1. This is a co-story set in the same universe as CommanderValeria's "Don't Leave Me". You do not have to read her story to understand this one but I would recommend doing so as the characters and situations overlap.
2. Okay, so I sort of lied. You might need to read her story to understand this first chapter but I'll try to explain it myself. We are attempting to keep our fanfics as canon as possible, but in order for our stories to go in the direction we wanted them to we had to take a certain liberty… I hope that we have not done too much damage to J.K. Rowling's original ideas by doing this, but we have "revived" the majority of the characters who passed away in the Battle of Hogwarts in "The Deathly Hallows." However, in order to not harm J.K.R's important theme that it is impossible to revive the dead, we've explained it as certain "old magic" prevented those who had some kind of "unfinished business" from fully dying, and so they were not actually "dead", just sort of "sleeping" until they were able to be revived. A more full explanation is found in Chapter One of CommanderValeria's "Don't Leave Me". If you prefer to look at this as an alternate universe story, you can do that too. I hope you will all read, rate, and enjoy our stories despite our "meddling". Thanks so much, and enjoy! J
Dinah landed her broom on the damp grass and looked up eagerly at the tall castle that lay in front of her: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She was finally achieving her dream job! Teaching at one of the finest establishments in the wizarding world.
She glanced down at the letter that her owl Rowena had delivered to her. She was supposed to arrive at 3:00pm to meet Dumbledore and all of the other professors. Her luggage had probably already arrived in her new quarters. She hurried up to the castle and through the doorway to the great hall. It had been many years since she'd last been here, but she knew the way by heart.
She bounded rather enthusiastically up the stone stairs and into the large room. No one had arrived yet. Perhaps she was early. She hurried up to the front of the room and sat on the last chair of the Gryffindor table in front of the staff table. It might be considered rude to sit down with the staff before she had been officially introduced to the other professors.
A door to her left opened and a tall, rather old wizard with a long white beard walked into the room. She stood up immediately, "Professor Dumbledore."
Dumbledore glanced at her and smiled, "Dinah Samson. It's been quite a long time. My you've grown."
She smiled, "It's so good to be back."
"The other professors will be here shortly. Please don't hesitate to sit down at the staff table."
"Thank you," she said, humbly choosing the seat on the very end of the table.
As Dumbledore went about his business preparing the hall for the arrival of the students later that night, she wondered faintly which professors would still be here that she remembered from her school days. Professors McGonagall and Flitwick were probably still here. Probably Professor Sprout, too. Undoubtedly the caretaker Filch would still be here. But how many would there be that she'd never met before?
She didn't have much time to think on that as the doors on both sides of her opened and a number of professors that she remembered as well as ones she did not, shuffled into the room.
"Ah, good!" Dumbledore said with a smile, turning around to face them all, "I'd like to introduce you all to our new professor of Muggle Studies: Miss Dinah Samson."
Dinah stood up, smiling somewhat nervously. As she had guessed, McGonagall, Flitwick, and Sprout were there. But there was no one else that she recognized.
"I'm sure some of you know Dinah as I do from the days when she was a student here. Others probably have never met her. Minerva, I'm sure you remember Dinah." Dumbledore said with a smile at McGonagall.
"Certainly," McGonagall said, "Welcome back to Hogwarts, Dinah."
"I'm looking forward to becoming a professor here," she said, "I hope I can live up to all of your expectations."
"I'm sure that won't be a problem," Flitwick said in his squeaky voice. Sprout nodded with a confident smile.
"Well, it would do for me to introduce you to the other professors," Dumbledore said, "We have Professors Sibyll Trelawny and Firenze of Divination," he gestured to a strangely dressed, thin woman near him, and a handsome centaur on the other side of the room.
Dinah tried not to grimace. She had always hated divination.
"And of course," Dumbledore continued, "Professor Severus Snape of Defense Against the Dark Arts."
