Chapter : In Which there is Far to much Reflectivity
AN: JKR may have lost my respect, but she still has the power we know not. Being a published author. Please don't sue me.
Also if this chapter seems a little lackluster, well, I promise that next chapter will be better. This was written now, hell, chapter 8 was written like a year ago when I actually had a soul.
A group of twelve-year-old Gryffindor and Hufflepuff students waited outside of the Hogwarts greenhouses. They chattered amongst themselves, watching two of their Professors climb the slope in their direction. The familiar Professor Sprout, well-liked for her comforting aura, was displaying an uncharacteristic amount of annoyance and distaste as she hastened up to her class. The apparent cause for that irritation, as well as the cause for the record-breaking cost for student textbooks, was striding along next to her, an uncomfortable amount of blinding teeth on display. As the teachers crested the hill, Lockhart's words became decipherable to the students
"...I had run into such a willow on my travels, you see Pomona, and I felt I simply must offer my assistance. I was unsure how much experience you had with such exotic plants."
Professor Sprout's expression darkened further. Giving no response to the grinning man, she strode towards the second years. "Greenhouse Two, chaps!" Said Professor Sprout, in a valiant attempt to capture her normally jovial tone. "This is where the fun begins."A flick of her wand sent the door slamming open, doing little to disguise her fouling temper.
The students made to quickly enter the greenhouse, however, one boy was halted by the blonde man. Lockhart smiled widely, gripping the boy's arm. "Professor Sprout, I'm sure you wouldn't mind if I spoke to Harry for a brief moment?"
"In fact, I would, Lockhart," Sprout snapped. "I've already lost ten minutes with my students, and they have an important project to start today. Kindly leave, now," the woman said, shooing him away with her hands.
"But-" stuttered Lockhart.
Professor Sprout dragged Harry into her greenhouse and slammed the door in Lockhart's face. "That man," she muttered to herself, brandishing her wand to magically slap a vine of a fluorescent orange plant. "Hannah, dear, please be mindful of the tobascus ivorus. It can get a bit touchy." The plant let out a whimper, retreating away from a bemused Hannah Abbott.
Sprout came to the front of the class, looking somewhat more relaxed. "So, class!" She began, clapping her hands together. "Today, we begin our foray into the more dangerous of the lovely specimens that we house at the castle. Who can tell me about mandrakes?"
To absolutely no one's surprise, Hermione's hand flew into the air like it was under jet propulsion. Neville Longbottom began cackling softly to himself, rubbing his hands together with glee.
Harry's introduction to Gilderoy Lockhart was less than stellar, what with the overpriced textbooks and the unpleasant meeting at Flourish n Blotts (involving a cancer-causing camera, two obnoxious blonde males, an obnoxious blonde boy, and a blindingly pink pigeon). Now, with the interactions he witnessed on the very first day, Harry was not holding out much hope that Lockhart would be a particularly likeable person.
In spite of all of that, Harry still held some hope that he might be able to learn something this year. Later, Harry would justify this hope by pointing out that 1) there were a lot of books and stories of him doing heroic deeds, and 2) Harry was about eighty-three percent sure that Lockhart didn't have a Voldemort face molded into the back of his skull.
Harry filed into the new Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom alongside the other Second Year Gryffindors and Slytherins. The room was filled with various ornamental pieces, paintings, what appeared to be a miniature dragon skeleton hung from the ceiling, and, of course, several rows of the two-person worktables that Hogwarts students were so familiar with. Harry made sure to sit next to Ron, Hermione had a somewhat frightening aire of excitement around her that he did not feel like handling today.
Professor Lockhart went through role call, pausing rather unnecessarily on Harry's name to shoot the boy a large grin. Harry rolled his eyes. With Blaise Zabini being the last to call out a bored "here," Lockhart was finally ready to start his lesson.
"So! Welcome boys and girls." The man clapped his hands together, out of excitement or nervousness, Harry couldn't tell. "You all know me, Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin Second class, Witch Weekly voted best smile, and now, your new Professor! We will get to the more practical side of my little hobby later, for now, I want to get a feel for how much you've already read from the little booklist you've all acquired. Pop quiz!"
