1995-09-09: Misnomers And Old Tales


Hermione_icon.gif Neville_icon.gif Maralyn_icon.gif Egbert_icon.gif GPerpetua_icon.gif pritchard_icon.gif

Also starring: Fidelius as Hamish MacGregor

Scene Title Misnomers and Old Tales
Synopsis Professor Hamish MacGregor has his first DADA class. It goes … well, no one is hurt.
Location DADA Classroom
Date Sep 09, 1995
Watch For Not really
Logger Fiddy

The defense room is quiet and dark, and there is an old man sitting in the desk chair. The old man is grizzled and scarred. Not quite as badly scarred as their last teacher, but it's clear he's seen action. He sits in his chair twirling his wand, gazing down at a sheet of parchment. "Right. It's about time. So. Let's get this class started. Wands away, parchments and quills out." He turns toward the blackboard, and waves his wand, putting up some notes. 'Hexes, Jinxes and Curses.'
"Can anyone tell me what these words mean? I mean, other than… 'they're spells.' This much I know."

Always ready for class and at rapt attention, Hermione doesn't even glance about before her hand is straight up in the air. Fingers wriggling in her attempt to get her knowledge out, she practically begs the professor to call on her before she all but bursts with the information that she's dying to impart to everyone. This is not a new thing for the students at Hogwarts, as they should all be used to the way the bushy-haired witch acts in class. Certainly, she just can't help herself.

While she should be mingling with her own kind as opposed to being worried about making it anywhere on time, Perpetua is present and in the class room. It's a little weird to be in class without a wand, without books and without parchment. Even weirder still, she's not seated at a desk. She's sitting indian style. Floating. Two feet off the floor. In the middle of the aisle. Next to Egbert.

Neville Longbottom is seated next to Hermione, his own posture and attitude vastly different than that of his desk partner. His face only darkens a little at the question and he doesn't even bother to let his mind wander to find an answer. Nope, because Hermione has it about three years before Neville could ever hope to. Or want to. His eyes hover on the last of the three words on the board and he sinks down in his chair.

Ashley looks up from her bag, sliding her wand into a pocket as she pulls out a roll of parchment, the inkpot tinkling lightly as she sets it down. Glancing up at the board and the professor, she dips the quill into the ink, the feather tip tickling against the corner of her mount. Her gaze turns to Hermione as the Gryffindor raises her hand, biting on her bottom lip as she waits.

Egbert isn't as quick as Hermione to put his hand up, but then who is? He can only remember part of the answer - and he's got Perpetua to distract him, making a mockery of the mere two inches he's sprouted upward since last term - but hey, even a partial answer is worth offering. After a second's hesitation, his hand goes up as well.

Maralyn Walsh is seated off to the side, leaning forward in her seat a bit as she takes in the class. A roll of parchment is already unfurled in front of her, and her quill is in her hands, poised to scribble down the notes as they come to her. With a glance to Hermione as she raises her hand faster than anything, she grins lightly, but then turns her attention back to the Professor.

"Granbury." MacGregor, as this is the old professor's name, points to Hermione. "What are the differences, then? You tell me one, and Webster," Walsh, that is, "You tell me another." He frowns, and looks at Egbert. "Thompson, why'd you drag your cousin in here? She oughtta be out playin among the sunbeams." Or whatever child-ghosts do. "Lancefrotham," MacGregor eyes Neville now. "You give me the third one. Wanna know what you know."

"Granger, sir." Hermione is ever polite and while her correction is prim, it's also done with respect. She just expects that the Professor would prefer to know her actual name than call her something wrong for the rest of the class. In her 'speaking in class voice' which is annunciated and with a tinge of 'know-it-all', she responds, "A hex, professor, is a type of spell meant to cause pain or discomfort. It's similar to a curse in that effect, however it is less powerful and easier to counter. Some people, though, use all the words interchangeably with each other."

Out of pure habit and forgetting that she can't touch anything, Perpetua reaches over to pinch Egbert. Only to have her hand pass right through his arm. "Bugger," she mutters, her pearly face scrunched in frustration and annoyance at herself. As the professor starts in on the class, her mouth forms an 'o' of surprise. "H.. hey now!" Well that's nice! "I'm not his cousin. I'm his sister," she says, petulantly. A year ago, she would have slunk under her desk rather than talk back to a teacher. Now? What's he gonna do? Give her detention?

