An: This is truly the end. If you read the update on Once a Headmaster, then you don't need to read this one. ^-^
This is not betaed in the least. I figured that I would give it out to everyone as a Thanksgiving gift. When it is cleaned, I'll replace it. If you see something glaring, let me know. ^-^
Happy Thanksgiving every one!
Chapter 4: Removing the DADA Professor
Eric Grayland settled back in his office chair and tapped his index finger on the desk top. His eyes were fixated on the door that had just closed behind a mix of students. All of them had the same question. 'Why are our grades different?'
He wasn't a head of house, and he did understand why the students truly wanted his opinion since he had only been teaching for a couple of months. It was the end of November of his first year. That in and of itself told him how worried the students were. So, he had read over their papers while they waited and could not determine the reason the Slytherins received an A or below and Gryffindors received an EE or above. The other two houses were all an A or above. But the papers were comparable in content and errors. He had sent them away, telling them to bring it up to the four Heads of Houses, preferable as a group.
Grabbing his quill and a piece of parchment, he started a letter. He had to do something about Parker. No longer was he just attacking the Headmaster, now he was hurting the students as well.
Severus looked at the blond who was sitting drinking in the arm chair across from him. "Lucius, I know that we kept him, but I honestly think that it was a poorly thought idea. We have had some bad Defense teachers, but I think this one is the worst since he is inconsistent. He is disrespectful of me, I'm not sure his relationship with my new potions master, Professor Heaven refuses to be around him anymore, and even Minerva thinks he needs to go. How can I get him removed from the school before the end of the year? Or the end of the month?"
Lucius swirled his drink about his glass as he thought about how the board would handle the request. "The board is going to want evidence. They are going to want to see it in writing, have witnesses to it, to hear what is going on, but not only from you. It has to be the students and the other staff members too. If you can pull that together, and present us with a viable alternative, then we can fulfill your request by tomorrow."
Severus nodded. "Then be ready for my owl. We shall pull this together. The hardest part will be finding a new teacher without letting the current one know that we are looking to replace him."
Lucius grinned lightly. "If anyone can pull it off, it would be you. I'll be looking forward to the owl. Now, what are you doing tomorrow evening. I know you have to be here for dinner, but Narcissa wants you to come over for desert. Greenbriar is not to far away, and you can let McGonagall take over for a couple of hours."
Severus narrowed his eyes as he contemplated his schedule. "Tell Narcissa that I'll be there about nine."
Lucius nodded. "Do try to wear something besides black. I don't want to be threatened into taking you shopping again."
Severus looked at his friend and raised an eyebrow. "You don't want to? I know you enjoy shopping."
Lucius just shook his head.
Eric slipped into the Three Broomsticks and looked about for the honey blond that was supposed to be meeting him there. He spotted her in the back of the room near the fireplace. Sliding into the seat across from her, he smiled. "Gretchen, thanks for coming."
Gretchen smiled back. "Of course I came. I mean, how can I ignore my big brother. Now, what was so important?"
He rested his eyes on hers, his face serious. "Would you be willing to teach Defense Against Dark Arts?" He waited on her answer.
Gretchen leaned forward, her eyes searching his face. "Why? I know you have a teacher in that position."
With a quick a wave of his wand, he cast a privacy spell. "He is an idiot. I have no idea his grading scale, but it has nothing to do with what the students are putting on paper. He harasses the Slytherins worse than Headmaster Snape ever did the Gryffindors. He keeps trying to get me to join in this."
Gretchen raised an eyebrow at him. "Are you back to protecting Snape from every perceived attack? I thought you stopped that your third year. I never understood why you trusted him."
Eric worried the pebble as he thought of how to tell Gretchen without breaking his promise that night. Each one of them had promised never to tell what happened and not to reveal the one who saved them.
Gretchen watched as he worried the pebble that he had never let go. She wished she still had hers. It was one of the most important pieces of magic that had ever happened to her. She now knew it wasn't exactly a port-key, but it had taken them to safety. She knew that Eric used it to help him feel safe, protected no matter what. He had let her and Marie hold onto it their first couple of nights at the new guardian's house. Her eyes widened as she stared at the stone and then her brother. "It was him, wasn't it?"
