Hermione stepped into her dormitory, letting out a contented sigh as she stared happily at the four poster beds. She was finally home. Tossing her bags unceremoniously onto the coverlet, she flopped down next to them and closed her eyes contentedly. Classes did not start for another half an hour and she was thankful for the break. It had been chaotic trying to leave Grimmauld Place that morning, with suitcases stacked haphazardly in the direct path of everyone, owls hooting incessantly, people running about with pieces of toast in between their teeth. Sirius and Remus had left before the sun had even risen, presumably to set up their classroom. But now, for the moment, she was alone. "Hey, Hermione! You're back!" Hermione opened her eyes to see Parvati Patil step through the door, grinning. Hermione smiled back and sat up. She swept her shiny brown hair over one shoulder. "Hello, Parvati," she said warmly. "How are you?" "Oh, I'm fine," Parvati said, sitting down next to Hermione. "How are you? I mean, after…" "Actually, I'm doing fine," Hermione answered. "Still a bit weak and all, but mostly perfect. What've I missed, then? Any good gossip going around?" Parvati grinned like the Cheshire Cat. "Oh, not much, considering most of the students have been out anyways… Ginny Weasley dumped Dean Thomas… Seamus Finnegan is going after Lavender… started as a hospital romance, can you imagine? It's just insane." "Ginny dumped Dean?!" Hermione said, interested. It felt so good to fall into gossiping- she could pretend she was just any other normal girl, instead of 'Friend of Harry Potter, Clever Witch who has the Brains'. "Yeah, she said he was too immature… can you believe it?" "Not really," Hermione admitted. "Considering he's older than her." "Well, now she's looking around," Parvati continued. "So am I, for that matter… have you seen that Corner bloke? Totally hot." Hermione grinned. "Ginny dated him too." "Oh, I know it," Parvati said slyly. "And he broke up with Cho Chang. So hopefully I'll have a chance." "Good, he broke up with Chang. She's so irritating." "Tell me about it. She's such a crybaby and all." "Listen," Hermione said, "I'm not quite sure what the schedule is this week since I've been sick… what classes do we have today?" "Um, let's think-" Parvati mused. She leaned back on her elbows and narrowed her eyes thoughtfully. "Care of Magical Creatures this morning… History of Magic…" "Fun," Hermione muttered. "And Defense Against the Dark Arts this afternoon, I think." "Oh, really?!" Hermione squealed. "GREAT!" "Since when do you get so excited about a substitute?" Parvati asked, confused. Hermione was startled to realize that Parvati did not know Sirius and Remus were teaching. Obviously, they wanted to keep it until lunchtime, when Dumbledore could announce it to the school. "Oh, nothing," Hermione said airily. "Just like learning the theories." Sirius turned towards Remus, awkwardly fixing the neck of his robes. "Do I look all right?" he asked in a low voice. The man next to him glanced mildly up from the books he was sorting. With his short hair, new robes, and clean-shaven face, Sirius looked more "all right" then he had before Azkaban. "You can relax, you know. The students aren't really that difficult." He frowned, picking up a green, scaly tome. "Odd, I didn't think the Third Years had this text book. Oh well…" The two of them were at Hogwarts, setting up their classroom. While they would not be teaching until later that afternoon, Sirius was already growing hysterical. "What if they hate me?" Sirius asked in an increasingly worried voice. "They might still think I'm a murderer-" "That'll only excite them," Remus said with dismissively. "They might think I'm boring-" "Unlikely, with the two of us teaching-" "Remus, what if I'm not good?" Sirius whined. His friend sighed and leaned back in his chair. "Sirius, if I'm not worried, then you really have no reason to be." Sirius collapsed into another chair and slumped down. "You've done this before," he grumbled. "You know what you're doing." "It's really not as hard as it looks," Remus confided, flipping to a section that he felt they should teach the O.W.L. students. "Honestly. I'm not just saying that." Feeling a bit better, Sirius moved to help with the books. They both glanced up when they heard a knock at the door. "Come in," Sirius called. The door opened and Cassie poked her head in. Even though Sirius had seen her barely an hour before, he jumped to his feet, strode over to her, and kissed her. "Missed me, then?" she playfully asked. Sirius laughed. "Hey, Cassie," Remus said. "What's up, Remus?" she asked, stepping into the room. She was already dressed in her Hogwarts Healer robes, which Sirius thought looked