The Ravenclaw students sat in DADA waiting for the first class to start. The last student in was Dawn Summers her bright smile seemed to take over her whole face.
“Is that the muggle?” Wilfred, a chunky boy with curly brown hair and glasses asked.
“I hear she broke Malfoy’s nose.” One of the girls said. Her name was Alimeana, Ali to her friends. She was skinny and had wavy blond hair with a big pink bow tied in it.
“How dare she?” Wilfred sniffed.
“What? You hate him as much as we do.” This was Milicent Thumburger, a gangly blond who hadn’t come into her beauty yet, just her awkwardness.
“She’s a muggle, she had no business.” Wilfred defended.
“Have you met her, talked to her?” Manny, a short skinny lad with neat, short brown hair who always sat next to Wilfred asked.
“She’s a muggle.” Wilfred stated as if that were reason enough not to like her.
“My dad said things are changing. Forces outside the Wizarding world have been using magic.” Serena a short girl with dirty blond hair and large dark eyes said from her seat in front of Wilfred.
“What does your dad know?” Wilfred asked. “He just maintains the Knight Bus.”
“People talk.” Serena said. “They forget there are workmen around them.”
“Hi” A cheerful female voice said from near Serena. “Is there anybody sitting here?”
“Yeah.” A chunky boy sitting behind the girl Dawn was talking to responded. “That seat’s reserved for Peeves.”
“Peeves, the ghost?” Dawn crossed her arms in front of her. “Right.” She looked at the girl next to the empty seat. “If you don’t want me sitting here, I’ll find someplace else.”
“I’m Serena Nightbriar.” The girl smiled after frowning at the boy behind her. “I don’t mind.”
“I’m Dawn Summers.” Dawn shook Serena’s hand. “This is sooo cool.” She smiled as she hopped on to the stool. “I’ve never taken an official class about demons and junk.” She gave the stool a spin and looked at the room as it revolved around her. It was actually laid out similarly to the potions class room with two rows of tables instead of desks. The walls were lined with shelves filled with books and artifacts. One will was lined with high arched windows with strange stained glass images set into the top glass directly below the arch. The front of the class room included a spiral stairway that led up to a balcony that overlooked the class room. Behind the balcony, more rows of full shelves could be seen stretching back away from the classroom.
“Are you really a muggle?” Serena asked. She studied the slender young woman sitting next her. Her bright smile never faltered as she looked at the others sitting around her including the frowning Wilfred. Was she so naïve to think everybody was happy to meet her or did she just not care?
“It depends on your definition.” Dawn smiled. “If you mean somebody who does not use a wand to perform magic, then I guess I’m a muggle.” She spun her chair, slowly taking in the room again. Dawn stopped the spin as she faced Serena again. “If you mean somebody wholly incapable of performing any kind of magic what so ever, then I am not.”
“How can you perform magic and not be able to use a wand?” Wilfred sniffed.
Dawn held out here hand. “Hi, we haven’t been introduced. I’m Dawn.” She watched the chubby boy glare at her hand. She’d discovered very quickly the best way to deal with elitist bigots like this was to be even friendlier to them than normal.
Wilfred ignored her hand and glared at her.
“That’s Wilfred.” Serena finally said. “We all wonder why he’s in Ravenclaw and not Slytherin. Why aren’t you in a class with Griffindore? This is all Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff.”
“We had to find classes that didn’t focus on wand magic. The timing and material of this section fit best.” Dawn replied. Out of the corner of her eye she could still see Wilfred staring at her. She turned to him. “Is there a problem?”
“You didn’t answer my question.” He pouted.
Dawn gave a little smile. “That’s right, Mister Rude.”
A man dashed on to the balcony and ran down the spiral stairway clanging the metal treads. He was shorter then Dawn and pudgy but not fat, not yet. His hair was cut short and was spiked with gel and wore a goatee style beard and mustache. His wizard’s robes looked new or least in good shape but were quite wrinkled. He stepped in front of the class smiled a very simple disarming. “Sorry I’m late.” His soft voice carried through the large room. He dropped his wand out of his sleeve and pointed it at the black board. A whispered command and the board erased and formed the words: Professor Baker, Defense Against The Dark Arts. “Apparently I am Professor Baker.” He said after reading the board. He turned to the class. “You may call me..” he hesitated. Dawn thought for sure he was waiting for a drum roll. “Professor Baker.
“I just got to the school this morning so you’ll have to forgive me if I seem a bit lost at times, because, you see, I am.” He smiled again. “Now, ah,” he looked around the nearly empty desk and spied a scroll lying prominently in the middle. “How about roll call? Speak up and raise your hand so I can place a face to a name.” He said and began reading off names.
Near the end of the list Professor Baker stopped at a name that sounded familiar. “Dawn Summers?”
