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Lessons

Title: Lessons
Fandom: Charmed
Rating: General
Disclaimer: I don’t own Charmed, don’t sue.
Summary: This was written in response to a challenge given to me when I visited my best friend. She gave me the first and last lines, and imposed a 900-1100 word limit. The following fic is exactly 1100 words long.



“Projection is a very versatile power, but it can also be very dangerous,” Leo told his classroom full of eager students. “Without careful control and practise, you can suddenly find that you have inadvertently created chaos. Fixing the mess before it’s too late can be very difficult and can involve complex magic.” Leo looked around. “You have all been blessed with this extraordinary power, and the purpose of this class is to teach you how to control it, before it controls you.”

Leo was rather nervous about this new course. While teaching his students to use their powers safely was doubtless an important task, projection could indeed be dangerous in the hands of untrained young witches.

Since he had taken control of Magic School again two months ago, life had been rather hectic. Pupils had been arriving back at the school in a steady stream, and he’d even had to recruit some extra teaching staff. Things at home had not been much quieter, as they worked to sort everything out following the incident that had ultimately reunited him with his family. Billie was still having trouble dealing with Christy’s death, and more importantly her betrayal. Added to that was the residual disarray of both Paige and Phoebe moving out, and the regular day-to-day trials of living with two children under five (and magical kids to boot) could not be ignored.

He would be glad when things settled down a little, and he could concentrate more on just being a part of a happy family. He was, however, resigned to the fact that this was unlikely to happen any time soon.

He returned his attention to his class of young witches. Since the school had re-opened, most of the kids had been too excited about having a place to learn again to cause much trouble, a circumstance he was infinitely glad for. After experiencing the alternative, the students were all eager to learn.

“Today we’re going to look at the most important facet of controlling your projections: concentration. It may not seem like a particularly interesting or exciting topic, but trust me when I say it is the most vital part of using your power. The smallest lapse can have huge effects.”

Leo circled the room, handing each student a piece of paper and a pencil. A few pupils groaned softly – a written task was not a popular option.

“This task is relatively simple, but will require a lot of concentration. Just in case, though, I’d like you to do it one at a time.”

Leo picked up a piece of chalk and walked over to the blackboard, carefully writing

"It is important in projection,
To maintain your concentration,
For you may cause an objection,
If your thoughts should drift astray"


in large letters. As his puzzled students read the words, he turned back to face them.

“Your object is to try to write these words on your piece of paper, but,” he continued, as some students reached to pick up their pencils, “without using your hands. You will concentrate on the verse, then envision the pencil writing them on the paper, using your power to make it happen.” Leo smiled gently as a few of the class looked a little panicked. “Now, I’m not expecting everyone to get this straight away. In fact, I’ll be surprised if anyone does so don’t worry if you get stuck.”

Looking over at a tall wiry boy in the front row, Leo said, “Gareth, why don’t you start us off?” Gareth took a deep breath, and closed his eyes. His pencil began to write in a somewhat shaky hand. He reached ‘maintain’ before his concentration wavered and the pencil fell to the floor. Gareth himself slumped in his seat, drained.

One by one the students attempted the task, with Leo keeping a close eye out for any mishaps. When the final young witch had struggled through ‘concentration’, Leo collected the materials and dismissed the exhausted class.

***********

Several weeks later, Leo sat at the breakfast table with Wyatt and Chris as Piper flipped pancakes at the stove. He was recounting the latest escapades of his projection class, who were progressing in leaps and bounds. Piper grinned as she tipped the pancakes onto a plate, which she set in the middle of the table. Rounding the table, she sat down between Chris and Leo, who promptly snagged her for a chaste good morning kiss. Simultaneously, they grabbed pancakes for each of their sons, cutting them into bite size pieces before setting them in front of the boys. Digging into his own pancakes (and keeping an eye on Wyatt, who still had a tendency to make a mess when using his small fork), Leo continued to speak of his toughest, yet most enjoyable, class.

“This afternoon I’m going to start them on projecting something into an empty space,” he told Piper around a mouthful of food. Piper’s expression told him she anticipated trouble. He was a little worried himself.

***********

That afternoon, there was a buzz of excitement when he entered the classroom. Every student in the class knew that this was a big day. Until today they had only been practising their projection on existing objects in the classroom.

“Good afternoon, everyone,” Leo greeted as he closed the door behind him. “I know you’re all excited, but today it is especially important to keep your concentration. I don’t want any catastrophes.”

Leo gave the class several minutes before he started the lesson, hoping they would use the time to calm down and focus.

“Okay, I want you to come forward one by one, and remembering what we’ve learned over the past weeks, concentrate on forming a candle on the table in front of you. Don’t forget to focus, clearing your mind of all other thoughts.”

The first student stepped forward nervously. Closing her eyes lightly and taking several calming breaths, she concentrated. A small white candle appeared on the table.

Forty minutes later, the floor next to the table was littered with candles of various shapes, sizes and colours.

The student on the floor seemed to be having a little difficulty. After several minutes, nothing had happened.

“Relax. You want to focus, but don’t be so tense,” Leo advised.

Closing his eyes, the pupil tried again.

Suddenly, a small horned demon appeared across the room.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” the boy exclaimed, panicked.

Luckily, Leo was prepared, and pulled a generic vanquishing potion from a stock behind his desk. He threw it at the demon, and they watched as he disappeared in a puff of black smoke.

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