His mother stood at the front of the lecture-style class room trying to look the part of a strict, no-nonsense tolerating teacher. He was sure that she pulled it off, and that she had the rest of the class convinced she was one of the professors that they shouldn't dare to ever cross. She was the picture of serene confidence. He, however, knew better. The nervousness she felt was obvious to him; he felt it as if it were his own. Desire to impress all those who doubted that she should be appointed to this post was evident in her eyes. Her sheer determination to succeed and do her job better than any before her was clear in the stance she took. All of these things seemed unmistakably apparent to him, for his mother was an open book to him. They had a bond that even he would admit was unusually strong for a mother and son. She was more than his mother. She was his savior, his mentor, his closest confidant. She was his hero. Unlike most boys his age he was proud of the relationship he shared with his mother. They had been through so much together, and their close-knit family unit was a product of the struggles they had all faced together. Because, really, what else could anyone expect a family to be like after they had been to war together?
As close as he and his mother were, they were almost as different as they could get. He maintained a calm and closed-off demeanor, whereas his mother always seemed warm and welcoming; though maybe he was biased, her being his mother and all. She had a quick wit and a penchant for sticking her opinion wherever she felt the need. While he had the potential to be just as intelligent, he would wait to be addressed before offering any input. His mother insisted he obtained his reserved and quite nature from having been raised for the first few years of his life within the aftermath of the biggest war their world had ever fought, and it had been constantly stressed to him by his father that he needed to be unnoticed – it was vital to their survival. His father often told him that it was his mother's loud mouth that got her into a heap of unnecessary sticky situations during the war.
His mother was very well known, being one of the major players in the war. He often heard his playmate's parents mention her name in reverent tones whenever she happened to be brought up, and he was observant enough to notice how his family was treated in comparison to those of his friends. His mother and father, along with his aunts and uncles, had been placed upon a pedestal and were treated as celebrities or royalty.
The bell tolled out over the grounds signaling the beginning of the first period of the day and jolted him from his thoughts. His mother's piercing emerald eyes scanned the class, spending just a second longer on him than the rest of the students. She smiled and pulled her deep red hair into a high pony tail, like she did whenever she got serious and needed to focus, and tried to brush her always uncooperative bangs out of her eyes. Once she and the students that had been a bit late to class were settled she pointed her wand at the board, upon which the words "History of Magic" appeared.
He wondered again, for probably the millionth time, why his mother had wanted the job of History of Magic professor. He would have bet his allowance for a year that she would have gone after the position of Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, her having been defending against the dark arts during the Second Wizard War and all. When he had asked her about this she had told him that the Defense Against the Dark Arts post was currently held by an extremely competent wizard who happened to be a very close friend of the family and as involved in the war as the rest of the famed Dumbledore's Army. She also insisted multiple times that when he got to his class he set a good example for the rest of the students by being kind and paying Professor Longbottom the proper respect that he deserved. He also suspected, even though she had never said this, that she wanted the Hogwarts students to be taught the history of the First and Second Wizard Wars by someone who had been there and understood, and not Professor Bins, since the ghost didn't seem to have a clue as to what had occurred and had in the years following the war continued to drone on unnecessarily about the Giant Wars. When, in his mother's words, "children needed to be educated about what their world has gone through so they can attempt to understand the severity of uncalled for prejudices and the ramifications of war upon its victims."
He was pulled from his inner musings once again, though this time by his mother's voice as she began to introduce the class to her students.
"Good morning students. Welcome to your first year of History of Magic. I hope you all found your ways alright. I would like to suggest to those of you that came in late that you may want to leave your dormitories a tad bit earlier, for if you haven't noticed the staircases like to move and if you're caught on one during a switch you'll have to find a different route to take to get to your classes. I would also like to tell you to mind the portraits, as some of them are filthy little lairs and if you ask them to point you in the right direction they will probably give you directions to the third floor, which is forbidden, or to the kitchens, which you won't get out of until you've accepted a rather alarming amount of food from the house elves. I would also like to offer my condolences to you all. I will never understand why they insist on grouping Gryffindors and Slytherins together, as everyone is aware of the two houses' inability to get along well. However, I will not tolerate house tensions disrupting the class, so you'll all just have to suck it up."
She stopped to survey the class again to see if anyone looked horridly confused or frightened. He was proud of his mother, she seemed to have everyone's attention and she now looked more at ease. They shared a brief glance and supportive look, meant for both of them to gain comfort out of, before she continued.
