The Muggle Studies classroom is always locked. In fact, there are few rooms in the castle with as much magical protection. There’s a special password needed to enter that’s distributed carefully to the year’s students on the first day of classes. They are sworn to secrecy and, to date, no one has broken that trust.
There’s more to this security than just fear of vandalism, though there has been that. Charity Burbage spent more than her fair share of time scrubbing nasty messages off her office door when she first started teaching. For a while it was a point of pride that she used her own effort to remove the hateful words. Then came the morning when she fell asleep next to a bucket of soapy water and was nearly late for her first lesson of the day. After that, she cast a Repelling Charm on her office and tried not to feel guilty about it.
The real reason for the layers of charms wrapped around the classroom is what goes on after hours. If you were to stroll by on any given night. you may see a tearful first year or a stressed out fifth year or even a cool and confident prefect strolling up to the door. You’d see them execute a complex set of wand patterns, whisper a word, and look around furtively before they enter.
If you were to follow them in (and I would not suggest this, for the room has its own way of dealing with intruders), you’d see students of all Houses and years, talking and studying and reading. But you may miss what they have in common: they’re all Muggle born. This classroom is the after-hours refuge of those who feel as if they don’t belong, those who find themselves trapped between the magical and the mundane, their parents and their classmates. Here there are shelves of magazines whose covers don’t move; there are stacks of textbooks on science and math, heavy tomes of Shakespeare and thin volumes of poetry.
In the corner you may see Justin Finch-Fletchley studying for his A-levels. He had promised his mum that he would at least try for them, even if he wasn’t sure he would ever leave the magical world. Sometimes Hermione Granger joins him, and they teach each other calculus and world history and pore over the periodic table.
By the fireplace you could find that tearful first year sitting with the calm prefect, their heads bent close. You might hear the first year pour out his heart, outline his fears, confess his insecurities. The prefect could respond in kind, admitting to the knot of confusion that lies underneath her placid exterior. They might then take out their wands and practice a spell, or pull out a child’s fairy tale collection and read aloud.
If you were a Muggle-born, this might be your sanctuary. It might be the place you miss most when you go home for the summer and try to fit your square peg into a world of round holes. It might be what you defend at the Battle of Hogwarts, fighting for your right to be confused and not fit in. It might be why you come back as the new Muggle Studies professor, why you create an after-hours class to help others get their A-levels and apply to university.
But then again, it might be just another classroom.
(written and submitted by the lovely ppyajunebug. There’s a tremendous sweetness to this that I find very appealing, something comforting about knowing that the Muggle-borns have their own space. This blog often explores the horrifying and strange, but sometimes it’s nice to consider good things, as well.)