Harry's little bit of hope for a good Defense teacher had lasted an impressively long time, all things considered. No matter, it was brutally slaughtered the moment Harry looked down at the quiz Lockhart had just passed out.
What is Gilderoy Lockhart's favourite colour?
Define the exact magnitude of reflectiveness of Gilderoy Lockhart's stunning teeth, using the magi-metric scale.
Precisely how many twinkles can Gilderoy Lockhart's stunning eyes produce every minute?
Harry shook his head, feeling a depressing mixture of disappointment and disgust. Ron's head hit his desk with an audible thud. Hermione's quill was flying, writing vigorously with one hand as the other dipped into her bag to pull out an abacus. Neville plopped Trevor down onto his desk, who had for once seemed content to snooze in the boy's pocket. Harry watched in vague interest as Neville proceeded to have a staring contest with his bewildered, bowtie wearing toad. Further away, Dean Thomas was (predictably) doodling on his best friend's parchment, whilst said friend was once again indulging in his pyromaniac tendencies. Seamus, perhaps in an effort to give himself more of a challenge, was furiously rubbing two quills together. As Dean continued to trace elaborate characters onto the parchment, his friend's primitive fire starting methods produced the barest hint of a wisp of smoke
Draco Malfoy was seated on the complete opposite side of the classroom from Harry. The Slytherin boy was ignoring his quiz in favour of a small hand mirror mounted on the wall next to him. Harry watched, stifling chuckles as Malfoy repetitively and obsessively swept his hands through his product laden blonde locks, primping and preening at his own reflection. Behind him, Blaise Zabini was slouched in his seat, glowering at everything and everyone in the Nott, sitting next to his moody housemate, was leaned back, with two chair legs pooped into the air in a faux casual manner. He was lazily twirling a quill through his fingers until he caught sight of a Gryffindor near the front of the room. Parvati Patil, who was putting on a mocking impression of Nott's display, grinned widely as the boy dropped his quill and nearly fell over in surprise. Fay Dunbar, sitting next to her snorted at the antics before turning back to her quiz. Lavender Brown only spared a moment to glare at her housemates for the disruption before quickly turning back to her own parchment she was anxiously writing on.
Somebody coughed audibly.
Greggory Goyle, a row in front of Malfoy, raised his hand at the same moment that his fellow hunk of mass loudly passed gas. Crabbe let out a grunt, perhaps in a sort of apology, or perhaps in confusion at his own continued presence on this plane of existence.
After a moment of hesitation, Lockhart gestured to Goyle. "Your question, Mr…" he trailed off questioningly.
"Uhhh…" Goyle said. The large twelve year old inhaled in a manner that suggested he had to consciously think about each breath in order to not pass out. "What does, um, RAY-fluct-Iv-nUss mean?"
Lockhart stared at the large boy, taken aback. "W-well, my boy," said Lockhart, "don't worry yourself too much right now, although if you could look through Break with a Banshee, I do believe you'll figure out an explanation there."
"Oh you mean this one?" Goyle gestured to a stack of Lockhart books and knocking a few to the floor in the process. "Uh," said the boy, distracted by the unexpected stimuli of the falling texts. Regaining his small collection of brain cells, Goyle finally completed his thought. "I dunno why you'd want us to buy from this guy, Mr. Professor." Goyle frowned to himself, unsure why he thought the books were subpar.
Crabbe suddenly whipped his head to the side, viscously headbutting his table partner. He cleared his throat, "Yeah, uh, Flint and some of the others were saying that this Lockhart's just some idiotic fraud…I dunno." Crabbe shrugged, and Goyle nodded in agreement.
Neville broke off his staring contest at the display that the two Slytherins were putting on. It was one of the most stupid interactions he had ever witnessed, and yet it was also probably the longest complete sentences either boy had ever spoken. Hermione was busy contemplating if it was scientifically possible to transfer thoughts through ear holes, overlooking the simple reality that Crabbe and Goyle were just two dimwitted pureblood boys.
