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Elizabeth settled into her first class of the term as Ludwig Portman stepped to the front of the classroom to assess his students. His eyes were immediately drawn to the seventh year who wore the badge proclaiming her to be Head Girl and he frowned as he remembered what he had heard about her. Not only was she Head Girl but a Teaching Assistant as well, not to mention being the wife of the youngest son of Harry Potter. Elizabeth Blackwell-Potter was a force to be reckoned with and he had heard that she was a wonderful student with very high marks in all areas.

 “Greetings class,” he announced as he displayed a clearly forced smile, “I am Ludwig Portman, former Auror. You shall not address me as Professor for I am not. I prefer that you simply call me Mister Portman and we leave it at that.”

There was a sudden rush of whispered comments as the students discussed what they had been told. Abruptly Lily’s hand was in the air and the wizard turned to respond to her.

“Yes, Miss Potter?”

“If you are not a professor then how can you teach this class?”

“Miss Potter,” he answered greasily, “as you are aware of my background you also know that I am very familiar with the subject material. The fact that I am not a professor was not a concern to the Department of Magical Studies and so I am here before you.”

Lily was about to respond with what Elizabeth was something certain to get her friend into trouble and she raised her hand to get the attention of the wizard before them. Portman turned to face the blonde Head Girl and then answered her.

“Mrs. Blackwell-Potter, what can I do for you?”

“While the Department of Magical Studies may not have had difficulty with your appointment to this post I need to remind you that all staff members have a strict code of conduct that they need to adhere to.”

“Really? I don’t believe that I was aware of that,” he answered with a derisive smirk. “Apparently, Mrs. Blackwell-Potter, you are under the impression that as Head Girl you are above discipline, do I need to remind you that you are not?”

“Not at all, Mister Portman, but I will remind you that I am very familiar with the expectations placed upon staff, having signed a copy of them myself. I have looked into your past and question the wisdom of you being here to instruct us about things that you forsook as a member of the Auror Department.”

“You insolent…” Ludwig Portman began as his face turned an angry red.

“Insolence has nothing to do with it. You are a hazard to all of us here, you displayed reckless disregard to the safety of your prisoner which resulted in his death. Also I know for a fact that you are still under investigation by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement for that incident. Therefore, Mister Portman, if I were you I would refrain from threats that you cannot possibly carry out. Your position here is conditional on your satisfactory completion of a probationary term. I would be more than happy to inform Professor Leeds that you are not suitable for the position that you hold.”

The wizard recoiled at the final statement of the young witch and then rallied as he faced her.

“I understand that you are in your final term here, Mrs. Blackwell-Potter, am I correct?”

“I am.”

“And this class is a requisite for you to satisfactorily complete your studies?”

“It is.”

“Then you may as well pack your bags and leave Hogwarts, because you have failed this class for the term.”

A series of gasps echoed through the classroom and all watched Elizabeth to see what she would do next. The girl nodded and then turned to the bag at her side to withdraw an envelope and then open it. All watched as the letter rose into the air and then unfolded itself before it began to speak.

Mister Portman,

If Elizabeth has opened this letter it is because you have forced her to. As a student included in P.E.T.S she cannot be prematurely failed in any class and any failing mark that she receives shall be reviewed carefully by both my department and me for accuracy.

Do not be confused by my intent, Elizabeth has proven her studies to be exceptional and her conduct nearly above reproach. I would regard any attempt to fail her for reasons other than poor performance academically to be grounds for your removal as instructor.

Have a wonderful day.

Warmest regards,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Minister Amelia Bellins                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Department of Magical Studies                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ministry of Magic                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
All eyes in the classroom watched as the letter refolded itself and then slipped back into the envelope. The envelope then flew through the air to land on the lectern next to Ludwig Portman as Elizabeth rose from her seat.

“You are my instructor, so therefore I shall listen to you and complete my assignments, but be aware of the fact that I shall immediately report any perceived wrongdoing by yourself to Headmaster Leeds and Professor Bellins. In short, Mister Portman, you are on notice to behave yourself!”

Elizabeth sat back down and then reached forward to open the textbook that lay before her. The owl that she had sent to Minister Bellins had protected her as she had suspected that she would need it to. It had been apparent from the letter that her mentor had sent directly to her that there were concerns about the appointment that Portman had received. As a teaching Assistant in the school, Elizabeth was in a perfect position to keep an eye on things for the department.