Eric tilted his head in question, trying to figure out his younger sister.
She shifted her eyes back to the necklace before speaking. "Snape was him, wasn't he?"
His eyes widened before he nodded. She had figured it out.
"That explains a lot. How long have you known?" She waited, wondering how long her brother had known who their savior was.
"Since my sorting." He watched as she looked surprised and then aggravated. "We promised not to say anything. I couldn't say anything. He knew I knew. And if you found out..."
"Then he would have made your life even more horrible." She nodded in understanding. "I can take the position, but I would like to offer it to Derrick Reynolds. He received his Masters last year, and is better at explaining than I am."
Eric shrugged. "As long as they have your recommendation, I'll back them to the Headmaster. When can he start?"
"Derrick has been working with Master Blanc since he past his test. He said he wanted more practice working with apprentices. I think he just hasn't found a position he wants. If he doesn't take it, I will. I haven't accepted a position anywhere yet."
Eric nodded. "I'll check with the Headmaster and see what he says. I'll let you know as soon as I do."
Gretchen nodded sharply. "Deal. Now, how have your classes been?"
Eric grinned as he filled her in on the day to day dynamics of teaching potions. He knew she would go tell Marie before the night was over.
Severus called a staff meeting for only the older teachers by a look and a small gesture at the end of dinner. He was a bit surprised to find Grayland by the door with a puzzled expression on his face.
"I'm sorry, sir, I didn't realize that there was a meeting tonight. Should I get the other two?" Eric met the black eyes as he waited to hear what the Headmaster wanted him to do.
Making a quick decision, he gestured for the Potions Master into the room. "No, Professor Grayland. Have a seat."
He caught Minerva's raised eyebrow and returned it with one of his own. A quick glance showed everyone in there seats. "I talked to Lucius Malfoy yesterday about the issues that they Heads have brought to my attention. I was told that the only answer to the problem was to gather evidence, and have staff as well as students willing to go before the Board of Governors." He noticed the confusion evident on most of the faces.
"The Heads brought to my attention that Professor Parker was not just attacking me, but was unfairly scoring student work. I need to know if there is anything else that he is doing that might be brought up against him."
Grayland shifted in his seat before signaling that he wanted to speak. "I don't know if it can be brought against him, but he is harassing me. He is trying to get me to join him in his beliefs about yourself, and on how he is treating the different houses. It has come to the point that I had to ask my sister Gretchen for a few spells to protect all my doors from him."
Severus narrowed his eyes a bit. "Yes, that counts. Will you be willing to stand before the board and tell them that?" When Grayland nodded, he looked at the rest of the table. "Has anyone else been harassed by the man?" The rest shook their heads no. He knew that he would have to talk to Professor Heaven later.
"Once we have presented our case to the Board, we also have to have someone to take his place. Does anyone here have an idea who would be willing to teach Defense." He let his eyes rest on Minerva, hoping one of the previous applicants would stick out in her mind.
Eric took a breath to steady his nerves. He hadn't expected to hold this conversation with everyone else there. "I do, sir." He sat up straighter when all the others pinned their eyes on him. "My sister, Gretchen, just received her Masters in Defense. I talked to her this afternoon and she said that she would be willing to take the position. She also said she would recommend Derrick Reynold, who received his Masters last year. He stayed with their current master to practice working with apprentices. I told her that I would ask you when the position would be open so she could talk to him." He searched the black eyes, looking for the anger at him over stepping his bounds.
Severus raised an eyebrow and met the others' eyes before looking back at the Hufflepuff. The others were just as impressed as he was. "You have saved us a lot of effort. I did want to do this without alerting the Parker." He looked back over at the other teachers. "How soon do you think you can gather work showing the discrepancies and find students willing to talk to the board?"
They looked at each other for a moment before Minerva answered. "By Monday evening. I know of at least four in my house who will be willing to do so."