A tall man with shoulder-length greasy black hair and dark eyes strode up to her, glancing at her with a critical eye, "So, you're the professor of Muggle Studies, are you?" he said 'Muggle Studies' in a tone of dislike.
"Yes, as a matter of fact I am."
"I see…" he murmured with a slight smirk, then strode away leaving Dinah wondering exactly what his problem was.
"And of course, we have…" Dumbledore continued, introducing her to professor after professor, all of which she had never met before, "Now that that's over with, we'd best all continue preparations for tonight. Minerva will show you to your quarters Dinah."
"Thank you, Sir," she said with a smile, and followed professor McGonagall out of the Great Hall and towards the Muggle Studies classroom.
"I hear you got a degree at a Muggle University after leaving Hogwarts, Dinah?" Professor McGonagall asked as they walked down a long hallway.
"Yes. Three degrees in fact, all in the fields of anthropology and sociology," at McGonagall's confused look, she continued, "They include the study of humans, human development, different cultures, and the interactions between them. Well, not the wizarding culture, but knowing the theories and ideas help me examine the connections between the Muggle and magic worlds."
"That's impressive," the professor seemed surprised, "Albus said your qualifications were very high. Oh, here we are," she stopped in front of a door at the end of the hall.
Dinah opened the door, walked through the classroom, through her office, and into the living quarters on the other side. Her things had already arrived.
Professor McGonagall stared dumbfounded at the huge pile of electronic devices in the middle of the floor, "What are those?"
"Oh, just…let's see, telly, VCR, CD player, video games, computer…"
"I'm impressed. You brought all these for your class? I'm sure it will be valuable to the students to learn about these things."
Dinah grinned sheepishly, "Actually, I brought them for my own enjoyment. I have an enchantment that makes them work for me even in areas of high magic."
"I see…" she looked confused for a moment, and then something seemed to dawn on her, "Oh, I remember! Your wizarding abilities weren't discovered until you were sixteen years old. You lived most of your young life as a Muggle."
She nodded, "I pride myself on living a sort of double life. I spend half my time with the Muggles and half with wizards. Now that I'm teaching I'll only be able to go back to the Muggle world during the summer, which will essentially be the opposite of how it was when I was obtaining my Muggle degrees."
"Well, it certainly is unusual," McGonagall said, "but I'm sure your extensive knowledge of both worlds will make you a very excellent teacher."
"Thank you, Professor."
"Since we're colleagues now, you can refer to the professors by their first names if you like. You're not a student anymore, you know?" she grinned.
"That's true," she nodded, "It'll take some getting used to though…uh, Minerva."
Minerva laughed, as she glanced around the room. Her eyes landed on the four cages piled up in a corner, "You certainly have a lot of pets."
"Oh, yes," Dinah smiled, pointing to the cages, each of which had a creature inside, "This is my owl Rowena, my cat Godric, my toad Salazar, and my rat Helga."
"Named after the four founders? That's creative."
She smiled, "I suppose so."
"Well, I'd better leave you here to get settled, Dinah," Minerva made to head for the door, before turning around and facing her, "You should be downstairs in the Great Hall by six o'clock to help prepare for the arrival of the students," she left the room.
Dinah went about using her magic to clean up the room and put things away. It didn't take her very long and as soon as she'd finished she headed downstairs to the Great Hall, stopping on her way there to let Rowena into the owlery.
She had nearly made it to the hall, when she ran into Argus Filch, the caretaker, a long-haired, tortoiseshell cat following close behind him.
He sneered down at her, "You look familiar."
"Dinah Samson, Sir. New professor of Muggle Studies," she said.
"Wait a minute! I know you! You were a student about thirty years ago, right?"
She frowned, "More like twenty."
"You were the one who was five years older than everybody else."
"That is correct," she said, desperately hoping that he didn't mention-
"Yeah," Filch drolled, "I remember that time when you were a 'first year' when-"
"I prefer not to talk about that, thank you," she mumbled, brushing past Filch and into the Great Hall. He had mentioned it, after all. What was she expecting anyway? His obnoxious attitude hadn't changed in the least since she was a student.
