A/N: Chapter two, here you go! Hope you enjoy the Defense Against The Dark Arts professor who is in no way based on a professor I had in college, nope, total coincidence. Thank you, SB- Potterhead Budgie Lover, for your review!
If anyone could be relied upon to put together something that would irritate a professor, it was the Marauders.
Chapter Two: Just The Beginning
"You're gonna chew your bottom lip off at the rate you're going," Marlene said to Lily. It was breakfast, the first day of classes, and Lily's food sat before her, untouched since her copy of the Daily Prophet had arrived with the mail.
"And your face will look so uneven without it," Emmeline said, she and Dorcas having joined Marlene and Lily at the Gryffindor table.
"Why so stressed? We haven't even had our first Defense Against the Dark Arts class with… what was his name again?" Dorcas said, glancing to the bespectacled man sitting beside Professor Slughorn at the staff table.
"MacPherson," Marlene said.
"Right, we haven't even gotten to our first class with MacPherson yet," said Dorcas.
Lily's eyes never left the paper. "Death Eaters killed another muggle family, this time just outside Edinburgh. No word as to why, other than the fact that they were muggles that dared to, well, be muggles."
"Knowing how shitty people are, and having heard some horror stories from my parents… I wouldn't be surprised if that's the only reason," Emmeline said. Her mother was a muggle; her father had lost quite a few friends as a result of the marriage.
"I keep thinking I should have put protective spells on the house," Lily said, setting the paper down at last to pick at her food.
"You already got your final warning about practicing magic outside school while underage and around muggles," Marlene pointed out.
"It's a wonder, really, how you got that prefect's badge," Dorcas teased, eyeing a tray of muffins as though debating over taking one.
"They wouldn't really expel me and snap my wand for trying to protect my family, would they?" Lily asked. "Especially since all my prior offenses were so, well, small."
Minor teacup transfiguration.
Quick dishwashing spell.
Levitation spell when her father had lost his balance on the stepladder.
"They shouldn't, but having dealt with the government officials my dad works with, it's entirely possible," Marlene shrugged.
"So I'm just supposed to do nothing? I'm the witch, I'm the one that actually can do something," Lily sighed.
"Yeah, but I'm sure the Death Eaters would just love to see a smart, capable muggleborn like you get kicked out of school," Emmeline said softly, making sure no one was around before she stated Lily was muggleborn.
With the attacks that kept happening and the momentum the Dark Lord was building, it was best not to outright advertise a connection to muggles lately.
"I personally rather enjoy that being muggleborn means I piss them off simply by existing," Dorcas nodded, grabbing the muffin she'd been eyeing. "Oh, and going to school? Learning spells? It's like spiritually punching You-Know-Who in the face."
"You're not worried for your family?" Lily asked.
"Of course I am! But my parents would also kill me if I missed out on school on their account," said Dorcas.
"Still… maybe I should write them to stay in London a few more days with Tuney and her boyfriend," Lily said.
Marlene paused in her pursuit to make a sandwich of sorts out of toast and some eggs and cringed. "Petunia or Death Eaters? What an awful choice to have to make."
Lily didn't seem to hear, still thinking aloud. "Or, perhaps they should leave sooner? Wouldn't London be a big target for the Death Eaters? There are so many muggles there. Perhaps they should go home straight away. Oh! Maybe I can send them something that will help. What are those things that warn you of danger? Sneak-o-something…"
"A sneakoscope?" Emmeline said.
"Yes!" Lily said, eyes lighting up.
"The good ones aren't cheap," the Ravenclaw pointed out.
"Then, of course, they'll need an escape plan if it goes off. Can I set a muggle house up with the floo network? Can muggles take the floo network? Maybe they can floo somewhere safe? Oh, but then what would keep someone from following?" Lily was babbling now.
"Lily! You can't plan for everything and save everybody," Marlene said.
"I've got to save the ones I can save, though," Lily said.
"Saint Evans," Emmeline teased.
"That's why she got the badge," Dorcas snorted.
"Speaking of," Emmeline said, seemingly eager to latch on to a new subject. "How are your first years doing? Pass the sugar, please."
