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Professor Doyle

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Doyle wasn't surprised that some of his third years seemed distracted. Two of them had cousins who'd received the raven-carried letters about dead relatives, though they apparently weren't close enough kin to the deceased to receive their own letters. He tried to focus on his class instead of the letter from this world's Doyle family. His distraction was almost enough that he was grateful the students were still out of sorts and upset by the attack on Hogsmeade. He did wonder how long until someone made the connection of timing and accused the Death Eaters of killing the dead relatives or accused the dead relatives - quite accurately, in some cases - of being Death Eaters. He did admit that it was possible that someone might have died entirely unrelated to the events at Hogsmeade and just happened to expire near the same time. But he wasn't about to bet on the idea.

Many of the students were irritable and distracted. Not just the ones who'd received the death notices, but there were several with family in Hogsmeade, and many with relatives who had been injured in the last go-round, or the fighting against the Death Eaters and their Dark Lord that most refused to name. Not everybody believed Voldemort was back, and that brought additional tension. Not that anybody could deny the attack on Hogsmeade, there was just a lot of fussing over what it meant, and politics, and repercussions and... and people not wanting to face the possible danger, and what it meant if the scary dark wizard was back.

It did sound pretty hard to swallow. He'd been trying to distract himself from his nerves at the eventually arriving word from the Doyles by a combination of continuing his research on the history of this new world and a couple books he'd found on proper behavior and traditions. Quite a few things were similar to proper English behavior of a few centuries back, other things hadn't been part of the sixteen hundreds guides to behavior for proper young men and women. There had been nothing about wand placement, or when it was or wasn't polite to cast spells on a person.

Which in no way made the increased number of arguments and fights more tolerable. In no way did it make it good to see students muttering insults or accusations at each other. He'd spoken to his classes about it several times, and added that it showed poor thinking to blame a child for the actions of their parents or grandparents, especially when those actions or alleged actions had occurred before the student was even born.

He'd also noticed many students were reacting more to things, getting upset over things that would have been laughed off before the attack, going teary over what might have just left them a little sad, and fighting when before there would just have been angry words. Detentions had increased as well, and house points were hovering at barely over a hundred, no house had more than two hundred as of breakfast, apparently quite unusual for this time of year.

After the third years, he had a rather small class of sixth years. For reasons most summed up as a shrug and 'Binns', History of Magic hadn't been popular to continue past the O.W.L. tests taken at the end of fifth year. From what he'd gathered, one of his five students considered it a horrendous shame history was so ignored, two felt they weren't particularly powerful so it would be best to look for any half forgotten tricks to help, and two felt the additional N.E.W.T. credits might help their prospects for the future. With such a small class, he'd decided to go in a different direction than the lower years, and they did semi-independent studies followed by discussions on topics he assigned. He'd found a listing of topics for the end of year exam demanded by the Ministry for sixth year, and felt they could cover those topics in a single term. Which meant he could also cover a great many other things in the year. Each student was permitted to pick two topics for study, which would be focused for a week at some point in the year. Historical tangents were welcomed, and Filius and Minerva had promised that if any of his students could demonstrate an older version of a spell for their classes, they would get extra credit.

So far, Doyle had learned about changes to the dueling code, adjustments in certifications and education, several old blood feuds, the Triwizard tournament, and seventeen old spells. The spells had generally fallen out of use; in the case of three due to the rise of Latin-based spells, in the case of one because it seemed remarkably limiting to need to start with a vegetable for transfiguration - though the text swore it produced amazing coaches, two because they required runes as well as chanting. Last had been an old spell to help someone learn their animagus shape. It just changed them into their shape, and the caster and most often their apprentice had best hope it was a shape that fit wherever they were. There had been several anecdotes about becoming large animals that couldn't fit through doorways, and one about an apprentice barely flopping into a stream after becoming a fish. It strongly suggested the spell not be used until a spell to reverse the transformation was also known. One was helpfully listed on the following page of the old journal.

