Firewhiskey, though nothing was better than a butterbeer.
"Tomorrow is another day," he muttered, not quite sure where he had heard that quote before. It rang with memories of his childhood, and seemed applicable for this moment.
- - -
The next day he entered his classroom to find his first group of second year students already seated at their desks.
"Welcome," Evan said, as he swept over to his desk and seated himself on the edge of it. "I'm sure you all have questions, so go ahead and ask them."
A girl with brown hair was the first to raise her hand.
"Yes, Miss…" he said.
"Granger, Sir," she replied.
"Ah, of course… What is your question?" Evan smiled kindly at the room, the corners of his eyes crinkling good-naturedly.
"Did you attend Hogwarts? I've looked at the old class registers, but I haven't seen any of the Nigellus family for almost fifty years," she said.
Evan grinned. "No, I didn't attend Hogwarts. My parents traveled a great deal, and they decided to teach me themselves. I believe I could have taken the NEWTS when I was thirteen, if the Ministry would have let me. My parents taught me from the time I was old enough to read, and their curriculum of choice was quite diverse. Next!"
"What house do you think you would have been in had you come here?" a rather pompous sounding boy asked.
"Well, Mr. MacMillan," Evan said, "For a lark, the Headmaster had me Sorted after he hired me. The hat said something to the effect of 'Slythergryfflepuffenclaw'. Does that answer your question?" The new professor looked amused by his students' expressions.
"Er, yeah," Ernie said in shock.
"What kind of dark creatures have you fought?" a red-haired boy asked. "I'm Ron Weasley, by the way," he added at the last moment.
Evan looked rather sad as he answered. "I've met Sphinxes, Acromantulas, Hell-Hounds, all manner of Dark Snakes, Werewolves, Vampires, Inferi, Zombies, Banshees, and creatures that you couldn't possibly imagine."
A boy with messy black hair raised his hand. "I'm Harry Potter," he said. "I was just wondering how old you are to have met so many creatures."
Professor Nigellus smiled. "The smallest child can meet a Dark Creature, as can the oldest Wizard. Age doesn't matter. But, to answer your question, I am twenty-three. I took my NEWTS five years ago."
"You look older," Lavender Brown said without thinking.
To everyone's shock, the professor laughed. "Yes, I suppose I do," he replied. "Any more questions? No? Alright then, this year I am going to teach you the basics of self-defense and Dark Creatures. I've looked over your previous Professor's lesson plans and found them disturbingly lacking. Miss Granger?"
Hermione had raised her hand. "Sir, will our class be mostly practical or theoretical?"
Evan grinned. "I don't see the point in teaching theory alone, when practical skills are what will save your life, so theory will be your homework, though I will answer any questions you may have at the start of each class. In class, aside from your questions, we will be doing practical work."
Half of the classroom broke out into cheers.
"I will also be in my office whenever I'm not teaching or sleeping, so I will be available at all times and for any reason."
- - -
"He seems good," Harry said, as the trio left the classroom. "Really good. At this rate, Defense will become my favorite subject."
"I'm pleased to hear it," a voice said from right behind the three friends.
They spun around to see Evan standing there, his eyes sparkling. "You shouldn't talk so loud, and if you want to keep your conversations private, then you should learn some privacy spells. You didn't hear that from me, right?" Evan winked at the friends.
Harry said, "No, Sir. You just stopped us to see if we had any questions about class."
"Excellent, glad to see we're on the same page." Evan said before walking off.
"He is so cool," Ron said.
"I agree," Harry said.
Hermione huffed. "Honestly, you two… He was encouraging rule-breaking!"
"Exactly," Harry said. "Besides, the Headmaster gave me my father's you-know-what!"
Hermione just sighed and let it go.
- - -
Evan watched the conversation from around the corner. He had once had friends like that. It was amazing what jealousy could do to destroy friendships.
Evan sighed. It was too late for him, but maybe he could help them… puberty could be a bitch on friendships between boys and girls. He knew that from experience.
- - -
Harry was, for the first time since arriving in the magical world, doing something that he had dreamed of while at Privet Drive after shopping with Hagrid. Granted he'd had to sneak away while Ron was playing chess against Seamus and Hermione was studying.
Harry slipped through the doors to the library, alone for the first time since arriving at Hogwarts. Ron and Hermione had always been with him in the past.
He slipped silently past Madam Pince, who was sorting books. Years of sneaking past Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia aided him now.
He walked over to the card catalogue and began to look up 'privacy spells'. Finally he had a list of possible books.
He slipped between the bookshelves, looking for the Charms section. He eased his way past a group of Hufflepuff fourth years, including Cedric from the Quidditch team, and managed to also slip past a group of Slytherin seventh year students.
Finally he entered the well-used section he was looking for. He walked down the aisle looking for the books written by someone called Alastor Moody. He stepped carefully over Trevor, not wanting to do anything to hurt Neville, and finally turned down an alley between shelves. He ran a finger down the cracked spines of some very old books, and at last, found the smooth, unbroken spine of Moody's book, A Secret Only Stays Secret If No One Knows It.
Harry slipped it off the shelf, and settled onto the floor Indian-style with it balanced in his lap.