"Small," Marlene said, handing Emmeline the sugar dish so she might sweeten her coffee. "I swear we weren't that small."
"Maybe not you, Miss I-Was-Taller-Than-Everyone-Until-Year-Four," Dorcas said.
"It isn't my fault that it took everyone else that long to get with the program and grow," Marlene shrugged.
"They're fine. Homesick. Had a million questions before going to bed," Lily said.
"James and Sirius were helping Remus answer questions, so don't be surprised if some Gryffindor first years show up to dinner in just their underpants for 'initiation'," Marlene said, air quotes and all.
"Surely they wouldn't do that two years in a row?" Dorcas said.
"I bloody well hope not. Remus should know better, even if Black and Potter don't," Lily said, casting an annoyed glance to the boys in question, not far down the table. "How are your first years, Em?"
Emmeline groaned, adding cream to her coffee. "They're so much to handle. So many questions. Then, well, we don't have a password to our common room, right? We answer a riddle. Usually the first one for the first years is easier, as to not frighten them, but still a bit challenging to keep them from having a meltdown when they get a hard one later. Anyway, we got our riddle and before we could start talking through it with them, this boy, Gilderoy Lockhart, forces his way through the other students to answer, entirely smug. He's, of course, wrong, because he went for the obvious answer, not the right one, and he ends up throwing a damn fit about it. We didn't know what to do, so eventually Gerald took him aside to calm down and we were able to answer the riddle."
"You lot should get a password," Marlene snickered.
"Tell me about it," Emmeline said, setting her mug to her lips.
Meanwhile, a few paces down the table, the Marauders were having a far less productive conversation, considering that Sirius had fallen asleep with his chin propped in his hand, Remus was skimming the paper, Peter was trying to figure out how to best sneak food out in his pockets, and James was pinning and re-pinning his captain's badge, trying to find the best placement for it.
"Should probably wake him," Remus said absent-mindedly.
"Left side or right side?" James asked, glancing down at his badge, now fastened to the left side of his robes.
"I like it next to the crest," Peter said.
"Hmm…" said James thoughtfully.
"Sirius. Padfoot. Git. Prat. Wanker," Remus said, eyes still on the paper as he gently kicked Sirius in the shin with each word. "Wake. The Hell. Up."
"Mmmph," Sirius said, stirring. "It's too early."
"Eight-thirty isn't that early," Remus said.
"It is when you spent all summer staying out until the sun came up," Sirius said through a yawn. "I sleep when the music stops, Moony. I'm nocturnal now."
"And whose fault is that?" James smirked. Sirius had only quit his nightly concert adventures once he found himself staying at the Potters for the last two weeks of the summer. That didn't stop him from keeping odd hours and listening to that strange, angry music, however.
"David Johansen's," Sirius mumbled, setting his head on the table.
"Which one is he?" Remus asked. Sirius had tried to interest the others in the aggressive music he'd just discovered. He had mostly failed.
At least they humored him.
"The one that wears women's high heels," Sirius said.
"The one with the lightning bolt on his face?" Peter asked.
"That's Bowie," Sirius sighed. "I'm gonna have to get some muggle magazine clippings and make you lot a cheat sheet. You're embarrassing me."
Remus finally glanced up from his paper. "Pretty sure I'm the one that introduced you to Bowie. And made the suggestion to get you a record player for your birthday last year. It's just this punk stuff I can't keep up with."
"You got elbowed in the face at one show and gave up," Sirius said.
"My face has enough damage," Remus said, gesturing to the scars left over from his monthly transformations. "And I'm not really into the music."
Sirius groaned dramatically, "Neither is James, and it scares Peter."
"Well the music isn't very… what's the word I'm looking for, Moony?" James said.
"Good," Remus snorted.
"That's not the point. The point is that it's accessible to anyone. Anyone with a guitar that's angry enough can do it. No formal training required," said Sirius, sitting upright at last and reaching for some bacon. "It doesn't have to be objectively good, it just has to be passionate."
"Mmhm," Remus said skeptically.
