Teaching the Teachers
*~* Teaching the Teachers *~*
Snape hated them.
Willow just knew it. He was all scowl-y face whenever he saw any of them. Giles was about ready to punch him out. The man was just vile. He had the nastiest attitude of anyone Willow had ever seen. He took bitter and jaded to a whole new level. Willow and Tara were taking little lessons from several of the teachers at Hogwart's during the summer before the students arrived. Willow found she absolutely dreaded her potions lessons with Snape. He was so condescending. Of course the first day had gone badly, and from there it was all downhill. She tried to be prepared. She tried to please, but there was no pleasing Snape.
Transfiguration was difficult, but McGonagall was a very patient teacher. Willow could transfigure things. She just couldn't transfigure things into the things she was supposed to transfigure them into. She even managed to make a glass of water explode rather than turn it into a block of ice.
Professor Flitwick was also very patient. Neither Willow nor Tara seemed to be able to get their wand motions right at first. Willow was swishing and flicking way too hard. She was going to poke someone's eye out. Professor Flitwick assured her that had not happened for decades.
Professor Sprout liked them. Both Willow and Tara turned out to be excellent at herbology. Tara also turned out to be quite good at divination, but Willow knew she would be. Professor Trelawney kind of freaked Willow out though. She said a bunch of stuff about dark blackness the first day they walked into her tower class. She was kind of skeletal and had a whispery voice. Now Willow got a wiggins every time they had a session with the woman.
But today they were having their first flying lesson with Madam Hooch. Willow was very excited. Though she was getting curious about Professor Dumbledore. They'd been there a whole week and had not met him yet.
"Good afternoon, ladies." Madam Hooch called as she walked across the grass towards them. "Are we ready for our first flying lesson?"
Tara and Willow nodded. They were both mesmerized by they woman's yellow eyes. They were just like a hawk's. Her short gray hair stuck up a bit.
"She looks a bit like Gandalf." Willow whispered.
Tara gritted her teeth so not to giggle.
"Sorry, I'm late!" A male voice called.
Willow and Tara turned. There was a boy of about eighteen jogging towards them. He wore brown corduroy pants and a white t shirt. The phrase 'cute as a button' had to have been invented for him.
"Ah yes, well, I expected you would a be a bit late. Ladies, this is Oliver Wood. He graduated from Hogwart's last term, but at the request of Professor Dumbledore, he has come for the summer to assist me in your flying lessons. He's also going to teach the two of you how to play quidditch."
"Oh." Willow said with a goofy smile plastered across her face.
"Wood, this is Professor Willow Rosenberg and Professor Tara Maclay."
"Right. Assistants to the new professor. I heard he's a real smart one. Was a watcher. Don't know what he watched, but I heard he was damned good at it."
Willow wanted to swoon. He had an accent. Granted, most everyone around here had an accent of some sort, but his was so cute. It added a whole new layer of cuteness to him.
"What's quidditch?" Tara asked.
"You'll see." Wood said with a grin and a wink.
"Well, what are we waiting for? Step up to the left side of your broomsticks."
Tara noticed there were brooms lying on the ground. Wood stepped up to his, held his hand out over it and said 'up'. The broom flew into his grasp. Willow and Tara exchanged a look.
"Up." Both girls called in unison. Their brooms flew up at once.
"Well, that's encouraging." Madam Hooch said. "Now I want you to mount the broom, grip it tight, don't want you to slide off the end."
"Are we still learning how to fly? Mounting? Gripping things tightly? This is sort of naughty-sounding."
Tara gritted her teeth again. She remained quiet, but Wood laughed so hard he actually snorted.
Wood. His last name was Wood. That hadn't even connected in Willow's brain yet, but now that her mind was quite nicely ensconced in the gutter, everything was connecting to the naughty.
"No, Madam Hooch, just getting to know the ladies a bit."
"Instead of paying attention to me."
"Well, let's see. Kick off then." She folded her arms across her chest.
Tara was gripping her broom so tight her knuckles were turning white.