Doyle was studying both of those spells even if he did have the nagging feeling he might be better off to get a stronger idea how this crazy secret society worked before digging up old spells to change people into animals. Or at least get to the point Minerva stopped sniffing sadly at his transformative efforts.

He wondered when the Death Eaters would attack next, and felt a bit guilty that he hoped it would be somewhere farther away from the school. Hoped the trained authorities would deal with it rather than a displaced man trying to teach history. If it would be a good idea to mention those concerns to Tonks, considering that she normally was one of those trained authorities.

His musings were interrupted by angry voices. Someone was yelling about Death Eater spawn, and bad blood coming out. Another voice was sneering about hovels and incompetence and poverty. A third voice was growling about thinking it was funny to attack peoples' homes and families.

Turning the corner, he could see Draco Malfoy on the ground, one arm clearly broken and blood on his face. Malfoy whose father he had killed in Hogsmeade, a father clad in the robes and mask of a criminal and terrorist. Goyle was unconscious with blood on his face and signs of having been flung into a wall, his wand on the floor near a set of armor across the hall. Standing and glaring while insulting Malfoy were Seamus Finnigan and Ron Weasley of Gryffindor.

Not good at all.

Reminding himself not to jump to conclusions and to try not to make things worse, Doyle spoke. "All of you are quite old enough to know better than to be fighting in the halls, with or without magic. That will be fifteen points from Gryffindor and fifteen from Slytherin for the insults and poor manners. Now, how did you and your companion come to be injured, Mr. Malfoy?"

"I don't need some useless nobody of muddled blood interfering!" Draco snapped, glaring at Doyle. "This doesn't concern you!"

"You useless little poncy ferret!" Weasley shouted.

A stab of worry hit his gut - did Malfoy suspect his ancestry, or was he just guessing based on this world's family? Or because he didn't know Doyle from the upper-crust circles? Anger that this was what happened when he didn't treat the blond like a miniature criminal. Anger and irritation at the lack of respect for his position as a teacher - surely that merited better than insults and being told to mind his own business? A hint of shame that someone else didn't think he was good enough for what he was trying to do.

Anger won. He fought back the blue, certain it would only make everything worse. "Weasley, Finnegan, go back to your tower now. Malfoy, we are going to the Hospital wing, and you have detention tonight."

He carried Goyle to the hospital wing, snapping that if he had to use a spell to leash Malfoy and drag him like a disobedient pet he wouldn't worry about if the spell felt the need to enforce travel on hands and knees. Malfoy sulked, and sneered, and muttered insults that weren't quite under his breath, but he went to the hospital wing.

"Once Madame Pomfrey releases you, report to room C in the History corridor for your detention. The one right across the hall from my classroom, so you don't get lost or forget where to go. I will know if you dawdle or try to skip out," Doyle managed to keep most of the growl from his voice.

He never did make it to the Great Hall for lunch, though Mimsy was willing to bring him a tray.

None of the students would need to know of the crumpled papers he'd turned into targets for blasting spells or thrown knives that had been matches. None of them would need to know how he'd snarled and ranted about spoiled, obnoxious brats fighting with each other. How he'd wondered how well Draco would deal with having to fight for his life in a place where his opponent wanted to kill him, maybe even eat his corpse - and hopefully in that order.

He prepared the room for the detention he'd settled on. A very plain, uncomfortable desk and chair in the corner, facing a boring wall and slightly off from the proper angle. A stack of lined, muggle made paper, the top one with a line written on it. A pot of ink and an ordinary writing quill devoid of any enchantments at all.

End part 1.

The door opened, and he glanced over to see Severus. Severus who was frowning and glancing around the room.

"Is there a reason you seem to be pacing like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs?" Doyle asked the grumpy potions master.

"Questionable reports of my students fighting with Gryffindors. There may or may not have been spells, broken bones and bloodshed. Insults took place, likely from both sides. I have been told you took points, assigned a detention to young Malfoy, and he and Goyle had to spend time in the hospital wing. I am… I wanted answers," Severus admitted.

