Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
It was a bright morning when Angelus trotted down from his dorm room to find some of the even earlier risers gathered around the notice board. Pinned to the center of the board was a notice from the professors that they would begin taking suggestion for school clubs and that they would be setting up extra credit projects and study sessions within the next few weeks. The Muggle Studies project must have really gotten to the professors, it had unfortunately run its allowable course but they students now had the knowledge to do it on their own.
There was quite a bit of chatter from the older students as they debated which class they would start a special project with first. Of course, as Ravenclaws, they would end up doing projects for all of their classes, but they were also smart enough to not try to do them all at once. That was actually what probably kept Hermione out of Ravenclaw, along with her utter devotion to what she read and authority figures. A true Ravenclaw sought true knowledge through question and thought, not just learning by rote and assuming that everything they read and heard was accurate. Critical thinking and a heavy dose of common sense were everything to the House of knowledge.
"What class would you like to start with Angelus?" One of the sixth years turned to him and the rest followed his lead.
Angelus considered which class would be best to start with carefully. It was highly likely that the one that he chose would be full quickly, so it needed to be something that would help students. "I believe that the most important class for first years would be Transfiguration. It is the class with the heaviest emphasis on will and imagination, which are important for all magic. Then I would likely go with Potions since it requires the most intuition and creative thinking. After those two it would be whatever the individual student was most interested in since the other classes feed off of the knowledge in those two."
There was a mummer of general consent as the older students split off to debate the pros and cons of the classes with their friends. Angelus moved to the board and used the charmed quill to write his name on the sheet for Transfiguration. This McGonagall may not like him, but it would be the best class for moving this generation closer to the pace of the previous generations. It was almost scary how far the Hogwart's curriculum had fallen in the last couple of generations.
"So, how much more do you think that the old man will take before he loses his grandfatherly façade?" Anton was watching closely as the old man maintained his peaceful grandfatherly look by the skin of his teeth.
"I doubt that Angelus will risk much more upset this year. He is not nearly as impatient and bullheaded as you are." Drusilla smiled as Angelus entered the Great Hall and made his way to the Ravenclaw table for breakfast. "This year has already laid the necessary foundation for the changes that Angelus wishes to see. Muggleborns and muggle raised children are looking to the world they are now a part of for answers rather than trying to change the world to fit their own answers. Within the next few months the students will advance through the curriculum and the school will be forced to keep up."
Anton ignored the insult from his lovely mate and focused on the insights given instead. "You're right. While driving the old man completely barmy would be satisfying, the gradual destruction of his pedestal will be just as satisfying in the long run. I wonder what the old man's next move is going to be, what will he do to try to get everything back to the way that he wants it?"
"For now, he will hope that the projects will fail and that no one will hold interest in starting clubs. It that is not what happens he will likely start either trying to take credit for the success to maintain his power base or try to find ways to make things fall apart so he can be left standing with the ability to say that he was not involved."
Angelus was correct that whatever class that he signed up for would fill quickly. Somehow the entire school knew which class that he had signed up for by noon and the class was completely full within a half hour. Transfiguration had never been so popular. By the time that the class started in the afternoon it was clear that McGonagall had seen her turnout for extracurricular projects as there was a suspicious shine to her eyes and she didn't seem quite as antagonistic as usual. She even awarded Angelus five points for turning his quill into a dagger in his boredom, though she did ask him to stick to blunt objects. He received another five points when he then transfigured the dagger into a small club along with a smirk and a head shake.
"How do you manage to do this so easily?" Michael Corner was always an arm's length away and it was starting to get creepy. It was like being followed by a less cute Colin Creevy. "I know that you've had more practice, but you even do it faster than the other pureblood students."
Angelus sighed and turned to Michael, he was surrounded by his normal entourage of muggleborn students. "Imagination is key to changing one object into another. Magic is the power of your imagination effecting the world around you. It is not enough to know that if you wave your wand a certain way and say a certain thing the desired effect will happen. You need to see it in your mind to the smallest detail. If you are changing a knut into a button, imagine that button down to the most minute detail and then cast. The stronger the image, the more effective the spell."
"So, magic is more about what's in your head then what comes out of your mouth?" It was a girl Angelus didn't recognize that asked from the back of Michael's group.
"Yes, if you translate most spells they just end up as basic explanations of what the spell does. It is supposed to tell your magic what the end result is supposed to be but in transfiguration it also has to have an image to work with." Angelus tracked McGonagall with his eyes and tried to keep his voice low enough to avoid drawing too much attention. It was hard enough keeping Dumbledore off his case without word of him 'corrupting' muggleborns getting out. "Try putting an image of something from home in your mind before you cast, something that you miss from home."
Ravenclaw ended the class with more than thirty points earned by the inventive transfigurations of the muggleborn students.
The projects were set to start one week after the initial startup and Angelus was one of the first first-years in line. There was something interesting about seeing such a large variation between this world and the one that he had come from. The other students were excited, particularly the muggleborns, but he was almost bouncing from the opportunity to do something new. The door opened to show the rare site of a smiling McGonagall and the students filed in quickly, grouping together by House out of habit.
"As I am sure you are all aware, this is an extracurricular project for Transfiguration. Each student can either work with a group or on their own to complete the project. Successful completion will allow you to earn extra credit points toward your grade in class, but you will not be penalized for poor performance as this is a project to grow your understanding of the subject." Many of the students relaxed at the confirmation that they wouldn't make their grades any worse with the project.
"The goal of this project is to increase your understanding of the fundamentals as well as allow you to reach beyond the course material. First year is your introduction year, but this year has proven that your year is more than capable of more intricate work." Many of the students puffed up at that and McGonagall gained a suspicious tilt to her lips. "The instructions for the project itself are simple. Each student is to take one of the tin balls that I will distribute and create something unique using Transfiguration. The evaluation of the project will focus on the detail of the created item along with the unique nature of the item. I do not want tea kettles or buttons, I want to see how creative you can be with your magic. It will also allow me to gauge the power you place behind the magic through how long the magic lasts. Students can either work alone or in a group. Groups may all share the same type of item, but each student should add different details to their own item."
"Is there a specific type of item that you want us to make?" Hermione barely waited to be acknowledged before rushing into her questions. "Does it need to be a specific size? Or are there any restrictions on what items?"
Angelus caught the flash of annoyance in McGonagall's eyes and wondered if it had been there before. "The point of this project is to use your creativity and knowledge of the basics of the class to create something from a simple metal shape. The only restriction is that I would prefer for the item to not be a weapon." There was some serious side eye being sent Angelus' way, so he made sure that he threw up his best innocent face. "I tell you what to create in class as a way to judge your ability to visualize the item that I have assigned, here I wish to see how strong your visualization is without a specific item in mind."
Angelus had to fend off quite a few offers for groups, but he wished to complete the project on his own. It was something different and he wasn't quite ready to spend hours with children, he didn't feel like one himself anymore, beyond the classes that he had to share with them. He knew that the true test of the project was to see if the students could visualize details that would make their creation completely unique from the others. In class they were told to make a button, or a tea cup and there were typically no desired details given. Simple shape changing was all that was required. The project was geared to see if that basic instruction was understood enough to go beyond the basics to add detail to an unspecified item. Most students would base it off of something familiar from class and then simply add in unique details. Angelus wanted to do something different, it was rare to find something interesting when you've been through Hogwarts once and also graduated very early from another magical institute as well.