James chanced a glance toward the girls a few paces away, gossiping away as Sirius tried to explain to Peter that really, the leather-clad punk rockers weren't that scary. Lily was craning her neck trying to get a better view of the Slytherin table as she nodded along with whatever it was that Dorcas was saying.
Her devastating eyes scanned the crowd before falling on that lanky, greasy boy speaking with Mulciber. Once Lily caught his eye, she waved, her smile genuine.
James sighed heavily, feeling his teeth clench over the fact that Snivellus of all people could make her smile that way. If she ever smiled around James, she was laughing at him, rather than with him.
Severus looked nervous before subtly waving in return. He then dove right back into his conversation as though nothing had happened.
Lily's smile faltered before she returned her attention to her friends.
There was something to be said about casting pearls before swine.
"Prongs?" Sirius said, snapping his fingers near James' ear. James glanced back in the direction of the others, who seemed to have moved on to a completely different subject, as Remus was eyeing Peter in confusion. "Pay attention. Worm just said he wants to bleach his hair platinum blond."
"Why the hell would you do that?" James asked, looking at Peter in surprise.
"I don't know, I thought maybe it would suit me better," Peter said, ruffling up his mousy brown hair.
"It won't. I say this as your friend. Don't do it," Sirius said.
"We can't have two people with terrible hair in the group," Remus said, gesturing to James.
"Excuse you! I'll have you know, my family made its fortune on hair care," James said, feigning offense.
"You'd never tell looking at you," Sirius laughed.
"Shut up, we can't all have a glossy, purebred coat," James mocked.
Sirius simply leaned forward so that his soft-looking hair could fall in his face before flipping it back as he sat upright, showing off both the pleasing way it moved and the fact that it always seemed to fall into a great position. Remus rolled his eyes. James heard a few girls giggle. He glanced toward Lily again, hoping she wasn't impressed to the point of swooning over Sirius' hair. James knew he could not beat Sirius in a hair-based competition.
Lily was focused on her conversation with the others, thankfully.
"Remus! There you are," said a girl that promptly plopped down beside the boy.
"Damn, Orpington," Sirius said to her. "Someone had a good summer."
Alice Orpington was the kindest girl you would ever meet. She was a bit timid at first, but once she warmed up to you, she was warm and friendly and generally a great friend to have.
She was also exceptionally talented, having managed to consistently get top marks in Defense Against the Dark Arts while many students found their marks fluctuating depending on who was teaching that year. It had even been suggested that she just teach the class.
In addition, she was gifted in charms and transfiguration, hell, basically any subject that required a wand. Alice had a knack for spells and was always ready to tutor younger students. It was probably why she was appointed prefect the previous year. She was, quite simply, a model citizen.
But that didn't stop others, particularly that nasty group of Death-Eaters-To-Be from mocking her relentlessly during the previous school years. They could say nothing about Alice's abilities, intelligence, or blood status, though.
So, instead, they went for her looks.
She hadn't been hideous, her warm personality shined through so brightly that few would call her "ugly." Most would go with "awkward."
She had a round face and large crooked teeth that seemed to bother her so much that she rarely smiled without her lips tightly shut. Her complexion was speckled with acne that no potion treated entirely, her eyebrows would quickly get out of hand if she didn't pluck them often, and her long hair always seemed to frizz and tangle by lunch time. It wasn't uncommon to overhear her expressing frustration over not being able to lose weight no matter what she did.
At least, that was how it was at the end of the previous school year. The Alice Orpington sitting beside Remus now grinned widely, showing off straighter teeth, though that wasn't the only change.
Her skin was clear and glowing. She had traded in her long hair for a shorter cut that rather suited her. The waistband of her skirt rested upon a noticeably smaller waist.
She had, indeed, had a good summer.
"Ignore him, I'm sorry," Remus said, secondhand embarrassment seeping into his features at Sirius' comment.
Alice, however, waved Remus' concerns away. "I know!" she said in response to Sirius' comment. Excitedly, she added, "I have polycystic ovarian syndrome!"
"You say that like it's a good thing. It sounds bad, what is it?" James asked.
