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“I am appalled at ze level of your previous education in zis subject and ‘ave never seen third year students with such poor preparation as I ‘ave seen zese last two weeks. I am afraid zat you shall all require a return to ze basics, you certainly ‘ave no chance of passing ze first exam zat I ‘ave planned for you.”

“You shall all put your third year books aside and take one of ze first year books zat are being distributed. Once you ‘ave a copy you shall begin reading ze first two chapters and zen shall write a summary over what you ‘ave read. Zis summary shall be ‘anded in at ze beginning of class tomorrow and shall be no less zen three pages in length. All parchments shall be written in print no more and no less zan one fourth of an inch in height. Zere shall be no smudges on your assignment or you shall do it over again for ‘alf credit. Now you shall begin, I want no talking or you shall receive detention for ze next two days.”

Elizabeth and her classmates were soon opening books like those that they had used during their first years as well as pulling out their quills. Several of the students stifled groans as they began to read from the texts, but Elizabeth remained silent to avoid incurring the wrath of the professor. In the days since the start of the term she had been given detention three times by Professor LeBlanc for some reason or another that she didn’t understand. All of the students detested the class now that the woman had taken over and may had taken to avoiding the class by feigning illness, which prompted the professor to require that the students see Madame Pomfrey to gain an excuse slip.

When the class ended the students hurried to the door in an attempt to escape Professor LeBlanc’s presence. Elizabeth and her friends were soon walking down the stairs as they made their way to their next class.

“Can you believe her? Professor Grims was a wonderful teacher and I almost spoke up when she was berating his teaching,” Beatrice said.

“You just would have made her mad and then she would have given you detention,” Lily responded.

“But my parents have known Professor Grims for years. He comes to our home for dinner frequently.”

Elizabeth was silent as the other girls talked, her mind was replaying the events of the two weeks that had passed since the start of the term. She found it strange that Professor LeBlanc would leave Beauxbatons, a school that she had often declared superior in both discipline and student preparation, for Hogwarts. She and her classmates had endured countless hours listening to Professor LeBlanc rail against Hogwarts as she declared it a school fit only for the hopeless who could receive an education nowhere else. Hogwarts, she said, had a history of accepting the worst of students and no parents that had any sense of pride would allow their son or daughter to attend the school.

This was the last place that Elizabeth would expect the pompous professor to accept employment. The woman had often expressed the opinion that teaching at Hogwarts would be below her and that she would never lower herself to call the castle her place of employment. Professor LeBlanc had actually stated her opinion that perhaps Hogwarts was the only school that Elizabeth was intelligent enough to attend. Elizabeth had been infuriated by the statement and it had only fueled the fire of conflict that existed between them.

“Do you want to go to the Transfiguration Courtyard after Charms class?” Elizabeth asked her friends suddenly. “I could use a little sunshine and it helps me think.”

“Count me in,” Lily said.

“Elizabeth, was Professor LeBlanc like this at Beauxbatons?” Beatrice asked her friend.

"Worse, I didn’t have friends or Professor McGonagall to go to when I was there.”

They stepped into the Charms classroom and found a surprise waiting for them. Where tiny Professor Flitwick normally stood, a very tall Professor Leeds surveyed the students as they entered. He smiled at the students who were making their way to their seats.

“Greetings", he said once they were all seated. “Today I shall be teaching your class while Professor Flitwick is away on school business, but rest assured that he shall be back in time for your next class. Today we shall be discussing the possible ramifications of the improper use of magic. I am quite sure that you are all aware of the existence of the Ministry of Magic and the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, not to mention the Office of the Aurors.”

“Oh, no,” Lily said quietly. “Please tell me that we aren’t going to have to listen to this for the next hour.”

“Miss Potter,” Professor Leeds suddenly said. Do you have something to say that we all need to hear? Come on now, speak up, if it is important enough that you feel that your friends need to hear it, then please share it with us all.”

Lily’s face turned white as all eyes turned to her and the tall professor left the podium to approach the girl.

“Well, Professor Leeds, Potter thinks that because her father is the Head of the Office of the Aurors, she and her family can do as they please,” a girl from Slytherin said with venom.