Maralyn blinks a little, taking a moment and a few furitive glances around the classroom to realize that she was being called on. "It's Walsh, sir." Maralyn corrects the professor offhandedly, before biting her lip. The differences? Crud crud crud crud crud. Staying silent for a few moments, waiting for another student to hopefully answer before her, the girl lets out a sigh of relief as Hermione answers. That's at least something more to go on than what she had. "A curse, sir, is a…" she begins, then pauses. "Well, it's a spell with the intent to harm, right? It seems like they're levels. Jinxes are the less powerful, then there's hexes, and curses. Curses are the strongest and the hardest to counter, and some of them can't be. Right?"

Neville Lancefrotham looks up, color dripping out of his face in an instant. There is no move or want to correct the mistake in names. He looks from the Professor to the board and back. Suddenly his hands become a point of interest. Had he raised his? Neville is fairly sure both of them had stayed obediently in his lap. He gulps and glances to Hermione, to Maralyn, and then back to Professor MacGregor. "Curses are…" his voice is tiny and meek. "They are spells cast to… to involuntarily control… kill, or…" Neville's voice eeks out like a balloon letting out a bit of helium. "Worse." He might as well be laying down in his seat for as low as he's sunk.

"And I didn't drag her in here, she just—" Egbert starts, as soon as Hermione seems to be finished. And only cuts himself off shortly after Maralyn chimes in. Sorry, Maralyn! ("Not now, Pet!" he whispers afterward, in between bouts of frantic scrawling of quill against parchment. "You can drive me up the wall after class." Like she needs to wait for his permission.)

"Right, Grindle." MacGregor stands, and points to the words on the board. "Curses are the most evil. They cause the victim the most pain. Best defense is to roll outta the way completely. Jump, run, conjure something …" He gazes off into the distance. "Like one time, old Wolly conjured a mirror, and it reflected this bone-breaking curse right back at the guy…" He looks back toward the students, seemingly surprised to see them there. Luckily, he takes that moment to gaze over at the board. "Right. Curses. Move outta the way." He nods to Perpetua, for some reason. "You the one who said degrees?" It doesn't matter if she was right or not. "Degrees. Right. Jinxes are little things. Tickles. Touches. Trips. You can kill a guy with 'em, but it's hard work."

"Granger," Hermione corrects again, though it's most likely to little avail. This is a professor who will screw up everyone's name time and again. As Neville stutters his way toward an answer, the witch encouragingly nods at him with a big smile as if to help him eke out a right answer. "Good answer, Neville," she whispers encouragingly to the shy Gryffindor, hoping to perk up his self esteem.

The look Perpetua flashes at Egbert clearly says, he gets no say whatsoever in when and where she harasses him. It's a side benny of her 'condition'. Tormenting her brother falls by the wayside as she stares at the teacher. HOW did he get hired? He makes Binns look sane! "You can't just roll out of the way! I'm proof of that," she says, her lip trembling and then she's gone, rapidly sinking down through the floor. MacGregor said move out of the way, so fine, she did! Besides, she's not sure she could stand sitting, err floating, around and hearing things like, 'oh just roll out of the way.' You try rolling out of a Death Eater's way!

Tap. Tap. Tap, tap. The tip of the quill scratches against the corner of the parchment as Ashley takes down MacGregor's notes, frowning slightly as she listens. Her head tilts in turn toward the other students as they answer, idly adding a doodle on the paper. Curses - bad, avoid. This gets several lines drawn under it, possibly reinforcing the notion of bad.

Neville 's strained eyes reach Hermione's. "Sure." He doesn't sound like he believes Hermione's praise. "Tell me again why they made me a Prefect?" he scrubs his face with his hand, roaming his fingers through his hair. The talk of curses don't help him much, nor the departure of Perpetua. The boy glances back and starts to chew on the inside of his cheek.

