The New Professor
It was a beautiful spring afternoon when Harry Potter and Ron Weasley realized they had lost track of time while walking aimlessly around the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
"Bloody hell, Harry, were going to be late for the new guest teacher!" exclaimed Ron
The pair took off, sprinting up to the castle, leaving behind the warm grass and smell of blooming flowers as they entered the colder corridors of Hogwarts. In their hurry, they collided headfirst into their least favorite trio: Malfoy, Crabe, and Goyle.
"Watch where you're going you dirty half-blood," screamed Goyle as he slowly recuperated and got back to his feet
"Relax Goyle," said Malfoy. "I'm sure the chosen one is doing very important work and is very busy with his chosen one duties, and we got in his way," he added sarcastically. Ron reached into his robes in search of his wand, but Harry grabbed Ron's arm.
"They're not worth it," urged Harry. "Were late enough as it is." Ron slowly withdrew his hand and the two of them turned down the corridor towards the Dungeons for Defense Against the Dark Arts.
"That's it, Weasley, run along to class with the chosen one," teased Malfoy.
Harry and Ron reached the classroom and softly pushed the door open, trying to enter undetected. They made it halfway to the two empty seats on either side of Hermione when Ron tripped over a shelf and sent several scales crashing loudly to the ground. Everyone turned and had to bite their tongues to keep from laughing but the teacher kept speaking without missing a beat. They finally made it to their seats and looked up at the professor. Behind him on the board was what Harry assumed was the professors name, Dr. Frankenstein.
"As I was saying earlier," said Dr. Frankenstein, "I am from Geneva but it was in Ingolstadt that I learned the secret of life."
Hermione's hand shot up.
"Yes Ms. …"
"Granger, sir. What exactly do you mean by the secret of life?"
"Patience my dear, I will get there."Dr. Frankenstein went on to tell his tragic history. By this time Ron and Harry had lost interest and resorted to a sword duel with fake wands from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, the joke shop Ron's brothers owned. Ron was having his way with Harry when all of a sudden Hermione slapped both of their wrists.
"Quit it." She muttered. "Were lucky to have such an accomplished wizard as our new professor, you two should really hear what he has to say. He said he's going to teach whoever he feels is most capable the secret of life!"
"And now I would like to draw your attention over here," said Dr. Frankenstein as he walked over to what looked like a huge box covered by a tarp. "I would ask those of you have weak stomachs to cover your faces because what I am about to show you is not…pleasing to the eyes," he finished.
A few girls, along with Neville, buried their faces into their arms and hands. Dr. Frankenstein grabbed the tarp, and with a great heave, yanked it off. Many gasped, a few screamed, but all of the students were in shock. What they saw was what looked like a hideously deformed human in a cage, more disturbing then anything many of them had ever seen.
"What is that?" shrieked a girl from Hufflepuff.
"Excellent question," replied Frankenstein. "Class, does anyone know?"
"Why do I care what that filthy half-breed is?" said a Slytherin from the back of the chamber. Dr. Frankenstein continued looking around at the class as if he had not heard that last remark. Hermione's hand went up in an uncharacteristically timid and slow manner.
"Yes Ms. Granger"
"Well isn't it your creature sir? The first one you ever infused with life."
"That is precisely what it is Ms. Granger. This first creation is the greatest and worst thing that has ever happened to me but that is neither here nor there. I have put it under the Imperius curse for the purpose of this class. As many of you know, this curse gives me full control over it. "
"What? How could you? That's one of the three unforgivable curses. All three of them are illegal, surely you know that," said Hermione aggressively
"Yes it is, Ms. Granger, if performed on another human being, which this creature is not. Let's just say that it is for your safety. He is incredibly strong and rarely cooperative. Now let's let him out." Dr. Frankenstein's assistant flicked his wand and the creature stood up and stretched his massive frame, which Harry guessed to be around eight feet and three hundred pounds. As it stretched, Harry could see all the deformities of the creature. Its rugged face, crooked nose, black eyes, and mess of hair made it difficult to look the creature in the face. The rest of the body wasn't any better. It had scars down its sides from where Dr. Frankenstein had stitched it together. It had hideous yellowish skin which clung tightly to its body, as if it were several sizes too small. The creature then reached forward and grabbed the solid steel bars of the cage and pulled them apart. Several students gasped, realizing that the cage really only provided an illusion of safety. If the creature ever got out of hand, the cage would do little to impede it. Then in a single leap the creature grabbed the chandelier that hung way above the chamber and let out a mighty yell.
