It was a lovely day in September when they met. Students and teachers don’t mingle much outside of class but Miranda had troubles remembering she was a teacher now, and not some over-aged student, young as she was.
She was enjoying the sun by the lake with a good book whilst occasionally stroking the tentacle the giant squid had draped on her crossed legs. This, even for Hogwart, was rather strange but Miranda didn’t seem to notice the surprised looks some first years were giving her. She had always gotten well with animals and creatures, which was one of the reasons Dumbledore had hired her. The other was that he felt a young Muggle Studies teacher might make the course more appreciated – and this, with the dark times ahead, was very much needed.
As it happened, the Marauders and Lily didn’t take Muggle studies and thus didn’t really know her. They were strolling around the lake when they came across Miranda and Sirius, being Sirius, asked her rather abrutely “What are you doing with one of the squid’s tentacle? That should be forbidden in a school, the kids are watching!”
Miranda finished calmly the sentence she was reading, put a piece of parchment to keep her place, closed her book and looked up at them. “I would assume most students don’t have half the dirty thoughts you seem to have, Mister Black.”
Sirius was surprised, first by her calm and friendly reply and second by the fact she seemed to know him. She’d only been here since the start of the year, a week ago, but the rest of the staff must have told her about them already. “And what would you know about my thoughts, Miss…?”
Miranda smiled “Professor Grey. And my colleagues have been – already, so early in the year – talking about your pranks and jibes. Yours and your friends, but your name seems to come up more often.”
That’s when James decided to come to his friend’s defence. “Professor, really, he isn’t all bad. Look at him, he’s just bringing some joy and laughter in the school!”
“Mister Potter, I never said I found Mister Black “bad”. To me it’s a word representing a concept far too vague. However, he does remind me of a puppy clumsily trying to get attention and love, and becoming unwillingly annoying.” At this, the five friends looked at each other rather surprised but Miranda carried on, pretending not to notice. “I would suggest you try a different approach. Hurting people emotionally only makes you, at best, avoided by people, not appreciated.”
Sirius asked laughingly “And at worst? They fear me?”
Miranda looked serious, then. “Yes, they fear you. And fear is quite the opposite of love, isn’t it?”
Regardless of the fleeting look of hurt and pain in his eyes, Sirius replied carelessly “Bah, let them be scared, I’m not missing out on anything.”
“Actually, you are. You are missing out on potentially meeting people that could bring something into your life, something you might need or like. You also miss out on something basic: respect.”
Just then, the bell rang and Miranda stood. “I really enjoyed our conversation but I have a class to attend. Should you want to discuss this further – I am very much interested in human psychology – you can come to my office any time.” She looked at the group “ And this is worth for each of you.”
The five looked slightly puzzled, although Lily had a slight smile on her lips and Remus wore a frown, as if those words had touched him too. They watched the professor return to the castle before making their way to their own classes.