"Reasonable enough, and as it happens, I have some for you. There was a fight in the hallway, I heard shouting and insults. Malfoy and Goyle facing against Finnigan and Weasley – the one from the same year, not one of the other many Weasleys," Doyle clarified. "I don't know for sure what started it, and didn't see any spells, though I wouldn't be surprised if a few were cast. I took the same amount of points from both houses, for the insults if nothing else, and sent the Gryffindors back to their dorm and took the Slytherins to the hospital, as the Gryffindors didn't seem to be injured. Malfoy has a detention for snapping at me that he didn't need any help from a useless nobody of muddled blood."

"Quite rude on his part, though I'd like to believe grief is affecting him," Severus looked more relaxed with the explanation.

Doyle had little faith in that idea. "At fifteen, most are more emotional than those of us who are finished with our growing."

"What did you have in mind for Malfoy's detention?" Severus walked into the room, eying it with a small sneer. "This room looks dismal."

"It's supposed to. I'm going to have the…" Doyle stopped himself from using any of the rather insulting terms that came to mind for the spoiled and opinionated boy. "I understand he's grieving. However his behavior has been quite rude. I'm going to have him sit in a room devoid of the luxuries his upbringing has left him accustomed to and writing lines to remind him of the etiquette someone of his wealth and long family line is expected to know. Nothing which will harm or endanger him, but not enjoyable."

"Would you mind if I observe? I have come to suspect his behavior may not be exactly as he informs me on some occasions," Severus had his smirk in place again.

"I'll assume you intend to be disillusioned in a corner or something like?" Doyle arched an eyebrow, and settled a folder on the teacher's desk in the mostly empty room.

At the answering nod, the quickly arranged everything. A second desk was set up, where Severus would also be marking essays. Severus then thoroughly disillusioned the desk he would be using, which was a good deal more spacious than the one Draco would be using. A few additional spells were cast over himself, and he seemed to disappear along with the desk. Doyle still knew the desk and Severus were there, and could see a shadow of them both from the corner of his eye, but couldn't see either of them directly.

Draco knocked at the door at exactly six, scowl firmly in place. "Here I am."

"Good, take your seat at that desk," Doyle pointed Draco at the uncomfortable desk facing the wall. While I do not pretend to understand all the details of what happened, or the long interactions between the Malfoy and Weasley families, your comments towards me were out of line, and quite poor manners. I expect better behavior from someone who claims to be a member of one of the better, more noble families of this country. Therefore, you will be writing lines for your detention. I want you to write 'Insulting someone's heritage is rude and ill-becoming a gentleman.' And I will tell you when you can stop."

Draco pulled himself upright, eyes wide and mouth open in indignation. "Writing lines? But…"

"I feel the experience will do you more good than polishing trophies, scrubbing floors, or scouring the Forbidden Forest for something or other. Should you feel lines concerning remedial etiquette to be beneath you, remember to behave better in the future," Doyle explained. "Now, sit down and start writing. A quill, ink, and paper have been provided. The top sheet has your line written."

Draco scowled and made his way to the desk. "But my injury…"

"Was not to the arm you write with, and I suspect Madam Pomfrey had it completely fixed before you left the infirmary. I am not asking you for any heavy lifting or difficult feats of dexterity." Doyle's expression held no sympathy.

Draco sat in sullen silence, the quill scratching over the paper. "What is this wretched stuff? Certainly not proper parchment, and why the lines? I am quite well educated, I need no lines to keep my writing in order."

"Muggle made paper. It permits teachers to set a certain number of lines or pages with the expectation the writing will all be of a uniform size." Doyle kept an eye on Draco, wondering how he would react.

Draco gave the paper a look of such dismayed distrust that Doyle wondered if he expected it to bite him. The immediate change in the way he held his arms looked quite amusing, as if he refused to let his skin touch anything of muggle origin. As he kept writing his lines, he began a quiet muttering about thin muggle crafted paper and rude Gryffindors. As he wrote, he ended up in more contact with the paper, until his posture seemed almost his normal writing style.