"Bloody hell!" exclaimed Ron.
"Now that you know the extent of this realm of magic," said Frankenstein, "I will show you the first step towards the secret of life, and for that we must make our way down to the Potions classroom."
The class filed out with excitement, discussing what they had just seen. Ron gave a vivid description of the creature to Neville, who shuddered with disgust with every word that came out of Ron's mouth.
"Enough Ron, Neville obviously feels uncomfortable," said Hermione coming to Neville's defense. "Although… the creature's physical capabilities were quite extraordinary," she added. "To think he made that from a bunch of decaying limbs from different corpses; it's truly remarkable. Imagine if he had a complete corpse to work with. It's a shame that bodies start decaying so quickly."
And that's when Harry remembered what Professor Dumbledore had told him in his office one day. Harry's parents were buried in tombs with the rarest of enchantments. Enchantments that are so rare and so ancient that only a handful of wizards in the world could have performed the enchantment. These enchantments kept their bodies in perfect condition. Aside from being dead, they were in the exact same condition they had been seventeen years ago, before Voldemort murdered them. Harry now realized what he had to do. He had to be the one that Dr. Frankenstein selected to teach the secret of life and then use it to take back what Lord Voldemort had robbed him of so many years ago- a family.
"You can put away your potions books," instructed Dr. Frankenstein. "A potion this complex has never been written down in one of those. The directions are on the board, the necessary ingredients can be found in the cupboard. The student who produces the best potion will continue his or her studies with me for the rest of the year and will learn the entire secret of life." The class murmured with excitement at the possibility of learning the secret of life. The class burst to life as students moved around quickly, trying to outdo their classmates and produce the best potion. Even though Harry no longer had his infamous copy of Advanced Potion-Making, with shortcuts written by the half-blood prince, he felt confident that he had learned enough techniques from those scribbles in the margins to produce a near perfect potion. He knew this was something he had to do and could not imagine the rest of the term without private classes from Dr. Frankenstein.
Time ticked by, and the end of their allotted time came closer and closer. Students were frantically stirring their potions, first clockwise, then counterclockwise, then clockwise again. No one felt that they would be able to produce a satisfactory potion, that is, except for Harry who was working with the diligence and efficiency of an automated robot.
"Your potion should now be a translucent yellow andhave a low viscosity. In five minutes your time will be up, and the potion should shift to a more solid yellow," announced Dr. Frankenstein.
"Well at least I got half of it right," joked Neville. His potion had the translucent yellow color that Dr. Frankenstein described but it was so thick it was nearly solid. Harry's potion, on the other hand, was a real world example of the potion Dr. Frankenstein had described.
"How are you doing that?" whispered Hermione
"The Prince helped me out a bit," replied Harry
"What do you mean he helped you out? That's impossible. We both know you got rid of that book ages ago. Besides there is no way he could have had any notes on this potion; it wasn't discovered till after the Prince left school." Harry just smiled and shook his head.
"Time's up," declared Dr. Frankenstein. "I will now select the best potion and with it my pupil for the rest of the term." He began to inspect every potion, starting with Neville.
"Well, Neville, I admire your determination, but you simply do not have what it takes." He continued this way until at last he reached Harry.
"My god Harry, this is near perfect! You haven't spoken to my friend Henry Clerval and coerced my secret out of him, have you?"