She shuddered at being reminded of it. She didn't want to think about it, ever. She sighed and pushed it out of her mind.
"Ah, you're back!" Dumbledore said, causing some of the other professors to turn and look at where she'd entered.
"Good, we can get another opinion!" Minerva exclaimed, "Dinah, do you think we should change the night sky to look more pleasant, since it's supposed to storm tonight?"
Dinah glanced up at the bewitched ceiling. Dark clouds were gathering over it, "That might be a good idea, since it is the first day back. The first years will probably want to see something a little less gloomy."
"It's settled then!" the headmaster said, "We shall change the night sky for tonight. Perhaps add a lot of stars."
"It is a bad omen if you attempt to alter the sky," Professor Trelawny mumbled.
"I'm sure it won't hurt anything, Sibyll," Professor Flitwick insisted.
"Indeed," Firenze agreed, "Seeing as this is a false sky in the first place, as long as the true sky is not tampered with, nothing bad should come of it."
Trelawny simply shook her head and continued to glare at the centaur out of the corner of her eye as she slunk off, and Dinah could sense some resentment between them, "Well at any rate, it's so good to be here… um, would you mind telling me which seat will be mine?"
Dumbledore nodded and smiled, "Since you are the newest of our faculty, I'm afraid your seat will be at the very end of the table for now. But don't worry; I'm sure that will change as you spend more time here. You came highly recommended, after all," he winked and Dinah smiled. She could always feel comfortable around the headmaster.
"Thank you," she smiled and walked to her seat, and soon more faculty members began to pour in. Next to her sat the Care of Magical Creatures professor and groundskeeper, Hagrid. The huge man sat down next to her and shook her hand heartily as he welcomed her back to Hogwarts. A professor she had not met before sat next to Hagrid, and next down the line glided the dark silhouette of Professor Severus Snape.
Their eyes met and he flashed a half-smile at her, which was really more of a smirk, then he turned away. Yet again he seemed to have some sort of a problem with her. But it wasn't of any use to her to try to figure it out. After all, she probably wouldn't be seeing much of him anyway, and even if she did, it wasn't as if they needed to be friends. Hopefully they could at least be civil though. Perhaps he just tended to get off on the wrong foot with people. But no matter.
Soon they all stood as the second through seventh year students piled into the room and took seats at their respective house tables. Dinah watched each student as they came in, and caught the eye of a girl with long red hair who walked with confidence to the head of the Gryffindor table. She was head girl this year, given the seat she sat at. And Dinah thought that she looked a bit familiar.
Soon Minerva left to get the first years, and then she was marching back in through the large doors with the tiny students scurrying behind her, looking up and around at the great hall and muttering in awe and excitement.
Dinah smiled at their youthful energy and part of her wished that she had been able to come here for the first time at that age too. Professor Flitwick stood and walked with the sorting hat to set in on a stool at the front of the staff table for the students to be sorted. Dinah covered he mouth to hide a giggle. The hat was almost as big as he was!
The first small boy came up and was instantly assigned to Ravenclaw, which made Dinah smile. She had fond memories of that hat. It had had an extremely difficult time deciding whether to put her in Hufflepuff or Gryffindor, and in fact had never come to a final conclusion. It was, as she understood it, at least at the time, the only instance in which the Sorting Hat had been unable to make a decision. She had, therefore, ended up spending her first semester of each year as a Hufflepuff and her second as a Gryffindor, which had caused more problems than it probably should have. Including the incident that she most wanted to forget…
But the wizarding world was at peace now that the famous Harry Potter had defeated Lord Voldemort. Surely now it was safe to return. A mistake must have been made in the prophecy. Such things were not, after all, unheard of.
Dinah let out the breath she just realized she had been holding and let her body relax. She folded her arms in front of her and willed herself to forget the past. Everything was fine now. She could do what she dreamed.
She watched the remainder of the sorting in peace, and then settled down to dinner.
