Third year class.
It was never easy to be a Muggle Studies teacher. Actually, a lot of the time it was downright difficult: the subject was generally considered an extraordinary waste of time by most students (as well as the wider general public) which resulted in a mixture of stupid and disinterested pupils who couldn't really give a crap about muggle culture, let alone muggle history. There were the odd strange muggleborns who thought they'd gain themselves an easy OWL and a few even odder muggle-nut students who became very excited and listened almost a little toointently to everything being relayed within the classes - but mostly, you got classes of zombie students who simply did not care.
Of course, Archibald Penrose was one such muggle nut, but even he found the level to which some students seemed to really care about what those mental muggles were doing slightly depressing – it reminded him of when he was their age, and that really was something quite frightening. He could remember full well being sat in front of Charity Burbage (bless her soul) having to reign in his excitement and practically shaking with anticipation for the next question.
He glanced down at his timetable. He was due to have a completely new class of third years – sure to be the same bunch of oddballs, train wrecks and slightly frightening children. He didn't even really like children, especially not when they were not-quite-children and instead on the verge of being introduced to their own hormones, the opposite sex, acne and such things... All of which only made them more repulsive. He often found himself sat at his desk wondering why the hell he'd decided to go into teaching of all things - it wasn't even like he was good at it.
Some of the older ones weren't too bad, although usually the ones who stuck it out to NEWT level were the real nutters. The sort who collected pencil sharpeners (disregarding the fact that Archibald Penrose himself actually did have a range of novelty pencil sharpeners hidden away in his office – but they were noveltypencil sharpeners whereas these crackpots just collect regular pencil sharpeners! You could buy those silly things anywhere you liked! There was nothing novelty about them at all).
He hadn't yet felt the need to depress himself by scanning down the list of new third years, but it probably was best to prepare himself for onslaught of the next hour. If this class was any worse than last year's class he would, quite possibly, consider leaving the classroom all together and hiding out in the staffroom until the period was over. It wasn't like any of the students would know who he was: being a muggle studies teacher most students hadn't a clue what he taught or what his name was... and most of the time just seemed to think he was a rather aged student that they hadn't seen around much before. Or a sort of servant.
Actually, the list seemed a lot shorter than normal. Upon some quick addition he realised with a great sigh of relief that there were only nine students – although in all honesty, he didn't recognise many of the names on the register: he noted that he had both 'Hugo Weasley' and 'Lily Potter' scribbled down and, oh yes, he had 'Herman Goyle' which he was sure was going to be a truly delightful experience that would probably result in some rather intense counselling.
Then again, he was often rather surprised that his job hadn't led to a hefty removal to St Mungos. Or why, upon hearing his job decision, nobody had referred him to St Mungos before the real insanity started.
The bell rang and Archibald Penrose looked up at it feeling disgruntled. He certainly was not ready to have the next class in just yet. Admittedly, his job wasn't half as difficult as say... being a Transfiguration teacher and having to have multiple classes from all year groups, but at least in Transfiguration there were a good deal of average students. No students taking muggle studies were average: either completely bonkers or shockingly stupid.
There was the usual irritating backdrop of hustle and bustle from the corridor outside as masses of students began pushing their way to the next lesson. A student pushed open the door, raised an eyebrow at Archibald Penrose in greeting, and then sat himself down at the very back of the classroom.
Archibald started at the student: a rather arrogant looking third year with too much hair and, Archibald supposed, more attitude than brain cells.
"Name?" Archibald asked.
"Pips," the boy said, using a chair on the row in front to prop up his feet, "the others are waiting outside." Kevin Pips said after another moment.
Archibald sighed, pulled himself off his desk and headed towards the door. He threw it open and gestured for the other students to enter the classroom: he countered six, including the Weasley boy and the Potter girl.
He glanced at his watch. Two late, not bad really – for a first attempt.
"Right, I am Professor Penrose your new Muggle Studies professor," Archibald said, perching on the end of his desk and watching with a vague degree of amusement as the students began fighting for the seats on the back row. Hugo Weasley had set himself down on the second row from the front (an eager beaver – sure to be one of those oddballs) and Lily Potter reluctantly sat next to him and began inspecting her nails with a bored expression. "I don't know any of you, so if you'd like to introduce yourselves..."
Herman Goyle had managed to bag himself a seat in the back corner, potentially due to his sheer size and his relative degree of intimidation. Archibald considered that he was mildly surprised that Herman had been allowed to take Muggle Studies, before chiding himself for being so judgemental. He introduced himself as 'Herms' in a grunt that reminded Archibald very much of a guard troll, except less attractive.
