A/N hello just a quick notest to say this fic is currently undergoing an edit. I'm posting 5 chapters at a time. I'll be putting in the summary which chapters have been updated. I'm hoping it won't take too long and then I'll be back to the usual fast updates.
Hermione Granger for once was not stood at the front of the class. This was the class everyone had been dreading. The most ridiculous idea to come out of the ministry since the end of the war.
They'd done this class before, in third year. But now they had to do it again. Not to learn how to get rid of a Boggart, everyone knew that. No this was a form of therapy. Facing our fears, as if all of us don't face them every night over and over when we attempt to get some sleep. She shuffles her feet again.
Ron takes her hand and gives it a squeeze. She gives him a small smile before taking her hand back to wringing her fingers instead. She glances at Harry on her other side. His hands are in his pockets eyes fixed to the floor.
"For the record, I don't think this is a good idea either. However the ministry is insisting this takes place so we had better make the most of it. Who wants to go first? Any volunteers?" The new defence against the dark arts teacher this year is an ex-auror. Dawlish took a few too many Confundus Charms during the war, therefore he can no longer be on active duty. Until this lesson he'd actually been a fairly good teacher.
"Come on guys the sooner we start the sooner it's over and done with."
"Why don't you go first then? Remind us what we're meant to do," Malfoy says smirking. He might be less of an arsehole this year but the smirking, sarcastic bastard side to him still exists.
"Well yes when you put it like that. I will go first. After me then we'll go alphabetically."
"No," Hannah Abbott speaks up "I always get stuck going first for everything. If you're using the alphabet at least be a little original and go for reverse order," She reasons.
When the Hufflepuffs start arguing with the teachers that's when you can tell that everyone's unhappy and it's definitely unfair.
"That would be me then," Blaise Zabini speaks up, "At least it will be over faster I suppose."
"Excellent. So from your previous lesson on Boggarts you should remember the incantation. Okay." He takes a deep breath and then unlock the small chest that's been rattling on the desk.
To the student's surprise, Dawlish emerges from the case. They look from one to another as whispering breaks out. Why would he fear himself? It quickly becomes apparent that the Boggart Dawlish has some form of amnesia or dementia. Dawlish's biggest fear is losing his mind completely.
Zabini is up next. Hermione hasn't seen the shape of the Slytherin's Boggarts before. Defence had never been a mixed class before this year. Now as there were so few of them the eighth years were together for all their lessons.
Zabini approaches the Boggart, causing it to shape itself into a beautiful woman, one that shares the same slanting cheekbones as him. Hermione begins to understand why men would keep marrying her despite her "misfortunes". The woman tells him he's a disappointment, that he's no longer useful to her, that he's in the way. His own mother sends an Avada Kedavra at her son. The Riddikulus he returns causes her to trip over her expensive looking high-heels.
Ron steps up to take his turn. The Boggart becomes a massive spider. Despite everything they've been through, his greatest fear is still spiders. She envies him that.
Most people's Boggart have become loved ones in the clutches of death. A few manage to make them into something funny. Most break down. It's disturbing to once again witness death and the despair that follows. A shudder runs through her as Harry steps up to take his turn.
For Harry, the Dementor is gone. In its place are the lifeless bodies of herself and Ron. Boggart Hermione turns her head unnaturally towards him. It's mouth opens wider than is needed for speech, blood oozing down its chin. The Boggart tells Harry that it's his fault his friends were dead. He was the reason they had been in danger in the first place. His Riddikulus makes their bodies jump up and do the thriller dance. The purebloods don't get the joke.
Harry is still shaking when he returns to Hermione and Ron. He stands between them. Hermione feels his sweaty palm tighten around her wrist, fingers resting on the pulse point in her wrist. She glances down to see the other hand giving Ron the same treatment. Neither even consider protesting.
The other Slytherin's boggarts are truly disturbing.
Pansy start shaking when a man in a death eaters mask tells her she has to suffer for her father's mistakes. He's walking towards her as he undoes the fastenings of his trousers, belt gripped tight in one hand as he starts to stroke himself with the other.
"It might be your father's punishment, but getting to fuck you is my reward," the man-shaped Boggart informs her gleefully. Pansy's legs give way leaving her quivering on the floor in the shadow cast by the creature.
Malfoy jumps his place in the queue to distract the creature.
Lord Voldemort appears in the room wand pointed at Malfoy. He reminds him that unless he learns to be more useful to the cause, his mother will become Greyback's "pet" or be used as entertainment. Eventually meeting the same end that befell his owl and house elf. After Malfoy casts Riddikulus, Boggart Voldemort begins to stutter and choke the commanding and threatening power of his voice taken away.
At his turn, Theodore Nott's Boggart becomes an older man who could only be his father. The Boggart tells him that he's been pardoned and he's coming home to watch over Theo once more. The Riddikulus puts the man in rags and chains snivelling on the floor. Both Nott and Malfoy laugh outrageously. No one else finds it funny but then again no one else knew the man.