"It means my hormones don't have a bloody idea what they're doing!" she said cheerfully. "It was making me break out, making my facial hair crazy, throwing off my blood sugar so I couldn't lose weight. But now I know I have it so I can treat it and I'm so pleased! I don't think my skin's been this smooth since I was about nine!"
She ran her fingers across her blemish-free face, her grin never faltering. "And dad surprised me for my birthday by getting my teeth straightened! The haircut, well, I've been meaning to try it for ages and I'm so glad it worked out."
"I was thinking of changing my hair too—" Peter started.
"And it will not work as well as it did for her," Sirius cut him off.
"Well, you look great," James said to Alice encouragingly.
"Thank you! Have any of you spoken to Frank recently? That's why I stopped by, uh, you think maybe you could, um, tell him that?" she said, glancing toward the tall seventh year speaking with Dumbledore.
"He's got eyes, doesn't he?" Sirius said.
"He didn't make eye contact with me the whole meeting on the train," Alice said, her grin finally faltering.
"Who, Frank?" Lily said, the girls suddenly intrigued by their conversation.
"You have to ask? Alice has only had a crush on him for two years," Marlene snickered. Alice blushed, but smiled softly.
"Maybe he was distracted," Remus said.
"He is head boy this year, that's a lot to deal with," Lily added helpfully.
"May I never be too busy to notice a pretty girl," Sirius said. The other boys nodded in agreement.
"Look, boys are stupid, case and point," Marlene said, gesturing to the Marauders.
"That's funny, McKinnon, because I distinctly remember that it was you asking to look at my transfiguration homework every week last year," Sirius said.
"Severus Snape is Lily's best-friend-that-isn't-me and it took him two weeks to realize she was dating my brother last year," Marlene continued.
"I straightened this mess," Dorcas said, gesturing to her wild curls, "Over the summer and three days later my dad asked if I did something different with it."
"It took Black all day to realize we shaved part of his hair off in the back when he fell asleep in History of Magic last year," Lily said.
"That was you!?" Sirius and James said at once.
"I hexed Snivellus for that…" said Sirius.
"Well, Emmeline found the spell," Lily shrugged.
"Don't pin it on me, you're the one that used it," Emmeline mumbled.
"The point is, boys are stupid," Marlene said to Alice. "If you want Frank Longbottom, you go get Frank Longbottom! March up there and ask if he wants to snog!"
"Or, I mean, you could ask him to lunch," Dorcas said.
"Ask him to lunch with the promise of snogging," James suggested.
"He's talking to Dumbledore," Alice said, blushing at the mere idea of asking Frank to snog. "I shouldn't bother them."
"Dumbledore won't give a shit," Sirius said. "Only an idiot would turn down food and snogging."
"Well, I guess… asking him to lunch isn't a big deal. It's lunch!" Alice said, breathing deep.
"There's no way he'll say no, you're a knock-out. Some day they're gonna call looking this good 'Alice Orpington-ing,'" Sirius said.
"That girl definitely Alice Orpington'ed," James said, providing an example.
"Nah, it'll be that girl Alice Longbottom'ed," Marlene teased.
"I'm going to do it, I'm going to march up there and… try not to vomit on him before I can get the words out," Alice said, standing up from the table.
"You've got this," Lily said.
"Let me know if he says no," Sirius said, raising his eyebrows suggestively. Alice giggled and gave him a wink before taking a step toward the staff table.
At that moment, however, Frank stepped away from the staff table, shuffling through some papers in his hands as he went, entirely engrossed in whatever was written on them.
"Frank…" she said weakly as he walked past their section of the table. He didn't hear her, still walking. "You know, um, he's busy, I'll ask him later."
Sirius rolled his eyes before leaning back and shouting "Longbottom!" at Frank's retreating back.
The boy stopped, turned, and raised a brow at Sirius before heading back their way. Alice paled, biting her lip as he came closer.
"What's up, Sirius?" Frank asked.
"Orpington's got something to ask you," Sirius said gesturing to the girl. Frank nervously looked her way, forcing a smile.
"Y-Yes, Alice?" he said.