Egbert glances over toward Neville. "Because you'll be fair," he offers. He's given up on writing for the moment— MacGruber's advice is both common sense and, as Perpetua rightly pointed out, bloody useless unless you're fast enough to see what's coming. Now if there's any advice to be had on that front…

"Death Eater? Where?" MacGregor gazes around, and then shakes his head. "Don't see any. Not my line of work. That's what the Aurors do." He gazes around at the class, unaware again, and then turns back up to the board. "Hexes. Hexes are middle of the road. There are usually counters for them. Most curses, though, you can only avoid. Like my friend Wolly. He conjured a mirror once. Saved his life, I think." He continues on talking about hexes for a moment, givng some more specifics. "Travers!" This yelled at Egbert. "Where did your girlfriend go? She'll miss out on the information…" He ponders for a moment, then shakes his head, trying to clear it. "Right. So your book has a chapter on some of the major countercurses. Which are named stupidly, because they're really counterhexes." He gazes down at the text, trying to remember what he was going to say.

Oh dear. This is the professor that's supposed to teach them about DADA? He doesn't look like he could remember where he left his wand last let alone show them how to protect themselves with it. Hermione's eyebrows raise incredulously, her desire to titter with about how this is supposed to be a teacher who will help them now that the Dark Lord has resurfaced warring with her good manners. Instead, she diverges her attention to Neville and his current worries. Still in a hushed voice, she adds, "Because you're a good wizard, Neville. I think you know more about Herbology than anyone in this school. Certainly more than I do. Everyone has their strong suits and things they need help with." With a shake of her head, she turns her book to the proper page immediately.

The Ravenclaw looks askance as the professor continues to speak, her frown increasing with each passing moment. Ashley starts to tear small pieces of parchment from the corner of the page, dots lining the desk as she takes notes. Hexes - not as bad. Countercurses - new flavours of hexes. Professor - barmy. She looks to Egbert as the professor calls out to him, a fingernail scratching at the fresh ink on the parchment.

…Really? Maralyn furrows her brow as she looks at the person who's supposed to be her professor for the next year. Was Dumbledore off his rocker? This guy doesn't even remember people's names, how the hell is he going to remember the spells or techniques needed to properly teach someone? Shaking her head, Mara lets her head fall forward as she picks up her quill. Almost idly she begins writing what they've covered so far, shorthanded and little comments about it on the side. Degrees of spells-was right, she scribbles at the end. Professor-should be in old wizard's home. Lifting her head to resume the rest of the class, she taps the end of her quill against the parchment.

"Professor Sprout doesn't go on an' on about curses," Neville mutters back to Hermione, but he does give a small smile. The 'what would I do without you' smile. He sits back up a little, his own mind just focusing on not getting called on again. He barely even notices the batty-ness of the Professor.

This time, Egbert has enough sense to wait a few seconds before speaking up… aaaand right on schedule, the professor's stream of consciousness finds a different ditch to wander off into. He goes back to writing, off and on, between bouts of glancing upward— not entirely convinced that this isn't just another act to catch them all off balance. Last year's antics with Sirius Black weren't lost on him.

"Your book has a whole chapter on countercurses. Stupid name." The old professor is repeating himself. "It's chapter five. Chapter three is complete BS, and you can ignore almost everything in it. There's a couple spells in there that are dead useful, but that's about it. For theory, it's completely wrong." He gazes down at the book again. "Ok, so to tell the differences between the three, you have to learn some of each. Or at least their basic wand movements. Most people can't incant without their wand, and in stressful times — which a duel is — they tend to revert to the verbal. So. I heard you had Moody last year. He's got some good ideas, like that whole 'Constant Vigilance' thing." He nods quickly. "So, homework is to read chapter five, and tell me what you think of it. On paper. The rest of you do three feet. Gallarn…" This to Hermione again, "You get one foot only. I've heard about you." Maybe he's not completely batty after all.

Gallarn? That's not even remotely close to her name. How could he have heard of her if he doesn't even know her name? Being told that she only has to write one foot of parchment compared to three would normally be a boon to students. However, to Hermione, this will actually be quite a challenge. "But…I have so much to say!" She blurts out in a crestfallen sort of voice. She has, of course, already read the entire chapter (not to mention the entire book).

