A new Professor has beren hired right off the graduation stage from Oxford Uni. Will this young man crack under the pressure? Will he even survive his first term?
Chapter 2: When Harry met David_
The sun is finally peeking over the line of trees on Magnolia Crescent. I am sitting with papers surrounding me on a bench, watching children on their way to play in this park. Most of the narration you are reading now is what was taken down by the Quick Quotes Quill my father gave me. I have its embellishment level set to zero. The florid prose it sometimes gives out is useless to me. I have had everything provided for me. I am under the sneaking suspicion the headmistress sent a house-elf to watch over my needs. A meal will appear at three times each day. It is so huge I cannot finish it all. After I set it down it disappears again. One day I mentioned out loud my craving for chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy. The next meal was that very dish. Since it was England, instead of the South, the gravy was brown instead of white. I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Ever since then, my meal will wait till I ask for what I want. No distractions this way.
I probably need to describe myself a little better. I am 5'5" tall and weigh about 180 pounds. Not to say I am fat at all, I stay in shape by swimming, racket ball, and martial arts. Before you judge me, I am not some show -off martial artist that walks around looking for a fight. I would never go on the offensive unless provoked. When in a bind I can easily overcome an obstacle that steps in my way. I have brown eyes and hair that transition in color naturally from dark brown to red at the tips. My hairstyle, I feel is the coolest. I have my sides and back of my head shaved. The hair on top it is long and pulled back in a tail. The tail is thick around as a half dollar and hits me about mid-back. I am continuing to take notes: Why does this place not have a name? No wonder this Mr. Potter is so depressed. Even the place he comes to relax has no life. Sure there are a lot of children, but the place has no identity. No name to reminisce about. When I was young some of my fondest memories were from a huge field where I would go ride motorcycles and go-carts. It had no real name, but we all dubbed it 'The Donut,' because of the huge circle track that encompassed the field.
I have been watching, my assignment for three days now. My nights have been spent at the home of Arabella Figg. Ms. Figg is a Squib who lives with several cats in Wisteria Walk two streets from Privet Drive. She had been the key to Dumbledore's efforts to watch over Harry while he's with the Dursleys. If I were not used to cats, I would have to say the smell of Tibbles, Snowy, Mr. Paws, and Tufty would drive me nuts. I will be finishing off my notes this morning and make first contact with them after lunch. It would be good to have a full stomach if I have to defend myself. The female subject, Ms. Granger, seems to be the one with the ideas and not really the brains. Not to say she is not the smartest, but she does not want the part of leader. She would rather be more of the compass. Mr. Potter is the leader who has trouble sometimes with accepting the role he has been given. Mr. Weasley is loyal to a fault. Scratch that. He is loyal except for his jealousy. This could be a potential stumbling block for the trio.
I can see the inseparable three coming now. Checking my watch to verify. Sure enough, 7:00 am on the dot. I overheard an argument between Mr. Weasley and Ms. Granger on day two of observations. They had a disagreement about it being a holiday and why they had to get up. As usual, she won the argument. I wonder how anyone, even Ms. Granger, can be that chipper in the morning. If I was not already up for the last few hours sorting notes, I would feel the same as Mr. Weasley. The three are loaded down with books. The triumvirate seems to have their own pace. Ms. Granger is almost always studying and taking notes from many different books. Mr. Weasley likes to read for a few minutes and then goes and uses the children's playground equipment. Mr. Potter does everything half-heartedly. By no means am I saying he does not have the determination to finish his tasks. It is more of a begrudging acceptance for what he has to do. I correct myself, Ms. Granger does have another task she does on a daily basis. When the Muggles are not looking, she slowly repairs the playground equipment. Everything almost looks brand-new now. If she can't do S.P.E.W. then she will always look for lost causes, in my opinion.