"I was, um, I was just, you see, um, I was… I was wondering if you… um… if you had a copy of the patrol schedule, but I just remembered where mine was so I'll just, I'll just go get it, bye! It was nice seeing all of you!"
And with that, she scurried off before anyone else could utter a word.
Frank sighed heavily. "She hates talking to me, doesn't she?"
"Not at all!" Lily said.
"I mean, I don't blame her, I act like a complete idiot if I say more than three words to her. I don't know how I think I'm going to be an Auror if I can't even handle a pretty girl after two years of trying," Frank mumbled.
"… you've been trying to ask her out for two years?" James said.
"I always act like an idiot and she makes an excuse to leave, you guys just saw it. I should just take a hint. I don't even know what I did this time," he said.
"What the hell did I tell you guys? Boys are fucking morons!" Marlene said.
"What did I do?" Frank asked, baffled.
"Merlin's Beard, Frank, go ask Alice out," Remus said, pointing to the doors to the great hall.
"I can't, she hates me. And I, um… I've got to help direct first years, classes are starting soon. You lot better start getting to class yourselves," Frank said nervously, shuffling his papers again. "I'll, um, I'll see you all around."
"Fucking. Morons," Marlene said as Frank walked off.
"I bet three galleons that Evans agrees to go out with James before Longbottom or Orpington manage to ask each other at all," Sirius said.
"You are going to lose that bet, Black," Lily said.
"I'll take that bet," Dorcas said.
"Will you please not bet on my love life?" Lily asked.
"I'm not, I'm betting against it. I need more broomstick polish and haven't been able to justify the cost," Dorcas shrugged.
"Get ready to pay up, Meadowes," James said, offering Lily a wink.
"I think I'm gonna get the high end broom polish, the kind the professionals use," Dorcas mused as Lily rolled her eyes.
"Betting on James' lack of charm is really not gonna end well for you, Pads," Remus said.
"Hey, I'm incredibly charming!" James said, ruffling up his hair.
"Not really, but I mean, being charming isn't hard or anything," Sirius shrugged.
"Oh? Because you're just oozing with charm, Black," Lily scoffed.
Sirius slid on the bench until he was closer to Marlene and flashed her a grin. "Hey, McKinnon."
Marlene snorted and flipped her hair over her shoulder before batting her eyes dramatically. "Oh, hello, Sirius."
"You know, I'm sort of upset with you," he said casually, gently brushing his fingers across her hand.
"Why's that?" Marlene said, eyes wide and pretending to be shocked.
"Well, I didn't want to get up this morning and was nearly late, it really threw off my whole routine," he said.
"How is that my fault?"
"Because I was dreaming of you, my darling, and who would ever want that to end?" he said, his voice as smooth as velvet and his grin absolutely captivating.
Marlene mockingly set one hand to her forehead and the other over her heart, swooning dramatically with a sigh. "Oh, Sirius! You're so charming, I can hardly handle being so close to you without declaring my undying love."
"I would declare mine for you, but no word coined by man can describe the fiery passion in my heart," Sirius said, equally dramatic.
"Kiss me!" Marlene cried.
The pair grabbed each other by the skull and leaned forward. Their friends exchanged glances, wondering if they were actually going to have to watch Marlene and Sirius snog over breakfast.
With their faces perhaps an inch or two apart, they parted their lips, stuck out their tongues, and shook their heads dramatically, miming some sort of ridiculous interpretation of French kissing, all while not actually locking lips.
This left their companions snickering. Even Lily couldn't deny that the display before her was too ridiculous not to laugh at.
"You're both idiots, I hope you know," Remus said.
"But charming idiots," Sirius said, letting go of Marlene's head.
"So charming," Marlene nodded.
"See, it isn't hard," Sirius said, nudging James in the ribs with his elbow.
"I can promise you, Potter, if you try any of that with me," Lily said, gesturing to Sirius and Marlene, "I will hex you."
"But Evans!" Sirius said, pretending to be appalled, "You're a prefect."
"Exactly, so no one will suspect it was me," Lily said with a small smile as she stood from the table.
"Okay, I can see why you like her," Sirius said to a grinning James as the other girls stood up and followed Lily out of the hall.