Ashley begins to copy down the assignment instructions, glancing between her parchment and the professor. Hearing the special challenge set for Hermione, she raises an eyebrow, her mouth slightly agape as she does her best to finish the instructions down on the parchment. The quill gets placed in the inkwell to refill, only for her to leave it there and brush the paper tearings into her hand.

Neville looks up. His face is more than shocked. "Three?" he repeats, appearing very much like a fish out of water with his mouth agape and quivering. "Bollocks," Neville grumbles and picks up his quill to start scratching down the assignment. There is a small, jealous look given to Hermione.

Egbert looks down again, murmuring under his breath as he writes. "Three 'mostly wrong'. Five 'misnamed', three feet." MacBadger, 'mad as a Fwooper'. Or possibly not; he'll have a better idea once he digs into those chapter(s) in earnest.
Finished, he glances over toward Ashley, or more precisely what she's doing with her own materials. "Does the tearing help?" he asks, having been distracted enough earlier that he's genuinely uncertain what she was up to.

"Pick and choose, …" MacGregor looks down at his parchment. "Granger." Don't fall dead of shock, folks. "That's rather the point. Often you only get one chance to say a very little. If you say too much, they shut off. If too little, then they can't understand. For most of you, that's gonna take about three feet. You're smart enough to do it in one." He eyes Ron in the corner. "Wallace!" He calls out to the redhead. "Do your own work on this one! Don't be sharing with your neighbors. It's like …" He looks off into space again. "Old Wolly did this thing, one time, rolling twice and jumping. I asked him, 'Why'd you do that, Wolls?' and he answered, 'saw it on the pitch, and guy avoided a bludger.' Now, I'm thinkin', lot of curses hurt more than a damn ball as big as your fist." Maybe Quidditch stars have a leg up in defense. Another glance down at his parchment, and then a roll of his shoulder. "Torrington, tell your sister it doesn't always work."

Shock? Hermione has it. With a blink, she quickly recovers at the proper name. Of course she can write a parchment with all she has to say in one foot, but it may be in small lettering. With a bit of a proud blush at the compliment from MacGregor, she starts scratching some notes down without a verbal comment. Instead, she glances over at Neville with a smile that just broadcasts that she'll help him if he needs it. Ron, on the other hand, gets a bit of a sorry shake of her head for being called out.

"Oh, loads better," the Ravenclaw quietly responds to Egbert. Ashley dusts her hands, dumping the pieces into her bag before taking up her quill, reviewing the "notes" and instructions. "Another meter or so of parchment to go through, and I think it'll be all out of the system. Just…" Listening to more the professor says, her frown returns, turning back to Egbert. "I'm sure that's not what he meant, really."

"I think she knows," Egbert says under his breath. And another quizzical glance over toward Ashley. Meter? Isn't that a music thing? Maybe the notes are… He shakes his head, still lost, but makes a mental note to ask about it again once they're out of class. One thing about Ravenclaws, they know what they're talking about, even if (especially if) you don't.

Neville issues a sad chuckle at Hermione. He will need help. Oh boy, will he. The boy tries to jot as much stuff down as he can. Just in case he can use it. He glances up at Ron, smirks knowingly at his friend, and goes right back to writing.

"Now, next time we'll talk about chapter eight. It's on something that's saved my life several times. Attitude and emotion and how it influences spellwork. Some of you…" MacGregor gazes toward the students in the upper forms, "know a few spells that require certain kinds of emotions to work. Or certain frames of mind, anyway. I want to talk about the generalities of it." He looks down toward the paper with the names. Longbottom. Longbottom?" He makes a connection. "Ahhh. Fine bunch." He gives the young man a smile, and then returns to what he was saying. "I think you'll like this lesson." He gazes up to the board. "I think that's what I wanted to say; you lot can use the rest of the time to do your homework, either mine or your other stuff." Whooo, study hall!

A study hall? But…they're here to learn how to Counter Curse! A clearly disappointed Hermione twirls her quill and sighs. At least she'll have more time to work on her shorter essay. It will be tough to make sure everything she wants to get onto the paper will get there. It's a challenge she's sure she's up to and as she thinks more about it, the more excited she gets.

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