When Magnus reached the gates he had to stop to take a big breath. Hogwarts was much bigger than he thought it would be. The castle loomed over him like a mountain. He was starting to second guess himself. When the headmaster Samirah al-Abas, his long-time friend had offered him the position he thought it wouldn’t be that big a deal. The old care of magical creatures teacher had retired she had been left in a pickle since term started tomorrow. She had sent him and owl begging him to come and teach. He had always been good with magical creatures and nature. He had even once befriended a unicorn. But looking across the vast grounds Magnus was worried he might be in too deep. What if he sucked at teaching? What if the students didn't like him? What if he made a fool of himself? Magnus knew only the smarter most talented wizards taught at Hogwarts and he knew he definitely wasn't in that category. He was about to change his mind and turn around and head back to the train when he heard a voice call at him. Striding across the lawn was a young man calling his name.
"Professor Chase. So glad to meet you" the stranger said as he approached. He wore a regular white button down shirt and black slacks. Over his shoulder was a dark blue cloak with military badges pinned to it. He sweated slightly in the afternoon sun. His skin was dark and warm and his hair was cut to military perfection. He smiled broadly at Magnus and extended his arm.
"I'm Professor Jefferson, but you can call me T.J. I teach history of magic. The headmaster has sent me down to greet you and help you to your office. She would have come down herself except there's been an incident with peeves breaking into an office. Professor Fierro is livid."
Magnus shook his hand back.
"Nice to meet you T.J. You can call me Magnus. I don't really like going by my last name that much."
"No problem” T.J said helping Magnus carry his trucks. "This way to the castle"
T.J. led Magnus into a vast entrance hall and up a flight of stairs. The castle was magnificent. Magnus had never seen anything quite like it. His mother had taught him form home therefore he never had a chance to attend Hogwarts. The place was jaw dropping.
"Exactly how many student go here?" Magnus asked nervously.
"Around 1000, but don't worry care of magical creatures is an elective. You will have only around 30 students or less per class"
T.J probably meant this as a comforting fact but it made Magnus' stomach turn.
The reached a small wooden door at the end of a narrow hall. T.J. opened the door then
handed Magnus the keys.
"Well it was nice meeting you Magnus. I’m looking forward to working with you. Your office is up the stairs at the back of the classroom. Dinner is at 6 in the Great Hall which is down the flight we came up and to the right."
Magnus shook the man's hand one more time and walked into the classroom. The class room was a decent size. One wall was made up of tall windows that overlooked to the grounds and the lake. Magnus huffed and walked to the back if the room. He climbed the stairs clumsily trying to avoid doing 2 trips with his trunks and opened the office door. The room was circular with a large wood desk in the middle. The window behind the desk had a breathtaking view of the lake. The wall of the room were lined with empty bookshelves and picture hooks. Magnus dropped his trunks and opened the side door of the office. It opened into a small living space. A small bathroom and sitting room/bedroom. A large 4 poster bed was tucked away around a corner. A tall window with a sitting bench was beside the bed. Magnus thought it was so beautiful he might cry. He had been living on the streets of London for 4 years. This place was a miracle. He quickly shook his head before he became too overwhelmed and began unpacking.
Soon the shelves were filled with books, tiny skeletons, and stuffed creatures he had collected over the years. He hung his sketches of interesting beasts he had encounter in his travels and a photograph of his mother and him hiking. The only thing of her he hand left.
By the time he had finished he noticed he still had 2 hours until dinner. A note on the desk from Samirah informed him that as care of magical creature’s teacher he had full access and responsibility for the hippogriff paddock located just inside the forest. Along with some other responsibility to other school creatures like the thestrals. The cabin beside the forest was equipped with everything he would need.
Magnus decided to go and check out the cabin and forest before dinner. So he picked up his ratty cloak threw it over his shoulder and headed out the door.
When he got to the entrance hall he ran into Samirah. She was in the middle of a conversation with a person with bright green hair and brightly coloured pink and green robes. They were waving their hands and talking in a slightly raised voice obviously ranting. When Samirah saw Magnus she waved him over.
"Magnus. I'm so glad you accepted my offer. I'm really excited to have you here to teach. This is professor Fierro. She teaches transfiguration and is my head of Slytherin house." Sam introduced.
"Call me Alex.” the stranger said extending their first for a fist bump instead of a hand shake. Magnus happily compiled.
"So I’m assuming you’re the professor Fierro of the recently vandalized office."
Alex grumbled and nodded.