The hulking form of Hagrid leaned over her plate. He smiled and pointed to one of the foods she had placed on it. A marshmallow-strawberry jelly dish; "That's the best dessert here," he winked, "You'll love it, Professor Samson."
She smiled; "Please call me Dinah." The man's girth was a contradiction to his gentle nature. She had known him as the young groundskeeper when she had been attending school here.
"Dinah," Hagrid grinned at her, "So glad to welcome you here. You know, you missed all the action in the intervenin' years. If you'd have been here last year…" he shook his head, then leaned in and whispered, "Let's just say that you wouldn't have gotten along with the headmaster."
Professor Snape cleared his throat down the line, and when Diana peeked past Hagrid she noticed a grimace on his face as he ate. Suddenly his name became familiar to her. He had been last year's headmaster, when the Death Eaters had been in control of the school.
"What? But I thought that-"
"It would do the Care of Magical Creatures Professor well to keep his opinions to himself," Snape sneered; "And it would do the new Muggle Studies Professor well to contain her curiosities."
It was Hagrid's turn to clear his throat in embarrassment, "Sorry 'bout that, Professor Snape. Really, I meant no offense. We all know it was just an act now but at the time it was a difficult year," when Snape didn't respond Hagrid shrugged and leaned over to Dinah again, "Professor Snape protected us all from Voldemort at great risk to himself. Don't get the wrong opinion of him – I only meant that he was quite a strict headmaster. Er, to fool the Death Eaters of course."
"I see," Dinah took another glance over at Professor Snape, but he seemed to be ignoring them now. So she shrugged and dug into her jelly.
When the meal was over with Dumbledore silenced the hall and walked up to the front of the stage to prepare an announcement; "Well, at first I would like to say: It is wonderful to be back with all of you again."
The students erupted into applause, and the red-haired girl at the head of the Gryffindor table stood up to lead the rest of the room in a standing ovation. After a few moments Dumbledore calmed them down again.
"We've had a difficult past year," the headmaster continued, "And a long, difficult battle with Voldemort even throughout the years before then. But we have come back stronger than before, and I believe that this will be a bright new year for us all. That said, I would like to introduce everyone to a few new professors we have starting this year. Unfortunately, our previous professor of Muggle Studies, Professor Charity Burbage, was truly destroyed by the Death Eaters and escaped the revival that many of us were granted. But we believe that we have hired one of the most qualified witches of our time to teach the subject. Please welcome Professor Dinah Samson!"
The crowd of students applauded politely as Dinah stood up from her chair, nervously smiling out at them. When the applause died she sat back down.
"I'm sure you will all make Professor Samson feel welcome," Dumbledore continued, and then his smile widened, "And on an even more positive note, our other professor is not here to replace anyone. We are all lucky to have not lost any more faculty in the battles of the past few years. No, this year we have taken it upon ourselves to add an entirely new class to the Hogwarts repertoire! For those of you that enjoy recreational reading, we have set up a new elective course on wizard literature for your pleasure."
There were some excited murmurs at the student tables and Dinah smiled as well. It sounded like a very interesting course. She had always been an avid reader herself, and read stories by both Muggle and wizard authors. It would be interesting to observe the course here and compare it to the few English literature courses she had taken at Muggle university.
"Therefore, I would like to introduce you all to our other new faculty member, Professor Lucy Ketteridge."
A woman with bright red hair on the other side of the table stood and smiled, and again the red-headed girl at the front of the Gryffindor table seemed particularly enthusiastic. Thinking about it, Dinah realized they looked a lot alike and were perhaps related somehow.
The clapping diminished again and then Dumbledore sent everyone off with well-wishes for the beginning of a new year.
Dinah stood and bid farewell to Hagrid before heading back to her quarters. She flashed a friendly smile at Professor Ketteridge as she walked past. They were both new, and so hopefully could get to know each other and help each other learn the ropes later on. But right now, she had a more important job to do.