I suggest only using this in the Muggle world, or when you want a wizard to know that you are using a privacy spell, as this spell causes a buzzing sound to fill the ears of anyone within hearing of your conversation. The buzzing will confuse a Muggle, but any half-decent wizard will know it's a privacy spell.
This is useful when trying to catch a suspect. The suspect will guess that you are talking about them, and their worry about what you said may cause them to make a mistake.
Harry guessed that Mr. Moody was some sort of a detective. He carefully turned the page.
This charm caused a shield of sorts to cover an object. It only works against physical objects, however. I suggest using it on a room in conjunction with the Silencing Charm (see page 287).
A sure-fire way to tell when someone has used this charm is to chuck something at it, like a dungbomb or a glob of clay. The object you throw will bounce off of whatever has been charmed.
Harry flipped to page 287.
The Silencing Charm can be used on a person or creature to silence any noises they make. It can also be used on a room so no one outside can hear what goes on inside. This is very useful when you find yourself with a set of blonde twenty year old twins.
The Silencing Charm is also good for stealthy maneuvering. Cast it on your shoes, and no one will hear you walk even you are tap dancing.
After looking through this book for an hour, Harry reached the final page.
For more ways to keep your secrets, find out someone else's secrets, or to sneak up on a suspect, you can buy my complete boxed set of books entitled 'Do Or Die: An Auror's Guide'.
Harry knew for certain that the only possible place in Hogwarts that would have that set would be the Restricted Section. It was probably easier to just owl-order the books himself.
He replaced A Secret Only Stays Secret If No One Knows It on the shelf, and began his silent trek out of the library. As he left, he glanced back at the rows of shelves, longing to search them for the secrets of magic.
Why had he never bothered to learn the things that had so enthralled him after he learned what he was? Why did he never visit the library before meeting Hermione? Why had he let Ron talk him into goofing off instead of doing his work? Could he even remember anything from his first year of school besides Wingardium Leviosa?
Harry pondered these things as he walked the corridors back to Gryffindor Tower. He finally came to the conclusion that he had been a fool, and that Snape was right when he called him a dunderhead.
- - -
Evan watched silently as Harry read the newest donation to the Howarts library, a donation that was courtesy of Evan Nigellus.
"Spying again, dear boy?" Dumbledore said, appearing out of thin air beside him.
"Yes, and I'm not your dear boy," Evan said, looking at the old man sadly. "I haven't been since you told me the truth of our relationship, and the half-truths you'd been telling me all my life."
"I am sorry," Dumbledore said, a tear trickling down his cheek into his beard.
"I know," Evan sighed, "but I need more time before I can forgive you."
"Is there anything I can do to help," the aged Headmaster said.
Evan stared sadly at Harry, who was engrossed by the book. "Tell him everything, train him, and give him the choices you never gave me."
Dumbledore looked sad. "You know why I cannot do that."
Evan looked sadly at him. "Only because you don't want to, if you really did want to, then you'd find a way to make it safe for him to know," he said. "You know of what I speak."
Dumbledore looked sad. "I cannot test him. At his young age, the damage would be irreparable, and would prevent him from learning the very thing I would be attempting to teach him."
Evan shook his head, and said, "Think, old man. Teach him the ways of learning it, and wait to test him until he is older. Merlin knows that Voldemort will not hesitate to 'test' him at this young age. He already started, or do you not remember last year. If you wait, then it will be too late for him to ever learn. Your precious spy has also begun 'testing' your golden boy," Evan said snidely. "If you wish to earn forgiveness then there are several things you must do. Clean house and get rid of the useless professors who are nothing more than a joke to the students. Teach Harry what he needs to know, and for Merlin's sake, stop manipulating people."
Dumbledore sighed, looking older than ever. He then said, "I shall do what I can to improve the quality of teaching, but I cannot get rid of two of the professors that you wish to see gone."
"Then monitor their teaching style, and hold them to a higher standard than what they have been."
"I cannot teach Harry what he needs to know. If Voldemort were to know that I was teaching him…" Dumbledore said.
"Then let me teach him," Evan demanded. "He deserves better than what he has."
"You may give him private lessons," the Headmaster conceded.
Evan smirked. "You must vow to let me teach him in my own manner, in my own time, and allow me to use my judgment in all aspects of his life. I accept no alterations on that oath. I will however respond with an oath of my own, that anything I do in regards to Harry Potter, I do for his ultimate benefit." His eyes narrowed as he watched the Headmaster consider the oaths.
"I, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, vow on my magic that I will allow the person known to be Evan Nigellus to teach Harry Potter in the manner of his choice, in his own time, and I will allow him to use his judgment in all aspects of Harry Potter's life. So mote it be," Dumbledore swore, his wand glowing in acceptance of the vow.
"I, the person known as Evan Nigellus, vow on my magic that anything I do in regards to Harry Potter, I do for his ultimate benefit. So mote it be," Evan swore, his wand glowing brighter than Dumbledore's had. Evan smirked. "Thank you, Sir… Now about your manipulations…"
"I shall endeavor to stop," Albus said sincerely.
Evan smiled. "I suppose that's all anyone can do." He glanced back at Harry and nodded his head in approval.
"Shall we go have a game of chess, Sir," the young professor offered.
"That would be delightful."