The comment gained an immediate response from the professor as his head snapped around and his eyes fixed on the girl who had spoken.

“Miss Blythe, I am quite aware of the position held by Harry Potter as I have been an acquaintance of his for several years and, knowing him, I highly doubt your statement. I am taking five points from Gryffindor for Miss Potter’s statement, but Slytherin shall lose ten points for your interruption of my dealing with another student. Now, we shall get back to our subject of conversation if it agreeable to all.”

The students sat quietly as the professor spoke for the rest of the hour about the subject of Wizarding Law and the punishments that they might face for breaking those laws. Elizabeth found it interesting but, at the same time, wondered what motivation Professor LeBlanc had found to begin teaching at Hogwarts.

When the class ended the girls made their way to the Transfiguration Courtyard where they found an empty bench and sat down to enjoy the sunlight. They knew that today was the last day before Herbology class resumed as Professor Longbottom had returned from his personal leave.

“I thought that I was really going to get it when Professor Leeds caught me talking,” Lily said.

“Good thing for you that Maggie Blythe thought that she was going to get you into real trouble. I’ve heard that Professor Leeds can really take points away when he gets mad,” Elizabeth told her friend as she opened her book to continue reading before slamming it shut again. “This is ridiculous, reading a first year book as a third year. Does she really think that no one is going to complain about it?”

“Maybe she doesn’t care,” said a voice from behind them.

The girls turned to face the person who had spoken and saw Albus, who had entered the courtyard and approached them from behind. He smiled at the girls before kissing Elizabeth gently and then sitting down next to her.

“What do you mean about her not caring?” Lily asked her brother.

“I’ve heard that she came to Hogwarts because someone with some influence with the Ministry told her about the vacancy and asked her if she would be willing to instill some discipline here.”

“But who was it?”

“I don’t know, but they’ve evidently got enough pull that they don’t care about complaints either.”

“It has to be someone that wants to force major changes here at Hogwarts,“ Beatrice said.

“Yeah, and make life miserable for people, especially you, Elizabeth,” Albus added.

“Just like at Beauxbatons,” Elizabeth said.

“We have to find out who’s responsible and why they want this to happen so badly.”  Albus finished.

The students sat discussing the mystery in the sunlight and were unaware that Professor LeBlanc had entered the courtyard and was standing in the shadows listening to them. The professor gritted her teeth as she heard what the children were saying about her. She considered, for a moment, stepping out into the courtyard and confronting them but decided against it. There was a better way of dealing with this issue and she intended to use it. She turned and walked back through the door that she had passed through only minutes before, leaving the students unaware that they had been heard.

The group finally rose and walked towards the exit, Elizabeth and Albus hand in hand, as they began the trip to the Great Hall and their midday meal. When they arrived they in the Great Hall they found the entire student body abuzz as the students stared at the Gryffindor Hour Glass. There was a mixture of responses displayed by the various Houses, the Gryffindors stared at the hour glass in horror while the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs displayed interest and the Slytherins whooped with delight. Elizabeth and her friends followed the gaze of their school mates and were horrified to see the level of rubies in their hour glass severely diminished.

“What happened to all of our points?” Albus asked when he was finally able to speak.

“Where are the points that we got for bashing Slytherin in the last Quidditch match? There was at least two hundred points more at breakfast this morning, this has to be some kind of mistake.”

“We need to talk to Professor McGonagall, she’ll know what happened,” James added.

Elizabeth was standing next to Albus and happened to turn around in time to see Professor LeBlanc walk into the Great Hall. She nudged the others in her group and they all watched as the woman walked past them to take her seat at the High Table. The professor was soon joined by the rest of the teaching staff and the gathered students couldn’t help but notice the reaction on Professor McGonagall’s face when she noticed the level of rubies. The students made haste to get to their seat, but the level of excited whispers barely diminished until Professor Leeds rose and walked to the podium.

“I am quite certain that, by the level of noise, you have all noticed that the Gryffindor Hour Glass has experienced a drastic loss of points. While I do not know the reason for this, Professor LeBlanc does and I am sure that we are all interested in the reason for the point loss.”