Lockhart gaped. It is perfectly possible that, without further input, the man's mental state would not recover. In that slightly nicer reality, Lockhart's brain could have stayed in a perpetual state of bootlooping, unable to resume complex thoughts and actions. Or, what passed as 'complex' for the young man. However, that is not what happened. Instead, Millicent Bulstrode raised her hand.
"Excuse me sir, I've completed your quiz," the girl said.
Perfectly in-sync, Lavender and Hermione both slammed their respective hands to their respective desks with a dual shriek of "WHAT!?"
"Nice harmony," Parkinson muttered to herself.
Unfazed, Bulstrode continued speaking. "What would you have me do with it, Professor?" the girl's voice and demeanour were entirely out of her usual character. She looked up at the teacher with an expression that seemed to be a bad imitation of hope and awe. Then again, Bulstrode was probably more emotionally stunted than
In the very back corner of the room, almost completely hidden by a stack of books, Tracey Davis facepalmed. She then looked up, turned to Daphne Greengrass, sat next to her, and forced her hand into a face palm as well. Greengrass let out a heavy sigh.
Unfortunately, the outburst was enough to snap the dazed teacher back to reality. Shaking off his flustered expression, Lockhart set about collecting all the quizzes (and two Gryffindor girls frantically raced to finish writing their answers).
"So class," began a once more grinning Lockhart. "That little test was just so I could get a little indicator on how much reading you have done. Miss Bulstrode, I applaud you! You have perfectly identified my conflicted and complicated emotions around shoe styles in a way I myself have not been able to vocalise! Bravo, my dear!"
Several people rolled their eyes.
"Now, bold students, I must warn you that in this classroom, you will learn of horrifying monsters." Lockhart's tone shifted into a deeper, more mysterious inflection, although the effect was somewhat ruined by the man's unceasing grin.
Somebody coughed, and Ron's eye twitched at the sound.
"It is possible that here, you could discover your worst fear, or learn of magic used for wrong in dark, disturbing ways." Professor Lockhart waved his wand to lower the window shades, darkening the room. "All I ask you is to remember that you are safe because I am here this year at Hogwarts to protect you and teach you to defend yourselves magically. Never fear students! For there is no beast nor evil warlock that could possibly stand to I, Gilderoy Lockhart! And so, without further ado, your magnificently magical instruction on defending yourself against the dark arts this year, taught by yours truly, begins!" Lockhart turned to lift something from behind his desk, rotating with a flourish and slamming a cage down on the table. "Freshly caught Cornish Pixies!" the man crowed in delight.
Several people chuckled, with Dean and Fay Dunbar both losing control and breaking down into loud giggling. In the middle of sniffing a wisp of smoke from his poor quill, Seamus also started to laugh, which quickly turned into a hacking cough.
"Not to worry!" Lockhart called out, mistaking the widespread hilarity for fear. "They look nasty, for sure, but they will pose no threat to you." He pointed his wand at the lock. "Let's see what you can make of them, eh?"
The cage blasted open, and the pixies swarmed the class. In an instant, the room was in chaos, ink pots shattering to the floor, portraits and paintings rattled and knocked off the walls. The students were on their feet, most of them panicking. Malfoy let out a scream when a pixie dive bombed him, digging
"Bloody hell!" Ron yelled, knocking over several tables and chairs as he jumped away. Several girls screamed as a stack of books got yeeted out of a window
Blaise Zabini appeared behind Harry. "It would seem that chaos has sprouted wings and is here make us her playthings," the dark skinned boy muttered as he sidestepped a screaming Malfoy. Before Harry could so much as snort at the cryptic piece of commentary, a massive skeleton fell from the ceiling.
Lockhart screamed something, brandishing his wand it what appeared to be a spell. Instead of being helpful or perhaps mildly competent, his wand fired out of his hand like a cannon ball and began to pinball around the room like it was made out of solid rubber and the laws of inertia had just snorted crack. It narrowly missed several people before finally colliding with Lavender Brown to ricochet through the shattered window. Lavender fell to the floor, knocked unconscious.