Ms. Figg pointed out Mr. Dudley Dursley on sight, Harry's cousin from his mother's side, to me. I had read the information in the files but until then I had not seen them in person. From what I had been informed of and observed, he is a horrid Muggle. He skulks around the neighborhood with a group of friends. I feel they are more like a gang. His parents are under the delusion that his professors don't understand him. People of the neighborhood and professors note his antisocial and predatory actions.
On day one of my observations, Dudley's 'gang' had a confrontation with my subjects in the park. It seemed Dudley and his crew were convinced to vacate the park by my subjects. They had gotten up the nerve to come back and try regaining their 'territory.' I was about to step in when Ms. Granger and Mr. Weasley dispatched them quietly and moved them from the park. In other words, they Stunned them and levitated them into trash dumpsters across the way. I waited for them to leave and went over to the 'gang' and modified their memories so that it seemed Mr. Potter and friends beat them up and threw them in the dumpsters.
These note I am reviewing from three in the morning. Durring this time of the morning they do not interact much. The triumverant are content with just being with each other. Even Mr. Weasley would probably begrudgingly admit that. I will continue on from her because it is hard to keep my paper work straight only on a simple park bench.
My stomach started to rumble and unfortunately I was not observing my subjects as closely as I should. I spoke my breakfast wants while placing my note back in my bag: "I would love to have eggs over easy, wheat toast, grits, and bacon, please."
At the moment my food appeared, as I was in earshot of Ms. Granger. At first she only stared in shock. Slowly her face changed to terror as she yelled, "Harry! Ron! Get over here!"
I did not realize she had witnessed my meal order or that it appeared. When I looked up she had her back to me. The two young men ran to her and she spoke animatedly to them. Since she did yell I had my finger on the button for my wand sheath. If there was trouble it would shoot from the sleeve of my shirt and into my hand. Suddenly Ms. Granger tried to grab Mr. Weasley as he pointed his wand in my direction. I barely had time to cast Protego before Mr. Weasley had wrenched himself from Ms. Granger's grasp and shouted "Stupefy!"
I muttered, "So much for meeting on a full stomach." I did not waste time in vaulting behind the bench I was on and Transfiguring it into solid stone. "Please put your wands away! I am not a threat to you!" I yelled to my newly acquired opponents.
They were already moving to attack. Ms. Granger was shooting Stunners over my head to keep me behind the bench. Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley were coming around on both sides to trap me. If I stayed here they would have me Stunned. I weighed my options and bolted over the_bench. With a Shield Charm, on me I moved toward Ms. Granger. The two young men, I felt, were trying to catch up as I moved toward the middle of the park where Ms. Granger was. She had not expected me to run directly at her and hesitated. I had my wand in hand but only used it to reinforce my Shield. When within arm's reach, I swatted the wand out of her hand. I almost stepped on it and stepped to the side. Failing to see the rock next to it, I stumbled and fell on top of Ms. Granger. A sickening thought flashed though my head: Great. Now she will think I am trying to force unlawful carnal knowledge upon her.
She had a look of complete terror. "Get this Death Eater off me," she screamed. With my Shield Charm broken by being in contact, with her I rolled her on top of me. "I'm not a Death Eater, Ms Granger. Now would you tell Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley to stop or they will hit you instead of me."
"If you aren't a Death Eater," Mr. Weasley said in a dangerously low voice, "why are you using Hermione as a shield?"
I rolled my eyes, and said, "How many Americans do you know who are Death Eaters? Also, you attacked me, not vice versa. Who is to say you Mr. Weasley, Mr. Potter, or you Ms. Granger, are not Death Eaters? If you see something you don't understand, do you always sic your boys on it?"
I could tell the attack on her character did the trick. After observing them for the few days, I knew that Ms. Granger was only trying to stop Mr. Weasley from attacking without provocation. She immediately stood trying to hide the blush and anger. "I didn't tell them to attack you. I don't attack without being provoked."
Mr. Potter interjected, "What are you doing here?"