quite nice on her. Her dark hair was swept back in coiled braids. "Just going over books that the students have," he answered. Cassie nodded. "I've just got a message from the Headmaster, actually. He wants both of you at lunch so he can introduce you to the school." "Really? Thanks," Remus said mildly. Sirius just stared at her. "To- to the school?" he asked faintly, his eyes wide. Cassie smiled. "Yes, Sirius. To the whole school." "Bloody hell," he exclaimed, "I'm not cut out for this." Hermione set her bag down next to Harry in the Great Hall, greeting him and Ron. She eyed a dish in front of her and pulled a sandwich onto her plate. "How's it feel to be back?" Ron asked slyly, grinning. "Horrid," Hermione snapped. "I can't believe how much I missed. We've been going over ancient Egyptian wizards in History of Magic-" "Just ask me, I can tell you all about them, can't I?" Ron said, helping himself to some pumpkin juice. "Went to Egypt third year." Hermione rolled her eyes. "I'm quite sure you went in-depth into the magical upheavals of-" "May I have your attention, please?" Headmaster Dumbledore called. The Great Hall fell silent and they all stared up at the old man. He was smiling. "I know it is a bit late in the year, but I am quite pleased to introduce- and reintroduce- our two new Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers." The students perked up, interested. Dumbledore turned to wave someone forward. "We are pleased to have Professor Lupin rejoining us," he said. The entire Great Hall burst into a wave of thunderous applause, with cheering and whistling. Remus awkwardly smiled and raised his hand to acknowledge them. Harry glanced at Snape, who was looking fit to kill. "And working with him as co-teacher," Dumbledore continued, "will be Professor Black." There was a hush as Sirius slowly came forward, green in the face and looking nervous. The students stared at him, obviously not sure what to think. However, as the Gryffindors all looked at one another, they all slowly turned to Ron. He looked bewildered, but then understood: Sirius had supposedly tried to attack him in third year. They did not know whether or not to trust him, and were looking to follow Ron's lead. Glancing sidelong at Harry and Hermione, the three of them began to clap. The other Gryffindors joined in, followed by the other tables until Sirius finally relaxed as the applause reached his ears. Dumbledore smiled and continued. "And also joining us is Cassandra Revina, who will be working alongside Madam Pomfrey in the Hospital Wing." Cassie, who had been sitting next to Professor Sprout, raised a hand as there was some clapping for her as well. There was some cat-calling from the boys and she grinned. Dumbledore waved his arms. "And now, back to lunch! Thank you for your ears." And that was that. Remus and Sirius settled themselves at the Staff Table. Harry, Hermione and Ron gathered their books and milled about with the other students in the main hall. Harry grinned as he caught some conversation. "Can you believe it?" "Lupin's back!" "And Black's here as well- Merlin, he's gorgeous-" "That's what I thought!" Hermione laughed. "Sirius'll have a fan club here soon enough." "Well, let's see how he teaches first," Ron said, and the three of them headed off to Defense Against the Dark Arts. The rest of the class- double Gryffindor and Ravenclaw- had already filed in by the time the trio arrived, but they still managed to get seats close to the front. Harry gazed around the classroom, his eyes resting on the books lining the walls, the Dark Detectors scattered about, and even some posters of famous Aurors. Everyone seemed nervous, but excited. The class snapped to attention when Remus, followed closely by Sirius, walked in. Harry noticed that a lot of the girls were gazing dreamily at Sirius. "You can all put your books away, but please be ready with quills, parchment, and a wand," Remus said in his quiet voice. He and Sirius stood in front of the teachers' desks. "I must say," he said warmly, "It's wonderful to be back." "It's great to have you back, sir," Dean Thomas immediately said, and several students added their sentiments. Remus smiled. "And all of you, please welcome my friend Sirius Black," Remus said, and, if possible, the students' attention focused more. "We thought it would be a good idea for you all to ask him questions, if you like." For a few moments, nobody said anything. Then, a girl with blonde hair hesitantly raised her hand. "Yes, Miss Aften?" Remus asked. "Um, well, Professor Black…" "Yes?" Sirius prompted. Aften bit her lip. "Was it- really bad in Azkaban?" There was a collective shudder throughout the class, and Sirius thoughtfully leaned against the desk, though