An attractive thin brunet raised her hand. “Here.”
Could it be? He looked at the girl, yep, it could. “Are you any relation to Buffy Summers?”
“She’s my sister.”
Professor Baker paused for a second. “Alrighty then. Milicent Thumburger.”
What was that all about? Dawn thought. She knew all the same wizards Buffy did or at least heard of them and he didn’t fit the description of any. He did look familiar but from where?
After he finished the roll, Professor Baker dropped the scroll into an old wooden garbage pail next to his desk.
One of the girls sitting in the front row raised her hand. “Professor Baker, aren’t you going to need that for class tomorrow?”
“Why?” He smiled again. “I’ve met everybody, I’m sure I’d know if somebody were to show up to class missing.”
The door to the class room opened and Winifred Burkle walked in, her dark red and black robes flowing out behind her. She scanned the room then looked at Professor Baker. “Hi ya’all.” She said enthusiastically.
“Can I help you?” Professor Baker looked at the woman. She was obviously not a student, her robes were wrong and she was too old.
“I’m Winifred Burkle, but everybody just calls me Fred.”
Professor Baker’s perpetual smile faded somewhat. “You’re Fred Burkle?
“Yes, Sir.” Fred grinned.
“I was told a visiting expert on demons and the occult named Fred Burkle would be assisting with the class.”
“That’d be me.” Fred said. “Of course I wasn’t aware I’d be helping with any classes when I came here. I just came cause Dawn was comin’ and I thought I’d, you know, just tag along. Then Albus announced I’d be helping with some classes and you know he didn’t even ask he just assumed I’d say yes or something. Does he do that a lot?”
“Yes, Miss Burkle, he does that a lot.” Professor Baker replied quietly.
Breathe, Breathe. Dawn thought trying to project to Illyria. She’d had no clue Fred was a Willowesque babbler until she launched into one of her babbles once while telling Buffy about the physics of inter-dimensional portals. Buffy had stopped trying to follow after the first sentence and just stood amazed at the woman’s randomly strung together observations. At first everybody thought it was just Illyria making fun of Willow then they realized that Illyria didn’t have that kind of a sense of humor, if she had one at all. No, it was pure Fred. It caused a lot of people to like Fred more and Illyria less.
“Won’t you have a seat?” Professor Baker pointed to one of the tables in the front row of the room as Fred stepped in and sat down.
He turned to the class. “Okay, to start things out, I’d like to tell you a bit about myself so you know more about me and what I expect from you. Until very recently, I’ve been living in the muggle world. I left the Wizarding world to attend university with full intension of returning once my education was completed. However, I was distracted by fascinating people and a job offer I couldn’t resist.
“Two years ago, the group I was working for as the Head of Research was attacked and I went into hiding.”
A hand shot up in the middle of the class room.
A dark skinned girl with long straight black hair and Asian features smiled realizing the teacher had remembered her name. “Who attacked you and why?”
“You know, I was never really sure, I just knew that when our main offices blew up, it was time to disappear. So I returned to the Wizarding community and waited. When the fight was over, most of my co-workers were gone, dead or in hiding, and the evil was defeated. But I realized I was out of place. The people who took over were now younger with different ideas on how things should be done. I was welcomed back, but I was out of place. I didn’t belong so I tendered my resignation and moved back to the Wizarding world permanently. Then a few weeks ago Headmaster Dumbledore offered me this job, so here I am.”
“Sounds like a big coward to me.” Wilfred grumbled from behind Dawn.
“You know, Mr. Wandmaker, you’re right. Five points from Ravenclaw for speaking out of turn. I’m a researcher not a fighter; I can tell you anything about anything given enough time. That’s what we’re going to be learning this semester, how to learn what we need to know to defeat darkness. Defeating the dark is usually ninety percent research and ten percent action. This year I will be taking the students in your year on a journey into the world of research and discovery. You will be amazed how the fight against the dark arts changes when you know what you’re dealing with.” Professor Baker opened drawer in his desk and removed a book. “Now for your first lesson, if you will take out your text book and unwrap it. Simply wave your wand over the seal a say ‘Open’”
The students all pulled their books out of their packs and looked at them. The books had come wrapped in brown paper sealed with magical wax seal. The students all waved their wands and said the “Open”. The seals cracked allowing the paper to be removed.
Dawn stared at her book. Her mind raced through the spells Willow had taught her and what she’d learned on her own. Any simple open spells? Yes, but they required candles, sand, and salt. She raised her hand.
“Yes, Miss Summers.”
“I don’t have a wand and I don’t carry around the supplies I’d need for a simple opening spell.”
“Miss Nightbriar may open it for you if neither of you minds.”
Serena smiled. “Not at all.” She waved her wand over Dawn’s book. “Open.” The seal cracked the wrapping paper lifted.