The assembled students watched as Professor LeBlanc rose and walked silently to the lectern where the Headmaster stood. Professor Leeds nodded to her and then the pale professor took his place as he stepped aside.

“I ‘ave taken two ‘undred points from Gryffindor ‘ouse in response to a rather disrespectful conversation zat I over’eard in ze Transfiguration Courtyard zis morning.”

“While I expected a certain resistance to my teaching styule, I never thought zat I would ever over’ear what I did this morning from several students from Gryffindor. Zey were being opening rude to me in ze comments zat zey were making and questioning my teaching. Zye displayed open ‘atred towards me and did not care who could ‘ear zem.”

“Ze worst part of it all was ze fact zat a prefect was among zis group. I ‘esitate to name ze members of zis group because I ‘old ‘ope zat zey shall come around and end zis ‘orrible be’avior.”

Elizabeth felt her face blanch as she realized what the professor was talking about and she turned to look at her friends, who were beginning to know what was happening. She was about to say something to Albus when Professor LeBlanc looked directly at her and fixed the girl with her icy gaze.

“Professor LeBlanc, who was it?” shouted Gryffindor seventh year Hannah Maxwell.

Several angry vocalizations echoed hers as the rest of Gryffindor House began to clamor for the names of those responsible for the outrage. Shouts from the other houses began to fill the room as the students scanned the room wondering who was guilty. Elizabeth watched as an evil grin crossed the face of the professor and knew what was coming before the woman spoke.

“Very well, I shall tell you all what you wish to know. Ze names of ze students responsible for zis outrage are Albus Potter. Lily Potter and Beatrice Campbell, but ze leader of zis defamatory group is Elizabeth Blackwell.”

An immediate deafening tumult filled the Great Hall as the names of the guilty were spoken and Elizabeth knew, as the rest of those named did, that rising to leave would be a dreadful mistake. The foursome knew that many among the students felt the same as they did, but had obviously been more cautious when talking about it lest they be overheard.

Elizabeth could see many eyes upon her from all of the tables that she could see and could sense many more from the rest of the tables. A quick glance at the professor who still stood at the lectern with a malicious grin on her face told the girl that the problems had just begun, war had been declared and the professor had just delivered a devastating preemptive strike. She was also aware suddenly of a nasty whispered message intended for her ears.

“Watch yourself in dark corridors, Blackwell.”

Elizabeth turned to face her tormentor and saw only a mass of faces, any of which could belong to the person who had just spoken. She rose slowly, and then silently made her way down the aisle between the tables, painfully aware of the hissed messages that were sent her way. The rest of her group soon followed as they walked the same gauntlet of hate-filled whispers and shouts of gratitude from the Slytherin table. They left the Great Hall and were soon walking up the stairs to the Gryffindor Common Room where they stopped to talk among themselves.

“What do we do?” Lily asked. “All of Gryffindor will hate us.”

Lily flopped down on the couch and began to cry as though her heart was broken. Elizabeth sat down next to her and put her arm around her friend’s shoulders while Lily cried.

“This is just the sort of game that she liked to play at Beauxbatons,” Elizabeth told her friends. “She likes to find a reason to make everyone angry to isolate someone so that it’s easier to hurt them. It won’t end here, she’s going to find any excuse that she can to point us out to everybody else so that she can make them angry with us. We have to be careful not to give her any more ammunition.”

“But there has to be a way of beating her at her own game,” Lily said between sobs.

Albus was about to speak when Professor Leeds and Professor McGonagall entered the common room to confront the four students. Both of the professors looked extremely angry and all of the students realized that they needed to be extremely careful about what they said.

“What is the meaning of this scandal?” Professor Leeds asked in a low, menacing tone. “Speak up now before I decide to deal with you on what I already know. I assume that you would like to tell me your side of this tale.”

“Professor Leeds, we were merely talking about being upset with the fact that Professor LeBlanc is making us read out of a first year book in her class,” Elizabeth said. “She said that our previous education in Defense Against the Dark Arts was horrible and that we needed to go back to the basics.”

“What else was talked about, Miss Blackwell,” he asked.

“We wondered why she would leave Beauxbatons to come to Hogwarts when she always said that she would never want to teach here. She told us that repeatedly when I was sitting in her class at Beauxbatons as a first year. We weren’t being nasty, we were just wondering why she came here.”