Exasperated, I exhaled and continued, "First, let's level the playing field, . Expelliarmus! Accio wands!" To their shock, their wands flew from their hands and into mine. Carefully, I got up, keeping my eyes on the young men. "How do you know I'm not some tourist backpacking_through England? Until the three of you tried shuffle me off this mortal coil, this looked like a nice peaceful park."
Their moment of silence indicated I had made my point. With a look of sudden triumph, Ms. Granger replied, "I can understand you recognizing Harry, but you would never know me or Ron. What are..."
"I'm pissed off, is what I am," I said, interrupting in frustration. Composing myself, I continued, "If I may continue with my introduction." I waited for them not to reply. "My name is David Blackwood. I have been appointed your new Transfiguration teacher and Head of Gryffindor."There was a sudden look of fear on their terror on their faces. Ms. Granger spoke for them all. "What happened to Professor McGonagall?"
For a moment I stared at her with confusion. I realized they have already known many who died because of this war. "Nothing at all. As headmistress, she cannot hold either a teaching title or Head of one House since she is now over the entire school."
Comprehension came to her. "Of Course! It's in the rules listed in Hogwarts, a History."
The two young men groaned.
"Now, please, gentlemen . Knowledge of such information is not a bad thing," I said. Ms Granger was now beaming at me,. "Knowledge is one of the greatest tools, and tempered with Wisdom, it's unstoppable. This, I feel, both of you need, Mr. Weasley." I should be dead from the look he was giving me after that chiding. Fortunately, looks don't kill.
Mr. Potter came to my defense,. "You know he's right, Ron."
Mr. Weasley opened his mouth to give a scathing retort, but saw the smirks on his friends' faces and looked abashed. With a snort, he turned and stormed off. Before the rest of the trio could move, I Apparated into his path. With an apologetic look, I said, "I was out of line_for insulting you in front of Mr. Potter and Ms. Granger. I can tell you have high regard for her. I understand not wanting to lose face in front of her." I extended my hand,. "I do apologize, and hope you can come to trust me."
Mr. Weasley said, with a smirk, "Yeah, I'm gonna trust you." Then he turned and walked away. I turned back to the other two, just in time for them to walk past me. Ms. Granger turned and looked in my direction,. "Wands," was all she said while holding out her hand.
Defeated, I handed her the three wands. She snatched them deftly from my hand and walked away, catching up with the rest of the trio. I stood rubbing my temples, shaking my head in disgust. Not of their behavior, but mine. I made so many mistakes today. It made me question if they will trust me at all. I moved back to gather my things strewn on the ground.
Finished restoring the bench to the original condition, I spotted an odd-looking cat in the tree line. It was a grey cat, with black stripes and spots covering the cat's body. The stripes seemed to form what looked like a pair of glasses around the eyes. I have seen enough cats in my time to realize that this one was not happy with me. Its stare bore into me. When I looked it in the eyes, it did not look away. Feeling very tired, I spoke to it like it was human. "If I see you tomorrow, I hope you won't be as angry with me."
As I turned to leave, my stomach dropped as I heard a voice behind me. "It depends, Mr. Blackwood. Do you feel that was a productive first meeting with your assignments?"
Steeling my resolve, I turned to face that last person I wanted to witness to my-getting-to-know-you scene. "No, Headmistress McGonagall, that would be a step back from them attending Hogwarts."
She studied me for, to me, what seemed like an eternity. With a defeated look, she said, "No, it was Mr. Weasley's fault. He attacked without a reasonable motive. So the outburst, though very small, was understandable." Her face changed to almost relief. "Even though he is considered an adult, I am glad you did not use any spells against him or the other two."
I laughed dryly,. "If I had, they would have never stepped foot inside Hogwarts again. Besides they were using such elementary spells for attacking. I learned those enchantments when I was in Junior High."