"Johnny English." The Ravenclaw next to Goyle said cheerfully, and Archibald made a note that he must ask whether the kid's parents were purebloods and ignorant or just a little bit cruel. Either way, he knew what film he was going to show them first.
"Tabatha," a girl, sat next to Kevin Pips and wearing Hufflepuff robes added helpfully, "Tabatha Street."
"Goliath Lockhart." The final boy said and Archibald had to suppress the desire to laugh. Wizards really were appalling at naming their children: he always thought Archibald was bad enough, but to genuinely be called Goliath was nothing short of ridiculous. All this talk of muggle-wizard unity went out the window the second a teenage boy was introduced as 'Goliath' where muggles were using names like 'Cheryl' 'Apple' and 'Gabbie.' If he was honest, he couldn't decide which was worse.
Then again, Goliath Lockhart...
"Hugo Weasley!" Said the ginger kid excitably, his quill and parchment already out on the table dying to take notes. Poor kid had probably been looking forward to this all summer.
"Lily Potter." The girl said sounding very bored and clearly showing all her teenage attitude in her reluctance to be in the classroom. It seemed liked they'd been some good old fashioned peer pressure to get her into the room in the first place.
"So, that means we're waiting on a Jessica James and... Franklin Stainwright."
"I don't know where Jessie is." Tabatha piped up.
Archibald was beginning to think the entire register was some sort of practical joke: Jessie James? Johnny English? This is why wizards needed educating. This was really just unfortunate.
"Well, we might as well make a start," Archibald said, reaching into his desk and pulling out several items. "Now, if you can all come gather round this front desk."
No one, bar Hugo Weasley, seemed particularly enthusiastic about the idea. They actually managed to waste about five minutes of the lesson shuffling to the front, pushing each other several times, and generally making an unnecessary fuss about the whole thing. Archibald rolled his eyes and waited for them all to shut up before placing the three times on the desk.
"Now, I want you to take an item each and talk about what they are – work in twos and a three. Oh, nice of you to join us – Franklin Stainwright, I suppose?" The blonde boy nodded and shoved his hands in his pockets, "please tell me they call you Franklin-stein." Archibald suggested hopefully.
"What's that?" Tabatha asked, "Franklin-stein."
"In muggle literature," Archibald began, "Frankenstein is a gothic story about a man who made a monster out of dead bits of humans."
"Like an inferi?" Hugo Weasley questioned eagerly.
"Sort of, but all sewn together. Then this monster went and killed everyone this guy loved because he was so ugly..."
"So you're saying I'm ugly?" Franklin demanded.
"No." Archibald said, feeling quite taken aback.
"You're saying I'm a monster?"
"No," He said hastily, "I was just suggesting that your name reminded me of a muggle book. Its written by Mary Shelley, if any of you want to read it," he suspected next time he saw Hugo Weasley he'd have his nose attached to a battered old copy of Frankenstein. "Anyway – back to the objects in front of you. See if any of you can work out what they do."
He had strong doubts about that.
Herman Goyle and Johnny English were joined by Franklinstien, as he would hence forth be known, as they began pressing various buttons on a scientific calculator. They were finding this a little more amusing than he anticipated and he was beginning to suspect that they were seeing what rude words or images they could create by using the different functions – he didn't mind that too much though, most muggle kids did exactly the same from what he could work out.
Goliath Lockhart and Kevin Pips, or more just Goliath Lockhart as Kevin wasn't even trying to pretend to be interested, were examining a dog lead although Goliath seemed to think it was some form of torture device and was very entertained by all the potential there was in the elastic. Hugo Weasley and Lily Potter, however, had the iPod.
"Sir, it's to listen to music too – isn't it?" Hugo asked eagerly, placing the earpieces in his ears. Lily stared at it, seeming unimpressed, and poked the cool metal unceremoniously, "and... you switch this to turn it on and then... OW!" Hugo shrieked, pulling the headphones out of his ears so hard that one of the headphones ripped into two pieces.
"Don't turn it on!" Archibald said hastily, "Hogwarts make those things go haywire, oh dear... well, can you hear me?" Archibald asked loudly.
Hugo gaped at him.
"Can you hear me?" Archibald repeated even louder, "CAN YOU HEAR ME!"
"Obviously not," Kevin Pips said from the back of the classroom, raising his eyebrows and looking unimpressed.