As Draco wrote his lines, Doyle sighed and eventually finished skimming the essays. From there, not wanting his courage to fail him, he wrote letters to his relatives. The letter to Liam was easier, giving a few minor personal details and asking a few light questions about the vampire. He suggested building a degree of familiarity through correspondence, mentioning a few things about himself to indicate his commitment. Granted, his birthday, mention of a few of his favorite foods and an enjoyment of relaxing at the seaside were hardly deepest secrets, but you had to start somewhere.

The letter to the Doyle family was easier. He wrote back he would be expecting the arrival of the representative of the family, and wished them all good health. There were so many other things he wanted to say, but didn't quite dare.

After a while, he looked over at Draco. "Put down your quill. Assuming you've actually written what you were supposed to, that should be enough."

Draco blinked, looking indignant at the implication he might have failed. Doyle walked over, glancing at the pages with writing. A few lines had additions, such as ‘Insulting someone's heritage, even if he is a rude, loud-mouthed weasel, is rude and ill becoming a gentleman.' Or ‘Insulting someone's heritage, even if they come from common clods, is rude and ill-becoming of a gentleman.'

"Mmmm. You have claimed on many occasions that the Malfoys are nobility. If we are to believe the Malfoys are better than some, then they are held to a higher standard than others. Which means it isn't a question of the other person's heritage, you are to be a good example of the nobility you claim as your birthright. To be an example of what a young wizard should be. If you aren't able to be that good example, it behooves you to know this and keep quiet."

For a moment, Draco looked indignant. He frowned, opened his mouth and then closed it without saying anything. Looking indignant, he frowned at the pages again before managing, "Other families aspire to be half as influential as Malfoys."

"Then do your best to set a good example, so that if everyone else were to behave like you, it would be a credit to the school, to the nation, and to you as an example. The lines will do, you may go." Doyle offered.

Draco Malfoy left without another word. The door slammed closed after him.

"Not half as polite as he claims," Severus drawled.

Doyle sighed, "He might still get better. God knows I wouldn't want to go through my whole life judged on how I was at fifteen. I'm not holding me breath about him, but there is some hope."

"I'll see if there's anything I can do," Severus offered.

End part 2.

Wednesday's breakfast had another wax sealed letter from the small tan owl. He opened it quickly, hoping it wouldn't be anything terrible, and if so, his colleagues would be too groggy to notice. The letter was brief, just a few lines on a paper which had been folded over and closed with a blot of ink. It announced a representative from the Doyle family would be in Hogsmeade after five, and hoped to be able to speak with him. She would be waiting in the back room of the Three Broomsticks. It had been signed by a Sioban Doyle.

His morning classes went as well as he could hope, with the second years asking questions and trying to sneak every flavor beans when they thought he wasn't looking. He decided to let them so long as they kept up with their notes. More than a few of the students seemed a bit distracted, but they all seemed quite dismayed when he passed out the quiz papers for all of them. As an anti-cheating measure, he'd made four different tests for each of the lower five years, and made certain they rotated through the stacks. It meant no student would have the same paper as the person to either side of them. The questions were all similar, and there were a variety of multiple choice, filling in the blanks, and short answers. A format the muggle-raised should be familiar with, and one the magical-raised should find less troubling than the standard wizarding tests, which seemed to involve writing a great many paragraphs. His tests and quizzes were all drawn from the materials they should have been studying, and in fact half of them were actually on his study guides which he'd made available at the beginning of the month.

The class just before lunch were giving him suspicious looks as they entered the room. Doyle assumed they'd heard about the quiz earlier, and were dreading having one of their own. After a reminder about their planned homework and to read the next chapter, he gave them their own quiz. It kept them busy and out of trouble for the class, though more than a few were muttering comments about the format.

Doyle couldn't have said what he had for lunch, beyond that he did eat. He attempted a bit of practice with his spellwork, but the results were rather mixed. His animation charms displayed all the nervous, fidgety tension he was feeling. His transfiguration, which did not involve any dead bodies, was showing some improvement. His results weren't quite right, but they were getting closer and more consistant.