"Relax, Professor Maclay." Wood whispered in her ear. "Kick off from the ground, get your balance by hoverin' for a bit, then lean in a little. Like this." He leaned forward to demonstrate. "Then lean back and touch back down."
Tara took a deep breath. She pushed off. She only went about a foot in the air. She wobbled a bit. Wood put his hand on her hip to steady her.
"Easy. Now lean forward."
She did. Tara gasped as she started a smooth glide in the air.
"Good work, Professor Maclay."
Tara leaned back and touched down. "Please. Call me Tara."
They all looked at Willow. She chewed her lip in determination. She adjusted her grip on the broom handle. She kicked off from the ground. The redhead took off like a rocket with a startled shriek. Wood mounted his broom instantly and gave chase.
"Willow!" Tara yelled.
Madam Hooch came to stand next to the blonde. She put a hand on Tara's shoulder. "Wood will catch her, Tara. He's quite fast. Both on his broom and in his thinking. He was one of the best keepers Gryffindor ever saw."
"What's a keeper?"
"Let's just say he's good at catching things. And that might help in this situation." She leaned around. She'd lost sight of them.
"Should we try to follow?" Tara asked.
"Think that you can?"
"I can try."
"Wish I had more first years like you." Madam Hooch flashed a brief smile. "Let's go then."
Tara and Madam Hooch mounted their brooms and took off.
The air was whipping her hair back. Willow had stopped screaming. She was trying to figure out what to do. The screaming wasn't helping any, and she was afraid she might swallow a bug.
"Whoa, horsey." She tried.
Didn't work. She tilted down and screeched again as the broom dipped dangerously. She pulled back a bit and was horrified to discover that she was flying about three feet above the ground in one of the open corridors. She was also heading for closed doors. She yanked the broom sharply to the right and whipped around the corner only to see herself bound for a head-on collision with Snape.
His eyes showed shock as he dove out of the way. The parchments in his arms flew up in a shower of pages that Wood flew through a second later causing Snape to dive out of the yet again.
"Hang on, professor!" Wood called.
Willow was heading for solid wall.
"Pull up!" Snape found himself screaming.
Willow squealed in horror as she yanked her broom handle up. Her shoes skidded off the wall, and she went shooting straight up it. Snape couldn't help gaping. He'd never seen anyone fly like that before. He ran in the direction they had gone.
Willow flew up the wall and over the entire school. She experienced a slight bit of vertigo after having shot straight into the air so quickly. Her grip loosened, and Willow found herself falling off her broom. She was probably a couple of hundred feet in the air. She screamed.
Near the ground, Tara fell off her own broom with a scream as she saw Willow falling. She started shaking. She was on her hands and knees. She felt a hand on her shoulder that helped pull her to her feet.
Wood pushed himself hard when he saw her fall. He swooped down to get under her. He just hoped trying to catch her didn't kill them both. He gripped the broom hard with both hands. He shot under her. If he planned this just right....
Willow howled in pain as her tailbone hit something.
Tara legs failed as Wood and Willow collided in the air. She sank to the ground.
Wood faltered a bit as the crook of her legs and her back hit his arms. He gripped tight. If he lost his hold, she'd slide off the front of the broom, and he'd fall as well. Not that he'd never fallen before, but she hadn't, and he didn't want her to. He finally managed to steady the both of them.
Willow opened her eyes to find herself nicely settled in Wood's arms and sitting on his broomstick. One arm was under her legs, while the other was behind her back. Willow looped her arms around his neck. Wood moved the arm from under her legs.
"Call me Oliver, professor."
They landed on the ground. Willow went to stand only to discover her legs wouldn't work properly. They were as sturdy as two pieces of overcooked spaghetti. Wood dropped his broom and grabbed onto her to steady her.
"Willow!" Tara was running up.
Snape and Madam Hooch weren't far behind her.
"Willow, are you all right?"
"I'm... I'm fine. I was..." Willow looked up. "Really high up." Willow fainted.