"DEAN!" Seamus shouted, standing on top of Lockhart's desk. "QUICK, EAT IT!" he hollered, pointing at a lump magically fused rune-doodled parchment and smouldering quills on the floor
Eyes wide, Dean dove for the object. He shoved it into his mouth and choked as he struggled to swallow the…thing. Seamus pulled out his wand with obvious but unknown intent, but got sidetracked instantly by a knife-wielding pixie. The boy reached under Lockhart's desk, and yanked at something, to the sound of a loud squeal. Using what appeared to be a stiff blonde spike, Seamus faced off against the pixie.
Trevor the toad hopped into the air, snatched a pixie out of the air and landed. He chewed up pixie, then fell asleep.
Harry dug through his bag in a hurry. He withdrew a gadget, a wire, and another gadget. Harry fiddled with the buttons on one of the objects to make his selection, then jammed an end of the wire into each gadget. With a victorious smirk, Harry smashed one final button.
The chaos hadn't abated one bit during Harry's mission of being sidetracked. At the centre of it all, Seamus was staring down the blade-bearing pixie, tightly gripping a gel hardened spike of Malfoy's hair. Behind him, Dean was staring at his fingertips, which were starting to glow red.
Loud enough to be heard over the unfolding disaster, a synthetic, robotic voice spoke."DUEL OF THE FATES, BY JOHN WILLIAMS, NOW PLAYING."
Seamus and the pixie charged each other, weapons clashing rapidly. Rich vocal harmonies and dramatic orchestral pieces filled the room to accompany the battle between boy and creature.
Harry Potter stood to the side, wearing a self-satisfied shit-eating grin.
Clumps of pixies were still flitting around the room, harassing people, chucking Lockhart out of the window, and stealing anything not cemented in place. Greengrass, wielding a book like a cricket bat, swung at a pixie with perfect form to send it flying away. Crabbe and Goyle had been watching the disaster unfold from their table, against all odds remaining untouched by the chaos. That was, until Greengrass's home run pixie from across the room arced down and hit Crabbe with a splat. As Goyle fell out of his chair in surprise, Crabbe jumped up with a yelp. As the boy staggered around the class, buffeted around by hordes of flying blue buggers now even more enraged at the death of their kin, a foul smell arose. Harry gagged as Crabbe ran by, wafting the stench further.
What was once contained to his fingers, a red glow had now spread over Dean Thomas's entire body. He sat curled under a desk, eyes shut tight as his hair began to smoke.
The music was picking up, instruments reaching a crescendo and rich harmonies rising in urgency. Seamus was now duelling multiple foes at once, as more pixies found makeshift weapons around the room and flew to join the fight.
"Now, Dean! Do it!" Seamus shouted desperately.
Dean felt around blindly, standing up without seeing. He inhaled deeply and opened his eyes. Fiery lasers blasted out of his seeing-sockets, darting around the room and leaving scorches on the walls.
Then, FLOOM! A massive fire ball engulfed the room in a split second. Several thuds were heard as multiple things fell out of the air, and then silence.
Harry hesitantly rose from where he had dove for cover. A quick look around and a distgusting sniff of the air revealed that all of the pixies had been flame broiled out of the air, their charred, smouldering corpses littering the floor. Dean's skin color was fading back to his normal tone, as he frantically looked around the room, sans lasers.
The door opened. Lockhart stood there, robes and hair in a disarray, and generally appearing to be taken aback by anything and everything. "Um, I…uh. Class dismissed."
Everybody fled, trampelling the incompetent Professor in their haste to escape. Multiple students made to hurry to the Hospital Wing for burn treatment Dean among the group, although he was only complaining of a stomach ache.
Somebody coughed again.
"WOULD YOU STOP COUGHING," Ron roared. "THE PANDEMIC IS STILL LIKE 30 YEARS AWAY. WE'RE ONLY ON COVID-3, OR SOMETHING. IT'S NOT BLOODY TIME YET!"
Hermione gave Ron a startled look out of the corner of her eye, but elected not to comment.
Harry let out a happy sigh. "That was bloody brilliant. My cousin would love Seamus. If they ever met, it would be like love at first sight, and then the world would go up in flames."