“Thanks.” Dawn said as she pulled the paper off the book.
“What’s this?” A voice said from somewhere in the room.
“Is this some kind of joke?” Another added.
One of the students in front of Dawn was raising his hand as she got the wrapping paper removed.
“Yes Mister Songcharm?”
“Sir, how do we open the book?”
Dawn turned the black book over looking at it. It was bound in black leather, from the ends she could tell the pages were rough and appeared to be made of parchment. There was no writing on it, front or back or on either spine. That’s right, the book had two spines, and there was no way to open it.
“That is your first assignment.” Professor Baker said. “You may work individually, in teams however you want to do it. You have the rest of the period to work on it here, and may make use of the class library.” He pointed to the shelves on the upper level. If you get the book open before you leave class today, you get one a hundred and five percent on your grade. Each class it remains unopened, you loose five percent.”
Students immediately had their wands out.
Dawn turned to Serena. “Try these, Expositus”
Serena waved her wand and repeated the command, “Expositus.”
“Okay, how about, Patefacio.”
Serena glanced at Dawn with a strange look, waved her wand and repeated the command, “Patefacio.”
“One more.” Dawn said. “Directus.”
The girl shrugged and tried again. “Directus.”
“Interesting.” Dawn reached into her robes and produced a long dagger. Invisible to the casual observer, the blade was etched with the words ‘Mr. Sharpy’. “Let’s try the old fashioned way.”
Dawn glanced up at Professor Baker. “Yes, Professor Baker?”
“We do not mutilate books in this class. Somebody like you should know better.”
Dawn tried to grin. “It was just a thought.”
“And what, may I ask, are you doing carrying a weapon to classes?”
Dawn shrugged. “Everybody else carries their weapons wherever they go, so do I.”
“I will talk to the Headmaster about that.” Professor Baker said. “Now please return it to wherever you had it stashed and continue with the assignment.” He watched as the dagger disappeared into her robes. So this was her, the Slayer’s sister. He’d seen pictures of her before with the watchers and had seen her once from a distance when they came to London to take control of the council. It was an unprecedented power grab, like the students taking over a university. There were still a few of the old guard to challenge them but they were just swept aside. He wasn’t sure if they were even noticed. How do you stand against people with such power and no fear? He tried stay on, he could have worked with them but his friends were gone. His circle had been killed and he’d narrowly escaped. Now here they here, the sister of The Slayer and another muggle; he looked at Miss Burkle, an expert on demons and the occult. Where had she come from? He found it odd that Buffy Summers would trust the care of her sister to an employee. Was she one of the new slayers? She seemed too old. What was her story?
There was movement in the class. Dawn and Serena had gotten up from their desks and headed for the class library, Miss Burkle joined them.
“Miss Burkle, please be sure not to help Miss Summers or Miss Nightbriar with this assignment. It would not be fair to the rest of the students if she were to receive help from a non-student.”
The young woman gave a ‘thumbs up’. “Gotcha Doc.”
Professor Baker watched the women disappear into the stacks and wondered if he should have reported to the Ministry the events of the past two years. No, the non-disclosure agreements were binding even after employment. He didn’t think there was any kind of compulsion spell binding the agreement but the potential damage this new slayer run council was capable of was enough to keep his mouth shut. Besides, the Slayer was supposed to be protecting muggles so the Wizarding world really didn’t have business with her. But what had changed. Why was she here? Dumbledore would have the answers.
After Dawn had returned the knife to a sheath at her back she looked back at her book. Okay, if she was confronted with this book at the council what would she do? Research of course. Professor Baker just got done explaining they were going to focus on research. Therefore no easy spell was going to open this book. They would have to figure it out. She turned to Serena. “Come on, lets go.”
Dawn pointed to the stacks on the second floor. “It’s research time. No random spell is going to open these books.”
As they walked by Professor Baker Dawn studied the man. He was wholly unremarkable. He wasn’t sloppy or geeky enough to warrant a snide remark if he’d passed a group a teenage girls on the street nor was he handsome enough to receive a second glance. He just was. As they started up the stairs, Dawn stopped and took another look at the professor Serena and Fred nearly knock her down as they walked into her.
“Sorry.” Dawn said as she started up the stairs again. She knew she recognized him. She’d seen him at the Watcher’s Council Headquarters when they first came to London. She hadn’t gotten his name but he looked different now. Before he was clean shaven, had longer hair he wore slicked back and was thinner. This was definitely the same man. What did he know about her and the Council? Was he a Ministry spy? If he was they must think her really stupid if they didn’t think she’d recognize them. Dumbledore would have the answers. Even if he didn’t it would stir things up to ask him. She would also send a letter home to make sure there was nothing evil about him. Dawn continued up the stairs.
To be continued....