Hermione feels herself beginning to soften towards the classmates she'd always painted with the same brush. She reminds herself again that there is no black and white, the world is all shades of grey. Sometimes you have no choice but do the best with the shade you're given.
Neville no longer fears Professor Snape. Instead a young student is curled on the floor screaming for his help, asking why he won't save them, why does he let them get hurt? Neville's wand stays by his side. There is no way to make this funny. He bows his head and steps to the side.
The Boggart delivers Neville one final blow before giving up its shape. The child looks Neville straight in the eye and says "Harry would have saved us." Neville's shoulder slump, eyes falling to the ground to avoid seeing anyone's expression. He grabs his bag and walks out of the classroom. Harry stares after him, a guilty feeling in the pit of his stomach.
Daphne Greengrass is next. Just this one more then Hermione has to face the boggart. Daphne's Boggart is her father telling that her marriage has been arranged giving her no more need for school. They can leave right away. Daphne puts him in a muggle clown suit with a nose that squeaks when he tries to talk. Finally one everyone sees the funny side of.
Then it's her turn. No more time. She has no idea what she's about to face, she was too wrapped up in everyone's fear to consider what her own might be. So many nightmares. Is it to be Bellatrix? Or perhaps Greyback? Maybe Dolohov with his purple curse? Her parents asking who she is and why she's in their home? Herself with no magic? She doesn't know. She's not ready to know. She takes a step forward anyway.
The Boggart switches shape quickly changing again and again as it attempts to decipher what the girl in front it wants least to see. This Boggart is old. It's been doing this for longer than any human in the room has been alive for. It becomes not necessarily the thing she is most afraid of but the thing it scares her most to see. In that classroom, in this moment, it's the worst possible thing it could have become. The nightmare she been repressing, trying not to dwell on. The one she's told no one but she know as soon as it takes its final form stepping towards her. A Boggart just changed her life.
The class gasps as they take in the Boggart of Hermione Granger. Harry groans knowing the fallout from this is going to be bad. Ron confused at first stares at his girlfriend's Boggart. As he takes in exactly what the Boggart has become his face flushes in anger and humiliation.
At first it seems like Mrs Weasley is stood in front of them but with small mistakes. Brown hair instead of red. Brown eyes, not blue. An unmistakable button nose and an olive complexion. This Hermione, though swollen with child, is not glowing. A baby in each arm and a child clinging to her legs all have distinctive red hair. Tears roll past tired eyes of a woman who has been drained of everything that ever made her vibrant.
It was a dream she had once, of how their future would look. She'd been haunted ever since by this woman. A flash of her appears whenever Ron tries to take her hand or leans in for a kiss. She'd tried to discuss it with him but he was always so excited about what their future held. She tried to be excited too she really had. But this... this was not what she wanted. There's nothing she can do to make this funny. She stares in horror wand by her side waiting for the inevitable explosion from behind her, where her soon to be ex-boyfriend stands. The end of their relationship had been looming but never had she imagined it would come like this. She barely registers Justin move past her to take over with the boggart nor the shape his boggart takes. She herself has to turn to face something worse. She takes a deep breath stealing herself for what's to come and turns.
"What the hell was that?" Ron shouts at her. She doesn't know how to begin to explain what the hell that was. "That... That's your biggest fear, having my children, being a mother you hate the idea that much. What the hell Hermione? What even are we if that's how you see our future?"
"It's about what it does to me. What it costs me. I don't hate the idea of being a mother, I just don't want to be that woman."
"Yes Ron. I'm not her. I don't want a life that is all about my children. I can be more than that, do more. There's nothing wrong with that or wanting that but I don't. And you! All the time you're talking about this. White picket fences and children as soon as possible. But it's not you who has to live the consequences when it all goes wrong. What happens when you walk away Ron? Because you always leave me. We fight or something happens and you walk away it's what you've always done. If you notice the Boggart, I was alone."
"Is this still about the fucking tent? I'm sorry I've said I'm sorry a million times. I thought you forgave me. It was that damned necklace"
"I did I have but it's not just about the tent. All the necklace did was amplify things. In third year you abandoned me because you thought my cat ate your rat. Then again third year over that bloody broomstick. Fourth year over Harry's name coming out of the goblet then again at the yule ball. Sixth year we were meant to go to Slughorn's party together, you stop talking to me completely out of the blue and then you get with Lavender. I don't even know why. Then when we needed you most you walked away AGAIN!" She's breathing hard now tears moving down her face.
Ron gaps at her. "Well fine. I'd hate to disappoint by not sticking with tradition." He grabs his bag and walks to the door. "I guess we have no future Hermione. Your worst nightmare was my dream life" and he goes out the door without a backward glance slamming it behind himself.
Hermione slumps to the floor.
Harry is torn, as he always is. Seeing the desperation and conflict on his features Hermione says "go. That's what you want."
"I.. I'm sorry but I think he needs me more right now," Harry grabs his bag and flees after his friend. Leaving Hermione alone on the floor of the classroom.