Hermione looked disturbed by the prospect. "That sounds horrible. I feel bad for Professor Lockhart, we let his lesson go wrong." She wrung her hands. "At least the test went well, I suppose."
Neville raised an incredulous eyebrow at the bookworm.
Ron scoffed. "It's not our fault that he's completely incompetent."
"Ron!" Hermione gasped. "He's our Professor, and moreover, an accomplished wizard, renown for fighting the dark arts. It was in the test, he asked about different methods of-"
"Hermione," Ron cut off, "the test was the worst part of that entire class." He shook his head. "It was a complete waste of parchment, and this is going to be another wasted year of Defence."
Hermione reared up, ready to fight the point, but Harry suddenly asked a question that had been on his mind for a while.
"Do you think that Lockhart tries to make his hair look like that, or is it just naturally as much of a douche as he is?"
Hermione sighed in defeat. "Oh, Harry, please just give him a chance. He really does seem to know his stuff, at least if the books are anything to go on."
"Hermione, that quiz had 55 questions right?" Harry asked rhetorically. "But he numbered it 1-54, and then the last one was a much larger overly stylized 69. I'm sorry to break it to you, but that's weird."
Trevor the toad popped his head out of Neville's pocket to croak in agreement, then dove back into his amphibious slumber.
"Ooh, a toad," said a dreamy voice.
Looking around, Harry was the first to spot the silvery-haired Ravenclaw that had spoken. "Oh, hi Luna," the boy said with a smile. Other classes had let out by now, and the corridor was roaming with students of different ages and houses.
"Oh, hello Harry Potter," said Luna, her gaze locking in on the boy-who-lived with interest. She hopped down from the alcove she had been perched in. "It's nice to meet you again, outside of the dark of a broom cupboard," the girl said pleasantly.
A passing fifth year chuckled.
"Yeah," Harry agreed, "getting caught by McGonagall didn't really improve conversation either."
Another older student snorted in laughter as the young group walked past.
"Oh well, I must be getting on I suppose. I'll see you around Harry." And with that, Luna Lovegood drifted off, her usual serene expression on her face.
The four continued at a sedate pace down the corridor. Further ahead, Seamus whacked Nott with the hair spike, then bolted up a set of moving stairs. Neville broke off from the group, planning to take Trevor to Hagrid to make sure he was still healthy.
"Harry, where did you get that sound system?" Hermione asked her friend. "I've never seen one like it before."
Harry looked at his device. It had the characters 'MP3' above a little display screen, and a generic company logo on the back. "I don't really know what it is, some tall bloke gave it and the speaker to me as a birthday present, and taught me how it all worked. I think it's pretty neat." Harry shrugged.
"Hmm, I wonder if it's some new, advanced model of the walkman," Hermione pondered.
"No idea. Also, that song I played earlier? I told Dudley about it, and he tried to find the movie that it comes from, and it apparently doesn't exist."
"It doesn't exist, now that's interesting," Hermione murmured to herself.
Harry and Ron shared a look. They knew their friend well enough to recognize the look on her face.
Ten minutes later, Madame Pince scowled as a bushy-haired second year hurried into the library and beelined straight for the How to Break the Universe section.
AN: Happy Easter. If you don't celebrate it, well, the candy's still pretty good I suppose.
Sorry this took so long, especially since I think I hinted at a quick upload for this chapter. School has been absolutely destroying me. Don't expect another chapter until a week into May, but there might be an earlier update with a little luck.
This chapter was a bit of a slog, but we got there in the end. It feels necessary for some reason, which is ridiculous when literally no part of anything I write has any right to be called necessary. But, oh well, I hope you liked it.
Thanks to FrostFriday (from ) for a mini little plot element I'm using here, more on that next chapter. Also, I'm on AO3 if you'd rather read there (like I usually do).
I have three more chapters planned for Second Year alone (including what I believe to be a very unique climax-finale). Might end up adding an extra 2nd year chapter on top of that if I feel like it, but this is gonna be similar to first year, with just a few long chapters to traverse the year and set up characterizations to be used when the characters are a bit older.
~SNAP BACK TO REALITY~
You can thank Metallica's Master of Puppets album for this chapter finally getting posted.