James, Sirius, Remus and Peter settled into seats near the center of the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, a row behind Lily, Marlene and Emmeline. First class of the new term was with the Ravenclaws, which wasn't terrible.
Whether or not the new professor would be terrible remained to be seen. The man toyed with his comb-over as his students filled in.
"I wish we weren't the first ones to have this bloke," Sirius mumbled under his breath.
"Yeah, I'd rather have someone else feel them out first," James agreed. Coming in blind was never fun with these professors. At least with McGonagall or Slughorn or any professor with a position that wasn't actually cursed, they knew what to expect.
"I just hope this one's in good health," Remus added. Last year's professor had been approximately one hundred and thirty years old.
He hadn't resigned, retired, or been fired. He simply clutched at his chest suddenly during one of his N.E.W.T. classes, fell over, and died.
Counselors had been on campus for a week to talk with the class that had witnessed it. Dumbledore himself filled in for the last few weeks of term.
The bell rang and with a flick of his wand, Professor MacPherson shut the door, locking it.
"Good morning, students!" He said cheerfully.
"Good morning, Professor," the class responded. At least half of them sounded bored.
"First thing's first, you will be on time for my class. When the bell rings, the door will be—"
A knock came from the door, the handle jiggling against the lock. MacPherson sighed, gesturing toward the door with his wand. Gerald Jackson, a Ravenclaw, walked in apologetically once it was unlocked.
"I was just telling the class that the door will be locked when the bell rings," MacPherson said, arms crossed.
"Sorry, Professor! I was helping some first years that were lost," Gerald said, gesturing to his prefect badge. "The castle's hard to navigate when you're new, you know?"
"Five points from Ravenclaw, take your seat," MacPherson said. Gerald seemed taken aback.
"Sir, it was about thirty seconds—" he started.
"Take your seat," MacPherson said again. Gerald cocked a brow before picking the vacant seat on the other side of Emmeline. "Now, as I was saying, lateness will not be tolerated in my class. If you're going to be late, don't bother showing up at all."
Sirius scribbled on a scrap piece of parchment and slid it toward James. He had written, We're gonna be ditching this class a lot.
James simply nodded.
"This class will be divided into lecture and the practical lesson. I expect no wands out and no magic to be performed during the lecture. I want only discussion and note-taking. You will be graded on participation, so do get involved with the discussion. I plan to start with a review of the history of dark magic and defensive spells to be sure that we are all on the same page, as I understand you have not had a consistent professor in this course. But, there is plenty of time for that, for now, let's get to know each other. I want to go around the room, and each of you can state your name, your house, and a fun fact about yourselves."
Several students audibly groaned at the notion of a "getting to know you" exercise. Every student in that class had been taking classes together for four years. They knew each other as much as they wanted to. This was solely for MacPherson's benefit.
With his roster on his clipboard, MacPherson started with the front row. Robert collected chocolate frog cards. Lisa's owl could hoot "God Save the Queen." Gwen visited America over the summer.
This went on and on, with few students finding it within themselves to care.
"Oh, um. Lily Evans, Gryffindor, and… I don't know. I like to dance."
"What sort of dance?" MacPherson asked.
"I used to take ballet… now my friend Dorcas and I mostly make things up as we go along. Just for fun," Lily shrugged. MacPherson made a note on his clipboard.
"And you, the one wearing too much eyeshadow," he said to Marlene.
"Marlene McKinnon, Gryffindor, and I don't make my cosmetic decisions based on men's opinions," Marlene quipped.
MacPherson made a non-committal noise, scribbling quite a few notes before looking to Emmeline expectantly.
"Emmeline Vance, Ravenclaw. I'm in the school choir."
"Are you any good?"
"Er, I should hope so… you have to audition to get in."
They finished up that row before reaching the Marauders, each looking exceptionally bored.
"Sirius Black, Gryffindor," Sirius said.
"Of the Black Family?" MacPherson asked.
"Toujours Pur," Sirius said, unenthusiastically. "I like to listen to punk rock."
"What on earth is punk rock?"