"No sir," said Harry in a weak voice, taken off guard by Dr. Frankenstein's accusation.
"Relax son, I know you have done no such thing. I merely jest. It is clear that you have produced the best sample and thus won the privilege of studying under me. You are henceforth excused from all your afternoon lessons for the rest of the term in order to make time for your studies with me. Class dismissed."
Harry, Ron and Hermione descended down the Grand Staircase and into the Great Hall for supper.
"I still don't understand how you did that, mate," said a puzzled Ron.
"You must have cheated. You snuck into the restricted section of the library and read it in one of those books, didn't you?" said Hermione, half furious half annoyed that Harry had outdone her.
"C'mon Hermione, just be happy for me. Besides, you heard Dr. Frankenstein, the directions for this potion have never been written down in any published book."
"Oh, yeah," said Hermione in a soft and slightly embarrassed voice.
"I can't believe you get to miss all your afternoon classes for the rest of the year Harry," complained Ron. "You're going to leave me suffering in Divination alone, and with you gone, Professor Trelawneymay begin to fancy predicting my death instead of yours."
"It would serve you right. Maybe then you would understand what I've had to put up with for the past three years, and how it isn't nearly as hilarious when it is you that she singles out as the next one to die."
"Enough you two," interrupted Hermione. "Lets get off to bed; You have a big day tomorrow, Harry, and you'll want your rest.
The trio walked up several staircases, gave the portrait of The Fat Lady the password and stepped through the hole into the warm Gryffindor Common room. They separated as Hermione went up to the girls' dormitory and Harry and Ron to the boys' dormitory.
The next morning went by in a haze for Harry. He would be physically seated in class but his mind would be drifting far away. He was dreaming at the possibility of being able to bring his parents back to life and of reuniting his family again. He would finally know what it was like to have a mother and father who loved him. Harry became obsessed with the idea of having a real family as opposed to the Dursleys.
The time for him to meet up with Dr. Frankenstein had come.
"Good luck mate" said Ron
"Make sure you pay attention to his every word, Harry; this a huge privilege and opportunity," urged Hermione
"Relax Hermione, of course I'm going to pay attention. He is teaching me the bloody secret to life!" And with that he took off to Dr. Frankenstein's classroom.
He entered the chamber and found Dr. Frankenstein brewing a potion.
"Hello Harry, are you ready?" he said simply
"Very well, the secret of life is quite simple once you know what you're doing. Lucky for you I know exactly what I'm doing. We're first going to practice on this rat that died just a few minutes ago. As you may have guessed, a fresh and recently deceased specimen provides a better outcome. Since it is such a simple creature, it is easier and thus makes a good starting point for your studies. Throughout the course of the term you will work your way up to more complex beings. Where we end up is completely dependent on your ability and success. For this rat, all you need is to put a few drops of the potion on its head and perform the spell."
"What spell sir?"
"It's arcesso vita. I don't expect you to get it on your first try. but go ahead and give it a go. You're not going to learn how to do it by staring at the damn thing."
Harry's hand was shaking with anticipation. He was about to bring life back to a dead creature. His hand continued to shake as he applied the potion to the rat's head.
"Careful, Harry! Too much potion and the process will be unsuccessful."
Harry waved his wand over the dead mouse and recited the incantation. The mouse began to move. It made only the smallest of twitches, but Harry became ecstatic.
"Relax Harry, that was a good first attempt, but you're not there yet. You have to really mean it, really want it to come back to life."
So Harry tried again, more determined and concentrated then he had ever been in his life. At that moment he wanted nothing more then to bring that mouse back to life, not for the sake of the mouse but for the sake of reuniting his family. This time the mouse began to stretch as if waking up from a deep sleep. It stood up and scurried off through a hole in the wall. Harry could not believe it. He had taken the first step, the first step to mastering the secret of life, the first step to bringing back his mother and father, the first step to having a family again.