Ludwig Portman eyed the girl that had bested him and then walked back to his desk while the students read the assignment that had appeared on the board before them. Elizabeth Blackwell-Potter was going to be a problem he was certain of that, because she would not hesitate to contact the Ministry if she perceived a situation. He watched the girl for a moment longer and then returned to preparations for students younger and far less formidable than seventh years.

The class ended soon enough and the students rose to leave, but Elizabeth remained behind as the others departed. Ludwig Portman watched the girl warily as she approached and then rose from his chair to face her.

“I sincerely hope that you shall remember your place within this classroom, Elizabeth.”

“Mister Portman, I clearly remember my place within the classroom, but you need to remember that I know much more about you than many of my peers do. I will do nothing with this knowledge to overtly or covertly to undermine you and I sincerely hope that we can get past this initial difficulty.”

“I would appreciate it if we could do that.”

“Then we can start fresh tomorrow and forget about this unpleasant beginning?”

“Yes, Mrs. Blackwell-Potter, we can do just that. I look forward to seeing you in class tomorrow morning.”

Elizabeth turned to leave and stopped as he called to her.

“Elizabeth?”

“Yes, Mister Portman,” she responded as she turned to face him.

“You interjected yourself to protect Miss Potter, didn’t you?”

“I did.”

“Even though you knew that you were placing yourself in great risk.”

“Yes.”

Ludwig Portman paused for a moment and then spoke again.

“You are everything that I have ever heard about you then. I know a great deal about you as well, Mrs. Blackwell-Potter, and you are exactly as you have been described.”

He smiled at her, not a fake smile, but the real thing and the witch returned it before turning and leaving the room as the sixth years finally were able to open the door to enter. Elizabeth walked quickly and soon met her friends as they waited for her.

“You truly are mental,” Lily remarked. “Going up against a teacher? You might be Head Girl and a Teaching Assistant but you really took a chance in there. From what Dad said, Portman can be brutal and doesn’t really understand mercy.”

“Maybe he will change.”

“Don’t count on it and don’t let your guard down.”

They walked on toward Defense against the Dark Arts and encountered several first years running through the corridor screaming loudly. A quick look told them that Peeves was in hot pursuit and Elizabeth swiftly drew her wand as she glanced at a nearby vase.

Peeves might have been a poltergeist, but he wasn’t stupid. The wand that was drawn and the nearby vase told him what was coming and he had little time to reverse course before the water hit him in an unending stream and then shoved him into the vase. He was about to escape when the Head girl spoke.

Glacius!

The water over and around Peeves turned to ice before he could escape and he could only glare at Elizabeth as she approached the vase and then waggled her finger at him in reproach.

“Peeves, leave the first years alone or you will be in this vase until we break for the summer. Do you understand?”

Peeves blinked at her, responding to her demand in the only way that he could. He watched as she countered the spell and could suddenly move as the ice became water again. He leapt free of his brief prison and then vanished through a wall as he moved on to find something else to do.

“I really wish that I could get that charm with the water to work for me as well as it does for you,” Beatrice lamented.

“Same here, I have the freezing part down, but I just can’t get the water to do what I want it to,” Lily added.

“I don’t know how I got it to work,” Elizabeth explained as they finished getting the first years on their way to class, “it just does.”

“It’s that elf magic that you have been studying,” Beatrice noted. “You really need to be a professor that teaches that, it would be a lot more useful than Magical Laws and Regulations.”

Lily and Elizabeth nodded as Beatrice complained and they soon were on their way to the next class on their schedule. They walked into the classroom of Professor Grims to find it filling with seventh year students and they rushed to claim their normal seats. The professor at the front of the room watched children that he had observed growing up and then smiled. This was the last first day of the term for them and he would miss them terribly once they were gone. Theirs had been an incredibly fun class to teach, full of inquisitive nature and an eagerness to learn.

“Welcome Seventh Years! I was just thinking about the frightened first years that I watched enter my classroom only a few years ago and now look at you. You are all grown up, quite experienced and now nearly ready for the N.E.W.T.S.”