"It's angry music with live performances in which people wearing black leather gather together to tattoo and pierce each other, summon demons, scream angrily, have orgies, worship the devil, sacrifice virgins, and plot to overthrow the government," Sirius said with a smile. Scattered snickers could be heard around the classroom.
MacPherson was unamused.
"James Potter, Gryffindor. I'm captain of the house Quidditch team this year," James said, drawing attention from Sirius' "explanation" of punk rock. "Which, on that note, I've booked the pitch for try-outs on Friday, just a head's up to the Gryffindors here."
"Never been much a fan of Quiditch, myself," MacPherson said with a smile.
James didn't like this professor.
"Um. Remus Lupin, Gryffindor. I collect muggle comic books," Remus said.
"What is a comic book?" MacPherson asked.
"Well, it's a book with a series of pictures—" Remus started.
"So you don't actually read anything?"
"No, there's words, too—"
"So, it's a picture book, like the sort children read?"
"Well, no, not really. I mean, for example, I read a lot of Spider-Man and—"
"Yes, it's about a kid that's bitten by a spider and gets superhuman abilities—"
"No spider will do that."
"That's not really the point—"
"Next in line," MacPherson said, gesturing to Peter. Remus sighed heavily.
"Peter Pettigrew, Gryffindor. I'm, er, allergic to strawberries."
This continued until MacPherson had commented on the hobby or interest of almost every student in the class. Once that was through, he told the class a bit about himself. He had been in Ravenclaw and had taken a great interest in magical theater productions at school. He chose to pursue that after graduating, being particularly interested in historical dramas. After having little luck obtaining any roles in such productions, he reached out to Dumbledore in the hopes of teaching History of Magic, as Professor Binns had been dead for quite some time now.
The ghost of Binns had once more refused to leave his post. MacPherson was offered the vacant Defense Against the Darks Arts position, and thus, here he was.
Having finished introductions sooner than he had anticipated, MacPherson decided to begin his first lecture.
"Now, why do we need defensive spells? What brought about that need, you might ask yourselves?"
"Pretty sure it's the fact that people have killed each other since the dawn of mankind," Sirius mumbled to James.
"Muggles got creative with their weaponry and means of execution early on, which only made it logical that us magic folk would have to respond with defensive mechanisms of our own. For example, many of you might be familiar with Henry VIII, the king who beheaded all his numerous wives."
Remus raised his hand almost immediately.
MacPherson checked his notes on his roster for Remus' name. "Yes, Mr. Lupin?"
"Actually, he didn't behead all his wives, sir," Remus said. "He only beheaded two of them."
"Henry VIII expert, are you?"
"Well, there's a rhyme to remember it."
"Yeah, I know that one," Lisa from Ravenclaw said, raising her hand, "Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived."
"Right," said Remus, "He divorced the first one, beheaded the second one, the third one died from unrelated causes, the fourth one was divorced, the fifth was beheaded, and the last one outlived him."
"Which two were beheaded?" MacPherson demanded.
"Er… Catherine Howard and… um…" Remus said.
MacPherson smiled, seemed satisfied, and continued his lecture, ignoring several Ravenclaws that had raised their hands hoping to say Anne Boleyn! "Medieval muggles are famous for their means of torture as well as for their ignorance, thus, giving birth to the need for defensive magic—what now, Mr. Lupin?"
"Sir, defensive magic existed long before medieval times, long before Henry VIII's time. I mean, Hogwarts was founded in the tenth century. Not to mention, Henry VIII wasn't really medieval, more like, late middle ages, early Renaissance," Remus said.
"Also, um, wouldn't early wizards be much more concerned with defending themselves against each other rather than early muggle devices? I mean, the weapons back then were nothing compared to what the muggles have now," Emmeline added, speaking quickly as though she wanted to get her comment overwith.
"Exactly, I'd think other wizards and magical creatures would be a bigger issue, especially during the dark ages when nothing really progressed in the muggle world," Remus said.
"Raise your hand before speaking, Miss Vance, five points from Ravenclaw. Mr. Lupin, I'd appreciate you not nitpicking my lecture."