She suddenly became very icy in her demeanor,. "I'll have you know Hogwarts is one of the most advanced in our curriculum. Those spells were advanced even for their age."
I held up my hand in defense. "I in no way meant to offend, I forget that I was home schooled in magical theory. My parents pushed me very hard freom a young age. The level spells they were teaching me almost got me badly hurt many times. I wish I could have learned at a slower pace. In a safer enviernment."
With a deep breath she started to relax, "No I should not have snapped. These times have been so relentless. I was not expecting to be headmistress for another 30 years."
Sitting down and motioning her over to the bench, I said, "You have every right to be mad at me. I inadvertently accused my Headmistress their teaching is lacking."
I sat with my back against the bench's arm rest, my leg draped across the bench. I wanted put distance between her. When someone is speaking about a sensitive and emotional subject, do not touch them unless they give you permission. She sat very straight, not facing me with her hands in her lap and continued.
"This is a touchy subject for me. For many years now there was an accused Death Eater on the board of governors for Hogwarts." She shot me a sideways glance as I automatically gasped in shock. "Unfortunately, that person had enough money to buy his way onto the_board. He is now in Azkaban after attacking a group of current student while at the Ministry of Magic over a year ago. His son, who now we know is a Death Eater, was sent to kill my mentor. Serverus Snape killed him instead."
"Who was your mentor?"
With an ere of authority she answered, "Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was my friend and mentor. My, I mean his office has not changed since he died. I also don't have the heart to use as personal password." Her voice started to crack. "I feel that if I don't make_any changes I will walk in one day and he will be there, Albus pacing back and forth in the middle of his office." She was barley able to finish her statement when she broke down.
Just to let her know I cared and I was listening, I placed my hand lightly on her shoulder. To my shock she suddenly grabbed me in a strong hug as she buried her face in my chest and sobbed. I am not certain how long we were there for but I only stayed quiet and let her_have her time to cry.
I theorized in my doctoral thesis that women are stronger than men when it comes to dealing with stress. Males bottle up and never touch the bad feelings thinking they are weak for showing that. Females give them time to let it out. They have the strength to move on.
After a while Minerva calmed herself and started to relax. Slowly she pulled away, as I quickly Transfigured a blank sheet of paper into a soft handkerchief. She had a warm smile as she lightly dabbed her tears away. I had the oddest feeling someone was watching us. My eyes darted across the park, meeting the eyes of Ms. Granger. She was in shock, seeing her headmistress crying, but she was startled when we locked eyes, and bolted like a deer in the wild.
I sat quietly pondering this new information about Ms. Granger when Minerva brought me out of my thoughts. "Do you want me to go and talk to her? It may give that extra push she would need in trusting you."
Smiling, I said, "Thank you for the offer, Minerva, but they have to trust me on my merit, not on someone else's word. Even though your word would hold a lot of weight with your students." Wanting to lighten the mood I changed topic slightly. "I did not think Sherbet Lemon would be a password you would choose."
Looking at me with a mock shrewdness, she said, "And what would be more fitting for me?"
I acted like I was pondering for a moment, then I put on a smug look, and said, "I would say something Latin. The first thing that comes to my mind is caput draconis."
With a shocked look on her face, she said, "Who told you?"
"Told me what?"
"The first password of the year I like to use for the Gryffindor common room is that. Wait. Are you one of those-what is the word-Silhouetters in your FBMI?"
I gave her an odd look like the RCA dog. The way the dog's head is slightly tilted to the side. On it's face with a look of confusion and wonder of the sound coming out of the ancient gramophone. Then it hit me. "Oh, you mean a profiler in our Federal Bureau of Magical Investigation? I had toyed with the idea, but I wanted to use this skill to help mold young lives."
"I am very glad you are so up front with me. Now I will take my leave of you." She said standing up.
I stood with her and placed my hand on her shoulder. "Are you certain you would not like to stay and talk more about what you told me?"