Babbling nodded. "I have at least four who will be willing."
Pomona leaned forward onto the table. "I have two in mind who will be willing to talk to the board, and at least three who will allow us to use their work."
Filius studied the others for a moment. "I will have to ask who will allow their work to be examined, but I know at least five who'd be willing to talk to the Board."
Severus looked back at Grayland. "Tell your sister that we would most likely have an opening starting Tuesday. If she and Mr. Reynolds would be so kind as to stop by my office sometime Monday morning."
"Yes, sir." Grayland let a smile slide across his face. They were going to get rid of the pain. It had been fun to prank him at the beginning of the year, but that had paled as the harassment had become worse. Now he just wanted the man gone.
Lucius leaned against the wall at the top of the stairwell. Severus was standing next to him. Both of them were watching the main hall and the teachers that were moving purposefully through it. Lucius glanced over at Severus. "So, where are the students? I was sure that they would be here to see Parker off."
Severus didn't take his eyes off of Minerva. She had been very upset with the way Parker had gone on and on at the hearing. 'She is taking this a bit personally since she was the one to suggest that we keep him to prove that the curse was broken. And she thought that he would be okay. He wasn't this bad last year.' He watched as Grayland glided down the hall behind Filius. "I have them confined to their dormitories. I refuse for another scene like that of when Trelawny was removed by Umbridge."
Lucius raised an eyebrow and made a metal note to ask about that later. "Is Professor Reynolds ready to start class tomorrow?"
Severus nodded. "He is currently go over what Parker taught last year, and deciding what he wants to do."
Their conversation ended when the yelling started.
Parker glared at the Deputy Headmistress. "How can you live with yourself? How can you sleep at night knowing that you are taking orders from that man?"
Minerva's face didn't change as she advanced on him. "That man did far more for me and for the Wizarding world than you ever did. How can you sleep at night knowing that you can not stand the person that allowed you to rest easy?"
Parker snorted. "That was Harry Potter. Not Severus Snape."
Flitwick twisted his wand just a bit, opening the doors. Grayland was ready to cast a shield spell just in case Parker took Flitwick's movements as a threat.
Sprout tapped her wand against her arm. "It was both. If Severus didn't tell Potter the information he needed, then Potter wouldn't have succeeded. Didn't you listen to the boy when he cleared Severus' name."
The group of teachers pushed forward, closing the distance between them and Parker. Parker backed up, moving towards the door.
Parker snorted. "Potter was put up to it. Some how Snape has something to hold over his head, and so Potter had to defend him."
Lucius smirked. "Several life debts."
Severus glanced over at Lucius. "Those were payed the moment the Dark Lord died."
It was Vector that answered Parker. "Severus and Potter never got along. If he had something over Potter's head, then Potter would have acted differently around him. Instead they butted heads all the time. It was common fodder for staffroom conversations while Potter was at school. Last year was the exception. Personally, I think they both decided to call a truce for Potter's last year."
The teachers edged Parker closer to the door.
Lucius glanced at Severus. "Did you two call a truce?"
Severus shook his head. "Didn't need to. He finally showed me respect."
Lucius fought against the bark of laughter that was trying to escape.
Parker glared over at Grayland. "Why are you backing him? You were a student of his. You know just how biased and horrible he was. You're a Hufflepuff, not a Slytherin."
Grayland raised an eyebrow. "You are right, I was his student. I was fortunate to be one. It helped me throughout my career choice. I think you forgot how influential he would be in that. Oh, and you just had to look beyond the front he presented to the world." Grayland looked at the door and then back at the ex-professor. "I think you should just accept defeat and leave. There is nothing that you can say here that will influence us to change our minds. Take your grievances somewhere and let them be heard. Or better yet, just keep them to yourself."
Parker stood up straight and glared at the others. "Then I shall take my story to the Prophet. This will not be the last time you hear from me." Spinning on his heel he headed out the door.
With the flick of his wand, Severus closed the door. He waited at the top of the stairs until the wards told him that Parker was gone.