the bluntness of the question seemed to unnerve him. "Well, it was bad, that's a bit of an understatement. But I guess you could say I got a bit of Dark Creatures hands-on experience," he added with a wry smile, and the students chuckled. "The Dementors there- well, who can explain to me what a Dementor is? A little bit of review, I think…" Several hands shot up, and Sirius purposefully looked over those he knew. "Yes, ah-" "Finnegan," Seamus supplied. "Dementors are creatures that can take every happy memory you've ever had." "Exactly," Sirius said. "So naturally, Azkaban was like the seventh circle of hell." The students smiled. A few more hands were raised, and Sirius called on another one. "But you were innocent, though. What kind of effect did they have on you then?" "Well, yes, I was innocent. So that allowed me to keep my powers and…" Remus leaned comfortably against the desk as Sirius patiently answered each and every question. The students grew more and more interested, hanging on all of his words. Finally, Sirius rolled his shoulders around and looked at Remus. "So, what say we get started?" "Oh, I quite agree," Remus replied. Hermione raised her hand. "Please, Professors, what are we learning this year?" Sirius and Remus grinned evilly at one another. "Well," Remus said, looking uncharacteristically nasty, "as that hag Umbridge-" "Watch it, Professor Lupin, we could be reprimanded for saying that… To put it in better words… As Umbridge spent an entire year teaching you how to read a book," Sirius supplied, and the students laughed, "We thought we'd give you something a bit more fun." "The fine art of dueling, hexes, jinxes, attacks and defenses," Remus said, and the students whispered excitedly. Harry's DA students raised their eyebrows at each other, grinning. "So," Sirius said conversationally, Vanishing the teachers' desk with a wave of his wand, "Professor Lupin and I thought we'd give you a demonstration of the more interesting hexes one can do." The students all leaned forward in their chairs. Sirius strolled over to one side of the room and Remus to the other. They bowed to each other and assumed a dueling stance. "The thing to always work on is agility. Agility and form," Remus told the class. "If you have those two things, dueling can be learned quite easily. So, Professor Black," Remus said, "Are you ready?" "Indeed," Sirius said. Before he could defend himself, Remus launched a hex at Sirius, making him spin and fall onto the floor. The students gasped. Sirius rolled when he landed, crouched, and sent a red bolt of light back at Remus, who very narrowly dodged. He then turned to face the class. "Can anyone tell me what Professor Black did wrong?" Remus asked. Sirius stared at him. "Who else caught the fact that Professor Lupin attacked when I was still getting ready?!" "The real world does not wait for you, Professor Black," Remus reminded him. Sirius raised his wand in reply and pointed it at Remus. There was a bright flash of light and then, when it dissipated, there was a green duck sitting in Remus's place. The class burst out laughing. "So, while Transfiguration is not very practical, it can be amusing," Sirius said, grinning. "Use it well." He restored Remus to his former self, and the man dusted off his shabby robes. "Clever," he said mildly, and then whipped his wand up. He flicked it around in complicated motions, and Sirius was suddenly step-dancing. The laughter grew louder. "Oh, you think you're so smart," Sirius huffed, raising his wand. Remus was suddenly decked out in a tutu and ballet shoes. In retaliation, Remus performed an aging spell that made Sirius ninety years old. Seeing Old-Man Sirius still be forced to step-dance was absolutely hysterical. Panting, Sirius pointed his wand at Remus and croaked "MINIMIDGI!" "Not again!" Remus shouted as he quickly shrank to the floor. The students were all laughing so hard that they were clutching their sides. Some of the girls had tears of mirth streaming down their faces. Just then, the bell rang. "Homework!" Sirius yelled over the din. "Write a one-page paper on interesting spells to use in a duel- to be handed in on Friday! Thank you all!" Still laughing and talking excitedly, the class slowly filed out. Sirius picked Remus up off of the floor and set him on the desk. He surveyed the empty classroom in satisfaction. Looking down at himself, he realized that he had to somehow reverse the aging spell if he wanted to get rid of his long white beard. "That went well, I'd think," Sirius commented. "Yes," Remus squeaked in reply, still five inches high. He fidgeted around in his tutu, and raised his wand to try and fix it. "It went very well."
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