“This term shall be quite different for you from the ones before it. I am quite certain that those of you who have older siblings, relatives, or friends who have attended my classes during their seventh year have heard varying stories about this final term. Now I am here to tell you that they are all quite true! During this final term, there will be no exams, no quizzes, no reading out of the text that you purchased, instead you shall be doing research.”

“Each of you shall be selecting a topic and performing research on that topic and all of this shall be working towards one goal, a goal that is an entire term away. At the conclusion of this term, you shall be responsible for handing over to me, Headmaster Leeds, and Minister Bellins of the Department of Magical Studies, a volume covering your topic, what you have learned about your topic and your conclusions! The parchments that are appearing before you contain all of the information that you need for this monumental task.”

“When I say monumental task, I mean just that. This is not a normal paper that you can squeeze out of your brains with a minimum of preparation the night before it is due and then expect to get a passing mark. The best of these volumes shall find their way not only into the library below us, but also into the collection of the Headmaster as well as the library in the Ministry of Magic.”

“Now, in order to allow you time to work this project you shall only be required to meet with me on an individual basis. We shall set up a schedule for those meetings and the topic of the first meeting shall be what you are studying. If I do not believe that you can produce a suitable volume with the topic that you have chosen I shall tell you so at that time. There is no need to waste valuable time on a useless topic and, although the end of the term seems to be a long way away, remember that you also are facing the N.E.W.T.S. Time is going to move much more quickly than you believe that it will.

“As such, class is dismissed at this time and you only need to return to see me once your copy of the schedule reaches you. Have your preliminary topic ready and we shall discuss it at that time. You may go and, should you feel the galleons spent on your text wasted, rethink that for the text may become a source of valuable information. You may go now and good luck!”

The students rose and headed for the exit not realizing that many of them wore an expression on their face not unlike the one that they would wear at the conclusion of the N.E.W.T.S. It was real, they had made it to the final term and now the real work would begin.

“Can you believe that?” a girl from Slytherin exclaimed as they made the trip down the tower stairs. “We don’t have to go to Defense against the Dark Arts class ever again except to meet with him. No more lectures, quizzes or exams from Professor Grims!”

“I’d rather have those than this,” one of her companions responded as she looked at the parchment in her hand.

“You worry too much!”

Elizabeth parted company with her friends as they walked on to Potions and she to Transfiguration. The first years would be in class for the first time and Professor McGonagall had asked her to be there. Potions would be easy this term as it was mostly independent study and she was already through the first task for it. Her report to Professor Tindwell had already been submitted via owl.

The familiar corridors stretched before her and she finally arrived at the door that she sought. Opening it, she stepped into the courtyard and then walked across the grassy space to the open door of the classroom. Already the first years were settled into their seats and she walked to the front of the room as the door closed behind her.

“For those of you that have not yet met my teaching assistant, this is Elizabeth Blackwell-Potter. She is a seventh year student that has proven herself quite adept at this subject and, if she tells you to do something, please remember that she is also Head Girl and can take points from your House as easily as I can.”

Elizabeth scanned the class and noted the eager, but also frightened, faces before her. She noted that Kimberlee Lawson looked nearly ready to faint and the older girl knew that her work was cut out for her. The girl was sitting next to the place that Elizabeth normally occupied during class and that seat was empty. She walked to the place and then looked down at the child.

“Kimberlee, do you mind if I sit down next to you?”

The small girl looked up at her and then shook her head. Elizabeth settled down into her normal chair to take a place next to the first year.

“You don’t have to be scared, Kimberlee. Professor McGonagall and I are here to help you.”

“Okay,” the nearly inaudible response came.

As planned, Elizabeth soon found herself busy assisting the more hesitant members of the class and she astounded them with a transfiguration that she performed prior to meeting the children. She winked at Professor McGonagall who had the students rise to walk to a door that had suddenly appeared in the wall.

“Mrs. Blackwell-Potter has performed an example of Transfiguration that is amazing and I would like all of you to see it. Is all ready, Elizabeth?”

“Yes, Professor McGonagall, it’s quite ready.”

The group of students watched as the door opened and then stepped into a rainforest not unlike the one that Elizabeth had in the box that she often retreated to for solitude. A glass of water had become a stream and a large number of moths had become different creatures, some of them unfamiliar and bizarre. The children followed the professor and looked around with wide eyes and open mouths at what a stark empty classroom had become.