"As it is your first year we have a lot to begin covering. We're going to start with the history of Hogwarts itself and its founders," she paused to take in the class again before continuing, "I see some of you aren't taking notes. However, it will be vital that you do so. Quills and parchment out please."
The boy sitting behind him, a fellow Slytherin, raised his hand to ask a question, "Weren't you involved in the resistance during the Second Wizarding War?"
The boy beside him turned to him and asked, "She is a war hero. I heard she was a member of Dumbledore's Army. This is going to be so cool. We have two professors that were in it. I hope they tell us awesome war stories!"
He heard the girl in front of him, a Gryffindor, say, "She was in our house! I hear people talk about what she did all the time. She was amazing! She's so lucky to have been involved in the war. I can't wait to hear about it from her."
The boy on the other side of him, his cousin Art Weasley who was in Gryffindor, turned to him his voice dripping with mockery and exclaimed, "Oh, Merlin! I heard her brother was The Boy Who Lived! The Chosen One! So exciting. Never met him personally, though I hear he's rather fetching. And the scar! Can you imagine how tough and intimidating it makes him look?"
He almost lost it. Art took after his father way too much for his own good. He replied to his cousin, "Watch it or she'll send an owl to Uncle Fred."
"He'll be proud," Art scoffed in response.
They noticed that the classroom around them had gone quiet and turned to find the professor staring at them with her head cocked to the side and a hand on her hip.
"Uh-oh," Art leaned over and whispered, "You know that look better than I do."
"Art, do you have something to share?" she asked the boy.
"Not at all, Auntie Elle," Art drawled, giving her puppy eyes for good measure.
She turned her eyes on her son and quirked her eyebrow at him. He responded before she even addressed him, saying, "No. No need to owl Father. Sorry."
Having quieted her son and nephew she turned back to the class at large, saying, "It seems as though some of you have heard of me. I'm going to give you the opportunity to ask some questions now in hopes that tomorrow this will not affect your concentration in class."
A Slytherin who was seated down the row from him raised his hand and asked, "Is it true then? You're the war hero?"
His mother regarded the boy with an almost annoyed expression, which had the Slytherin wishing he had left the question asking to someone else. Eventually her expression softened and she replied, "I do not like to think of myself as a war hero. This to me makes it sound like something it was not. The Second Wizarding War is not something our world should be proud of. It was a dark time. It was a time of confusion, and desperation. During which the fate of the world was thrust upon the shoulders of children, students not unlike yourselves. Yes, I was one of these children. But I want you to understand that I, nor none of the people who were at my side, were in this war for fame. We found no glory in it then and we find none in it now.
"My story is not very well known. I made sure to keep it very close to my heart, and I do not like to often go back and rehash the details. I was no hero. I was scared, and at times I was alone. I was always worried that one day I would wake up and my older brother, the hope of the Wizarding world, would be dead. I was terrified, because my destiny was not intertwined very closely with his. I was not meant to track down Voldemort alongside him. I was meant to protect everyone else, to offer myself up as the armor of the rest of the world. I was expected to give my life at a moment's notice to keep this school a safe place.
"I made mistakes. I was captured. There were many times when I contemplated giving up. My story, in my opinion, isn't one of glory. I should not be idolized. I did things I'm not proud of. I employed curses that you will learn are unforgivable. I was young, way too young, to have others depending on me for sanctuary.
"I did the best that I could, and just hoped that it was enough. We didn't have a grand plan. A lot of members of our group were in different locations, unable to contact one another out of fear of being found by the enemy. It was a war of luck and determination, where we just kind of had to wing it and hope it turned out in our favor."
His mother hated talking about her personal part of the war. That was obvious to all those seated in the classroom. He was one of the few who knew the details of her story, and he couldn't have disagreed with her more. She was his uncle's hero. She was their family's hero. She was her husband's hero.
The faces of his classmates looked up at their professor and just from that short, vague speech even they could see it. They could see what the rest of the world saw, but their professor failed to admit to. She was a hero.
As of 1/20/12 I am going back to make some much needed corrections and edits. Nothing changes the plot line or previous understanding of the story. In order to continue from where I am currently at in the writing process I feel like this is crucial for me. And a story can never be gone over too many times, right? If this alerts my current readers I hope you're happy to know I am back to working fervently on this project for you all, because I love you =), and to any newcomers, which I've had quite a few of recently, welcome, welcome! As always let me know what you think, if you have anything new to add!