"I thought I locked it but apparently I didn't. Now I need to find 50 guinea pigs before class starts."
"Regardless Alex it could have been worse. Peeves hasn't really stared the worst if his beginning of the year shenanigans." Sam said.
Magnus took this all I guessing it was important info. A poltergeist that haunted the school named Peeves. Check.
"Anyway I must go. I need to talk to the school governors before dinner. I might be a bit late. They received some more complaints about hearthstone from the usual families but this time they have apparently sent there complaint to the ministry as well."
Alex faced knotted in displeasure.
"You can tell them to shove their complaints up their..." Alex street but Sam but in.
"Alex maybe you could take Magnus up to the staff room. Blitzen is up there trying to comfort Hearth. Also introduce him to some more people before he is overwhelmed at supper"
Alex nodded and lead up the entrance was while Sam strode up the opposite end of the entrance way.
“So Magnus where you from?" Alex asked.
"Well I was born I Boston but came to Europe when I was 14. My mom wanted to travel and explore the world with me. I guess that how I learned so much about magical creatures."
“Oh that's cool. I'm from Boston too. Moved here when I started teaching 3 years ago. Don't worry you'll love it here. All the professors are close and supportive. Plus like 99.99% of students are well behaved. Well behaved by teenager standards."
I smiled at her. Then I noticed something.
"Hey your hair is pink now!" I exclaimed.
"Well ya. I'm a metamorphmagus. It’s only of the few perks of being me. I'm also gender fluid just so
She looked me dead in the eye as sing how I would react. Honestly that didn't surprise me. I knew lots of homeless transgender and gender Louis persons. Most kicked out by their families at young ages because of it. I didn't see any problem with Alex being gender fluid.
"So what would you like me to call you by?" I asked.
"she/her until I tell you otherwise" Alex answered.
"Ok no problem"
We reached the main staircase and my jaw dropped 100 of staircases zigzagged across the area swinging into different positions. They went up at least 40 floors probably more. Looking up at the ever chaining stairs made me dizzy.
"Oh ya keep an eye on the staircases they too like too" she grinned.
We climbed a dozen flights of stairs before we reached the right floor. I was slightly out of breath. Man I was glad my office was on the first floor. Alex didn't seem to be gazed. Maybe doing these stairs multiple times a day had increased her tolerance for excruciating physical activity.
She led me through some winding corridors until we reached a set of door that were flanked by 2 gargoyles. Alex opened the doors and I followed her in. The room was large with long panels running along the walls. It was outfitted with mismatched, dark wooden chairs and cuff looking couches. By the fire I saw two people sitting on a puffy floral print couch.
The first man was slightly older than me. Probably in his late 20's. He was short and built with a dark mocha complexion. His hair was neatly combed back and he was sporting the most handsome set of robes I had ever seen. Deep purple with gold embroidery around the collar. Underneath he sported a blinding white dress shirt with a lilac tie. His black dress pants were held up his leather suspenders. His dress shoes were shiny and immaculately clean. His arm was around a taller man that was bent over with his head in his hands.
The second man was very tall and very pale. If he was standing in the snow the only thing of him that would be visible was his completely black set of clothes. His hair was so blonde it was white. His eyes shined grey and his skin was so white it was almost translucent. Around his neck loosely hung a red and white candy cane stipend scarf. The rest of his clothes were very causal compared to the man beside him. He was dressed like a muggle. He was very thin and gangly in an anemic hasn’t eaten in months sort of way. He simply wore a black long sleeved t-shirt dark jeans and high-tops. When they entered the darker man looked up.
"You must be Professor Chase?" he reached over to shake my hand.
"Actually it's just Magnus." I said as in shook his hand. I then went to sit in the chair across from them on the couch.
Alex sat down beside the tall pale man and started patting his shoulder.
"Well it’s nice to meet you Magnus. I'm Blitzen but you can call me Blitz. I teach charms here and am head of Hufflepuff house and this is Hearthstone, you can all him Hearth. He teaches ancient runes and his head of Ravenclaw."
Hearth had raised his head by now and was watching Blitz talk. When he was done he made some gestures with his hands towards Blitz.
I watched confused. As Blitz answered Hearth's gestures with more gestures.
"Don't say 'was'. You’re not getting fired. Sam would rather close the school down before firing you. You’re a great teacher." Blitz said as he moved his hands.
"Ya Hearth. You’re the best runes teacher this school has ever had. You know more about reading runes than every the ancient wizards who used them. Plus your students love you." Alex said softly also gesturing with her hands.