“This is an example of the type of transfiguration you will be able to perform once you have spent several terms in my classroom. Elizabeth was a second year when she came to us, but already fairly adept at transfiguration. She actually created a rather interesting specimen on her first attempt.”

Elizabeth giggled at the thought of the pink rat with feathers and then looked at her mentor.

“I not only remember that day, Professor McGonagall, I recreated that rat and there are several of them roaming this area.”

As if on cue, one of the creatures appeared and the professor was surprised that it was nearly the size of a large cat. Two more of the creatures emerged for a moment before they disappeared quickly into the underbrush amid loud chattering.

“There is nothing here that can hurt you,” Elizabeth announced, “feel free to roam around and investigate.”

Elizabeth found her hand gripped tightly by Kimberlee as they walked through the rainforest and the girl refused to relinquish the hold until she was back in the classroom itself. She noticed that the child was almost trembling, even when a larger person was at her side and there was no possibility of danger.

‘I need to get her aside and talk to her,’ Elizabeth thought as she watched the girl fumble with the wand that she held. A magical shield had been extended over the classroom to prevent an accidental transfiguration at the careless wave of a wand.

When the class ended the children rose and she watched the small girl vanish into the courtyard until she realized that Professor McGonagall was standing next to her.

“You’re concerned about her too, aren’t you, Elizabeth?”

“She just seems frightened of everything,” Elizabeth answered as she nodded. “The fact that she is in Gryffindor will be of help, I can sit down and talk to her easier than if she was in another House.”

“I assume that your potion has not revealed any intruders.”

“There is nothing out of the ordinary, Professor McGonagall. Everyone appears to be who they are.”

“And you?”

“I’m the same me that I always have been, just a little more wary than before.”

Minerva McGonagall nodded and then hugged her student as the second years walked into the room to take their places. They released each other and the door closed behind the final student to enter as the pair turned to face them.

“Greetings second years,” Elizabeth began as the students finished settling in to their seats. “This term shall be much more difficult than the previous one, but I am quite certain that you can handle it…”

She was suddenly interrupted as the door to the room swung open and twin boys raced into the room, coming to an abrupt halt as they realized that they were the center of attention.

“I assume that you have a valid excuse for being late,” the young witch growled as they stood before her.

“We went to the wrong classroom,” one of them answered as he and his brother hung their heads.

“I assume that that professor took points for disrupting a class in session?”

“Yes, ma’am, he did.”

“And how many did he take?”

“Professor Tindwell took ten points for each of us from Gryffindor.”

“So I assume that you now know where you need to be at this time?”

“Yes, ma’am, we do.”

“Excellent, then take your seats and be prepared to explain the further ten points that I am going to take from Gryffindor. Five points for each of you for being tardy to class.”

The boys turned and walked towards the back of the room but stopped short when Elizabeth spoke again.

“Not there, gentlemen, I would like you to take seats at the front of the room. This will be where you sit until you prove to me that you can follow the rules here at Hogwarts. Do not force me to make those your seats until you finish your seventh year.”

Elizabeth turned back to the remainder of the class as she picked up where she had left off.

“While I do not expect anything like what you are about to see from you at the moment, I do expect you to make progress towards increasing your ability in this classroom. Please follow Professor McGonagall to the next room for an example of what you should be able to do at the beginning of your seventh year."

The students rose and were filing towards the door that led to the next door classroom as the attack hit Elizabeth full force. She staggered backwards with her hand to her forehead as she fought to bolster her defenses and regain control of the situation.

‘Don’t try to resist, Elizabeth, I’m here and I refuse to allow you to expel my thoughts from your mind. You wouldn’t want to disobey your father, would you?’

Before she collapsed, Elizabeth struck back with unbridled fury.

‘Get out of my head and stay out, Beales-Armstrong, there is no place for you in my mind or my life. Now go!’

Far away from Hogwarts, Marcus Beales-Armstrong staggered backwards under the responding assault from his daughter. He fell back against an ancient pedestal and then collapsed as the connection was broken.

Both father and child lay unconscious on the floor as others rushed to their aid.
 

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