"But sir, you're implying that defensive magic was basically non-existent until the sixteenth century, which is nonsense," Remus said. A few of the other students gasped at the notion of telling a professor such a thing.
"I am attempting, if you would so kindly allow me to do so, to explain the rise in defensive spells that occurred in the late middle ages and renaissance," MacPherson said, entirely unamused. "After all, the unforgivable didn't come along until the eighteenth century."
"Actually, they were around long before that," Remus said. "It was just the eighteenth century when they were officially classified as unforgivable."
"Ten points from Gryffindor, Mr. Lupin," MacPherson said.
"For what?" Remus demanded.
"Undermining my authority in my own classroom," MacPherson replied.
"That isn't what I'm trying to do," Remus said.
Sirius raised his hand. MacPherson sighed. "What is it, Mr. Black?"
"Actually, I was going to ask Professor Lupin if I could be excused to use the loo," Sirius grinned. The class snickered.
"Five points from Gryffindor," MacPherson sneered. At that moment, the bell rang and the class began to gather their things. MacPherson began scribbling madly on his clipboard, no doubt adding notes to both Remus and Sirius' names.
The group of boys closely followed Marlene, Lily, and Emmeline out of the room. Once they were out of earshot of MacPherson, Marlene practically snarled.
"Too much eyeshadow! As if I get up every morning wondering what my goddamn professor is going to think of my face! He should wear some fucking make-up, the ugly old git," she said.
"I don't know why he would think it's appropriate to comment on a student's appearance at all, you're not violating any rule," Lily said, shaking her head. "Maybe next class we should all wear 'too much' eyeshadow."
"I'm in," Emmeline said.
"Hey," Marlene said over her shoulder to the boys. "Next Defense Against The Dark Arts class we're all wearing too much eyeshadow, spread the word."
"Can do!" James said, offering her a salute. Marlene smiled. If anyone could be relied upon to put together something that would irritate a professor, it was the Marauders.
"I'm sure Sirius will let us borrow his," Peter snickered.
"Laugh all you want, you're just jealous I pull it off better than you," Sirius said, flipping his hair haughtily.
"Yep, that's it," James said sarcastically.
"If you can tell me as a friend not to dye my hair blond, I can tell you as a friend that the eyeshadow doesn't work," Peter said.
Sirius sighed dramatically, as though the others simply didn't get it. His eyelids were vacant of eyeshadow now, but a subtle hint of eyeliner seemed to be present, making his grey eyes simply smolder.
"You okay, Remus? He was awful to you," Lily said, concerned as she fell into step beside him and set a gentle hand to his shoulder.
"I'm more angry than anything," Remus said with a roll of the eye. "I'm not sure what he's been studying, but it's sure not the books I've read."
"Or, you know, anything on basic world history," Emmeline said.
"You should just teach the class, Professor Lupin," Sirius said, seemingly determined to make this nickname stick.
"I mean you're pretty much always top of our year in it," Lily nodded.
"Did Lily Evans just agree with me?" Sirius said in shock.
"Even a broken clock is right twice a day," Marlene grinned. "Really, though, Remus, what you did was great, I hope every class is like that. He was getting so angry."
"Yeah, and here I thought these lectures were supposed to be discussions," James said.
"Only if you're discussing how correct he is, apparently," Remus mumbled.
"I can't wait to find out what happens when Frank and Alice each sit through one of his classes," Peter said.
"We'll flunk our O.W.L.s if all his lectures are like this," Lily sighed. "I have a feeling the exams are looking for accurate information."
"Well, what about when he starts assigning homework? Do we write on fact or what he says happened?" said Emmeline. "My whole house is gonna be a wreck come the first assignment, trying to decide which way to go."
"Teachers like this, you have to tell them what they want to hear," Marlene said. "Even if every word is dragon shit."
"This shouldn't even be an issue," Remus said, frustrated.
"It was only the first day," Peter offered.
"Yeah, I mean, maybe he's just bad at the history part and he'll be okay at the practical part," James said. "I don't trust anyone that doesn't like Quidditch, though."
Marlene nodded in agreement. Lily rolled her eyes.