“Is this true? Be truthful, because if you are not and I discover the truth, I shall have no problem with expelling any of you from Hogwarts.”

“We’re telling you the truth, Professor Leeds.”

The professors stepped away from the students and began to talk as the children waited with trembling hearts. They all wondered what their fates would be as the adults argued respectfully back and forth. Finally the professors turned back to the children who waited silently to hear what their punishment would be.

“You shall all be confined to the isolation tower except to attend classes and eat meals until further notice."

"Mister Potter, as you are not to leave the isolation tower your place on the House team shall be given to another student until such a time as your suspension is lifted. I am also revoking your status a s a prefect for the time being and, as with your sister, I will meet with your parents before you return to Gryffindor Tower.”

“Miss Potter and Miss Campbell, I am most disappointed with both of you as I know your parents personally. I shall be sending an owl to your homes explaining this action and they shall need to meet with me before you return to this tower.”

“Miss Blackwell, it is you that I find most guilty in this incident. You have used your past experiences as an excuse to damage the reputation of a highly respected teacher and have done your best to spread your hatred of Professor LeBlanc to other students. You have dared to question the authority of Professor LeBlanc to teach as she sees fit. I am very close to sending you from Hogwarts forever but, because Professor McGonagall has pled your case most passionately, I am going to sentence you to the same punishment as your peers.”

“Now the castle-elves will transport your belongings to the unused living quarters on the third floor and, until your punishment is over, you shall live there. The rooms have been readied for you and you shall proceed there immediately. You shall also eat your meals at isolation tables that have been placed in each corner of the Great Hall, there shall be no one for you to talk to. Finally, until you are allowed to return to this tower you shall not wear the colors of Gryffindor, you will find isolation robes in your new quarters which bear no colors of any house. Now, go!”

“Professor Leeds,” Elizabeth said. “My cat, Tiger…”

“I am not totally heartless Miss Blackwell, you shall find your cat already in your quarters.”

The girl nodded silently and turned to follow her companions as they made their way out of Gryffindor Tower and down the stairs. She remained silent as they followed the Headmaster to the door that led to their new home and watched as it opened to admit them. The forlorn group entered the long unused hallways as they made their way to the rooms that they would occupy and were soon standing in a large room that looked a lot like the common room that they had just left. The Headmaster turned to the group as a fire ignited on the hearth and the torches around them lit.

“Your quarters are down those halls,“ Professor Leeds said. “Mister Potter, your quarters shall be down the corridor to the left and the young ladies shall find their quarters down the quarters to the right. You shall be expected to attend classes as usual and shall be expected to write letters of apology to Professor LeBlanc which you will submit to her at the commencement of your class with her tomorrow. Should you fail to do this I shall consider it a test of my resolve and you shall not like the marks that you receive on that exam, which would be your final exam at Hogwarts.”

The tall professor turned and walked away from the students as they watched him depart. Professor McGonagall, who had remained silent, acted as though she wanted to say something, but then turned and followed Professor Leeds out of the room.

The four students looked at each other for a moment and then turned to make their way to the quarters that they had been assigned. Each found a door marked with their name, a door that would admit only them and no one else. Elizabeth entered her room to find a very impatient Tiger pacing in his cage. She hurried to release him as their lunch appeared on a table that stood in the room and gave him his meal before trying to eat something herself but couldn’t, she felt as though anything that she ate might come back up. She contented herself with watching her pet as he ate and drinking a bit of pumpkin juice. A sudden popping noise announced the appearance of a quill, an inkwell and a parchment on the writing desk that stood in one corner of the room. Elizabeth walked over to the desk and picked up the parchment to examine the neat script that flowed across the top of the page.

‘Your letter of apology shall fill this parchment and shall be written in print one quarter of an inch tall, no more and no less. There shall be no smudges on this parchment or you shall write it again and you shall use the provided ink and quill.’

