The chattering in the DADA room hushed, then redoubled when Gryffindor's newest recruit came swaggering in. Remus Lupin watched in amusement as the class instantly began to split itself into two camps - one surrounding the grinning new addition and the other, smaller faction centered around the dark-haired Slytherin boy glaring at him in pure hatred.
Remus smiled a little to himself and made a show of rearranging the papers on his desk - all the better to increase the anticipation around the room for the main event. And here he'd been thinking that with Harry promoted, his Third Year class would be much less exciting - silly, silly him.
The transfer student causing all the trouble showed no sign of perturbation; he was far too busy flirting with the most attractive admirers of both genders and blowing the crowd little smoke animals from his wand. He took exaggerated care in conjuring a bottle green snake, which slithered across the room to his rival and began winding its way around his shoulders.
The boy flushed green and muttered something under his breath - the snake broke apart into three smaller pieces, then faded from view. The Slytherins clapped, the transfer student smirked, and his admirers turned their backs theatrically on the other side of the room.
Oh yes, Remus thought, standing to gather the class's attention, this is shaping up to be a very interesting year indeed.
"All right now, class." Remus tapped his wand three times on the desk and muttered a quick silencing charm. "I think it's rather time for the main event, don't you?"
A wave of his fingers parted the curtain of silence, filling the room with a wave of enthused applause from both sections, before another flick brought it back down again.
"Mr. Kirk," He strolled over in the direction of the transfer student. "Am I to take that little pyrotechnics display to mean that you're prepared to make good on your claim?"
The boy whispered something into the ear of a curly-haired Hufflepuff girl, who giggled loudly, and exchanged high fives with a number of other Gryffindors. "Sure thing, professor." He rose, wobbling a little, and fairly skipped his way to the front of the room before turning and bowing to raucous applause. "Wouldn't want to jeopardize the honor of Gryffindor House."
"And you, Mr. Spock?" All eyes shifted to the tall, dark-haired boy, whose skin was now shaded with an even more vivid shade of green. He stood, nodded stiffly, and also strode to the front of the room, on the opposite side of a large, mahogany wardrobe from his rival.
Remus took a moment to ponder what a strange pair they made - a picture of opposites in every respect. The one, so upright and formal, standing ramrod straight, not a fold of his robes out of place, his wand at the ready in textbook casting position. The other, artfully disheveled from his hair down to his cuffs, rocking from side to side, wand spinning round and round his fingers like a twirler's baton, loopy grin spreading across his -
Ah! Remus smiled a little sadly to himself. It was reckless, brilliant, a plan only a teenager could come up with. Precisely the sort of mad masterstroke his own James would have concocted. Ah, well; clearly, life went on.
"And here was I thinking you were unprepared." Remus kept his voice low enough that even Spock could not hear it. "I commend you on your creativity, Mr. Kirk. What you are attempting today is unconventional, risky, and almost certainly against school rules. I am most anxious to see if it pays off."
Switching effortlessly from Remus the Marauder to Remus the Professor, he swished his wand and once again brought silence to the classroom.
"Mr. Spock, if you would be so kind." He gave a little bow and retreated to the safety of his desk to watch the fireworks.
"Gladly, professor." Spock's tone could have cut glass, and his gaze was one of fierce determination. One precisely modulated flick of his wrist, and the doors of the wardrobe flung open.
Though the silencing charm was still in effect, Remus could tell from the rapt expressions on students' faces that, had he removed it, a collective gasp would have radiated through the hall. Their eyes flicked back and forth between the strange creature emerging from the bowels of the wardrobe and the handsome boy in its sights, idly fiddling with the hem of his robes.
The creature immediately began to stretch and shift ominously - for a few seconds, a cloud of green smoke billowed menacingly in Kirk's direction. As the room collectively held their breath, the cloud inched closer and closer...
...until Kirk stuck his hands in the pockets of his robes and let out a loud giggle, at which point it dispersed as if blown by a strong wind. In its place was a stately wizard blowing smoke rings around the room. "My apologies," he muttered, then promptly disappeared.
Remus thought it only fair to bring the curtain of silence up in light of the thunderous applause emanating from all but the Slytherin portions of the classroom - where, to their credit, most of the students were at least politely acknowledging the magical history just made in front of their eyes.
"Professor," a voice hissed in his ear, barely audible over the din nearly shaking the rafters. He did not need to turn to know who it belonged to. "It cannot have escaped your notice that Mr. Kirk is under the influence of some substance beyond the scope of Hogwarts regulation."
"I cannot disagree with your observation, Mr. Spock," Remus conceded, silently carving them out a bubble of calm in which to converse, "nor can I impart to it the relevance you are obviously hoping for."
While Spock stared on in shock and dismay, Remus explained, "You and I both know that you have no proof of your accusation - and are acquainted with Mr. Kirk well enough already to know it would be difficult to come by."
"And perhaps more to the heart of the matter, whatever his recreational activities this afternoon, the fact remains that Mr. Kirk has risen to the seemingly impossible challenge you set to him a week ago: defeated a Boggart without a Riddikulus charm. I'm sure your classmates will be racing to see who can tell the Tattler first."
"But he cheated!" Spock nearly shouted, amending it quickly with a respectful, "Sir," and a bow of his head.
"Cheating is breaking the rules, Mr. Spock," Remus pointed out. "Your classmate simply saw the rules and went around them. It's precisely that sort of attitude that has been responsible for nearly all advances in magic in the past few centuries."
The boy looked so crestfallen that Remus felt compelled to place a comforting hand on his shoulder and add, "And it's precisely your sort of attitude that keeps us all from falling into anarchy and darkness."
"Cheer up, Mr. Spock. Today you lost the battle. Go over there, shake his hand, and let him know in no uncertain terms that the next one's yours."
"Yes, Professor," Spock gave him a deep bow and what Remus hoped was the glimmer of a smile. As he made his way through the whooping and hollering crowd, the ever-so-slight slump of his shoulders straightened out, and the disappointment in his face reset once again to careful blankness.
Consequently, by the time he clasped Kirk's hand and coolly offered, "Well done," the fire blazing only in his eyes, no one but the three of them could have been any the wiser.
As Kirk shot back, "Couldn't have done it without you," and clapped him on the shoulder, other hand still clasping Spock's, a small, but bright lightbulb went off in Remus' head.
"Well, well," he murmured quietly to himself. Kirk grinned, Spock glowered, and Remus jotted down a little note to put them together on the next partner excursion.