After a while, he just gave it up as a bad way to kill time, and made his way towards the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. It was just after four when he arrived. "Madam Rosmerta, I'm supposed to be meeting someone here at five for a matter of family business. I know I'm a bit early, but would it be acceptable if I went on back now? I've been doing nothing but fidgeting up at the castle."

Madam Rosmerta waved him towards the back, where he settled with a pot of tea and My Eyes: They Burn. He wasn't sure how much it would help as far as getting any better grip on his visions, but it might distract him a little. He wasn't quite sure how long he'd been trying to read when there was a tap at the door.

Closing the book, he called out, "Yes?"

"Your company's a bit early, will it be alright if I bring her on back?" Madam Rosmerta called. "And how are you doing on the tea?"

Doyle checked, and found the teapot was almost empty. "The pot's close enough to empty, more might be welcome. And you can go ahead and send the company back, the letter said it would be someone called Sioban Doyle."

A few moments later, Madam Rosmerta opened the door, a tray with a larger pot of tea and another cup in hand. Just behind her was a woman the sight of which made Doyle's heart clench. Her hair was a little darker, and she looked a bit younger, but she could pass for a living image of his mother. Her own widening eyes and parting lips suggested she also noticed a strong resemblance.

"No doubt you're related somehow…" her voice held a stronger Irish accent than his own. "You could almost pass for me brother, save for your eyes. Nobody would doubt you for another brother."

"I… you look like me mum. Thank you, Rosmerta," Doyle took the tray with the tea, and placed it on the table. Taking a breath in an effort to steady his nerves, he asked, "if you could let us be for a bit?"

Once Rosmerta had closed the door, Sioban cast a few spells which seemed to deaden the noises from the larger tap room, and the kitchen beside them. She turned to face him, the wand now tucked into a narrow pocket just inside her jacket, and spoke, "I suppose the biggest question is how? There was no indications… I mean, you must be somewhere around thirty, and I don't know who… when… Why didn't anyone say anything sooner?"

"It's all very complicated and I don't have many of the answers meself," Doyle sighed, and poured himself more tea. "How do you take yours?"

"Black, with lemon," Sioban murmured. "What answers can you give me?"

"Alternate worlds or timelines or something like. Some people had a strange device, something happened, I fell out of the fireplace of Minerva McGonagall and now I'm Hogwarts' new History Professor. Technically, I'm part of the Doyle family of a different timeline, hence the not quite by regular channels part of things. I'm assuming most would think… well, descended from someone tossed out of the family or bastard born," he shrugged. He wasn't quite sure why he was explaining so much to Sioban, unless it was because she reminded him so strongly of his mother. "I'd rather not get into the whole alternate times with most. It's confusing, I don't understand how it happened meself, and…"

"So, what would you be wanting from the family?" Sioban had been nodding as he gave a little emphasis on how it was confusing and he didn't understand it. "I'd think too much talk about how you got here and you'd be snapped up by the Department o' Mysteries."

"People I can exchange holiday and birthday greetings with. Someone I can ask what's interesting to see or avoid in an area, or if local sports teams are any good. Maybe a few people willing to explain how things go here, because a lot of things just aren't matching up with what I knew back home." Doyle spread his hands, "I'm a grown man; I don't need anyone to give me lodging or pay for an education. I'd rather stay as far from politics as I can manage. I just… I'd like it if I had someone I could call family."

She smiled, the expression so much like his mother that it made Doyle's heart ache again. "I think we can do that much. The family isn't particularly wealthy, and we don't much meddle in politics beyond the local scale, but holiday greetings and talking about what's worth seeing should be well within our abilities."

"I'm glad to hear it," Doyle smiled.

She hugged him, a firm grip smelling faintly of the ocean. "Welcome to the family, little brother."

It felt good to have family again.

End part 3.
End Professor Doyle 20: Concerning Family Expectations