Wood was already partially holding her, so she slumped against him. The boy smiled widely. Tara rolled her eyes. It was fairly obvious someone had a crush on Willow already. She jumped when Snape yanked Willow out of the boy's embrace and swung her limp body up into his own arms.
"Severus Snape, what ARE you doing?" Madam Hooch called as the man started stalking off.
"Taking Miss Rosenberg to Madam Pomfrey in the infirmary."
Willow opened her eyes.
There was a man sitting beside the bed she was in. Willow looked around. She was in some sort of a hospital wing. The man regarded her with a kind look on his face. He had long white hair and an equally long white beard. He wore robes of dark red and spectacles were perched on the bridge of his nose. Now this was a wizard.
"Good afternoon, Willow. Oh, may I call you Willow?"
"Sure. What do I call you?"
"Oh. Terribly sorry. Albus Dumbledore."
"You're Professor Dumbledore!" Willow screeched excitedly.
Dumbledore leaned back a bit. "Yes."
"Oh sorry. I don't mean to shout, but I've been so anxious to meet you. I wanted to thank you for letting me come here. The magic is so different here. I don't feel like I'm choking. And if McGonagall told you about the desk, I'm quite sorry I blew the hole in it. You can take it out of my wages. I really was trying to make it a block of ice then it just went all kaplooey. It happens to me. It happened more often when I was first starting out doing magic, but I haven't had any spells go wonky in a while. But when they go wonky, they go WONKY. And there's making up by car washings and numerous batches of cookies. I got really good at baking about two years ago due to a particularly wonky spell. And... I'm talking too much, aren't I? I tend to do that when I'm nervous or upset or I've drank coffee. You just tell me to shut up. You just say 'Willow, shut up'. Or if you're Giles, you say 'Willow, do shut up'. I mean I-"
Dumbledore had placed a finger on her lips.
"Sorry." She mumbled from behind his finger.
"I was beginning to wonder if you needed to breathe."
She giggled nervously. "I'm just a little edgy. Sorry."
"Quite understandable. I heard from Professor Snape that you had quite an adventure earlier."
"Omigod! I nearly ran Cranky Pants over! IS he ok?!"
"Quite. So fit in fact that he carried you all the way here."
"Carried you. You fainted."
"Oh." Willow didn't know how she felt about that. He carried her? Like in his arms?
"I have to ask... Cranky Pants?"
Willow looked a little embarrassed. "Well, you know... cos... he's so cranky all the time."
Great roars of laughter bubbled from deep within Dumbledore's chest. He patted Willow's leg. "I have a feeling I am going to enjoy this year at Hogwart's very much." He also had a strange feeling that Willow and a certain famous student of Hogwart's were going to find extraordinary amounts of trouble to get into this year. The girl had a certain Harry-ness to her. It was the same feeling talking to her that he got when he talked to Harry.
Willow's brow was wrinkled. Anakin was sitting on one of her shoulders. Tara was feeding Spike the bat bits of banana.
"He really carried me?"
"For the hundredth time... YES."
"Sorry." Willow chuckled a little. "You should have seen his face when I was baring down on him."
Tara giggled. "I'm just glad Oliver managed to catch you. You could have been really hurt."
"Yeah. Oliver's pretty great, huh?"
"Not to mention cute." Tara said with a sly look on her face.
"Oh please. What is he, like twelve?"
"He's eighteen. Perfectly legal."
"I like girls. You know that better than anyone."
"I saw the way you looked at him."
"I look at Spike that way too sometimes! Doesn't mean anything!"
Tara was gaping at her playfully. "Only that you have lusty thoughts for Spike!"
Willow took one of the pillows off her bed and hurled it at Tara. The blonde squealed and threw her arms up to block it. Willow gave a playful growl and dove at the other girl. Tara squealed again as the two of them rolled across her bed and crashed to the floor. She managed to get the upper hand and sat on Willow's stomach. She began tickling the redhead's ribs as Willow howled loudly.
The two of them were screeching and laughing so loudly they didn't even hear the door creak open.