She turned to see Tiger, who had finished his meal, playing with his magical mouse as he capered around the room. The girl smiled at her pet and then sat down at the desk before picking up the quill that stood in the inkwell. She gasped as the quill seemed to weld itself to her hand and it began to drag her hand to the parchment. Elizabeth realized that it was an extremely odd version of the Imperious charm and that she had no choice but to comply. She moved the parchment to her favored writing position and began to write with neat, even strokes of the quill.

Her quill marks were neat and orderly as she filled the parchment that seemed to grow longer every time that she finished a line. She realized, to her horror, that it was doing just that and doubled her efforts to complete the task at hand. Finally she finished the letter and the quill released her hand, a hand that was cramped and painful with fingers that were raw to the point of nearly bleeding. She left the parchment to dry and got up to walk to the door of her room only to find that it would not open. It was obvious that she was in her room for the night or until it was seen fit to release her.

She turned to the closet door that had swung open behind her, saw the robes that she was to wear to her classes and cringed. They were bright blue and had a terrible collar that was white and ancient looking which was meant to draw attention to a person who was intended to be isolated. She knew that the color was present to remind her of the robes that she had worn at Beauxbatons, and that Professor LeBlanc was no doubt its architect. She drew her wand and pointed it at the door, but the door resisted her attempts to counter it.

As she watched, one of the robes lifted from the hook that it was on and floated out of the closet to drift across the room and land on the bed. Elizabeth walked to it, picked it up and then carried it back to the closet where she hung it carefully back on its hook and then pushed the door closed. She turned back to the bed and was horrified to see the robe resting on it once again, a quick glance back into the closet proved that it was missing from where she had placed it. The girl shook her head as she realized that Professor LeBlanc had no intention of letting her ignore the robes and knew that the robes that she was wearing now would vanish as soon as she removed them.

She sighed with resignation as she pulled her nightgown out of her trunk to lay it on the bed, the offensive robes were soon draped over the chair that stood next to the bed. Minutes later she pulled off her robes and was not surprised when they vanished as she removed them. She slipped into her nightgown and then sat back down at the desk to read the pages that had been assigned by Professor LeBlanc. The reading was dreadfully boring as she remembered reading it before but the book, like the quill before it, refused to let her close it and put it aside. Three fresh parchments appeared with a pop and the girl saw the same warning across the top of the first parchment, she was to follow the same strict parameters as she had when writing the apology.

Many hours later she was released by the quill that had gripped her hand as she wrote the summary of the chapters, she idly wondered if her friends had experienced a similar set of encounters but doubted it. She was the intended target of Professor LeBlanc and would not soon be free of the wrath of the teacher or the humiliation that she would have to endure. Elizabeth walked to the bed that awaited her and slipped under the covers as Tiger jumped up onto the bed to snuggle against his young owner, she was soon asleep and dreaming about what was going to happen when she went back to class in the morning.

When she awoke the next morning she found that the door to her room opened freely and she walked quietly to the bathroom for a shower, the water closet in her quarters had no provision for bathing. She was nearly finished when Lily and Beatrice entered the room, both looked incredibly tired and she wondered if they had been able to sleep. After drying herself, she redressed and walked back to her bedroom where the horrible robes awaited her.

She resigned herself to the inevitable and changed into the robes that would make her stand out in the Great Hall and corridors of Hogwarts. Her friends were waiting in the common room and gasped as she stepped into view, a gasp that she returned as her face turned red with embarrassment. Their robes were quite similar to normal robes with the exception that they had a white collar and no house colors. Her face burned with humiliation as they regarded her silently, none of them wanting to be the first to speak. She looked from face to stunned face as they gathered in the center of the room.

“Horrible, aren’t they,” Elizabeth asked as she looked down at the robes. “She’s not going to let me forget this and wearing these robes will definitely remind me.”

“She can’t be allowed to get away with this,” Albus said in a slightly menacing tone as he looked at the girl that he loved.

“I don’t want any of you to do anything, I’m the one that has to deal with her. You’ll only become a larger target if you say or do anything and I don’t want you to get into any more trouble because of me. Please promise me that you’ll just leave her alone and not try anything.”

The others nodded quietly and then the four gathered other in a hug before gathering their books and parchments and leaving for breakfast. They all knew that they were in for a long day, but that Elizabeth would have the longest day of all.
 

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