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MAGIC & TIME

Chapter 1

New Faces

 

Midnight at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was the night before the start of term and all the students were tucked into their beds all snug and warm, tired from the excitement of either returning or arriving for the first time at the ancient stone castle. Nothing stirred except for Argus Filch, the caretaker, and his bedraggled old cat, Mrs. Norris, on their usual rounds on the perpetual lookout for the odd stray student who dared to flaunt the regulations and wander about the castle at night. There were more than just ghosts that prowled the haunted corridors at night.

The huge clock in the tower struck midnight. As the last peal faded into the darkness, another sound arose: a groaning, wheezing, grinding sound that grew steadily louder until it stopped altogether, its echoes reverberating off the stone walls until all was silent once more. Funnily enough, no one seemed to be disturbed. Those that might have heard something soon drifted back to sleep sure that they had probably dreamed whatever it was. Besides, strange sounds were normal in an ancient, haunted, magic castle. Even Filch didn't seem too concerned. He didn't even notice that there seemed to be one more stone column than normal in the corridor outside the teachers' quarters.

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The next morning arrived as usual; a usual start to another term at Hogwart’s. The students filed into the great dining hall for their breakfast and the usual start of term announcements by the Headmaster, Professor Albus Dumbledore, considered by some to be the greatest wizard in existence. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley were among those students starting their 3rd year at the school. Hermione was the first to notice the new teachers even before Dumbledore introduced them. The first was to announce that due to retirement, Hagrid would be the new Care of Magical Creatures teacher. This of course brought a round of applause from Harry’s group.

The next announcement was the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher. This was beginning to become a yearly routine, so Ron remarked to his pals.

“We are happy to introduce to you Professor Remus J. Lupin, as your new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher,” Dumbledore beamed at the ensemble. As he spoke, the shabby, quiet man that had helped Harry in the train when the Dementors showed up stood and timidly bowed towards the room.

“And last, but not least, we have a very special guest with us this year.” Dumbledore turned towards his other side to a woman who was seated beside Mrs. McGonagal. She was young and beautiful with long, flowing curls of dark mahogany hair, pale bisque skin and vibrant, glowing violet eyes. At this the all the eyes in the room turned to her. “May I introduce Miss Mika. She is a traveller who has come to pay us a visit and kindly accepted my invitation to give a series of group lectures on her speciality: time travel.”
A collective gasp went up as that was one thing that even magical beings couldn’t do or at least not very easily. Mika stood and bowed her head at the students, smiling her sweetest, most charming smile. Another collective sigh went up as the students’ eyes were fixed upon this stranger. Boys being boys, they couldn’t take their eyes off her. It was nice to have a young, pretty teacher for a change!

“A time traveller!” Hermione whispered excitedly. “Oh my! We could learn so much from her. I wonder if she’s magical though, or a muggle?”

“But Muggles aren’t allowed in Hogwart’s,” Ron frowned. “So she can’t be a Muggle.”

“Well, go to her lecture and ask her,” Harry chimed in. “Easy enough.”

“Oh, you’d better believe I’ll sign up for her lectures,” Hermione smiled dreamily. “I can just feel that this is going to be a very good year!”

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That first week was busy, filled with new classes and new faces and a LOT more work for the third years. By Friday the sign up sheets for Mika’s lectures on her time travelling adventures had been posted on the notice board. Hermione quickly signed her name on every one of them.

Ron rolled his eyes as she made a note of the schedule in her diary. “Are you going to have time for all those lectures?” he asked. “I mean, what if they’re all the same?”

“I’ve already checked with Mrs. McGonagal. She says that Mika’s courses are more of an open discussion group and that anyone is welcome to as many as they like and they can cover nearly any topic that they like. And they’re all out of class hours, if you’ll notice. You two should at least go to the first one. I bet you’ll like it.”

Harry sighed, knowing that she’d never give it a rest if they didn’t sign up for at least one. Taking the quill from Hermione, he scribbled his name on the first lecture, then handed it to Ron.

“You know she won’t give us any peace until we do,” he cautioned as Ron frowned. Hermione smiled triumphantly as Ron begrudgingly signed below Harry.

“There. You won’t regret it. I guarantee it,” she smirked.

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