By this point I was smart enough to catch on. I may be clueless but I wasn’t that clueless. Hearthstone was deaf. And I was pretty sure I knew what the complaints Sam had revived were about. I frowned. I had no faith in humanity anymore, which probably had a lot to do with living on the streets. Stupid wizards. I didn't know the guy but I knew some deaf guys from the street. They were just regular old guys and girls that were shunned because people are too obsessed with their ideas of perfect.
Hearth made some more gestures and this time I picked up the most of it.
"Only matter of time. ‘S’ can't help. Ministry involved. I'm unfit and useless."
Blitz went to grab Hearth's hands but Hearth stood up and quickly signed something. Then practically ran out of the room. Blitz went to go follow but Alex grabbed his arms and pulled him back.
"Give him some time to calm down. I know you want to be by him right now but he needs some time to calm down."
Blitz didn't look happy with that but sat down anyway. He slumped back into the couch let out a long drawn out sigh.
"I don't know the whole story here but why don't parents want Hearthstone teaching?"
Blitz grumbled and then answered.
"They say that it's because he can't speak and he will confuse their children and not be able to teach them properly. Which is complete nonsense since almost all of Hearth's student finish his classes being completely fluent in runes. It's a little more complicated than that though"
"How so?" I asked.
"Well it has a lot to do with pure blood prejudice. Hearth’s deaf so they don't agree with that. Also Hearth's family is well known for having elf blood in them. Where he's from it’s not such a big deal. But the purebloods here hate it. They think half breeds shouldn't be able to teach."
I frowned at that.
"Your telling me." Blitz said. "I'm part dwarf myself. But thankfully it's so distant I'm able to hide it. It also helps my parents were nobodies so it's not out on the open. But Hearth, well it's a little harder"
Alex was flicking her wand in her lap and angrily tapping her foot.
"It’s always the same group of parents too. These kids are in my house. Worst bunch of snotty brats I have ever met." She said. "Anyway we will find a way to cheer Hearth up tonight. Sam always comes through with the yearly round of complaints about how she runs things."
"So I don't want to sound stupid but what are these houses you guys are taking about?" I ask.
Alex grinned and answered me as she took off her cloak to get comfier on the couch.
"Hogwarts students are separated into one of 4 hours based on who they are. There’s Slytherin which is my house. For those who are cunning and ambitious. Then there Gryffindor for those who are brave and bold. T.J is the head of Gryffidor. Then there Ravenclaw which is Hearth's house. Students there are clever and wise. And finally there's Blitz’s house Hufflepuff. Where they pick flowers and hold hands." Alex said.
"Hey!” Blitz protested. "Hufflepuffs are kind and loyal. Also we are great finders. And way better than those sly Slytherin bunch. At least my students behave themselves"
Alex frowned. "Most of my students are good kids there just a handful of bad apples"
"Anyway Magnus. The four houses correspond to the 4 founders anyway at Hogwarts. They use to sort students based of those qualities so we still sort the students for tradition.” Blitz finished.
"Sounds cool. I wonder what house I would be in." I said.
"Hmmm" Alex pondered. "I wonder if we could sort you? I mean usually we only sort 1st years, but I wonder what would happen if we tried. That would be fun."
Just then the staff room door opened and T.J came in with 2 other people. A fiery red head wearing a tartan skirt a Wired Sisters t-shirt, and a blurry guy the size of a mountain. His face was oddly disfigured and his hair and beard grew wildly. He grinned down at us.
"Magnus this is Mallory and Half born. Mallory is our flying instructor and quidditch coach. Half born here teaches arthimancy. "
Mallory waved and crashed across a two person couch herself. Half born walked over and gave me a bone crushing hand shake. I massaged my bones back into place as he went to occupy a large arm chair.
"So Magnus what's your story. How did Al-abas find you?" Half born asked.
"Umm I ran into her in the mountains. I was put there watching Ukrainian Iron Bellies. Trying to figure out what they eat in the winter when Sam ran into me. I guess she was up there looking for some giant. She stayed for a bit so she could see the dragons. Then she kept in contact with me. Sometimes asking me advice on some of the creatures in your forest. I guess when your last professor retired she thought I would fit in."
"Sounds pretty similar to most of our stories. I'm sure you'll fit in just fine. We are all close. It's like a big family here." T.J said.
One big family. Sitting in that arm chair surrounding by all these people I only just met I got a warm sensation in my stomach. I had no doubt that these people would become my family.