She lightly patted my hand. "Thank you, but I can only reveal so much. Don't worry we will speak more of this." With that, she hugged me one more time. "Thank you so much for listening." Before I could reply, she had let go and, with a small pop, was gone.
I gathered my things and made the lonely trek back to Ms. Figg's home. The next day was about as productive, except there was no violence involved. The group of the three youths made their usual arrival. When they noticed me, the two young men chose to ignore me. Ms. Granger had placed me on her agenda.
She had what looked like a school study planner in her hand, and she was checking over her schedule. She marked something off her page and made a beeline to the bench where I sat. She was about twenty feet from me when she addressed me. "I want to talk to you, Mr. Blackwell."
"Blackwood," I corrected her. Why can't anyone get my last name right? It's Black and Wood, two very simple words if you place them together.
She seemed to ignore my words. She shoved my files into a pile and sat down. She turned and pointed her finger at me. "What did you say to Headmistress McGonagall that hurt her?"
Not giving her the satisfaction of becoming angry, I replied, "I said nothing to hurt Headmistress McGonagall."
"Really?" she retorted sarcastically. "Why was she crying?"
"I would be happy to tell you, but I do not want to break the trust I have with her."
Her voice was low with a sharp edge like a knife. "Who do you think you are, a psychologist? There is no way you are older than me. So this pretending to be a professor to try and impress me won't get you into my knickers."
"Actually, I am a psychiatrist. I have a doctoral in both psychology and Transfiguration. Yes, I did graduate early," I said, pulling my passport from my pocket. "I am 26 years old. Why would you think..." She snatched the passport from my hand. "That I, as you so eloquently said, was trying to get into your knickers?"
Closely studying the leather-encased document, she said, "Yesterday you tackled me to the ground and rolled me on top of you. That seems a little forward, if not inappropriate or illegal."
"I do apologize if I made you feel like that." I said in a worried voice. "You have to remember, I was trying to keep myself from harm. When I fell on you, I was trying not to break your wand."
She sat still pondering my retort for a moment. I added, "You are a very beautiful young woman." She tried to hide the blush. "You have to realize I would never endanger my new position because of a student."
Her face hardened. "Well, don't worry about it. Besides, I won't be attending Hogwarts next term. It's not like I fancy you or anything." She stood and glared at me,. "Since you won't tell me why my headmistress was hurt, we have nothing more to say." With that she left the park, not even stopping for the other two. I swear, even with my years of study, I will never get the female species.
The next day was not on my top ten list for the best days of my life. As Shakti Gawain said, "The universe will reward you for taking risks on its behalf."
I got up that morning to be greeted by a particularly dense fog outside. I felt like crap. Not to say I was sick, but I had no real motivation. I skipped a shower that day and left my hair almost unkempt. I had pulled it back into a messy ponytail. I put on and old ratty shirt. Literally. It was oversized with a huge cartoon rat driving a car, above the words 'Rat Race.' Ms. Figg made what looked like a delicious breakfast but to me it had no real taste to it. I trudged along the path toward the park, almost turning around many times and going home to sleep. I assumed it was a combination of feeling like I had failed in front of my new boss and the dreary weather. It would have to get better, I thought.
I found my usual bench and slouched into my usual seat. Here are the notes from that day, what little of them they are:
6:45am: Sit on bench.
7:00am: The kids I am babysitting have not shown up. I wonder if they ever will again.
7:45am: Kids, my assignment, whatever, show up. Not much to say. Must be as bored as me. They have no books, must be tired of studying.
8:45am: Nothing to talk about they are sitting there. It is getting colder. It reminds me of when I went home in '93' for spring break. At noon it was 80 degrees by 5:00pm it was snowing outside. I was stuck in my house parent's till until my flight back to school. That is a depressing memory.
9:45am: The two boys leave. Ms. Granger is walking over. I am in no mood to argue with her today. Go to Hogwarts or don't go who cares.
End of notes.