"Well, will one of you take him to the Hospital wing?" This request was met by a ringing silence. Even Lily Potter stared pointedly at the floor as if to avoid the embarrassment of escorting her cousin anywhere. Fair play, mostly it seemed she was slightly on the cooler end of the scale where it came to her and her cousin. There was no point bringing both of their reps down.
"Right, all of you stay here – okay?" Then he gestured for Hugo to follow him. It was always the keen ones who managed to get themselves injured – idiots.
Hugo was fixed within a minute but was instructed to stay in the Hospital wing until he'd regained his balance – as anti-deafening charms had a habit of making one fall over a lot – and Archibald was back in his classroom a mere ten minutes after he'd left it. Unfortunately.
He realised, upon entering the room, that he might have made quite a big mistake and leaving the students with the muggle articles.
Goliath Lockhart had been tied to his chair by the dog lead, had the broken headphones used as substitute handcuffs and had the calculator shoved into his mouth.
Archibald blinked for a few minutes and stared at the scene. Herman Goyle looked like the only person who didn't find the scene amusing (probably because he hadn't noticed anything had happened) and although Kevin Pips was airing an unruffled look he couldn't help but grin slightly. Tabatha Street and Lily Potter were outwardly laughing. Johnny English and Franklinstien were grinning and Archibald Penrose didn't know what the hell to make of it.
"Did you know that muggles actually used to have a torture device where someone was tied onto a table and stretched? Some muggles have the death penalty, like the electic chair. Sometimes the police use taser guns," Archibald continued, realising for the first time that he'd managed to really capture the attention of the class. It seemed blood and carnage were the way forward. "Muggles play this recreational game where they shoot balls of paint at one another from a gun. Some muggles play computer games where they have to shoot nuns and aliens... they have films about spies and shooting and violence."
There was an awed silence across the room. Archibald relished in it for a second (trying not to remember that he'd had to resort to exactly the same technique last time he had a new class of uninterested third years) and decided that he was going to aim for a long dramatic pause.
"But I can't teach you about any of that," he continued, "If you mess around. Now, this is a dog lead and this is a calculator – do any of you know what muggles use these for?"
Goliath Lockhart, who still had a calculator shoved in his mouth, began to nod excitedly. Archibald stared at him. He must be one of those too, no one else got excited about muggles whilst tied to a chair with a calculator shoved in their gob. He'd just been better at hiding it than Hugo.
"Take the calculator out of his mouth, Pips," Archibald ordered reluctantly.
"My dad wrote this book about muggles," Goliath began excitedly, "he lost his memories see, so he lived as a muggle for awhile after his memories began to return – and he wrote all about how muggles use calculators to contact people – by pressing the buttons, you see – and aren t iPods used so that muggles can watch films in their heads and the dog lead are for -"
"For what?" Archibald asked in a bored voice, "for hunting dogs for supper? For riding dogs? For tripping dogs over?"
"No," Goliath said, his face creasing slightly as if Archibald had been the one to suggest something ridiculous, "for when muggles want to take their pet dogs for walks,"
"Oh," Archibald said awkwardly, "well,"
The bell rang and the seven remaining students began clambering for their bags excitedly. Archibald crossed the classroom to help the effort to release Goliath from the chair (he wasn't staying in Archibald's classroom for any longer than necessary) and was beginning to feel slightly inadequate. It seemed that his students would have actually gone away knowing lessabout muggle culture, rather than more.
"Wait up, Franklinstien!" Tabatha said, pushing ahead of Johnny English to catch up with him. Archibald felt a small smile creep up at his lips – at least the nickname had caught on. And maybe they would read Frankenstien?
"I may be wrong," Kevin Pips said, pausing near the door, "but aren't the things that muggles use to talk to each other called... telephones?"
Archibald sank back on to his seat with a grin, nodding to Kevin as he sauntered out with far too much attitude for a thirteen year old. He gave himself another moments rest before glancing at his timetable to realise that, yes, he had the sixth years next...
An entire hour of Fred and Dominique Weasley who insisted on making it their mission to explain all muggle culture through the medium of interpretive dance, much to the amusement to the two other slackers and the irritation of the resident oddball. The other seven students in that group were too thick to know any better and probably, if Archibald was honest with himself, still– after his months of solid grafting – believed that the bible was a rather extravagant doorstop. Still, watching Freddie Weasley do a one man adaptation of 'Cane and Able' followed by Dominique Weasley attempting to pretend to be the VirginMary was usually fairly amusing.
Archibald sighed and clicked his novelty biro a couple of times to fill in the silence: it isn't always easy, being a muggle nut.
Five chapters up on HPFF, entirely supposed to be cracky and ridiculous and cure my writers block.