"What ARE the two of you doing?"
Willow and Tara looked up. Wood was standing in the doorway.
"It's Oliver! Get him!"
The girls lunged at the younger boy. He yelled in shock as they yanked him in the room and slammed the door. Anakin ran wildly up the curtains with a hiss, and Spike the bat flapped his wings and made a little squeaking noise.
Wood was shocked when he went face-first into one of their beds. He was a little worried about what exactly they were gonna do when he felt his feet being stripped of their house slippers and socks. The next thing he knew his toes were being tickled. Wood yelled and started kicking. His feet were VERY ticklish.
The three of them tumbled off of the bed laughing hysterically. It felt so good just to be acting silly for once. Willow winced as she landed on her back, but she was laughing too hard to really care. Wood landed half on her with a grunt that turned into and 'ouch' when Tara landed on him. Once again the noise level was so high that none of them heard the door open.
"What in the bloody hell are they three of you doing?"
They all looked up in shock. Well, Wood and Tara looked up. Willow had to roll her head back a bit to see who was there. Giles was standing in the doorway in his robe. With his hands perched on his hips. McGonagall was standing slightly behind him in her robe and a matching nightcap that Willow would have described as jaunty if she hadn't been so embarrassed.
Because apparently they'd woken everyone.
Just about all the professors were filling the doorway and the hall to see what was going on. Even Snape. The man was the only one still fully dressed though. Did he sleep in those black robes?
Tara stood slowly and smoothed out imaginary wrinkles in her pajama pants and cotton camisole top that had fallen off of one of the shoulders. Wood got to his feet and pulled Willow to hers. Then he did the worst possible thing he could do.
He put the strap of Tara's camisole back on her shoulder for her.
Giles's eyes flashed fire. "Would you all excuse us for a moment?"
The hall cleared rather quickly due to Giles's tone. He glared at Wood rather harshly as the boy edged past him. Giles slammed the door shut.
"It's not what you think." Willow said.
"I certainly hope not. Because what I'm thinking is not rated G. I certainly didn't bring the two of you here to corrupt the impressionable."
"We did not corrupt him."
"If he's been corrupted, it has nothing, NOTHING to do with us."
"We were just messing around. Not MESSING messing."
"Well, he's fun to play with. Not PLAY play, but-"
"I know what you mean, Willow."
"Then stop looking at me that way. It was perfectly innocent."
"He's an eighteen year old boy. There's no such thing as perfectly innocent at eighteen and male."
"Hey." Tara interrupted. "Are you forgetting that I'm gay... we're gay. The snowball in hell has better odds."
"I'm not.... I don't mean to berate the two of you or to say that you can't have fun or act silly. Just be careful what sort of impression you're making on these children when they get here. I don't know how Professor Dumbledore feels about dating in the workplace, all right?"
"Ok." Willow was looking at the floor.
"All right." Tara seemed fascinated by the untucked corner of her bed.
They both looked like he'd kicked their puppies. Giles sighed. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to be harsh. I just want the two of you to do well here."
"We want that too." Willow mumbled, still looking at the floor.
Giles sighed and pulled Willow into his arms. He kissed the top of her head. He opened his other arm for Tara. "I did miss the two of you while I was in London." He kissed Tara's temple.
Tara rubbed her cheek against his chest. "We missed you too."
"Ditto." Willow mumbled.
He tightened his hug a bit before letting go as he moved to leave the room. He paused in the doorway but did not turn. His hand rested on the door frame. "The next time you wish to 'wrestle' with Wood... and that just sounded so very wrong..."
Willow and Tara snickered.
"The next time you wish to tickle Wood...."
More giggles. Giles rolled his eyes. The boy's name just had to be Wood. He couldn't win here. The only way the snickering would be worse was if the boy's name was Peter O'Toole. Or Dick Johnson.
"The next time Mr. Wood pays you a late night visit, why not try a spell to soundproof the room."
"There's one of those?" Willow asked.
Giles looked at her. "I am finding that there's a spell for just about everything."